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UFC 111 Post-Fight News & Notes: Lesnar-Carwin UFC 116, GSP Hate, Koscheck-Fitch?

Rundown of the UFC 111 post-fight news and notes…

— $65,000 bonuses were given out last night.

Submission of the Night: Kurt Pellegrino
Knockout of the Night: Shane Carwin
Fight of the Night: Jared Hamman & Rodney Wallace

— 17,000 were in attendance at the Prudential Center for a live gate of $4,000,000 according to Dana White. 2,200 filled Radio Music City Hall in NYC for the viewing party.

The NJACB suspended Rousimar Palhares for 90 days for failing to release the heel hook he put on Tomaz Drwal. Palhares feels the punishment is unfair.

“I did not think the suspension was fair,” Palhares said. “I did not have any intent of hurting Drwal. It was in the heat of battle, and I wanted to make sure I did not lose the position.

“I was just waiting for the ref to interrupt the match.”

“I just wanted to make 100 percent sure I had it,” Palhares said. “I have been through similar situations where I have lost positions due to oil and Vaseline that my opponents had applied to their legs.”

Drwal is out indefinitely until they figure out the extent of the damage done to his leg. Matt Riddle is also out indefinitely pending a CT scan after eating an illegal upkick from Greg Soto. Soto was not suspended.

— Although it’s not unexpected, the biggest news coming out of UFC 111 is Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin will unify their UFC heavyweight titles at UFC 116 on July 3. The two met at the center of the Octagon where Brock got the hype train rolling by antagonizing Carwin for his “make-believe belt.”

“This belt thing, well, hopefully he enjoys the moment,” Lesnar said, grinning, as Carwin posed a few feet away in the cage for photographers. “He should enjoy the win over Frank, but he has to realize that I’m the heavyweight champion. Everybody knows that. Good for him winning that fake belt.”

Well, at least Carwin’s “fake belt” had fun last night.

Carwin said he’s been waiting for this shot for a long time during the post-fight press conference.

It was a hell of a performance Carwin put on last night. He destroyed Frank Mir with those wrecking balls for hands he has. Brock Lesnar may be bigger, stronger and faster than Carwin (though not by much), but his chin has never been tested by someone who hits as hard as Shane. On paper, Lesnar should win, but Carwin’s power is such a wild card there’s no telling what will happen on July 3.

Dana reiterated that Cain Velasquez will wait to fight the winner of the Lesnar-Carwin fight while Junior dos Santos will fight again in the meantime. He’s not sure what’s next for Frank Mir yet.

— I was a little surprised this morning to learn about all the criticism and hate been thrown in GSP’s direction for his performance last night. Make no mistake, GSP absolutely dominated Dan Hardy last night, but apparently a lot of people weren’t happy that he was unable to finish his clearly outmatched opponent. Dana said his twitter account was flooded with people complaining about the main event.

Arguably UFC’s most popular fighter, St. Pierre was heavily cheered throughout the first three rounds, but in the fourth, when St. Pierre opened the round with another takedown, the crowd groaned. When he opened the fifth round with another takedown, the move was greeted with a smattering of boos, likely the first for St. Pierre since he became one of the sport’s megastars.

UFC president Dana White conceded that the reaction of people watching on pay-per-view wasn’t positive.

“My twitter account was burning up and people weren’t happy,” said White. “They were saying we wanted to see a fight, not an amateur wrestling match.”

I understand it wasn’t the most exciting fight in the world, but I really don’t get all the hate. GSP has never been a one punch knockout artist or the guy who finishes off his opponents with lightening fast submissions. He’s a wrestler who methodically wears you down and if he can, finishes you off. He certainly tried to finish Hardy with a ton of submission attempts, two of which really should have ended the fight if Hardy wasn’t so tough and unwilling to tap. It just didn’t happen last night. Yes, I would have liked to have seen GSP focus a little more on his ground-n-pound instead of the submissions against Hardy, but I don’t think it’s fair to knock him for not giving us the most thrilling of fights.

— So who’s next for Georges St. Pierre? Well, no one has secured the number one contender’s spot yet, but right now, it’s looking like the Josh Koscheck vs. Paul Daley winner could have the inside track to the next title shot. MMA Junkie is even speculating they may also have a TUF 12 coaching gig opposite GSP on the line at UFC 113 (don’t take that or GSP coaching TUF 12 as gospel).

Meanwhile, Jon Fitch told everyone who will listen last night that he deserves the next crack at GSP. Fitch didn’t see this coming though. Dana White wants him to fight his AKA teammate Josh Koscheck first, something Fitch is unwilling to do and Dana has been pressing for years. If they don’t, Dana said they both might get passed over.

“There’s nothing more important to me than fighting for the title. I’m 12-1 in the UFC with one loss to GSP. I’m a better fighter than the first time we fought. And I want a title shot,” said Fitch during the postfight press conference for UFC 111.

White responded by suggesting that Fitch should fight Koscheck next. When Fitch was asked if he was open to fighting his teammate for the No. 1 spot, he quickly said no.

“I guess he doesn’t want the title shot that badly,” said a smiling White.

Fitch joked that if the fight has to happen it’ll be behind closed doors at the gym. White joked, “that’ll make a lot of money.”

Because of their reluctance to fight one another, White also said it’s a possibility both Koscheck and Fitch could get passed over for the next shot at GSP.

As much as I like Jon Fitch, there’s really no reason to believe a rematch with GSP will turn out any differently. Fitch said following his loss to GSP he needed to improve his athleticism and work on finishing his opponents, yet the Jon Fitch of today, who’s still better than 99% of the world’s welterweights mind you, is the same fighter who fought GSP in 2008. He’s either going to have to suck it up and fight his teammates or start pulling off spectacular finishes if he wants a title shot. It may not be fair, but that’s how the game works.

Also, don’t forget about Jake Shields. He’s a free agent after the Dan Henderson fight. If he somehow manages to beat Hendo, he could easily sneak in and sign with the UFC for an immediate title shot. I wouldn’t pick him to beat GSP, but at least he hasn’t fought him before which isn’t something you can say about Fitch and Koscheck.

— Although he was disappointed he couldn’t finish, Jim Miller thought he did enough to beat Mark Bocek. He wasn’t sure the judges felt the same way though.

UFC 111 post-fight press conference videos via Cagewriter. Photo via MMA Weekly.

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