— 15,811 spectators filed into the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana to watch UFC 119. Live gate receipts totaled $1,613,337 according to the UFC.
— Dana White awarded Fight of the Night bonuses to two pairs of fighters last night. Sean Sherk, Evan Dunham, Matt Mitrione and Joey Beltran all took home an extra $70,000 for their performances. CB Dollaway earned the Submission of the Night for his sweet gator roll guillotine choke against Joe Doerksen. Despite delivering the only knockout blow on the card, Frank Mir wasn’t awarded the KO bonus. That alone should tell how Dana felt about that fight.
— Fans’ general dissatisfaction with the main event wasn’t lost on Frank Mir. He apologized for his performance at the post-fight press conference, but added that a “shitty win” is still better than a “shitty loss.”
“A shi–y win is better than a shi–y loss. Other than that, I’m pissed off about my performance. I’m not happy at all… The mistake I made was fighting him at kickboxing range. I should have closed distance more. I made the mistake of stepping back when Mirko closed the distance. In this situation, that bubble helped him… Against the cage, halfway through the round I’m bitching at myself about mistakes I’m making… I’m going to be honest with you. While [Cro Cop] is swinging, it’s not as easy to throw those strikes. That style, he never used before, how he exited to my left… I didn’t huff or puff once. My conditioning wasn’t a factor at all. I felt in great shape the whole time. Now it’s about breaking old habits and not fighting like a guy who’s going to gas. I was able to stand for two and a half rounds with Mirko and get a knockout.”
As usual following a loss, Mirko Cro Cop didn’t stick around for the press conference. His was the type of performance the UFC cuts fighters for, but the word going around is that in exchange for replacing Big Nog on short notice, the UFC agreed to a clause that prevents them from cutting Cro Cop if he lost to Mir. So chances are we’ll be seeing Mirko at least once more in the UFC assuming he doesn’t decide it’s time to call it a career.
It’s doubtful the late win did anything positive for Mir’s standing in the heavyweight division. Referencing the fight, Dana told a fan on Twitter “we all should get 15 mins of our life back.”
— Ryan Bader climbed another step up the light heavyweight ladder with a win over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Bader said the key was mixing up his striking and wrestling.
“He’s a dangerous fighter, you’ve got to pick your poison with him,” Bader said. “I felt I caught him in the first and put him down. But mainly I wanted to be careful with his boxing. I didn’t want to just rush in and be counterpunched. There was a lot on the line and I pulled out the win, mixed it up a little.”
No word yet if a fight with Jon Jones is definitely next or not. Personally, I think that’s going to be a very difficult fight for Bader to win.
— Now that he’s won four in a row, the talk of a title shot is starting for Chris Lytle. He’s all for it, but he’s not going to start playing it safe to ensure he keeps winning.
“I think I’ve won like four in a row now. Obviously, I’m trying to climb that ladder and work my way up to a title… But at the same time, I’m not willing to [employ] a win-at-all-costs mentality. If it’s going to be a boring fight, I’d rather go out there right now and fight the best fight of my life and lose a decision than fight the worst one and win one… I’m trying to win the right way, and I think they’ll reward that if I keep doing that. They’ll reward me for that.”
Dana says Lytle “is in the mix.”
— According to FightMetric, Evan Dunham should have defeated Sean Sherk 29-28 on the judges’ scorecards. Not only that, Dunham’s effectiveness score was nearly double that of Sherk’s. The fans in attendance in Indy seemed to agree as they rained down boos during Sherk’s post-fight interview with Joe Rogan. Sherk didn’t get what they were so upset about.
“We poured it all out there, he hit me, I’m bleeding. If I was a fan, I’d be having a good time watching it. I don’t know why they were booing me.”
Even though most fans felt he won, Evan Dunham didn’t complain about the decision. Instead, he looked at it as a learning experience and focused on what he did wrong in the fight.
“It’s bittersweet — more bitter than sweet. You learn more from a loss, and I think there’s a lot to take away from this, but I’m definitely not happy… I have to look at the video, but I didn’t implement my game in the first round. There are some things I want to change up. I’m not going to make excuses. I wanted to stand with him and stuff the shot and frustrate him… I think I got complacent when he was on top of me. I found myself thinking, ‘Why are you down here? Get up.’ I took some shots before I made that decision.”
— Melvin Guillard was very apologetic at the post-fight press conference for his lackluster fight with Jeremy Stephens, but made it a point to let everyone know he’s gunning for a title shot next year.
“I apologize to my boss, the organization. I felt well prepared. I spent 14 weeks preparing for this fight. After my last fight, I got right back into training. For the first time in a long time, I spent most of my time training instead of getting into trouble… I had high expectations, and I just felt that I don’t think Jeremy brought it the way he was dishing it out. I hit him a lot. He couldn’t hit me at all. I think I got hit maybe three or four times the whole fight. I respected his right hand. I had a lot of respect for the power the kid had, and I didn’t want to get clipped.”
“At the end of the day, everyone wants to win. And my ultimate goal right now is to fight for the title in 2011. I’m happy with the win, but I’m not as happy with the performance. I’m an exciting fighter. I come, and I bring it. And even the fans have high expectations when it comes to me. I try to please everyone. That’s just the way I am. That’s the way I was raised.”
Guillard named Takanori Gomi as who he’d like to fight next.
— If you were paying attention to Matt Mitrione’s post fight interview with Joe Rogan on the Spike broadcast, you may have noticed he yelled that someone was fired right before the camera cut away. That person was his agent, Malki Kawa, and it wasn’t a joke. Mitrione told Ariel Helwani after the fight he fired him because he was only able to secure $5,000 in sponsorships for a nationally televised fight. Mitrione called it “unacceptable.”