A rundown post-fight news and notes from UFC 137…
— 10,313 people attended UFC 137 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas for a $3.9 million live gate.
— No surprises with the bonuses. Nick Diaz and BJ Penn took home Fight of the Night honors for their epic fight in the main event. Donald Cerrone earned Submission of the Night for battering Dennis Siver and choking him out. Bart Palaszewski earned Knockout of the Night for annihilating Tyson Griffin against the cage. Each bonus was worth $75,000.
— Nick Diaz may have beat BJ Penn in thrilling fashion last night, but you wouldn’t have known it by the way he talked at the press conference. Instead of realizing what he had accomplished, Nick criticized his performance up and down.
“I’m not happy with my performance at all,” Diaz said of his win over Penn, which served as the main event of Saturday’s UFC 137 event in Las Vegas. “I wasn’t 100 percent today. I felt good, but just leading up to this fight, I went through a lot of hard times.”
“I can look a lot better than that,” Diaz said. “I can do a lot better than that, and that’s what I would like to do.
“I didn’t have any sort of workouts like I have had in the past. I would have come out 10 times better than I look tonight, that’s for sure. I don’t take punches like that when I’m working out with guys like Andre Ward and the guys even that are working out with Andre Ward. If I could have got any of the sparring that I’ve had in the past, I would have been a lot more confident just having known that I worked out with some of these guys that are at that top level.”
As he touched on at the end of that quote, Diaz blamed his performance on a lack of quality sparring partners and training.
“There’s not enough money in this sport,” Diaz told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “You’ve got Floyd Mayweather making $25 million. He can’t stop a double-leg. I had to go to school to learn how to do that [expletive]. I had to work hard, and I had to study every aspect. That’s what we’re doing out here. I think that if I was making a tiny piece of that that everybody I know would be compensated – everybody I know, including my family.
“They’re not taking care of me because they’re not compensated. My team needs to be compensated, and the people around me, they’re not getting nothing out of it. They’re not getting airtime. They’re not getting paid like they should. My sparring partners, they’re not getting paid like they should. That’s why nobody wants any part of this. Nobody wants to help me train if they’re not getting anything out of it, and I don’t blame them.
“It’s hard to find sparring these days. Nobody’s ready, or they have to be in the best condition before they want to come in and work out with me now because everybody is intimidated or their trainer tells them, ‘No, you can’t go. It ain’t good for you to go spar with that guy.’ People aren’t going to do this stuff. I’m not going to get the training I need unless these people are compensated for their efforts and what they’re doing to help me.”
Cesar Gracie later explained that getting boxers to come spar with Nick is becoming increasingly more difficult because they don’t want a MMA fighter making them look bad. And if they are willing to do it, they’re charging their camp twice as much as they charge others.
— Despite the setbacks in training, Diaz made it a point to let everyone know he still showed up to fight with the same problems and injuries GSP backed out with and a tougher life back home to boot.
“I’ve never backed out of a fight in my life,” Diaz said angrily. “You show me someone else who hasn’t done that, pulled some [expletive] about an injury. I’ve been injured all these last fights, even this one. I didn’t pull out, you know? I had no reason to fight. I’m depressed about this whole not fighting [St. Pierre], not getting paid what I wanted to get paid. I could have pulled out with any of these injuries. My knee hurts. Oh, my hamstring. My hamstring … I’ve got the same issues, man. I go running all the time out of my neighborhood, out of the bad neighborhood into the good neighborhood where I like to run. I run by hundreds of these nice huge houses with these big yards, and fountains everywhere. They have their picnic-patio little side yards with a pool. All this stuff, right?
“Then I take a little circle around and go back into my neighborhood, where my car gets robbed, there’s a dude out in front of my house looking for cigarette butts, hoping some friend might have left some. It’s ridiculous.”
— You would think Diaz would have cheered up when Dana White announced that he would fight Georges St. Pierre next, but this is Nick Diaz. Standard logic doesn’t apply. Instead, Nick started complaining about how he has to be the bad guy to get the fight he wants.
“See how I gotta come off just to get a fight. I gotta come off like that just to get a fight. I gotta be the bad guy. You gotta point the finger, make me the bad guy, I’m the bad guy, now I get a fight.”
Dana’s reaction? “It worked.” That it did.
— BJ Penn didn’t show up to the post-fight press conference or talk to reporters after the show. As of now, the last thing we heard from BJ Penn was his psuedo-retirement speech right after the fight.
“Hats off to Nick Diaz, he’s the man. It’s probably the last time you’ll ever see me in here. I want to perform at the top level. This is the end. You know what, I’ve got another daughter on the way, I don’t want to go home looking like this.”
Like many, including myself, Dana White was skeptical after the fight that this is the last we’ve seen of BJ Penn.
“B.J. is a warrior,” White said. “What happened to him tonight has never happened to him in his entire career. What he’s thinking tonight he might not think eight weeks from now.”
“They took B.J. right to the hospital,” White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “Who knows. It might be or it might not be (Penn’s last fight). That’s up to him. I don’t know.”
While Penn can certainly compete at the top level of the welterweight division, he really belongs in the lightweight division. I’d like to see him give 155 another shot, but the question is whether Penn has the motivation to do it. Right this minute, probably not, but hopefully that will change in time.
— Roy Nelson didn’t show up looking like he was sculpted out of clay like Cheick Kongo does, but he definitely lost some belly fat and gained a little muscle mass. When asked about the weight loss after the fight, Nelson jokingly explained why he wore the fat suit to the weigh-ins.
“I wasn’t really trying to keep it a secret,” Nelson said. “I think the biggest thing … was that the porn industry is kind of going down. If you want to see a half-naked man, you’re going to pay for it.”
How did you lose the weight?
“Secret ninja training,” he said.
When the jokes stopped, Nelson added that he’s still the same fighter with or without the belly.
“I’m the same Roy Nelson – just trying to be more active, trying to be a more complete martial artist by adding takedowns with the kicks,” he said. “I’m still 100 percent in the UFC with kicks. But it’s just one of those things – trying to be a complete martial artist and keep on adding to the repertoire and more tools to the belt.
“I’ve been doing kung fu and martial arts all my life. I was just trying to change it up a little bit – just being a complete martial artist. You saw a lot of striking, a lot of groundwork today. I’m just trying to add more to the repertoire so that whoever I fight next gets to see two different looks.”
In addition to the belly, Nelson also lost the beard. He shaved it after the fight and told reporters he did it to give them something to talk about on a slow news day.
— It definitely seemed like we had seen the last of Mirko Cro Cop after his loss to Roy Nelson last night, but Dana White didn’t sound so sure.
“Cro Cop has been a good guy since the day we signed him,” said White. “The guy’s a guy a warrior, a legend, has done tons of good things in the sport. I know he’s disappointed with his run in the UFC. I’m 42; at 38 [actually 37] to still be fighter, fighting younger, faster, more explosive guys … He came out and said, ‘I’m going to give you guys a fight; it won’t be a boring fight like with Frank Mir.’ He said he wants to retire. We’ll see how that plays out.”
While it remains to be seen if Mirko calls it a career, we won’t see him back in the UFC. This was the last fight on his contract and there’s little to no reason to re-sign him. If Mirko wants to continue fighting though, I’m sure there’s an organization or two that would give him that opportunity. ProElite and M-1 Global (Fedor rematch) come to mind.
— Donald Cerrone surprised a lot of people last night when he basically outclassed Dennis Siver on the feet. Perhaps the only person who wasn’t surprised though was Donald Cerrone.
“I wasn’t impressed with his striking,” Cerrone told MMAjunkie.com. “I wanted to show the world what real kickboxing looks like. I was glad to go out there and be kind of technical.
“I don’t want to overlook anyone, but I felt like my striking was better than his striking. He’s really flashy and did a lot of spinning and karate-type kicks. I didn’t want to say I didn’t respect his striking. I just thought mine was better.”
With many of the top lightweight contenders losing recently, Cerrone may find himself in the title picture sooner than later if he keeps it up. Cerrone isn’t thinking about that now though. He just wants to fight ” anybody, anywhere, anytime,” in both the lightweight and featherweight divisions. It’s a noble approach, but now might be the time to choose his fights carefully. A couple wins over the right opponents and a little luck could land him a title shot in the next 12 months.
Image via Twitter.com/LorenzoFertitta