Rundown of all the post-fight news and notes coming out of UFC 115…
— UFC 115 attracted 17,000 spectators to the GM Place arena for a gate of $4.2 million. It was an above average gate for the UFC, but word before the show was scalpers were having a tough time unloading tickets. $4.2 million may not represent how much fans actually paid out of pocket to attend UFC 115. Scalpers might think twice next time before scooping up high-dollar UFC tickets in record time.
— Mirko Cro Cop picked up the second submission win of his 30+ fight career and lobbied for the submission bonus afterward. Dana White obliged, giving Mirko an extraordinarily high $85,000 bonus. Rich Franklin was awarded KO of the night for possibly retiring Chuck Liddell with a short right hook, and Carlos Condit and Rory MacDonald were given Fight of the Night for their 14 minute 53 second barnburner.
— In a post-fight interview with MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani, Dana White said he thought Chuck looked great tonight, better than he has in years, but “guarantees” he is done. He just can’t take the hard shots like he used to. Transcription via FO:
“…I feel good about tonight. You know, Chuck and I sat down, we talked about this, and my big concern with Chuck was taking this serious and he did, he went above and beyond on that. He looked better than I’ve ever seen him. He was in great shape and in my opinion he went out the way Chuck Liddell would want to go out, you know, he went out there and fought the way that made him a world champion and made him famous, man, he went out guns-a-blazin’, was trying to knock Rich Franklin out, and you know just a testament of what kind of shape he was in tonight, when’s the last time you saw Chuck Liddell throwing head kicks and leg kicks? You know, there was a while there where he wasn’t even lifting his feet off the floor. Thought he looked great tonight and… you know, again, without sounding condescending, I’m proud of him… Chuck Liddell is one of those guys that had a chin that you could hit him with a steel bar and not knock him out. His chin was legendary back in the day, I mean he fought all the best guys in the world and he would get hit with big shots and just keep right on coming… I guarantee you that tonight is the last night.”
Dana didn’t get the chance to talk to Chuck before he left for the hospital to get checked out. He clearly believes it’s time to for Chuck to retire, he just “hopes he agrees” and thinks he will.
— Not a whole lot coming out Liddell’s camp yet. Just this message from lady friend Heidi Northcott.
In the ER for cut above his eye and his lip is split. He is going to be fine. He is just really sad because he thinks he disappointed his family, friends and fans. He loves u all so much and thanks u for your support!
If I was a betting man, I’d put money on Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz 3 going down before it’s all said and done. Chuck can still fight, he just can’t take a punch, and Tito isn’t much of a puncher.
— If that was Chuck’s last fight, Rich “Broken Arms Don’t Phase Me” Franklin doesn’t want to be known as the guy who retired Chuck Liddell.
“It’s kind of a bittersweet victory because Chuck and I are friends,” Franklin said Saturday after knocking out Liddell in the first round of the UFC 115 main event. “I really like Chuck. I went to his locker room after the fight to check on him, but he was with the doctors and I just spoke with John Hackleman for a few seconds. I don’t want to be labeled as the person who kind of put him out of the sport or whatever. I don’t like the thought of that.”
That’s a crummy spot to be in, especially for such a classy guy like Rich Franklin. Let’s blame Rampage instead, he started it.
— How about that Mirko Cro Cop? Not quite the stone cold killer who decapitated dudes in PRIDE, but for once, he did exactly what he said he would do. He proved the doubters wrong.
“I wanted to prove to everyone that I’m not too old and they were wrong. My preparation for this fight was the hardest preparation in all my life. I won the PRIDE OWGP in 2006, but tonight my condition was better. I spent six weeks of training very hard, it was very hard sparrings. We sparred with MMA/UFC official size gloves, special headgear in the cage and I almost broke my arm twice and had to go for x-rays… I was really dedicated. I just feel now that my biggest mistake was my preparation of my whole career… In the UFC and some fights in PRIDE after a few minutes in the first round, I would feel dead… I was able to do 5, 6, 10-minute rounds on the punching bag at high tempo, but three minutes into the fight I felt tired because I had no sparring partners. Punching bag is one thing and sparring is another… Even in the third round [against Pat Barry] my condition was good. I’ve never felt so comfortable.”
Cro Cop and the UFC will now enter into another round of contract negotiations. If they’re able to come to terms, most people seem to think they’ll put him on the Germany card in November against Ben Rothwell. It makes sense, but Anton Tabuena of BE had what I thought was a brilliant idea — Mirko Cro Cop vs. James Toney. A legend of MMA/K-1 vs. a legend of boxing. I think that’s the one James Toney fight I’d actually get excited about. Speaking of Toney, Dana White says he signed the bout agreement to fight Randy Couture at UFC 118.
“Who would even come up with that report? Yes [James Toney] he’s signed his contract, the fight is happening in Boston.”
— Pat Barry didn’t show at the post-fight press conference or in any post-fight interviews, but word was he was in somewhat good spirits, joking around with Cro Cop backstage after the fight. Fightmetric threw out an interesting stat: Pat Barry is only the 5th fighter in UFC history to knockdown his opponent twice in one round and lose. I imagine Barry regrets treating that first round like a kickboxing match instead of a MMA fight. Cro Cop sure didn’t hesitate to fight on the ground in the later rounds, although Barry broke his hand on Mirko’s face in the first, so maybe that’s why he hesitated. Regardless, as Dana said at the post-fight press conference, “Pat Barry learned a very expensive lesson tonight. Mirko Cro Cop is not your friend.” Cro Cop did say he was nice enough to let Barry pull his foot out of the cage when it got stuck though. Said he wouldn’t have done that for other opponents.
— Last night was a “huge” win for Martin Kampmann’s career according to Dana White.
“Paulo Thiago, in my opinion, was one of the best guys at 170 pounds,” he said. “You want to talk about a guy that was completely underrated because he had no name value? [Martin Kampmann] is not a big name yet. Tonight was a huge win for [him]. That was one of the fights I was most excited about seeing tonight.”
Kampmann says he just wants to fight the top welterweights and get a title shot.
“I want to fight the guys that are ranked high at welterweight,” he said. “It makes me move up the ladder and continue to get closer to a title shot.”
— Dana White was very impressed with Rory MacDonald and didn’t think the ref made a mistake calling the fight with less than ten seconds to go.
“I’m the first one to blast a referee or a judge for making bad calls,” White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “In my opinion, the referees aren’t looking at the time. They could give a [expletive] what time it is or how much time is left. They’re there to protect the fighters.
“Rory’s a young guy. He’s got a lot of fights ahead of him, and he took a lot of damage in that last round. I didn’t have any problem with the stoppage. It’s unfortunate when a fight stops with seconds left. It’s one of those things, but you won’t hear me bitching about that one.”
“The kid looked amazing tonight,” White said. “You’ve got to understand this: he’s such a young guy, and coming out tonight, this was a title fight for this kid. [Condit] is a guy who held a title, who’s been around for a long time, who has tons of big-fight experience. Not only that, the pressure of being in your hometown – that kid had a lot on him tonight. He came out, and he looked incredible.
“That’s another reason I say the punishment he was taking in that third round, he’s a young kid, he’s got a lot of fights to fight. He’ll get a lot more experience. Live to fight another day. He looked fantastic, and I expect very big things from him.”
I agree, MacDonald has a ton of potential. He owned that fight right up until the point when Condit caught him with a hook to the temple. As Mike Goldberg said on the broadcast, Rory’s a part of that next generation of fighters who started training in MMA, not one specific discipline like the majority of today’s top fighters. He’s just one of many young badasses we’ll be introduced to in the coming years.
— Of course, there were some really bad calls last night like Yves Lavigne stopping the Wiman-Danzig fight prematurely and judge Tony Weeks scoring the Dunham-Griffin fight for Tyson 29-28. Dana White shared in the frustration and used it as opportunity to slight Big John McCarthy by calling Herb Dean “the greatest referee in the history of the sport.”
“There’s always bad reffing, man, it sucks. You know, a referee should know when a guy’s choked out and a referee shouldn’t be sitting there listening, have to listen to a fighter, the fighter’s going ‘he’s out! he’s out’ The referee should know when a guy’s out. You don’t listen to a fighter. You know what I mean? You should know when the guy’s choked out and you should in and make a decision. It’s the same thing with clinching — you see these guys in a stalemate just standing there forever and a ref just standing there staring at them. Be a referee, get in there and make some decisions. Know what you’re talking about. Know the sport! Know when a guy’s in a certain submission and when he’s choked. It’s why, I’m telling you man, I wish they could clone Herb Dean, you know. And it’s not like I’m friends with Herb Dean, I’ve probably said five words to Herb Dean in my whole life but I respect him. I think this guy’s the greatest referee in the history of the sport and the commissions should have this guy putting on clinics and he needs to a choke a few of these other referees out so they know what it is and what it feels like and you know it’s just, it’s getting to the point now where it’s starting to get ridiculous and as we get more fights every year going on, you know, it’s just going to mean more problems if we don’t get good referees.”
Herb Dean is a good referee, I’ve got nothing bad to say about him, but it’s so sad to see Big John McCarthy still shunned over politics and personal animosity. There’s big difference between Big John (and to an extent Herb Dean) and the rest of the referees. He takes control in the cage, he always puts himself in the best position to make the right call and the fighters always know what to expect from him because he proactively sets expectations with them beforehand. To not use him is as much of a joke as the bad reffing and judging in this sport.
— Jake Shields was in attendance at UFC 115, but that doesn’t mean he’s a UFC fighter yet.
“We are in negotiations with [Jake Shields], we have not signed him yet. Strikeforce doesn’t mean jack sh*t to me. I could care less what they are doing. I can’t believe people put their name in a conversation. What about Strikeforce? They are minor league. You might as well ask me what’s going on with the DEF or ZBY or some other small organization around the world.”
— Funny story: For the first time ever, a fan threw a beer at Dana White.
“When MacDonald lost, some dude threw a beer at me,” White said. “That’s never happened in 10 years. We threw his ass out quick. He hit me, Nate Diaz and Jake Shields.
“You know what I love about our fans? I jumped up and said, ‘Who the [expletive] threw that?’ The whole place went, ‘He did!’ You go to a football game, everybody would just sit there, and you don’t know who threw it. The whole [expletive] place went, ‘He threw it.'”