— 12,971 attendees packed into the Oracle Arena to witness UFC 117 in person. They paid a total of $1.56 million at that gate to see it according to UFC officials.
— Anderson Silva received an extra $120,000 in “Submission of the Night” and “Fight of the Night” bonuses for pulling of the stunning last-minute triangle armbar after getting the snot beat out of him for 23 straight minutes. The other half of the $60,000 “Fight of the Night” bonus went to Chael Sonnen, obviously. Dana White actually handed out two “Submission of the Night” bonuses. Matt Hughes received the other one for his “arm-in front headlock” that Joe Rogan went nuts over. Stefan Struve earned himself “Knockout of the Night” honors for coming back from a hellacious first round beating and blasting Christian Morecraft early in the second.
— Understandably, Chael Sonnen was “heartbroken” after squandering away the biggest win of his entire career in the last two minutes of a 25-minute fight.
“It’s devastating. I can’t sugar-coat it. My heart’s broken. I came away with the silver medal. I wrestled for a world championship: I came in second. I fought in the WEC for a world championship: I came in second. Now, I fought in the UFC and again, I’m a runner-up and it hurts really bad. I just can’t put it any other way. Whether it was a submission or something else, he hit me really hard. Right off the bat he kicked me in the stomach. I’ve never been kicked like that. But I don’t allow myself to be hurt. I will walk through anything he does and go get stitched up at the end of the night. It’s not my first time. But look, he’s a good fighter and he found a way to win. That’s what champions do.”
“I’ll replay [the last-minute submission] constantly (in my head). It’s one of those moments you’ll think about for the rest of your life. I’ve had other competitions like that and you go to bed at night and you just can’t shake it. It’s tough, I can’t sugar-coat it, my heart is broken right now. So that’s the way it goes.”
Chael could have played it safe and rode out the final minutes without putting himself in danger, but said he was so disoriented by the end of the fight, he wasn’t sure how much time was left or even what round it was.
“I didn’t know how much time was left. I heard someone just reference that there was about a minute and ten seconds (left). I didn’t know that. Frankly, you even get lost in what round it is. He hit me real hard a couple times. He kicked me real hard a couple times. You’re just in the middle of a fistfight on a Saturday night. There’s not a lot of thinking. A lot of people like to talk about strategy and thinking and blah, blah, blah. It’s a fistfight in the middle of Oakland, California in a steel cage.”
— Chael may be “devastated” for allowing the opportunity to slip through his fingers, but that doesn’t mean he won’t get another one. Many fans are calling for an immediate rematch. Dana White didn’t rule out the possibility, but wouldn’t commit to it either. With Vitor Belfort in the mix, they have to sit down and figure it out.
“It’s definitely a rematch I think people are going to want to see. Looking at Twitter, everybody is saying, ‘Rematch. Rematch.’ We’ll see what happens. Vitor is waiting to fight right now, too. We could do the rematch with Chael, but we’ll see what happens. We’ll see how it goes.”
As you would expect, Sonnen was all about a rematch. When Ed Soares failed to translate something Anderson said, Dana asked Chael to fill in, and without an ounce of hesitation, Chael pretended to translate Anderson’s words by suggesting they do a season of The Ultimate Fighter followed by a rematch.
“What he said was ‘I’d like to do the reality show with Chael, I’ll work on my English, we will carry the ratings and we will do a rematch.'”
In fact, Chael was so gung-ho about a rematch, he said he’d do it again right then and there in the press conference if the commission would sanction it.
“There’s true camaraderie when you compete against somebody. I don’t have ill will towards Anderson and I don’t wish him a bad life. But here’s the truth. If the commission would sanction it and Dana would move, I’d fight him right now.”
Silva didn’t share quite the same enthusiasm for a rematch that Sonnen did, but he wasn’t opposed to it either. Whatever the UFC wants to do, he would do.
“I’m a fighter and I’m here for the UFC and whatever the UFC decides is fine with me.”
— Chael Sonnen backed up every outrageous ounce of trash talk he spoke about Anderson Silva leading up to the fight, so needless to say, he wasn’t going to apologize for any of it.
“There’s no question this sport is different from any other. In other sports, like basketball or baseball, there are championships, but they are really national champions. In this sport, we scour planet Earth and came up with the two best guys. If you look at the rankings tomorrow morning, we’ll still be the two best guys. So I don’t apologize for anything. I’m not backing off my stance, and if I ever did, I would send myself a pink slip and move on in life. I have one goal. It’s to be the world champion. And I’m not backing off that goal because of tonight’s [outcome]… I’m not Dog the Bounty Hunter. I don’t issue apologies and you’re not going to be the first to get one out of me.”
“When I go off it’s like a bomb and anyone around me’s going to get dirty. That’s the way that it goes. I don’t off an apology for any of that stuff. These guys need to get thicker skin. Second off, everybody in the UFC should issue an apology except me. You stick a microphone in a guy’s face and he calls out anyone by the champion, then Joe Silva should fax him a pink slip right then. So I don’t offer any apology, I’m never gonna change. I’m gonna go after number one, whoever it is. If it’s Anderson or I got to go after the guys at 205 or go on a diet and go after Jose Aldo, it doesn’t matter. If you have a belt, I’m coming after you.
— As usual, Anderson Silva didn’t have a whole lot to say after the fight. When asked what was going through his mind while Sonnen pounded on him from the top, Anderson said he was thinking about his family.
“I was thinking about my home, my family, my kids and my wife. I haven’t seen them in three months. I was thinking about my grandmother who had just passed away a couple of weeks ago. The whole time I was just thinking about my family and just couldn’t wait to get back home to see them.”
Anderson also said the rib injury he mentioned in the post-fight interview came courtesy of Olympic judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii who was in town last week to train with Lyoto Machida.
“The doctor told me I shouldn’t fight, but I believe the show must go on. Again, it’s not an excuse, but I just wanted to come in here and put it all on the line and that’s what I did.”
— Dana White wasn’t ready to declare Jon Fitch the official number one contender following his decision victory over Thiago Alves. He wants to see how the Jake Shields vs. Martin Kampmann fight plays out first.
“What happens is timing is everything. We’ve got to figure out – Koscheck and ‘GSP’ are going to fight after their season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ He’s a winner tonight. Shields is going to fight Kampmann. We’ll see how this whole thing plays out.”
The problem seems to be that fans just aren’t that crazy out Fitch’s grinding, but dominant style.
“He’s not the exciting fighter you hope for, but the guy’s so dominant, so what are you going to do?” a genuinely perplexed White asked. “You’ve got to give him his respect. He’s one of the best guys in the world. But tonight, out of the entire card, my Twitter [followers were] not too excited about Jon.”
Of course, if Josh Koscheck beats GSP, there’s also the teammate vs. teammate issue to consider. Dana White thinks Fitch, who recently said he would move to 185 before he fought Josh Koscheck, is beginning to come around to the idea of fighting his friend for the opportunity to wear UFC gold.
“What you’re not hearing is ‘no,'” White said. “He’s not saying, ‘No, I will not fight Josh Koscheck.’ I said it before, and I’ll say it again. From what I understand of Jon Fitch and what I know of Josh Koscheck, I believe that both of these guys have the desire, the heart and the spirit to take this fight. There’s been guys that have been like, ‘No way. There’s no way I’ll fight him.’ These guys aren’t saying that. They’re not saying, ‘No.'”
Jon Fitch refused to address the situation at the post-fight press conference, claiming he’s now focusing all his attention on getting married in three weeks.
“The only thing on my mind right now is getting married in three weeks,” he said after the fight. “That’s my focus. I’m going to enjoy tonight. I’m going to enjoy my win tonight. I’m going to enjoy my wedding, and then I’ll deal with the future in the future.”
— Dana White has lost his patience with Thiago Alves’ weight-cutting issues and says it’s time for Alves to move up to the middleweight division. His wishes didn’t come without resistance from Alves.
“We were just texting a few minutes ago before I came in. He said, ‘I’m sorry about that, I’ll come back stronger.’ I said, ‘Yeah, at 185 you will.’ He said, ‘No, I want to fight at 170’… He looked lethargic tonight; he looked slow. He doesn’t belong at 170. He belongs at 185 pounds. That’s where I’d like to see him, at 185… It’s (expletive) to have guys make weight and have guys not make weight, especially at this level. When you’re in the UFC, your job is to make weight, end of story. I don’t think that Thiago didn’t not want to make weight, he can’t… It just screws things up. What happens if he did beat Fitch tonight and does make it to a title shot and then he doesn’t make weight for the title? I guarantee you he can make 185. If he can’t fight at 185, then I don’t know what to tell you. You’re too big.”
It remain to be seen which weight class Alves fights in from here on out.
— Junior dos Santos earned himself a title shot with a tough victory over Roy Nelson. He doesn’t care whether he fights Brock Lesnar or Shane Carwin, he’s just excited for the opportunity.
“I don’t care which one I face,” dos Santos said. “It’s been my dream to fight for the title and I’m excited about the opportunity.”
— Matt Hughes is definitely not done in the UFC. Talking to MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani following the show, Hughes said he plans to take the rest of the year off to hunt then come back sometime in 2011. Transcription via MMA Mania:
“I could hear my corner yelling ‘Throw the hook!’ so the hook was there, I threw [it], he was dazed and went down. I got him in the front headlock position and that’s an old wrestling move I used to use in college and it’s probably something Ricardo’s never seen. He’s a great grappler but that’s something he was probably unprepared for and he wasn’t thinking right from the knockdown. [I won’t be back] this year. I’m gonna hunt the fall out and come next year I’ll talk to the UFC and figure something out. I’m not done fighting in the UFC yet. I don’t want to be labeled as a guy looking for the Gracies. I’ve never asked to fight a Gracie, the UFC has always come to me with fighting the Gracies, Ricardo came to me. I don’t want that. I’ve got too much respect for them to be labeled the ‘Gracie Killer.'”
While some believed Hughes was washed up, Dana said he wasn’t surprised by Hughes performance, he’s “always a threat.” Meanwhile, Chuck Liddell said “only a moose” could pull off the front headlock Hughes used to submit Ricardo Almeida.
— We may not find out for certain until the CSAC releases the medical suspensions, but all signs point to Clay Guida either dislocating or breaking Rafael dos Anjos’ jaw in the first round. Guida said he was as confused about the tap as everyone else was.
“I was a little confused too. I was putting pressure on that shoulder in his jaw against the cage, and he tapped. I didn’t know if he thought I was doing something illegal.”
— Interesting facts from FightMetric: Royce Gracie still holds the record for the most total strikes recorded (355) in a single UFC match when he fought Ken Shamrock at UFC 5. Chael Sonnen secured second place last night, however Gracie has an unfair advantage. There were no time limits when he fought Shamrock, their match went on for 36 minutes. Chael recorded 320 total strikes according to FM’s calculations, so if Chael had 11 extra minutes, he undoubtedly would have shattered it. Heck, if he would have survived the final two minutes, he probably still would have broken it.
That was total strikes though, not “significant strikes” as FM characterizes it. By their calculations, Junior dos Santos is now fourth on the all-time most significant strike list with 130.
— Business-wise, Dana White is happier than a “pig in shit” with how UFC 117 is trending on pay-per-view.
“Trending tonight was insane,” he said after the event. “We think we did a big number tonight – a really big number. If not one more [expletive] person buys this pay-per-view, I’m happy as a pig in [expletive]. That’s how well we did.
“We have a little formula, and we know how to calculate what we think we’re going to do. It was a ‘holy [expletive]’ moment again.”
I’d say Chael Sonnen has earned himself a raise… a big fat pay-per-view revenue sharing raise.