Rundown of post-fight news and notes coming out of UFC 129…
— As expected, UFC 129 shattered the North American gate and attendance records. According to Dana White, 55,724 fans packed into the Rogers Centre for a $12.075 million live gate. At the post-fight press conference, Dana said he wishes they could come back every Saturday and do those kind of numbers, but conceded that they wouldn’t be able to put on a stadium show every time they go to Canada. They have to have the right fights.
— There were a ton of great fights and finishes up and down the card, but at the end of the night only four fighters took home massive $129,000 bonuses. John Makdessi had the KO of the Night bonus on lockdown with his vicious spinning back fist KO right up until the moment Lyoto Machida channeled his inner Daniel-san and ended Randy Couture’s career with a crane kick to the mouth. Pablo Garza’s come-from-behind flying triangle easily earned him the sub bonus. And Mark Hominick’s gutsy performance against Jose Aldo made their five-round war Fight of the Night.
— Georges St. Pierre immediately went to the hospital following the main event to get his left eye checked out. He later tweeted that he still couldn’t see out of it, but the doctors told him it was going to be fine.
Hey everybody, leaving the hospital soon, just finished all my eye tests, I still don’t see anything from my left eye but I’ll be find
Shields however did show up at the presser and told reporters that he had no idea GSP was having trouble seeing out of it during the fight. When Ariel Helwani asked Jake what happened to cause the injury, he replied, “I’m punched him in the eye.” That garnered quite a few laughs from the media in attendance.
— Despite the main event being a buzz kill for what was otherwise an outstanding show, Dana White refused to criticize GSP for not finishing Jake Shields. He did however have trouble understanding what Shields gameplan was. Me too. Shields had no sense of urgency to get the fight to the only place he could win.
Moving forward, Shields will have go back to the drawing board, but that leaves us once again questioning what’s next for GSP. As Lorenzo Fertitta tweeted after the show, GSP vs. Diaz or GSP vs. Silva? I’d personally like to see GSP-Diaz for a variety of reasons, and the good news is it sounds like a possibility. Dana White says he can do anything he wants with the Strikeforce fighters, but he needs talk to Nick about his boxing plans first.
“I imagine I could do whatever I wanted to do if I really wanted to, but we have a contract with Showtime and he’s a Showtime fighter. I don’t know we’re going to have to see how this whole thing works out. That’s an interesting fight… I can do what I want to do… I’ve got to go talk to him about boxing first and then we’ll see what happens there… I’ll tell you what, I was there for that last fight, and I was blown away by his last fight. He looked incredible. It’s interesting.”
Perhaps a title unification bout with GSP would talk Diaz out of boxing… I’m sure the money would be a lot better with Nick being so “underpaid” and all.
— Jose Aldo survived a late scare from Mark Hominick to retain his UFC featherweight title. Dana White said the other day that Kenny Florian would be next in line if he beats Diego Nunes at UFC 131, but it looks like that statement wasn’t totally accurate. The UFC wants Aldo to fight in Philly at UFC 133 and Florian wouldn’t be ready in time, so Chad Mendes will likely get the next shot, although no formal discussions have taken place as of yet. When asked to comment on the match-up, Aldo said it’s up to the UFC, not him.
“To me, I’m not sure if that’s the fight or not,” Aldo said. “I just want to take a week off and just think about it and rest my body. But I’m an employee, and whoever (Dana White) wants me to fight, that’s who I’ve got to go and take out. So I’m prepared to fight whoever they put in front of me any time.”
No word yet if that tennis ball in Mark Hominick’s forehead has gone away yet.
— Following back-to-back losses against PRIDE vets Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Lyoto Machida needed an impressive performance against Randy Couture and boy did he deliver. Machida turned in what could very well be Knockout of the Year with a flying crane kick. And yes, he gave Steven Seagal who was in his corner last night some of the credit.
“I trained this kick a lot. I’ve had it in my arsenal and I just had to wait for the right moment to pull the trigger and utilize it. [Steven Seagal] always reinforced to me to try that kick, and when it lands, it will work. I definitely give credit to him for helping me perfect that kick,” said Machida.
“The technique itself, [Anderson and I have] known for a long time. But I definitely think that Seagal helping us perfect it made a difference.”
Seagal himself told Ariel Helwani after the event that he didn’t invent the kick, but he did modify it and worked hard on it with Machida.
— As spectacular of a knockout as it was, it also (likely) marked the end of Randy Couture’s career. With a tooth missing from the kick, Couture told the crowd, “No, you’re not going to see me again. This is it.” Before the fight, Dana White was very bullish on Randy Couture fighting again, but after, his tune had definitely changed.
“You know what? Now you know. You’ve got to have that one last fight against a tough guy. It’s always good to go out with a win, but it’s rarely ever done. As incredible of a human being as Randy is, that’s what he’s done his whole career. You test yourself against other men, and then the one day you show up, and you go, ‘OK. Now I get it.’ … I think Randy should retire, too. It’s a perfect time to retire. He went out on a high. He went seven minutes with Machida. That’s still a big deal when you’re 47 years old. I was just signing autographs with the fans, and my back is killing me, man – and I’m 42. To go in there with Machida at 47 and do the things this guy can do, he’s an incredible human being. He’s been a great ambassador for the sport. He’s been great for the brand. I love Randy Couture.”
So is this really it? Before the fight, I was leaning towards no, but now I expect it will be. If Dana’s on board with Randy retiring, will he even bother offering him a fight? I can’t even think of one that would really make sense.
— As Dana mentioned the other day, the UFC is going to Houston for a major event on Oct. 8 (likely UFC 136). Last night, Dana confirmed they’re thinking about Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos/Brock Lesnar for the headliner.
“Probably,” White said when asked if Velasquez would headline the card. “I think that would make a lot of sense.”
There are still a few hurdles to clear first though. Velasquez’s shoulder will need to be cleared in time and the Lesnar-JDS winner will need to emerge from that fight free of any controversy or serious injuries.
UFC 129 press conference highlights via MMA Weekly