UFC 210 wasn’t a great show, but we’ll be feeling its ripples for a long, long time. The UFC light heavyweight division continues to be dominated by Daniel Cormier while Anthony Johnson’s retirement leaves a gaping hole at the top of the division. Chris Weidman showed why you can’t ever leave it in the hands of the judges, or the ref, or the athletic commission. Gegard Mousasi has come out of his shell and is a few steps from being a bonafide star. Dana White opened up about the only fight that matters, and Daniel Cormier danced and smiled his way into the dark side.
Most of this drama didn’t play out in the cage, but on the little press conference podium backstage. The UFC 210 post-fight press conference was arguably more entertaining than UFC 210 itself. Let’s go through it together.
Dana White Adds To The McGregor/Mayweather Mythos
We’ve been conditioned to not believe his lies, but there’s an air of DGAF with Dana White of late. Maybe it’s because he made almost a half a billion dollars last year, but he’s speaking openly and honestly on just about every subject. Last night we learned that White has been talking with Mayweather for a while and will officially sit down with McGregor to get the fight done after his baby is born. We all just have to admit that this fight is going to happen, and a lot of that is thanks to White.
With that move, White sliced the head off Jeff Mayweather and Bob Arum then sucked their essences to become stronger than he ever has before. He is the Highlander. If Dana White makes the Mayweather/McGregor fight, who can argue that he’s the biggest/best promoter in MMA history and he’s made one of the biggest boxing matches ever.
Chris Weidman Gets Caught Not By A Knee But By Karma?
In the second round against Gegard Mousasi, Chris Weidman got hit by a knee flush on the temple with his fingertips half touching the mat, so in came Dan Miragliotta to stop the fight. From the ref’s point of view, this looked like an illegal knee. It wasn’t. Last year, a fighter could have his fingertips touching the mat and this would mean they were “down,” meaning they could not be struck in the head by a kick or knee. MMA’s new rules in 2017 state that Weidman was not considered down because you now need your whole hand down, not just a fingertip.
Unfortunately for The Chris, it seems like he was expecting to have the fight stopped when the ref told him it was an illegal knee, thus giving him the win. But, since it wasn’t illegal, the legal knee led to a deliberation between the New York State Athletic Commission (that doesn’t have instant replay to aid them) ultimately giving Mousasi the TKO victory.
It’s really confusing, I know. Here’s Chris at the post-fight presser.
“Pretty much the whole time he (the ref) told me it was an illegal knee you have 5 minutes take your time. I thought I was gonna win because of the illegal knee. And then they looked at a replay and he said it was a legal knee. It’s a crappy situation… It’s not like he hit me with a knee and I was all wobbly and got knocked out… Next thing I know it’s a legal knee. I’ve been through way worse than that. If it was a legal knee I would’ve loved to just keep fighting. It shouldn’t have been stopped.”
Kenny Florian did a good job on FOX Sports to break down the order of events. When it was an illegal knee, Weidman said he was injured. If he was fine he would’ve gotten back up and fought. Instead, a wobbly Weidman is discussing the knee with the doctors and the ref. When the ref comes back in to say the knee was legal, Weidman can suddenly fight? It’s not a good look for Weidman, the sport, the ref, the UFC, Mousasi, Anderson Silva, everyone. They all feel this.
The whole situation sucks, but Weidman was the one saying he was hurt in the first place, so what gives?
This leads organically right into the coming out party for Gegard Mousasi, who has developed into someone who can work a mic like he can work over faces with… punches to them… He can talk now.
Gegard finds his smile
Gegard Mousasi is 31 years old, 42-6-2, and holds wins over just about everyone in the UFC. He just didn’t have the personality to propel him to superstardom. In recent months, Mousasi has turned into a shit-talker that could hold his own against anyone, and the best part is that he’s arguably the most dangerous fighter in the UFC, or at least the top 5. Moose could also compete for the belt in the light heavyweight division, especially with Cormier getting older and Rumble Johnson retired.
When he stepped behind the mic after the fight, he was respectful of Weidman and knew the result of the fight was shameful, but hey — according to him, Weidman was milking it. (h/tMMA Fighting)
“At the end of the day, I’m fighting,” Mousasi said at UFC 210’s post-fight press conference. “I have a lot of respect for Weidman. I don’t want to badmouth him. But if you want to play smart and take advantage of the rules, that’s not my fault. I’m fighting. If you want to put your hands down so I cannot knee you — you’re fighting, don’t try to take advantage of the rules. I’m fighting, and at the end of the day, it was legal. That’s what everyone says now, it was legal.
“I don’t make the rules. It was legal and I felt he didn’t want to continue,” Mousasi continued. “I think everyone saw that. He didn’t want to continue. How is that my fault? I don’t give a f*ck, I won. I like the guy, he’s a tough opponent, but at the end of the day, he didn’t want to fight. I felt he was getting tired.
“He was fatiguing. So I feel like he was trying to find a way out, and he felt maybe with a disqualification, he could do that.”
In a plain, white t-shirt, Mousasi proved that the sport can still build stars by a fighter’s talking in the cage and on the mic. Mousasi doesn’t need bling.
Anthony Johnson Goes Out In His Prime
There’s a lot of dark stuff surrounding Anthony Johnson, but looking at him purely as an athlete in the context of being the clear #3 in the division (and a very, very dangerous man), he’ll be missed. Rumble leaving the sport in his prime opens the doors for Gustafsson again, eliminates an interesting Jon Jones fight and makes the already shallow UFC light heavyweight division even more shallow.
That might be a good thing.
There’s nothing like a little shakeup at the top to allow new stars to emerge. The fact is, the top four of the 205 division was logjammed. No one could beat Cormier, Jones or AJ, and no one in 5-15 could beat Gustafsson or Teixeira or Manuwa. Hopefully, someone looks to fill the void and a new star is born, or an old star makes a run.
(What I’m getting at is that Shogun is one knockout away from a title shot in 2017 babbbyyyyy.)
Daniel Cormier Finally Embraces The Dark Side
Like Jon Jones before him, Daniel Cormier was living a persona the fans booed and pundits rolled their eyes at. There’s something about fans of a sport in which people punch each other as hard as they can in the head — they appreciate genuine personalities. Conor McGregor’s a dick, but he’s Conor McGregor and no one is really blaming him for his antics. He gets the job done and he makes people interested. We deal with it sunglasses.
For years, we were all so sick of Jon Jones and his fake good guy persona that when he finally became the crotch chopping guy who was asking, “hey pussy, still there?” it became a revelation. Cormier finally embraced it. He’s a cocky, elite athlete that can beat anyone except for one man. And that’s haunting him. It’s a fantastic story now featuring two fully dimensional characters.
No one cared about Good Guy Cormier. While some were wondering why such a nice wrestler good get booed, most of us knew we didn’t care because why should we? Cormier was just a guy. Now he’s truly embraced the camera, the mic and doesn’t care what people think while dominating monster. Maybe Broken Nose Daniel can keep his gums flapping and actually make us want to see Jones/Cormier 2, which will be roughly the 15th time that fight’s been booked.