The winners and losers from the UFC’s big weekend.
The UFC had itself a heck of a weekend. Aside from International Fight week, they also hosted UFC 213 and the TUF 25 Finale. We saw some people walk away as big winners. Others, not so much.
1. Justin Gaethje– Both Gaethje and Michael Johnson put on a phenomenal performance in the main event at the TUF 25 Finale. People already know about Johnson and his pedigree. Gaethje came in as a virtual unknown to the common MMA fan. He’s always fireworks inside the cage and that is why the UFC featured him as the main event. The result was a ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate. So much so, that when I walked my dog the next day, a random neighbor asked me if I had seen the ‘awesome’ fight the night before. Gaethje nabbed both the ‘Fight of the Night’ and ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus awards, earning him an extra $100,000. He also skyrocketed into the top 5 of the lightweight division and could possibly be next in line for an interim title shot.
2. Robert Whittaker– Whittaker continued to impress inside the Octagon. He earned a unanimous decision against the #1 ranked middleweight in the world, Yoel Romero. While interim titles are really just #1 contender trophies, it all but guarantees Whittaker the next shot at champion, Michael Bisping. Whittaker pocketed an extra $50,000 for ‘Fight of the Night’. More importantly, Whittaker became an instant fan favorite with his impressive showing and classy demeanor.
3. Jesse Taylor– Yes, we see you, Mr Taylor. In what was possibly the most lucrative weekend for any UFC fighter, Jesse Taylor won close to $300,000. It was the season of redemption on TUF 25 and no one needed it more than Taylor. After Taylor won 4 exhibition fights in 2008 and made it to the TUF 7 finals, he was kicked off of the finale for his actions after the show. Taylor seemingly had it all and threw it away during a drunken Las Vegas stupor. Fast forward nine years and Taylor found himself in the same position as before. The older and wiser Taylor would not be denied and was crowned the TUF 25 champion.
1. Amanda Nunes– Nunes fell ill and pulled out of her fight with Valentina Shevchenko. Despite being cleared by doctors, she still opted out of fighting. Fans don’t seem to grasp the fact that being cleared doesn’t necessarily mean you are well enough to fight. Nunes made the correct decision to pull out. Fans, media, and Dana White didn’t seem to see it that way. White even said Nunes won’t be getting paid and said she’ll never headline another UFC card. She’s being accused by fans and media using the genius rationale that she was scared of Shevchenko. Yeah, Nunes made weight and pulled out of fighting a woman she already beat a year ago. Nunes shouldn’t even be on the ‘losers’ list, but she has been condemned to it by fans.
2. Todd Grisham– Grisham has yet to find his groove in MMA. By that I mean, he left the WWE, but the WWE hasn’t left him. Grisham had an absolutely abysmal night calling the TUF 25 Finale and was carried all night by Brian Stann. His night was so bad that he was actually trending worldwide on Twitter. First, he managed to piss off fans by berating Tom Gallicchio’s performance. However, Grisham really scorched the Earth, when he didn’t know who Kazushi Sakuraba was. Comically, he retweeted and liked the three people on twitter who said he did a great job. The other few thousand… wanted his head.
3. Michael Bisping– We know that Bisping has his schtick playing the bad guy. However, he took things a little too far and put himself in an awful light. Sure, he’s called numerous people a f****t. Yeah, he has spit on cornermen. Okay fine… Every chance he gets, he tries to be as much of a dick as possible. While sitting cageside for Romero vs Whittaker, Bisping decided to rip up a small Cuban flag. Romero was not pleased with Bisping, to say the least. If that was an American flag, we’d never hear the end of it. Adding insult to injury he’s now slated to fight Whittaker who refuses to trade barbs with him. He’s begging Whittaker to talk trash, but Whittaker refuses to do it and it’s already driving Bisping crazy.