Kevin Lee on UFC champ Conor McGregor's antics: 'He's (expletive) up'

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

DETROIT – Kevin Lee watched his fellow Michigan native Floyd Mayweather blow through $100 million, so he doesn’t think Conor McGregor will have much trouble doing the same.

“You can blow through that quick,” Detroit native Lee (16-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) told reporters backstage at UFC 218, where he served as a guest fighter and received a hero’s welcome from the crowd. “Ask Floyd Mayweather –Floyd did that about six, seven times.”

Lee has kept tabs on all the McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) headlines as of late. He thinks the UFC lightweight champ is “(expletive) up” by blowing through cash and allegedly getting into bar fights with mobbed-up characters.

“If the rumors are true, he better get his (expletive) together,” he said. “Because he’s got a long mountain to climb.”

But all the better for Lee. If McGregor tanks, he’ll be waiting to pick up the pieces.

“He’s got Tony (Ferguson) as soon as he comes back,” said Lee, whose title dreams were dashed by Ferguson (24-3 MMA, 14-1 UFC) less than two months ago at UFC 216. “Tony’s going to beat the hell out of him. As soon as he loses that one, I’m going to beat the hell out of him. And then he’s going to be down in the dirt.”

Some think Lee might never get the chance to get over on the Irish champ. This past week, UFC President Dana White reiterated the possibility that McGregor might never fight again after banking $100 million to fight Mayweather in “The Money Fight.”

But Lee said that will only last so long. And the trouble McGregor has created for himself outside of the cage may cause him to seek shelter within it.

“I don’t think he really understands what he’s getting himself, if he’s really messing around with the Irish mob,” Lee said. “I don’t think he’s really from the streets like that. I don’t think he wants none of that smoke.

“But that’s on him. I’m just looking forward to his comeback, and looking forward to taking him out after he gets his ass beat.”

For more from Lee, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC 218, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Mike Dolce makes passionate case for serious, industry-wide discussion around weight-cutting

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Filed under: News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

Mike Dolce said a deeper, larger conversation around weight-cutting in MMA is probably imminent. But unless we start soon, it just might happen for the wrong reasons.

The ugly sides of severe weight cuts seem to manifest themselves in different ways each week. Just this past Friday, reporters and officials saw UFC flyweight Deiveson Figueiredo actually cry on his way to the scale before making the 126-pound limit. Lightweight Kevin Lee made no excuses for his recent loss to Tony Ferguson in an interim title affair, but talked about how his publicly tough cut  “damn near killed” him.

Examples abound, but perhaps the most striking recent one was that of Sam Alvey (31-10 MMA, 8-5 UFC). By taking a UFC Fight Night 118 fight on 10 days’ notice, the middleweight also agreed to a more than 40-pound cut. He missed by three pounds – and the next day lost to Ramazan Emeev after an apathetic display.

For Dolce, a former MMA fighter and current nutrition specialist who’s helped his fair share of UFC athletes to the scale, Alvey is an example of what happens when fighters who are so far off their division marks take on short-notice calls.

“This is where people get hurt,” Dolce told MMAjunkie Radio. “This is what brings a black eye to the sport.”

If on the one hand there’s an effort to bring in qualified professionals to ensure proper cuts, Dolce said, he wonders where the UFC’s great team of specialists was when it was time to advise on Alvey. Especially considering that, in this time frame and with air-travel included, the weight loss would mostly happen via dehydration.

“So this young man is going to dehydrate himself 30-plus pounds in under 10 days and then have that baseball bat swung in his skull for 15 minutes,” Dolce said. “How is this a good idea?”

More than pointing fingers, Dolce said, there’s a learning opportunity here. But that would mean taking measures much beyond the “bureaucracy and red tape” of the 10-point plan approved by the California State Athletic Commission in May.

“The onus must be on the athlete,” Dolce said. “If there was a penalty to Sam – ‘Hey, Sam, we want to give you a fight in 10 days, on another continent. You’re 40 pounds over right now. Whatever. That’s your responsibility. But if you miss weight, we’re going to fine you 50 percent of your purse, and we’re going to suspend you for six months – if you miss weight within three pounds. If you miss weight for over three pounds, you are immediately pulled from the card and then that ban is a 12-month ban.’

“Will Sam Alvey – will any fighter – then take that fight? It’s actually protecting fighters from their own toughness.”

Dolce elaborated on his issues with the 10-point plan, which he said can be easily bypassed by fighters.

“Specific (urine) gravity testing? So easy to beat,” Dolce said. “Thirteen-year-olds in Iowa beat that every single season. The 30-day, the 10-day (weight check) – athletes hack that. I know the athletes right now are hacking that at California, laughing at California while they have their game in their scales. It’s silly. All this red tape is silly.”

Another issue that Dolce takes with the plan is the “suspect” limit of 10 percent of their body mass that any given fighter is allowed to have gained back by fight night. That type of measure, Dolce said, should be analyzed on an individual basis – or it will only discourage fighters to rehydrate properly.

“How is that in the interest of the athletes’ health and safety?” Dolce said. “What science actually says that you can’t hydrate more than 10 percent or you’re unhealthy? Because all the science points to adequate hydration, with no specific percentage and no specific cap.”

What can be done to change things, though? For Dolce, first there needs to be a general mobilization around the seriousness of the issue. Which includes the media. Right now, he said, headlines alerting to the dangers of weight cuts are sparsely thrown around and quickly drowned out in the noise as the MMA world moves on.

That can start with people actually paying attention when fighters like Lee, Cris Cyborg, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Anthony Pettis talk about how their harrowing cuts felt like near-death experiences.

“Does anybody listen to this?” Dolce said. “Is anybody paying attention to this? And what is being done about it other than a few articles showing up on a few websites and then it disappears? Then the industry just moves on.

“It’s like the industry is just waiting for the worst-case scenario to happen before there’s a cultural change.”

For Dolce, in order to ensure safety, harsher penalties should be placed upon fighters. They should also be expected to be in shape for 52 weeks of the year. And, as a general rule, he said they should always be physically able to take any fight on six weeks’ notice.

If in a case like Alvey’s something ends up going terribly wrong, Dolce ponders, who’s to blame? Cases can be argued for the the promotion, for the local athletic commission or even for the management team. Ultimately, though, it’s the fighter who’ll bear the consequences.

“But is there any other contributory element to that?” Dolce said. “That’s a much deeper larger conversation that can be had. And probably will be had for the wrong reasons within the next few years if we don’t do something about it.”

To hear more from Dolce, check out the video above.

And for more on the upcoming MMA schedule, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go towww.mmajunkie.com/radio.

Filed under: News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

True to form, Francisco Trinaldo hardly satisfied with UFC-Sao Paulo win over Jim Miller

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SAO PAULO – It seems Francisco Trinaldo is keeping up with his tradition of not being quite pleased with his UFC displays, no matter the outcome.

After a tough first round at Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 119, Trinaldo (22-5 MMA, 12-4 UFC) managed to outlast fellow veteran Jim Miller (28-11 MMA, 17-10 UFC) to earn a unanimous decision from the judges. The main-card lightweight meeting put a big name under Trinaldo’s belt but, most importantly, landed him back in the winning column after a loss to interim title contender Kevin Lee (16-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC).

Trinaldo is certainly happy to be back on track, which isn’t to suggest he’s 100 percent satisfied with what he showed against Miller.

“I trained to knock him down or submit him,” Trinaldo told reporters after the FS1-televised bout, which took place at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. “I swear to you. I trained every day. I didn’t miss a single training session. I did four training sessions a day. I didn’t miss a single one.

“When I thought my body was tired, I looked at my kid and thought, ‘No (expletive) way I’m going to stay here. I need this win.’”

It may not have been a finish, but it was a positive outcome, much like the seven straight wins “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil” alum managed to line up before Lee spoiled his party in March. And it’s one that Trinaldo believes should be rewarded in the rankings.

“The next step is to meet a guy who’s ranked,” Trinaldo said. “A top-7, top-5, top-8. Because I want to show what I can do.”

Trinaldo has always been known for his unwavering work ethic as any of his coaches and training partners will confirm. But he found even more motivation while preparing for his 16th octagon appearance since 2012. Apart from the added fuel of a loss, he became a father six months ago.

“The arrival of my kid (Francisco) just pushed me harder,” Trinaldo said, “to train harder and show I’m going to be a great fighter and a great citizen.” (via Instagram)

Instagram Photo

As usual, Trinaldo wants to resume his path to becoming a great fighter sooner rather than later. While it would appear he has a preference for fighting on Brazilian soil, given that’s where 13 of his UFC outings have taken place, Trinaldo says he doesn’t want to wait until Belem’s Feb. 3 card to return.

Pressed for possible names, “Massaranduba” gave two options. Before taking a loss on what was a record-breaking 28th octagon appearance on Saturday, Miller was coming off two consecutive setbacks. Trinaldo thinks either of those men could be good fights for him.

The problem is that the two, ex-155-pound champion Anthony Pettis and contender Dustin Poirier, are set to fight each other Nov. 11 at UFC Fight Night 120. So he might have to settle for someone else.

Another option? Well, it seems like he’s not counting on it to happen now, but Trinaldo would like a chance to get the UFC Fight Night 106 submission loss to Lee back at some point.

“I lost to a guy who I know I’m superior to,” Trinaldo said. “We’ll meet further down the road, and I’ll get that one back.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 119, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Go inside Georges St-Pierre's return and 3 title fights in UFC 217 extended preview

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

When the UFC descends on New York City for the second straight November, there once again will be three titles on the line.

In the UFC 217 main event next month, Georges St-Pierre (25-2 MMA, 19-2 UFC) returns to the octagon after a four-year layoff to challenge champ Michael Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) for the UFC middleweight title. St-Pierre was a longtime welterweight champ before he walked away from the sport, and now will attempt to become just the fourth two-division champ in the UFC’s history.

In the co-main event, there is bad blood all over the place when bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt (11-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) meets former teammate T.J. Dillashaw (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC). The two coached opposite each other on Season 25 of “The Ultimate Fighter” and were supposed to meet over the summer until a Garbrandt surgery delayed things.

And also on the main card, strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) will defend her title against Rose Namajunas (6-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC). With a win, Jedrzejczyk will hold the record for most title wins by a UFC women’s fighter.

The way Kevin Lee sees it, destiny placed him opposite Tony Ferguson.

“Me and Tony were bound to fight, whether it was going to be headlining at T-Mobile Arena for a world championship, or if it was going to be in my backyard,” Lee said in an extended preview for UFC 216.

UFC 217 takes place Nov. 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York City and airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass. It will be the UFC’s second show at MSG following the historic UFC 205 in November 2016.

In the extended video preview above, go inside the three title fights atop the card in New York City.

And for more on UFC 217, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Even in super slo-mo, Demetrious Johnson's UFC 216 finish is pretty unfathomable

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

Slow it down all you want, Demetrious Johnson’s incredible submission of Ray Borg at UFC 216 still blows the mind.

As you’d expect, Johnson’s “Submission of the Year” candidate was featured in the UFC’s latest “Phantom Cam” highlights package, covering this past weekend’s UFC 216 event in Las Vegas. The sequence might be even more impressive when it’s slowed down enough for mere mortals to understand.

Check out that highlight and more – including some fantastic footage of the “Fight of the Night” between Bobby Green and Lando Vannata, as well as Tony Ferguson’s interim title-winning performance over Kevin Lee – in the footage above.

For complete coverage of UFC 216, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Why are we so tolerant of the absurd insanity of weight-cutting in MMA?

At this point it’s basically a part of the routine. Fight week rolls around, the photo ops come and go, then suddenly it’s Friday morning, and we all wait to see who will show up looking like a walking corpse ready to have his remains weighed on the official scale.

At UFC 216, it was Kevin Lee’s turn. After bragging about feasting on tiramisu for dessert, he needed two tries to hit the lightweight mark, looking progressively cadaverous with each attempt. If that wasn’t enough of a fighter safety risk, we learned after the fight that he also had a staph infection on his chest. The Nevada State Athletic Commission deemed him fit to fight anyway, for reasons it wouldn’t fully explain.

Lee wasn’t the only one who struggled in Las Vegas. Nik Lentz was pulled from the event entirely after being hospitalized due to what he called “diabetic-like issues.” It seems his hands and feet went numb during his weight cut, which probably isn’t a good sign just a couple days before you’re supposed to get into a cage and fight.

This all happened just two weeks after Mizuta Hirota was scratched from UFC Fight Night 117 when he nearly fell off the scales at weigh-ins.

As if to drive home the point that it can always get worse, Pancrase weighed in a nearly unconscious Daniel Lima in Japan over the weekend, and then let him go through with the fight anyway, despite the fact that he had to be literally carried on and off the scales.

As longtime MMA referee Marc Goddard asked in a Facebook video, what if “the unthinkable” had happened in that fight, which is really not so unthinkable after seeing how depleted Lima was at the weigh-in?

“Who would take that blame?” Goddard asked. “That’s (expletive) manslaughter.”

What makes this practice more insane is how unnecessary it is. Think about weight-cutting for what it really is. A day before the competition, two athletes of roughly equal size shed their bodies of enough water and nutrients to hit the same arbitrary mark on a scale, all so they can frantically put the weight back on in time for the fight the next day, at which point they will be roughly the same size again.

As dangerous and difficult as it is, nobody’s getting a significant advantage through weight-cutting anymore. What they’re doing with all that suffering is preventing their opponents from having a significant advantage. It’s an absurd price to pay just to end up on a mostly level playing field in the end.

But how do you fix it? More weight classes aren’t going to do it, because fighters looking for an edge (or just for a fresh start in a new division) will still push their bodies to the absolute limit if they’re allowed to.

So maybe you stop allowing it. You institute hydration tests and out-of-competition weigh-ins to get a sense of what each fighter really weighs in the hopes of establishing a safe fighting weight for everyone.

That’s the direction that the California State Athletic Commission is heading in, but it’s going to take more than one commission in one state. This is a change the whole sport needs to make, if we’re going to really address the issue. The entire culture needs to change, and that’s never easy to do.

But if we’re not yet convinced that this is a problem, what’s going to change our minds? People have died cutting weight. They’ve died in the fights that followed rough weigh cuts. They’ve been hospitalized so often that it’s barely even newsworthy anymore. They’ve squandered the weeks and months spent training for a fight, all because they couldn’t survive their own weight cuts in a healthy enough state to go through with them.

The worst things that can possibly happen have already happened. The not-quite-as-bad-but-still-pretty-troubling things have also happened, and with alarming frequency.

Still, most of the powers that be in MMA don’t seem ready to make a change this big. Apparently they’re fine with the almost weekly ridiculousness of pro fighters making themselves sick on the eve of their most dangerous assignments. They’re too used to it, maybe. Too comfortable with it.

Or maybe they just need to see how bad it can really get. But if that hasn’t happened by now, I hate to think of what it’s going to take.

Filed under: AXS TV Fights, Bellator, News, PFL, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 216 medical suspensions: Ray Borg potentially out six months with finger injury

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Filed under: News, UFC

UFC flyweight Ray Borg could be out for six months following a failed bid to unseat dominant champ Demetrious Johnson.

Borg’s arm isn’t the problem, however. After tapping to an armbar in the fifth round of UFC 216’s co-headliner, the Nevada State Athletic Commission cited his right right finger as the area of concern.

Borg (11-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) needs an orthopedist to clear him, or he could sit out a half-year, according to medical suspensions released today by the NSAC, which regulated the pay-per-view event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Although Johnson (27-2-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC) reported a potential knee injury following his record-breaking 11th title defense, he got off scot-free with no suspension.

Headliner Tony Ferguson (24-3 MMA, 14-1 UFC), who claimed the interim lightweight title, has a three-week suspension for a possible corneal abrasion, while opponent Kevin Lee (16-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) sits for two months after his third-round submission loss, which came after a brutal weight cut made more miserable by an active staph infection.

The full list of medical suspensions stemming from UFC 216 include:

  • Tony Ferguson: Suspended until Oct. 29 for possible left eye corneal abrasion.
  • Kevin Lee: Suspended until Nov. 7.
  • Ray Borg: Needs fourth right finger cleared by orthopedic doctor or suspended until April 6; minimum suspension runs to Nov. 7 with no contact until Oct. 29.
  • Mara Romero Borella: Must repeat MRI of brain in six months, due April 7.
  • Evan Dunham: Needs ophthalmologist clearance on blurred vision or no contest until Dec. 7, no contact until Nov. 22.
  • Cody Stamann: Suspended until Nov. 7 with no contact until Oct. 29.
  • Tom Duquesnoy: Suspended until Nov. 22 with no contact until Nov. 7.
  • Lando Vannata: Suspended until Dec. 7 with no contact until Nov. 22.
  • Bobby Green: Suspended until Nov. 22 with no contact until Nov. 7.
  • Pearl Gonzalez: Suspended until Nov. 7 with no contact until Oct. 29.
  • Poliana Botelho: Needs right elbow and right thumb cleared by orthopedic doctor or suspended until April 6; minimum suspension runs to Nov. 7 with no contact until Oct. 29.
  • Matt Schnell: Needs right forearm X-rayed; if broken, needs clearance by orthopedic doctor or suspended until April 6.
  • Marco Beltran: Needs left thumb X-rayed and cleared by orthopedic doctor or suspended until April 6; minimum suspension runs to Nov. 7 with no contact until Oct. 29.
  • Magomed Bibulatov: Suspended until Nov. 22 with no contact until Nov. 7.
  • Thales Leites: Needs possible right orbital fracture cleared by orthopedic doctor or suspended until April 6; minimum suspension runs to Nov. 22 with no contact until Nov. 7.

For complete coverage of UFC 216, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Kevin Lee, Ray Borg and UFC 216's losing fighters?

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

(ALSO SEE: Sean Shelby’s Shoes: What’s next for UFC 216’s winning fighters?)

UFC 216 will go down as event to forget for some, because all four main card losers were put away in the distance on the pay-per-view lineup at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

After the opening between Evan Dunham and Beneil Dariush went to a draw, each subsequent fight saw the loser forced to tap out, including Kevin Lee (16-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) in his interim lightweight title headlining bout with Tony Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) as well Ray Borg (11-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) in his first UFC title bout with Demetrious Johnson (27-2-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC).

Prior to the championship bouts, Walt Harris (10-6 MMA, 3-5 UFC) and Kalindra Faria (18-6-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) were put away by there respective opponents in less than three minutes each.

After every event, fans wonder whom the losing fighters will be matched up with next. And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for UFC 216’s losing fighters.

* * * *

Kalindra Faria

Should fight: “The Ultimate Fighter 26” cast member
Why they should fight: Faria’s UFC debut came under less than ideal circumstances. After being booked or short notice then having her opponent switched on even shorter notice, the Brazilian fell short against Mara Romero Borella with a first-round submission loss.

Faria is one of the most established veterans of the women’s flyweight division, and although the UFC debut didn’t go her way, she’s still a promising member of the organization’s newest weight class.

The Brazilian would have liked her octagon career to begin under better circumstances, but Faria will certainly get another chance to prove herself. The infancy of the 125-pound division makes it difficult to judge who her next fight should be, but a matchup with someone who does well on the current season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” which will crown the division’s inaugural champion, would be fitting.

Walt Harris

Should fight: Mark Godbeer
Why they should fight: Opportunity knocked and Harris answered, but unfortunately he wasn’t able to charge through the door. After Derrick Lewis fell off the card just before it was scheduled to begin, Harris stepped in to take on a huge task in Fabricio Werdum. To the surprise of almost no one, it didn’t go his way.

Harris had never fought anyone close to Werdum’s caliber, and it showed. He was quickly taken down and submitted within 65 seconds. Instead of getting down on a high-profile loss, though, “The Big Ticket” took it all as a learning experience to get better.

Before the last-minute scramble Harris was booked to fight Godbeer (12-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC) on the card. It would be fair to both sides to put that matchup back together considering both men put in an entire training camp for each other but never got to put it to use.

Ray Borg

Should fight: Brandon Moreno
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Borg should fight Moreno (14-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) next.

Kevin Lee

Should fight: Al Iaquinta
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Lee should rematch Iaquinta (13-3-1 MMA, 8-2 UFC) next.

For complete coverage of UFC 216, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Conor McGregor, it's time to defend that belt – and Tony Ferguson is the perfect man for the job

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Filed under: News, UFC

One thing I feel confident saying about Tony Ferguson’s callout of Conor McGregor at UFC 216: He didn’t spend too much time beforehand thinking about precisely which words to use.

Which is not to say that he put no thought into it. Calling him “McNuggets” was proof of that, and while it might not be the burn that sets the world on fire, it was at least better than what followed, when the interim UFC lightweight champ leaned into the microphone to call the actual UFC lightweight champ a “(expletive) piece of (expletive).”

You know, keeping it simple.

But here’s one matchup that doesn’t need blistering trash talk or eloquent insults to feel important. This one is necessary just on its merits.

And if McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) is smart, which he usually is, he’ll see that for himself. The time for cash-grabbing spectacle fights is over. Now’s the time to get down to the business of being the champ.

The question of who that champ should fight is now firmly settled, thanks to Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC). His win over Kevin Lee (16-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC 216 pay-per-view headliner in Las Vegas was classic “El Cucuy.” He got mouthy, and he got hurt, and he got loose. He came close enough to losing to make it all the more impressive when he won with a triangle choke off his back.

That’s 10 in a row for Ferguson, and in arguably the most talent-rich division in the sport. Now he has a shiny gold belt to commemorate his achievement, but it’s still unclear what, exactly, that will get him.

UFC President Dana White claims it’ll be good enough for a title-unification bout with McGregor.

“It’s the fight that has to happen,” White said after the event. “It doesn’t ‘make sense’; it’s the fight that has to happen.”

But then, the days of the UFC telling McGregor what he has to do are long gone. These days, the UFC can only request. It can ask nicely. It can hope.

Nobody can make McGregor do anything now. Not unless he wants to. But this is one he should want, at least as long as he still wants to be an MMA fighter at all.

McGregor is by far the biggest star in the sport, not to mention the biggest PPV draw in the history of the UFC. But if there’s a knock on him at this point, it’s that he’s won two UFC titles without defending either. He’s willfully ignored the usual system of champions meeting contenders in favor of lining his pockets as he jumps from one payday to the next.

It’s smart, you have to admit. In this sport, you have to look out for your own future, since everyone else is just trying to use you as fodder for theirs. But McGregor has made enough money now that he might consider turning his attention to his legacy.

It’s one thing to win a UFC title, but it’s not really yours until you defend it. And if McGregor wants to remind everyone how he ended up as the champ in the first place, he could do a lot worse than to test himself against a guy like Ferguson.

There’s a lot to like about the fight. Ferguson may not be a superstar, but the man has a swagger and a style all his own. He’ll talk to you while he’s beating you up and then breakdance once he’s done. When he’s fighting is just about the only time you’ll catch him without sunglasses on, and even then his face looks somehow naked without them.

You put this guy in a fight opposite McGregor, you can expect a couple different kinds of fireworks. You can also expect, however temporarily, a return to some sense of normalcy, which feels pretty necessary right about now.

Because in between all the expletives and food-based insults, Ferguson offered McGregor a surprisingly reasonable choice: defend or vacate.

It does feel like it’s time for a decision, one way or another. For a smart fighter and savvy businessman like McGregor, this one ought to be a no-brainer.

For complete coverage of UFC 216, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Kevin Lee: No excuses for UFC 216 title loss to Tony Ferguson after weight cut 'damn near killed me'

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LAS VEGAS – Kevin Lee sat on stage, faced the media with his sunglasses on, hiding his battered face, and held back tears until he couldn’t hold them back anymore.

“I’m not going to let this stop me,” Lee said following a loss to Tony Ferguson in an interim lightweight title fight at UFC 216. “I’m still going to be a world champion. It might not be when I’m 25.”

It almost certainly won’t after Lee (16-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) tapped out to Ferguson (24-3 MMA, 14-1 UFC) via third-round triangle choke in the pay-per-view headliner, which took place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Up until the finishing sequence, Lee fought hard and seemingly had Ferguson in trouble on a few occasions, most notably toward the end of the first round. But Lee was behind the 8 ball before he even stepped inside the octagon thanks to a brutal weight cut.

Lee dropped 19 pounds in under 24 hours to make the 155-pound limit. He also revealed having a staph infection for the past week, which “didn’t make the weight cut no easier.”

“The weight cut was what it was,” Lee said. “I wasn’t going to let down the whole show, let down everybody. I was going to make the weight, even if I had to cut my foot off or something. It damn near killed me. I just had to do what I had to do. I got a job to do. I’m a professional. I’m going to come out here no matter how bad it hurts. … By the third round it just was too much for me.”

Lee, known as one of the bigger lightweights in the division, has never missed weight, but he’s expressed previous difficulties in reaching 155 and lobbied for the UFC to create a 165-pound division.

That doesn’t interest UFC President Dana White, who said Lee was offered to use the resources at the UFC Performance Institute to ensure a proper weight cut but declined to take advantage.

“He’s a grown man. I can’t tell him what to do,” White said. “Either you want to come in and do it the right way, or you want to do it your way. That’s up to him.”

Lee, who lives in Las Vegas and has access to the UFCPI anytime, hinted at a move to welterweight.

“I’m sitting here now at about 185 pounds, a little too big for the weight class now,” he said. “… It’s about time for me to go up.”

Even with what some might consider a legit built-in excuse for not getting the job done, Lee declined to go that route and gave credit to Ferguson for an impressive win.

“He’s the rightful champion,” Lee said. “I tried to make it a dog fight with him. I tried to let him know it’s going to be a fight at the end of the first (with a late hit). You have to put that man out. There’s no quit in him. He kept coming forward, and he kept the pressure. And he did what a champion is supposed to do, and I wish him the best. …

“I know how tough Tony Ferguson is, and he’s the best man in the world.”

For complete coverage of UFC 216, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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