UFC Fight Night 116 reactions: Winning and losing fighters on social media

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Since the early days when the sport was anything but a mainstream endeavor, the MMA industry has thrived and survived through various websites, forums and, perhaps most importantly, social-media platforms.

Fighters interact with fans, each other and many more through the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, which helps outsiders get a deeper look into the minds of the athletes.

Following Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 116 event in Pittsburgh, several of the winning and losing fighters, along with their coaches, training partners or family members, took to social media to react to the event or share a message with supporters.

Check out some of those reactions.

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The defeated

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The victorious

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For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 116, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Why did UFC-Pittsburgh winner Olivier Aubin-Mercier ask for Charles Oliveira? Well, 'why not?'

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Olivier Aubin-Mercier has been doing well for himself inside the cage. But his call-out game might need a little work.

After snagging a third straight win with a split decision over Tony Martin  (12-4 MMA, 4-4 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 116, Aubin-Mercier (10-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) asked, rather politely, for a meeting with Brazilian grappling expert Charles Oliveira. Backstage, “The Quebec Kid” elaborated on the request and explored some other options.

But, as Aubin-Mercier himself will admit, that isn’t the area of the MMA game in which he’s most comfortable.

“I’m not sure who I want,” Mercier said after the lightweight scrap. “I said Charles Oliveira. I knew it was kind of a crazy callout, but why not? Unfortunately, I don’t really watch a lot of UFC. So I don’t know a lot of people in my category. I know who they are, but I don’t know the names.

“I know the last guy who beat (Lando) Vannata. I think he’s a Sweden guy; it would be a good fight (David Teymur). There’s another judo guy in my category. I think it’s Nick (Hein), or something like this – I’m not sure about his name.”

The matchup with Oliveira isn’t exactly out of the realm of possibility, as the Brazilian, who most recently beat Will Brooks, remains unbooked. But, despite repeated failures make the 145-limit in the past, Oliveira has expressed his desire to return to featherweight. Teymur and Hein, both coming off wins, are also unbooked.

As for his other octagon request, to fight at UFC on FOX 26 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Aubin-Mercier says he’s still got some things to discuss before committing. But, having just returned from a nine-month layoff that dates back to a UFC 206 win over Drew Dober, he would like to get booked before year’s end.

“I just fought once this year,” Aubin-Mercier said. “(I) had a little bit of rust in there, so I would like to fight one more time. I would like to make a little bit more money, since I have my taxes to pay.”

Aubin-Mercier applies the same honesty to discussing Saturday’s encounter, which aired live on FS1 from PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. Fact is, though the win was most certainly welcome, he would have preferred a clearer result.

“I would have liked it to be a little bit more one-sided,” Aubin-Mercier said.

As the four octagon opponents who he finished that way can confirm, Aubin-Mercier is usually the one chasing submissions in the cage. But, with Martin, he saw himself having to escape a few unfavorable situations in the third round.

While he was the clear loser of the final frame, Aubin-Mercier says he was not quite in danger of being finished. In fact, he was even chatting with his competition throughout.

“I’m like, ‘Come on, Tony. You can do it. Let’s do it,’” Aubin-Mercier said. “I knew it would have been hard for him. I’m from judo, so for I don’t know how many years I was just defending the back control.

“For me, it was easy to defend. Maybe I got a little bit cocky there. Cocky in a bad way, because I should have been on top in the third round.”

On the one hand, Aubin-Mercier thinks he made the fight harder than it needed to be. But, on the other, there’s something to be said for lessons learned.

“I did a mistake,” Aubin-Mercier said. “I tried to go maybe a little bit too much for the takedown, and I hurried a bit too much to get up and fight him on the feet. I did two big mistakes in that round and I paid for it. I mean, it’s a good experience.”

To hear from Aubin-Mercier, check out the video above.

And for more on UFC Fight Fight 116, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Daniel Spitz says his 24-second knockout at UFC-Pittsburgh was just how he drew it up

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PITTSBURGH – Daniel Spitz needed just 24 seconds to put away Anthony Hamilton at UFC Fight Night 116, but don’t call it luck.

According to Spitz (6-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC), the right hand counter that put Hamilton (15-8 MMA, 3-6 UFC) down early was the result of some good film study by himself and his team at the Sikjitsu gym in Spokane, Wash.

“I knew when he throws a right hand, his head always tends to lean forward,” Spitz told MMAjunkie following his FS1-televised win at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. “Me and my coach both picked up on that, and we drilled that same combination literally thousands of times. It just worked, you know.”

The counter right was what put Hamilton down, but it was the follow-up punches from the side that convinced referee Dan Miragliotta to call it off. Hamilton appeared to object to the stoppage, and the crowd reacted with some initial boos. But Spitz had no issue with it.

“I don’t think it was early,” Spitz said. “The ref has a hard job. I’m never going to critique what he does. I hit (Hamilton) four or five times unanswered. As a heavyweight … I think that’s a good stoppage. But it’s not on me to decide.”

As for his decision to call out fellow UFC heavyweight Chase Sherman after his win, Spitz explained it didn’t stem from any animosity, but rather from a desire to get back in the cage soon since his quick win left him healthy enough for a quick turnaround.

And as for why he chose “The Vanilla Gorilla” as his target opponent?

“The Sherman thing is nothing personal,” Spitz said. “I like the way he fights, and I think it’d be a fun fight.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 116, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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After first UFC knockout, Gilbert Burns wants lightweights to know he's dangerous everywhere

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PITTSBURGH – Jiu-jitsu world champion Gilbert Burns has some serious grappling skills, but after Saturday he’s happy to show he’s got the hands to go with them.

Burns’ (12-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) second-round finish of Jason Saggo (12-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC) in UFC Fight Night 116’s opening bout meant recovery from the second loss of his pro career. But, more than that, Burns believes scoring the first knockout of his UFC run also served to show he’s not a one-trick pony.

“One of the things that I started to put on my game is – a lot of guys, they just have the jiu-jitsu,” Burns told MMAjunkie after the lightweight bout, which aired on FS1 from PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. “You just saw (welterweight contender) Demian Maia fight for the belt. And if he’s not able to take the guy down, that’s it. He can’t win the fight.

“And I always have that Plan B. I want to do my jiu-jitsu, but if something happens and I cannot take you down, I want to be able to strike with you.”

It might have taken him a while to get there, but at least Burns did it with style points. In what until that point had been quite an even match, he found a huge overhand right that sent Saggo straight to the mat. Burns even threw in a walk-off for good measure.

With three knockout wins to his name prior to the UFC, Burns knew his overhand packed power. In fact, his coaches reminded him of that in the locker room before he walked out. Now that there’s visual proof, however, he’s hoping the rest of the 155-pound division took notice.

“They’ve got to know I’m a danger everywhere,” Burns said. “On the ground, on the stand-up, the beginning of the round, the end of the round. I’m training so hard, I want to get to the next level in the UFC.”

While Burns doesn’t know the specifics of what this next level might entail, he’s hoping it means a quick turnaround, especially after sitting out an entire year following a UFC Fight Night 95 loss to fellow Brazilian Michel Prazeres.

“I’m ready to go,” Burns said. “I had a big layoff. My last fight was in September of last year. It was a loss, so I learned so much. I improved all my game. And I want to get back in there at the end of the year. December would be a great date.

“I saw a couple of guys that want to fight. Jim Miller, a lot of guys want to fight. I’m here. I’m ready. Anyone. December would be a great date for me.”

To hear more from Burns on his big win – and the solution he found to evade the hurricane chaos with his family – check out the video above.

And for more on UFC Fight Fight 116, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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'Do I think I'm that good? Absolutely,' but Gregor Gillespie not about to call out top-10 guys

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After putting on a “round of the year” candidate and adding a slick submission to his perfect pro record, Gregor Gillespie had set up the perfect scenario to issue the ever-popular octagon callout.

Instead, he talked about fishing.

Considering big talking has come to be expected after memorable performances, Gillespie’s choice may have struck some as odd. The lightweight, however, has his reasons. Of course Gillespie thinks he can beat the best. He’s just in no rush to get to them.

“I don’t want to put anyone on notice,” Gillespie told MMAjunkie after his UFC Fight Night 116 win. “There’s so many good guys in my division that’s like – I don’t even know the number, 150 guys, maybe, in my weight? Like, they’re all good. The next guy, whoever the next logical step is. And I said this in an interview before the fight: I’m not going to start calling out top-10 guys.

“I’m only 3-0 in the UFC, you know. Do I think I’m that good? Absolutely. But it’s calculated. You’ve got to be smart. I’m going to do some fishing. We’re going to keep training hard. And we’re going to see what the next logical step is. I’m going to heal up. I’ve got a few things and nicks on me.”

Gillespie (10-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) met Jason Gonzalez (11-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) in a main-card lightweight affair, which aired live on FS1 from PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. The arm-triangle choke was the seventh finish of his undefeated pro run, which previously saw him beating Glaico Franca and Andrew Holbrook.

Gillespie had more reasons to celebrate, too. Not only did he get to score big in front of his “home away from home” in Pittsburgh, a mere hour-and-a-half from where he went to college, he made an added $50,000 check for the evening’s “Fight of the Night.”

These bonuses don’t often go to matches that don’t go past the second round. But, considering that the first five minutes of this lightweight battle packed more action that some five-round headliners, few would disagree that it was worthy of the honors.

The first round’s dizzying pace, Gillespie will admit, was quite chaotic. Good thing, then, that chaos is somewhat of a specialty of his.

“That’s my pace,” Gillespie said. “I wasn’t trying to push the pace – that’s the pace that I fight at. That’s all I know. I don’t know standing at a distance and trying to feel the guy out. I go out and get after it.

“That’s what we do in sparring. I have some tremendous training partners. I have some tremendous coaches. That’s just how we do it in our gyms.”

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

And for more on UFC Fight Fight 116, check out the UFC Eventssection of the site.

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Trading Shots: On toughness, tapping to strikes, and the things that only fighters know

Is tapping to strikes a reassuring sign that at least someone knows when to quit, or do non-fighters fail to understand just how much toughness – both mental and physical – matters in MMA? Former UFC and WEC fighter Danny Downes joins MMAjunkie columnist Ben Fowlkes to discuss in this week’s Trading Shots.

Downes: Ben, I had to get my oil changed this Monday, so that gave me a little time to kill. Instead of taking a walk or trying to engage with a person, I did what any of us would do – stare at my phone.

That was when I came across your column about the difference between toughness and stupidity.

It’s always nice to get a layman’s interpretation of what constitutes toughness in the cage. The overall message of the piece was that referees and cornermen don’t do enough to save fighters from themselves. This was in the immediate aftermath of Gilbert Melendez and Gavin Tucker suffering significant injuries.

After last night’s UFC Fight Night 116 in Pittsburgh, though, I wonder if you’d like to revise this story. Should Uriah Hall’s corner have stopped his fight? David Branch may have done the intelligent thing by tapping to strikes, but are you going to tell me you didn’t hold that against him?

Fowlkes: Yes, I am going to tell you that I did not and do not hold that against Branch. I know there’s that stigma about tapping to strikes, but it’s mostly pretty dumb. We regularly see fighters get hurt and go full fetal as a signal to the referee that they’ve had it, which is basically like tapping to strikes without actually doing it.

Branch was stuck, he was getting pummeled, he was beat and he knew it. Why take a dozen more punches just so people on the internet will be slightly less critical?

You do raise a good point with Hall, though. He had some bleak moments against Krzysztof Jotko in the opening round, only to come back and win with strikes in the second. Comebacks like that keep people hoping. Yes, you’re getting beat down now, but who knows, maybe you land one punch and change everything any minute now.

But you and I both know that’s way more the exception than the rule. I’m not saying we’ve got to pull the plug at the first sign of trouble, but I am saying that sometimes this sport gets hung up on stuff that doesn’t matter. Stuff like going the distance in an obvious losing effort. Stuff like taking a ton of abuse just to prove your own toughness, even when it wasn’t in doubt. Stuff like hanging on until the referee stops it, rather than just admitting what your body position has already told us.

I get that you have to be tough to do this sport, Danny. But are you going to tell me that sometimes it doesn’t cross the line into stupid?

Downes: First off, I’m going to totally disagree with you on the tapping to strikes comment. Does going “full fetal,” as you put it, end up being a type of de facto tapout? Yes it does. Is it the same as tapping to strikes? Absolutely not.

When you just stop answering your girlfriend’s texts, that’s de facto breaking up. When you look her in the eye and tell her it’s over, that’s something different. The result is the same, but one takes more courage.

I’m not going to say that it doesn’t cross the line, but I don’t think you realize the implications of what you’re asking. You’re essentially trying to change the nature of MMA. This might come as a shock to you Ben, but there’s no logical, objective reason to fight someone in a cage for money. I’ll try to put in terms you may understand: There’s also no logical, objective reason to put a helmet on and hit someone carrying an oblong-shaped ball.

American football and MMA are inherently violent sports. Especially in MMA, the violence is the key component. All these attempts to put the onus on referees, cornermen and fighters, themselves to avoid uncomfortably violent or tragic outcomes may seem like a noble pursuit, but I don’t think it is. How much of this is an attempt to make ourselves feel better about watching young men and women concuss themselves? I’m not a brute; I thought Melendez should have quit earlier!

Furthermore, if we were to take your criteria to its logical conclusion, that would make Bob Sapp the smartest fighter in MMA history. Facing any resistance? Quit. Down on the scorecards and going to lose? Don’t even finish the fight. Why test yourself when you can give up!?

You flippantly dismiss the idea of proving your toughness, but it’s something that matters. Being tough on the practice mat doesn’t mean anything. There is nothing at stake. Who cares if you’re supposed to spar five rounds and you stop after three? Your coaches may not be happy and you might even piss off a sparring partner or two, but there’s always the next sparring day.

When you’re standing in the middle of the cage in front of thousands of people as it’s being broadcast on national television, the stakes are much different. Character and strength isn’t what you do when things are going well; it’s what you do when times are tough.

Fowlkes: So, wait, I’m confused about the girlfriend analogy. There, doing something proactive is the brave thing, while passively waiting for her to get the point is cowardly. But what you’re saying is that it’s the same but completely opposite in MMA? Branch isn’t tough because he admitted he was done, rather than waiting for the referee to notice that he’d stopped fighting back?

To quote Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, Danny, that don’t make no sense.

I don’t disagree that toughness matters. I’d even argue that this sport requires a different brand of it than most others do, because you can’t limp to the sidelines or call timeout or go get an MRI in the locker room. It’s all about what you do in those few minutes inside the cage, and if it doesn’t go well there is not going to be another chance to redeem yourself next weekend.

Still, you can’t tell me that we don’t fetishize toughness beyond all good sense at times. Other sports sometimes do a better job of realizing that injuring yourself for a lost cause just to make a point is dumb. In MMA, we act like as long as you can stand (and sometimes even when you can’t) you’re obligated to keep going.

And we wonder why fighters have a hard time retiring when we think they should. What’s wrong with these guys, we ask each other. It’s like they don’t know when to quit!

I think you’ll agree that there’s a point where it’s smarter to stop and take your loss than it is to keep fighting just to impress people or prove something to yourself. It’s why tapping out is even an option. We can argue about where the line is, or who gets to decide, but once we admit that it’s there we can longer justify endless abuse in the name of toughness über alles.

What do you think when you see someone hobbling around for weeks, unable to train or fight, all because he refused to tap to a heel hook? Do you think “tough,” or do you think “stupid”? The distinction matters, Danny, and that’s only more true when it’s your brain rather than your ACL.

Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Danny Downes, a retired UFC and WEC fighter, is an MMAjunkie contributor who has also written for UFC.com and UFC 360. Follow them on twitter at @benfowlkesMMA and @dannyboydownes.

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Calling all ranked athletes at 185, 205: Anthony Smith wants a good fight

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After picking up the biggest win of his career, Anthony Smith is looking to repeat the feat, and he’s taking suitors in two divisions.

“I just think there’s some big options for some exciting matchups at 205 (pounds),” Smith told MMAjunkie. “I think that 205 is getting a little bit dry; 185 is a shark tank. There’s plenty of guys there. I think that there’s some exciting matchups at 205. That said, if (UFC matchmaker) Mick Maynard gets ahold of my manager and says, ‘Hey, we’ve got this exciting matchup at 185,’ hey, I’m down. I’m in.”

Smith (28-12 MMA, 4-2 UFC) competed at middleweight on Saturday night, where he took on fellow veteran Hector Lombard (34-8-1 MMA, 3-6 UFC) on the FS1-broadcast main card of UFC Fight Night 116 at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.

Smith started slow, dropping the first two rounds to Lombard on all three judges’ cards, but he gathered himself before the third and came out firing, eventually scoring a crisp combination that sent his opponent crashing to the canvas.

The compact, powerful Lombard is notoriously dangerous in the opening frame, and Smith said he knew that was the time to be cautious but believes he may have leaned a little too far in that direction.

“Hector’s so good in the first round,” Smith said. “He’s so dangerous. He’s explosive. He’s powerful. He’s everything you want to be as a fighter. He just can’t hang. It was a tough first round, but at the end of the first round, my conditioning felt good. I wasn’t as tired as I expected to be, and he didn’t hit nearly as hard as I expected him to.

“I think I gave him a whole lot more respect for his power because there was a couple times where he hit me clean, and it didn’t even shake me. I think I overestimated his power, and I overestimated his will.”

Smith admits he underestimated Lombard’s ability to score with low kicks, a wrinkle in his opponent’s attack “Lionheart” wasn’t expected, but he believes he eventually made the proper adjustments.

“I just had to force him to work,” Lombard said. “I wasn’t as busy as I wanted to be. I didn’t combo up and throw as much volume and stuff. I mean, I’m always my worst critic. I’ll take a ‘W,’ but I could have done better.”

Still, Smith now stands at an impressive 11-1 in his past 12 fights, a run that includes three consecutive UFC victories. And with that, Smith said it’s time for the sport’s top fighters, who he’s been calling out for years, give him a chance to prove his worth – and he’s willing to do it at middleweight or light heavyweight.

“I want to keep my options open, but I also want exciting fights,” Smith said. “I want big names, and at this point I think I deserve it.”

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

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 116, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Luke Rockhold labels Robert Whittaker 'true champion,' plans eventual move up to 205

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Luke Rockhold is keeping his options open with regard to his future following a successful return to competition from a 15-month layoff at UFC Fight Night 116. That includes a potential change in weight class down the line.

Rockhold’s (16-3 MMA, 6-2 UFC) comeback fight after losing the UFC middleweight title to Michael Bisping in June 2016 went largely free of error on Saturday when he managed to overwhelm David Branch (21-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC) for a second-round stoppage win in the FS1-televised headliner at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.

After the fight, Rockhold heavily criticized the upcoming 185-pound title fight between Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) and Georges St-Pierre (25-2 MMA, 19-2 UFC) at UFC 217 on Nov. 4. He said “The Count” will smoke St-Pierre and thinks he should instead get the next title shot because he will put up a real fight.

Rockhold is unlikely to be next in line, though. Interim UFC middleweight champ Robert Whittaker (19-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) sits atop the queue and is waiting for his unification match against the UFC 217 winner. Rockhold said he would be interested in fighting Whittaker in the meantime, because he views him as the most legitimate titleholder.

“Whittaker is definitely an interesting fight,” Rockhold told MMAjunkie after his main-event win. “I think he’s the true champion right now – the man who fights the fights that count, other than some poser up there running away with the belt.”

It seems illogical for Whittaker to accept another fight before facing the Bisping vs. St-Pierre winner, which leaves Rockhold in a bit of a predicament. A rematch with fellow former UFC champ Chris Weidman (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC), who Rockhold defeated by fourth-round TKO at UFC 194 in December 2015, was suggested. However, there doesn’t appear to be much interest, at least from Rockhold’s side.

“Chris Weidman’s lost three in a row,” Rockhold said of Weidman, who is actually coming off a win over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC on FOX 25 in July. “That doesn’t make much sense at this point. I’d rather not do that again at the moment.”

With options limited, Rockhold said a change in weight class could be in his future. His top priority is still to regain the UFC middleweight title, but Rockhold admits his weight cut for UFC Fight Night 116 was among the worst he’s ever endured ahead of a fight.

A move up to the light heavyweight division is almost guaranteed before his career is over, Rockhold said, but he doesn’t intend on jumping up a weight class while his good friend and training partner Daniel Cormier holds the position as UFC champion.

“I’ll fight light heavyweight,” Rockhold said. “The weight cut was rough. I’m not going to lie, it always is. … I’d love to go to light heavyweight. I’d do really well. In the gym, it’s more natural for me. I think I could do things. But ‘DC’ is obviously the man in the division right now. I’m not going up until he gets out. If he goes up or he retires, you can damn well guarantee I’m coming up. I have business to do here first.”

Rockhold’s ability to handle more meaningful business in his division going forward stems from a winning performance against Branch. It wasn’t Rockhold’s best showcase in the octagon, he said, but ultimately he got the job done.

Despite some criticisms of a slow start, Rockhold said the early portions of the fight where he struggled was all about getting his footing back after a long layoff. He managed to get past that and batter Branch into submission with strikes.

“I was OK with (my performance),” Rockhold said. “I didn’t expect him to come forward so hard. I wanted to find my timing, get my range. It was a bit of a weight cut and just trying to get my bearings there in the clinch and figure it out. When I’m best, I wait.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 116, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Thiago Alves stands behind UFC-Pittsburgh withdrawal, says Mike Perry still has 'ass whooping' coming

Thiago Alves made history this past week when he withdrew from a scheduled UFC bout for a record eighth time in his career. It’s a dubious footnote to have on his resume, but he doesn’t regret his decision in the slightest.

Alves (22-11 MMA, 14-8 UFC) was booked to fight Mike Perry in Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 116 co-headliner, which took place at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. “The Pitbull,” who lives and trains in Florida, was in the path of Hurricane Irma, but instead of leaving early to avoid the storm like some other fighters based in the state, opted to stay put.

That decision ultimately cost the former UFC welterweight title challenger his ability to compete. He was unable to travel to Pittsburgh and was therefore forced to withdraw from the matchup with Perry on just three days’ notice. The Brazilian received some heat over the situation, but he said he was simply prioritizing the safety of his family, and he won’t apologize for that (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

This was my first hurricane as a husband and a father. The safety of my family it’s my duty and they will always come first! Still, i did make every attempt suggested by the UFC Travel Team to get to Pittsburgh besides taking a “Road Trip” with my wife and my 13 months son when the whole state of FL was evacuating. All my flights continued to get cancelled from Friday am all the way to Tuesday 11 pm. After spending 6 hours at the airport with no real idea when I would make to the fight, having no electricity, sleeping in the gym with my family, and dealing with my dog dying from heat exhaustion … I decided to stay with my family and rebuild. I will never apologize for that, it’s not in my nature.

I have too much love and respect for my Sport, Family, Team and the MMA Fans to go to war not being 100% ready. Me and the UFC are in great terms, they understand my decision. I’ve been with the company for 12 years. I’ve known Sean Shelby for a very long time and he knows I always come to fight. I trained for 16 weeks bc this fight was originally happening in August. If I don’t fight I don’t get paid, so nobody suffers but Me and My Family. I’m ready and will stay ready. I should be rebooked by December. My support to everyone that went through Hurricane Irma. My thoughts and prays are with you #RipTanky

Perry (11-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) ultimately defeated short-notice replacement Alex Reyes (12-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) by first-round knockout at UFC Fight Night 116. He accused Alves of “ducking” him after the bout, but given his explanation the decision to withdraw comes across as an understandable one.

Alves said he hopes to fight again before the end of the year, and it appears he still wants a piece of Perry (via Twitter):

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 116, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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UFC-Pittsburgh winner Mike Perry on Robbie Lawler callout: 'If you don't ask, you won't receive'

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Mike Perry knows he might not get his wish of fighting Robbie Lawler. But you can’t blame a guy for trying.

Perry (11-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) added yet another victim to his list this Saturday, when a knee put a quick end to the meeting with last-minute replacement Alex Reyes (13-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 116. Much like the exciting finish, what followed was something that has come to be expected from the audacious welterweight in the octagon: post-fight shenanigans.

This time, they included a mesmerizing rooster dance and the ambitious callout of Lawler, an ex-titleholder who might be the next in line for a title shot against champ Tyron Woodley.

Whether the matchup will materialize, Perry doesn’t know. But hey, you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take, right?

“I want to fight the champ,” Perry told MMAjunkie backstage after the main card bout, which aired live on FS1 from at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. “I want to fight to get that belt. And if you don’t ask, you won’t receive. So I may not get those fights, but I’m prepared for those fights as soon as they want to give them to me. We’ll see who wants to come to Detroit and fight me.”

Regardless of who he ends up meeting, Perry doesn’t see why he wouldn’t be able to land the aforementioned UFC 218 spot on Dec. 2. And, considering he left Saturday’s bout without a single scratch, it’s not like he has a big medical suspension to hold him back.

Perry has reasons to feel good about his night in Pittsburgh. After adding an 11th finish to a list of career wins that features nothing but knockouts, Perry has also added $50,000 to his bank account. It was his second post-bonus in a row, after an elbow that dismantled Jake Ellenberger at UFC Fight Night 108.

But don’t expect him to go too crazy with it. We’d already been introduced to the destructive finisher with the big talk and flashy ways. Now, meet Mike Perry, the wise investor.

“I guess they must have heard that I spent the first bonus wisely and bought a house,” Perry said. “So I need that second one now to pay my mortgage.

“(I) might have a little fun, do a little vacay or something, something small. But maybe pay a little more on the mortgage payments to take some of that interest off.”

Perry’s night, however, didn’t go entirely as planned. After all, originally set to meet former title challenger Thiago “Pitbull” Alves, he went from fighting a “legend” to welcoming an opponent from a lower weight division to the UFC on three days’ notice.

If, on the one hand, he can’t deny that thanks to “crazy guy” Reyes he was able to stay on the card, there’s not much else Perry can do for him.

“I don’t know what I say to that guy,” Perry said. “I mean, ‘Sorry?’ No? OK. I mean, what do I say, man? ‘Thanks for showing up?’ I see why Thiago didn’t.”

While the disappointment of not fighting Alves was clear, Perry does seem to be aiming a little higher up in the rankings at this point. So, after yet another statement-making win, has the Alves ship sailed?

“I wouldn’t say it’s sailed,” Perry said. “I would say that, for me to accept that fight and sign that contract, some things have got to be changed because he put me in a predicament by taking that fight.

“I know the kudos go to my opponent, who took the fight on three days’ notice. But I had to take a fight with a guy who I didn’t prepare for, either. Anything could have happened. If I took a fight with somebody on three days’ notice, I probably would have won.”

Despite the general comment on the size advantage that he would have over natural lightweight Reyes, Perry says he didn’t see that much of a difference in there. After all, a former lightweight himself, he says he entered the bout weighing no more than 176 pounds.

But, although Perry believes he’s “got to be the smallest welterweight” compared to his peers, a return to 155 is not on the plans. Why? “Platinum” explains – and drops some wisdom bombs in the process.

“It’s about dieting properly, taking care of your body, exercising,” Perry said. “Feeling good inside. That’s the most important – it’s feeling good on the inside, and then you can perform to the best of your abilities.

“That’s what it’s about. I don’t care what size you are. You guys (have) seen me beat giants before.”

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

And for more on UFC Fight Fight 116, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie