Nelson: They needed me to save UFC 161
With the loss of the original main event for UFC 161, and with no suitable replacements, the UFC needed another marquee bout to help boost the show. In steps Roy Nelson, who is only six weeks removed from a stunning knockout of Cheick Kongo. Nelson agreed to fight Stipe Miocic to in his words ‘save the show’:
“I think win or lose, I have fans and fans want to watch me fight. Win or lose, I always give a hundred percent. I actually just got the best compliment, he said ‘I remind him of the Mike Tyson era where you never know what’s going to happen with one punch’.”
Miocic, a former NCAA divison I wrestler and baseball player from Cleveland, was undefeated prior to being knocked out by Stefan Struve last September. He had three UFC wins to his credit prior to the Struve loss and was starting to build some hype for himself. Originally, he was slated to face Soa “The Hulk” Palelei. When the main event was lost due to Renan Barao’s injury, Rashad Evans and Dan Henderson became the main event. There was no marquee co-main event to give the Manitoba fans, so Roy was called upon to face Stipe because as he put it: “The whole card went to crap. They needed someone to save it. So they called Roy Nelson.”
“The reason why they gave me Stipe is because they needed someone to sell out the arena. They put me on it. As soon as they put me on it, it sold out,” Roy later added.