Monday, January 15, 2018

Welterweight Kamaru Usman put on a dominating, wrestling-heavy, fan-unfriendly performance vs. striker Emil Meek on the main card of UFC Fight Night 124. It gave The Nigerian Nightmare the longest win streak in the division. With the St. Louis crowd booing, Usman offered some puzzling words.

“Listen, I fought at about 30 percent,” he began. “That was 30 percent and I still dominated a tough, so called Viking. Dominated him, and that was at 30 percent. … I’m the most dominant and well rounded welterweight on the planet. Nobody can stop me. And that’s why they’re all afraid to fight me. Colby [Covington] you can run but you can’t hide.”

“Dana, I’m coming to sit with you. We’ll talk.”

During the FOX Sports 1 post-fight show, UFC president Dana White indicated the sit down might not be a fun one.

“I didn’t love that fight,” said White, as transcribed by John Morgan and Steven Marrocco for MMAjunkie. “Yeah, he’s a tough guy. Yeah, he can impose his will. But you don’t jump up and start acting like you knocked somebody out and say you only went 30 percent. So what’s that mean? What if you’re on pay-per-view? Do you use 60 percent?”

“It’s one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard somebody say, and you’re getting booed out of the arena on top of it. I don’t know. We’ll see what’s next for him.”

The reference to Covington was apparently part of a goal by Usman’s management to have the Nigerian and Covington as opposing coaches on TUF 27. White did not bite.

“I just don’t think either one of those guys have done anything to really cement themselves as ‘TUF’ coaches right now,” said the UFC boss. “Although beating Demian Maia is a very big deal, very big deal. After Usman’s fight tonight I just don’t see those guys as, you know.”

“You just fought a guy who wasn’t ranked and went to a decision, and the people were booing you at the end. I don’t think that’s the right time to call a guy out, when they’re booing you out of the stadium.”

Usman clarified the controversial 30% remarks on his social network.

“Let me clear something up since some didn’t understand my post-fight interview,” he wrote. “What I meant was that I came into the fight at 30% health. I could’ve pulled out but I chose to stay the course and give Emil Valhalla his chance at a top 10 guy. I fight anyone, anytime even at 30%.”

Hopefully with the misunderstanding cleared up, White will be more amenable to giving opportunities to the fighter with the best streak in the division.