May 30, 2011
"Borderline embarrassing" were the words Dana White used to describe the Frank Mir-Roy Nelson fight at UFC 130. That was just moments after he watched a pair of 260-pounders lock horns and fight in closed space for most of the 15 minutes. Mir won the brawl via unanimous decision, 30-27, 30-2 and 30-26, but it didn't win over everyone in attendance.
"It was a sloppy heavyweight fight," White said. "I'm not happy about the performance from either one of them. I thought it was borderline embarrassing."
It was the second straight fight where White expressed disappointment in Mir's performance.
At UFC 119, Mir was denied a knockout bonus despite producing the only KO finish of the night against Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic.
"If they were earlier in the card, it would be one thing. But when you're in the co-main or the main event, that's when you take the most criticism," White said. "I don't like every time bashing Frank Mir, but what are you going to do?
"Frank Mir has been a two-time world champion. He's been around a long time. He's a super-talented guy. I expect more of him."
Mir wasn't at the postfight press conference. He was at the hospital having a broken jaw and possible fractured ribs tended to. Maybe that news changed White's mind a bit about the quality of the fight.
"I think I was a little harsh on Mir," White told MMAjunkie on Sunday. "He came into that fight with the perfect game plan, and he nailed Roy with some big shots. Mir dominated that fight from start to finish, and he deserves some credit for that."
That doesn't mean he's backing off his criticism of Nelson, who White suggested needs to get down in the 240-pound range.
"I thought Roy looked terrible tonight," White said. "I thought it was terrible. I thought it was embarrassing. I have a meeting with him on Friday, and we'll see what happens."
Frankly, none of this "too fat" stuff should come as a surprise. The UFC has always worried about Nelson's slovenly appearance.
"Joe Silva was telling me to lose some weight and gain some muscle. He said I need the UFC look," Nelson told TAGG radio back in 2008.
Many fans freaked out at the time, but now it's clear that it's not a cosmetic thing. Nelson is a very skilled fighter, but he's hurting his chances to beat the best in the world by continuing to fight around 265 pounds. Should White go as far as giving Nelson an ultimatum?
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