LAS VEGAS – Gray Maynard did a swell impersonation of former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes, perhaps the strongest man pound-for-pound in mixed martial arts, in his bout Saturday with Rob Emerson at the Palms Hotel & Casino.
After using his strength and wrestling to pummel Emerson in the first round, Maynard lifted Emerson in a power move that came straight from Hughes’ book.
When he slammed Emerson violently to the mat, the fight was instantly over, though there was plenty of confusion over who won.
Referee Steve Mazzagatti seemed ready to indicate that Maynard won, but then reversed himself and the bout was called a no contest when he ruled that neither man could continue.
As he was slamming Emerson, Maynard drove his own head into the mat. UFC president Dana White, sitting alongside the cage, said he felt Maynard was knocked out, as did Tony Alamo, the chairman of the Nevada Athletic Commission.
But Emerson appeared to tap and Mazzagatti didn’t seem to be looking at Maynard as he moved in to rescue Emerson.
"I was going to stop it because Emerson couldn't continue," Mazzagatti said.
Then asked directly whether he ruled the fight a no contest, he said no. A person who was in the Octagon said White and Nevada Athletic Commission officials conferred about the matter before a ruling was made. The person said White indicated it should be a no contest, to which White reacted angrily.
He said he believed Maynard was out, which Maynard vehemently refuted, but said he didn't know what the ruling should be and simply was asking.
"If anyone said I told them what to do, he's a liar," White said. "Bring him to me and let him say that to my face. I know one thing, that Maynard was out cold. So we had two guys out and I said, 'What do we do?' I had no idea and I was just asking."
Maynard was angry, even though he dominated every minute of the fight and didn't get a loss. He was cleared by doctors, who said he didn't have a concussion, and used it as proof that he wasn't knocked out.
"I trained so hard, so hard, and it's not right, because I came here to win," Maynard said. "It was pretty difficult to take."
BOOK FOR SALE
After he defeated Jens Pulver in the main event Saturday, all B.J. Penn would say in his interview on Spike TV after the bout was, "If you want to know what I'm thinking, go to bjpenn.com." But only minutes after he left the ring, the web site was down, overwhelmed by traffic.
"We blew it out," Penn said, laughing.
He's trying to hawk his new book, Mixed Martial Arts: The Book of Knowledge.
When someone asked him about the knowledge, he said, "Look into the eyes" of the person on the cover.
But then he laughed at himself and said, "No, that's a fat guy."
The picture was of Penn himself, before he was committed to his conditioning program.
A LITTLE PRESSURE
Roger Huerta, who stopped previously unbeaten Doug Evans in the second round Saturday, conceded that all the attention he has received recently may have put undue pressure on him and contributed to a less-than-crisp performance.
Huerta appeared on the cover of the May 28 issue of Sports Illustrated.
Evans controlled the first round before Huerta took over in the second.
"Honestly, it might have had some impact, I guess," Huerta said. "It was a lot."
NOT IN HIS CORNER
Nathan Diaz didn't have his brother, Nick, in his corner for his fight with Manny Gamburyan on Saturday, but it wasn't because of a sibling rivalry.
Nick Diaz, who is one of the world's top welterweights, is under suspension by the Nevada Athletic Commission.
He tested positive for the active ingredient in marijuana after a February win over Takanori Gomi and was suspended for six months.
That suspension barred him from being in his brother's corner.
White said that not only had he not considered having veteran Ken Shamrock fight Michael Bisping, as had been reported on The Fight Network, but White said he is considering releasing Shamrock from what is left on his contract.
Shamrock, 43, has lost four in a row and six of his last seven.
"I don't know if he wants to fight, but we haven't spoken to him and I'm not planning to use him," White said.