Tyron Woodley successfully defended his Welterweight title against Demian Maia – one of the best Jiu Jitsu exponents in the UFC this weekekend – and, it turns out, he did so with a serious shoulder injury. That’s a pretty incredible acheivement.
Unfortunately, the fight lacked any show-stopping drama to the casual MMA fan, and the arena echoed with boos from the fans in attendance. Consequentially, Dana White chose to announce that Georges St Pierre – for his big comeback fight – wouldn’t face Woodley, the reigning Welterweight champ, but would be matched against Michael Bisping, the current Middleweight champ.
Apparently, this came as no surprise to Tyron Woodley, but he’s since released a statement regarding his treatment by what he regards as a hostile management team.
Speaking on The MMA Hour last night, Woodley had this to say: “I don’t care so much about the fans, but when your job title is promoter, promote your f*cking fighters. Promote your champion. Don’t demote your champion. I threw my shoulder out in the first round, I wasn’t able to throw any damaging shots — for you guys who don’t understand what a labrum tear is, go get on Google or Wikipedia and figure it out — and I still stayed the course, I stayed on path, I stayed on point, I executed the gameplan. I had to reduce all of my shots from overhands, uppercuts, things that were hurting my shoulder, to straight punches.
“So, sorry in advance, I’m mad because I’ve had this surgery before. It’s not a fun one. It’s not a quick recovery. It’s not something that I’m excited about. I’m going to get a couple second opinions. Literally I’m in the Uber right now, I just f*cking got out of the doctors office, like right this second. There’s paperwork in my hand. So I’m just, I’m owed a public apology. You’re going to publicly scrutinize me, Dana White? You publicly need to apologize to me.
“I’ve done nothing but good stuff for the sport. I’ve done nothing but be a good model for the f*cking organization. I go out there and I fight with integrity. I covered your sport from the FOX desk a week before my fight. I always uphold my responsibilities to the organization. It’s timeout for that. The word behind ‘business’ is ‘man.’ You need to be a man, you owe me a public apology. And if I don’t get that, I’m going to start leaking some sh*t that people don’t want to be out in the wind. I’m not even kidding about that.”
“I better get it. I just tired of it. When you think about me and Stephen Thompson’s fight one and fight two, what was really the difference between the first and second fight? There was really not much difference. There was some casing, there was waiting, there was some evaluating, there was some counterpunching, there was me hurting him to a point where the referee looked like he was going to get in. One fight was deemed Fight of the Night at UFC 205 in November. The second fight got crazy scrutiny.
“Nobody scrutinized Demian Maia. ‘Why didn’t you outstrike Tyron? Why didn’t you stand in the pocket with him? Why didn’t you exchange? Why didn’t you push forward and hit him? Why weren’t you able to take him down?’ But I’m the champion, I get the scrutiny. Nobody scrutinized Stephen Thompson. I overheard Dana White tell Stephen Thompson, ‘aw, don’t let the fans get to you. Let them get in there with Tyron Woodley.’ I never heard those remarks. I never got the, ‘hey, aw, I take responsibility for Sage Northcutt’s loss. I knew he had the flu, I shouldn’t have let him fight.’
“Everybody else gets excuses made for (them), but I’m the fighter who’s out here against all odds, against all critics, against all naysayers, against all haters, still with my hat on, still with the boos, still with everything, going and doing my job. I just need respect.”
“What happened to your golden boy Conor McGregor when he couldn’t get Nate Diaz out and he was missing too many punches? He folded and he quit. He laid on his stomach, and not even to a super-deep rear-naked choke, he quit. My shoulder popped out, not once, three times in that fight. I felt it the first time, I’ve had a labrum tear before, I’m like, ‘oh sh*t, I think I tore my labrum.’ And then I threw a couple more overhand rights, and each time it threw out. I threw a punch to the body and it came out, then I missed a punch and it felt like it slipped out.
“But what do I have to do? I said this dude is not taking my belt, he’s not walking out of the Octagon with them saying ‘and new,’ he’s not putting on that jersey that I know they’ve got down there by ringside that they want to put on him so f*cking bad, he will not wear that today. And that’s what I did.
“So that’s why I’m upset, I’m upset because I don’t get the simple courtesy of a human, the simple integrity that if you have a problem, come talk to me first. I’ve got thick skin. I’ve had some terrible fights where I deserve a little smoke for it. And guess what, did I complain when somebody said something about how Rory (MacDonald) whipped my ass? He whipped my ass, I didn’t fight that night. He came out and he gave it to me. Never have one day made an excuse.
“So when I go out there and I’m executing – we’re not talking about months, we’re talking about four weeks. Like, all the smoke and mirrors is gone. I wasn’t training for Demian Maia. I was training because that’s my job. I got the same notice that he got on that Wednesday, they announced it on UFC Tonight. I went to get [medicals] the next day, and we had three weeks to get ready to fight. What athlete you know can come out there and look like I did cardio-wise, timing-wise, being sharp, accurate, defense, on a three-week training camp? Like, y’all need to give me a break, for real.”
“Me and Dana don’t even have a bad relationship,” Woodley said. “I’m not even really that mad at Dana, he just owes me an apology. Once he gives me an apology, we good. The thing is, I know what to expect. I know what to expect out of people. I don’t expect more out of a person than what they’ve shown me in the past. So with that, I never expected the Georges St-Pierre fight.
“You heard me at the press conference. He said, ‘no, no, no, man, if you win, you’re getting the shot (at GSP).’ He didn’t say, ‘hey, if you win in dominant fashion, if you win by TKO, if you win by knockout, if you submit him, if you brutally batter his face.’ He said, ‘if you win.’ W-I-N. That was the word. So was I surprised? Did you even see me react in a negative way when you guys said, ‘oh, well Dana White said Bisping was getting it.’ I already knew that. I heard [Bisping and St-Pierre] on the phone earlier in the week on a podcast. That wasn’t contingent on anything in my fight. My fight had nothing to do with that. They were going to fight anyway.”
“The thing about it, be a straight shooter to me. That’s how I operate. I can’t speak for Amanda Nunes and Demetrious Johnson. Those are my friends and you always want to see them maximized and getting what they deserve. But speaking for myself, the way I deal and operate, you come and talk to me. You feel like I had sh*tty fight? Come pull me to the side before you get on the podium. If you feel like I didn’t deliver or I didn’t promote or I’ve done something negative, or you didn’t like what I posted on social media or you had an issue with something I said on FOX, or whatever the situation is, I’m a communicator. Come to me. Talk to me about it.
“I don’t want to hear about it afterward, because at that point I feel like you’re not promoting me. You’re demoting me. And then on that level, you can’t selectively promote. You can’t selectively promote and excessively promote certain individuals, and then the champions, the people who are out there fighting in the toughest divisions in the world, don’t get the equal and the same promotion. I just can’t see that. I can’t see how our sport, if you recognize the people who talk the most stuff, who drop the most profane tongue, who actually throw the water bottles, who really actually are the most unprofessional, those are the highly promoted and those are the most paid athletes. Is this still a sport?”
It looks like Dana has some damage limitation to work on, or will he see another fighter move over to Bellator, unsatsfied with the way the UFC handles its business?