It’s been a few days since Shogun Rua pretty much saved the UFC’s next big FOX card by stepping in last second, but that doesn’t mean Dana’s done b*tching about the guy ducking Glover Teixieixiexeira. Here he is at a post-even press conference scrum explaining the situation again:
“Because he absolutely refused to fight him. He would rather be cut than fight him. You know what, it was one of those very wierd situations to hear one of the top five guys in the world say I’d rather be cut than fight a guy who isn’t ranked. And the reason that they were saying was because oh he’s not top ten. But then when we offer him Brandon Vera he took it in two seconds. Vera isn’t top ten either. Someone asked me this question earlier, but the reality is that Shogun is a guy whom I respect, he been in a million wars with all the best in the world, but for some reason he does not wanna fight this dude Glover. And you know me, if you don’t want me to tell the truth, don’t say that stuff to me on the phone. That’s exactly what happened, that’s exactly the way it went down. And me and Lorenzo said ‘Listen dude, you can’t be turning down fights at this level. With the money you’re making and where you are ranked in the world, you don’t turn down fights at this level. We might have to cut you’ and he said ‘I’d rather be cut than fight him.'”
Maybe Shogun doesn’t wanna fight the guy because there’s absolutely no upside to it? He wins, he beats some guy who’s unknown and untested in the UFC (sorry, Kyle Kingsbury). He loses, and he just lost to a dude who’s not even ranked. It’s pretty much as lose / lose of a fight as you can get. Well, except for us fans. It would have been a hell of a scrap.
Brandon Vera on the other hand has managed to hang around on UFC main cards like a floater that just won’t flush for the past six years. He’s the kind of guy minor league fighters are drooling to feast on because his name looks good on their resume. It’s about as close to a gimme fight as you’re gonna see outside of PRIDE, but is that Shogun’s fault? Tell a guy you’re gonna cut him for refusing fights and then criticize him for accepting the sh*tty alternative you’ve proposed on short notice? I dunno about that.
In the end, this is probably bigger than Shogun. Dana White is putting UFC fighters on notice that not only will he throw you under an endless convoy of busses if you turn down a fight, he might fire you too. And while Shogun played that game of chicken and came out of it with a sweet headline spot against a washed up victim, there’s gonna be a not-so-famous fighter in the next few weeks who’s gonna pay for it double-styles if he tries to say no to a matchup the UFC wants.