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UFC 148:

Dana White not amused with Forrest Griffin’s post-fight antics

Griffin apologizes to Tito Ortiz for display after unanimous-decision victory

Image

Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Forrest Griffin inexplicably walks out of the octagon before the decision is announced for his light heavyweight fight against Tito Ortiz at UFC 148 on Saturday, July 7, 2012, at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Griffin won a unanimous decision in what was Ortiz’s retirement fight.

UFC 148: Undercards

John Alessio gets tied up by Shane Roller during their preliminary bout at UFC 148 Saturday, July 7, 2012 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Roller won by decision. Launch slideshow »

UFC 148: Griffin vs. Ortiz

Forrest Griffin nails Tito Ortiz with a left during their light heavyweight fight at UFC 148 Saturday, July 7, 2012 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Griffin won a unanimous decision in what was Ortiz's retirement fight. Launch slideshow »

UFC 148

Champion Anderson Silva smiles while Chael Sonnen is attended to after Silva scored a second round TKO during their fight at UFC 148 Saturday, July 7, 2012. Launch slideshow »

UFC 148: Le vs. Cote

Cung Le reacts as he is announced the winner over Patrick Cote during their middleweight bout at UFC 148 Saturday, July 7, 2012 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Le won by unanimous decision. Launch slideshow »

The two most important seats were empty.

Dana White started the UFC 148 post-fight press conference with neither main event winner Anderson Silva nor co-main event victor Forrest Griffin sitting in front of their assigned microphones.

The UFC president could explain Silva’s absence — the undefeated middleweight champion was recovering and running late. As for Griffin, it was anyone’s guess.

“Forrest probably ran home,” White said.

White was joking, but he wasn’t laughing. For the second time in his career, Griffin ran out of the octagon immediately after the conclusion of his fight — not even waiting to hear the decision after three close rounds against Tito Ortiz.

White had to chase down the local light heavyweight to get him back in the octagon, where announcer Bruce Buffer revealed he took two out of three rounds on every judge's scorecard to win a unanimous decision.

“He drives me crazy,” White said of Griffin. “It’s like professional suicide, the things he does.”

Once Griffin got back in the cage, he ripped the microphone from commentator Joe Rogan’s hand and began asking Ortiz questions about the fight and his legacy.

“That was (expletive),” Ortiz said. “Come on, dude.”

The bout marked the end of Ortiz’s Hall of Fame career that spanned 15 years and 27 fights in the UFC. Ortiz not only felt robbed of a victory in a bout where he knocked Griffin down in both the second and third rounds, but also of a moment in his final post-fight octagon interview.

“I fought with my soul and that’s it,” Ortiz said. “I went out and I thought I won. I thought the fight was over. Forrest thought the fight was over. The fans thought the fight was over. It’s just the judges didn’t see it that way.”

Griffin eventually arrived to speak to the media, but he added little clarity to the strange series of events that overshadowed his Fight of the Night performance against Ortiz.

Griffin apologized profusely when he heard how upset Ortiz was with the display. He went on to say sorry twice more unprompted. But he still shared no definitive explanation for his actions.

“I wasn’t super-pleased with my performance,” Griffin said. “I talked to a lot of people and the emphasis was on finishing, etc., etc. I felt like I had an opportunity in a very close fight to finish it in the last minute and I didn’t close that door.”

As infamous as Griffin’s UFC 101 exit dash three years ago in Philadelphia has become, it made slightly more sense than Saturday’s. Anderson Silva, moving up from middleweight to light heavyweight for the bout, embarrassed Griffin in the UFC 101 co-main event.

Silva tagged the former champion multiple times before knocking him out with a jab midway through the first round while moving backwards. Griffin wanting to get away was understandable.

But Griffin out-landed Ortiz by nearly 40 strikes Saturday. The majority of media scores had Griffin winning the bout.

There was no reason to not stick around to hear a decision that, at worst, could have gone either way.

“I honestly wasn’t thinking,” Griffin said.

White and Ortiz remained as dumbfounded as everyone else. White could only hope Griffin learned his lesson after making the same mistake twice.

White detailed the message he hoped he got across to Griffin.

“If you’re bummed out, do it in the back (later),” White said. “If you’re looking for Joe Rogan’s (expletive) job, it isn’t going to happen. That’s Joe’s job. Leave the microphone alone until Joe comes over and talks to you. I love Forrest Griffin. He’s a great guy, but he gets a little kooky sometimes.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or case.keefer@lasvegassun.com. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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