Sunday, May 29, 2011 | 1:55 a.m.
- Rampage Jackson likely to get next shot at Jon Jones despite lackluster UFC 130
- UFC 130 live blog and full results: Rampage and Mir prove best days aren’t behind them
- Veteran Brian Stann continues his rise in the UFC, pays respect to fallen heroes on Memorial Day weekend
- Frank Mir ready to put last fight behind him at UFC 130
- Roy Nelson: ‘The Nostradamus of MMA’
- Las Vegas heavyweight superiority up for grabs in UFC 130 co-main event
- UFC 130 weigh-in: Frank Mir, Roy Nelson both come in 5 pounds below the limit
- UFC 130 Section
- All MMA/Fighting coverage
The crowd Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena saved their biggest applause for the UFC 130 co-main event between Frank Mir and Roy Nelson. Reversely, the loudest boos were reserved for the main event pitting Rampage Jackson against Matt Hamill.
UFC President Dana White’s reaction was the opposite. Although White had mostly positive things to say about Jackson’s unanimous decision victory after the fight card, he didn’t have any complimentary words for an equally dominant Mir.
Neither Mir nor Nelson finished the night in the good graces of their boss.
“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.”
Mir crushed Nelson in every aspect of the bout en route to a unanimous decision victory by scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26. The two-time former heavyweight champion repeatedly took Nelson down to win in the wrestling department, landed a handful of knees in the clinch and got the best of their striking exchanges.
But White was not impressed. Mirroring comments he made after Mir’s last win, at UFC 119 against Mirko Cro Cop, White said the performance left much to be desired.
“I don’t like every time bashing Frank Mir,” White said, “but what are you going to do?”
Mir couldn’t defend himself at the post-fight press conference because he was taken to the hospital to treat a fractured jaw and broken ribs after the bout. But he did sound pleased with the victory in his brief post-fight interview in the octagon.
Mir noted the only aspect that kept it from being perfect was that he didn’t finish Nelson and left the decision for the judges.
“I’d rate my performance as a seven” out of 10, Mir said.
Mir, a Bonanza High graduate, proved a 2003 loss to Nelson, a Cimarron-Memorial graduate, in a grappling tournament was long behind him. He established that early in the first round when his first takedown came via a trip that probably made judo teachers across the world grin.
Mir had two more takedowns in the second round but didn’t do much with them. In the third, he got Nelson down and let loose a series of elbows that Nelson said were the only true strikes that hurt him all night.
“Wrestling was my main focus in this camp,” Mir said, “and I think it worked out well for me tonight.”
As disappointed as White was with Mir’s game, he could barely talk about Nelson. White wouldn’t even commit to Nelson getting another bout in the UFC.
Nelson has lost two in a row, but losing his contract would appear overly harsh when considering his competition. In addition to Mir, Nelson lost to Junior dos Santos at UFC 117. Both men are considered top five heavyweights in the UFC.
“I have a meeting with (Nelson) Friday,” White said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Ever since Nelson won the 10th season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” White has criticized his weight. Those concerns were silenced when Nelson won his first two bouts in the UFC and put on a show against dos Santos, but they were at the center of White’s complaints Saturday.
When a reporter asked Nelson, who weighed in at 260 pounds Friday, if he would consider dropping to 205 pounds and fighting at light heavyweight, White interjected.
“Or if he would consider 240 maybe,” White butted in.
Nelson, who has said he’s tired of everyone questioning his physique, didn’t like the comment and had a quick retort for White.
“Like I said,” Nelson responded, “more gym time.”
Nelson was referring to having to move his training schedule at the UFC’s private gym at Red Rock in preparation for fighting Mir. The two Las Vegas natives used to work out at the same time there but didn’t want to before their bout against each other.
Because of seniority, Mir got the first pick of when he wanted to use the gym. It made for an interesting anecdote of their local ties leading up to the fight, but Nelson said it ultimately helped lead to his downfall.
“Frank was big and strong,” Nelson said. “I think the gym time thing screwed me up a little bit. I just need more gym time.”
White wasn’t interesting in hearing excuses. He also looked away when Nelson mentioned he was battling a flu he picked up while at UFC 129 in Toronto last month.
White expects more out of a scrap the UFC spends plenty of time and effort publicizing like Mir vs. Nelson.
“If they were earlier in the card, it would be one thing,” White said. “But when you’re in the co-main or the main event, that’s when you take the most criticism.”