LAS VEGAS -- Court McGee
pocketed a little extra cash to go along with his "Ultimate Fighter" trophy when he submitted Kris McCray
at the Pearl at the Palms on Saturday night. His rear naked choke finish was the only submission on the fight card, and it more or less automatically netted him the $25,000 bonus for Submission of the Night.
Knockout of the Night went to heavy-handed southpaw Chris Leben
, who sent Aaron Simpson
staggering across the cage in the second round after several damaging punches, and the three-round battle between Keith Jardine
and Matt Hamill
earned Fight of the Night.
Other notes to come out of Saturday night's post-fight press conference:
- The official attendance figure, according to the UFC, was 1,708, for a gross gate of $430,250.
- The red mark on Hamill's back was a staph infection that he didn't know he had. He plans to begin an antibiotic regiment on Sunday, he said as he pulled up his shirt to show off the wound, which resulted in a low groan from the media. "It just winked at me," quipped Leben.
- Hamill said the eye-poke came just as he thought he was on the verge of finishing Jardine, and was extremely painful. "I thought I was going to be blind and deaf," he joked. Hamill also said he broke his left hand in the first round.
- When asked about his emotional breakdown after winning the fight to claim the Ultimate Fighter title and the "six-figure contract" with the UFC, McGee explained: "When I broke up like that, that's seven years all in one minute. I dedicate that fight to anyone who's struggling tonight. ...If you came from where I came from to where I am now, you'd be the same way."
- After working with former Olympic boxing gold medalist Howard Davis Jr., McGee said he thought he'd outclass McKray with his striking, but their skills in that area were closer than he expected.
- Leben said he could relate to McGee's past struggles, reminding us once again that, "Fighters are like strippers: they're not working their way through college." Nobody gets into this business if there's not something wrong with them, Leben explained, pointing out all the pain and struggle fighters go through. "Obviously there's something wrong there. This guy right here [McGee] is the perfect example. ...If I go out I'm going to get trashed, and I know that. That's why I'm not going to do that tonight."
- When asked about his win over Simpson, Leben said he needed the victory over a tough opponent, and said he started slow in the first round on purpose. Simpson hit him with a hard punch at one point in the fight and Leben smiled at him in response, he said. "I saw it in his eyes, he was like, [expletive]."
- As far as what the win means for his career, Leben said: "This guy was a tough guy. Six of his last seven wins were by knockout. He was a worthy opponent. I really needed it. ...I think it reestablishes me in the top tier of the 185 division, not just hanging around at the bottom."