Saturday night be a UFC first: the first time opponents in the main event, a few hours after they square off, will co-host the same afterparty.
Scott Jorgensen, who was recruited into the sport by Urijah Faber, and has trained with Faber, will exchange fists, then conversation and possibly share drinks together on the same night.
"We talked about it," said Jorgensen on The MMA Hour on Monday. "This fight isn't about having animosity. We're buddies. We're going to fight. It's what we're paid to do. We're going to do our jobs to the best of our abilities and the best man will win."
It's really not that unusual for competitors to socialize after a fight and in the early days of UFC, just about everyone wound up at the same company party after the show. But it's still unusual to see advertising posters for a party listing both participants in the main event on the same bill.
Jorgensen (14-6), a perennial top ten bantamweight, faces Faber (27-6), who always seems one step away from a title match, in the main event of FX's The Ultimate Fighter 17 finale show from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Both fighters share the same management team, MMA Inc., which lined them up as co-hosts for the after-party at Mix, also in the Mandalay Bay hotel.
That breeds the natural questions, but right away, Jorgensen said those were the ones he was most tired of.
"'You're fighting a friend, how is that going to affect the fight?,' it's those questions about fighting a friend, `Are you going to let that affect you?,' and the follow up is, `You guys have trained together, how will that affect you?'"
"I wear my emotions on my face," Jorgensen said. "You'll see directly I'm not pleased. I did one (an interview) the other day and I started changing the subject."
Faber was one of the few top bantamweights in the world that Jorgensen had yet to fight. Jorgensen's resume includes going the distance in losses to current champion, Dominick Cruz and interim champion Renan Barao, as well as decision wins over Brad Pickett and Takeya Mizugaki. He's only been stopped once, by Eddie Wineland, who is getting the next title shot with Barao on June 15.
But with his highest profile career fight coming in, he admits to being burned out on the interview process. He makes it clear it's not because of the pressures of main eventing. His most recent fight, a first round submission win over John Albert, was the opening match on the Dec. 8 show in Seattle, Wash. It aired on Facebook, another thing he wasn't thrilled about at the time.
"I'm doing so many interviews and being asked the same things over and over, it gets redundant," said Jorgensen. "It's not just this fight. It's every fight, so now I only do the interviews UFC asks me to do."
It's also unusual to go from the opening match on the show, to a main event. But Jorgensen reestablished himself in the Albert fight after coming off two losses. Not only did he win by submission at 4:59 of the first round, and it was a lot closer to 5:00 than 4:59, but he picked up $130,000 extra in bonuses, for both best fight and best submission.
Yet, he wasn't happy at the time, particularly when a series of injuries took place before the show. With each injury, he was continually passed up over being elevated to a television spot.
"I was bummed. . .more disappointed," he said. "I love to go out there and fight to entertain. I try to fight to entertain myself. I've said it before, the fans get an exciting fight. I don't like to fight boring. I've fought risky at times. I've fought wild. It's worked out in some instances but not in others. It goes back to my wrestling days. I always wrestled exciting. There was never a match I thought was boring, even in college."
Even with a late pullout, Jorgensen was passed over again.
"That close to the fight, when I heard about (Tim) Means getting hurt, I was still pretty bummed, but at that point I worried less about it and I just focused on the fight," he said. "I was just voicing my opinion on twitter and wherever I could. In all reality, I wasn't stewing over it, other than a few tweets and whatever interviews I did do. I was honestly more focused on the fight."
The fight with Albert was a ground clinic with back-and-forth action. Jorgensen at one point was trapped in a near triangle. While not in danger of a tapping, he was stuck and unable to escape for a long time. But once he broke free, he turned it on, got Albert's back with seconds left in the round, got a choke, and Albert tapped a split second before the born sounded to end the first round. It marked Jorgensen's fourth time winning a best fight bonus.
But he was bothered again after the win, feeling that people were talking less about his win and more about his skin pigmentation issues. Jorgensen, who is half Japanese, suffers from vitiligo. Starting in ninth grade, he's seen his skin gradually get lighter, starting with small patches where he had no pigment, which have spread.
Now, at 30, he's almost without pigmentation. His color has lightened to the point people ask him if he's like Michael Jackson, and has had procedures to remove all color from his skin.
"After my fight with John Albert, I got more questions about my loss of skin color than my performance," he said. "I voiced my opinion how it's annoying that people cared more about that than my performance. I've had vitiligo since I was 14 or 15 years old.
"I have no pigment now. The only thing is I sunburn really easily. And it makes my tattoos brighter. One question I do get, I didn't start getting tattoos to cover up my depigmentation. I started getting tattoos when I was very dark skinned. I just like tattoos."
Jorgensen met Faber go back to when both were part of the college wrestling scene. Faber, three years older, went to UC-Davis. Jorgensen went to Boise State. Both went to the NCAA tournament, but neither placed at nationals.
Jorgensen did pick up three Pac-10 championships, graduating when Faber was coaching and getting into MMA. Faber talked Jorgensen into trying the sport.
"I did spend a lot of time there when I first started," he said. "All the pictures have surfaced from then. The last time I really went out to Sacramento was when Joseph (Benavidez) got into the WEC. I like Joseph. I'm buddies with (Chad) Mendes. It was more out of respect for the sport, I'm not going to step on Joseph's toes. He lives there. I live in Boise. I have my own team and my own guys."
Since losing the featherweight title to Mike Brown, Faber has gotten four championship matches, coming out on the short end, which have led to cries about favoritism. On the flip side, Faber is probably still the most popular male fighter in the company who is less than 155 pounds, and was in a large way responsible for the popularity of the smaller weight classes. Since losing the title, he's also 6-0 in bouts against leading contenders.
Jorgensen is defensive of Faber to critics who knock him getting so many chances.
"Look at Urijah's career," Jorgensen said. "The guys he lost to were champions, including his time at 135. He's lost to some of the top guys. He's definitely one of the best in the world. He's always going to be a win or two away, because he's one of the best."