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Jason Brilz May Have Lost the Decision at UFC 114, but at Least He Had Fun

Jason Brilz was on his way out of the Octagon after losing a somewhat controversial split decision to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 114, and all things considered he was feeling pretty good.

The sold-out crowd at the MGM Grand might have been moaning with indignation on his behalf, but he had a smile on his face. He'd fought well, he'd enjoyed himself, and now he was content to saunter off to the locker room and relax for a minute or two. He got about three steps out of the cage when he heard someone shouting at him.

"So I stopped and I looked over and it was Dana White," Brilz told MMA Fighting. "He said, 'Get your effing butt back in the effing cage, and give your victory speech. You won that effing fight.' I was like, yes sir. Your boss yells at you to do something, guess you've got to do it. I went back in."

When the microphone got passed around to Brilz, he didn't complain about the decision not going his way. He didn't wonder aloud what fight the judges might have been watching, though certainly no one would have blamed him if he had.

Instead he gave credit to his opponent's toughness. He urged fans not to boo Nogueira, who, after all, hadn't done anything other than fight his heart out. With this magnanimous gesture, he effectively erased any chance that the majority fans weren't on his side after the back-and-forth fight.

But honestly, now that he's had a chance to think about it, isn't he just a little bit upset about the decision? After coming into the fight as a huge underdog and then dominating most of the first two rounds, doesn't he think he got a raw deal from the judges?

"I'm a competitive person and of course I want to win," said Brilz. "Maybe when I was younger I would have been more upset. Now that I'm older I realize it's not worth getting upset over something that's not going to change. And it was such a close fight, it could have gone either way."

Brilz's best chance to finish the fight came in the second round, as he locked on a guillotine choke and squeezed with every thing he had. He knew Nogueira would never tap, he said, so he waited for him to lose consciousness. And he waited. And waited.

"I was thinking, when is he going to go out? Come on. That sucker was tight."

As referee Yves Lavigne bent down to see if Nogueira was still awake, Brilz's mind flashed back to the pre-fight instructions he'd received from Lavigne in the locker room. He recalled the referee telling him that he'd only stop a submission hold once a fighter was clearly unconscious or injured.

"I was a little nervous when Yves was telling me that," Brilz recalled with a chuckle. "I thought, what if he gets me in an armbar and my face is covered and my arms are tied up so I can't tap right away and maybe [Lavigne] can't hear me saying anything? If that happens, maybe you should go ahead and stop it. I don't really want a broken arm."

Somehow Nogueira survived the choke and, to Brilz's further dismay, kept up the pressure until the final horn. Even as Brilz cracked him with hard right hands that sent a resounding echo through the arena, Nogueira walked right through them without even flinching.

"He just wouldn't go down. He had too much riding on this, too. It was a testament to his spirit, his warrior mentality. In the third round I thought, okay, I'll get one more takedown on this guy and finally break him. But he just kept coming at me. I was like, come on, get tired or something! He never did."

Even though he lost on the scorecards, the past week has been a surreal one for Brilz. He got hustled off to meet everyone from MC Hammer to "the Cash 4 Gold guy," and his phone has rarely stopped ringing since he got home to Omaha.

"It's just crazy," he said. "My only expectation for that fight was to go out and perform well, and I did that. But it was just so much fun. I can't say that enough. It didn't feel like I was even competing, because I was just having so much fun."

Judging by the smiles on the faces of Dana White and UFC matchmaker Joe Silva after Brilz's performance justified their decision to put him into the bout to begin with, he'll likely get another chance to have that kind of fun again very soon.

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