Rodrigo Botti admits he attacked Matt Brown the morning after he lost to Demian Maia at UFC 198, but has a different story to tell.
"The Immortal" says he was sucker punched by his former jiu-jitsu coach at the host hotel in Curitiba, Brazil, but the Brazilian denies punching him behind. In fact, Botti claims that Brown saw him the night before when he was visiting a few friends at the Four Points hotel right after UFC 198.
"I saw him the night before (Sunday) because I went to the hotel to see my friends," Botti told MMA Fighting. "I went back to my hotel to sleep and went back to their hotel to say goodbye to my friends. When you’re cowardly assaulted like I was, you can’t control yourself. This guy destroyed my career, I lost part of my vision because of him, had to do another surgery. I couldn’t sleep normally for 15 months, it changed my entire life. I simply exploded (when I saw him).
"I didn’t listen to the podcast and I’m not interested in listening to this guy’s voice," he continued, "but I read that he said that I threw a punch that hit his shoulder. I guess he’s a bit confused. He said I hit the back of his head, and now that I hit his shoulder. He’s changing his story. But if he’s hurt somewhere it’s not his shoulder or the back of his head, but I don’t wanna get into more details. I’ll be honest, he’s in the past already. He was a coward when he did what he did to me, and I’m satisfied with my attitude now. We are even."
In February 2015, Botti accused "The Immortal" of assault, allegedly opening "16 internal stitches" in his left eye.
"I think what I did to him had the same proportion what he did to me," Botti said. "Not that much, actually, because when he attacked me he had a friend with him, and I was alone this time against him and three or four friends. And now this guy Vinicius Lemes got himself into trouble. He got himself into a fight he didn’t know what was all about, and he’s probably not sleeping well at night because he’s in trouble now.
"And saying that I hit his shoulder… I won’t get into details, but do you think that an aggressive person like him wouldn't go after me outside the hotel if I had punched him? He didn't come for a reason, right? He punched a fan in his walk out because he grabbed his hood, and he didn’t come after me? He had a reason not to come after me, and this ‘Pequeno’ guy went after me."
In his appearance on his Great MMA Debate podcast, Brown said he followed the attacker, but stopped and posed for photos with fans when he didn’t see Botti at the hotel.
"Ok then. If he prefers to believe in this story to sleep better, no problem," Botti replied. "Everything could have been prevented if he had admitted he was wrong when he attacked me, or at least called me apologizing. Everybody is entitled to make a mistake, but the problem is that he had a fight coming up with Johnny Hendricks and a win could get him a title shot, so he was afraid of being punished. He decided to lie about it. That’s when it became personal, brother. I would never work with him anymore, but if he apologized, I’d forget it.
"If people are saying I was a coward against Matt Brown, which I don’t think I was, I’ll say that one cowardly action was paid back with another. But I don’t believe I was a coward because he saw me coming."
Botti, who doesn’t live in Curitiba, visited the city to watch the UFC Saturday, and admits that he was rooting for Maia against Brown at UFC 198 -- the Brazilian ended up winning via third-round submission.
"Demian trained with me since the blue belt at Alliance. I know him since 1998," Botti said. "And it could have been anyone else, like when I rooted for Johnny Hendricks when he fought him. How am I not going to root against him when he did what he did to me?
"I don’t read the internet, anything. I don’t even work with fighting anymore, so what fans think make no difference to me," he continued. "But a friend told me that someone took a post from my Facebook page where I saw that I was going to Curitiba for some business I had, and people thought I was talking about (Brown). I came to Brazil because I just signed a deal with a brand, I will represent them in America and Europe, and I came here to sign the papers and visit the factory. That’s why I came here."