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Cody Stamann wants apology from Daniel Cormier, Joe Rogan for ‘biased’ UFC 216 commentary

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Cody Stamann has his hand raised after winning a split decision over Tom Duquesnoy at UFC 216.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Cageside commentators beware: Cody Stamann is listening and he demands respect.

It’s not uncommon for a UFC broadcasting team calling the action to skew their praise in the direction of one fighter, especially if it’s a popular champion or a blue-chip prospect. That’s the reality that Stamann faced this past weekend when he had the chance to rewatch his split decision win over Tom Duquesnoy at UFC 216.

Duquesnoy headed into Saturday’s bout riding a massive hype train, with pundits praising the 24-year-old Frenchman as a future champion at 135 pounds. That pre-match assessment didn’t sit well with Stamann, who entered the fight with his own impressive record of 15 wins and just one loss.

When he reviewed his performance, he paid close attention to how commentators Joe Rogan and Daniel Cormier seemed to be talking non-stop about Duquesnoy while neglecting Stamann, particularly early in the fight.

“As soon as it came out, I watched it,” Stamann told MMA Fighting. “I had my phone hooked up to my Bluetooth, I was with a few people and I was listening to the commentary, and now by the end of the first round I was frustrated enough to want to throw my phone through a wall after what they were saying. They were talking about Duquesnoy, where he trains, and I’m taking him down, hitting him with combinations and they’re not saying anything about that. I felt like Daniel Cormier and Joe Rogan owe me a little bit of an apology.

“I felt like they were way more biased than they normally would be and I’m really not one to complain about that kind of stuff, but I was like, holy cow. I’ve had probably a hundred different people tell me that exact same thing, they were really loving Tom Duquesnoy for those first two rounds but in the third round they didn’t say his name again. So I guess I’m happy that I won them over, but at the same time that’s not their job to be that biased.”

Regardless of the perceived slight, Duquesnoy proved to be the perfect opportunity for Stamann to show off his own potential. The Michigan native stepped in on short notice and won his UFC debut against Terrion Ware this past July, and then asked for a step up in competition. After going three rounds with Duquesnoy, Stamann is more than satisfied with the matchmaking decision.

“I think when you go in there and beat a guy that everyone is talking about being the next bantamweight champion, I definitely think a lot of people opened their eyes up to me as an athlete on Saturday night,” said Stamann. “His coach Greg Jackson was saying before the fight that Duquesnoy has all the capabilities of being a world champion. All these different media analysts were saying this guy’s the next thing, like, ‘Watch out Cody Garbrandt, this guy he’s coming for everybody.’

“He’s got a humongous following, he’s got the whole country of France following him basically. He had every single thing that the UFC would want in a guy coming into the UFC. All the hype, everybody thought he was the man, so when I had the opportunity to fight him I was all over that. I knew that was my opportunity to steal that shine.”

Shine he did. Stamann outworked Duquesnoy to earn the decision nod and even matched him in the striking department, which is an area that Duquesnoy was expected to hold a considerable advantage. According to Fight Metric LLC, Stamann had a 66-33 advantage in significant strikes.

This isn’t the first time that Stamann has felt overlooked by the UFC. The 27-year-old has been competing professionally since 2011 and after piling up wins in the Midwestern regional scene, he was wondering when he’d get the call to step into the Octagon.

“My whole thing leading into the UFC, I felt like I was going to be there years ago, I was getting pretty frustrated that I wasn’t,” said Stamann. “It was probably around the middle of 2016 that I basically told myself that I’m literally going to fight every two or three months every single opportunity that I can and I’m going to keep beating up tough guys until I get that phone call from the UFC.”

Now that he’s picked up a couple of wins in the major leagues, Stamann plans to stick around at 135 pounds after competing as both a bantamweight and a featherweight in the past. He trusts that the matchmakers will have a better idea of what they have on their hands after seeing him defeat Duquesnoy.

As for what’s next, a booking for UFC 218 in Detroit on Dec. 2 is a little too quick of a turnaround for the Michigan native — who has spent almost his entire career fighting in his home state — and he sees himself booking a fight for a Dec. 30 show in Las Vegas at the earliest. Both of his UFC bouts have taken place in Vegas, and Stamann has formed a bond with the city, one that’s only grown stronger in the wake of the tragic shooting that occurred at the start of fight week.

“I was honored to be a part of an event and an organization that stands behind their community the way the UFC did,” said Stamann. “It was a beautiful thing to see. We actually all got ‘Vegas Strong’ on our shorts, Vegas Strong on our shirts. All my cornermen agreed to give up their Vegas Strong shirts, we’re going to sign them, maybe even frame them, we’re basically going to auction off all my gear I got for this past fight and we’re going to donate all the money to the Vegas relief fund.”