New promotion, same Gegard Mousasi.
“The Dreamcatcher” fought inside the Bellator cage for the first time on Friday, defeating former middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko by unanimous decision in the main event of Bellator 185 in Uncasville, Conn. Mousasi’s promotional debut came after winning his last five fights in the UFC, including four straight by KO or TKO, and he was expected to put on a dominant performance against Shlemenko.
Shlemenko landed a left hand in the first round that broke Mousasi’s orbital, and the injury forced Mousasi to rely on his wrestling to neutralize the dangerous Russian as opposed to showing off his striking skills. During an appearance on The MMA Hour on Monday, Mousasi was asked if he was happy with how his first Bellator fight went and the often brutally honest fighter had a harsh message for his critics:
“No, not at all,” Mousasi said. “But he punched me right in the eye in the first minute so I was fighting on instinct, trying to survive, I was fighting with one eye for almost three rounds so it didn’t go the way I wanted, but a win is a win. To the haters, they can suck it.
“I have a pretty long one, they can all get in line and suck it.”
According to Mousasi, once his eye swelled up, the fight became “a blur” and he was put into survival mode for three rounds. He said his disorientation was strictly due to the injury and not a concussion, and that he was still feeling the effects of the contest over the weekend.
“I’m trying to survive, I cannot see anything,” Mousasi said of his encounter with Shlemenko. “Yesterday, I was walking in New York, I was stumbling. I couldn’t even walk. I fought three rounds. I don’t know what people are talking about. Maybe they should go instead and fight in the cage. They’re sitting behind the computer eating potatoes and they have all their opinions, but let them do that.”
Part of the reason Mousasi was disappointed in his own performance and that he’s taken some flack for not defeating Shlemenko in more impressive fashion is the rock-solid resume he’s established over the course of 51 professional fights. He won nine of his 12 UFC fights, including finishes of former champions Chris Weidman, Vitor Belfort, and Dan Henderson.
Even with all of that experience, Mousasi admitted that competing for Bellator presented its own challenges.
“I was nervous a little bit. I was nervous more than probably a lot actually, because there was pressure on me going to Bellator,” Mousasi said. “This is an opportunity for the idiots to complain now and that’s what this is all about. The people sitting at home, waiting for something to go wrong so they can judge, so they can say stupid s**t. They don’t have any respect.
“I watched Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone lose and he doesn’t get as much s**t as I get. They talk about I lost to Uriah Hall and I lost to ‘Jacare’, but both of those guys I have a win over also. So every time they go back and they always discuss if I’m a good fighter or a bad fighter, after 50 fights, I think I’ve proven that I’m a good fighter. What are they talking about? But you can’t fix stupid.”
“I’m not pissed off. I don’t care,” Mousasi continued. “I’m going to eat lobster. I’m going to sit in my farm, drive a tractor and my car. Who cares about these guys? I made my money. I have a better life than all of these bums.”
With the win, Mousasi likely keeps himself in line for a Bellator middleweight title shot against whoever comes out victorious between current champion Rafael Carvalho and Alessio Sakara when they fight on Dec. 9. If Mousasi able to claim that belt, he’s confident his rough outing against Shlemenko will become a footnote.
“If I win my next fight, they’re all going to forget the last one,” Mousasi said. “That’s how the memory of these idiots work. They have short memory. They’re like goldfish or something.”
As for how Mousasi feels about said “idiots” should they continue to pile on, he offered a parting shot to reemphasize just how much he cares for their critiques, in case there was any confusion:
“They all can suck it. Take a line, take a ticket. I have enough for you all.”