Several weeks after the chaotic ending to his UFC 210 matchup with Gegard Mousasi, Chris Weidman remains sure of one thing. If he had been allowed the continue the fight, he would have went on to victory.
“I think I would have gone on to dominate Mousasi and even finish him” Weidman said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour.
Granted, we’ll never know whether that’s the case, because the bout was stopped and Weidman declared a loser via TKO after being hit by Mousasi knees that were first called illegal, then ruled legal.
But after some time to think about things, Weidman remains at the same place he was the night the controversy went down: He wants a rematch with Mousasi, who is presently at the end of his UFC contract.
“I want a rematch with Mousasi more than anything,” Weidman said. “That was a big fight for me to come back up in contention for the title, it was a great fight for me to showcase my skills and go out there and dominate him. That fight got pulled from me.”
Weidman, who has watched the fight in Buffalo twice since it went down, also has something else he’d like to get off his chest: He vigorously disputes the notion he was “playing the game,” the phrase used for fighters who try to place a hand or both hands on the ground (depending on which version of the rules are being used in any given state) in order to become technically “grounded” when a fighter throws a knee to the head, making the knee illegal.
“Let me just rewind the moment to the time where, first of all, I hit five of seven takedowns against the guy,” Weidman said. “I shot a takedown, as I shot the takedown he kind of sprawled, and he locked up both of my arms.”
The former UFC heavyweight champion noted that the sequence in which the fight-changing knees went down started with Mousasi trapping Weidman’s arms and pulling them downward.
“This is going to be over the heads of most MMA people, but for the fighters, it wasn’t a front headlock position,” Weidman said. “He had both of my arms stuck in there. So right away, my initial reaction of playing the game is to come to my feet and work my way out of that position, and as I come up to my feet, you have to realize I’m in a position where all his weight is dragging my hands toward the mat. I’m trying to come up to avoid that situation because he wants to pull me to the mat to spin behind me and obviously I want to come up to my feet.”
That’s the point at watching Mousasi started throwing knees, and at that point, Weidman was simply put into split-second decision-making mode.
“As he’s putting my hands down to the mat, I’m coming up,” Weidman said. “And as I come up, I get kneed in the head and I’m like oh, look at that, I got kneed in the head. Now I’m in a position where am I going to keep getting kneed in the head or am I going to put my hands down. I know if I put my hands down on the mat I’m good, and this is in a split second. Maybe should I put my knee down but I was really in a bad situation. I don’t know if I could have really blocked the knees with my hand because he had my arms fully extended straight... I’m working off instinct at this point.”
What went down from there has been well documented by this point. The knees were first ruled illegal by referee Dan Miragliotta, then judged legal, possibly with the help of video replays, which isn’t legal in New York state, and then, after being given time to recover under the premise of an illegal blow, the bout was waved off, with Weidman all the while insisting he was good to go.
“Did they stop the fight because they thought I was unfit to continue?” Weidman asked. “Or did they stop the fight because then, it was over five minutes and I wasn’t supposed to get any time to begin with? I don’t really know what the answer is there, but I know that me, as a fighter, I could have continued 100 percent.”
Weidman has filed a formal complaint with the New York State Athletic Commission, which has gone down a rocky road in its first year overseeing MMA events. Not only does he not sound optimistic he’ll win, but he’s got reservations about the idea of fighting on his hometown card, this summer’s UFC on FOX 25 show at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, based on what’s gone down.
“I’ll see what happens,” Weidman said. “I know a lot of people close to me don’t want me fighting in New York again. There’s a lot of things even, the scenes in the back, where, they’re very new and amateurish. You saw it a couple times, look at the Cormier weigh-in, it was a bunch of things that went unreported and you just could tell they have a lot of learning to do. All my fights were in Vegas or Jersey, these commissions have things done right, they take things very seriously.”
As strongly as Weidman feels about his position, he also knows things are out of control at this point. And despite what’s gone down in his career over the last two years -- his official record states he’s been finished in his past three fights -- Weidman hasn’t wavered in his belief he’ll soon be atop the 185-pound division once again.
“Definitely not, I’m 100 percent on track to do everything I said I was going to do. I’m going to win the belt at middleweight and I’m going to go up to 205 and win the belt there after I dominate the middleweight division for a little bit - that will happen. One step at a time, first we have to fight whoever pretty soon and hopefully it’s Mousasi and get that done. Hopefully, he steps up and realizes he doesn’t win that way because it’s bullshit. He was getting beat up and he knows it. Hopefully we can run that one back. He can prove he won the fight, if he can do that, and I’ll have the opportunity to prove my side that I’m a better fighter than him.”