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Fabricio Werdum says he ‘almost’ went ‘PRIDE rules’ on Tony Ferguson at UFC media lunch

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting Esther Lin/MMAFighting.com

LOS ANGELES — Tony Ferguson and Fabricio Werdum attended a UFC media lunch Thursday to promote their respective fights at UFC 216 next week. They ended up almost fighting each other.

Ferguson took umbrage with Werdum speaking while Ferguson was addressing the media and Werdum didn’t like how Ferguson told him to stop talking. The two UFC fighters got up, exchanged profanities and homophobic slurs in Spanish, and had to be separated by UFC PR man Chris Costello.

Werdum, the former UFC heavyweight champion, said he came close to taking a swing at Ferguson, but didn’t.

“I just don’t punch him because I know he’s got a fight coming up and Chris is a very nice guy with me all the time,” Werdum said afterward during the lunch. “I don’t want to break everything. I almost, maybe just like one second, I snap his head — 100 percent. Like PRIDE rules.”

Werdum said he knows Ferguson, who fights at lightweight, and Ferguson has been pleasant with him before. But for some reason Thursday at Hinoki & The Bird restaurant in Century City, Werdum said Ferguson had a “bad energy” when he said hello. Werdum did not like how Ferguson told him “shut your mouth” in Spanish.

“That’s a bad thing in Spanish, Portuguese and English,” Werdum said. “It’s very bad. You never say that to me. I’m 40 years old. I’m not a kid.”

Ferguson said he doesn’t like Werdum’s manager Ali Abdel-Aziz, who also manages Ferguson’s rival Khabib Nurmagomedov. Ferguson and Abdel-Aziz have gone back and forth with heated words on social media. Ferguson said he never wanted to sit next to Werdum at the lunch.

“I don’t want to be around people that bring me down,” Ferguson said. “This is my shit, man. This is my f*cking time. Don’t talk over me. Because when you were in that spot, I gave you the time and the energy for it. I let you be. Don’t be rude. It’s just rude, man.”

The tension continued until Ferguson left the restaurant. Ferguson meets Kevin Lee in the main event of UFC 216 for the interim lightweight title on Oct. 7 in Las Vegas. Werdum takes on Derrick Lewis on the same card. It’s common for the UFC to bring multiple fighters to media lunches to promote their fights.

This time, though, things went awry.

“I just finished my training now, I’m very relaxed,” Werdum said. “I just come to the interview for you guys. My blood go [up] more in the fight. When I’m in the fight, my blood up like very hot. But this time? I don’t believe it, man.”