Tai Tuivasa is an undefeated heavyweight with three wins since joining the UFC, but his performances outside the Octagon have helped him become a much bigger star in the sport.
Moments after scoring his second UFC win in February — a first-round knockout of Cyril Asker at UFC 221 — “Bam Bam” left the cage and did a shoey, drinking beer from a stranger’s shoe. Tuivasa did the same after defeating Andre Arlovski four months later.
The perfect 10-0 record or his shoey celebration, or both combined, propelled the Australian heavyweight to the first main event of his UFC career, a matchup against former champion Junior dos Santos in Adelaide, South Australia, on Dec. 1.
“Cigano” is confident that Tuivasa won’t have any reasons to celebrate after Saturday night's UFC Adelaide, but told MMA Fighting that he’s not a fan of that post-fight routine.
”I think that’s freaking stupid,” dos Santos said, laughing. “I don’t even know what to say. It’s disgusting, it’s really disgusting. That’s… wow, I don’t even know what to say. That’s really disgusting.”
Dos Santos doesn’t drink alcohol, but wouldn’t do a shoey even if it had non-alcoholic drinks in it.
”Are you nuts? Some guy even spit on the shoe and they kept exchanging it,” he said. “The video I saw had three guys spitting in the shoe and putting beer on it, and then they drank it. That’s absurd.
”And I guess people liked watching it to wanted to do it, too. People tend to enjoy crap. That was so weird and disgusting.”
As for the action that is about to happen inside the Octagon, dos Santos highlighted Tuivasa’s ability to take a punch and continue to move forward in his fights, but he doesn’t think that will be good for Tuivasa’s health in the end.
”I think the fight can last five rounds, or at least be a long one — but the truth is, the longer it takes, the worse it will be for him,” dos Santos said. “I always see myself winning by knockout. I have this huge confidence in my knockout power and my abilities as a boxer, so I always see myself getting the knockout.
”My hand connecting, they will always feel it. It doesn’t always go as we expect, of course, but the best I can do it be 100 percent and go for the win.”
With heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier's future still up in the air, “Cigano” isn’t sure what the future will hold for him if he’s victorious in Australia. One thing is for sure, though: The former champion won’t sit around and wait for the perfect matchup.
”After this win, I want to stay active,” dos Santos said. “I’ve been fighting only once a year and that has become an issue for me. I have to stay active to evolve. Training is not like fighting."
”Fighters pick and choose too much these days, ‘I want to fight this guy or that guy.’ It’s a freaking joke,” he continued. “If you want to become world champion, which I think that’s what everybody wants, you can’t pick and choose opponents, you have to steamroll everyone. No matter what happens, I want a quick turnaround.”