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Morning Report: Alex Volkanovski’s coach ‘gutted’ over title snub: ‘To have it ripped out from underneath us is devastating’

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UFC 237: Aldo v Volkanovski Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images

Over the weekend, Alexander Volkanovski earned the biggest win of his career, out-working former featherweight champion Jose Aldo to take a unanimous decision at UFC 237. The win was Volkanovski’s seventh in the UFC and looked to set the Australian fighter up for a title fight. Looks can be deceiving however as just a few days after Volkanovski’s big win, news came out that featherweight champion Max Holloway would be defending his title against former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar instead.

It was an unfortunate turn for Volkanovski and one that infuriated his coach, Eugene Bareman.

“Gutted, mate. Absolutely livid. Livid. Livid,” Bareman told Submission Radio recently when speaking about the title snub. “Like, we talked about this for such a long time. We talked about it, our team talked about. Our goal was to set this scenario up. And for all our knowledge, this is what the UFC were looking for, this is what they wanted. They needed Volko to win that fight, they needed Israel [Adesanya] to get into position, and then we’ve got an Australasian super card set up all because of the work that we’ve put in and the position that we’ve put ourselves into. And that was all to get to this goal, to get to that super card. And we were obviously [thinking that] but the UFC was on a different page. We didn’t think so, but yeah, absolutely gutted. Is it not obvious?”

Aside from training Volkanovski, Bareman also trains recent interim middleweight title winner Israel Adesanya, and with Adesanya set to face champion Robert Whittaker sometime this year in an Oceania superfight, a Volkanovski title fight in the co-main event would have made a ton of sense for the region. It also makes more sense from a strictly merit-based standpoint. Edgar lost to Brian Ortega last year and is only on a one-fight winning streak, whereas Volkanovski just did something Edgar failed to do twice, beat Jose Aldo and hasn’t lost in six years. Not that Edgar doesn’t deserve the shot, said Bareman. Just that Volkanovski deserves it more.

“This has nothing to do with Frankie,” Bareman said. “I mean, I don’t know Frankie, I don’t know his coaches, I don’t know his management or anything. And it’s not about that Frankie doesn’t deserve it. He probably does deserve it. He just doesn’t deserve it more than Alex Volkonovski deserves it. Unfortunately for Frankie, him and his team advised him to take that risky fight against Brian Ortega. And I fully understand why you gotta do that, because you can’t wait around forever, your family has to eat, you have to earn money. But it’s called a risk for a reason. I know Volko already alluded to this, that it’s called a risk for a reason. Unfortunately, he lost, and then he beat Cub Swanson. So now he’s won one fight, now he’s going into the title fight. Well, Volko’s won seven (in a row). Outside of the UFC he’s 17 in a row. Seven straight, just beat Aldo, who Frankie’s fought twice and never managed to best. The popular opinion out there amongst fans and so-called experts and analysts is that Volko was the next in line, and we were on that same thought train and to have it ripped out from underneath us is devastating for our team, devastating to be honest.”

All hope isn’t lost for Bareman’s dream of an Oceania supercard though. Volkanovski has done more than enough to warrant a shot at the winner of Holloway vs. Edgar and can wait on the sidelines until it’s his turn. And according to Bareman, Adesanya is willing to do the same in solidarity with his teammate, waiting until Volkanovski’s title shot so they can compete on the same card.

“If we don’t look after our teammates, and the UFC’s not gonna look after us, who’s gonna look after us?” Bareman said.

“What’s the difference between October and November? Let’s wait for the winner of that fight to have enough time to have some downtime and heal up, and let’s do the card in November. If there’s no date set [for Adesanya vs. Whittaker], if you haven’t given us a date, if you haven’t passed the date over our table, well then that’s fine. As far as Israel’s concerned, there’s no date set, so why not just push it back? And I’m not gonna speak for Robert, but I mean, you’ve got to back up your other, your fellow compatriots. So, I don’t know how he feels. I don’t know if he wants to put himself out there for Volko, but let’s do it later then. If you don’t have a date, if you haven’t given us a date, we’ll do it later and we can do Volko, we can do Israel, we can set up that Australiasian super card.”

Later might work out better for Volkanovski anyway. The No. 1 featherweight contender’s trip to Brazil wasn’t all sunshine and roses. On his trip back home after the fight, Volkanovski had to be hospitalized in Chile for a bacterial infection that came on suddenly in his foot. Volkanovski is still in the hospital though his condition has improved. Giving Volkanovski time to recover would also give the UFC more time to build and promote the Oceania supercard, and that’s a win for everybody.

“It’ll be the biggest event in history in this region ever,” Bareman said. “It’ll be bigger than Holly Holm and Ronda Rousey. Why will it be bigger than Holly Holm and Ronda Rousey? Because it’s using our guys. Our guys are doing it. That’s why it’ll be bigger.”


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Thanks for reading, enjoy the fights, and see y’all on Monday.



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