Alessio Di Chirico said little, and was somehow still one of the most talked-about fighters of the UFC’s first show on ABC.
His knockout of Joaquin Buckley would have already been one of the top highlights of UFC Fight Island 7, but it was Di Chirico’s refusal to take part in a post-fight interview with Jon Anik that made waves. The Italian middleweight didn’t offer much clarity when speaking to the media backstage either.
At the time, all Di Chirico had to say was that he felt that the practice of usually only interviewing the winner of a fight was wrong. During an appearance on What the Heck, Di Chirico further explained his position.
“After, I almost cried, I was fully emotionally involved after the fight,” Di Chirico said. “So I declined the interview. It was a choice that I made at least two fights before this fight. There’s something in my mind, like an attitude in this business, that if you win you are the best person, the best athlete in the world, and if you lose you are trash. I think that this is going to change absolutely for us, for fighters.
“I know that if a fighter gets knocked out, he can’t interview, I know. But if the decision goes on the points in the cage, a close decision, I think a fighter would have the opportunity to speak, to be interviewed.”
Di Chirico wouldn’t have been blamed for claiming some extra glory after his win, given the stakes. Not only did he enter the Buckley fight as a sizeable underdog, he was on a three-fight losing streak with a fourth loss all but guaranteeing that his time in the UFC would be over. Instead, it took him a little over two minutes to find the mark with a head kick that shut Buckley down.
Though he didn’t feel compelled to talk about his win on the evening of Jan. 16, he wants to be clear that he didn’t intend any disrespect towards Anik, the media, or the UFC.
“I don’t want to disrespect journalists,” Di Chirico said. “I don’t want to disrespect your job. I only want to send this message to try and change things for fighters and to make it just a little bit better.
“And absolutely it wasn’t a polemic against the UFC.”
UFC President Dana White was asked about Di Chirico’s unique post-fight behavior after UFC Fight Island 7 and he relayed an anecdote about how he was greeted coldly by Di Chirico and his team backstage. Di Chirico smiles as he recalls the incident, calling it a misunderstanding based on his own exhaustion after coming down from the high of his fight.
“I was drained after the fight,” Di Chirico said. “I almost did not recognize him, so I ask him, ‘Sorry to him and Mick Maynard.’ It was a crazy reaction after the win.”
Coming off of a win that nudged his UFC record (4-5) closer to the .500 mark, Di Chirico is eager to compete again soon. He’s made known his disdain for Kevin Holland, who won a decision against Di Chirico at UFC Greenville in June 2019, and said he’d be willing to step in as a replacement for the upcoming Fight Night main event featuring Holland and Derek Brunson on March 20.
Outside of his grudge with Holland, Di Chirico isn’t interested in building up any fights through trash talk and he’d prefer if that kind of behavior in MMA was phased out altogether. Di Chirico sees greater things for MMA and he hopes that someday it has a reputation worthy of becoming an Olympic event.
“MMA is a sport,” Di Chirico said. “Sometimes it is confused with show, sometimes with pro wrestling, but MMA is a sport. It’s changed my life and all people need to understand this. I hope one day it will go to the Olympics.”