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Marvin Vettori explains his problem with Paul Felder’s commentary, plans to speak to him during fight week

UFC 263: Adesanya v Vettori 2

Ahead of his return against Paulo Costa in the UFC Vegas 41 main event, Marvin Vettori ended up engaging in a war of words with retired UFC fighter Paul Felder while he was serving as color commentator during a recent event.

Vettori lashed out over the way Felder was calling a fight between Dan Hooker and Nasrat Haqparast while calling him “the worst to ever do it,” which led to a spirited exchange between them on social media.

Now as he prepares for his own fight on Saturday night, Vettori will have Felder calling the action cage side but he promises whatever simmering tension exists between them won’t bleed into his performance.

“I’ll definitely put it behind [me] and I’ll be laser focused when I’m in the cage,” Vettori told MMA Fighting ahead of his fight.

According to Vettori, his issue with Felder came down to what he perceived was biased commentary towards Hooker and against Haqparast when they clashed at UFC 266 in September.

The Italian middleweight says he’s had similar problems with Felder calling his fights in the past as well but his initial challenge over Twitter had nothing to do with his personal experiences at the time.

“I just don’t like, and again, I came out saying this because I saw it happening to a friend of mine [Nasrat Haqparast] and not actually to myself,” Vettori explained. “Saying that, it actually happened to myself multiple times and one of the times was actually my last fight [against Israel Adesanya].

“Paul Felder tried to be the smart kid in the comments when he replied to me. I didn’t really like that. It’s not that I didn’t like it, it’s just coming from him, it’s not like it really made sense but he tried to be funny. I addressed the thing that was important to me.”

Whether it’s Felder or anybody else behind the microphone, Vettori can’t help but feel at times that the commentators working UFC broadcasts can be skewed one way or another during certain fights.

Of course, Vettori isn’t alone in his criticism — there have been numerous examples of fighters taking aim at commentators for perceived biases over the years — and he just got fed up with it that night.

“Sometimes I feel like commentators, they just try to bias the public and whoever watches the fight cause they have that power sometimes and it’s wrong,” Vettori said. “We put our heart and soul out there and even him being a fighter and even him talking to the fighters before they fight, he should know better. Sometimes, I don’t know what goes on but I just feel like him in particular, he’s a puppet.

“I’ll see him and I’ll talk to him. I like to talk face-to-face. At the end of the day, we’re in a civilized society, kind of civilized. By saying that, it’s not that it’s going to bother me or nothing. I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut when I saw it happen to a friend.”

As part of the typical pre-fight week schedule, Vettori will meet with the commentary team ahead of Saturday night to chat with them about his training camp and preparation for the upcoming battle against Costa.

That means Vettori will be answering questions from Felder and he definitely plans on addressing his issues with the commentary once they actually have a chance to talk.

Vettori doesn’t want to misconstrue his actions as confrontational but rather a way to hash out their differences in person rather than a war of words on social media.

“I’ll talk to him for sure. Whenever I see him, I’ll talk to him for sure,” Vettori said. “I just expect for anybody that does their work to be able to do their job properly. That’s what I ask. That’s the only thing that I ask. If he does it properly, then there shouldn’t be any problem.”

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