With just two days to go until fight night (now one), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) yesterday held its final media call to hype The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 9 Finale, which is scheduled for "The Pearl" at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, June 20.
The stars of the conference were supposed to be the four finalists from the show who will all compete this weekend to crown the next two TUF winners. But the final four took a back seat while the coaches from this season, Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson, as well as main event participants, Diego Sanchez and Clay Guida, stole the spotlight.
Ross Pearson, Andre Winner, DaMarques Johnson and James Wilks were on the receiving end of the majority of the questions, but when the coaches were finally asked their first question we got to hear from Henderson and the reason he called Bisping a "douche bag" on the final episode of the season.
"I don’t know," he said. "[Bisping] likes to talk a lot. He is an alright guy, a very good fighter and a tough person. I think it was a result of some of the things that happened on the show and just being together that long. I don’t dislike him at all. Calling him a douche bad doesn’t mean I hate him or anything."
Michael Bisping was asked for his thoughts on being called a douche bag and revealed he was not bothered with the name calling.
"I have always respected him as a fighter and respected him as a person. That isn’t the first time someone has called me a douche bag and I doubt it’s going to be the last. I didn’t lose too much sleep over that."
It appears that for the most part both Henderson and Bisping plan to take the high road and play nice ... at least until they step inside the Octagon at UFC 100 on July 11 .
The TUF 9 contestants were asked more questions before "The Nightmare" busted in mid call for a special guest appearance. And he had some pointed words for Kenny Florian -- a man who he beat four years ago to become the first-ever TUF winner -- who is preparing for a fight against UFC Lightweight Champion BJ Penn later this year.
"One of the reasons for me dropping to 155 was the fact that Kenny Florian is coming up on his second title shot, and this is a guy that I walked through four years ago," said Sanchez. "And everybody thinks that, yeah, we’ve both evolved, we’ve both changed, we’re both different fighters, we’ve both improved a lot. But the fact is that I walked through him and it wasn’t even a fight, and this is the number one contender. So in my mind, I am the number one contender right now."
Sanchez went on to suggest a rematch between the two should happen after the pair assumes coaching duties on the eleventh season of the reality show.
"I think that if he wins and I win, that would make a great fight for the fans and possibly two great coaches for the next season after Rashad and Rampage. It would be an awesome rematch. He’s going to want a shot at redemption and I want a shot at the title, so it definitely plays out for a good story line. That being said I’m rooting for B.J. Penn. I would like B.J. Penn to win (at UFC 101). That’s a guy I’ve always wanted to fight."
Think what you will of Diego Sanchez be he certainly knows how to market his career by stirring the pot. Does anyone else smell a Diego Sanchez vs. B.J. Penn title fight before the end of 2009?
His opponent at TUF 9 Finale, Clay Guida, may have something to say about that. However, it's too bad that no one bothered to ask "The Carpenter" a single question on the call. It was as if he was an after thought.
But he made a point to make his presence known, appearing out of nowhere as the call was coming to an end. As the proctor thanked everyone for their time Clay delivered his only line of the night.
"Hey this is Clay. I guess no one knew I was on the line. I thought I was on the agenda, but I didn’t want to interrupt. Anyways, I am glad I’m part of the main event."
We are too, Clay. Despite his lack of air time it’s safe to say Guida may have stolen the call single handedly. He'll try and do it again Saturday night ... and he may just surprise a few more people.
Enjoy TUF 9 Finale, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the main card action on fight night (Saturday, June 20), which is slated to air beginning at 9 p.m. ET on Spike TV. The latest quick updates of the live action will begin to flow earlier than that around 7 p.m. ET.