Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White regrets his decision to feature the middleweight bout between UFC newcomer Derek Brunson and the returning Chris Leben on the pay-per-view (PPV) portion of the UFC 155 fight card, which took place last night (Dec. 29, 2012) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In a night full of exciting battles, Chris Leben vs. Derek Brunson was one of the few dull points, as the 185-pound contest lasted for an underwhelming 15-minutes, with "Wrecking Ball" coming out on top by way of decision.
Leben has long been known for being on the most exciting fighters to ever grace the Octagon, but "The Crippler" simply did not -- and seemingly could not -- deliver at UFC 155.
White shared his thoughts on the bout with media members at the UFC 155 post-fight press conference (watch it here):
"I love Chris Leben personally and professionally, you know, he's a great kid. You know, I think tonight for the pay-per-view, I think I made a mistake putting him on the pay-per-view I should have had him on the undercard. He's been off with personal problems for a while, has had a lot of time off, you know, and he looked slow tonight. I wasn't crazy about that fight, that wasn't my favorite fight of the night that's for damn sure."
With Leben not having competed since Nov. 2011 because of a suspension, White took the blame for putting the match up on the main card; however, the UFC's head honcho believes he overlooked the fact that the 32-year-old may have been carrying some ring rust after one of the longest layoffs of his career, which included a stint in drug rehabilitation.
"There's no doubt about it Chris Leben loves to fight. There's no doubt about that. You know, the biggest, the biggest challenge in Chris Leben's life is battling his demons, you know? And, you know, we try to help him as much as we can and, you know, like I said I love the kid. So, I'm sure he'll be back and there's no doubt -- how would the kid not be rusty? It's impossible so, I kind of blew that. Joe Silva will blame that one 100 percent on me."
White doesn't place the blame on the underwhelming middleweight contest entirely on Leben -- the UFC boss is also pointed the finger at Brunson, who he thinks could have put more effort in going for a finish in his first UFC fight, but simply decided to manage the clock and take the safe route to victory.
Even if White seemed to forget the Brunson did him a favor, taking the bout on about 10-days notice.
His first impression regardless:
"You know, the other kid was looking at the clock like he was a 14-year-old waiting for school to get out the entire fight, looking at the clock. You know, you're in in the UFC your first time and, you know, I wasn't very impressed."
Despite dropping back-to-back fights for the first time in over four years, White assured media members that Leben will be welcomed back to the Octagon whenever he is ready.
Just don't expect him anywhere near a PPV main card anytime soon.