USA TODAY Sports
Lost in the shuffle of four amazing main card performances at last night's (Dec. 8, 2012) UFC on Fox 5 event was the fact that Ben Henderson, who defeated Nate Diaz to retain his title, apparently did so with a toothpick in his mouth.
A bizarre situation played itself out during the main event of last night's (Sat., Dec. 8, 2012) UFC on Fox 5: "Henderson vs. Diaz" show on network television. Most fans were keyed on the bizarre camera cutaways when Nate Diaz was flipping off Ben Henderson en route to a five-round unanimous decision loss but a bigger controversy, although one that hasn't received a ton of attention, has come out.
Henderson fought Diaz with a toothpick in his mouth ... allegedly.
I say allegedly because "Bendo" played coy at the post-fight press conference, first saying he couldn't comment with a subtle nod to the affirmative before quickly changing his tune to say he was joking. Then, UFC employee Dave Sholler, who was emceeing the presser, later made sure to point out that Henderson was joking and he did not fight with a toothpick in his mouth.
Little did they know, UFC President Dana White had given an interview to FUEL TV that aired at roughly the same time Sholler and Henderson were in which he said he saw a toothpick in Henderson's mouth:
"Let me tell you what, I saw a toothpick pop out of his mouth when he walked back to the corner. That is the craziest thing I have ever seen. That is so not legal it's not even funny. It's incredible. I've never seen anything like it in my 43 years on Earth. I doubt (he gets fine), I mean why could you fine him for it? But I think that the athletic commission will be looking for that in the future."
Later, video came out and it looks definitive:
There are obvious safety concerns with something like this. For starters, Henderson could mistakenly swallow the damn thing. Secondly, he could have it pop out of his mouth in such a way that while clinching with his opponent, he could open a cut on said opponent. Yes, it's a long shot that would happen but even the possibility is enough to raise concern on the matter.
Or is that an overreaction? Maniacs, how do you feel about Henderson (allegedly) fighting with a toothpick in his mouth?