Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Director of Public Relations, Dave Sholler, was pegged with the unenviable task of being smack dab in the middle of the first-ever staredown between light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and number one contender Daniel Cormier.
And we all know what happened (relive it here) once the bitter rivals came face-to-face.
Though Sholler tried the best he could, he was unable to keep an irate "Bones" from getting to Cormier after the former Olympian put his hands on the champ's neck.
At least Sholler got his five minutes of
shame fame on ESPN.
According to UFC President Dana White, it's tough to blame Sholler for not preventing the brawl, because at the end of the day, he doesn't have the experience to deal with that type of situation.
From his reaction during the UFC's "Download:"
"Dave Sholler doesn't really have any experience out there between the guys. There's times when you know something is going on and you're ready and you jump in there and get that thing defused. That's why I stand there. I don't stand there because I want to be in fucking pictures, I'm there to make sure that kind of shit doesn't happen. You got two guys, who are going to fight, and there is definitely a ton of mind warfare going on between [Cormier and Jones], no doubt about it."
So what was Sholler doing there in the first place?
He was filling in for a vacationing White, who was in Bora Bora to take a break from all the madness the comes with being the head of the largest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion in the world. And wouldn't you know it, even more madness ensues the rare time he's not in the center of the action.
Still, that doesn't mean that White would have fared any better than Sholler had he been there.
"As soon as Jones went up and their bodies touched, I would have separated them. Sometimes you'll see me put a hand in, or sometimes you'll see me do something else. I would have separated them. It was the head butt, Jones headbutted Cormier -- that's what upset [Daniel] and made him push him back. I would have got my arm in there before that contact was even made. I would have seen the contact coming and I would have stopped it. Then I would have been right in the middle. Would I have stopped that whole thing from going down, who the fuck knows? I wasn't there. When those guys get up there and you have the mentality of a fighter, and not everybody is the same. There are some guys who can go up there and can stare at each other and it's all good, and then there are guys where there can be any little thing that can be off, or something that was said leading up to them being face to face, and anything can happen. These guys are fighters, man, they're ready to go. And that's what makes the weigh-ins so amazing and why I love it so much. Those staredowns, there's nothing fucking like it."
Can you imagine "Bones" bulldozing Dana like he did Dave?
According to White, being in the center of an intense staredown is a great position to be in, but he knows all too well that even the tiniest of things can set a fighter off when his rival is breathing a few inches away from his face.
"The position that I get to stand in during those staredowns is the greatest position in all of fucking sports. Nothing like being there when two guys are cutting weight, they're fighting the next day, they're away from their families for eight fucking weeks, and they get to square off. At the end of the day, the two men or women in the staredown are fighters. People can try to sugar coat it or try to spin any way that they want, that's the reality. That's who they are, that's what they're paid to do and that's what you show up to watch. These guys, that's who they are to the core. And when you get two guys like that and you don't handle the situation the right way to defuse it, that's what happens. The difference is that Sholler has never been in that position before."
In the end, all of the drama that unfolded in the lobby of the MGM Grand between two of the best fighters in the world, and the backlash that ensued, was all for naught, as the light heavyweight title fight, which was supposed to go down at UFC 178 on Sept. 27, 2014, has has been re-scheduled for UFC 182 on Jan. 3, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada after "Bones" suffered an injury in training.
And though fight fans will have to wait an extra four months to see Jones and Cormier unleash their disdain for one another inside the Octagon, you can bet that the UFC hype machine will dust off the old video footage of the brawl to promote the much-anticipated title fight when the time comes.
Question is, will the fight still do one million pay-per-view (PPV) buys given the fact that the delay might cool off the heat it has generated thus far?
Time will tell.