Simon Marcus was a no-show at the GLORY 21 post-fight press conference last Friday evening (May 8, 2015) in San Diego, California. The No. 1-ranked GLORY middleweight was rather despondent at the majority draw decision handed down after the ultra-competitive main event against GLORY middleweight champion, Artem Levin, clearly thinking he was the better man over five rounds.
The Canadian-Jamaican fighter literally called "bullshit" when veteran announcer Stephen Quadros asked him to share his thoughts about the fight's rarely-seen conclusion, where there is no winner and the champion retains his title.
"Bad Bwoy" had no words to share aside from the expletive in that brief interaction, and would not make his way to the dais inside the Valley View Casino Center.
"I didn't feel like talking much at that point," Marcus recently told MMAmania.com, his mood much calmer than the last time he spoke on Spike TV.
"I thought I won the fight," he said, opening up about the decision for the first time. "I felt that people who watched the fight saw that I was the one who won. It was still a close contest but, everybody who was there saw it. There are a lot of people disappointed with the decision including myself. A rematch is probably the best option. I feel like I have the right to call myself the best regardless of the result. It was called a draw, but I feel I got the win, so I feel it's only fair I get another chance at the title."
The fight was a showcase of grit and determination; two highly-skilled competitors at a stalemate, refusing to back down or give an inch to one another, fighting with a palpable intensity. A battle in the clinch that marred any continuance, while likely muddying the waters for the judges to make a definitive decision on what fighter was actually winning each round.
"I think we were both focused," said Marcus, who won the GLORY 20 contender tournament to earn the title shot against Levin. "We were both trying to control the fight. Levin was using defense and he was holding on a lot to try and stop the momentum, as he does, and I was just trying to keep moving forward without giving in to his attacks. But I mean, it was a good fight. While I was in the ring I felt like it went by quick. I was just in the moment. I was actually enjoying it and it was a high-level contest. It didn't look the prettiest, but a lot of times styles make match ups and sometimes two of the best fighters aren't going to look good in the ring."
Levin was holding and clinching throughout the entire contest, which is not allowed under GLORY rules for more than a few seconds. After repeated warnings by referee Marcos Rosales, the champion was docked one point in the third round, which shockingly enough in a razor-close fight, didn't end up costing him his belt. That was the third time in seven career GLORY fights Levin has been penalized for holding. He has been playing with fire with his style for quite some time now. It's nothing new to Marcus, who said the champion is somewhat of a "trickster."
"Oh that's Artem Levin's game," he said. "He's what you call a master of skull thuggery. Honestly, personally, he's lucky he didn't get another point taken from him. In the rules meeting we're told ‘you cannot hold on as a means of stopping the progression of the fight and holding on without damage.' 90 percent of the time, Artem is holding on, he is just holding on to get a break. He's not throwing any knees with force or anything like that. Even after the ref took the point off him he continued to do it for the rest of the fight. So I think that was lucky on his part that he didn't get another point taken."
Marcus admitted that he has re-watched the GLORY 21 fight over 20 times now and as upset as he was in the majority draw and not winning the title, he's not going to hand his head and he will move forward. He has found some solace in the fact that he was all but counted out prior to GLORY 20, but never doubted his abilities and won the one-night tournament and fought the champion tooth-and-nail for five rounds, proving he is still one of the best in the world.
"As a professional and fighting for GLORY, obviously the goal is to be the GLORY champion and win the title, but as a martial artist and as a person, my goal is to be the best at what I do," Marcus said. "I had a couple of losses while I was transitioning to kickboxing, but I feel like I bounced back and proved what I had to prove to myself regardless of the results. I'm not the official champion, but in my heart I am, so that is the most important thing because I would much rather feel that I won and not be awarded the win then have felt like I lost and been awarded the belt."
Marcus is now 1-0-1 in two fights against Levin, defeating him in their first encounter at Lion Fight 9 in 2013 by unanimous decision and, of course, the majority draw at GLORY 21. Levin has only lost one other fight since then, to Joe Schilling at GLORY 10, but avenged that loss in the final at GLORY: "Last Man Standing" last June. The Russian champion failed to do so against Marcus, who feels he has figured "The Lion" out, boasting, "I have his number."
"I mean, the fights speak for themselves," Marcus said, matter-of-factly. "If you watch the fights -- both fights -- they said he was the best fighter coming in, but I was able to beat him on both occasions. At a high level I'm not going to say I dominated him easily or anything like that, but I was still the dominant fighter and I've been able to dominate the fights and control the fights and do more damage in my opinion. I'm always tough regardless, but Artem Levin is no special case for me."
The two did not exchange any words after the fight, but Marcus feels strongly that Levin's post-fight reaction after the decision was rendered (walking around the ring with his hands raised) was a strong indicator that he knows he didn't win the fight.
"I thought Levin knew I won. There wasn't much to say there because if you win a fight and you put your hands up and you are cheering and happy because it was a draw, you definitely didn't win the fight. Anybody who wins a fight isn't going to be happy when it's called a draw. So, he was just happy that he didn't lose the title. The decision was a bad one. It's all good.
"He was happy that he retained the title by any means possible. He knew he lost. After the fight, if you look at his cornermen, they weren't saying anything, everybody knew it. That's why they say you can't leave it in the judges' hands."
At the post-fight press conference Levin said he would fight Marcus again, but not immediately.
"I will fight him again, yes," Levin said. "He can have a rematch but first he must win at least one fight. If he wins a fight in GLORY next, then he can have a rematch after that. Then we will see, finally."
Seems a bit puzzling that after a fight he didn't win, Levin would suggest the No. 1-contender should have to fight another fight before getting a rematch. Marcus, who received the only winning score among the three judges (48-46) gave his reaction to Levin's quote.
"I don't know, I'm not feeling him right now," Marcus said. "He's just so happy that he still has the belt. He knows he didn't win so, I think he is a little shook to fight. He's counting his blessings over there. It's all good."
Marcus said he fought his heart out at GLORY 21 and always tries to "put on a show and get the win at the same time." When he and Levin cross paths for a third time, he's not envisioning the contest going to the judges like the last two.
"I'm looking forward to the rematch because I feel I'm going to have to prove myself once again and show why I'm the best. And this time I'm not trying to make it even close at all. I'm trying to knock him out."