From unprecedented toe jams to near-historic upsets to controversial decisions, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 24 Finale: “Tournament of Champions,” which took place inside Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada, this past weekend (Sat., Dec. 3, 2016), had a little bit of everything in hindsight.
It even featured a rare apology from company President, Dana White.
That’s according to Henry Cejudo, who locked horns with his TUF 24 coaching counterpart — and budding arch nemesis — Joseph Benavidez in the FOX Sports 1-televised co-main event. Cejedo dropped a split decision after 15 minutes of non-stop, high-level mixed martial arts (MMA) action (watch highlights here), but it was much closer than at least one of the judges’ scorecards (see them here) reflected.
"You know it's bad when Dana White calls you to apologize for the judging," Cejudo said on “The MMA Hour” (transcription via Joe.CO.uk). “He literally called me two seconds right after I sent [a] text message to him. He was like, 'Listen Henry, I apologize. I'm sincerely sorry. You won that fight. Everybody I talked to -- Sean Shelby said you won the fight, everybody that was ringside, there was not one person in that arena that thought you didn't win that fight.'
"It was just a sincere apology and I don't really have a relationship with Dana White,” he continued. “I just happened to text him and he was apologetic."
In addition to White’s approval, Cejudo was also likely bolstered by the post-event rankings, which still have him locked in at No. 2 just behind Benavidez. Flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson, also isn’t thrilled about a potential trilogy match against Benavidez, who he has already defeated on two separate occasions. Indeed, all early indications point toward an immediate rematch sometime in 2017, one that hopefully is scheduled for five, five-minute rounds.
If Benavidez and Cejudo do eventually run it back, don’t expect it to take place under the supervision of Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC). That’s because Cejudo has a sneaking suspicion that his support of Nick Diaz — who was slapped with an eye-raising five-year suspension from the sport, which was later reduced — could have factored into the “robbery” on fight night.
"I counted every round, all the significant strikes and I just felt like it was a complete robbery,” he said. “It's a shame what the judges are willing to do. I wonder if it was due to the backing up Nick Diaz — the whole Nevada Athletic Commission thing. I don't know if they still have it out for me. I definitely do want to fight Joe again eventually, but I won't fight him in Vegas."