Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a dog-eat-dog sport where you have to crush your opponent to advance. And that was on clear display at UFC 239 last night (Sat., July 6, 2019) as several fighters finished their opponents in brutal fashion to move up the ladder. There were big winners and big losers, and that was very apparent during the post fight press conference when UFC president Dana White shared his thoughts on some of the performances he saw.
For all that he was impressed by, a few of them had him thinking a fighter or two should retire. Not amongst his short list for that: Diego Sanchez, who got manhandled and tossed around by a much larger Michael Chiesa in a three round decision loss. That puts him at 9-10 over the past decade, but White still sees life left in “Nightmare.”
”I love Diego Sanchez,” White said. “I love everything about Diego Sanchez. When you talk about somebody who was put on this earth to fight, it’s what this kid was born to do. He loves it so much. And you saw tonight, the way he was treated by the fans. The fans love this guy.”
“And Chiesa is going to be scary at this weight. He was huge and every time Diego tried to grapple with him, he couldn’t. He was overpowered. Chiesa fought a good fight. Diego’s like ... 14 years, he’s been in the UFC. It’s amazing. Listen, he’s not getting, it’s not like he got viciously knocked out.”
”Like, I’ll give you an example, I think Luke Rockhold should talk about hanging it up,” White continued. “He broke his jaw tonight. So that’s a second broken jaw, he has been knocked out viciously a few times here. Shin is all banged up, he had to have a skin graph and all kinds of stuff. He has had a good career, he’s been a great fighter, I’d like to see him hang it up.”
“And he’s got another career that he’s actually doing well at. Everybody’s a f**king model, right? ‘I’m a model, I’m a model.’ That guy’s really modeling for Ralph Lauren. So good for him.”
He seemed a bit more on the fence regarding Holly Holm, who suffered a big head kick KO loss to Amanda Nunes (watch the finish here).
“Listen, I don’t want to start going retirement crazy in here,” Dana said. “You know, she has had an amazing career. She is one of the sweetest human beings you can ever meet. And if you follow her on Instagram, she trains like a beast. She’s almost 40-years-old and she’s in ridiculous shape. The things that this woman can do physically with like the rings, gymnastics and all that stuff is phenomenal.”
”She’s an incredible athlete, she’s an incredible human being,” he said. “I think that she needs to take a look at, you know, what’s next for her and what she thinks – and I’m just saying that because I care about her. I care about her as a person. She’s amazing, so, I don’t know. Something we should probably talk about.”
Holm also has a lot of red on her recent record. Since the infamous head kick of Ronda Rousey, she is just 2-5. Not great numbers at all. Rockhold as well is now on a 1-3 skid. We’d say all three fighters need to wonder whether they still have the ability to compete at the top of their respective divisions, but this being MMA we doubt they will.
It’ll probably take another violent loss to wake them up to the reality of a sport where the prospects are only getting younger (Edmen Shahbazyan! Yadong Song!) and they’re only getting older (sorry, Diego).