UFC lightweight up-and-comer Paddy Pimblett had a brief altercation with featherweight prospect Ilia Topuria at the promotion’s host hotel on Tuesday, where both combatants have shacked up in advance of the UFC London card this Sat. night (March 19) at O2 Arena.
Why all the hullabaloo?
Turns out Pimblett once suggested that Georgians were “stupid” and deserved to be “terrorized” by Russians. “The Baddy” never apologized for the remark but later blamed it on historical ignorance, claiming he was a fighter and not a historian or politician.
Topuria, of Georgian descent, was not amused.
“As soon as he came out of them double doors, he just snarled at me,” Pimblett told reporters during the UFC London media day. “So I looked at him and said, ‘What?’ And then he walked towards me and I said, ‘What’s happening, lad?’ Then as he got close to me, he swiped a slap at me. I wasn’t punching him because I’m not breaking my hand and not being able to fight and make my money this weekend. So I stepped back and picked up the hand sanitizer and bounced if off his head.”
Pimblett (17-3) will make his highly-anticipated Octagon return against Mexican import Rodrigo Vargas. As for Topuria (11-0), he bumps up to lightweight for a three-round showdown opposite “Black Country Banger” Jai Herbert.
“I can’t let something like that happen,” Pimblett continued. “I can’t start throwing punches and get cut off the card or break my hand hitting someone. Especially someone so meaningless. Who even is he? Seriously, who is ‘Mr. Hand Sanitizer?’ He’s a no one. He used my name for followers and to gain some publicity and he put a video up and made himself look like a right tool.”
Perhaps a victory for both Pimblett and Topuria could set up a future fight?
“He’s not gonna win though,” Pimblett said. “I know full well, I know Jai. I know Jai is gonna knock him out and send him crawling back down to the featherweight division.”
For the rest of the UFC London fight card and lineup click here.
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