Barstool Sports Founder, Dave Portnoy, circled the mixed martial arts (MMA) community in 2022, supporting two of the sport’s biggest rising stars.
Portnoy signed Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight and Flyweight prospects, Paddy Pimblett and Molly McCann, to content creator deals this past year and managed to make his way to each’s fights. While McCann came up short in Nov. 2022, one month later (Dec. 10, 2022) and the majority of those who saw Pimblett’s clash with Jared Gordon at UFC 282 believe Pimblett also should have lost his bout.
Pimblett defeated Gordon via unanimous decision (watch highlights) in the UFC 282 co-main event, shouting for Fight of the Night honors in the immediate aftermath. Portnoy and his Barstool buddies supported the sentiment in person as well as online, leading to some flack from many fighters — Justin Gaethje, in particular.
“I thought it was a close decision,” Portnoy said on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. “[Gaethje] threatened to beat me up. That’s not saying much. Your producer could beat me up. That’s not much of a threat. I’ve never been in a physical altercation in my life.
“After the fight, Paddy in the ring [says], ‘fight of the night!’” he explained. “The third round, they didn’t throw a punch. It wasn’t fight of the night, but he was talking fight of the night. Paddy’s our guy. So, we’re saying, ‘Fight of the night, fight of the night!’ He (Gaethje) got mad at us. He’s like, ‘You’re trying to steal money from the actual fighters who won fight of the night.’ We’re like no we didn’t ... People littered the comments that he was out with a third-world dictator [Ramzan Kadyrov]. So, I hit him back with that. We just said Paddy was fight of the night, you were out with the [Chechen] dictator, one of the worst guys on the planet.”
UFC commentator, Joe Rogan, responded comically to Portnoy’s comments, labeling Gaethje as the most violent man in MMA, and that it probably isn’t a good idea to antagonize him. Rogan wasn’t concerned for Portnoy’s safety if the two ever met, however.
Pimblett’s first appearance of 2023 has yet to be lined, but “The Baddy” has been vocal about his feelings on his rightful victory over Gordon.