Dustin Poirier’s been catching flak from some for his decision to turn down replacement opponents offered at UFC Fight Night 76, but he’s not particularly concerned with those who think that way. Duffy was offered a fight with Norman Parke after Joseph Duffy was pulled due to a concussion, but he and his team didn’t see the sense of the fight.
For Poirier, who entered the event on a two-fight winning streak, it was a business decision and a business decision alone. To that end, Poirier said he believed it would have been plenty easy to defeat Parke, but it wasn’t sensible to take the fight.
“Hey, I saved Norman Parke’s career. He should be thankful this weekend I didn’t fight him,” Poirier said in an interview with MMAJunkie.com. “He would have been 0-3 in his last three fights, and he would be getting his walking papers. He’s lucky.
“All it would have been was a paycheck,” he continued. “What if I had I broken my hand? What if I had torn my ACL? It’s more than just, ‘Let me get this paycheck.’ Norman Parke, for sure, is an easy fight. He’s going to try to lean on you, and he’s slow. I could go on and on.
“This is the thing. I’m a prize fighter, and the prize wasn’t right. That’s why I didn’t fight.”
Poirier added that comments from Dana White after Duffy pulled out made him a lot more comfortable with the decision he ultimately made.
“This is what really made me feel better about the decision; before I made it, Dana said, ‘Hey kid, don’t feel like this show is riding on your shoulders.'” Poirier commented of their exchange. “I don’t know what kind of camp you had. Fight if you really need to take this fight. If not, we’ll reschedule it.’
“When he said that, I was like, if these guys really needed me to fight, they would have told me that. I thought it was not that big of a deal. And you know what, I want to fight the guy I trained for.”
Penick’s Analysis: Those criticizing Poirier for pulling out of that event and not fighting Parke are entirely off base. It’s not a fight that made any sense whatsoever, outside of a paycheck as Poirier says. It wouldn’t have “saved” the event in any capacity, it wouldn’t have meant anything further than being a fight that happened. Parke’s not in a spot to fight someone at Poirier’s level at the moment anyway, let alone in some short notice meaningless fight. Poirier made the right call, without question.