Frankie Edgar is fired up, and he’s sounding off on the UFC after UFC President Dana White somewhat threw him under the bus on ESPN’s Sportscenter Tuesday night.
Edgar was one of the names considered for the fight with Conor McGregor at UFC 196 next week in Las Vegas after the injury to Rafael dos Anjos, but he’s recovering from a torn groin suffered in training and physically was unable to fight next week. However, the way it was characterized by White when announcing Nate Diaz as the opponent was that Edgar was one of a few fighters who wouldn’t take the fight, and that – among a number of other things – has Edgar extremely unhappy.
“I got a call from Ali saying that Rafael dos Anjos got hurt, and [the UFC] had texted him, ‘will Frankie fight him at 155?’ And, I’ve been hurt for the past four weeks,” Edgar said in an interview with MMAFighting.com. “I’m pissed off for a couple of reasons. I’m pissed off that I’ve got this opportunity slip through again. I’m sitting here, I’m the one who’s been trying to fight this guy for months now. I’m flying myself to Vegas on my own dime to lobby to get a fight with this guy and now here comes the opportunity, and I’m hurt and I can’t take it. I haven’t done anything in four weeks. I didn’t just pull my groin, I tore it. I sent Dana and everyone in the UFC my MRI.
“I’m even more pissed that Dana’s insinuating that I ‘refused’ to take this fight, which is bulls***. Just because they asked me doesn’t mean they were going to give it to me because guess what, in July they asked me to take the [UFC 189] fight on 15 day’s notice, which of course I accepted, and I still didn’t get it.
“I have a feeling that if I had said ‘yes,’ if Ali had texted back ‘yes,’ that fight still would have went to Nate Diaz,” he continued. “I think Nate Diaz was the fight they were trying to make since the beginning. From what I hear they contacted Nate even before they contacted me. But now Dana wants to go around saying that I ‘refused ‘to take this fight, and I don’t know if he’s going to try to use it against me in the future when another opportunity comes up where I can fight for the belt, and he’s going to say, ‘well, you had your opportunity and you said no.’
“…I feel like my integrity is something that I’ve built over the years and I’ve been such a good guy to the UFC, and then they’re going to throw me under the bus like I ‘refused’ to take this fight. I would take that fight in a heartbeat, even if I wasn’t training. If I was healthy enough, I would absolutely take that fight.”
The UFC’s special treatment of McGregor has become another point of contention for Edgar, who ripped into the UFC for allowing McGregor to essentially keep two divisions locked up while he goes after whatever else he wants, saying, “This is a circus. The ‘C’ in UFC stands for Conor. This guy runs the show.”
“…They’ve been telling me for years, we don’t want you to fight at 55, we don’t want you to fight at 155…but oh, you want to fight Conor McGregor on 10 days notice at 155? Sure, well go ahead, jump in,” Edgar scoffed. “It’s ridiculous. If they believe in Conor so much, let me fight him at 145 and give me a full f***ing camp. And I know I’d take that belt home with me.
“I don’t know if he’s not interested in the fight, or if he’s not interested in the weight cut. If the weight cut is the problem, you can’t fight 45 no more. It’s over. Go move up if you want to. And that’s no problem, it’s not his fault, it is what it is. But there’s no reason he should keep the belt hostage.”
Penick’s Analysis: Well, he’s certainly not off. Edgar, and any other fighter in a similar position, has every right to be upset with the way everything’s playing out with McGregor at the moment. Of course, the fact that McGregor brings in the type of money he does for the UFC while he continues to perform is what’s allowed him to do whatever he pleases, but Edgar and others have more than valid issues and concerns with how it’s all going down. The UFC’s continued insistence on throwing guys under the bus at times like this is detrimental and really counter-intuitive, and they needlessly made both Edgar and Jose Aldo look bad on Tuesday by painting it as them “refusing” to fight McGregor. Aldo just got cleared to train earlier this month after a medical suspension from their last bout, and Edgar’s injured himself. And while there’s still the same argument of McGregor having the same amount of notice for a new matchup, he’s also been training straight through for March 5. Edgar 100% deserves a Featherweight Title fight against McGregor with a full camp; if that’s not going to happen, and McGregor’s going to move up after the Welterweight Title, then it’s going to be time to abandon that Featherweight Title in order to let those still in the division compete for it. If he’s going to make it back down to defend the belt, so be it, but the delay to things with dos Anjos’ injury has absolutely screwed up the timeline.
[Frankie Edgar art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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