WEEKEND NEWS DIGEST 6/10-6/11: Dana White pulls back on Mighty Mouse pound for pound claims, Fight Night Auckland post-mortem (w/ Analysis)

By Mike Hiscoe, MMATorch contributor

Demetrious Johnson

Saturday News By Cole Henry

Thibault Gouti pulled from UFC Fight Night 110

Just hours before the event, it has been announced that Thibault Gouti would not be able to compete in his scheduled bout with Dong Hyun Kim. Gouti has been diagnosed with an undisclosed illness. This is a tough situation for everybody involved, and hopefully, Gouti is able to make a speedy recovery.

Demetrious Johnson no longer the pound for pound king?

Dana White can be a petty man, people. But I guess he’s in a position to do that sort of thing. A few months back, White was championing Demetrious Johnson as the number one pound for pound fighter in the world. But after the recent exchange of words between Johnson, nd White, it appears as though White has reconsidered his claim. White now says that Conor McGregor is the P4P king, and that only the media puts Johnson in that position. This isn’t really a surprising move by White, as he has been even pettier in the past, but it is a real shame for Johnson, who seemingly can’t catch a break despite his incredible success in the UFC. You would think that a guy as god as Johnson would be promoted by White, but Johnson’s lack of PPV value has seemingly made him expendable in White’s eyes.

Is the end near for Michael “The Count” Bisping?

Current UFC Middleweight Champion, Michael Bisping is not a young man, by MMA standards, but for some reason it’s still hard to imagine that he will someday retire, and according to him, that day isn’t far off. Bisping is expected to face the winner of Yoel Romero and Robert Whitaker next, and has said that win or lose, he would like one more fight after that, preferably in his home country, and then he will ride off into the sunset. Bisping is a sure hall of famer, he is a former Ultimate Fighter winner, the current middleweight world champion, and one of the winningest fighters in UFC history, not to mention the all-time face of British MMA. It will be a sad day for MMA when The Count really does decide to lay down the gloves.

Nate Marquardt vs. Vitor Belfort 2?

If Nate Marquardt has his way we will see it, but it won’t be in Brazil. The two had a very close fight last weekend at UFC 212, and Marquardt seems to think that the judges played a bigger role in Vitor’s win than they should have. Marquardt stated that even after re-watching the fight, he is convinced the judges got it wrong and would like a rematch on soil that may not be so biased. Neither of these two have many fights left, and I guess a rematch is as good as any fight for either at this stage.

Sunday News By Mike Hiscoe

Saturday night’s UFC Fight Night from Auckland, New Zealand (Sunday afternoon locally) delivered one of the more exciting main cards in recent memory with five finishes in six fights, three in the first round, and two in the first minute. In fact, the card was very reminiscent of a November, 2014 Fight Night event from neighboring Australia when all 11 fights that night avoided the judge’s scorecards.

With many fights ending quickly and decisively, UFC officials had a large sample to choose from for performance of the night bonuses but few viable options for fight of the night as the early fights that went to the cards were still one-sided and lacked drama. The end result saw performance bonuses go to Ben Nguyen for his 49 second submission of former title challenger Tim Elliott and to hometown boy Daniel Hooker for his second round decimation of Ross Pearson via knee to the jaw.

Fight of the Night honors went to main eventers Mark Hunt and Derrick Lewis. The two heavyweights slugged it out for four rounds until Lewis succumbed to a re-aggravated back injury and fatigue giving Hunt the TKO victory. Hunt was patient and avoided gassing out himself by playing a counter striking game that eventually wore out the “Black Beast.” Lewis looked his best in the first round and likely ran out of gas after that point as he lacked the explosiveness he showed in the early minutes of the fight. Lewis was able to come from behind in his previous fight with Travis Browne, but he didn’t have it in him in Auckland.

Lewis’ mind may have been elsewhere, as he’s been open about the fact that he is getting married soon but he dropped a bombshell after the fight when he told Brian Stann that this was “probably” his last fight. Lewis said he didn’t like putting his family “through this” and may be stepping down but didn’t fully commit to the idea or use the ‘r’ word.

Nguyen, Hooker, Lewis, and Hunt all receive $50,000 bonuses for their efforts – a nice supplement to their fight purses. For Hunt though, who is currently embroiled in a lawsuit with UFC, it might go straight to his lawyers.

Hiscoe’s Analysis: We’ve learned some interesting things about how UFC operates lately. The rules seem to go like this: Call in sick for a fighters’ summit? No more bonuses for you. Ask to be marketed better? Cut your entire division. Sue the company and its President? Here’s $50k.

In all seriousness though, I was more surprised that Hunt got the fight of the night bonus because I thought it was a bad fight than because of the lawsuit he has out against UFC. It was one of those plodding heavyweight fights with a somewhat exciting finish but until then it was just both guys trying to land that big shot in between catching their breath. It was a great main card overall though, with some exciting finishes so if you have the show on your DVR, definitely check it out.


-Travis Browne, who lost to Derrick Lewis back in February and then was blasted by Lewis of his alleged past of domestic violence fired back on Instagram following Lewis’ loss to Mark Hunt and asked for a rematch. “We know you don’t have the heart but if you have the balls..I’m down to run it back,” Browne wrote.


A post shared by travisbrownemma (@travisbrownemma) on

-Fellow heavyweight Francis Ngannou also had choice words for Derrick Lewis on social media calling Lewis a “baby.”


-Saturday’s event drew 8,649 fans for a live gate of $1.15 million New Zealand dollars (about $830,000 USD) to Spark Arena in Auckland.




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