Perhaps the only person more upset with the disappointing action in the cage at the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s first event in Calgary, Alberta, was the man who runs the organization.
Two fights in particular drew the ire of UFC president Dana White after UFC 149 on Saturday night.
Hector Lombard’s highly anticipated UFC debut was a flop as he traded only occasional exchanges with Tim Boetsch in a split-decision loss. Heavyweight Cheick Kongo basically just fought off Shawn Jordan’s takedown attempts against the cage for 15 minutes in a unanimous-decision win by Kongo.
The sellout crowd expressed its displeasure throughout those fights and their chants and boos continued through the main event even though Renan Barao’s unanimous-decision victory over Urijah Faber for the interim bantamweight title featured more action than the previous two fights combined.
“We broke the gate record here tonight, and I’m embarrassed,” White said at the news conference after the card, which made $4.1 million at the box office. “I was excited when I heard, but now I’m embarrassed. The undercard delivered; they were awesome. The main card did not.
“We can count on one hand how many shows actually sucked. And tonight is one more finger on the hand.”
White also offered criticisms of the judges and referees, as there were several questionable scorecards, a referee that momentarily ruled a clearly legal kick a low blow and, perhaps his biggest beef, a referee who failed to stand up Kongo and Jordan during their prolonged stretches of no action.
Tickets to the event quickly sold out months ago, but at least nine fights had to be nixed or changed due to injuries and other circumstances, leaving the card a shell of what had been announced.
White vowed the UFC would soon return to Calgary to put on a better show.
■ GOLD-MEDAL JERK – Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey won’t be in London this week trying to improve upon her bronze medal in judo from 2008, having retired from the sport after the Beijing Games.
Still, the outspoken star and ESPN The Magazine Body Issue cover girl has managed to steal headlines all over the Internet this week for a video interview with reporter Elie Seckbach in which she discussed the biggest Olympic star of four years ago.
Rousey said Michael Phelps was not a very good teammate, particularly during one private party for the U.S. team.
“Michael Phelps needed his own private section of the club to be, like, private for him,” she said. “These NBA players over here are a bigger deal than this guy, and they’re all hanging out with us. Hello, we’re your teammates. We’re not a bunch of groupies. Come hang out with us. Who the hell are you?”
Rousey also said Phelps was kept separate from the rest of the Olympians during a group appearance on “Oprah.”
“I didn’t even want to go out of my way to go say hi to that guy. Get over yourself,” she said. “All you do is swim. If someone slapped you every single time you jumped in the pool, then I’d have a little more respect.”
She would probably volunteer for the job.
■ GOMEZ MAKES DEBUT – Las Vegan Ulysses Gomez has signed with the UFC and will make his debut in the organization in less than two weeks, fighting flyweight John Moraga on the UFC on Fox 4 card in Los Angeles on Aug. 4.
Gomez, the younger brother of U.S. national team soccer player Herculez Gomez, has been fighting for California-based Tachi Palace Fights, where he was the bantamweight champion.
Las Vegan Vinny Magalhaes re-signed with the UFC and will fight Igor Pokrajac on at UFC 152 on Sept. 22 in Toronto. The light heavyweight was the runner-up on Season 8 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” and lost his only two UFC fights.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.