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Dana White comments on Sobral situation

I’m sure I am late with these quotes but I was traveling all day and WordPress’ publishing tool doesn’t work well with my crappy T-Mobile Sidekick II (that’s why my plans for live updates last night never happened… I need an iPhone!).

When I got to the airport this morning I picked up a copy of the Las Vegas Sun and it had a lot of coverage of UFC 74. On the front of the sports page was a story on Randy’s win and then a column by Ed Graney titled: “Sobral takes Ultimate Fighting to ultimately ugly level.”

Just the press I am sure the UFC was looking for from one of its hometown papers!

According to Graney, NSAC is withholding $25,000 of Sobral’s purse (it amounts to 50%) pending a hearing.

As for the match itself, it was a bloodbath. One of the bloodiest fights I’ve seen in years. I thought I was going to be sick at one point (and I have a strong stomach). In response to the blood, Sobral is quoted as saying “It looked like he (Heath) had his period.”

What the hell is wrong with him?

UFC president Dana White addressed the situation during a post-fight press conference and to be honest, I was completely underwhelmed by his stance.

“It was a chicken shit move to hold the choke,” Graney quotes White as saying.

Okay, we’re off to a nice start.

“You just don’t do stuff like that. I would imagine the commission would have something to say,” he continued.

Huh? Dana, do YOU have anything to say (other than it’s chicken shit)? I mean, it is your fight promotion after all.

“I’m going to talk to (Sobral) and tell him it was an (expletive, expletive, expletive) move,” said White. “One of the things people like about this sport is honor. When you do stuff like that, you become a bad guy. People not liking you is not a good thing. I’ll tell you what, if he would have had hold of a leg or arm and could have done real damage to (Heath) and pulled that crap, I would have cut him from the (UFC) roster immediately.”

What the hell is going on here? Dana is right about a lot of things (and I know some of you will disagree, but let’s focus on the issue here) but could he be more wrong on this one? Yes, I realize it was only a blood choke and no permanent damage was done. I’ve been choked out enough times to know the difference. BUT THE PRINCIPLE IS THE SAME! If you look at the intent then whether Babalu had a hold of his neck, arm, leg, pinkie, testicles, or whatever, it doesn’t make a difference. It just so happened he got a hold of the neck. If he had gotten an arm, do you think he would have used any discretion? Malice is malice.

It’s just bad for the sport and Dana should re-watch the footage and reconsider his stance. I open up the Sun today and the coverage is split between Randy’s incredible win and Babalu’s crazy little stunt. All that coverage could have been focused entirely on Randy and the matches instead of this crap if Babalu had just shown a shred of honor. Now that it’s in the Sun, it can be picked up by any major media outlet in the country and feed critics of MMA with some strong ammunition.

Dana fired Noah Thomas and Marlon Sims for a street fight because it made the sport and the UFC look bad. Well, this is waaay worse! Sims and Thomas both consented to that fight. Nobody got assaulted. Look, it was wrong and Dana addressed it properly. But this is more wrong and Dana’s stance is much softer. For all I know he could be pals with Sobral but if Babalu is Dana’s boy then Dana should be pissed that his friend showed his company no respect last night and left him hanging out to dry.

“I was knocked out, but after watching the replay, it was an (expletive) move for him not to (let up),” Heath is quoted as saying.

Sobral wasn’t done either.

“The ref has to jump in there sooner,” he said. “The crowd didn’t like it? Who cares? At least they had a reaction? (Heath) had enough blood, so maybe he could have gone another round.”

Dude, is Sobral on LSD or something? He’s so far from reality that it’s not even funny. His quotes in the post-fight interview and the post-fight press conference only make the incident look worse. If he had some a little bit of contrition, maybe this wouldn’t seem as bad. But he should be held accountable for his words in addition to his actions. It’s completely unprofessional and it makes things look like the UFC circa 1995.

Another thing as I bring this rambling rant to a close; Graney’s column was good. It was fair, but this was definitely not the positive press the UFC typically enjoys. Dana said a few weeks back that the Internet fan boy sites won’t hesitate to tear fighters and the sport of MMA down. Well, Graney writes for a “traditional” media outlet and he was none too kind. See, how it works is that if you do great stuff, the media will say you do great stuff. If you screw up, the media will say you screw up. That concept applies to blogs, dot.coms, newspapers, radio, television, etc. If anything, the mainstream media will come down harder on the UFC than the “fanboy” sites.

The UFC will continue to get bad press for this but they can’t control Babalu’s actions so you can only blame them so much. However, where blame can be assessed is how to handle his infraction. Right now, they aren’t handling it well. I wonder if they would have taken a harder-line stance had the match aired live on pay-per-view with millions watching instead of just tens of thousands (I’m not trying to be a smart ass, it’s a legitimate question)?

“White should do more than just talk to him. A suspension is on order. At least,” Graney wrote in his final words to close out the column.

Ed, I’ll just come out and say what you would have liked to have said but didn’t: Dana should have fired Babalu on the spot. What’s there to even think about?

  • I guess it was his last fight on his current contract so the UFC may just opt not to resign him.

  • […] milkn? echa walki Sobral vs. Heath. Je?eli spojrzy si? na zachodnie blogi / vortale / fora to wi?cej uwagi po?wi?ca si? krwawej […]

  • Rory says:

    I’m on the same page as Sam when it comes to this whole debacle. The one question I’m amazed nobody is asking is, how blatantly in defiance of the referee was Babalu? He was looking Mazzagatti IN THE EYE as he held that choke past the tap. Too bad Big John wasn’t in charge of that particular fight, I guarantee he would have gotten in Babalu’s face IMMEDIATELY after the finish, and, if he had the power to do so, disqualified him.

    Heath had already been thoroughly beaten, and humiliated. Babalu forcing him to pass out and spasm in his own blood was a repugnant, inexcusably classless move. Competitively Sobral possibly looked better than I’ve ever seen him, but now I don’t have any desire to see him fight again.

  • drewdoo says:

    It will be interesting to see if Dana’s stance changes if/when this catches the attention of the major media. I am sure it will if he starts taking the heat for it.

  • Jake says:

    I just watched the fight again and it certainly wasn’t a 7 second hold like I read earlier on the forums. It was more like 4 seconds after Heath tapped.

    My question to Sam is: “How come I didn’t see such a huge article of criticism after BJ Penn held onto Jenn’s Pulver’s neck a little while after Jens tapped?”

    After all, malice is malice right? If you’re going to criticize Babalu then throw the book at BJ too.

  • paulaojjbraza says:

    Hey, I am not sure if this will get published or not because you remove my 1st 2 posts as I used (expletive) words, which I understand.
    The thing is I like this last post on Babalu’s actions. Thanks for taking a stance.
    Like I said I am ashamed of what Babalu did as a brazilian and Brazilian jiu-jitsu fan.
    But the bigger question is: why didn’t Magazatti intervene sooner? I think the ref is partially to blame too.
    If you get this, that’s what matters.

  • Handover Fist says:

    You know…. if the Fertitta’s are happy with Dana White running the UFC then fine, but if this sport is ever going to be taken seriously then they really need to hire an official spokesperson to be the face of the UFC.

  • garth says:

    Good god, the equivalence arguments make me sick. “Well, [this] happened, so [that] isn’t so bad.” Screw that! So something happened in the past. Who gives a shit. This is NOW, this is the current UFC in the current spotlight. And frankly, BJ Penn got a ton of crap for his move. Sobral stated he did it on purpose, talked trash about the guy he just beat, and violated every concept of sportsmanship and honor you can imagine. I’ve read any number of “I just watched it and it was only 3 or 4 seconds” comments. That’s not the freaking point. The point is you’re making a deal with your opponent when you get in the ring: I’ll listen to the ref, and I’ll stop when you tap”. He broke that bargain, and he doesn’t deserve to fight in the UFC again. If he does, I hope to god he gets freaking choked unconscious after he taps.
    I’ve been a fan of his in the past, but I’m not anymore.

  • smelly hands says:

    it was a garbage move and he should pay a price for it, however i don’t agree that he should be ‘cut from the roster’. he needs to get his shit together for sure, but he has a daughter and i think he deserves another shot provided he doesn’t pull any other bullshit in or out of the cage.

  • steve says:

    Yes, if it was an armbar or legbar, it could have been career ending. But with the choke and the amount of blood he had already last, it could have been life ending. You are correct Sam!!!

  • steve says:

    smelly hands: How can you say he shouldn’t be “cut from the roster”. Sam pointed out a few times already about the guys from TUF getting cut because of a little street fight. Dana’s whole theory was ” Do you want to be a fighter!”. He said they acted like amateurs and had no business in the UFC. Well, Sobral is a veteran professional. What does that say?

  • Well said by Sam Caplan.

  • Dan says:

    People are reacting way too emotional on this issue. Not letting go instantly on chokes happens ALL THE TIME. People throwing an extra punch after the ref comes in happens ALL THE TIME. People breaking “the deal you’re making with your opponent when you get in the ring” happens ALL THE TIME. They grab the fence, take illegal blows, hits to the back of the head. The only difference is Babalu is a total douchebag about it in his postcomments, and people can’t take it. Also, if it would have been the loosing fighter that would have pulled the move, no one would have reactad this way either.

    Should Babalu get fined? Yes. Fired? Of course not! Don’t worry, Babalu will get his fair share of punishment in time, one way or another.

    Does anyone think BJ DID NOT hold his choke longer on purpose? Of course he did, it happens ALL THE TIME.

  • Sean says:

    It was a horrible move, no class, disrespectful and its all been said about Babalu…Its up to the UFC to cut him or punish him at their disgression…it looks like the NSAC will fine him, maybe they will suspend also…but I do believe its on the same level as the BJ PENN choke which was held on to just as long, and when Jens tapped you could see Penn squeeze a harder…now because this happened it doesn’t excuse Sobral this and he deserves whatever he gets for punishment…but there was not as much feedback from Penn as there is from this incident and its on the same level of disgrace…

  • Brad says:

    Funny how nobody got this mad when BJ Penn did the same thing, I guess Babalu is just worse because he admitted to doing it on purpose…

  • Sam Caplan says:


    When have I ever condone Penn’s actions? I made mention that what he did was wrong too. Letting go of a submission when someone taps in MMA and Jiu-Jitsu is a cardinal rule whether you’re rolling with some random dude at a BJJ school or fighting on one of the biggest cards in the world.

    B.J. should have been fined but I’ve seen both and what Sobral did was much more vicious. Not to mention, Penn didn’t go on mic afterwards and act proud of what he did.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    “…but he has a daughter and i think he deserves another shot provided he doesn’t pull any other bullshit in or out of the cage.”

    Smelly, I don’t know whether David Heath has children, but I’m sure he has a family too. If Renato has a child, he might want to think about setting a better example in and out of the cage.

  • glock says:

    I dunno know how to explain Dana’s attitude other than to consider how many assholes PAID GOOD MONEY to continue see MIKE TYSON after the Hollyfield fight / buffet, and actually before that when he ignored the ref to keep beating on a guy. The power of the Almighty dollar I guess. Surprising cause the Ferttitas and Dana seem to be making good money now with out the trainwreck appeal of this kinda shit . What the hell though, people pay to see the WWF too…..

  • Marc says:

    As Dan says above, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened in MMA; the UFC must have some rules governing the penalty for a fighter who refuses to release a submission hold after the ref has called the fight. What are those rules? Do they take “malice” and lack of contrition, which seem to be your biggest sticking points about this, into consideration?

  • Marc says:

    I found these rules regarding fouls and penalties at IGN. As long as they are accurate, it seems like the minimum penalty would be a DQ and a fine. Any further punishment (suspension or expulsion) would be at DW’s discretion.

    B. Fouls

    In MMAC sanctioned events, the use of any of the following techniques shall result in a foul…any competitor whose action interferes with the bout, such as attacking a fighter under the referee’s protection, flagrant disregard of the referee’s instructions or interference with the MMAC’s officials’ management of the event is prohibited.

    Fouls shall result in fines and will result in disqualification after any combination of three (3).

    The referee will stop the bout after any foul. The referee will check the fouled fighter’s safety and condition. The referee will then warn the fighter who committed the foul and his cornerman.

    The referee may terminate the bout based on the severity of the foul. The offender would lose by disqualification.

    The referee may disqualify a competitor if the athlete will not engage opponent.

    Disqualification after a bout ends, suspension and expulsion from the MMAC, depending on the foul’s severity, will be at the President’s discretion.

    C. Fines

    All Fines will be deducted from the offending fighter’s purse before payment.

    The fine schedule is as follows:

    1st foul-………..$500.00

    2nd foul-……….$500.00

    3rd foul-……….disqualification $1,000.00

  • Rory says:

    Thanks for the post Marc. I wonder what would have happened if Big John was the ref for that fight? One would assume he knows the rulebook inside and out, I have a feeling that he would have immediately chased after Babalu and laid down a foul, if not disqualifying him on the spot.

  • Trevor says:

    Settle down. I’ve seen it a million times and he didn’t do any damage and it wasn’t like he held it for another THIRTY seconds or something…it was literally like 3 or 4 seconds if you count it. Calm down. There are guys that have fought through chokes longer than that. He was fine and Babalu sent a message to him cause of his shit before the fight. Calm down. No harm no foul.


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