It has been said before by UFC President Dana White, and echoed more recently by UFC Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta; It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose in the UFC, leave nothing in the octagon and your spot is safe with the promotion.
While that may be the case with fighters such as Wanderlei Silva, Chuck Liddell and Stephan Bonnar, dare I ask the question; What about Jorge?
Let me just issue this disclaimer: This is not a fluff piece on Jorge Gurgel although it may seem like it from the initial glance. The truth of the matter is that I’ve never been a humongous Gurgel fan. Not that I didn’t respect the man, I do, he’s just kind of flown under the radar for me until recently.
I’m a big fan of exciting fights. Who isn’t right? With that being said, I’m the type of guy that pays close attention to which two fighters are awarded “Fight of the Night” bonuses after every UFC.
That’s why it struck me as odd when it was announced that Jorge Gurgel was released from the UFC following his FOTN performance against Aaron Riley. Gurgel lost a close decision, but he fought his heart out and put his health on the line for us, the fans.
I couldn’t imagine how the UFC would release a fighter after such an exhilarating performance, especially since the fighter in question had a track record for bringing the crowd to it’s feet time and time again.
Let us not forget that Gurgel had previously been awarded FOTN honors with the UFC when he edged out a hard fought decision against Diego Saraiva at UFC 73.
How many other UFC fighters have earned two, or even one FOTN bonus while competing on the undercard?
According to Gurgel himself in an interview with MMAJunkie.com following his release from the UFC , the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt admitted that it was a habit of his to abandon his strong grappling background in favor of striking to insure an exciting performance for the UFC salary paying fans.
“(UFC announcer) Joe Rogan, everybody asks me. ‘Why don’t you do jiu-jitsu? You’d be in the top of the guys in the weight class if you would do jiu-jitsu.’ But I always get caught up in not being boring” confessed Gurgel.
“I have so much fun striking, and I love it so much,” continued the current Strikeforce lightweight. “And the high that I get that I look for when I train is to be in the octagon in heated exchanges. And we’re just going crazy punching each other, moving from a head kick or something. And the crowd goes from watching the fight to, ‘Wow.’ That’s what I feed on.”
This is why it struck me as extremely odd when I heard Lorenzo Fertitta quoted as saying that laying it all on the line basically insures your spot with the UFC during a Q&A session at the recent UFC Fan Expo.
“I don’t care if you win or lose. I don’t care about your record. I want you to come and fight,”said Fertitta. “If you come and fight and you lay it all on the line, then you will have a spot in the UFC.
“Perfect example. Look at Wanderlei Silva. Does anybody care that he lost his last fight? No, he is a bad dude and I would want to watch him fight every single time.”
But what about Jorge?