(The toughest guys are always the most sensitive. Pic: UltimateFighter.com)
Last year in the aftermath of the epic clusterfuck that was that “Nemesis” fight card in the Dominican Republic we remember remarking that the saddest quotes of all came from UFC castaway Eliot Marshall. Unlike the other wronged parties involved, “The Fire” Marshall (see what he did there?) didn’t sound so much worried about getting paid for dispatching some dude named Chris McNally via first-round arm bar as he did making sure the result counted on his official record so he could show it to Joe Silva as evidence he was now a more exciting fighter; all the better to convince the UFC to take him back. Yeah, given that Nemesis went down in December and Marshall hasn’t fought since, we’re not sure that strategy worked.
What did work, according to a new story out from MMA Fighting, was Marshall lurking around the on internet until he noticed that the UFC kind of desperately needed someone to fight Luiz Cane after Karlos Vemola pulled out of their UFC 128 fight due to a GD’ed mouth infection. Gross, right? Anyhoo, Marshall took a page out of the UFC’s own playbook and jumped on the opportunity when it seemed Zuffa might be weakest.
“I’ve always tossed it back and forth in my head, whether it’s a good idea or not (for fighters to read the internet),” Marshall says. “Now I’m thoroughly convinced it’s a good idea … I saw that Luiz Cane’s opponent fell off and got hurt and they didn’t have an opponent for him, and I knew that two other 205-(pounders) that week had fallen off, so I was like, here’s my opportunity. So I contacted my management and told them, let’s get on this.”
Next thing you know, boom, it’s Marshall vs. Cane this weekend at 128. That’s good news for Marshall, who – sort of presaging what would happen to Gerald Harris eight months later — got cut from the UFC last March after just one loss (a split decision to Vlady Matyushenko) and on the heels of a three-fight win streak in the promotion. At the time, Marshall seemed pretty cheesed-off about the whole thing and had some choice words about it.
“It felt unfair at the time,” Marshall says now. “It did. But they’re my bosses again. They can do what they want to do.”
Anyway, the anger quickly faded to pure bummer. Marshall went out and won two fights by unanimous decision and then appealed to Silva for a UFC return. We don’t think Silva actually laughed in his face, but it makes the UFC matchmaker seem more evil if you imagine it that way, and so we do.
“(Silva) said, ‘He won two fights and they were both boring,” remembers coach Trevor Wittman. “(Silva said) ‘Tell him to go out and finish someone.’ ”
That someone was McNally in the DR. Still, we assume, no call from the UFC. So, Marshall took matters into his own hands. Now he’s back “in the mix” as Big DW might say, but contends he feels “no urgency” in the fight with Cane. Show of hands from people who are believing that? Yeah, us neither. Especially since Marshall still seems awfully willing to talk about how “sad” it made him not to be in the UFC …
“It was a year of fighting and a year of being sad and upset,” he says. “Man, I was sad for a long time. I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it. I wasn’t in the UFC anymore. People would come up and talk to me, like, ‘Oh, I know you. You’re in the UFC.’ And I’d have to be like, ‘No I’m not.’ It was a rough thing for me. It was a challenging year.”