("The best part is, stick this baby in the freezer and it’ll keep your drinks cold on a hot summer day." PicProps: UFC.com)
Matt Hamill fought and defeated Keith Jardine on Saturday night with a staph infection he didn’t know he had as well as a broken hand suffered early in the fight round and blurred vision from getting poked in the eye during the second, according to statements made at the "TUF 11" Finale post-fight press conference. That makes it a bit more noteworthy that their three-round battle rightfully claimed “Fight of the Night” honors.
“I thought I was going to be blind and deaf. Enough handicaps,” Hamill joked at the press conference about getting a thumb in the eye that caused Jardine to lose a point in the second stanza. Any laughter caused by that comment could probably best be described as “uneasy.”
Other post-fight bonuses – each amounting to $25,000 – went to Chris Leben for his come-from-behind knockout of Aaron Simpson and Court McGee for choking out Kris McCray in the “TUF” championship. As for the infection – which caused the nasty-looking lesion on his back you may have noticed during the broadcast – Hamill said he planned to get started with some antibiotics ASAP. Yeah, you might want to get on that. After the jump, a picture of Hamill’s foulness.
(How could he possibly have known he had a staph infection? PicProps: Esther Lin/MMAFighting)
McGee took home his extra 25 Gs by virtue of crafting the only submission on Saturday night’s card. More importantly, he earned the job security that comes with being the “TUF” winner. The UFC will basically stick with those guys through anything. (Right, Mac?) McGee looked better than expected during the fight, taking McCray down at will en route to locking on the rear naked choke in the second round. With his hard-luck past and genuine outpouring of emotion after the fight, you kind of have to feel good for the guy. Still, in what the UFC insists on referring to as its “talent rich” middleweight division, matchmakers will probably have to take it pretty slow with McGee.
Kenny Florian – who, for the record, did an outstanding job on color commentary last night – called “The Crippler’s” KO of Simpson “classic Chris Leben,” and that sentiment was right on. Leben was certainly behind on the scorecards against Simpson and for all Mike Goldberg talked about him “sticking to a game plan” he looked very much like the same fighter we’ve become accustomed to seeing during his first 15 or so appearances in the Octagon: Like a guy whose “plan” boiled down to rushing forward throwing wild left hands. Luckily for Leben, sometimes that’s all it takes.
Rich Attonito’s defeat of Jamie Yager may have earned him the most admiration from fans last night. Doesn’t sound like too many people are crying over FroCop’s loss. I still contend Yager could have decent career in the UFC once he gets the mental side of the game figured out. He’ll likely have some time to do that now, either in prelim bouts or the minor leagues.
The unaired preliminary fights didn’t serve up many surprises. Several “TUF” alums who could still have a future in the UFC – and weren’t recovering from horrible dog attacks – were in action. Kyle Noke defeated Josh Bryant by second-round TKO after what sounds like a pretty thorough ass-kicking. Chris Camozzi edged James Hammortree by narrow decision and Brad Tavares out-pointed Seth Baczynski.
Aside from Travis Browne’s knockout of James McSweeney, the only other non-TUF-related prelim saw John “Guns” Gunderson hand Mark “Boots” Holst a loss in his first UFC bout via UD.
The UFC claimed an attendance of 1,708 and a live gross gate of $430,250. I’m not an accountant, but a simple bit of long division tells me that would make the average paid ticket price $251.91. Makes me glad I stayed home.
‘TUF 11’ Finale, complete results:
Court McGee def. Kris McCray via submission (rear-naked choke)
Matt Hamill def. Keith Jardine by majority decision
Chris Leben def. Aaron Simpson via second-round TKO
Dennis Siver def. Spencer Fisher via unanimous decision
Rich Attonito def. Jamie Yager via second-round TKO
John Gunderson def. Mark Holst via unanimous decision
Brad Tavares def. Seth Baczynski via unanimous decision
Kyle Noke def. Josh Bryant via TKO (punches), Round 2, 3:12
Chris Camozzi def. James Hammortree via unanimous decision
Travis Browne def. James McSweeney via TKO (punches), Round 1, 4:32