Here’s one for all you morons who fire off those clever “If he doesn’t like it, he shouldn’t be a fighter!” message board posts every time a guy (or girl) utters a discontented word about payment, injury and/or the all-around shittiness of how MMA treats its athletes: “TUF 8” finalist Phillipe Nover is taking your advice. The kid Dana White once prematurely ejaculated all over by comparing him to Georges St. Pierre tells Sherdog this week that he’s taking a break from fighting in order to pursue the assumedly more lucrative, stable and less dangerous career as a technician in a cardiac lab at a hospital in New York.
It seems Nover – who at just 26 comes off as far, far too reasonable for the MMA industry here – would rather enjoy the perks of health insurance, a pension plan, a steady paycheck and the protection of his labor union than toil on the independent circuit after being cut from the UFC following his loss to Rob “The Lord of South County” Emerson at UFC 109. We know, what a pussy, right?
“I needed to do something to stabilize my life and take care of myself and possibly my future family,” Nover says. “That’s why getting health insurance was my number one priority and getting a job where there’s a union involved where they can’t just let you go. With MMA, the stability just isn’t there like where I work now … I lost and basically needed to get my life stabilized. I needed to get a stable job and not have to wait every three or four months to get paid. I needed a job with insurance and a pension.”
Nover began his fighting career at 4-0-1 and then jetted through the “TUF 8” tournament only to be outclassed by Efrain Escudero at the live finale, losing a UD. Expectations remained high for Nover, mostly based on White’s verbal strokejob during the reality show, but he never came close to living up. Aside from losses to Emerson and Escudero – who have both subsequently also been fired – Nover saw the cancelation of a scheduled bout with Sam Stout at UFN 19 after he collapsed backstage from what the Dog says was later “attributed to a combination of pre-fight anxiety, the severe weight cut and then gorging after he made weight.”
An interesting aside: Of the eight lightweights who competed on “TUF 8” only one is still under contract to Zuffa: George Roop, who fights as a featherweight in the soon-to-be-defunct WEC. And they wonder why we think “The Ultimate Fighter” has outlived its usefulness.
Anyway, Nover hasn’t fought since his loss to Emerson, owing in equal parts to his newer, better job and an emergency appendectomy that put him on the shelf for the last couple of months. He says he’s had opportunities to compete since his UFC release but passed them up, preferring instead to focus on his career as a health care professional. From where we’re sitting, that seems like a totally understandable move.
“My manager did call me, but he knows I’m taking time off right now,” Nover says. “He called me about a fight in Europe over the summer and another in California, but, as of now, he knows what I’m doing in my life. I want to be a normal person for a little bit because fighting does take up a lot of your time.”
Somewhere, we imagine Josh Koscheck is staring at the screen of his laptop, mumbling to himself, “Male nurse … male nurse … male … nurse … You’re a nurse …”