An extra octagon argument ensued after UFC on FX 7 last weekend.
Following a controversial no-contest in the fight between Iuri Alcantara and Pedro Nobre, their managers, Wallid Ismail and Murilo Bustamante expressed their grievances.
Former training partners from their days at Carlson Gracie’s Rio de Janeiro academy in the 1990s, Ismail and Bustamante have conflicting opinions about the fight.
First came Ismail, who one day after the event appeared on the “Mundo da Luta” show on Brazilian radio station Beat 98 FM and condemned Pedro’s attitude, using a statement Dana White made over Twitter as his weapon.
“I watched the fight three times—there’s nothing left to say,” Ismail said. “Pedro’s a good kid, and I wish him the best in his career, but he shot himself in the foot. Even Dana White said Pedro should win an award for his performance.
“I hope Murilo takes a proper look at it. I believe that today, after watching the replay, he isn’t defending his athlete the way he was yesterday. You know the guy ducked out. I was ashamed for Pedro.”
As for Bustamante, he sent an open letter stating that his fighter did not intend to fake injury to end the fight, as well as explaining the reason why he rushed into the octagon after a pause had been called to the fight.
“The referee (Dan Miragliotta) asked me to ask Pedro (in Portuguese) if he was alright, and all he did was express pain on his face,” Bustamante said. “After that, the doctor and the referee exchanged looks and they decided to call an end to the fight.”
Bustamante also addressed the statements Wallid had made, classifying them as “extremely unethical and unprofessional,” throwing in the word “coward.” He also added that his athletes at Brazilian Top Team don’t participate in Jungle Fight, Ismail’s MMA promotion, to not be subject to the promoter’s “moral principles.”
After the letter from the BTT head honcho was released, Ismail had his publicist send out a release of his own where he makes it clear he has no problem with Bustamante, but disagrees with his opinion regarding Jungle Fight.
“As for his comment that great athletes don’t fight for the Jungle Fight promotion, that is totally uncalled for,” Ismail said. “Anyone who follows MMA knows that a good portion of the great fighters, many having found success in the international scene, have been through or got their start at Jungle Fight.”
The following are the complete statements released by Ismail and Bustamante.
Open letter from Murilo Bustamante:
First of all, it’s important to make clear that I write this letter to make sure everyone knows that at no moment did my athlete Pedro Nobre request that the fight with Yuri Marajó be cut short last Saturday at UFC São Paulo. The fight was interrupted by order of the doctor and referee.
After pausing the fight, the ref asked me if I could serve as interpreter for my fighter and asked me to enter the octagon. I did just that, and when I approached Pedro I could see him lying prone and signaling that the back of his neck hurt with his hand.
The referee asked me to ask Pedro what he was feeling, and all he did was express pain on his face. The ref insisted, and I asked him again, but Pedro said his head hurt a lot. After he made this statement, the doctor looked at the ref and said the fight was over. At that moment, I was still unsure whether the fight would be restarted, but the doctor made it clear to everybody that that was not going to happen and that the fight was done. Right after that, Pedro was removed from the octagon.
At no moment did I or Pedro or anyone from the BTT ask that the fight be called off or complain of illegal blows from Yuri. At no point did we request Yuri be penalized or the fight be called off, much less that the result be made to favor the BTT athlete.
Nobody asked us whether Pedro could return to the fight. We just obeyed the referee, doctor and event’s decision. Our only concern was with our athlete’s health.
The ref and doctor are highly regarded and experienced professionals. They certainly acted according to their professional standpoint. The ref felt illegal blows had landed and paused the fight to call in the doctor, who saw the athlete on the ground complaining of sharp pain in his head, so he opted to call an end to the fight.
BTT’s position coincides with the doctor’s and the referee’s. We too felt that Pedro received blows to the back of the head that were not clear in the replay because of the position of the cameras.
We want to make it clear that we are certain that Yuri is not to blame for any of this and that it is no more than an accident. Yuri is an excellent fighter and exemplary athlete. After the fight, he carried himself with great class, unlike his agent.
On the interview with Wallid Ismail: it was extremely unethical and unprofessional—and why not say it, cowardly—to offensively criticize a young athlete just starting out in his career and from Brazil. He hadn’t the slightest consideration or respect for him. Not to mention that he did not respect the decision made by the UFC referee and doctor.
Pedro, like the other athletes on BTT and Brazil’s other big MMA teams, refuses to compete at Jungle Fight so as not to be affected by the moral principles of the event’s owner—Wallid—, who never was and never will be a reference in our sport for the simple fact that he doesn’t know the meaning of the words ethics and morals.
Thus, it is clear why the guy is outraged with BTT athletes.
Pedro Nobre has proved his courage and valiance in the ring, going through numerous difficult moments in his professional fights. Taking knockdowns in some, most of which he can back from to win. In the fight with Iuri Marajó he went through a sticky situation when he was caught in an americana keylock and grittily got out and continued to fight. A lot of others would have given up.
He’s an athlete who everyone who likes MMA knows very well. On Dec. 9 he won two fights in the Bitetti Combat GP, a serious event promoted by a great master in Amaury Bitetti, where in both battles he went through rough moments, as his opponents were really good, but he was crowned champion with a great KO against a really tough opponent in the final.
That is why I cannot sit back and keep quiet when hearing or reading so many unfair rants about such a high-level athlete and standup person as Pedro Nobre. I will never accept such erroneous judgments or offenses against him or any other Brazilian Top Team athlete.
At no moment did I disrespect the UFC referee’s and/or doctor’s decision. What happened was a disagreement, something quite common in the fight world or any other sport. Dana White, the UFC president, himself shared the same view as me and even paid Iuri his win bonus. Furthermore, Joe Silva, because he did not agree with the decision, tried to change the result to being a win for Iuri.
As for his comment that great athletes do not fight for the Jungle Fight promotion, that is totally uncalled for. Anyone who follows MMA knows that a good portion of the great fighters, many having found success in the international scene, have been through or got their start at Jungle Fight. Around 6 fighters who have been through the UFC have fought at Jungle. It’s no wonder that we have the biggest MMA event in Latin America.
Thank God I feel find about my ethics and morals. Those are two qualities that helped me to have great friends, within the realm of fighting and out of it, and make it to where I am today as a reference in the sport. Loyalty is the main pillar in ethics and morals, and no doubt, the loyalty I had for my master Carlson Gracie is a reference throughout the realm of fighting to this day. That is why I can lay my head down on my pillow every night and sleep. I receive praise daily from fans and MMA fighters regarding my greater goal of popularizing the sport, providing opportunities to young fighters, and for my overall character. That is very gratifying to me, and no naysaying will shake my resolve.
As for Pedro Nobre, I think the kid has a great future ahead of him, is talented and deserves a second chance in the UFC. I just didn’t agree with his attitude at that moment, and I continue not to agree with it. But I’m not going to judge him on an isolated incident. I’m certain he will mature a lot for what he’s been through and will come back all the stronger.
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