Ex-UFC champion: ‘Playful protest’ led to harsh UFC retaliation

Former UFC champion Fabricio Werdum wishes he hand't joked about the Reebok deal costing him sponsorship money.

By: Lucas Rezende | 1 month ago

Hello, boys and girls! It is Thursday again, which means it’s time for yet another edition of the Brazil Beat! Your weekly roundup of Brazilian fighting news that took place in the last seven days, all conveniently put together in one place by yours truly.

This week, we’ve got former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum regretting past decisions, as well as former middleweight champion Alex Pereira trash talking on Sean Strickland’s behalf, Olympic boxer Esquiva Falcao’s thoughts after his title fight and much more.

So let’s jump right in.

Fabricio Werdum has Reebok regrets

In our top story of the week, former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum talked about that time when a joke cost him way more than expected. Remember when the Reebok deal lose a bunch of money in private sponsorships? Well, ‘Vai Cavalo’ sure does.

How could he forget? On his podcast ‘Nem me Viu’ (transcribed by Tatame, and translated by Bloody Elbow), the Brazilian talked about the time he posted a photo of himself wearing the Reebok kit, but with the Nike logo photoshopped on the shirt as a form of protest. It would be an understatement to say that the UFC did not take kindly to Werdum’s idea of a jest.

Because of the joke, Werdum was removed from the Spanish language commentating gig he had with the UFC. Reflecting on it all now, the Brazilian walked away with a hard learned lesson, that it’s never smart to play with the company that employs you.

“It’s not cool to go against the company,” Werdum explained. “I’ve been through that before. I said something stupid and I regret it. It’s just something that happened, you shouldn’t go against the company. When Reebok became the UFC’s official sponsor, I went from making 200k in sponsors to 10k. Then I, in a sort of playful protest, removed the Reebok logo from my shirt and replaced it with the Nike logo. I started a campaign and everything. I was the UFC’s commentator for their Spanish broadcasts, but I ended up being removed from it for four years.”

Back in 2016, when the incident took place, Werdum himself even addressed the situation on his personal Instagram profile.

“I just want to make everything clear about my post of Nike and Reebok. I did this to protest about the sponsorship. Before Rebook got into UFC all the fighters use to make a lot of money with other sponsors, including me, and now they are paying me only $5,000 per fight. I didn’t get penalized because I have no contract with them, but they cut me out of the tv broadcast.”

Alex Pereira has no respect for Abus Magomedov’s record

Going from a joke that backfired to some serious statements from another former UFC champion, Alex Pereira had some harsh words for middleweight Abusupiyan Magomedov. Having recently trained with Sean Strickland, ‘Poatan’ was eager to defend his former opponent turned ally, who faced and defeated the Russian via TKO just last weekend.

In the former middleweight title holder’s opinion, Strickland was able to score an impressive finish over Magomedov because the Russian had never faced high-level competition before. Although ‘Abus’ has 25-5 record, Poatan was quick to point out that he’d only faced low-level opponents before joining the UFC. Perreira even went so far as to claim that Magomedov’s record was manipulted to look more impressive than it actually was.

“It was a quick fight,” Pereira told Ag Fight (translated by Bloody Elbow(me)). “Abus was aggressive, but he couldn’t keep his power for too long. It wasn’t news to me, to be honest. He had criticized me before, but I showed everyone that his record was padded. He could’ve had some success in the first round, but he knew his strength would fade away. Three minutes into the first round, he was gassed.”

“Abus talked about me and Adesanya, he said he would beat the both of us.” Pereira said. “When he came to the UFC, he had one fight and scored a KO in seconds. He has a padded record. He has lots of fights, but against who? Anyone who watched the fight (against Strickland) saw him turn his back and showing he didn’t want to be there anymore. It was very difficult for him.”

Poatan seems to be a ride-or-die kind of guy.

Alexandre Pantoja wants to wear the crown

The next UFC flyweight title challenger cannot wait for UFC 290 to arrive. Scheduled to take on champion Brandon Moreno this Saturday in Vegas, Alexandre Pantoja believes he is in the best moment possible to fight for the belt.

Having already defeated Moreno twice before (once in the UFC and once in TUF), Pantoja is excited to represent Brazil and become a new role model for upcoming fighters all around the country at a critical moment when none of his countrymen/women currently hold UFC belts. The ‘Cannibal’ is also looking forward to providing a better lifestyle for his family with all the amenities the life of a champion could provide.

“I feel great pleasure in representing Brazil.” Pantoja told Ag Fight (translated by Bloody Elbow (me)) Come to think of it, I couldn’t choose a better time to represent Brazil than now. All Brazilian fighters know Brazil will be very well represented and that I deserve to be the guy to win that belt and open the door to so many others (Brazilians). If I win, they’ll know that they can also make it.”

“I’m pretty happy with my life. My wife, my kids. My everyday life is wonderful, but I’m ready to experience something new. My whole life has been preparing me for this moment. All four of us are ready to take that step, to become a champion. If I become the champion, my family is champion, too. We’re ready to move up, wear the crown and become royalty.”

Denise Gomes ready to impress at UFC 290

Alexandre Pantoja is not the only Brazilian facing a Mexican star at UFC 290. While the flyweight prepares to face Brandon Moreno with the title on the line, a young strawweight is still trying to make a name for herself against an undefeated up-and-comer.

Paired up against the rising Yasmin Jauregui, who currently holds a perfect 10-0 record, with two UFC wins, Denise Gomes can’t wait to show the world that an undefeated opponent is just like any other. In an interview with Ag Fight, the 23-year-old spelled out how why she thinks a win Saturday could boost her career.

“I always welcome a good challenge a good challenge and this one is really good for me and for my career. I think I’ll have to overcome any type of obstacle. She’s an obstacle and it doesn’t matter if she’s undefeated or not, I’ll have to face it. I’m not afraid, I’m really thirsty. This is actually even better, because if I win, all the other girls will fear me.”

Olympic boxer is no longer undefeated

Speaking of undefeated athletes…

Olympic silver medalist Esquiva Falcao is no longer undefeated as a professional boxer, but his first ever pro loss didn’t come without controversy. Paired up against Vincenzo Gualtieri for the IBF middleweight title, the Brazilian suffered a unanimous decision defeat last weekend in Wuppertal, Germany.

Though the 33-year-old isn’t happy with losing his title fight—after all the effort Falcao and his team put in—that doesn’t appear to be what’s stinging him the most. In an interview with Combate (translated by Bloody Elbow (me)), the Brazilian claimed he would be more comfortable with the result had his opponent not fought so dirty or if the referee had done something about all the fouls he says were committed by Gualtieri.

“I’m thankful to everyone who supported me. Thanks to my team and sponsors. We’ve reached the end. We’re going back to Brazil to be with our families. All I wanted was my family here with me. I’m at the top of boxing. I can’t stop crying. Me and nobody on my team saw this result coming. I’m not blaming anyone. Only God knows what I’ve been through. We fought valiantly. Brazil, thanks for everything.”

“Do you what makes me sad the most? The German guy I fought, he was committing fouls all the time. Sometimes he’d hit my face with his shoulder. He’d hit me in the back of the head or below the waist. To make matters worse, the ref never called him out on it. He didn’t warn him, he didn’t take away points. When I was knocked down due to an illegal strike, they started the count on me.”

First losses are always tough to digest. Hopefuly Falcao will bounce back with a strong return to form next time out.

Shooto Brasil 118 delivers the finishes

Nothing like some fun finishes to close off another edition of The Brazilian Beat, right? This last weekend, it wasn’t Jungle Fight bringing the heat, but Shooto Brasil 118 instead. Taking place last Friday in Rio de Janeiro, the 9-fight card saw five bouts end inside the distance, so let’s take a closer look at the action.

Though the main event did not feature a title fight and went to the judges, with light heavyweight Joao Paulo Fagundes beating Julio Cesar Santos, the night’s co-main was a different story. Featuring UFC veteran Pedro Nobre in a flyweight bout, the Octagon alumn scored a first-round heel hook against Junior Assis. Can’t play when your knee is on the line.

Up next, we’ve got some knockouts in the lighter weight classes. Firstly featherweight Marcos Novais managed to finish Oziel dos Santos with some nasty knees in the clinch, making Santos himself ask the referee to stop the fight in the third round.

Then it was time for the lightweights to shine. Starting with Lucas de Araujo, who knocked out Rodrigo Moraes in the first round and Itamar Junior, who finished Ernane Pimenta with some heavy ground and pound in the second.

We also saw a finish in the first fight of the night, courtesy of strawweight Adriele Castro, who made quick work of Ranna Cortez, locking in a rear-naked choke just two minutes into their match. Though I could not find any footage of her win, Castro’s team proudly posted about the result on their official Instagram account.

A Brazilian Beat

Little known fact about me, I’ve always been a Nirvana fan. Although they were a bit before my time—Kurt Cobain died when I was just four years old—I discovered their music when I was a teenager and their grunge sound really shaped my tastes. In fact, Krist Novoselic was one of the main bassists that first made me want to pick up the instrument.

You may be wondering why I’m talking about Nirvana in the Brazilian music part of the Brazil Beat. Well, that’s because I’ve found a loophole.

You see, I’m not the only one who’s a Nirvana fan around here. For those who don’t already know, there’s this talented band from the city of Cuiaba called Macaco Bong. In 2017 they released an instrumental album called ‘Deixa Quieto’ (which translates to something along the lines of ‘Leave it Alone’, making an allusion to Nevermind’).

The album consists of their own rendition of all of the tracks from Nirvana’s legendary 1991 release, mixing the grunge roughness with some of that Brazilian spice and fun wordplay with the song titles. I think this is a great way to mix one of my favorite band, but with a touch of Brazil.

Still, don’t forget to check out Macaco Bong’s original songs, too, they are quite talented. For now, though, I will leave you their interpretation of the massive hit ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ or as they named it ‘Smiles Nike Tim Sprite’.

That’s it for this week, folks. See you all next time! Stay safe.

Lucas out.

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About the author
Lucas Rezende
Lucas Rezende

Lucas Rezende is a Brazilian journalist and writer from Belem, Para. He has been covering MMA since 2012 and contributing with Bloody Elbow since March 2015. When not writing, Lucas also teaches English. In his free time, he enjoys reading, slapping the bass guitar and traveling.

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