In the wake of what was universally considered a terribly early stoppage in his fight against Shane Nelson at last weekend's UFC 96, 12-year MMA veteran Aaron Riley, who will officially have a TKO loss on his record after the bout, is confident that the UFC is showing sympathy for his plight.
In an interview with MMA Weekly, Riley notes that the UFC will likely grant his request for a rematch with Nelson.
Riley, now on vacation in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., seemed to be in relatively good spirits when he spoke to MMAWeekly.com, but wanted another chance to prove himself.
"The UFC is looking to make things right, so hopefully I’ll get a rematch in with Shane at some point, but I’m just really looking to get back in action as soon as possible," he said. "I’ve already expressed that to Joe Silva, and he’s looking to make that happen.
"He told me they were booked through August, but he also told me that if there was a chance to get me in, he’d try to get me in. If anything happens where somebody drops out or gets injured, he can look to juggle the schedule around and get me in."
"There would be nothing I’d like to do more than finish that match-up with Shane," he said. "It wouldn’t even be a rematch – it would be the original match, because that was such a non-event. I had a lot of family drive over to see that. Outside of that, I felt bad for the fans as a whole and the UFC.
"Everybody got cheated out of a great match-up."
MMA Weekly also spoke to an anonymous member of Shane Nelson's camp who also agreed that the fight was stopped prematurely:
"It was an inexperienced referee," he continued. "(Joe)Silva told me the guy was assigned to them by the Ohio State Athletic Commission; they had to use him. I don’t know what his experience level was – it couldn’t have been much. It seemed to me it was his first time out of the gates, personally."
As a battle-tested warrior, who's fought the likes of Robbie Lawler, Spencer Fisher, Chris Lytle, Yves Edwards, and Eddie Alvarez in a professional career that goes all the way back to 1997, Riley certainly deserves a "do-over" here. Not that veteran fighters should get preferential treatment from a referee, but this was not Riley's first rodeo and for him to get stuck with a novice referee was just entirely unfortunate.
If Joe Silva lives up to his word and grants RIley a rematch with Nelson, or at least tries to squeeze him onto an upcoming card, it will certainly shine a positive light on the UFC's relationship with its fighters.
and just for fun...
Aaron Riley doing his best Cro Cop impression against Michihiro Omigawa at Pride Bushido 7: