Let's say you slapped a blood pressure monitor on UFC president Dana White and told him you were going to throw some names at him and see how the mention of those names affected his blood pressure. One of the names that would surely cause an uptick would be that of UFC 166 co-main event fighter Roy Nelson.
Nelson has been with the UFC since knocking out Brendan Schaub to win season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter. Since then, Nelson has seemingly been nothing but a 260-pound stone in White's shoe.
We were all reminded of that fact when White discussed Nelson during Thursday's pre-UFC 166 media scrum.
Nelson went into his last fight with an expiring contract and a three-fight winning streak. Nelson took that fight, at UFC 161 on short notice, hoping that a victory over the then 9-1 Stipe Miocic would strengthen his position when it came time to sit down at the table to hammer out a new contract with the promotion he has called home since 2009. Nelson's plan failed. He dropped a unanimous decision to Miocic, falling to 19-8 overall and 6-4 in the UFC.
White was asked if the loss played any part in the nine-fight deal the UFC and Nelson hammered out after UFC 161:
No, not really. We wanted Roy, we we're going to sign Roy anyway. It's not like we were like ‘Oh Roy, you lost now you're f**cked, buddy.' We don't do that. We don't play like that.
There had been talk that Nelson was unnecessarily "rolling the dice" by not signing a new deal prior to the Miocic fight, a deal that the UFC said was offered at some point by Joe Silva. White attempted to clear up some misconceptions about what he meant when he made his "rolling the dice" comment:
When I talk about Roy rolling the dice, it's like Roy waited until the end of his contract. We owed him a fight, and we offered him a fight. If he didn't take it, we'd had to extend his contract. So he took the fight (on short notice) instead. I just feel like he played the whole thing the wrong way, when he didn't need to play it that way.
Roy's no genius, okay? Roy didn't even know that he didn't have to take the (Miocic) fight (on short notice). Roy didn't even know that. There's a lot of things that Roy doesn't know. He doesn't know grooming, he doesn't know about his contract, there's a lot of things he doesn't know about.
White and the media seemed to move on to the next subject, but while White listened to the next question, he interrupted and told the inquiring media member, "Just a second, hold that thought," before revisiting the subject of Nelson.
You realize Roy came out of The Ultimate Fighter, and had a contract with another promoter and didn't know it. Did you know that? I had to buy that other promoter out for Roy's contract during The Ultimate Fighter, okay? That's how smart Roy Nelson is, and I could go on for days, and as he starts asking me (the next) question I'll probably think of four more things on how smart Roy Nelson is. Roy Nelson cost me a lot of money.
If White did think of four other examples, he kept them to himself.
White did offer some praise for Nelson, but he did so after throwing a few shots at his mental acuity and cleanliness:
Roy Nelson might not be the smartest guy in the world, might not have the best hygiene, but he's got an unbelievable chin, knockout power in both hands, great wrestling and unbelievable Jiu-Jitsu, and he's in great shape right now, best shape I've ever seen him in.
Nelson will face Daniel Cormier in the co-main event of UFC 166 on Saturday night from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
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