Tomorrow night will most likely go down as the most historic night in UFC history with the debut of women's MMA featured prominently as the main event. While most of the media attention is focused on the ladies, several fantastic match-ups have been standing almost unnoticed.
Of particular interest, at least to me, is the scheduled bout between Court McGee and Josh Neer. McGee is coming down to 170 for the first time, and Neer, ever the crafty veteran, stands a ready welcoming party to the division. With both fighters coming off back to back losses, it's more than likely a must win situation for either guy, especially in light of the massive cuts being enforced by the UFC. With the promise of more cuts to come, due to an overflow of athletes on the UFC roster, a dark cloud hangs over promotion.
I recently spoke with Court, and got thoughts on his upcoming fight with Neer, as well as the dismal judging situation that has plagued him and many other fighters recently. Here's what he had to say:
There's definitely some frustration. You know, you can give it all you got, but if it goes to the judge's scorecard, then it's really not in your hands any more. I use that frustration to fuel my training. 'You can't leave it in the hands of the judges' becomes a frustrating statement to have to deal with.
Something has to be done about the judging. We need to make sure these guys are more informed. Hopefully, it's not just an amateur boxing judge that comes in and has no idea about anything on the ground.
Sometimes, you're just not gonna be able to finish the fight, especially when you get to this level. Guys train for years and years specifically to not get finished. You go out, and face someone you match up well with, you might not get them into a position where you can finish them. I can't really dwell on the judging though. All I can do is try to improve my game more, so that the next time I come out, I can really take it to the guy.
Influence of outside issues
I was worrying too much about sponsorship, and I had some issues with management. At one point, literally, right before weigh-ins, I was told that I had to lose all my sponsors, lose the banner, and would have to change my shorts, because something wasn't cleared. All I could think about was all the money I was going to be missing out on. I started worrying about my family. I should have just said, 'Screw that', because all I really need is a cup, a mouthpiece and shorts to go fight in.
The last thing you want to be worrying about is your sponsors. That extra money goes a long way for some of us. I was in a situation where I had to make a difficult decision on getting some different management, and that's what I did.
I have sponsors that still haven't paid me since March of last year. It's getting harder and harder to find sponsors that are reliable and will do what they say. Stroops Fitness are the ones that haven't paid me. They're in a bunch of different gyms and are a big company. They're a Utah based company with equipment in hundreds of different gyms. It's coming up on a year. These guys owe me some money.
I've been working on some finishing combinations. I got Nick Ring in a few different positions where I could have done some chain tactics. For instance, if you get in a front headlock, you pull him down, take the back and work a rear naked submission. Basically, I've been drilling techniques where if you get your opponent to a tricky spot, you work all the way through to the finish. We've been watching some footage so we can drill some techniques that are geared to his game, and hopefully put them to practical application once we get in the cage.
It's been a couple of fights where I've been thinking about moving down, and just recently, I've finally been able to do it. I focused on changing up my diet and making sure I could get down in a healthy way and still be a little bit bigger for my weight division. Most of the guys I've fought have been bigger than me. This time, maybe I'll have a little of that size advantage. I've done some trial cuts and have felt phenomenal, probably because I'm walking around 10 pounds lighter all the time now (Court states that he walks around at about 195 now).
You can follow Court via his Twitter account, @Court_McGee