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Benson Henderson thinks fighting with a toothpick in his mouth isn't ‘against the rules'

Ben Henderson doesn't get what all that "Toothpickgate" talk is about.

When Benson Henderson finished Brandon Thatch this past Saturday at UFC Fight Night 60, he did it impressively. And he did it with a toothpick in his mouth again, causing critics to go off and call for better supervision by the sports commissions.

Meanwhile, Henderson himself doesn't really get what's the hitch.

Talking to MMAFighting's Ariel Helwani, Henderson evaluated the danger of having a toothpick in his mouth while being in a full-contact mixed martial arts fight.

"It's as dangerous for me to have a toothpick in your mouth as it is to have a 200-pound man punch me in the face hard or try to kick me in the face," said Henderson, who moved up a weight class to fight Thatch on just two weeks notice. I'm more worried about that, to be honest."

While critics called for the commission's officials to check Henderon's mouth more thoroughly right before his fights, he feels that no one can tell him if he is allowed to have a toothpick is his mouth or not while he competes.

"I don't think it's illegal. I don't think it's against the rules."

Henderson even mentioned a story where he almost choked on one of his toothpicks while playing a joke on his mom a couple of years back. "It was bad, but I lived. I was able to tell the story", he said, but obviously still plans on sticking to his strange habit, although he makes clear that he doesn't need it as some kind of lucky charm.

"I don't have any superstitions," Henderson said. "I won world titles with a toothpick. I defended it without a toothpick. It all depends. Sometimes I do it, sometimes I don't. It's a bad habit. I know I shouldn't do it, but it's fine."

(Transcription via