There’s no doubt about it, Australia’s Tai Tuivasa is on a serious hot streak. Following back-to-back-to-back losses in 2018-19, ‘Bam Bam’ has breathed new life into his Octagon career—rattling off four straight victories, the latest of which he picked up over Augusto Sakai this last weekend.
But, if crushing power has been the key to the 28-year-old’s success inside the cage, he’s built an equally strong reputation for his celebrations outside of it. The man who brought the ‘shoey’ to the UFC has made a habit of getting a few drinks in with fans as he makes his way to the back of the arena after each highlight KO.
Unfortunately, as the AKA trained fighter revealed during his post-fight press conference, overzealous staff severely handicapped his drinking spree following UFC 269.
“Oh look, this is a touchy subject tonight,” Tuivasa revealed when asked how many shoeys he did following his latest victory. “I got pushed out of there pretty fast, and had a bit of an altercation with one of the officials. Hopefully, don’t do that again please.”
“Look, I understand he’s doing his job,” Tuivasa added, “but I don’t know if—he wasn’t a UFC worker or anything. Fuck, to be honest, I don’t know what he was. He just pushed me out of—you know what I mean? My fans come to watch me knock people out and do fucking shoeys. And I felt that he was pushing me out of there and trying to tell me how to do my job, when I don’t tell him how to sign gloves and shit. You know what I mean? “
“Exactly, they come to pay to watch me, not you,” said the Sydney native, in response to another reporter’s question.
But, while Tuivasa may have been frustrated, he also tried to clear the air, that he wasn’t holding on to any long term grudges.
“No, no. Look, I apologized to him,” Tuivasa said. “I kinda went after him. Sorry, official. But, you know how my back is. Don’t fuckin’—like a little rash, you know what I mean? Let me do my thing.”
“That’s my drug, I love it,” he responded when asked how he felt about seeing so many fans holding shoes aloft for him after wins. “This is why I do this, for the fans. I do this to entertain and have fun, and it’s a feeling you can only get by doing that. And, I’ve said it before, that’s what keeps me going. I do this to entertain, and I love it. I love my walkouts, I love the cameras, I love the lights, I love knocking people out. I love it.”
Fortunately for Tuivasa, it sounds like he had some thrilling plans for the rest of the evening—telling one reporter that if he got a performance bonus (which he did), that half of that money wasn’t making it back home with him. For that kind of cash, no doubt he can make up for what he missed in free drinks from the crowd.
“To be honest, I only got one shoey in. I was pretty filthy. Ah, two—sorry, the one on the cage. Steve’s, and one in the crowd. But, I was pretty filthy on that.”