UFC bantamweight Johnny Bedford returned to action this past Friday, and was hoping to bounce back from his UFC 159 submission loss to Bryan Caraway. ‘Brutal’ squared off against Rani Yahya in Abu Dhabi at Fight Night 39, and seemed very amped in the lead up to the fight. When the two finally squared off, it was quite the anti-climax for Bedford.
Just 39 seconds in to the fight Yahya collapsed to his knees, seemingly rocked by a big punch, but that was not the case. On closer inspection it was apparent that the knockdown was courtesy of an accidental head butt. Bedford’s celebrations were cut short when the referee ruled the bout a no-contest, and ‘Brutal’ did not take the news well.
Bedford’s mood went from happy to angry in the blink of an eye, as he squared off with Yahya in the middle of the cage. In fairness to commentator and former UFC welterweight title challenger Dan Hardy, he acted as a pretty good mediator and pretty much booked a rematch between the two. Anyway, Bedford posted the following explanation of his actions in Abu Dhabi to his official Facebook page:
“First of all I want to thank the UFC, Dana White, Sean Shelby, and all of the staff in the best promotion in the world. Thank you to Abu Dhabi for the once in a life time opportunity. Your country is amazing. I hope all the fans can understand my actions and frustrations showed at the time of announcement. I had not looked at any replays, and in all honesty have still not seen a replay. The referee stopped the fight with me throwing punches, therefore I was celebrating a much needed win.”
Bedford’s actions after the bout had ended were understandable, especially given the high pressure put on fighters in the UFC. Not to mention the fact that his win bonus and potential performance bonus would not be paid for a no-contest finish.
“I have no disrespect for Rani Yahya and meant none at the time. My frustrations have come from me being sidelined by injuries and finally feeling the best I could for this fight. With all of my misfortunes of injuries and a set back in my last fight, I put myself into a position where I needed this win and was crushed when I found out I would not be receiving my win bonus. I wish the best for Rani and hope that he will accept my apology, but also a rematch.”
A rematch between Yahya and Bedford, at the least, has a story line that the UFC can use to sell it. Both men will head in to the likely rematch on the back of a loss and a no-contest, which would put their backs square against the wall.