There’s been a significant amount of controversy surrounding UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao’s questionable TKO stoppage over Urijah Faber at last weekend’s UFC 169 main event.
Many thought that Faber, despite being noticeably rocked and damaged, was still coherent enough to warrant the fight being allowed to continue. However, referee Herb Dean had seen enough and decided to stop it.
Always classy, Faber never threw Dean under the bus after the stoppage, although he did note he felt he could have easily fought on. That speculation has prompted talk of a potential third fight between Barao and Faber, something that Team Alpha Male head coach Duane “Bang” Ludwig speculated on earlier this week.
Today, however, news has surfaced of a different nature. Faber’s manager, Mike Roberts of MMA Incorporated, spoke up to MMA Junkie to detail that Faber’s camp was far from an optimal preparation for the surging Brazilian champion.
Indeed, after fighting Michael McDonald at UFC on FOX 9 last December 14, Faber had his back against the wall in attempting to prepare for one of the world’s best mixed martial artists on merely three weeks notice:
“All he did for those three weeks was he sparred once and got hurt and hit mitts for the rest of the three weeks. That’s a great workout, but the only way you get your timing down is through sparring.”
Roberts may appear to be diverting attention away form Barao’s impressive performance, but there’s no doubt that it would have been nearly impossible to beat a champion like Barao while injured and without proper training. Roberts continued on about ‘The California Kid’s’ ailments and his willingness to fight on despite them:
“We took him in and got an MRI, and they said it was a bruised ligament in his knee, so he could barely walk. In the meantime, when he was doing mitts and running around, he tore his hamstring. (He) got an MRI, and there was a slight tear in his hamstring.
Urijah’s whole thing is about opportunity. You don’t pass up opportunity, because there’s no guarantee you’re ever going to get that call again.”
Faber is definitely not one to pass up an opportunity of that magnitude, even if he was hurt and ill prepared to face a fighter who may have the most momentum in all of MMA. Roberts went on to say that Faber is taking some much-needed time off after losing his sixth straight title bout, and hasn’t even considered a rematch with Barao at this point.
With a few mildly serious injuries hobbling his performance at UFC 169, we may not have seen the best version of Faber. Still, even that may not have been enough to beat the bulldozing Barao.
What do you make of Roberts’ comments? Is he merely downplaying his fighter’s one-sided loss, or are Faber’s injuries a legitimate cause for him to get one last crack at the belt?
Photo: Joe Camporeale for USA TODAY Sports