Three “Huh?” Moments in MMA Last Week: Oct. 2 Edition

MMA KGB Lee (Andrea Lee)
Andrea 'KGB' Lee Credit: Dave Mandel/

One of the greatest heavyweights in MMA history reminded us he’s classless, a high-profile fighter joined the UFC for what felt like seconds, and the biggest threat to Conor McGregor can’t find his way into the Octagon. Huh?

Finding the proper response to much of the news finding its way into our social media feeds is becoming a tougher task every day. Nothing is surprising, and there’s always more to the story. Leaving us with one reply: “huh?”.

Last week, Fabricio Werdum once again used his favorite slur in a media scrum ahead of UFC 216, Andrea Lee had her UFC debut announced and then canceled in a matter of hours, and Khabib Nurmagomedov turned down the chance to fight at Madison Square Garden in November.

The reason “huh?”, in its various forms, is such a quality reply is simple. The word is as versatile as a response gets, and while it may require some explanation, “huh?” is sometimes the only way to react to the news of today. Defined by Merriam-Webster as an interjection that’s “used to express surprise, disbelief, or confusion, or as an inquiry inviting affirmative reply”, “huh” or “huh?” can mean a lot of different things.

Despite some of the follies of human evolution (see: Deleting Tweets), the development and growth of “huh” is something we should embrace. To be the change we want to see in the world, here are a few MMA stories last week that made us go “huh?”.

Fabricio Werdum unnecessarily reminds us he’s a bigot

In a media scrum ahead of his bout against Derrick Lewis at UFC 216, heavyweight Fabricio Werdum once again reminded us that he’s a bigot. Huh.

For what isn’t the first time, and likely won’t be the last, Werdum lashed out at another, smaller fighter. This time, it was lightweight Tony Ferguson. In a quick interaction, Werdum went from 0-to-100, and couldn’t resist dropping his favorite slur: Maricon. That’s Spanish, and in English, maricon means faggot. He’s used “maricon” to try to insult fighters in the past, from a variety of divisions, while even finding the brainpower to utilize the term on social media.

This is hardly uncharacteristic for Werdum, who is homies with one of the worst human beings on the planet in Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov. Fans of MMA have likely heard his name associated with fighters before, but few are as commonly connected as Werdum.

Oh, earlier this year, Kadyrov wanted to “eliminate” the gay community in his country of Chechnya. Huh.

Werdum has since non-apologized for his most recent outburst, while also being lightly “punished” by the UFC. The apology is a sham, and his potential community outreach within the LGBTQ community in Las Vegas isn’t exactly a tough stance from the promotion which features several gay fighters, including Werdum’s compatriot and women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes.

The Brazilian is out of second chances, and his reaction to the situation says it all. He’s not sorry. He’s a bigot. He supports bigots. He’s not going to change.

He’s also not alone. There are many fighters who say and do problematic things from time to time. But when it’s a recurring issue, and there’s no remorse or desire to change, the UFC has to act. In this instance, their response is extremely disappointing. Here’s hoping Werdum loses to Derrick Lewis, and makes his way out of the premier promotion in MMA sooner rather than later.

Andrea Lee isn’t is isn’t in the UFC

Just as quickly as we were able to get excited about Andrea Lee’s UFC debut, we were having to figure out why it was canceled. Huh?

Less than 24 hours after her bout at UFC 216 against Kalindra Faria was announced, it was gone. The current Legacy Fighting Alliance flyweight champion is a highly touted prospect at 125-pounds, and adding her to the new division in the UFC is a no-brainer. But, the 28-year-old has some issues with USADA to deal with due to a past positive test for a diuretic in March of 2016.

Why the UFC wasn’t aware of this, or had it sorted out before making the announcement, is odd. But, now that it’s settled, we have a new estimate for Lee’s promotional debut. That should come sometime in March or April of 2018.

That timeline, while a bummer for Lee and fans who are excited for her to take the next step in her MMA career, still gives her the opportunity to have an instant impact in the UFC’s newest division. There will be a women’s flyweight champion for the first time in the promotion later this year, and joining the fray next spring won’t put Lee in a much tougher spot than if she were fighting at UFC 216.

What’s wrong with Khabib Nurmagomedov?

According to UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby, undefeated lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov was offered a fight with Tony Ferguson at UFC 217, but wouldn’t be ready by November 4. Huh?

The last time we saw Nurmagomedov compete was at UFC 205 last November, where he easily dispatched Michael Johnson at Madison Square Garden. Then in March, he had yet another matchup with Tony Ferguson canceled, and we’ve been waiting for the return of “The Eagle” ever since.

“Just to clear things up, a fight was offered to Nurmagomedov on Nov. 4th, and at that point we were trying to put cards together towards the end of the year,” Shelby said on Watch List. “I was informed that he could not make that date and he probably wouldn’t be able to fight until at least December. And so, that left Tony without a dance partner and it’s not just about one guy, it’s about two guys.” – via Bloody Elbow

Huh. Getting his health right following UFC 209, and then taking part in Ramadan, Nurmagomedov has been sidelined for a while. The extended absence was expected, but it’s safe to say we’re all disappointed that it’s taken this long. After his performance at UFC 205, the hype-train was full steam ahead for a potential title-bout with Conor McGregor.

Things have changed in the landscape of the division, but Nurmagomedov is still in the title-picture, apparently. He’s going to have to get back into the Octagon, and prove he can make weight, before he gets the biggest payday of his MMA career.

Currently standing in line with Nate Diaz, Tony Ferguson, and Kevin Lee, Nurmagomedov may have to wait for the fight he really wants. Which is what he’s been doing for the better part of a year now. With the timeline for his return looking like December, at the earliest, we aren’t holding our breath for a Nurmagomedov title-run anytime soon.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum gave us yet another reason to root against him at UFC 216, continually slinging homophobic slurs at anyone who dares cross him. Hopefully he’s out of the UFC sooner rather than later, so he can go hang out with his buddy Ramzan Kadyrov. While he can go away, Andrea Lee and Khabib Nurmagomedov getting into the Octagon would make many fans happy, although we likely won’t get either until 2018.

Huh? for the road