Sunday MMA Quick Hits: White Blasts Critics of NELK Cash, Usman Lands Wakanda Forever Role

Kamaru Usman UFC
Kamaru Usman, UFC 268 Pre-Fight Press Conference Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

UFC President Dana White has lashed back at critics of his $250,000 cash birthday gift to one of the NELK boys, while Kamaru Usman has landed a role in the upcoming Black Panther sequel, Wakanda Forever. Dan Hardy, meanwhile, wants to report an assassination attempt. It’s your Sunday MMA Quick Hits!

White defends cash windfall gifted to social media standout

Whatever a NELK boy is, Dana White gifted one of them $250,000 recently — and it did not sit well with some fighters and fans of the UFC, who noted that the amount is more than some fighters will earn over the course of their career.

Not happy with the criticism he heard online, the UFC President blasted “scumbag MMA media” for driving the controversy.

“Let me set this record straight,” White said on The Pat McAfee Show last week. “First of all, all these people on the internet – go f*ck yourselves. Ok. I spend my money however the f*ck I want to spend my money. Mind your own f*cking business.

“No. 2, if you look at what Kyle and the Nelk Boys have done as far as how they’re handling and a lot of other things that they’ve done, those kids have never asked me for anything, ever. They’ve never asked me for anything, and they couldn’t be better people. Kyle has done so many things for me. Believe me, the $250,000 that I gave him for his birthday, it does not cover the amount of things that kid has done for me.”

Without clarifying exactly what the Nelk boys (is it Nelk or NELK?) have done, other than be popular on social media, White added that the money was given by him, not the UFC. And he’ll spend his money as he sees fit.

“A lot of this is driven by the scumbag MMA media,” White said. “So what happens is, they act like there’s this massive safe here at the UFC offices that says ‘fighter pay’ on it and I just go in there and grab whatever I want out of fighter pay. No, you f*cking pieces of sh*t. This is money that I have actually made over an entire career, and I will spend it however the f*ck I want.”

Someone call the cops, Dan Hardy wants to report an assassination attempt

Dan Hardy is no fan of the UFC pairing up Nate Diaz and Khamzat Chimaev, calling the booking an “assassination attempt.”

“It feels like we’re getting to the point where someone should start thinking about pressing charges,” Hardy said on The MMA Hour recently (h/t MMA Fighting). “It doesn’t feel like a fair fight. It feels like a very, very cruel thing to do to someone that is a legitimate legend. Because they’ve spoken out against the organization, they’re going to get executed live on TV. That’s kind of how it feels, and it makes me feel uncomfortable to think that’s the way it’s going to go down.”

Noting how Chimaev steamrolled the likes of Rhys McKee and John Phillips, Hardy would later add that “I just hope Nate comes through it alright, because I think he’s got good opportunities outside the UFC. It’s just a shame that they’re going to do this assassination attempt on him before he leaves.”

Diaz has spent the better part of a year fighting to force the promotion to book the final fight on his current contract, having turned down multiple offers to stay with the company. Just a couple of weeks ago, he went public with his frustrations on The MMA Hour, which seemed to finally force the UFC’s hand. They almost immediately booked him into a fight with Chimaev atop UFC 279 on September 10.

Aspinall gives injury update

After falling to injury just 15 seconds into his UFC London main event last weekend, Tom Aspinall has given an update on his knee.

While the heavyweight and his doctors are waiting for swelling to subside to allow for an MRI, the British star is expecting surgery this week.

“Hello everybody. Just a quick update on the knee situation, because plenty of people are asking about the diagnosis and what happened to the knee,” Aspinall stated in a video posted on social media. “Now anybody who’s got knee problems knows that in order to have an MRI scan, an accurate MRI scan, you need to let the swelling go down. So I spoke to the surgeon, we have a rough idea of what it is, but we are currently waiting for the swelling to go down, and I will be having the MRI scan this weekend and having surgery early next week in London.”

“So I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who’s reached out,” he added. “Obviously I’ve been offline, been down in the dumps since Saturday night, but hopefully we’ll get it fixed, get surgery early next week.”

Kamaru Usman set to appear in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman is still chasing all-time great Georges St-Pierre, and it seems that now applies to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well. First noted by Daniel Cormier during the UFC 277 weigh-in broadcast, Usman has landed a role in the upcoming Black Panther sequel, Wakanda Forever.

The film is the second installment in the franchise, although the Black Panther character, portrayed by Chadwick Boseman, also appeared in three other Marvel films (Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers Endgame) prior to the actor’s untimely passing.

There’s no word on what Usman’s role will entail. GSP portrayed the villainous Batroc the Leaper in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and returned to the role in Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier last year.

Black Panther: Wakander Forever premieres on November 11, 2022.

Julianna Pena’s daughter wins the UFC 277 weigh-ins

Julianna Pena had some pint-sized backup at the UFC 277 ceremonial weigh-ins on Friday. That is… absolutely freakin’ adorable.

Rafael Alves Enters the Matrix

Rafael Alves did some Neo-like moves during his UFC 277 fight with Drew Dober. As good as this sequence was, he wound up stopped later in the fight care of a body shot. Still, this is very impressive, especially in slow motion.

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