UFC 294 turned out to be a gross night for infections, the UFC really doesn’t like Kamaru Usman’s shirt, and Anthony Pettis wants to get back inside the octagon. It’s your Sunday MMA Quick Hits for October 22, 2023!
UFC censor’s Kamaru Usman’s shirt — because it reps Ngannou
The UFC is the leading mixed martial arts promotion on the planet, but frequently acts like an insecure teenager on the dating scene. Case in point, censoring Kamaru Usman’s t-shirt during UFC 294 Fight Week, because it featured Francis Ngannou.
— Yeti-San MMA (@YetiSanMMA) October 18, 2023
Ngannou exited the UFC after fighting out his contract and sitting out a year, vacating the heavyweight title and moving to the PFL. He has yet to make his debut for that organization — because he has a boxing match with Tyson Fury lined up later this month.
Either way, he’s a big part of UFC history, and this move just comes off as petty.
Anthony Pettis back to the UFC?
Speaking of the PFL, former UFC lightweight champ Anthony Pettis was calling the league home of late — but it appears that may have changed. Writing on social media late Saturday, Pettis stated “Just got permission for one more run,” tagging the UFC, Dana White, and matchmaker Sean Shelby. It’s unclear just who is giving him that permission, though since his wife and daughter are pictured, it may be his family.
Pettis is coming off a win in the boxing world over Roy Jones Jr., but has dropped his last two fights in MMA, back-to-back losses to fellow UFC ex-pat Stevie Ray. It would be a bit of a surprise if the company brought him back with that in mind, but stranger things have happened. If nothing else the post signifies that his time with the PFL may have come to an end.
Staph for everyone! (at UFC 294 that is)
Well this is just gross. As it turns out, Paulo Costa wasn’t the only one dealing with a staph infection ahead of UFC 294. He’s just the only one who did the right thing and pulled out of his fight (given staph is highly contagious).
Victoria Dudakov, for one, revealed after her fight with Jinh Yu Frey that not only did she enter the bout with Staph, she had lied to doctors about that fact. Worse, the infection burst open during the fight, potentially putting other parties in the cage at risk.
Viktoriia Dudakova explains she has staph in places 'that aren't okay to announce to the whole world,' and the abscess has now popped leaving her backside completely bloodied up right now. pic.twitter.com/N5m0xUPiYC
— Oscar Willis (@oscarswillis) October 21, 2023
The crazy thing here? Dudakova wasn’t the only fighter competing with staph in Abu Dhabi on Saturday! Mike Breeden also admitted on camera that he had a staph infection and was on anti-biotics to treat it.
UFC President Dana White addressed the situation following the event, although his take seems to be more that the fighters in question shouldn’t have fessed up (h/t Bloody Elbow).
“If you look at how many fights we do… we basically do fights every single Saturday. And here’s one of the things: if you’re gonna lie and hide injuries like that, lie all the way home. Why are you gonna lie and do that and sit up here and say, ‘I had staph infection.’
“It’s a very f*ckng weird thing to do, to be honest with you. Very weird.”
In years past, UFC light heavyweight (and later heavyweight) Ilir Latifi made a similar admission in the cage — resulting in a suspension by the athletic commission. That came in Nevada, however, while the UFC essentially self-regulates in Abu Dhabi.