“Don’t make me look like an asshole kid”
Those words will be ringing in the ears of new UFC flyweight Jake Hadley after an impressive submission win over previously undefeated Mitch Raposo. Despite the Birmingham native having an impressive performance inside the cage his battle on the way there has made his signing more than a bit controversial.
The UFC is the apex of mixed martial arts competition, only the best of the best makes the walk to the octagon to do battle and these men and women are expected to be the utmost professional before during and after the bell for round one starts.
This is where the problems with Jake Hadley’s signing immediately begin, prior to his match with Raposo, Hadley came in 1lb over the 126lb limit, a huge problem and what could well have seen his UFC career over before it started due to the perceived unprofessionalism missing weight has in combat sports.
UFC President Dana White said: “There are two rules that I have, number one if you don’t make weight you don’t get in here”.
White has never been a man to mince his words, so when he says something as clear as “miss weight and your out” missing weight is the last thing you would want to do. Later in the evening when post-fight interviewer Laura Sanko questions him whether Christian Rodriguez missing weight had anything to do with him not being signed, White responded with yes.
White added: “He is young he is 25 years old you’re not in your prime until your 27, 28 years old, so this kid still has room to grow he is with an awesome camp, so he is going to be just fine”.
This is probably little solace to Rodriguez who must now return to the regional circuit for at least one more win before he would be reconsidered for a place on the UFC roster.
This season of White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series has been one where protocol has been broken prior to the signing of Jake Hadley. On 31st August Carlos Candelario fought an excellent fight on short notice against Victor Altamirano, a back-and-forth contest ended with Altamirano gaining a unanimous decision and snapping Caldenario’s ten fight unbeaten streak.
White however saw the fight differently, stating in his post-fight interview he gave Candelario the first two rounds and as a result would be signing him despite his loss on the night.
Obviously, this break in protocol has a clearer happy ending than that of Jake Hadley, a fighter who took a fight on two days’ notice and engaged in a hard-fought battle which he arguably won, is more appealing to the ear than a fighter who missed weight for his fight and was allegedly disrespectful to backroom staff gaining a contract. But it was a break in protocol nonetheless, and the final three fight cards of this season will now be under extra scrutiny from fans and fighters alike, and what does this mean for Hadley? The spotlight is now on him and he has more decisions to make, if he does not make weight for his UFC debut (Hadley called out Former champion Deiveson Figueiredo’s younger brother Francisco) will he be cut from the UFC regardless of the result? Dana White seems to have confidence in his man to sort out any issues he might have, stating in his post-fight press conference Dana was candid about Jake and the potential he has.
“I think the kid is special, I think that he has something different than lots of other kids that come in here, he obviously has some problems that need to be addressed. As I said don’t make me look like an asshole kid”.