There were some questions this week about Tommy Speer’s cuts and if he was going to fight Ben (Saunders), but I was gonna prepare Tommy as if he was going to fight, and if the commission said that he wasn’t gonna fight, I was just gonna make sure I got to fill him in with somebody off my team. I wasn’t going to let somebody from Team Serra fill in for Tommy.
To be honest, the cuts did not look bad to me, but it’s not up to me, it’s up to the commission. The thing people have got to remember about the commission is that they’re out there for fighter safety. If the cut is remotely close to being dangerous, they’re not going to let the fighter fight, so when the commission cleared him, I knew he was gonna be all right.
This week there was a lot of action back at the house with practical jokes getting out of hand, and it’s not the first time Team Serra has done those antics. I just think it’s your job as a coach to keep your team somewhat under control. I know there’s not a whole lot you can do since you’re not with them the whole time, but you’ve got to be able to instill some type of discipline and these guys have got to be men and grow up. I blame that on the guys, but I also kinda blame the coach a little bit. Coach Serra just wasn’t having these guys be good representatives of the sport.
In the fight between Tommy and Ben, I thought that there could be problems. Tommy could have raised his hand and started tapping at any time, but he didn’t and I was amazed. He could have tapped and I wouldn’t have been mad because it looked terrible for him. But he’s got no quit in him whatsoever. It’s a great quality for him to have because it’s not something you can really coach. I can build off that a little bit, but you can’t coach that. It’s great for me and it’s great for my team because people see that and say ‘hey, that’s how I want to be.’
The semifinal matchups looked great to me. I wanted Mac (Danzig) against Matt (Arroyo) and Tommy against George (Sotiropoulos), and I knew all I had to do was say ‘Dana White, who do you want in the finals? Who are the two best guys here?’ And from what everybody has said, George is the best off Team Serra, and Mac is the best off Team Hughes. You can’t have your finals match in the semifinals, so I knew it would be very simple for me to get the matchups I wanted without saying a whole lot. And you could tell in the interview that Matt (Serra) didn’t want those matchups. But they’re great. Tommy has weapons that people still don’t even know about, and I don’t know what you’ll have to do to make him quit.
Since last week, I’m sure everyone knows that my fight with Serra is off and that I’m not fighting Georges St-Pierre at UFC 79 on December 29th. I am disappointed that I’m not fighting Serra, but that’s the sport, people get hurt, and you’ve just got to realize that and go forward. I’ve switched things up, I’m in the transition right now of training for GSP and that’s just the way it is. I don’t know what the extent of Matt’s injuries are, but it doesn’t really matter now because the match with GSP is already made.