UFC staff staged a walk-out when boss Dana White signed an athlete who committed a cardinal sin before a match
- UFC boss Dana White reneged on company protocol to sign a fighter who had committed a cardinal sin.
- British competitor Jake Hadley failed to make weight for a Contender Series match.
It all went down Tuesday at the Apex in Las Vegas, shortly after British flyweight Jake Hadley wowed onlookers with a devastating second-round rear-naked choke submission win over Mitch Raposo.
Hadley was competing in Dana White's Contender Series promotion, which is a separate entity to the UFC and is designed to funnel impressive talent into the market-leading fight firm.
The 25-year-old, a well-rounded mixed martial artist, entered the arena as a champion from the European combat sports company Cage Warriors, which counts Conor McGregor, Michael Bisping, and Dan Hardy as alumni.
There has been a modern-day boon of fighters entering the UFC from Cage Warriors as Jack Shore, Paddy Pimblett, Tom Aspinall all came from that organization, and are performing well in front of White today.
Hadley may well be next in line.
But his ticket to the UFC was almost torn up when he failed to make weight for his Contender Series debut earlier this week.
Normally, as reported by MMA Fighting, this is enough to prevent one from earning a UFC deal regardless of how impressive they were in their fights.
But Hadley's second-round win made White renege on his Contender Series protocol, and so, for the first time in the history of the promotion, a contract was prepared for a combatant who failed to make weight for their fight.
When White told colleagues what was happening, they walked off in a huff.
"When I left the back room, my instructions were to not sign this guy," White told reporters at a post-event press conference.
White then relayed that he'd been told by UFC chief business officer Hunter Campbell that two key figures - senior vice president of talent relations Sean Shelby and the UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard - both "stormed out of the room … and took off."
He added: "They're not happy about it."
However, White said: "I just have a gut feeling that this kid has something special and I broke all my own rules and didn't listen to what they said, so hopefully I'm right on this and this kid doesn't make a dickhead out of me."
Watch White lambast Hadley before awarding him the UFC deal right here:
-UFC (@ufc) October 13, 2021
Hadley's victory advanced his pro MMA record to eight wins (two knockouts, four submissions, and two decisions) against zero draws or losses.
He cited cultural differences as a reason for any apparent confusion over his fight week behavior.
"I don't know what I've said to someone to upset them," Hadley said. "If I've upset anyone, I haven't meant it. It didn't come from a malicious way. That's not my nature. That's not me as a person.
"I just feel like maybe it's like a misinterpretation because of me being - like with Bisping, people don't understand Bisping because he's British.
"Even when I was at Whole Foods, I was like to someone, 'You all right, mate?' And then he was like, 'Yeah I'm all right. Are you alright?' I don't think he understood what I was saying.
"Next time I'm just gonna keep my mouth closed, I ain't even gonna say anything, so I don't upset no one because obviously, I don't want something like that hindering what I've been working for my whole entire life.
"Straight up, sorry to anyone I've upset. I didn't mean it from a malicious way."
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