by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
(Photo courtesy of Tom Casino/CBS/EliteXC)
Following a successful run as International Fight League heavyweight champion, Roy Nelson suffered his first loss in his last six fights after he faced off against former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski at CBS-EliteXC Saturday Night Fights.
The loss didn’t come without some controversy though, as Nelson was working on his ground attack from side control, a universally known dominant position, when the referee stood the fighters up.
“A quote from Kimbo… it is what it is,” said Nelson in an interview with MMAWeekly.com about the stand up. “The thing is I had a Kimura and I let the Kimura go to go to side control to go get the mount. As soon as I let go of the Kimura to go into side control where I could just basically make Andrei work a little bit more, and just kind of tire him out, and make him feel the weight. As soon as I did that, first thing they did was stand me up.”
Nelson wasn’t the only fighter on the card that night to question the refereeing. During an appearance on MMAWeekly Radio, EliteXC welterweight champion Jake Shields also mentioned that shortly after taking Paul Daley down in their fight, just as he was transitioning to mount, the referee was warning them to keep busy or the fight would be stood up.
According to Nelson, he also heard about the referee situation from Shields, but added that he doesn’t feel that was the real problem he was facing when challenging a popular fighter like Andrei Arlovski.
“Jake was telling me about it, but the difference between me and Jake is they wanted Jake to win,” Nelson commented.
In the end, Nelson feels the referee situation adversely affected his performance and while the overall experience soured him to those particular referees, he’s open to returning to EliteXC.
“I felt like I was fighting two people,” Nelson said about the referees last Saturday night. “I would fight for Elite, it all depends where we’re fighting at and who’s the ref. If we were fighting in Vegas, and I know the refs and they actually know what a Kimura is, that kind of makes for a big difference. Cause the reason they’re telling me to work for a better position and you’ve got someone in a submission, usually they have to get out.”
Still the overall situation could go even deeper because the former IFL champ says that Arlovski may have had prior knowledge about their fight, giving him more time to prepare.
“We were having dinner afterwards and Andrei’s guys were coming over and they were just talking about how they had been studying me and watching film and stuff and they’ve been doing it for over three weeks, and I was like, ‘huh?” Nelson stated. “And I didn’t say anything to them, but it makes you kind of wonder, three weeks? I thought you were on the same (one) week plan that I was? When you see all the politics all unfold and that made it very interesting.”
Nelson holds no ill will towards Arlovski for the situation and hopes the two fighters have the chance to fight again in the future.
“Andrei did a great job. I got caught and that’s why when I lost to him I went up to Andrei and say, ‘Hey, can we do this again,’” Nelson said. “He was gracious, I underestimated him a little bit from the stand-up point.”
The short notice was a major factor in the fight and something Nelson says won’t likely happen again as he believes he needs at least a four or five week camp to prepare for a specific opponent, especially one in the Top 10 like Arlovski.
While nothing has been made official yet, he is also hopeful to return to a previously scheduled fight against Paul Buentello in Affliction in January. But this loss has added motivation to the Las Vegas native’s mindset for his next fight and he issued a warning to whoever the opponent is.
“I don’t know who I’m going to fight next, but I feel bad for the next guy.”