Dana White Tries to Inspire the Fighters
White took the semifinalists to the Mandalay Bay Events Center prior to UFC 167. The arena was empty, but the octagon was set up and the production crew was preparing for the pay-per-view event.
“I’ve had some issues pretty much the entire season that I feel like these guys aren’t motivated enough, like these guys don’t want to be here. I had a talk with them when we were doing the fight picks, and I figured, you know what, I’ll bring them down here and see what they’re one fight way from,” said the UFC president. “If this doesn’t fire these guys up, I don’t know what the (expletive) to do.”
The fighters were brought into the octagon and White put on his motivational speaker hat and spoke to the fighters in an effort to make the remaining fights exciting ones.
“You are one fight way from (expletive) fighting at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. You are one fight away from fighting at Mandalay Bay. Who knows where the (expletive) your fight will be after that if you win,” said White. “The life you dreamed of, the things that you’ve wanted, everything that you’ve (expletive) ever thought you wanted from this sport is one (expletive) fight away.”
The Fight: Eddie Gordon vs. Cathal Pendred
Team Edgar’s Eddie Gordon and Team Penn’s Cathal Pendred faced off in the first semifinal bout of the season. Pendred came out aggressive and overcommitted on his strikes. Gordon briefly gained top position on the ground, but Pendred quickly worked his way back to his feet. The Irishman secured four takedowns in the opening frame, winning the round on MMAWeekly’s scorecard.
Gordon made adjustments and defended Pendred’s takedown attempts in the second round. Pendred missed with a spinning back fist and Gordon tied him up and took him down midway through the frame. He peppered the Team Penn middleweight with short punches from the top position for the next two minutes and decided to let Pendred up. It was all even heading into the final round.
Pendred pressed forward looking to get the fight to the ground, but was unable to. As the round wore on, fatigue set in on both fighters. Pendred dictated the pace while Gordon looked to counter strike. Pendred delivers outside leg kicks while Gordon countered with right hands. Both teams felt their fighter had won. When it was all said and done, the judges scored the fight for Gordon by split decision.
“I feel great. Holy crap. Cathal brought it. That’s the fight to remember, fights like that,” said Gordon after advancing to the finals.
“I’m devastated,” said Pendred following the loss. “I can’t do this,” he said as he walked away from the cameras.