Going into a fight it’s not unusual for a competitor to have doubts in their mind. Whether it was a bad training camp or a nagging injury, the mental side of fight preparation is second to none.
For Forrest Griffin on Saturday night in Rio, the former light heavyweight champion had probably one of the biggest mental distractions any man could face on his mind when he stepped into the cage with Maurcio ‘Shogun’ Rua.
Thousands of miles away in Las Vegas, Griffin’s wife was due to go into labor with the couple’s first child.
Still despite this obviously mental distraction, Griffin offered no excuses why he lost the fight to Rua, and actually didn’t even mention his wife’s pregnancy until his boss took up the cause.
“I’m not 100% sure. I know I had a lot of opportunities to go and I didn’t go. The game plan was to kind of get off after he kind of missed, and he missed a couple times big and I just stood there and let him off the hook. I didn’t stay in the rhythm I wanted to,” Griffin said at the post fight press conference.
“I had a pretty decent camp going into this, pretty decent since 9 weeks since the last time we were here. I definitely could have done a lot better. It sucks when you do poorly at your job.”
UFC President Dana White then took the mic and let everyone know just how proud he was of Griffin for even taking the fight, and that he would be flying home immediately to be there for his wife and child on the way.
“His wife is literally getting ready to deliver their baby in Las Vegas right now, so we’re going to try to get him home as fast as we can,” White stated.
White expanded on that following the press conference, stating that it was obviously a very tough spot for Griffin to be in, fighting in Rio with his wife expecting to give birth at any moment at home in Las Vegas.
“Forrest is a warrior. He wears his heart on his sleeve. I have so much respect for him for coming and taking this fight in this situation,” White stated. “He knew he was going to be in this situation. He was just hoping, she was supposed to be nine days later. He was just texting with her before he came in here, and she said she thinks she’s ready to go, so I’m leaving tonight and he’s flying home with me tonight.”
White also believes that Griffin is as tough as they come, and despite the loss to Rua on Saturday night, the former light heavyweight champion is still among the elite at 205lbs.
“There’s no doubt Forrest is top ten,” said White. “He can go out and beat anybody on any given night, you never know with him. He’s tough. He’s durable.”
With a ride on the UFC’s private jet, Griffin heads home today with a loss on his record, but much happier thoughts will soon wash over him when he greets his new child at home in Las Vegas.