(Exhibit A: Benson Henderson at the end of round 3)
The strangest revelation coming out of last night’s UFC on FOX event was the fact that Benson Henderson fought Nate Diaz for five rounds with a toothpick in his mouth. Last year Kenny Florian revealed that the guy often keeps it in his mouth during training and sparring, and now footage from the fight catches Bendo fiddling with the wooden stick in between rounds and after the fight.
At first, Henderson denied it was in there but at the press conference sheepishly admitted that yeah, he has it in there for most fights. Then word must have gotten to him that the commission was not amused, and he changed the tune of his story.
- “That’s too dangerous man, can’t do that!” – Benson speaking to Joe Rogan immediately after the fight.
- “I cannot confirm or deny that. I normally do, yeah, in practices, when I spar, when I fight. It’s a bad habit but whatever, I’ve gotten away with it so far. I wouldn’t say I’m uncomfortable [without it in], but the majority the time I have it in, sometimes I dont. Whatever. It is what it is.” – Benson addressing it at the press conference.
- “I was joking, I did not have a toothpick in my mouth during the fight. I was being facetious.” – Benson after a reporter questions the legality of the toothpick and what the commission might think.
Now we have a bunch of screenshots and footage from the fight showing him popping the thing in and out of his cheek between rounds, confirming that it was in there for at least some of the action. Prepare yourself to be bombarded over the next week with endless articles talking about the legal and safety ramifications surrounding fighting with a pointy bit of wood in your mouth, but I think Nate Diaz summed the whole thing up perfectly at the post fight presser when asked about it: “I don’t know if he did … but that’s weird.”
(Now you see it, now you don’t! Magic!)