Paul Kelly already tried to clear up that whole sucker punch drama during Donald Cerrone’s post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, but fucked if I know what the hell he said. Even after watching it ten times, the best I can come up with is “Oi wassan seelin joos gonta weich no dees respach!” Since I can barely understand that mushmouth Hugh Grant, someone as ghetto as Kelly might as well be speaking Na’vi. Fortunately, Fighters Only got a comment from him and decoded his babble into easily readable English:
“You know what I am like, you never see me shake hands at the weigh ins. But Donald went out of his way to shake hands, so I shook his hand and said look ‘Just, bring it tomorrow. From minute one, I am me.’ and he said ‘Sure, lets get it on and lets make some money. Its about more than just winning, you know?’” Kelly told Fighters Only from Las Vegas on Sunday night.
“So we had an agreement to come out and f–king have it. So when he is standing across the cage I’ve got that in my head, ‘Come out and have it’. In my mind it was going to be the same as the start of my fight with Paul Taylor – just straight to work and go at it properly.
“I wouldn’t pull a dirty trick, you know what I mean? I’ve just touched [gloves] and went to work straight away – I thought that’s what he was going to do. Maybe I should have waited a split-second more but I thought we just going to go straight at it from the off, I was expecting him to be straight in. I’ve said sorry and I don’t know what I can do or say.
“Your mind goes a million miles an hour in there, you know? I just had one thing on my mind, ‘get to work’, and that’s all. Its not my style to sucker punch anyway, never in any of my fights have I ever been accused of being a dirty fighter. I am not about that.”
On one hand, it’s a bit of a stretch to imagine standard WURRIUR talk = a signed and sealed agreement not to touch gloves. But on the other, it’s not like Cerrone was being especially obvious about a glove tap as they approached each other. I’m a big fan of the mantra ‘Protect yourself at all times’ – I thought Million Dollar Baby got what she deserved.
But just like I was the only one who cheered when Clint Eastwood finished her off, I’m probably one of the few willing to excuse Paul Kelly. Touching gloves has become a de facto tradition in MMA, so if you ain’t gonna do it you better make it clear ahead of time or at least have the decency to gong and dash your way out so there’s no ambiguity over whether you plan to show your opponent respect or try and cave his head in.