MMA Insights: Todd Duffee
Was The Heavyweight Treated Fairly By The UFC
On September 7, 2010, the UFC dropped somewhat of a bombshell on the MMA world. That was the day when Todd Duffee was unexpectedly cut from the UFC.
At the time, the reasons were unknown but later UFC President Dana White would cite Duffee's poor attitude and lack of commitment as the main two reasons as to why the Colorado native got the boot from the big time. Duffee obviously refuses those claims, stating that his commitment to MMA is unmatched.
Now looking at a career outside the UFC, Duffee is entertaining Strikeforce and is looking to rebuild his career and perhaps make his way back to the premier MMA organization, the UFC. To do so, Duffee will have to change the mind of Dana White. There are times when White will succumb to the fan pressure and relent; changing a decision he has cast in stone. Then again there's times when White is as stubborn as they come; just ask Paul 'Semtex' Daley.
In this situation, it's all about who do you believe? Do you believe Duffee, who is naturally going to defend his image or believe the UFC juggernaut? So, was Duffee treated fairly by the UFC? There is evidence for both sides.
UFC insiders and White say that Duffee had a poor attitude and lacked commitment, something that only UFC employees will know for sure.
But where did it all go wrong for the future poster boy of the organization? At UFC 102 Duffee, possession the image and striking ability to take him to the top made a statement and entered the UFC's history books, earning the fastest knockout in the history of the organization when he laid out Canadian Tim Hague with a vicious punch. Post fight, Duffee – still a small time fish at the time – called upon Dana White to 'feed him' and not give him any more 'appetizers'.
That was his first mistake. Nobody calls out White like that, especially a small time draw like Duffee. I'm sure White made a mental note of it. From there, Duffee's stock nose-dived, due to a serious of injuries and personal calls made on his part.
A chronic back injury caused Duffee to pull out of UFC 107 against Paul Buentello. Little did Duffee know, but his next fight would be his last in the UFC to date. The Colorado man was on his way to a unanimous victory when he was suddenly caught with a thundering right hand from his UFC 114 opponent, Mike Russow. The man who delivered a seven second knockout now knew what it was like to be laying on the canvas. If Russow was the 'food' that Duffee wanted, he certainly did not deliver, something White would have seen as strike two for the heavyweight.
Down the road, according to sources Duffee put off a return to the Octagon. Instead he accepted a film role in the movie 'Never Back Down 2'. Duffy claims that he never intended to take part in the film, but was given the green light to do so by UFC matchmaker Joe Silva. The claim is strange as it is hard to imagine Silva giving Duffee time off, especially when a potential match with Ultimate Fighter 10 contestant John Madsen was being mooted.
Duffy said his camp wanted the fight against Madsen, but he didn’t, as he wanted to get healthy. If that doesn't sound off alarm bells in Dana White's head, then nothing will. White wants fighters, people who will enter the Octagon at 50% fit at a moments notice. In White's mind, this was probably Duffee's third strike. He was out.
Publicly calling on the UFC President to give him better opponents and not fodder was the first mistake. The second was not living up to those grand claims, getting knocked out by Russow and the third was his lack of interest in returning to fight Madsen.
Is it any wonder why Duffee was cut when you think of how White and the UFC works? If you also believe people, then Duffee's claims of being underpaid certainly did not help his cause. Even at this time, when he should be on his hands and knees to Strikeforce, Duffee's manager said that the heavyweight would prefer the UFC rather than Strikeforce.
Speaking to MMAweekly, Duffee's manager Alex Davis said: “We’re going to see what makes sense for him. Strikeforce would make sense for him, but we still don’t know how their heavyweight division is going to play out.”
“I think Todd at some point will be back in the UFC,” said Davis. “I think that’s what he wants.”
Sometimes, what you want and what you get are two different things. If Duffee was accepted back into the UFC and he refused a fight, then he could face the axe once more. Strikeforce won't appreciate these latest comments either, which could leave Duffee in quite a predicament. If he thought he was badly paid in the UFC, he will certainly know about it if he is forced to resort to the lower leagues.
However, there is a flip side to all this and one could argue that Duffee was treated unfairly by the UFC.
For example, take the cases of Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson, Chris 'Crippler' Leben and even Karo Parisyan.
After losing his UFC Light Heavyweight Championship to Forrest Griffin at UFC 86. Following the decision, Jackson went on a 'Rampage' so to speak. He was involved in a hit and run incident following a high-speed police pursuit. He later pleaded guilty to the charges, yet UFC looked after him and kept him on their payroll. It was not the first time that a Jackson incident would irk UFC officials.
After a monster build-up on The Ultimate Fighter Season 10: Heavyweights, Jackson pulled the plug on one of the most publicized fights in UFC history. Jackson and Evans were scheduled to take place in Jackson's hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. The hype machine was in overdrive. We all know what happened next as Jackson briefly retired from the UFC, taking a hiatus to film The A-Team. Jackson, when he wanted was welcomed back with open arms by the organization. His poor attitude and the millions he cost the UFC at the time were not brought into question, yet Duffee was thrown out to the wolves for his seemingly despicable attitude.
In 2008, Chris Leben was arrested for a DUI, which postponed his fight with Michael Bisping. After the Bisping fight, which took place at UFC 89 rather than 85, he was not punished. Leben's indiscretions would challenge the UFC hierarchy once again as he was tested positive for an illegal substance, Stanozolol. He was suspended for the guts of a year, but was still welcomed back by the UFC when his suspension was up. If that doesn't make grounds for a poor attitude, then what does?
If Duffee's attitude was deemed to be poor, then what of Karo Parisyan? A day before the weigh-ins for UFC 106, Parisyan pulls out of a scheduled bout with Dustin Hazelett. The aftermath was spectacular as Dana White vowed that Parisyan would 'never fight again the UFC'. White was visibly irritated, annoyed and fuming with Parisyan. Hazelett, an honest fighter, felt let down. Parisyan, issued a long list of excuses, one of them being that he felt claustrophobic in the days leading up to the fight.
Duffee must feel as though he is the victim of some serious politics because his bad attitude makes these three look like the Brady Bunch in comparison. In contrast, White went back on his word and brought Parisyan back into the UFC, less than a year after cutting him 'for good'.
When he looks at the cases of Parisyan, Leben and Jackson, Duffee must curse his bad luck. Though, if anything, the Parisyan case can give him hope. White went back on his word in that case. He has done it on other occasions, so maybe all is not lost for Duffee.