Demian Maia asserted his dominance over Matt Brown Saturday night, and even got a little help from the crowd.
Brown, who is the No. 8 ranked welterweight on the UFC’s media-generated rankings, got into it with the Brazilian crowd as the two fighters were getting acquainted. Aside from the heat between the two rivals, the Brazilian crowd brought its own hostility to the situation.
Audience members booed Matt immediately as he walked in for weigh-ins. As they started chanting, “U vai morrer” — a popular Portuguese phrase at MMA events that means, “You’re going to die” — Brown flipped them the bird, which only riled them up more.
The reaction was likely what Brown was expecting: They started to chant and boo even more. Instead of facing the crowd when weighing in, Matt faced away from them and, with both hands and showed his middle finger to the crowd a second time. This quickly invigorated the crowd’s boos, making it one of the rowdiest weigh-ins in UFC history.
Maia, who is ranked as the No. 5 MMA fighter by Bleacher Report, received a warm welcome from the crowd, and both he and Brown had no issues posing for a few pictures and shaking hands. Brown (20-14) weighed in at 171 pounds and Maia (23-6) weighed in at 170, putting them in the appropriate range to go head-to-head in Saturday’s match.
Though hostility during weigh-ins is nothing new for UFC fighters, Brown’s actions were a little surprising. There’s often anger and threats towards other fighters, but mistreatment of the crowd is a new low. Naturally, a press conference was held directly following the incident.
“If they’re sitting there telling me I’m going to die, that makes me feel good,” Brown told reporters.
Brown’s words were a nice cover, but it apparently wasn’t enough to help the UFC fighter to beat Maia during Saturday’s match. Demian Maia took the victory during the match, which is no surprise based on his previous winning streak.
It took Maia just three rounds to bring down Brown. In the first, he took Brown to the mat and kept him there. In the second, it was the same story. In the third and final round, Brown emerged, trying to prove he could beat the higher-ranking player, but in the end, Demian again proved conquerer.
But Matt may have been a little more ruffled for the match than he let on. On his way to the cage, Brown was assaulted three times by the crowd. He required help to disentangle himself from the angry spectators and make his way to the ring. This is, no doubt, a direct result of Matt’s obscene gestures to the Brazilian crowd during the previous day’s weigh-ins.
The backlash from the audience had an obvious effect on his performance. It’s true that UFC fighters are used to yelling and adverse actions from audience members, but anyone who is assaulted physically and verbally on their way to the ring will be a little shaken when they hit the octagon.
Maybe fewer gestures and a little more fight will serve Matt Brown better luck next time in his UFC career.
[Image via Buda Mendes/Getty Images]