UFC Fight Night 204 competitors Paddy Pimblett and Ilia Topuria got involved in a scuffle at the fighter hotel in London earlier this week despite the fact that they aren’t fighting each other at the weekend, and they’ve now both given their version of how the incident transpired.
“It didn’t happen because he called me something yesterday. It comes from a long time ago,” Topuria said on The MMA Hour show. “He was arguing with one of my close friends once on Twitter and he posted [something] like, ‘Now I understand why Russia destroyed Georgia, because you’re dumb,’ and it makes my blood boil. When I saw it, I was surprised. I didn’t believe it when I saw that tweet, because in 2008 I was living in Georgia when the war happened, and it was a very difficult time for me, for my family, for all my friends, for my country. A lot of innocent people, kids, were dying in that war.
“And to see how someone is joking about that, it makes my blood boil. So I texted with him, I don’t remember what I tweeted, and when they gave me the fight in London, he text me like three weeks ago, like, ‘I can’t wait to see you in London. We’ll see if you have the balls to tell me everything you texted me on Twitter.’ Bullshit!”
“He wanted to shake my hand,” Topuria said when he spotted Pimblett at the hotel. “He didn’t come [toward me], but he looked at me nice, you know? I threw the bottle at his face, he threw it back to me, but I don’t know what, I slip and I give him a proper right hand — and that is why, the video, you saw it. Everyone saw the video, what happened. So it’s hard. You have the Ukraine flag [in your studio], can you imagine if I started to make some jokes about the war, where their children are dying, where people are suffering? You can’t talk about that. So this is why.
“The same situation [happened to us], we were living in Georgia in 2008. The same situation. I was living there, and a lot of guys from my class, my friends, I saw all of them out there, their parents were dying in the war, and crazy situations — I can’t even explain how the situation was at that time. [It bothers me] when I hear someone joking about that.”
Meanwhile, Pimblett has also explained what happened from his perspective.
“As soon as he came out the double doors, he snarled at me, so I looked at him and said, ‘What?’” Pimblett said at yesterday’s media day. “Then he walked towards me. I said, ‘What’s happening, lad?’ And as he got close to me, he swiped a slap at me, and obviously, if you raise your hands at me, I’m going to do something.
“I wasn’t punching him because I’m not breaking my hand and then not be able to fight and not get my money on the weekend. So I stepped back, and I picked the hand sanitizer and bounced it off his head. And then he swung a big one, and I moved out of the way with ease. He’s got a little bit of small man syndrome. He’s only (5-foot-7), so I just tried to leave the little man to it.”
“He wanted to come at me and act all that, and he got put in his place. I stood there on my own and there was about six of them, and he done nothing. If he wanted to do something, he would’ve come around the table and try and have a fight with me, but he didn’t. He stood on the other side of the table because he knows what’s good for him.”