WSOF President Ray Sefo: 'I would have reacted the same way Cormier did'
WSOF President Ray Sefo frequently tells fighters that while their business is to inflict damage inside the cage, their other job is to show respect to opponents.
Displays of aggression such as the one seen Monday between UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones and challenger Daniel Cormier might be good for TV, Sefo told MMAjunkie Radio, but they violate the spirit of the sport.
“I tell my fighters all the time, we do what we do, but it’s out of respect,” he said.
With that said, Sefo, a semi-retired kickboxer and MMA fighter in addition to his WSOF duties, won’t just stand by if someone gets in his face.
“Me, personally, as a fighter, I’m not a guy that sits there and tries to stare you down,” he said. “I don’t need to do that. When that bell rings, you’re going to get a fight. So, when someone invades my space, I’m punching you, because you don’t need to get in my face.
“You can stand (a short distance away) and stare me down if you want to do that. It’s funny, because when people start to stare me down like that, I start to smile. It’s funny when people sit there and (stare me down). It doesn’t do anything to me, because one way or the other, when that bell rings, I’m going to punch you in your mouth.”
Both Jones (20-1 MMA, 14-1 UFC) and Cormier (15-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) threw punches during the melee at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena, which lasted only a few seconds before security intervened. The incident made headlines in the MMA world and also broke into the mainstream sports media.
As a result, UFC 178, which is headlined by Jones and Cormier, is expected to do big business. In the meantime, the UFC and overseeing Nevada State Athletic Commission are looking into the matter to perhaps mete out punishment to the participants.
There are varying opinions on who is to blame for the brawl, but Sefo understands why Cormier was the first to use his hands by shoving Jones.
“I would have reacted the same way Cormier did,” he said. “I think Jones put his head on Cormier’s head and that was that. That’s the risk of that, because people feel like their space is being invaded, and soon as that happens, someone’s going to throw, or push. So then it’s going to escalate to what happened yesterday.
“Sure, it might be good for TV or the drama, but to me, it really got out of hand. The people that turned up to watch that didn’t really get (what they were seeing), because I’m sure they were going to interview them, and that didn’t happen.”
Just to be safe, Sefo will be reminding WSOF fighters to be cool when they hit the scales for the promotion’s next event, WSOF 12, which takes place Saturday at Las Vegas’ Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
For more on WSOF 12 and UFC 178, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site.
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