Aussie UFC featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski has revealed the “load of s—” he had to deal with when he was woken the night before his title defence against Max Hollaway by the US Anti-Doping Agency.
Volkanovski successfully defended his title for the first time on Sunday in a see-sawing bout on UFC’s Fight Island that saw the Aussie come home strong after being knocked down in the opening rounds.
Much like his first clash with Hollway, the judges’ points decision in favour of Volkanovski (48-47 x2, 47-48) has since seen the Aussie subject to relentless online bashing – a crusade made all the worse by UFC boss Dana White’s public condemnation of the scoring.
However, Volkanovski has since revealed he was left seething by a decision by USADA to wake him up at 10pm the night before his fight, having changed his schedule to be asleep by 7pm for his scheduled 7.30am show-time.
“I’m not saying that hurt my performance, but I think it’s pretty rude to be doing that especially when they know I’m on so early in the morning,” he told foxsports.com.au.
“I think everyone knew I was sleeping at 7 o’clock. They tried to tell me, ‘Oh, we thought you were up because of the fights.’ The fights didn’t start till 2 o’clock, and I wasn’t on till 7.30 in the morning, so for them to say that seems like a load of shit.
“But hey, maybe it was a mistake. It was a silly mistake because fight day, I think that’s just very unprofessional and very silly … I eventually got back to sleep. I didn’t get as many hours as I would have liked, but it doesn’t matter, it’s all good.”
After their first clash in December 2019 many within the company openly questioned the Aussie’s unanimous points decision victory, claiming Holloway was the more dominant fighter despite the Wollongong star landing more scoring shots.
It’s been the same story this time around.
Most shocking though, have been calls led by the most powerful voice in the sport, UFC boss White, who not only questioned the validity of the Aussie’s first title defence but took a swipe at the judges.
White went a step further, asking all media members at his post-fight press conference if they thought Volkanovski won.
“Did anybody in here score it for Volkanovski?” White asked. “Anybody have it for Volkanovski? Nobody in the media? I don’t know, we’ll have to figure it out.
“Listen, man, you can’t leave it to these guys.
“We’ve got some bad judging. We’ve got some bad judging and – I don’t know, has Max been in here yet? I’m sure he’s devastated.
“Looks like we’ve got to tighten up our refs and judges here on Fight Island.”
Volkanovski has since broken his silence in defence of his UFC 251 victory, firing back at White for his press-conference stunt.
“I don’t think that was the right thing to do,” Volkanovski said. “But at the same time, I’m a realist, man. I’m not having a go at Dana, but he probably wanted Max to win.
“To make that public, I thought was probably the wrong thing to do. But again, it is what it is.
“Obviously he did get those knockdowns in the first two rounds and that can sway people’s opinion a bit, but at the same time you’ve got to go round-by-round. That’s our scoring system.
“I definitely, quite confidently won those last three rounds and the last stats didn’t really show it, but the official stats show I was well ahead in the last three rounds … I’m confident and I know I won that fight.
“Obviously, we all know that there’s going to be fighters that he favours. Max is a big drawcard and so I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think that he wanted Max to win, but at the same time it was a close fight.”