Merab Dvalishvili explains backstage confrontation with Sean O’Malley: ‘I was so pissed’ he refused to mention my name

After weighing in as the backup at UFC 299, Merab Dvalishvili actually rooted for Sean O’Malley to get past Marlon “Chito” Vera just so they could finally meet in a title fight.

His wish came true after O’Malley dominated Vera over five rounds and ultimately secured a lopsided decision win but afterwards the reigning UFC bantamweight champion called out featherweight king Ilia Topuria again rather than focusing on the No. 1 contender in his own division. The usually even tempered Dvalisvhili was understandably upset as the UFC filmed his reaction to the main event while he sat in the front row watching from cageside.

Following the end of the event, Dvalisvhili went backstage and actually approached O’Malley with the intention of just offering a congratulations but his demeanor changed rather quickly.

“Let me tell the whole thing,” Dvalishvili explained when speaking to MMA Fighting. “We are watching the fights, of course I want O’Malley to win because I want to fight the superstar, the champion, the O’Malley. I want to challenge myself. I’m there, O’Malley wins and then he made a call out but he don’t call me out. I was so mad. Like come on O’Malley, especially he’s talking about he’s going to knock me out. Please, then fight me and knock me out, show the world. Let’s fight! If you say world, you’re going to knock me out and you make fun of [my] nose. Who cares about my nose? It’s a fight. It’s a skill, it’s a fight, it’s a challenge.

“Anyways, I was mad and I moved to backstage and he’s coming. I want to shake his hand and say congratulations to him and when I touch his hand, I said congratulations, bro, and he kind of ignored me. He don’t even look at me. So again, I’m mad again. Like look at me and shake my hand. You don’t even shake my hand? I did mention, hey bro, you should mention my name. Then, he’s like I don’t even know who you are and then I’m mad again. Come on, you don’t even know who I am? What the heck.”

O’Malley later revealed that he actually recognized Dvalishvili when the Georgian fighter approached him but he decided to take a jab by saying he didn’t recognize the person speaking to him.

As much as it angered him in the moment, Dvalisvhili says he didn’t dwell too much on the interaction because he’s gotten used to O’Malley calling out various opponents but refusing to ever mention his name.

Based on the odds for the fight where Dvalishvili opened as a decided favorite, he has an idea why O’Malley isn’t interested in facing him.

“I was there and I was rooting for O’Malley because I want to fight him and then he called out Ilia [Topuria] and I know this fight is not going to happen,” Dvalishvili said. “He’s still not mentioning my name. I don’t want to say ducking me or something but come on, bro, let’s build this fight. Let’s make it even bigger. I don’t understand why. You are champion. Before I understand, he wasn’t fighting top 15 guys, he was fighting outside the ranks and the only top guy he fought was Petr Yan and we all know that was a close fight and then they give to him [Aljamain Sterling] on short notice for Aljo and he got lucky. Now give the division respect.

“You’ve got to fight the best of the best. You’ve got to fight the No. 1 contenders, especially [since] I’m here waiting. I was so pissed but now I don’t care. I’m good. I was just mad but as long as he’s going to fight me, I’ll be fine.”

Even if O’Malley was just playing head games, Dvalishvili promises he doesn’t really care because he’s confident the UFC will follow through with a promised title shot after he dominated former two-division champion Henry Cejudo in his last outing.

He’s felt a swarm of support since that fight ended and now Dvalishvili is just waiting on the call with the date and location to make the showdown against O’Malley official.

“I don’t care if he mentions my name or not but the UFC knows I’m next,” Dvalishvili said. “UFC is not going to let him go somewhere [else], he just defends his belt. It’s not a stupid video game. It’s the UFC and we’ve got to respect the company and respect the people and we’ve got to give people want they want.”

Ever since his win over Cejudo in February, Dvalishvili has really felt the support grow for his title shot as he looks to add UFC gold to his resume after rattling off 10 consecutive wins in a row.

As much as wins and losses should always determine who fights for a title, Dvalishvili understands that getting the fans behind the matchup matters to the UFC. Considering the push that he’s seen on social media as well as the love he received from the crowds during recent appearances in Miami and Mexico City, Dvalishvili has no doubt that the fans are ready to see him against O’Malley.

“I want to tell all my fans, all MMA fans and everyone, thanks for all the support,” Dvalishvili said. “They really see hard work and they really hard behind the hard working guy. Maybe I’m not a superstar like O’Malley but I’m working hard.

“I have 12 fights in the UFC and I should be 12-0. I got robbed in the first two fights and if you guys go and watch my first fights in the UFC, I win those fights but I moved on. I’m just focused on winning and fighting and I put all my hard work and dedication to this sport because I love it.”

Source link

You May Also Like