UFC President Dana White: “Kenny Florian Chokes in Big Fights”

Written by Tom Ngo
August 30th, 2010

UFC Lightweight Kenny Florian

For much of his tenure as a UFC lightweight, Kenny Florian has been considered one of the division’s best competitors and a perennial top contender. Despite two failed championship opportunities, the Bostonian had another shot at the brass ring if he could have gotten past Gray Maynard at UFC 118 this past weekend.

While his always-the-bridesmaid-never-the-bride complex continues to baffle fans worldwide, Octagon president Dana White came to a simple conclusion after witnessing Maynard’s effortless destruction of Florian.

“I love Kenny Florian, I’ve known him since season one of The Ultimate Fighter. He’s one of the best fighters in the world, but in the big fights, he chokes in the big fights,” White stated at the post-fight presser. “He’s here in his hometown, another shot at title and he sits in front of Gray Maynard for three rounds. He couldn’t let anything go. Gray Maynard fought his fight, did what he wanted to do, and dominated him.”

Although White’s comments appear heartless and could be perceived as kicking a man while he’s down, as my former sales manager used to say, ‘the numbers don’t lie.’

KenFlo owns a respectable 13-5 professional record and is 11-4 for the world’s premier mixed martial arts show. Here is a look at his four Octagon losses:

The Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale: 1stRound TKO loss to Diego Sanchez for six-figure UFC contract.

UFC 64: Unanimous Decision loss to Sean Sherk for lightweight title.

UFC 101: 4thRound Submission loss to BJ Penn for 155-pound belt.

UFC 118: Unanimous Decision loss to Maynard for top contender spot.

Outside of being called a quitter, choking could possibly be the only thing worse that an athlete could be dubbed. Are you SURE you want to label your own employee with that moniker?

“I hate to say this because I don’t want to take anything away from Gray Maynard, but I think Kenny is just one of those guys who chokes in big fights,” White reiterated. “I’m not bad-mouthing him or trying to disrespect him, I’m just being honest. Every time it’s a big fight and there’s a lot of things on the line, Kenny just …

“Kenny’s hands are unbelievable. Kenny’s ground is unbelievable. Kenny usually kicks guys to the body and legs so hard that he busts guys up. You didn’t see any of that [at UFC 118].”

The finger pointing didn’t stop there, as outspoken promoter opted to go after those in Florian’s corner for not explaining to him what time it was.

“You’d think his corner would say, ‘Dude, you just lost the first two rounds.’ [There was ] no sense of urgency in the 3rdRound,” White observed. “[They weren’t] saying, ‘I need a knockout or submission in this round.’ None of it. Nothing.

“And I guarantee you if Kenny comes back and fights one of the mid-level guys, he’ll probably run through them like a [expletive] freight train. But the big fights? He crumbles, man.”

Apparently, the simple ABC’s of life transcend over to MMA. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing:

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