After his shocking release from the UFC yesterday, heavyweight Todd Duffee spoke with MMAJunkie.com on Wednesday to address his recent unemployment status. Unfortunately, the free agent was just as confused as the rest of the MMA world and appeared to be somewhat blindsided by the move.
Everyone was on your bandwagon just one year ago. WTF happened???
“I don’t know what happened. I first heard from my manager, Alex Davis, about a week ago that I might get cut. I have some friends that fight for other organizations, and they actually told me they had heard a rumor that I was about to be released, too.
“On Tuesday, I got the confirmation email saying I had been cut because I lost my last fight.”
How does it feel to get cut after suffering your only professional blemish?
“Emotionally, I’m hurt. I’m hurt more than anything because I don’t know why. As a man, you just want to hear why so you can understand.
“I’ve had every emotion there is to have. Right now, I’m just kind of numb.”
The conspiracy carousel went crazy yesterday trying to comprehend the 24-year-old’s abrupt firing. Some believed, as one of the company’s up-and-coming superstars, he insulted Octagon bosses by petitioning on The Underground Forums for a weekend job because his bank account was flashing red. Others suggested his thrashing of the UFC on Twitter for emphasizing his past employment as a Dairy Queen worker is what sealed his fate.
There was also chatter that he was unhappy with the two bouts remaining on his contract.
While those theories are creative, Duffee claims they are completely untrue. He was offered a UFC 121 scrap against Joe Madsen, however simply requested time off to heal some nagging injuries. For whatever reason, the powers that be deemed that as the final straw.
“They had talked about me fighting Madsen, I asked if I could get some time. I had a knee injury going into the Russow fight. I’m not making any excuses because I lost that fight, and all props to Mike, but I definitely feel like it affected my gameplan and my mentality going into the fight. I didn’t want that to happen again with Madsen.
“I wanted to be able to go out there and fight to my full potential instead of just boxing, basically. I asked for more time, and as far as I knew, they had granted it to me.”
So what happens now?
“I’ve just got to worry about getting healthy. I want to get fully healed, and then I’d like to fight once a month next year. I look at guys like (Strikeforce heavyweight) Daniel Cormier, and I think it’s awesome. He fought three times in three weeks, and he won all three of them. I would love to go on a tear.
“I’ve lost a lot of things this year. I went from losing the biggest fight of my life, to losing my dad two weeks later, to losing my best friend a week after that. I lost a coach, and now I’ve lost my job. At this point, it isn’t the worst thing that could ever happen to me. There are people who would kill to be in my situation and I just have to stay positive and keep moving forward – tuck your chin and keep moving forward.
“I think the best is yet to come. I think this is a part of it, and we’ll just kind of see what happens. In five or six years we may just look back and laughing about this. That’s my goal.”
What’s the fastest path back to the Octagon?
“The one thing I know is that I want to fight as much as possible. I’ve just got to get healthy in the next month or two, and hopefully I can get busy in November or December.”
“If I get 12 fights next year, I’m happy. I’ll settle for six. That will almost double the amount of pro fights I have right now. That’s my goal. Maybe I rattle off three more wins real quick, and the UFC changes their mind and decides to re-sign me.
If all else fails, school is always cool. Right?
“I still want to finish my degree. I guess I can say I shouldn’t have dropped out of college – stay in school, kid. This is my dream. It’s just a bump in the road. I got to where I was at a little sooner than a lot of people. Now I have to go enjoy the journey. I definitely would like to get back the opportunity that I had in front of me just a few days ago. We’ll just see where the road takes me.
“I’d like to do it when I’m 35 and I’m walking around with a cane, but I may go back to school and take student loans out and try to be a student and a part-time fighter. I’m not sure.”
Props to Octagon brass for the eye opener?
“I know the UFC is running a business, and they’re going to do what’s best for them at the end of the day. I’m not going to harbor any hard feelings or anything like that. I’m just going to roll with punches. It’s been a year of a lot of tough losses, but I think you grow from that. It’s been a good run of bad luck. I’m just trying to stay positive and learn from these life experiences.”