UFC News: Babalu Releases Statement

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Updated: September 2, 2007

From Sherdog,

“To My Family, Friends, Fans and Sponsors: Since UFC 74, I have wanted to speak publicly about my fight with David Heath. I waited to do so, however, out of respect for the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Zuffa, Inc. and Dana White. After all, it is their efforts that have legitimized Mixed Martial Arts in the sports world and I realize that my conduct has unintentionally hindered those efforts. For that, among other things, I am deeply sorry.

I have been fighting professionally since 1998. Prior to my fight with David Heath, my professional record was twenty-seven wins with seven losses. Fourteen of my victories came by way of submission. Not once was I ever accused of holding a choke or submission too long. If anything, there has always been and continues to be a great camaraderie between my opponents and I after the fight.

Being a professional mixed martial artist is more than a career to me. It is my livelihood and my way of life. Consequently, I am deeply sorry for any embarrassment that has been brought upon the sport, other mixed martial artists (especially David Heath, my Academy and most importantly, my family.

As if the embarrassment were not enough, my actions during the fight with David and my comments afterwards, have already resulted in severe financial loss to my family because as you know, in addition to my win bonus still being withheld, yesterday I was released from my contract with the UFC.

There has been much talk about things that may have been said to me by David Heath at the weigh-in. What David said to me at the weigh-in didn’t matter then and doesn’t matter now. What matters are my comments after the fight. And, regardless of what you may read by so called MMA experts on the internet, I never said that I purposefully choked-out David Heath. In short, my post-fight comments, while inappropriate, were not intended to be comments about the choke. Rather, they were intended to be comments about the aggressive performance that I put in.

I did not intentionally choke out David Heath. The first that I realized that David had tapped was when people told me that he did after the fight. When I finally had the chance to view the tape, I see that he did. When David tapped, I did not feel it. I wish I did for I would have let it go. Instead, I continued to hold it. Not because I was upset or wanted him to lose consciousness. I held it because I didn’t know he tapped and I was intent on winning the fight. Holding on to a choke a little long is not an uncommon mistake made in training, and never in my career have I witnessed or heard of an injury resulting from it.

When I had the choke, I was not looking the referee in the eyes as one commentator erroneously observed. Nor did I hear the referee issue any verbal command to release the hold. Instead, my head was down to strengthen the move and my eyes closed with focus. As a result, I did not feel the referee tap me the first time either. It was not until he put his hands on my right shoulder that I felt him trying to separate us. When I felt this, I immediately released the choke.

After this morning’s hearing I traveled to the UFC’s office to meet with Dana White. Contrary to recent reports in the media, this meeting was not to discuss my being released from the UFC. In fact, this meeting was arranged prior to my even being released from the contract. The purpose of the meeting was for me to personally apologize to Dana while at the same time thank him for all the opportunities that the UFC has given to my family and I. Unfortunately, I was unable to meet with Dana due to a calendaring error Nevertheless, thanks Dana and my apologies.

I am a professional fighter. This is what I do for a living. I do not hold a day job and then train at night to fight. I know nothing else but how to fight. This is how I support my family.

On behalf of my family and friends, I appreciate the support that you have given me over the years, not to mention in the recent week, and I am hopeful that I will have the opportunity to fight again in the State of Nevada. Thank you.

RENATO “BABALU” SOBRAL

9 Comments

  1. Jude

    September 2, 2007 at 8:19 am

    I BELIEVE HIM !

    Let a commentator make a remark about the hold being a little long & they all RUN with it. I know I'm going to get a lot of shit from you guys on this one but I can't count the fights that I thought went beyond submission, or was questionable when the refs didn't stop the fight in a timely manner & there was never a word said about it. At best maybe a brief comment, But never taking their money away. I was not in that ring & I don't know what really happen.

    Crap like this can ruin a guys career & all they have worked their butts off for. Dana is the new God, he has so many fighters now he doesn't give a shit what happens to them. They're disposable. He gives, he takes away at will. Makes up his own damn rules as he goes. He saved at least $25,000. on that one.

    I can see where it would be hard as hell to turn aggression on & off at the snap of a finger. They are taught to hold on til the ref pulls them off, hell I've even seen guys tap then say they didn't. It's a fine line that has to be walked every time these guys get in the ring & I guess mistakes will happen. Sure glad Dana never makes a mistake.

    Sorry you guys, I think it's a bunch of CRAP!

  2. Mikey

    September 2, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    I think its stupid too.

  3. Morey

    September 3, 2007 at 3:16 am

    The UFC screwed him bigtime. His contract is out and his sponsors are probably going to pull too. If I was him I would go to another up and coming org and do damage there. He could be champion somewhere else a lot sooner. and then what, UFC will come knocking on his door again and asking him to comeback.

  4. kom34

    September 3, 2007 at 4:00 am

    How can you guys believe him, didnt you see the fight. He is trying to cover his ass so he can fight again and keep sponsors. He did it on purpose and felt like a big man beating Heath to a bloody mess then making him pass out with the choke. Fighters have so much adrenaline that time goes super slow and when you have a deep choke you wait for the tap. Unless this guy can prove temporary insanity, he did it on purpose. No doubt about it. He deserved to be fined and fired and I dont care if he ever fights again.

  5. Jude

    September 3, 2007 at 5:41 am

    Saw the fight Dude, taped it! I didn't see anything different than I've seen hundreds of times before.

    I hope he can go to another Org. too, he's a good fighter & been around a while, I'd like to see him fight again. UFC is big on "give the fans a show", make it exciting. NOW WHAT !

  6. Morey

    September 3, 2007 at 6:25 am

    Dana is a business man so if he says that he doesnt like the drama and the good vs. bad guy fights, he's full of shit. if the crowd cheered instead of booing (like they did with BJ Penn) then Dana would have probably given Babalu a big fight in his next UFC.

    Guess what, Fedor is talking with Mark Cuban owner of the Dallas Maverics. That guy treats his basketball team like kings and I know he will give Fedor whatever he wants to fight for him. Cuban wants a part of the MMA world now and I'm glad.

  7. kom34

    September 3, 2007 at 7:17 am

    you saw it and dont think he held too long? It reminded me of Frank Shamrock and Phil Baroni, Shamrock held too long, and you know what, Shamrock is a major dick too. I'm not saying Babalu isnt talented, but what I am saying is that he got what he deserved. I've been choked out and its like a luney tunes blackout, where the picture fades to black, its not fun at all. I hate to see the sport I love being tarnished especially when people who dont know MMA think its nothing more than street fighting.

    Imagine you were watching MMA for the first time and you see a guy covered in blood, choking on his own blood. To finish off the guy taps from an anaconda and the guy putting it on him wont let go till you go out. The bloody mess is out cold in a pool of his own blood. Babalu disgraced MMA in his attitude and I cant believe you guys cant see that, even a little.

  8. Jude

    September 3, 2007 at 9:20 am

    Well, I do agree Shamrock is a dick & if you've been choked out that explaines a lot. I'm sure its not fun, but being submitted is part of getting in that cage. It's not something I would care to do but I assume the guys that fight know what can happen. I was raised on boxing & have been watching MMA for longer than I care to admitt, I've seen much worse than that fight.

    MMA is being tarnished by all the drug use not by getting in there & doing what they are paid to do. And don't tune in to MMA & expect figure skating. It's NOT for the faint of heart.

    Oh, & by the way, some fighters are classified as STREET FIGHTERS. I realize there's much more to it & MMA has really come a long way, more diverse. Watch some of the old fights, they stomped their heads for God sake. This fight doesn't compare to the shit I've seen. I thought Silvia getting his arm BROKE was alittle over the top, not a damn word said about that, but then again fighters know what to expect, don't they?

    Fedor!!! Can't wait! I'm a huge fan & hope he gets all he deserves.

  9. Realwun

    September 4, 2007 at 11:42 am

    The guy shouldnt have done that, but I didnt think he should have gotten canned. He's a good fighter adn he can mix it up with any of the LHWs. In my opinion, Dana saw a goldmine in trash talk and personal feuds when TUF1 made the UFC popular. He doesnt come out and say it, but he knows that all of the trash outside of the ring equals more money in his PPVs. The fans fired Babalu, not Dana, that I know for sure.

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