Tyron Woodley channeled his inner Marshawn Lynch a couple weeks ago at the UFC 201 media day, telling reporters over and over again, regardless of the question, that he was going to prove he was the “best welterweight in the world” in his title fight against Robbie Lawler.
Woodley ended up doing just that on fight night, and since then, has been a bit more vocal about the lack of promotion for the pay-per-view. According to the welterweight champion, fight week is far too late to start promoting any event.
“It wasn’t frustration, it was just the fact that fight week, I don’t want to be trying to promoting this fight,” Woodley told Jason Whitlock. “It’s already here. You can wait seven days and see what’s going to happen because they’re going to lock the Octagon and me and Robbie Lawler are going to get it on. So I really just didn’t feel obligated to really push that fight that week. Especially with Robbie, he’s not a very conversational guy, he’s not just going to go over the top to promote a fight.”
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Woodley finished Lawler in the first round of their title fight at Philips Arena in Atlanta. UFC 201 was the UFC third event held at the venue, however, despite the UFC’s current popularity, it did not live up to the success of it’s predecessors. UFC 145 and UFC 88, both headlined by fights featuring Rashad Evans, saw at least 14,000 in attendance and gates of over $2 million. According to UFC officials, 10,240 fans attended UFC 201 with a gate of just over a million dollars.
Those events, however, didn’t have to compete with the star-studded UFC 200 and Conor McGregor’s rematch with Nate Diaz at UFC 202.
“They had the UFC 200, which was projected to be the biggest UFC, and then they had the Conor and Nate Diaz, and I just felt like we were really smashed in the middle of those two fights. But I think my performance spoke for itself, and whether it was promoted or not, it still projected me forward.”
UFC president Dana White has repeated said in the past that fight promotion also falls on the shoulders of the fighters, but Woodley says he did his job, he just didn’t see any reason to do anything more than simply answer the questions asked.
“I did promote the fight … I just didn’t feel the need, or extra incentive to talk a lot of trash or go back and forth with Robbie. He was tuned in, I was tuned in, and we were going to scrap on Saturday anyway.”