‘He is not a good man’
LAS VEGAS – Simply put, Merab Dvalishivili is not a fan of Petr Yan.
Dvalishvili (15-4 MMA, 8-2 UFC) pulled no punches on the microphone at Wednesday’s UFC Night 221 pre-fight press conference when he called Yan (16-4 MMA, 8-3 UFC) litany of insults and expletives before their main event on Saturday. The conflict is rooted in several sources, according to Dvalishvili.
“I have many reasons,” Dvalishvili told MMA Junkie and other reporters. “First of all, this fight is not just a fight. It’s personal to me. He is from Russia, I am from Georgia. We all know about Russia what they are doing to Ukraine now, what they did to Georgia. Russia is not a (politically) democratic country. I know I want to win for my people. I have so much support from my country and so much support from Ukraine, too.
“Peter is a great fighter. He is a former champion. We all know it’s hard. As a hero, he is a superhero. It is dangerous. It has no holes anywhere. He is a good striker. He is a good striker. He defends well to fight. His cardio is good. This is my hardest fight. And I have other reasons. I think he’s a great fighter, a great family man, but he’s not a humble person. He is not a big man. It doesn’t matter how good a fighter you are, you have to be a good person.”
In addition, Dvalishvili analyzed Yan’s illegal knee against his training partner, and now UFC bantamweight champion, Aljamain Sterling. Dvalishvili also said that Yan did not make good on a bet that came from a rematch against Sterling.
“His friend Anatoly Malykhin, he’s a One FC double champion,” Dvalishvili said. “He’s a great friend of Petr’s. And he said, ‘Petr is going to win this fight and we bet $50,000 on Aljo winning.’ We made a bet and his whole country and our whole country knew about it. It was a big deal. Of course, Aljo won and beat Petr. This guy asked me to give him my account number to deposit money. He never sent me money after he said he would fight in One FC and One FC would send me money directly. They never sent me.”
When given the chance to do so, Dvalishvili said he confronted Yan about the money – but without the thought of a fight.
“What kind of man is he?” Dvalishvili said. “He’s not a good person and he’s not a man. I hope that Anatoly is a man of his word and that he is going to do the right thing and he is going to pay me. If not, I’m going to Thailand and I’m going to find him.”
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Among the remaining complaints was Dvalishvili criticizing Yan’s threat that if he ever saw Dvalishvili’s team at an event, he would harm him. Add a “press conference” that says Yan withdrew for the upcoming fight, and Dvalishvili said he’s even more tired.
“You have to treat people well,” Dvalishvili said. “I don’t care if you are a good warrior or not. I just want to be a good person to people and set an example for others. He is a cheater. He was a warrior and he didn’t know the rule. He was disrespectful to my friend. He didn’t use his platform when he was a hero. He was not doing great things. He was not doing any charity or doing humble things. I don’t think he is a good person. It might be good for his family, but other than that, what is he doing?”
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As for Yan, he brushed off Dvalishvili’s accusations and framed them as an attempt to gain victory.
“I think he has no other way to draw attention to himself,” Yan told MMA Junkie and other reporters through an interpreter earlier in media day. “He can’t do it with the fights his. In his fights, all he does is, like a dog, take his leg and push his opponents up to the cage. So he’s just trying to get some attention or something. He’s not interested there is no one.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 221.
Story first appeared on MMA Junkie