In spite of the bitter feud that had raged in the build-up, things were mostly respectful between T.J. Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt after their dramatic, explosive bantamweight title fight at UFC 217 on Saturday night.
It was momentary, but the fighters did embrace in the octagon and Dillashaw showed class during his interview with Joe Rogan by assuring viewers that Garbrandt will return to prominence.
Emotions ran high at times, though.
Dillashaw can certainly be excused for allowing the moment to get the better of him at the conclusion of the fight, when he expelled a guttural celebratory roar right in the face of a still wobbly Garbrandt.
What was perhaps less forgivable were the actions of his brother, who seemed to goad Garbrandt moments later.
Commentator’s Joe Rogan and Daniel Cormier noted post-fight that there was some sort of altercation between the teams in the cage and you may have noticed it yourself in a FightAffect video that we posted yesterday.
At the post-fight press conference, Dillashaw was asked to detail the incident, which a member of the media mistakenly suggested occurred between Garbrandt and the new champion’s coach Duane Ludwig.
“No, it was my brother,” said Dillashaw. “My brother was in my corner and, like I said, he was very offended by some of the things and accusations and the way that some of my really good friends – that I thought were – have treated me. He’s an emotional guy and he loves me more than anybody I know and he was just backing me. And all he said was, ‘What?!’ And he had to be escorted.
“Escorted from MSG – that’s another one to put on the bucket list I guess.”
In the couple of years since he departed Team Alpha Male(TAM) under acrimonious and complex circumstances to be closer to Ludwig’s base in Colorado, Dillashaw has faced a torrent of accusations from his former teammates, including Garbrandt and TAM founder Urijah Faber. Aside from questioning his loyalty and motives, Garbrandt claimed that Dillashaw was an overly-aggressive sparring partner who had badly injured undefeated UFC prospect Chris Holdsworth and derailed his career. Accusations of performance-enhancing drug use have also been leveled at Dillashaw.
Dillashaw got his revenge in style on Saturday though, not just ripping the belt from Garbrandt but inflicting the first blemish on the 26-year-old knockout artist’s professional ledger.