Sometimes I feel guilty when pointing fingers at professional fighters, as their job is difficult, draining and demanding unlike other jobs can be. That being said, there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to handle your career, and for Roy Nelson we possibly saw the end of his UFC career last night after an abysmal performance against Stipe Miocic. He took a huge gamble and it didn’t pay off.
For those who don’t know, Roy Nelson fought the last fight under his UFC contract last night, taking a big gamble with his career, believing that he deserved a better contract. He refused a contract extension just like he refused a better, non-TUF contract because he felt like he was an elite Heavyweight and deserved to be paid like one. After last night I could see the UFC giving Roy an offer, but not one that he would actually want.
The question is, does Roy Nelson have a real option right now? Sure, he could feel out the competition and see what Bellator and World Series of Fighting have to offer him, but it is doubtful that in the long run it will be better than what the UFC can offer him. This fight was taken on short notice by Nelson, after just fighting in the last few days of April at UFC 159. It was a dangerous style matchup for Nelson, but you get the feeling that Nelson took Miocic lightly just by how unprepared he was for everything that Miocic threw at him.
It isn’t that Miocic is a bad fighter as much as it is that he is inexperienced against top competition, with Roy Nelson being his biggest win, by far, after coming off of a loss to Stefan Struve. For Miocic this win over Nelson can only help to kickstart his career, while for Nelson this is a worst-case scenario, and you could hear the panic in Mike Kogan’s voice in between rounds while thinking about that money slipping away.
Maybe it is time for Roy Nelson to take things a little bit more seriously.