Paddy Pimblett’s brief fight week scrap with Ilia Topuria might be the only action we get between the two.
The lightweights generated plenty of buzz ahead of this Saturday’s UFC London card after Topuria posted a video on social media that showed he and Pimblett involved in a physical altercation at a hotel. In the footage, Topuria and several associates approach Pimblett, leading to Topuria throwing punches and Pimblett countering by hurling a bottle of hand sanitizer at Topuria.
At UFC London media day on Thursday, Pimblett gave his account of the altercation, though he did so without saying Topuria’s name.
“Who is that?” Pimblett asked. Pimblett said, “Oh, hand sanitizer boy?” Is this what you meant? Yeah, that’s his name for that one lad, don’t refer to him as his name, his name’s ‘Hand Sanitizer’ because it got bounced off his head.
“But that’s not what I care about. He wanted to come at me and try and act hard and he got put in his place. He was standing there by himself, and I could see six others. If he wanted to do so then he would have come around the table and tried to have a fight with me, but he didn’t, he stood on the other side of the table because he knows what’s good for him.”
It’s unclear exactly where the feud between Pimblett and Topuria originated, though Georgian fighters Liana Jojua and Guram Kutateladze took umbrage with offensive comments that Pimblett made about the country on social media last April, which Pimblett later apologized for. Topuria is of Georgian descent.
Regardless of whether Pimblett expected there to be tension between he and Topuria this week, when he he saw Topuria at the hotel he sensed a confrontation was brewing.
“As soon he entered the double doors, he snarled at him,” Pimblett stated. So I stared at him and asked, “What?” Then he moved towards me and I replied, “What?”. He then swiped at my face and clearly, I can’t fight with you and make your money this weekend if I raise my hands at you.
“I stepped back, grabbed the hand soap and bounced it off my head. … He’s just got a bit of small-man syndrome. He’s only 5-foot-7 isn’t he, so try to leave the little men to it.”
Both fighters will be competing in UFC London. However, the opponents they face are different. Pimblett will make his second UFC fight in the fight against Kazula Vargas. Topuria, on the other hand, is making a move up from the 145-pound to face Jai Herbert.
For that reason, it made even less sense to Pimblett to actually trade punches with Topuria.
” I can’t allow something like this to happen,” Pimblett stated. I can’t throw punches, get cut off the cards or hit someone with my fists. I mean, especially someone who is so meaningless.
” Who is this guy? Who is Mr. Hand Sanitizer?’ He’s a no one. To gain followers, he used my name and put up a video to make himself appear like an .”
Should Pimblett or Topuria be victorious it makes sense to match them in the future. However, Pimblett hasn’t considered that option, especially as he doesn’t think Topuria will have much success with his new division.
“He’s not gonna win though,” Pimblett said. Jai is a person I trust. I know Jai is gonna knock him out and send him crawling back down to the featherweight division.”