Tim Means made it clear he does not like his UFC Fight Night 106 opponent Alex Oliveira. And he gave Bloody Elbow a number of reasons why this is the case.
UFC welterweights Tim Means (26-7-1 1NC) and Alex Oliveira (15-4-1 2NC) clash this weekend at UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Gastelum. It was only two months ago that the pair fought for three and a half minutes at UFC 207 before the contest was waved off and declared a no contest. Means heads into the rematch, which is to be held in Fortaleza, Brazil, with bad intentions after what he claims went down both inside the Octagon and backstage .
Means and Oliveira were engaged in an entertaining brawl before ‘the Dirty Bird’ found himself with ‘Cowboy’ buckled up against the fence. Oliveira had his right knee planted. His left foot hovered above the canvas. Both his hands were up, guarding his face. While in this position Means landed two knees to Oliveira’s skull. This prompted the referee – Dan Miragliotta – to step in and call a time out. After Oliveira had been assessed by officials the fight was waved off: he had been deemed unfit to continue. Confusion swept through the cage and the announcing booth as Means, Miragliotta, Joe Rogan, Mike Godlberg, and UFC rules and regulations czar Marc Ratner debated the legality of Means’ knees.
Though Rogan and Ratner believed the knees were legal, thanks to Oliveira not having any hands placed on the ground, the contest was ruled a No Contest due to an illegal knee. Ratner later told press covering the event that the knee was in fact illegal (per Brett Okamoto) and that Oliveira’s single knee on the canvas rendered him a grounded opponent. The whole affair has left Means with a bad taste in his mouth.
“At the time I didn’t think he really milked anything. I thought I landed a knee that possibly could have hurt him,” Means told Bloody Elbow. “But after watching the fight a few times, [I noticed Oliveira] stands up to protest the stoppage – not realizing that Miragliotta actually called a time out due to an illegal strike – and then he falls over and starts milking it.”
When Means threw the knee, he maintains that he believed he was within the rules, based on the rules meetings he had with Miragliotta before the bout. Thanks to that conversation with Miragliotta, Means felt that he was free to target the head of a kneeling opponent if they didn’t have their hands on the mat. According to Means, Miragliotta changed his tune in the Octagon after the fight had been called off.
“As me and Miragliotta we’re discussing it, and we’re going through the reply, he says, ‘It’s anything other than the two souls of his feet,’ and I said, ‘Hey, that’s not how you broke the rule down, dude. You said if we have a knee down we have to have a hand down to be grounded.’ He walked off, he didn’t even try and argue it.” Means said that after the fight Dana White, and a number of fighters, approached him backstage to say they too thought it was a legal strike.
At this point, Means recognizes that his knees were illegal, according to the rules. Though, he believes those rules might be due a revision. “He had his hands up and was trying to stand up, he was not a defenseless fighter,” said Means. “We should be able to throw knees anywhere – we through elbows anywhere. It’s just a stupid ass rule and guys are fricking milking it.”
“He got slept in that position, it should have been a win by TKO. It shouldn’t have been a no contest,” added Means, who also said he didn’t think those knee strikes landed that hard. “He gave up and it was apparent. He weenied-up man, he didn’t cowboy up at all. It’s my fault, I guess. I should have read the rules since the refs didn’t do their jobs properly in explaining things. Next time around I’ll just snap him down into a front headlock or step back and let him stand up. There’s other positions where I can throw that knee.”
Means is angry at Oliveira allegedly milking an injury. However, that emotion pales in intensity compared to how he feels regarding what he claims went on after the fight – backstage.
“Within a few minutes of the fight ending, we’re backstage in the green room; where the UFC has food and drinks for all the fighters. Oliveira comes walking in with all his team; laughing, taking pictures, cracking up. I remember when I got my first concussion; I couldn’t even look up at the lights – my fricking head hurt so bad. And this dude is cracking up, like things were funny, and normal.”
Means said that he and his team interacted with Oliveira and his entourage, but it was civil. The groups hugged and high-fived and then, Means says, Oliveira and his team disappeared to give an interview. “In the room next door they say, ‘Oh he cheap shotted me, he cheated.’ They did some scumbag shit, where they were a friend to our face, but when our back is turned they’re barking a different game.”
Means especially remembers his brief encounter with Oliveira’s manager (Alex Davis). “He’s trying to hug me, telling me he doesn’t care who wins and who doesn’t win, and it’s just all fake shit. It’s gonna get real on March 11th. His manager did more talking to get this fight than Oliveira did. So I’m gonna give him the beating that his manager deserves.”
On Saturday night Means anticipates the fight to play out much the same as their bout did in December. “It’s gonna be the same fight, you’re gonna see the same exact thing play out,” predicted Means. “He’s gonna come out on his horse – real crazy, jittery at first – because he’s scared to get in the pocket and go to war. So I’ll wait for that to slow down and then get my hands on him.”
If Means does get his hands on Oliveira, the Albuquerque-based fighter is confident of being able to handle his opponent, based on past experience. “When I was out wrestling him, I could hear it in his breathing: he was breaking. I could hear him gasping for air. I felt I was considerably stronger. He couldn’t hold me down or get me off, so I don’t know how they think he’s gonna win this fight.”
The only compliment Means could find for Oliveira was a backhanded one, regarding the Brazilian’s speed. “He’s fast and that’s all he brought to the table, and that started slowing down on him real quick.”
“It’s unfinished business,” said Means of the upcoming fight in Brazil. “I have a chip on my shoulder, I dislike the guy and I want to put him in my rear view mirror. Oliveira’s a puss and I’m gonna exploit that in front of his friends and family.”
Tim Means versus Alex Oliveira is the first fight of the main card of UFC Fight Night 106: Belfort vs. Gastelum. You can watch all the action on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 10PM ET.