Emmett (18-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC), who has a strong case to be the next challenger to Alexander Volkanovski’s featherweight title, traveled to Las Vegas so he could witness the trilogy fight with Max Holloway at T-Mobile Arena.
Faber is Emmett’s coach at Team Alpha Male and also is engrained with VaynerSports, which also serves as Emmett’s management team. The expectation was Emmett would be cageside when Volkanovski (25-1 MMA, 12-0 UFC) defeated Holloway (23-7 MMA, 19-7 UFC) by unanimous decision to retain the title, and he would get some spotlight on the broadcast before or during the fight, or even some rub on the post-fight show.
The reality of what happened, however, was far different.
“He had a really bad experience,” Faber told MMA Junkie and other reporters on Sunday at the UFC Fight Pass Invitational 2 grappling event. “He was put way back in the seating, not even with the rest of the guys and had to find his way by himself upstairs because they have peons working security that are getting paid minimum wage that are like, ‘Hey, you can’t come this way.’ He’s not a confrontational guy unless you’re paying him to beat someone up. He was really upset that there wasn’t more made of the fact that he’s the guy in line. I’m going to talk to Dana (White) about it and talk to Hunter (Campbell) and let them know that it’s really bullsh*t.
“(We got) ghosted. It’s really sad and his wife was livid, he was livid and he was just like, ‘What do I have to do to get a little bit of respect?’ So Dana, I hope you see this and understand that it’s Josh’s time.”
Faber said the situation resonated strongly with Emmett and caused a ripple effect. The frustration was running high when Emmett wasn’t seated cageside with the plethora of other fighters in attendance for the International Fight Week mega-event, especially considering his relevance to the co-main event of the card.
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Emmett is coming off a split decision win over Calvin Kattar at UFC on ESPN 38 in Austin, Texas, this past month, and he made a conscious decision to make sure he got to watch Volkanovski vs. Holloway 3 in-person so he could campaign for the winner.
When nothing materialized and he was never acknowledged, Faber said Emmett became emotional.
“Last night he was like, ‘You know what, F this. I wish they’d just release me. I get no respect,'” Faber said. “He’s like, ‘I think I’m going to drop down to ’35 and fight O’Malley cause that’s who’s getting all the credit.’ I’m like, ‘First off, it’s not going to be good for your body to drop all that weight. You’re right there knocking on the door, we just have to make it happen and I’m really sorry you had such a bad experience.’ He literally, if you look at his Instagram posted a picture from the rafters cause he kept getting moved to the MMA basement because of a miscommunication. So that was really frustrating to find out in the aftermath.'”
Faber said he’s not certain what will happen from here with Emmett, but he think it’s pretty obvious he should be next in line. Volkanovski has largely cleared out the division, and the only other possible fresh opponent would be Yair Rodriguez if he can get past Brian Ortega at UFC on ABC 3 on July 16.
Even if Rodriguez wins, though, he would only be on a one-fight winning streak. Emmett, meanwhile, has won his past five fights against some solid competition. In Faber’s mind, it’s a no-brainer to give Emmett the shot, and he’s utterly perplexed by the UFC’s apparent reluctance to push him into that spot.
“I was super disappointed and Josh was also, on the fact that he wasn’t treated that great this last week,” Faber said. “We were expecting him to be there sideline. He’s beaten so many guys in dominant fashion, he’s had these major injuries and he needs that fight next, that 145-pound belt. He’s that guy that can match up with Volkanovski, that can pack a punch that puts people out cold with one punch.
“They need to choose to promote him a little bit more. They need to give him the right opportunities and just be present. Josh’s wife said, ‘Look, it’s very apparent where we stand with the UFC. They don’t give a sh*t about us.’ Which is a sh*tty feeling.”