Those who watched UFC 133 witnessed Dennis Hallman (Twitter: @DennisHallman) in the Octagon in a very peculiar choice of fight attire.
And then wondered, Why?
When Hallman met Brian Ebersole in the cage that night, “Superman” was in the throes of an elbow infection that turned out to be serious. He also was sporting a skimpy blue bikini that read “Training Mask” across the crotch, and that was more of a joke.
Hallman lost a bet and wore the bikini bottom. The spectacle was the result of Hallman’s wager with two of his fighters, Len Bentley and Sterling Ford.
The trio joined Joe Rizzo and former IFL light heavyweight contender Jamal Patterson on Rear Naked Choke Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network to explain the whole fiasco and exactly why Hallman wore shorts that UFC president Dana White described as horrifying.
“We play Rock Band and make bets and do embarrassing things to each other,” Hallman explained on the show. “If they would’ve lost the bet they would’ve been outside in the yard buck naked washing our goat. We have a goat named Nick the Goat that we named after Nick ‘The Goat’ (Thompson), the fighter. They would have been out there washing the goat. Could you imagine Len Bentley out there buck naked washing a goat?
“In return, I had to wear that embarrassing bikini outfit to a UFC event, which turned out to be epic.”
The epic event had much of the MMA world in an uproar. Hallman’s uncanny act turned fans curious and incited White.
Hallman never intended for humor to backfire to the point that some fans made homophobic remarks and branded him an attention-seeker. His plan merely was to have a little fun, not to upset the spectators or UFC brass.
“You only live for so long, so I try to have as much fun as I can,” Hallman said. “The whole Training Mask thing was all in good fun. It’s a shame people get so upset. ‘You’re a disgrace to the sport!’ I don’t know why everybody has their panties in a bunch. Maybe they never got laid as a kid.
“I’ve just been overwhelmed by all the people that were upset by it.”
Bentley trains under Hallman and was was the first pick on the most recent season of The Ultimate Fighter show on Spike TV. Watchers of the show saw Bentley never back down from controversy with Brock Lesnar, and the Texan helped find some in winning the bet with Hallman.
As Bentley puts it, you have to be cautious when engaging in a bet with Hallman. The stakes are high, and losing is not pleasant.
In this case Bentley believes the scenario could have been avoided if Hallman used one simple trick.
“We were playing Rock Band, and all I can say is that he should’ve used star power,” Bentley stated. “If we would’ve lost, yes we would’ve had to take a shower with Nick the Goat, naked.”
“Anytime you make a wager with Dennis ‘Superman’ Hallman, it’s always worse for you,” Bentley said. ”If you make bets with him you have to be prepared that if you lose, you’re life is over with. His stipulations are always worse than yours.”
Bentley does not understand why White and others got so bent out of shape over Hallman’s fightwear.
After all, this is not the first time the sport has seen this outfit.
“Let’s look at this,” Bentley said. “Carlos Newton, Frank Shamrock, Ken Shamrock, Joe Son, Bas Rutten, every legend has worn Speedos. So, please tell me what the big deal is. They’re legal in the sport.
“It may be something Dana White doesn’t like; I mean he doesn’t like them because they’re now banned. That’s all fine, but this has caused a bigger uproar than I thought it would.”
Now to the next ponderous question: Why do they own a goat?
The answer is simple. Nick the Goat is cost effective.
“We live in the woods and our grass grows like crazy, the trees, the bushes,” Bentley explained. “So Dennis went and he bought a goat, and it eats the grass. You laugh, but it’s true. You don’t have to buy gasoline or anything, you just tie him up and he’ll eat anything.
“Sterling Ford puts a leash on the goat and takes him on runs.”
Turns out “BikiniGate” has been a mostly hilarious story chock full of turns nobody saw coming. But then there is the matter of the elbow.
Hallman participated in that bout with a septic bursa within the elbow. In layman’s terms, it was an extremely serious infection that came from faulty treatment to an otherwise innocuous injury. By fight time, Hallman was competing with one able arm.
“I had some tenderness in my elbow and some swelling where the bursa sac would be,” Hallman explained. “It got substantially bigger, but still didn’t really affect me. Then I went to see the doctor, and in hindsight the doctor was trying to help, so he stuck a needle in my elbow and tried to drain the fluid out. He thought he should inject some corticosteroids and that would make it heal. All the doctors I’ve seen since then have told me that’s the wrong idea.
“They aren’t anabolic steroids, but steroids to help heal my elbow. Anyways, that’s what the doctor decided to do. I woke up the next morning and it was swollen up twice as bad and it hurt. I contacted the doctor and told him what was going on and he said he was going to do it again because he didn’t put enough corticosteroids in the first time and this time it should work.”
Instead of two days of treatment, it turned out to be 48 hours of introducing infection and aggravating the condition of the joint. Left in the position backing out of the fight so late, which would have almost certainly led to a cancellation for Ebersole, Hallman decided to soldier on.
“I woke up on (fight day) and my arm hurt super bad,” Hallman recalled. ”I couldn’t even bend my elbow to a 90-degree angle. The doctor asked how my elbow was and I told him it’s terrible. He said if it’s that bad he’s going to cancel my fight, so I said it’s fine.
“My corner and I just wrapped it up real tight and changed the game plan to beat this guy as quick as I can. You all saw the fight and how it went down with Brian Ebersole vs. Dennis Hallman With One Arm.”
Hallman made no excuses for the setback and gave Ebersole his due for the win.
He made the decision to fight, and will live with the consequences.
“I took the fight, and people don’t want to hear excuses,” Hallman said. “It’s easy to back and say ‘I shouldn’t have fought that fight,’ but we’re fighters. In my brain at that time whether I was injured or not I had the belief that I could beat the guy with one arm. That’s the mentality you need to have to do what we do, but in hindsight it was a dumb idea.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Brian. He came out there and fought his ass off and did what he had to do. Even if I had two good arms he might have been able to fight off the choke and beat me anyways.”
Hallman was still in the hospital at the time he was interviewed on Rear Naked Choke Radio, having gone through surgery earlier that day. He was released Thursday and reported back Saturday that everything with his elbow is expected to be OK.
Hallman demonstrated his loyalty for honoring the wager, showmanship for rocking the bikini and sportsmanship for admitting defeat under unusual circumstances.
The next time he does something controversial it likely will be because he lost a bet. Unless he’s just trying to get your goat.