Max Griffin not dropping beef with 'genuine idiot' Zelim Imadaev after fight

ATLANTA – If it seemed like Max Griffin’s matchup with Zelim Imadaev was personal, it was.

And even after Griffin took a majority decision in their hard-fought welterweight matchup at UFC 236, he was not ready to drop their beef.

“This guy is a genuine idiot,” Griffin told reporters, including MMA Junkie, backstage at State Farm Arena following the fight Saturday night in Atlanta. “This ain’t like a backyard brawl, and he can’t differentiate that. We’re professionals, and he’s not.”

After a week of back-and-forth verbal lobbies, things got stupid on Friday’s weigh-in day. According to Griffin, Imadaev came up to him at breakfast at the hotel and tried to start a fight.

“There’s a lot of bad blood with this guy; he came at me yesterday morning at breakfast, at a restaurant,” Griffin said. “The cops came. He tried to go after me again before the bus – we got on the bus yesterday – because I was talking (expletive). He’s an ass, man. Real bad sportsmanship.”

Griffin stood by stories he’s heard about his opponent, one being that he got kicked out of Xtreme Couture, and the other that he attempted to fight UFC Hall of Famer Forrest Griffin at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas.

“All I ever said in any interview was the truth,” Griffin said. “He got kicked out of Xtreme Couture in Vegas for trying to hurt all his sparring partners. He tried to get into a fight with Forrest Griffin at the PI in Vegas. He’s a dirty guy, man. He kind of solidified by what he was doing yesterday at the weigh-ins and after. It was good to get the win.”

Still, Imadaev (8-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) didn’t want to wait for Saturday to roll around in order to tangle.

“We had breakfast right after the weigh-ins, after the pre-weigh ins, my family had everyone there and went to go get eggs and whatnot, and the next thing I know he runs up on me, lets his coaches grab him. so he he ran on me and then he stopped,” Griffin said. “His coaches came and grabbed him. Francis Ngannou grabbed him: ‘You talking (expletive). You talking (expletive).’

“He’s swinging stuff at me. He hits my drink. My water goes on some family sitting down. They pulled him away, the cops come, and then the UFC security comes and says we know you didn’t do anything and stay separated, and then I had to watch my back at the hotel and everything.”

Imadaev then apparently tried to start trouble again boarding the bus for the ceremonial weigh-ins, and Griffin told him he wasn’t going to fight him there.

“I told the guy, ‘We’re fighting tomorrow,’ you know what I mean?” Griffin said. “I’m trying to get paid. I’m a professional. He just didn’t understand; he can’t control himself.”

Ultimately, Griffin (15-6 MMA, 3-4 UFC) was rewarded for his restraint Friday with a victory Saturday on scores of 29-27, 29-27, and 28-28. That ended a two-fight losing skid, the last of which was a questionable decision loss to Thiago Alves, and made this entire week’s ordeal worthwhile.

“Man, you know, I lost two straight; whether I lost the last one or not, you can’t lose three,” Griffin said. “I didn’t think about that.”

To hear more from Griffin, check out the video above.

For more on UFC 236, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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