UFC London was one of those events we’ll be talking about for years to come, and John Gooden made his illustrious return to the commentary booth to call all of the incredible action.
The event took place this past Saturday at the O2 Arena and included nine finishes, which netted the fighters who earned those stoppages performance bonuses.
While the dynamic performances of Tom Aspinall, Arnold Allen, Paddy Pimblett and Molly McCann seemed to have taken top billing in terms of headlines, Gooden admits he became a bit emotional after Paul Craig’s comeback submission win over Nikita Krylov during the preliminary card.
“Paul told me he wanted his kids, his two girls to go to school on Monday being proud of their dad’s performance,” Gooden said on The MMA Hour. “There was a real moment in the broadcast where I brought that out — and I think I name checked his kids — and I said, ‘Now you can be proud of your daddy’s performance when you go to school on Monday,’ and I got really choked up. Like, emotionally, really choked up being a dad [myself], and when Paul was telling me that, I was like, ‘Jesus.’
“Everything we do is a reflection on our children, so that was one [memorable] moment in a different way.”
Gooden has been part of the U.K. scene for many, many years, and is considered by many in the area to be the voice of the region’s MMA scene. It had been a bit since Gooden got to wear the headset, and he felt many of the fighters, along with the paying fans in attendance, made the event what is was.
“Molly’s knockout was just insane, I never saw that happening,” Gooden said. “Molly is a rugged fighter. Skillful — a skillful, skillful boxer — but didn’t see her with that dynamic spinning back [elbow]. That was one of the most crazy knockouts ever in women’s mixed martial arts, that was a moment.
“Arnold Allen turning back the clock to when I used to sit with him as a teenager, where he has very raw and just used to go hell for leather. He was a bit reckless back in the day, but there were elements of that animalistic element that he has about him where he wasn’t so measured and just let it go and it worked for him. Those were just a couple of moments. Tom Aspinall, who I’ve spent a lot of time with since December, I was very proud to see him perform the way he did, and I know how much that means to the Aspinall family, because this is a family business for them.
“It was just a wow, it really was just a wow. I was so proud of everyone in the building, fans as well, because they played their part, and it couldn’t have gone any better. It really couldn’t.”