Did UFC champ defend title with toothpick in mouth?
UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson, right, lands a punch against Nate Diaz during their mixed martial arts bout at a UFC on Fox event in Seattle, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012. Henderson retained his title via unanimous decision. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)
The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, December 9, 2012 7:46AM EST
Last Updated Sunday, December 9, 2012 7:47AM EST
SEATTLE -- Did Benson (Smooth) Henderson defend his UFC title with a toothpick in his mouth?
It would appear so, although there was some backtracking in the post-fight news conference Saturday after Henderson's dominating five-round decision over lightweight Nate Diaz at KeyArena.
Henderson doesn't smoke or drink but likes a toothpick between his lips. And in his post-fight interview in the cage, an amazed Joe Rogan asked if he had one in his mouth during the MMA bout. The champ didn't confirm or deny, but video just after the final bell seems to show him rolling what looks like a toothpick in his lips.
MMA fighters wears mouthguards, so if Henderson had a toothpick, it was fighting for room.
A coy Henderson first said he couldn't "confirm or deny" the presence of the toothpick.
"I normally do, yeah. I have been in practices, and when I spar, when I fight," he then revealed. "It's a bad habit but whatever, I've gotten away with it so far."
But the story turned as he was asked about it again.
"Don't get me in trouble, man," said a smiling Henderson when a reporter brought it up again.
"For starters, I can't even tell if he's serious or joking," said the UFC's Dave Sholler, who was serving as MC. "But I'm sure the commission wouldn't want a piece of wood in his mouth during the fight.
"But he's smooth for a reason. I don't know."
Henderson later said he was joking and didn't have a toothpick in his mouth during the fight. It did not seem that convincing, however.
Henderson did have a toothpick in his mouth as he talked to reporters at the news conference.
One of Henderson's coaches reportedly said he gave the toothpick to the champ after the fight.
Asked about the toothpick, Diaz drew laughs when he said: "I don't know if he did. But that's weird."