Aaron Simpson doesn't understand why people are starting to hate him.
He earned a split decision victory over Tom Lawlor, but for some reason, he was booed heavily by the Norfork, Va. crowd after his win.
“I’m a nice guy. What did I do? All I did was fight,” Simpson told The Ground and Pound’s Hector Castro and Ryan Loco, concerning his reaction after being told he was being hated by the MMA message boards.
The fight took home fight of the night honors at Ultimate Fight Night 20.
Simpson won the third round, and was dominated in the first round. The second round is up in the air, but some fans considered the first round a 10-8.
Simpson disagrees the first round warranted a 10-8 scoring, giving his definition of what a that round would constitute.
"People were saying it's a 10-8 and [a 10-8 round is when someone] gets out and is lucky to get out of the round,” Simpson said.
Simpson couldn’t pinpoint what made him come out to a slow start in the opening round. He said he thought he was ready for Lawlor’s southpaw stance by training with Jesse Forbes and Joe Riggs.
But once they got into the cage, Simspon said his lacked a spring in his step. He survived the first round, and his corner helped him wake up and realize that he was in a fight.
“He jumped on me quick,” Simpson said. “He definitely set me back. He didn't drop me, but he was on me in that first round. I had to recover and figure out what I had to do to win the fight...It was a matter of me waking up and realizing that I was in a fight.”
Simpson gave a lot of credit to Lawlor to throwing different looks at him and keeping him off balance.
“He threw a different mix,” Simpson said. “I didn't think he was going to stand up as much. Tom was tough and my hats off to him. We exchanged some punches it was a fun fight. I'm glad.”
Prior to the fight, Simpson was in the zone, not noticing the antics happening around him.
Lawlor came out a la Hulk Hogan in the 1980s with the American flag, to the tune of “Real American” and even ripped his shirt similar to the famed wrestler.
“I knew he was going to do something goofy and it’s who he is,” Simpson said. “I didn't even know what he was doing. I was in the cage ready to go. I didn't even look over there.”
Simpson had a few friends come down to watch him fight, and all of them went out to celebrate, but Simpson was constantly being asked for photos and autographs after winning the fight.
But Simpson learned a valuable lesson in not starting off slow, as it can make an impression on the fans, who have lasting first impressions.
“I had to dig deep and find out who I was,” Simpson said. “I can't start off slow. I have to learn that. It felt like my legs were sitting in buckets or something.