Geoff Neal reacts to Ian Machado Garry making t-shirt with his mugshot: ‘It was some low-class s***’

Geoff Neal definitely didn’t appreciate Ian Machado Garry making and selling a t-shirt with his mugshot emblazoned on it, but it turns out that didn’t bother him nearly as much as the Irish prospect claimed after their originally scheduled fight at UFC 292 was cancelled.

Back in July — just weeks before they were scheduled to clash — Machado Garry proudly displayed a shirt with Neal’s mugshot from a DUI arrest that happened in 2021. When Neal was forced to pull out of their fight, Machado Garry declared victory, touting his mental warfare as the reason the matchup didn’t happen.

Neal vehemently disagrees and he’s happy to prove that after re-booking the fight with Machado Garry for UFC 299 in March.

“I figured we would run it back after because I got sick and I couldn’t fight that last fight — well, just health issues — so I figured he would want to run it back,” Neal said Monday on The MMA Hour. “But then he was talking s***, ‘Well, I already beat him, so I don’t have to fight him.’ Weird s***. I’m glad we got a chance to run it back now.

“It was difficult, especially after all the s*** he was talking and all the stuff going on. Pulling out of the fight, it just looks bad.”

While Neal remains adamant that the mugshot t-shirt never really got under his skin, he still admonished Machado Garry for taking a decidedly low blow, especially after showing him respect behind closed doors.

“It wasn’t that bad, honestly, to me,” Neal said. “It was in poor taste. It was some low-class s***. Before I [was scheduled to fight him], I accepted the fight and he messaged me on Instagram talking about, ‘Hey man, best of luck on the fight and thank you for accepting the fight,’ and all that, and then a week later he posts the mugshot tee of me. So it’s kind of weird, but you get what you get.

“It was just low class. I’m not too bent out of shape about it. I’m just going to punch him in the face when I see him. We’ve got a date, and March 7, I’m going to beat him up.”

Of course, Machado Garry had a taste of his own medicine this past week when he was forced to drop off UFC 296 after contracting pneumonia, which followed a very nasty back-and-forth with middleweight champion Sean Strickland that also turned quite personal.

While Neal doesn’t encourage anyone to harass Machado Garry, he also understands through personal experience that you reap what you sow.

“It’s kind of like poetic justice,” Neal said. “Because he likes to come at other fighters.”

Overall, Neal doesn’t really enjoy the direction that the sport has taken in recent years, where trash talk has turned so personal. Just this past weekend, welterweight contender Colby Covington made an abhorrent remark about Leon Edwards’ father, who was murdered when the future UFC champion was only 13 years old.

He’d prefer to just leave it up to the competition in the cage, but Neal has never had much interest in tearing down his opponents in a war of words.

“I don’t like it personally but that’s just me,” Neal said. “I just want to fight. I like doing violent s***. I’m a violent person. I specialize in violence. That’s all I do.

“The s*** talking side of it, that’s not me. I just want to get in the cage and beat somebody up. Bringing up the personal stuff, it’s getting to the point where it’s getting a little too far, but it’s the fight game like Dana [White] said. If I don’t like it, I can find another job, so I’m just going to have to deal with it.”

When it comes to his next fight, Neal sounds ready to test himself against somebody like Machado Garry, who has drawn a lot of attention with a perfect 13-0 record highlighted by six straight wins in the UFC.

Despite everything that’s been said, Neal still considers Machado Garry a legitimate contender at welterweight, but he’s also anxiously awaiting the chance to settle their differences in the octagon.

“He deserves [the hype],” Neal said. “But he also deserves an ass whooping, so I’m going to give that to him.”

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