Thursday, December 6, 2012
For months now, UFC President, Dana White, has been somewhat enamored with Ronda Rousey often calling her a "Rock Star" and calling women's MMA "The Ronda Rousey Show". The question that arises is, is this an attempt at truly developing Women Mixed Martial Arts or is the UFC's octagon merely a stage for the "Ronda Rousey show"?
On the positive side, the announcement that Ronda Rousey is the first female UFC fighter / Champion is a great step for women's sports (also that she will first defend the title against Liz Carmouche who is Zuffa's only openly gay-fighter which in itself is another positive for sports), and if someone is going to bring Women's MMA to the masses and be the face of it, there is no one better than Ronda Rousey. She's a beautiful young woman that's well spoken with some of the best credentials in the history of US Women's Athletics holding a Olympic Bronze Medal in Judo. She is an amazing talent and spokesperson and will attract media, fans, and money for the UFC with her special charisma and ability rip off her opponents' arms.
On the negative side, we have to wonder how much is the UFC willing to invest into creating a Women's division? Will it actually be a Women's division or a Single Woman's division? Going forward, will only Rousey's fights be featured on cards fighting the top contenders stolen away from Invicta FC or will other female fighters be able to build their names on Pay Per View Main Cards, free FX events or FuelTV Prelims? There are a number of very talented fighters that are great potential match-ups for Rousey - former Strikeforce Champion Marloes Coenen, Olympic silver medalist in Wrestling Sara McMann, and a possible Super Fight with Cyborg Santos - Will these fighters be given the chance to make a name for themselves in UFC as well, in turn creating a division, or will this simply be "The Ronda Rousey Show" - an exhibition for one star to show off her skills over another female fighter that no one has really heard of?
And what happens if Ronda loses? Will the UFC treat a new champion with the same respect and star power that they've shown to Rousey? Will they treat her like she matters? Like her title matters? Like her sport matters? If Rousey isn't as good as they hoped she'd be, will the UFC simply abandon this experiment called Women's Mixed Martial Arts?
The fate and success of Women's Mixed Martial Arts seems to be resting on the strong shoulders of Ronda Rousey and whether this whole experiment will pan out will lie in a trail of broken arms. When the Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche headline the card at UFC 157 in February of next year, the movement of Women's MMA will begin and we will see if this a big step for all women or just one.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
In 2004, BJ Peen submitted Matt Hughes to win his first UFC Championship showing that the man nicknamed "The Prodigy" was more than living up to his nickname. Similarly, in 2005, Shogun Rua went from the kid with a lot of skills in the Chute Box gym and lived in Wanderlai Silva's shadow to the winner of the Pride Middleweight Grand Prix, many saying that he was the best 205er in the world. Seven and eight years ago, Penn and Shogun were two major talents that we all knew would achieve greatness one day and on those special nights all those years ago, we saw their potentials materialize becoming two of the top fighters of their era.
This Saturday night at UFC on FOX: Henderson vs Diaz, Shogun and Penn have fights in front of them, however their roles have changed from up and comers about to reach their potentials to veterans, possibly even legends of the sport on the back end of their careers. Penn and Shogun are what fellow veteran fighter, Vitor Belfort, calls "young dinosaurs" - ferocious and strong, but about to become extinct. They're older now, experienced, and have nothing left to prove. They are no longer the hungry young lions wanting to stake their claim as the leader of the pact, wanting to prove themselves to the world, wanting to realize their potential. They realized their potentials and then some years ago by winning titles and putting on some of the greatest fights of all time. They have nothing left to prove to the world and, at this point in their careers, it seems like the only thing they want to prove is that they can still hang at the top of the division before calling it a day.
On Saturday night, they face two young fighters that are in the same spot that they were in all those years ago in Alexander Gustafsson and Rory MacDonald. Gustafasson is a 25-year old riding a 5 fight winning streak in the UFC, and, with his skill, speed, and reach is thought of as one of the only true contenders for Jon Jones' Light Heavyweight Championship. Similarly, Rory MacDonald is 4-1 in the octagon with that lone loss a narrow defeat to former Interim Welterweight Champion Carlos Condit. At the age of 23, with the dominating performances he's already put on in his fights against very talented competition, it's seems like a only a matter of time before the world knows who Rory MacDonald is. MacDonald and Gustafsson are the future of MMA, fighters with the potential to be major contenders and possibly even champions. They represent a new breed of MMA fighter - young, talented, and more adept in all areas of the game that the sport has never seen before.
There are very few fighters that come into the sport of Mixed Martial Arts that immediately open people's eyes and make the MMA world take notice. If it was Penn with his amazing flexibility and knock out power, Shogun and his killer instinct, or MacDonald and Gustafsson and their dominant overall skill sets - early on in their MMA careers, everyone could see potential in them and that they would be the future of the sport. But there comes a time in every fighter's career where he has to realize his potential, where they go from prospect to contender and then contender to champion. We've already witnessed the rise of Penn and Shogune, and, for Gustafsson and MacDonald, we might see the start of it this Saturday night..
At UFC on Fox we will see if the young dinosaurs still have it in them, if they're still at the top of the food chain, and if they are fighting off extinction until the very end, or if the young lions will take their place at the top of the pact and go in for the kill. Like Penn and Rua before them, Gustafsson and MacDonald have been heralded as the future of the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. This Saturday, we will see if the future is now.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
UFC 52: Heavy Hitters
UFC 59: Reality Check
UFC 87: Seek And Destroy
These are just a few of the sweet tag lines that the upper brass at Zuffa came up with to lure the young fans away from worlds of Xtreme sports, reality television, and the sounds of Nu Metal.
Eventually, the UFC started to name their PPVs after the fights at the top of the card. Gone were tag names like Heavy Artillery and Nemesis, and in their place were the names of the best of the best in the sport such as Lidell vs Couture, Hughes vs Penn, and Franklin vs Henderson. By this point, either the creative people at Zuffa headquarters were simply getting lazy or the UFC as a company and its fighters became popular and notable enough that their audience would get more excited over the sound of an awesome fight opposed to a hackneyed phrase such as The Uprising.
We as fans would get excited over fights and, in turn, be excited over events months in advance. I still remember being excited about Randy Couture coming out of retirement to challenge Tim Sylvia. I still remember the buzz inside of my living room when my family heard that GSP and BJ Penn were having a Super Fight. And I still clearly remember when all those great fights at UFC 100 were signed and my friends and I planned months in advance to watch that show together.
But that was a very long time ago.
Something changed in 2012. That buzz the UFC had and could create is starting to dwindle off. Yes, we had a number of great fights that really excited us months in advance - Edgar vs Henderson, Silva vs Sonnen, GSP vs Condit - but that feeling of excitement over a fight is starting to lose its effect on fans as a result of what's happened in 2012.
Think back over this year. How many great fights were announced, that never happened?
Remember our excitement over GSP vs Nick Diaz? That one never happened. How about Dos Santos vs Overeem? Faber vs Cruz? Wanderlai vs Vitor? Jones vs Hendo? Aldo vs Edgar?
I can't really fault the UFC for what happened this year. Injuries happen in the gym. Fighters get popped for high testosterone levels. Champions fall off motorcycles. It happens. Regardless of how these situations occur, it happens and happened quite a lot this past year. It may be no one's fault but it affects us fans because it's hard to get excited for something that you know has a good chance of not happening.
This last weekend at UFC 154: St. Pierre vs Condit, all that I could think about during the days leading up to the event were "I wonder if both of them will actually make it to the fight." Day by day during fight week, I watched the fighters go through the typical UFC PR - media workouts, press conferences, interviews with Ariel Helwani, weigh-ins - and all I could think was that one of them was bound to get hurt or pull out of the fight. They both made it to the cage last Saturday night and it really seemed like a miracle that they did after the track record of UFC main events falling through this year. The amazing fight that Condit and GSP put on probably seemed even greater after all the past instances this year that fights didn't come to fruition.
Looking forward, I hope we can all start looking forward to fights actually happening again opposed to it seeming impossible for fighters to even get to the octagon on fight night. I hope the cure of 2012 is behind us and that we can look forward to fights opposed to thinking "I'll believe it when I see it." I don't know about you, but I'll always rather look forward to a card where it's UFC: Fighter vs Fighter instead of UFC: Card Subject To Change.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
I recently wrote a piece about my feelings on Pound For Pound rankings and how silly and exasperating it is to argue about a meaningless form of standings. After talking about the piece with a number of readers, I further realized how silly all rankings in Mixed Martial Arts - now more than ever - are a facade for a fighter to believe that he is the best in the world.
Similar to pound for pound rankings, there are no official divisional rankings in MMA or, more specifically, the UFC. Unlike sports like baseball where there are clear cut standings throughout the regular season based on wins and loses - the team with the most wins is in first place, while the team with most loses is in last place - MMA's standings and top contenders are hypothetical and are up for fans and media to argue about and for the higher ups of the UFC to decide. Other than the division's champion who is most likely number one in the rankings, everyone else's place in the standings, from the very worst fighter to the number one contender is very arbitrary.
The world of combat sports, specifically the UFC, has always ran this way - a fighter go on a bit of a winning streak, the organization would hype the fighter as the top contender for the title, and the fight would happen. Win or lose, people in the audience could believe enough in that fighter that they'd pay to see him challenge the champion. Looking specifically at the UFC's welterweight division, welterweight champion, Georges St. Pierre took on Jon Fitch, BJ Penn, Thiago Alves, Dan Hardy, Josh Koschek, and Jake Shields, all of which were riding impressive winning streaks.
Unfortunately, last year, GSP suffered a knee injury and has been sidelined for over a year. In the time between GSP's last fight in April of 2011 and today, a number of things have changed in the division and a number of fighters have made their ways to the top.
- Nick Diaz, the former Strike Force welterweight champion moved over to the UFC and was deemed the number one contender for the UFC title. But then the UFC didn't like his attitude during the build up for the fight and his number one contendership was taken away from him and awarded to Carlos Condit.
- Carlos Condit is now the number one contender, but GSP suffers his knee injury and cannot immediately defend his title against Carlos Condit, so he pulls out of their fight. Soon after, GSP decides he's "pist" at Diaz, and wants to fight him, so Diaz is then christened the number one contender while Condit is once again pushed to the side.
- GSP's injury is worse than he thought it would be and is out indefinitely. Condit and Diaz fight for the UFC Interim Weltereight Championship, which Condit wins.
After all of this, who is the number one fighter? Is it GSP, the injured official Champion, or Condit, the healthy interim champion? Is Condit the real champ or just a guy with a belt that should read "Number One Contender" on it?
Since winning the Interim Championship, Condit has yet to have another fight to defend his "title" and has decided to wait out GSP's injury to unite the belts. In the meantime, a number of fighters have climbed up the ranks of the division and, if there was an active champion, one of the following fighter would have been deemed the number one contender.
- Jake Ellenberger went on a good winning streak and, after his fight with Diego Sanchez, many people were rallying for him to get a title shot.
- Martin Kampmann has been in a number of close fights with top tier competition and, after his win over Thiago Alves, a number of people believed he had earned a title shot.
- Johny Hendriks went a four fight winning streak and had the MMA community rallying around him after he beat Josh Koschek.
After all of this, we're left with the question: Who is the best Welterweight in the UFC and where does everyone else fall in line? There answer is that there is no answer.
If being the champion means that you're number one, right now we have two number ones, and since neither of them are fighting it's impossible to decipher who the best is and who falls behind them. And what about these fighters who should have been in title fights if either title was being defended? Should they have not been offered something over the course of this year to shower their ranking in the division? Perhaps an interim interim title? Maybe the Intercontinental Welterweight Championship?
Being the best, being the champion comes down to luck and timing. Not everyone who has ever contended for a title was considered the rightful person to take on the champ. When Dan Hardy took on GSP, no one really viewed him as the rightful number one contender. The fact is that GSP has already beaten a number of the biggest name fighters in the division he simply needed to fight someone. Same goes with Thales Leites when he challenged Anderson Silva for the Middleweight title. Anderson was due for a fight and Leites was the only one available.
With Leites and Hardy, it was a bit of a stretch to call them contenders, but there was definitely enough reasoning to put them in title fights for the simple fact that they were on winning streaks. However, over the last year, contendership and ranking has gotten out of control.
The moment that rankings all lost meaning to me from a fan's perspective was when Lyoto Machida took on Jon Jones last December at UFC 140. At that time, Rashad Evans was the rightful number one contender and, not only that, was the fighter everyone wanted to see challenge Jon Jones for the Light Heavyweight championship. But Jones was scheduled to fight at UFC 140 and they wanted a big name and big fight for the Toronto event so they put Machida up against Jones. Machida was 1-2 in his last 3 fights with that one win coming against Randy Couture who, no offense to the legend, already had one foot out of the octagon and had already announced his retirement. I could not find any rhyme or reason for Machida to be in a championship fight. The pitch given by the UFC that they were both top guys and they were bound to fight each other eventually did not sit well with me.
And so that has been the case with the UFC since then. Yes, some divisions are deep and some champions are fighting with the intention of saying that they are the best in the world at their weightclass (ie the lightweight division), but at 205 pounds, Jon Jones has just been fighting whoever the UFC could scrounge up. We all know that at UFC 151, Chael Sonnen "stepped-up" to fight Jon Jones on short notice which Jones declined. Was it a ballsy move by Sonnen? Yes. But was it a logical one for the UFC to make? From a business perspective, yes, they had to put on a fight that night. But as far as rankings are concerned, Chael Sonnen hasn't fought in the UFC's Light Heavyweight division since losing via submission to Renato Sobral at UFC 55 in October 2005. That does not make him much of a contender for the Light Heavyweight title in anyone's eyes.
The fight the world wants to see is Jones vs Dan Henderson. Henderson is a legend of the sport who is on a good winning streak and last year won a fight that some say is the greatest of all time. That's the fight the world wants to see and that's the fight that makes the most sense. And now, Jones is forced to fight in my hometown of Toronto again against another fighter that doesn't make a lot of sense for him to take on - Vitor Belfort - a 185er who once won the UFC Light Heavyweight title via controversial cut.
While the rankings in MMA have always been arbitrary, they have recently become downright silly and all but thrown out the door at this point with some of the fights that are being presented to us.
If a champion is supposed to be the best in the world at their weight class, then have them other fighters on or, at least, near their level because many of the fights we are seeing in our future seem like, in the case of Jon Jones, fighting for fighting's sake and, in the case of the welterweight division, fighting without purpose.
Sunday, September 9, 2012
With UFC 152: Jones vs Belfort so quickly approaching, I think we can finally almost put the cancellation of UFC 151 and the debacle that followed afterwards to bed... Almost. Until the moment Jon Jones gets into the octagon next Saturday night against Vitor Belfort, the opinions and emotions that Jones has filled in MMA fans, media, and fan boys will still be running rampant.
In all the years that I have been following the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, I cannot recall such a dominant and talented champion having such a wide range of emotions sent towards him. The opinions on Jones run from the extreme positive to the extreme negative and everything inbetween. To some he's viewed as a young, honest, and good-hearted Christian making a living in the crazy world of Mixed Martial Arts, while others see him as a phony,whose actions contradict his statements and a kid that simply got too much too fast. And while both of these extremes are on the far sides of the PR spectrum, both perceptions have their points that they clearly point to.
One of the immediate statements talked about Jones' persona is that he's a phony, that he's fake. While there are statements Jones has made that allude to this statement, this trait seems to stem back to the lead-up before his first title defense and the media tour he did with Quinton Rampage Jackson. Throughout this media tour, Rampage, a man that is without a doubt a fan favourite, would call Jon a phony, saying that the guy we saw on camera - the charming, funny, and smiling young man - wasn't exactly the guy he was off-screen. Rampage repeatedly made this statement before the fight and fans latched onto it. Then, shortly after, Jones took on Rashad Evans, and Evans called Jones a two-face after Jones took Rashad's original title shot against Shogun Rua. Both Evans and Rampage labeled Jones as a phony, and the MMA community believed it.
Fast-forward to the cancellation of UFC 151, we saw a different side of Jones. Jones decided not to take on Chael Sonnen sighting that he was a businessman and did not view the fight as a good choice on his part financially. Here he showed an honest side of the fight world that we don't see very often - a fighter talking about money, about business, and financial decisions.
With these two examples, it seems like Jon Jones can't win with the fans. Either they hate him for faking a nice and charming persona or they hate him for straight shooting and talking about business.
One of Jones' biggest hits he took as far as his persona is concerned was his DWI charge from earlier this year. DWIs are an odd crime in our popular culture. Many celebrities have been charged with this in the past - Mel Gibson, Lindsay Lohan, Kurt Angle - and public perception on these people rarely changes as a result. This very serious charge becomes comedic fodder on late night talk shows and by stand-up comedians, and the seriousness of the action is almost forgotten. Regardless of how the action is perceived, Jones' actions put many people's lives in danger, including his own, and many MMA fans took this charge to heart. As the kid who is expected to take the sport of MMA into the mainstream and lead it into the future, MMA fans did not like what his actions were sending to the masses.
But let's look back to the days leading up to his title fight with Shogun Rua last year. The day before the fight, Jones, as he was meditating in a park, was informed by his coaches that a robber was breaking into random cars on the road. Jones then ran after the man, took him down, and apprehended him.
Jones did commit a horrible act by driving while intoxicated, but, there is no doubt that on the flip side, he did help the world by catching a burglar.
Another qualm the MMA community seems to have to do with Jones is that he may have gotten too much to soon. The fact that he is so young and that he is the youngest champion in UFC history shows to many that he simply got too much too fast and he hasn't earned his success. Within three years of making his MMA debut, he had already hit the top of of the game in one of the most cherished weight classes in the sport.
However, we can't really say he hasn't earned his success. He may have gotten to the top of the food chain faster than anyone before him, but he has definitely earned his spot as a champion and a draw for the UFC. The man is a phenomenal fighter that puts on awe-inspiring performances, clearly beat the UFC light heavy weight champion, and has almost cleared out of the division of of all top tier and big name competition.
Yes, Jones may have gotten to the top really fast, too fast in some fans' eyes, but you also cannot deny that he earned his spot there.
Jon Jones is only human. Not only that, but he is also a very young human being. At 25 years of age, he's going to make mistakes and each of those mistakes are going to be magnified because of the position he is in. While his efforts in the cage appear flawless, his action in life are never going to match the violent beauty that he projects inside of the octagon.
If Jon Jones goes out there next Saturday Night and does what we expect him to do to Vitor Belfort, no matter how we perceive him and how he projects himself - the businessman, the Christian, the Jackson fighter, the man that murdered UFC 151, the family man, the drunk driver, the hero, the spokes-man - there's not doubt of what he is inside of the octagon - a fighter, a champion, and one of the best. It's just who he is when he leaves the arena that we, and even Jon himself, are trying to figure out.
Sunday, September 2, 2012
Who is the best fighter in the world?
That question often comes up when I get together with friends for fight nights. The usual suspects of MMA's pound for pound bests always arise: Silva, GSP, Aldo, Jones.
"Anderson would submit GSP."
"GSP would out grapple Cruz."
"JDS would knock-out Aldo".
As arguments between my friends ensue, I usually just keep my mouth shut, stuffing my face with potato chips and watching the fights while they argue about trivial, suggestive, and hypothetical fights that will never happen.
The term "Pound For Pound" comes from the boxing world. It was coined by sports writers to shine a light on boxers outside of the heavyweight weight class and to give recognition to smaller boxers that were the best on a technical level. Smaller fighters like like Sugar Ray Robinson and Benny Leonard needed this ranking so the audience would care about them more, it would get people more interested in their fights, and it made the sports writer's job easier when having to do a write on a fighter that did not look large than life. These pound for pound kings were faster, smarter, and more precise boxers than the heavyweight boxers who could rely on their natural power to get them through fights and being the best pound for pound was their way of being called "the best in the world" without having to go up weight classes and getting beaten up by men twice their size.
In the boxing world, skill-sets from fighter to fighter are all pretty similar - jab, hook, footwork, etc. - so comparing technical abilities between boxers in different weight classes isn't nearly as subjective and difficult as it is in MMA where fighters have a greater range of skills to be examined: punching, kicking, stance, grappling, submissions, takedowns, takedown defense, etc. Stats such as reach, strength and even weight cutting ability can play a part in a fighter's position on a pound for pound list. There is just so much more to keep in mind when dealing with MMA pound for pound rankings than boxing and that's why the headache, subjectivity, and uselessness of these rankings just makes my brain hurt. It's like debating whether the 2000 LA Lakers could beat the 1996 Chicago Bulls, the 1980 US Hockey Team could be the 2008 Canadian Hockey Team, or if Superman could beat-up Spider-man in a fight - It's completely hypothetical and impossible to prove.
We will never be able to prove that Jose Aldo could beat Cain Velasquez because there is no level playing field to judge them on. How can we compare Aldo's technique with Cain's power or Cain's heavyweight chin with Aldo's 145 lbs knockout power?
We will never see Jon Jones and Dominic Cruz on a level playing field. How do we compare Jones' reach with Cruz's 135 lbs speed or Cruz's footwork with and Jones' light heavy weight fluidity?
And we will never see who the better fighter between Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre is. Yes, even this fight, a fight that appears to be taking place in the near future won't really tell us who the better fighter is because each fighter won't be on an equal playing field unless Anderson can make the 170 lbs weight limit. The rumour going around is that the fight will take place at a180 lbs catch weight and neither fighter will be at their optimum weight - Anderson will have a bit of extra fatigue from having to cut an extra five pounds and GSP will have the disadvantage of dealing with Anderson's extra size. Even here we won't be able to see the best GSP against the best Anderson Silva.
I personally will never waste my time arguing or thinking about pound for pound rankings and will never write a pound for pound list on this blog. At this point, I just want to see fighters fight - no talk about rankings or legacies or money - let's just see fighters fight.
Someone pass the chips.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Sunday mornings for the average fight fan are usually spent thinking about the previous night's big UFC Event - the spectacular knock-outs, the amazing submissions, the grueling wars, the horrible judges decisions, etc. Specifically, we often think about the winners and losers of the fights and where do they go from there. But with this weekend's UFC 151 being canceled, we can't really think about the rankings and logical fights for the fighters involved. So, I thought that I would take a look at the major players involved in the event's cancellation and see who is coming out as a winner and who is coming out a loser.
Dana White: Loser
While Dana was able to use Jon Jones and Greg Jackson as the scapegoats for the cancellation of the event, the bottom line is that Dana and the UFC are coming out as losers in this entire ordeal. The cancellation is a poor reflection of the promotion. Their partners at FOX, sponsors, Pay Per View companies, and the Venues that they hold their events in will look down upon them for this last minute cancellation. The UFC made deals with all of these entities and could not hold up their end of the bargain for the first time in their history. Hopefully, this could just be a one time thing for the UFC, but if this trend continues, the UFC's partners maybe a little hesitant with how they work with them.
Regardless of the UFC's future relationships with its business partners, the bottom line is that the UFC lost millions of dollars on this card. Not only did the cancellation cause them to lose out on the event's gate as well as pay-per view, sponsorship, and merchandise revenue, but they also lost millions of dollars on the advertisement they put into the events. Those posters you see at your local bar don't pay for themselves, ya know?
From anyway you look at it, the UFC took a hit from this event.
Jon Jones: Loser
Jon Jones said that he made the decision to accept the fight with Chael Sonnen at UFC 151 not as a fighter, but as a businessman, and, hearing that logic makes me think that Jon Jones isn't much of a businessman. If he's out to make money, obviously, fighting at UFC 151 instead of night not fighting at all would make him more money. A fight with Chael Sonnen, a guy who can hype up a fight as well as the fictitious offspring of Muhammad Ali and Bobby "The Brain" Hennan would obviously make him a lot of money. Taking the fight with Sonnen would have put him in the good graces of his employers, the people that promote him and his fights, and that would make him money in the long run. While we can all argue whether Jones should have taken the fight or not from a personal standpoint can be argued back and forth, but in the eyes of his employers and most fans, Jones is the one that caused this whole mess and is going to be leaving a lot of money on the table in the long run.
The only reason his decision might have made him money was if he lost to Chael in this short notice fight, but, even then, he could have blamed the loss on the fight being short notice, and he would obviously get an immediate rematch if he lost, which would probably be an even bigger pay per view draw.
From a dollars and cents point of view, Jones is a loser as a business man.
All The Other Fighters On The Card: Losers
There's no other way to look at if for these fighters, their teams, and their families. They're missing out on paychecks to pay for mortgages, car payments, and, well, life. Furthermore, they lost fight camps that they can never get back. We always hear about how fighters have a small window of opportunity to make money and to lose a fight camp is always a big dent into one's fighting career.
On a personal note, I'm a runner. I train for months for races with each training session building upon the last in hopes of peaking on one day, for one race. To work so hard just for one day and it doesn't get to happen - it's heartbreaking.
The Fans: Winners
Other than the fans that bought tickets for this actual event and may have lost out on the money they spent to fly to and stay in Las Vegas this labour day weekend (because there's nothing else to do in Vegas than watch MMA [sarcasm]), most fans shouldn't feel so bad about this card falling apart. How many of us were all that pumped for this card? Other than Jones vs Henderson, the rest of the card wasn't very interesting and doubt that most people, even hardcore MMA fans, would have paid their hard earned money to watch without a big fight at the top of the card.
I think all fight fans should go out this long weekend and enjoy themselves. Read a book. Go for a walk. And if you really want to see a fight, ONE FC is holding an event in the Philippines featuring Andrei Arlovski vs Tim Sylvia. If anything, it will be a nice piece of nostalgia to enjoy. And if this video doesn't get you excited for the fight, nothing will.
Chael Sonnen - Winner
It's hard to believe that just last month, Chael was the biggest Heel in Mixed Martial Arts with his rants against Brazil, Anderson Silva, and even Anderson Silva's wife. But somehow, he's being heralded as a hero because when Dana white asked him if he wanted a shot at the Light Heavyweight Championship, he said "Yes." Three letters, one word - "Yes". He didn't go for a take down, a kick, or even a spinning back fist. All he said was "Yes" and he's won over the UFC brass and most of the fans.
It's a crazy world this MMA.
This Sunday, I'm going to feel like a lost puppy as I wander the internet looking for Ariel Helwani interviews and wondering why no one is arguing about "how the judges got it wrong" last night, but it will be nice to get a breather from UFC Pay Per Views. I think I might even watch the Arlovski vs Sylvia fight and think back to when the UFC just put on 10 pay per views a year and actually looked forward to it.