UFC on Fox 2: Wait, What? 5 Weird Things That Happened in Chicago on Saturday
UFC on Fox 2 is officially in the record books. Rashad Evans and Chael Sonnen secured title shots, Michael Bisping looked like a contender despite losing, and Chris Weidman announced his presence to the world.
It was a typical fight show, but not without its weirdness. Fans cheered the police. Fans also cheered a felon. And, if only for a moment, fans even cheered perennial bad guy Rashad Evans.
I was spitting distance from the cage—no safe place when Bisping fights—in order to bring you another edition of "Wait, What?"
I'm in Dana White's Video Blog? Wait, What?
You know when you attend a UFC event as a member of the media, there is a solid chance you might make an appearance on television. The media sits directly behind one of the fighter's corners and guys frequently pop up when the action settles in that area.
Being seen briefly on TV wouldn't have been a big surprise. Getting a call that I was on Dana White's video blog? Yeah, that was a shock. I was backstage spending the day with Rashad Evans and was apparently caught on tape. You can see me at the 3:00-minute mark in a leather jacket.
Wait? That's of interest to me and my immediate family only? And not really very interesting to them? In that case, please carry on!
The Crowd Cheers for Police Brutality
The crowd was absolutely bonkers for Mike Russow, a Chicago police officer who had been pushed hard locally as the hometown boy. But it was hard to maintain enthusiasm, perhaps because of a boring fight, perhaps because UFC fans all listen to NWA records and love "Tank" Abbott.
Some fans in the crowd tried desperately to start a "CPD" chant, but the support was lackluster. Eventually, I turn around to see two guys, obviously hammered, screaming at the top of their lungs. Two guys, no matter how drunk, no matter how loud, do not a chant make.
It's easy to dismiss Russow. He looks like someone's uncle who works construction, the kind of guy no one wants to razz too hard on trivia night at the pub when he doesn't know how many amendments there are to the Constitution.
But his belly jiggles. A lot. Mike Russow doesn't fit the great athlete mold; instead, he pours right out of it like pudding. Sure, an NFL lineman's might jiggle too, but at least he has the decency to compete with his shirt on.
Appearance aside, Russow's success is unquestionable. It's time for him to step up to the next level of competition.
A Pair of Twins Fight?
Nik Lentz and Evan Dunham made me do a bit of a double take. Distinguishing between them would be no easy task. Two pasty little scrappers, they both looked like they came right out of an Iowan cornfield to duke it out for our pleasure.
And a pleasure it was. It was a tremendous battle. It's always amazing to see a fight like this in person. You can see the bruises as they appear, as well as the red marks—not just on legs from hard kicks, but fingerprints on the neck, arms and back from guys trying to grab a hold of each other.
It's legal carnage. On television, it's easy to forget this isn't Real Steel and that no one uses an Avatar. These are real guys, fist-fighting demons right in front of you.
It's a remarkable thing. But before I can get too introspective, Lentz grabs a crotch hold on Dunham during a grappling exchange and a fan yells "Ooooh, yeah baby. Right there!"
MMA fans—you've got to love them.
Chael Being Chael
The crowd, which was pro-law enforcement during the Russow fight, embraced the thug life when the gangster from West Linn, Oregon, hit the cage. Chael Sonnen was a bona fide hero in Chicago. The crowd chanted "USA, USA" with a gusto they never managed for anyone else on the card.
There were exceptions. One gentleman accused Chael, in no uncertain terms, of "being on f*cking steroids." Time and (drug) testing will decide the validity of those claims.
What's not in question, at least not anymore, is Bisping's place near the top of the middleweight division. It was a razor-close decision win for Sonnen. At the end of the third round both men raised their hands. The press cageside was split on who would be awarded the decision.
The mystery, however, was over quickly. As soon as a score of 30-27 was announced, it was obvious Sonnen would be the winner. He had unquestionably won the third round, so a card awarding someone all three rounds would have to be his.
In a postfight interview, Sonnen asked announcer Joe Rogan what it felt like to be "inches away from greatness?" I can't speak for Rogan, but for me, it was pretty damn cool.
Did Rashad Evans Just Outwrestle Phil Davis?
"Cocaine is a hell of a drug," Phil Davis told the assembled media before the fight. In the former NCAA champion's mind, Rashad Evans had to be on drugs to even suggest he could outwrestle the All-American.
Evans, in public and private, was adamant he was the better wrestler. On Saturday night, in front of millions on Fox, Rashad proved his point.
All the pundits were sure that Davis would have a strong advantage on the ground. He had a wrestling pedigree unmatched in the light heavyweight division. Rashad, for his part, had been an indifferent wrestler at Michigan State.
That, as he pointed out to me, was almost 10 years ago. He had developed his game over the years on his way to becoming one of the best fighters in the world.
Phil Davis was skeptical. He isn't anymore. Davis saw it with his own eyes. So did the world. Rashad Evans's wrestling game is nothing to be trifled with.