Carlos Condit and 9 UFC Fighters Who Are Unfairly Criticized
Remember when Carlos Condit wasn't a target?
Before he beat up Nick Diaz and sat on the UFC welterweight title, Condit delighted fans and pundits alike with his aggressive style, flashy knockouts and never-say-die brawling style. Fast forward a handful of months later, and his name is as good as mud with many more fans.
But even with all the gripes, Condit doesn't deserve the backlash.
He waited for a big money fight with the sport's biggest pay-per-view draw. Is it fair to fault Condit—a father and 10-year fight veteran—in looking out for his own interests?
No. It's unfair.
As quickly as we MMA fans praise the fighters we love, we're just as quick to crucify other fighters for perceived selfishness, egotism, or any other qualities we think we see.
But the matter of fact is simply this—they don't deserve the hate.
Condit's on everyone's radar simply because he's competing this Saturday at UFC 154. But here's nine other past-and-present UFC fighters who should be cut some slack.
No. 9: Kenny Florian
The Criticism: "Florian was never that great. He lost every important fight he ever had."
The Cold Truth: Kenny Florian was far better than many people gave him credit for, especially during his later years. He's the only UFC fighter to compete in four different weight classes when he likely should've spent his entire career at lightweight.
Florian is one of the most successful UFC fighters in history. Summing up his career solely on the lack of a championship belt is outright lazy.
No. 8: Leonard Garcia
The Criticism: "Leonard Garcia is nothing but a sloppy point fighter. He'll just windmill his arms because the judges have no clue what they're doing."
The Cold Truth: People claim to have a problem with Garcia's fighting style, but the real problem is MMA judging. More often than not, the busier-looking fighter leads on scorecards regardless of accuracy or technique.
Is that really supposed to be Garcia's fault? Until recently his style has worked for him, netting tons of "Fight of the Night" awards—and it's probably the only thing that's stopped him from getting cut.
No. 7: Kimbo Slice
The Criticism: "Kimbo Slice never had any business being in the UFC or Ultimate Fighter. Just look at him and his pathetic boxing career now."
The Cold Truth: Kevin Ferguson did exactly what he needed to do with the limited time he could get in the Octagon. For God's sakes, the man was 36-years-old with a pair of bad knees by the time he joined TUF's heavyweight season.
Kimbo was never going anywhere in the UFC's heavyweight division. He got his screen time and uses that residual fame to make a steady living beating up cans on the boxing circuit—in this economy, that's still a pretty decent way to make a living.
No. 6: Stefan Struve
The Criticism: "Struve is a giant who fights like a midget. He's got a bad chin, too."
The Cold Truth: UFC's heavyweight division is the one with the highest frequency of KO stoppages. When you break it down, just about every heavyweight not named Roy Nelson is accused of having a bad chin sooner or later.
As far as fighting to his obvious strengths, Struve isn't even 25-years-old, so the "Skyscraper" should probably be forgiven for not exercising the footwork and boxing prowess that his (generally) mid-30s opponents have had the time to hone. Besides, his fight with Stipe Miocic shows he's catching on—a little.
No. 5: Roy Nelson
The Criticism: "(Insert fat joke here)."
The Cold Truth: We should be giving Roy Nelson a medal for being as competitive as he's been through his career. It's one thing to fight in MMA with his body type, but it's another thing entirely to be successful at the highest level of the sport against such physically superior heavyweights.
Even if "Big Country" loses his next five fights, being able to fight with his physique is an achievement. Many men in much, much better shape aren't nearly as skilled or resilient.
No. 4: Jon Fitch
The Criticism: "Jon Fitch is a half-man, half-blanket hybrid. He spends more time lying on his opponent than actually fighting."
The Cold Truth: Fitch has definitely had his fair share of boring grinds, but it takes two guys to make a "Fight of the Night" happen. If you want to blame Fitch for holding guys down, you should be just as mad at the other guy for not being able to stand up.
Besides, if Fitch pulls off the smashing performance vs. Demian Maia that we saw against Erick Silva, we can probably shed the boring label. Be honest, have you ever been this excited for a Fitch fight?
No. 3: Michael Bisping
The Criticism: "Bisping whines for title shots when he hasn't ever beaten a 'Top 10' guy. Plus, he's an arrogant jerk with a dumb face."
The Cold Truth: Michael Bisping is 23-4 in the UFC on a 5-1 run where he arguably won the fight he lost. If "The Count" wasn't bugging everyone for a title shot, he'd be an idiot.
Besides, with an Ultimate Fighter win under his belt (back when it still mattered) and a 13-4 record in the UFC (with three of those losses being close decisions), Bisping's earned the right to be arrogant. That's not going to change no matter how many times people bring up the Dan Henderson fight.
No. 2: Georges St. Pierre
The Criticism: "GSP doesn't finish. Where's his old fire?"
The Cold Truth: Georges St. Pierre's tactical fighting style is just as exciting as the balls-to-the-wall brawling that he did in his youth. In all honestly, GSP hasn't gotten more cautious—his opponents have gotten tougher.
Ever since his second fight with B.J. Penn, GSP has been facing biggest, taller, stronger opponents in every title defense. Being able to control 6-foot-tall welterweights on the feet is nothing short of impressive, and his grappling clinic on Dan Hardy was just plain brilliant.
Yes, GSP hasn't finished an opponent with his own hands since 2008. That's a fact.
But with one of the longest winning streaks in the sports, that's a weird thing to harp on. "He's not dominant enough!"
No. 1: Brock Lesnar
The Criticism: "Brock Lesnar barely fought in the UFC, got his butt kicked a lot and his record blows. He doesn't deserve to be in the UFC Hall of Fame."
The Cold Truth: Brock Lesnar is one of the most successful heavyweights in UFC history, no matter how you cut it. Only three men have ever defended the 265-pound title twice, and no one did it while drawing as many pay-per-view buys as Lesnar did.
Many MMA fans point out that Lesnar quit when the going got tough, but looking at it critically, the man's never had an "easy" fight. Every opponent had a heavy experience advantage over him, and by the time he eventually retired, he had come off fights with Alistair Overeem, Cain Velasquez, and a healthy Shane Carwin.
All things considered, Lesnar's record is pretty good. Sure, he couldn't take a hit to the jaw, but years of pulling punches in pro wrestling doesn't make you a boxer.
So stow the retrospective hate for Lesnar. If history is fair, it'll remember the UFC 100 headliner as one of the most critical parts of the promotion's growth and one of the better champions it ever had.