UFC 157 has set the bar for the future of the organization.
Sure, some of the fights on the card were not over-the-top great, but the event was still entertaining and enjoyable.
We all know at this point that UFC 157 was the first time that women have stepped into the Octagon and fought, but what about some other historic moments?
The first that comes to mind was that it was the first UFC pay-per-view after the UFC announced its official division rankings, which was somewhat overshadowed by the debut of the women’s division (yes, I know that there have been two other events since the rankings came out earlier this month).
Let’s take a look at some of the events that will shape the future of the UFC.
Referee Stoppage Becomes More Important Than Ever
I understand the importance of a referee stepping in to stop a fight to prevent serious injury to a fighter, but what happened to Josh Koscheck against “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler was ridiculous.
Lawler pummeled Koscheck, who was pinned against the cage, with thunderous rights that stunned Koscheck. The referee of the bout, Herb Dean, had seen enough and stopped the fight in the first round.
No disrespect to Dean, who is one of the best referees in the UFC, but the stoppage seemed to be a bit premature, as Koscheck was attempting to defend himself.
The TKO was the second such loss in Koscheck’s career, but it also brought him back-to-back losses.
This is crucial, especially for those trying to prove themselves. One bad loss via TKO stalls momentum, drops a fighter down the card and now can cost a fighter a job.
The referees have a split second to make a call in the Octagon; they cannot get every call right. One second too late and a man’s safety and well-being are at risk. A second too early (like in Koscheck’s case) can cost a man his career.
Do Official Rankings Clear Up Title Picture?
If UFC 157 had been held before the organization’s official rankings were released on Feb. 5, Lyoto Machida’s victory over Dan Henderson would have led to many a question asked about the No.1 contender for the light heavyweight championship.
But because of the rankings, it seemed clear after the result that Machida, who entered Saturday as No. 2 in the division, will move ahead of Hendo (previously No. 1) for the title opportunity.
Dana White said himself after the event that Machida is now the No. 1 contender because he beat the previous No. 1 contender.
That makes a reporter’s job easier, right?
Well, not so much.
Although the rankings are good in the sense that they lead to less speculation, it also takes away some of the intrigue of predicting who will get the next title opportunity.
Plus, White’s logic can be disproved easily. If the No. 1 contender according to the rankings is upset in a tune-up fight by an unranked fighter, does that fighter now leapfrog all the other fighters to become the No. 1 contender?
The rankings will definitely play a role in the future of the business. It’s just a matter of time to see how they affect the future of the UFC.
Women Are Legitimate Draws
After Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche put on a show at UFC 157, I immediately looked for the next scheduled women’s fight.
The way these two went at it in the ring was incredible.
The match lived up to every high expectation. Carmouche made Rousey work for the win, pushing her to the longest match of her career.
I was enthralled by the match, even though the ending was predictable. But looking ahead, only good things can come.
With the heightened exposure, the other women in the division will push themselves to deserve a shot at the belt. As the competition grows, the excitement will rise as well.
The women who fight in the cage are technically sound and fans of the “arts” of MMA will come to truly appreciate what they do.