Just as the clock struck midnight, Patrick Cummins’ Cinderella story ended on Saturday night at UFC 170.
As if touched by the sacred hands of Rodgers and Hammerstein, the UFC arrival of Cummins was one of the most fascinating stories in recent memory.
The undefeated MMA prospect was without a car and working at a local coffee shop in Orange County, California when he got a life-changing call from UFC President Dana White. Former light heavyweight champ Rashad Evans had to pull out of the co-main event at UFC 170 after suffering an injury, and top contender Daniel Cormier was desperately in need of an opponent.
Through the grapevine, White explained on Fox Sports Live that he heard Cummins, one of Cormier’s training partners for the 2004 Olympic Games, used to get the best of the UFC star during their time on the wrestling mat. So, White called up Cummins to confirm the story and offer him the fight.
Having just been fired from the coffee shop for taking a private phone call on the clock, Cummins basically said the hell with it and jumped on an opportunity of a lifetime. In a matter of days, he went from being an everyday guy to having his pictures plastered all over the media and being featured in dozens of interviews.
UFC 170 was his ball, and White was his Fairy Godfather.
When it came to self-promotion, Cummins was head and shoulders better than anything the UFC ever expected. His claim to making Cormier cry during training on Fox Sports Live was played in the media more times than a '90s Backstreet Boys song. The media spin on the bad blood angle got many people thinking.
Is this guy for real? Could Cummins really be a better wrestler than Cormier?
Unfortunately for Cummins, it only took 89 seconds for the world to realize the truth, as he was completely torched by Cormier on fight night. One has to wonder after witnessing the lopsided nature of the UFC 170 co-main event.
Did the UFC throw the wool over our eyes? How did an unranked fighter manage to sneak in through the backdoor and still be considered a legitimate threat against one of the best fighters in the world?
The initial assumption is that the UFC went overboard with the Patrick Cummins hype, but in reality, that statement is a complete contradiction to everything the UFC stands for. As a promoter, it is White’s job to sell fights.
It wasn’t like the facts weren’t laid out in front for fans to see before the fight. Cummins was a 4-0 fighter with minor professional experience. Meanwhile, Cormier is arguably one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
Perhaps UFC commentator Joe Rogan’s tidbit during the pay-per-view of Cummins being the best unsigned talent in the UFC was a bit much. Still, fans need to remember that events are sold on hype, not likelihood.
As for Cummins, he did what every fledgling fighter should do when given an opportunity to bask in the spotlight. He made the most of his opportunities and never withheld his personality.
The complete story has yet to be written on Cummins, and while he may not be a top-tier light heavyweight, other doors will inevitably open after a swift decision to jump on an opportunity and never look back.