UFC 84 PENN VS. SHERK
Guerrilla Radio (5.22.08) The fact that it’s not easy to love either of these guys does not kill the excitement and anticipation for Saturday night’s grudge match between BJ Penn and Sean Sherk. Both men have to be granted the utmost respect for their ability and fearlessness, but that doesn’t mean you have to like them in order to enjoy them trying to rip each others limbs off at UFC 84. So what’s our problem with BJ ? Nothing really in particular, it’s just that he comes off like such a cocky little prick. For all I know, in person he’s a sweetheart, but I wonder if he realizes just how shitty his public persona is. It’s not like Rampage is getting treated better by the cameras and media, he’s just a likeable guy and it comes through clearly. Sherk on the other hand may be more like-able than Penn, but the whole “I never touched the stuff” is getting old across the board whether you’re Roger Clemens or Sean Sherk. Regardless, much respect to both Penn and Sherk for being the real deal. These guys, personalities aside, are part of the solution in MMA, not the problem (the problem being the WWE freak show aspect that is creeping in via some so called “major” players in MMA). We’ve said it before, this sport needs athletes, not wannabes. Although it would be easy to point the finger at Zuffa and Brock Lesnar, we are not referring to that situation. Lesnar is a monster with legit talent. Time will tell just how much. (Did Couture start with more natural gifts than Lesnar ?) The UFC has thus far resisted the temptation to “Jump the Shark”. Let’s pray it remains that way. Next stop for the UFC may be MSG (and we’ll be first in line), but going mainstream and becoming a family friendly circus will put the flame out on MMA real quick. Props to Dana White for having resisted so far. Back to 84. I guess Guerrilla Radio will be rooting for Sherk if anyone. We like underdogs. But should Sherk really be such an underdog (with the bookmakers) ?? We have heard and read all the arguments of how many advantages Penn has in this one. Here’s some of the arguments : Sherk having no chance at a submission because of his short arms. Penn’s heavier hands and overall size advantage. Penn’s ability to avoid the takedown, etc. All legit points, but the one thing that gets pointed to as Sherk’s strong-suit seems to count for nothing in many minds. Sherk works at a pace that nobody can match. Yes, we understand that Penn may be in the best shape of his career, and yes he may be more determined than ever before, but is Sherk’s supernatural stamina such a small thing? We have seen Penn gas from 3 rounds against much slower working opponents. If this goes deep, 3-5 rounds, is Sherk’s conditioning not the biggest factor ? Let alone, the drive that Sherk has always exhibited does not allow for quitting or coming out of the cage less than a winner or unconscious. For this reason, this contest is a “pick em”.