From the moment Mark Coleman stepped into the octagon last night, the one thing fans and media could not turn their eyes away from was how aged the seasoned wrestler looked in the moments before his opponent came to the cage.
For all the comments and opinions regarding age that were made since the main event was announced for UFC 109, no one really took into consideration how much younger Randy Couture physically looks than his opponent.
Couture walked into the arena and, minus the facial wrinkles, looked as though a 25-year-old kid was preparing to enter a fight with all intention to utterly decimate his opposition standing opposite to him.
The appearance of Coleman was sad, to say the least.
If fans have ever seen the film Grumpy Old Men , Mark Coleman would easily fit into the role played by Walter Matthau purely for the physically deteriorated look of his frame.
Unfortunately for Coleman, Couture was nowhere near looking like he was able to play the role of Matthau’s opposite in Jack Lemon.
Age affected only one participant in last night’s main event and that participant was Mark Coleman.
Couture stifled Coleman with accurate punches which, comparatively, were light years quicker than any strikes attempted by “The Hammer.” It was difficult for Coleman to get in a shot edge wise, and for good reason—he is simply not athletic enough anymore.
The slow pace and sluggish offense by Coleman is an example of why his career is beyond its prime; far beyond.
After over a decade of fights in both the US and Japan, it appeared Coleman was no longer able to duck and move out of the way of strikes which enabled his opponent to land shots at will.
While Coleman remained stiff with his chin out in the open for anyone to come by and give it their best shot, his opponent has seemed to find the fountain of youth and continues to drink from it with every fight he has.
Primed and in shape, “The Natural’ proved that age is just a number for him and he can still contend at 205 pounds. Maybe not for a title against Lyoto Machida or Shogun Rua, but Couture would fare well against the mid-level talent of the light-heavyweight division.
Now, a day after he was thoroughly dominated at the hands of a man who is one year his elder, Mark Coleman cannot be seriously considered competitive in the sport of mixed martial arts. He came down to light-heavyweight after fighting his entire career at heavyweight only to find that the fights were larger than he can ever imagine.
A fight with Tito Ortiz might be on the horizon with Coleman, but that just serves as another example of his career being at it’s bitter end since Ortiz is also on the outs, regardless how much he says he is not.
One has to question if the Ultimate Fighting Championship is holding onto it’s legendary names more so for what they have done and not for what they can do.
Coleman appearing as though he can easily qualify for Social Security is not the best image for the UFC to advertise and could damage their reputation of having the most competitive fighters in the sport.
In hindsight, it might not have been the best decision to place Coleman in the main event, even tough his opponent stood pretty close to him on paper.
Let’s just say that Coleman continues fighting into his 50s. He doesn’t have the same chin as George Foreman and doesn’t have the mouth of Muhammad Ali, so why is he still here? Why are fans being asked to buy pay-per-views when the product already has an expired warranty?
UFC brass sees the money in Mark Coleman but fails to show the rest of the viewing public where it is.
What the UFC did accomplish last night was proving that Randy Couture is still a few levels above the bottom of the division and can provide a decent amount of entertainment value. While rumors float around about Couture being shot into taking on the winner of Machida and Shogun, it may be a bit premature to consider him a legitimate contender for the title.
The pending return of Quinton Jackson provides an opponent for Rashad Evans which could be a great set up to decide who would fight the Machida—Shogun winner. Couture might have to beat another couple of contenders if he is to compete for what would be his sixth title, but one can never know for sure what Dana White and matchmaker Joe Silva have in mind
All in all, the one definite is that Mark Coleman will never again compete for a title. The level of competition that Coleman seeks is no longer attainable and his days of holding a dominant position are over.
Father time has caught up with “The Hammer.”