The Aging Faces of the UFC
The UFC's tumultuous introduction to the Middle East last week at UFC 112 shook the MMA community from the upper echelons inhabited by Dana White and his cadre of sycophants, all the way down to the poor schlubs like you and me who were unlucky enough to buy it. While certainly none among us would argue that the Silva vs. Maia fight was nothing less than an unmitigated disaster, the same case can certainly be made for the fight between Matt Hughes and Renzo Gracie. While watching these two former greats exchange strikes, I couldn't help but wonder: when did the UFC become so inundated with a plethera of elderly fighters?
Randy Couture is 46 years old with a record of 18 wins and 10 losses. Don't get me wrong, when Randy beat Tim Sylvia and Gabriel Gonzaga I cheered as loud as anyone. But as I watched him fight Antonio Nogeira and Brock Lesnar, I felt like I was watching my dad getting beat up.
Dana White's current spin on Randy is that he is one of the best fighters in the UFC. As a fan watching him squeak out a descion against Brandon Vera, or choking out 45 year old Mark Coleman, I wonder how is this going to end.
Mark Coleman ( cut 2/2010 )
Marc Coleman is 45 years old. He has a record of 16 wins and 10 losses. And even though Marc was cut from the UFC after his loss to Randy Couture at UFC 109, I felt obligated to include him. Dana White actually had the audacity to sell a fight that was suppossed to happen 12 years ago at UFC 17.
Renzo Gracie is 43 years old with a record of 13 wins and seven losses. During his fight with Matt Hughes we saw no Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. We instead were treated to three rounds of sub par striking from Gracie and Hughes. I watched with a heavy heart as Hughes kicked Gracie until he fell over. And, in one of the strangest moments I have seen in recent years, I watched bemused as Hughes offered a hand to help Gracie up. I might add that all the folks who screamed about GSP and Anderson Silva's inability to finish fights were strangely silent. Maybe the whole thing was just to sad. Renzo just signed a six fight contract with the UFC. I hope we don't have to watch them.
James Toney is 41 years old and has never fought in MMA. Dana White is the first in line to attack other organizations for putting on these kind of fights. He said in recent interviews he not sure what to do with James. You can bet he expects us all to pay for it though.
While you have to respect Toney's punching power, when he says he wants to fight Brock Lesnar you have to wonder if "Lights Out" really understand what that means.
Chuck Liddell is 40 years old. His record is 28 wins and 7 losses, 4 of which were in his last 5 fights. We have all heard the stories about the drinking and the women. We all saw the interview were Liddell was clearly on something. Other fighters mock Chuck's bloated stomach when they mimic his fighting style. Dana White, who counts himself among Chuck's closet friends, said Chuck was done fighting in the UFC. Yet, here we are again.
I am fairly certain if the UFC cherry picks the right fights for Chuck he will continue fighting for years to come. But those among us who remember what the Iceman used to be will know it just isn't the same.
Jorge Rivera (TUF 4)
Jorge Rivera is 38 years old. He has a record of 7 wins and 5 losses in the UFC. His first fight was at UFC 44. Rivera has lost fights against UFC luminaries Rich Franklin, Anderson Silva, and Chris Leben. Jorge is one of those fighters whose sole purpose appears to be as a stepping stone / punching bag for fighters on their way up the UFC ladder.
Frank Trigg ( cut 2/2010 )
Frank Trigg is 37 years old. He has a record of 19 wins and 8 losses. What can I say about a guy with a nickname like Twinkle Toes. Frank was brought into the UFC back in 2005 to be choked out in the 1st round by veterans Matt Hughes and GSP. That worked out so well, they broght him back in 2009 to be TkO'ed by Josh Koscheck in the 1st round. And finally, because the last three times weren't bad enough, they brought him in to fight Matt Serra in 2010. Shockingly enough, that fight ended with Frank getting knocked out in the first round. I will not get into Frank's forray into nude modeling, the poor guy has been through enough.
The Huntigton Beach Bad Boy is 35 years old. He has a record of 15 wins and 7 losses. He lost 3 of his last 4 fights. He is the currently a coach on the current season of TUF. Although, for reasons yet to be revealed he will not be facing Chuck Liddell in the finale. Not that anyone was really interested in watching that fight again. Now that everyone knows that fight isn't happening he has resigned himself to fighting with people on his twitter page and pleading with Dana White to give him a shot at Chuck should Liddell survive his fight with Rich Franklin.
Know When to Call it a Night
This certainly isn't meant to be an exhaustive list. I just picked the first few guys I thought of. Please feel free to suggest anyone I may have left out. To anyone I may have offended, that certainly wasn't my intention. But, as anyone in their 30's can attest to your body changes so much. Things just take longer and everything seems to hurt more. It is just a little sad when our heroes don't know when pack it up and call it a night.