Welcome To MMA's Alternate Reality

Elton HobsonCorrespondent IApril 16, 2010

Ever felt like at some point you accidentally stumbled into the Twilight Zone?

No, I’m not referring to that special section of Chapters dedicated to the world’s grimiest vampire. I mean full on, shit has hit the fan, two black cats walk by Neo while Bruce Willis has been dead the whole time style crazy.

Well, I have. But I have a perfectly good reason. See, at some point between Saturday night and Sunday morning, I somehow fell into an alternate dimension.

I know, it sounds…unbelievable. I don’t know how it happened, but like that 60’s Star Trek episode with Evil Spock, it’s clear I’m in some sort of alternate dimension, or universe, or timeline… something. It’s the same basic world, but there are key differences that separate it from the world I remember - the “original” timeline, if you want to get all Lost about it.

When I watched UFC 112, however, I knew beyond a doubt what had happened, and the following week has only confirmed my suspicions. Still don’t believe me? Too bad, cause you’re the one living in some horrible alternate reality - and if I don’t convince you that things have changed, we may be stuck here forever. Which would really suck, all things considered.

Exhibit A: Matt Hughes Game Plan = Kickboxing?

About ten minutes into the Matt Hughes/Renzo Gracie fight, I knew that I had either slipped into an alternate dimension, or someone had slipped me acid. That’s because Matt Hughes, the same buck huntin’ country breakfast lovin’ brick of a WW legend I knew and loved, appeared to be employing a kickboxing strategy, based primarily upon - get this - leg kicks.

Whoa. Stop right there.

See, I remember Matt Hughes - only he stayed as far away from kickboxing as humanly possible. Don’t get me wrong, just like your Hughes my version of Matt was widely acknowledged as a legend, and the best fighter ever in his weight class. But it was mainly due to his incredible wrestling. When it came to striking, he always looked stiff and awkward, and it was generally acknowledged that his skills in that department had not evolved to the level his grappling skills had. In fights that were mostly striking affairs, he usually lost. Badly.

His striking was just as stiff and uncomfortable as I remember it being - only the wrestling was gone. Instead, he was content to pick away with jabs, and chop at Renzo’s lead leg with kicks. Shockingly, he even finished the fight with a TKO while standing. While I tried to wrap my mind around what I had seen, I heard Hughes in his post-fight claim he used this strategy to avoid going to the ground and thus “put the odds against him”. Say what? That set off more alarm bells, because in my timeline I distinctly remember Hughes, in a super fight with another Gracie, doing exactly that and then beating the crap out of him.

Something was clearly up. Also, and I’m just curious here - what the hell was Renzo doing in the Octagon? In my timeline, Renzo’s pretty much been retired for the last 3 years and is content to run his chain of BJJ schools. Why the hell is he making his UFC debut at 43 in this timeline? Your Renzo seems to be even crazier then the one I remember (and that’s saying something).

Exhibit B: Anderson Silva is the Biggest Villain in the Sport?

Anytime you go into an alternate dimension, there’s always one person whose change has been more dramatic then any other characters. Whatever this dude was before, in this universe he is totally messed up, off the rails, and evil as all hell. I made reference to evil Spock earlier - well, the evil Spock of this world seems to be Anderson Silva. He even has the goatee to match.

Seriously though, “alternate” Anderson is totally bonkers. I can’t believe you guys consider this guy to be your P4P #1 fighter (Fedor is still undefeated in this timeline, right?). “Baderson” didn’t seem to care all that much about his reputation, his opponent, his lofty position as ambassador for the sport, or anything save making everyone in that arena absolutely hate his ass. Anderson even attacked Maia with an air guitar. An air guitar. I rest my case.

Philosophical question: can it even be called a fight, if at one point the “winner” fled and hid behind the referee?

Sure, in my timeline Anderson had had some wonky performances. But the fans always assumed it was his opponents fault. He was hitting Patrick Cote with some good shots. He might have TKO’ed him had Patrick’s bum knee not done the job for him. And Leites flopped to his back every time Anderson threw a strike. Can’t blame him for not jumping into his guard, right? Hell no! Anderson is the man!

That’s all history now. In this nightmare world gone wrong, Anderson far surpasses Brock Lesnar, BJ Penn, or even Josh Barnett as the most hated man in the sport. I never thought in a million years I would ever write that sentence.

The good news is that if the Anderson from my world ever threw down with “Evil Silva”, the doppelganger would meet a quick demise. The Anderson Silva of my world was something to behold - possibly the best all around striker in MMA, and one of the most devastating finishers in the sport. Evil Anderson got tagged on multiple occasions by Demian Maia. Need I go on?

Exhibit C: Phil Davis =/= Wrestler?

This one was just weird. See, in my dimension, Phil Davis is an NCAA Division 1 National Champion wrestler. Yet he seemed to be evenly matched wrestling-wise with this Swedish dude who had no wrestling experience whatsoever. Even weirder, “Mr. Wonderful” (same lame moniker in both universes, apparently) went on to win the fight via slick submission. I don’t know - trading world class wrestling for purple belt level Jiu-Jitsu? I think I like original timeline Davis’s prospects at LHW a little more.

Exhibit D: Lightweight Champion of the World…Frankie Edgar?

In my timeline, it was pretty much a given that BJ Penn would run over Frankie Edgar. I know, this is MMA, you never know, punchers chance, remember Serra yada yada yada. Sure, Edgar had a fluke chance, like anyone else who straps on the 4 oz. gloves. But BJ was considered the master of Edgar in every department, and this fight was just a matter of whether BJ wanted to choke his opponent out or lick his opponent's blood off his hands in the post-fight.

So by the time Frankie had landed his second power double on BJ, I knew that Kansas had pretty much gone bye bye.

Somehow, in this timeline, Frankie beat BJ by being the more versatile, well rounded, and aggressive fighter. Even more amazingly, no one seems all that shocked by the outcome. Sure, there’s some slight bruha about one of the judges scoring, but other then that it’s business as usual for the MMA world. If this had happened in my universe, it would probably have unseated GSP/Serra as the biggest upset of all time. I mean catching somebody with a lucky punch is one thing. Outworking him in every department they said you were weaker in, over the course of 25 minutes - that’s impressive.

Most surprisingly of all, BJ Penn took his loss like a man, and there was no crying foul or childlike excuse making from camp Penn. This was definitely the most positive change I noticed. The BJ Penn of my world is notorious for his after fight excuse making, and inability to ever let a loss be a loss. Its great to know that in this universe, BJ Penn has learned some much needed humility and grace.

Then I read this.

On second thought, maybe I’m not in some alternate reality, after all.