UFC 112 and Strikeforce Nashville: Two Debacles, One Week
Mixed Martial Arts is a sport based upon many principles. A few of those principles include honor, respect, courage, and, as fans of the sport in the 21st century have been willingly subjected to, entertainment.
However, all of these principles have not been on display in the last week of MMA, with last weekend's disappointing UFC 112 event in Abu Dhabi, and clearly evident in last night's shameful Strikeforce Nashville event, if one can call it that.
It is hard to understand how these promotions put on the type of events that, in many ways, support all of the detractors of MMA.
Fans love the sport for its exciting action and entertainment value. I doubt, however, that a fan would be willing to dish out $44.99 for another UFC 112 showing, nor would they be willing to take the time out of their Saturday night to watch Strikeforce put on a disillusioned, lackluster fight card, ending with what can be seen in neighborhoods around the country.
Simply put, there is no room in the sport for backyard brawls, or high profile athletes thinking that they are better than the rest.
This is why everyone loves an underdog story. Underdogs have no hype. They resist the urge to shove an opponent based on petty words.
They get into the cage, unfavored by seven out of every eight people, and they let their hard work show why they're in championship bouts.
Look no further than the Rocky series of films for evidence. Everyone loved Rocky Balboa, the young, hardworking, devoted fighter that earned every bit of respect he got from fans.
Then, his head got a little big, and another hardworking devoted fighter came out in the form of Clubber Lang and dethroned the champ. Well, the UFC and Strikeforce can only hope to rebound like Balboa did.
Young upstart companies like Bellator Fighting Championships do not have any unearned hype. Bellator brings to the table tough fighters willing to earn a living. The UFC does this through its 'minor leagues' in The Ultimate Fighter.
Fighters like Yahir Reyes and Hector Lombard fight for the notoriety they are lucky enough to receive for their efforts. Many UFC fighters have shown that they feel entitled to their fame, as former UFC fighter Jesse Taylor showed in his hotel lobby rant.
"Do you know who I (expletive) am," Taylor shouted to female workers at the hotel. "I'm in the (expletive) UFC!"
It should be mentioned that Jesse Taylor fought last August for Strikeforce.
So where do these companies go from here? Is it as simple as picking up the pieces, and starting from scratch? Not quite that easy, unfortunately.
The UFC and Strikeforce both surely have PR managers that will start using all forms of spin and persuasion to turn their unique situations from where they are now, to what they should be a few months from now.
Yet, PR technique alone will not repair the low quality of fights the organizations have shown.
It will take fighters like Frankie Edgar, and Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos, not Nick Diaz and Anderson Silva, to bring back the heart to the sport for these promotions.
Names are just names, but quality bouts are what make the fans reel, not jeer. It's time that these organizations go back to the roots of sport, and find why they have failed in the last week more than ever before.
They should both start by viewing Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar part one.
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