Make no mistake, the first match between Georges St. Pierre and Jon Fitch was a war.
The bout took "Fight of the Night" honors, despite the lopsided scorecards (50-44, 50-43, 50-44).
People say this was a pounding, so how could that be? If this was such a shellacking, how could this honor be given to this fight, especially when the main card had three other unanimous decisions, all with closer scorecards, and a first-round knockout after just 12 seconds?
The best that can be figured is that people only seem to remember the last two rounds. Admittedly, the crowd was nowhere near as excited in the last 10 minutes versus the first 15. But this contest was still a war.
Just not the type of war the casual fans want.
The vast majority seem to be appeased by simplistic knockdown drag-outs versus cerebral chess matches. If that is all you crave, then I must inform you that you are a casual fan. But in your defense, you pay your hard-earned money like everyone else, so you are entitled to get your money's worth and be entertained.
Both Rush and Fitch in recent history are guilty of the same offense. However, in full disclosure, each do the same thing for different reasons.
Georges St. Pierre busted his chops and worked hard. He drove through those the UFC placed in front of him and left it all in the octagon. He registered decisive wins with only two decision victories on the way to his first title reign.
Then unexpectedly, Matt Serra knocked him out. "Rush" took a step back, formed a new plan and got his belt back.
But he hasn't been the same since.
St. Pierre now acts with more surgical precision. He allows the his opponent to make mistakes and he capitalizes on them. He is a different fighter—less aggressive but more savvy. His experience has taught him to let the fight come to him even more, and that being the champion has its advantages, even during the fight.
Jon Fitch's road to his first title shot is comparable, but only to a degree. His foundation in wrestling and Ju-Jitsu caters to ground fighting, so he knuckles up and hits the mines on the mat.
He had a couple more decision victories to be sure, but he was a fighter who took more chances than he does now. After the loss to St. Pierre, and the public scrutiny about match afterward, it was obvious a new approach was needed. And although he is not champion, his current streak of decisions could very well be a result of using his eyes to learn that very same lesson "Rush" has.
Sexy or not, JUST WIN.
This begs the question, should only a champion be given free reign to do just enough to outpoint his opponent? Why is a champion allowed to be safe and it's nowhere near as frowned upon? If you can hold on to a championship that way, shouldn't you be able to earn one in the same fashion?
There is no right answer, but I offer this solution.
Make them go at it again.
It's truly a win-win scenario. The ground game enthusiasts will watch another great fight either way, while Fitch's detractors, and there are tons of them, can hope to see him get smashed. The UFC should have no concern as this will indeed draw.
We know the deal with the both of them. We appreciate their past and are fully aware of their skill. We understand that they are disciplined athletes, but we also know that discipline teaches that after you do something once, you have a better understanding on how to do it again.
These two need to go at it one more time, title or non-title, for the sake of the sport itself.
Try to look past the surface on this one. I promise you, the second contest would undoubtedly be a another ground war to remember.
Elliott Saltares is a sports pundit, fan, and contributing writer for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on twitter @elliottsaltares.
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