UFC 129 Aftermath: GSP Criticisms Are Mostly Ridiculous and Hypocritical
Haters gonna hate.
That's pretty much all you can say about some of the criticism surrounding Georges St-Pierre and more specifically, his recent decision win over Jake Shields.
Yes, it wasn't the most electrifying performance you'll ever see, but it was far from the snooze-fest St-Pierre's critics/haters would have you believe.
Aside from that, some of the criticisms simply don't make any sense, or are ignoring important factors at play.
Here are some of the criticisms of St-Pierre, and reasons why they're unjustified.
Georges St-Pierre's Performance Was Boring
Many fans have said that St-Pierre's performance was boring, and to a certain extent, I'll agree.
But that isn't all St-Pierre's fault.
Part of the reason that the fight felt boring was that it quickly became clear that Jake Shields had no real way to victory unless St-Pierre obliged him, and took the fight to floor. Shields couldn't come close to taking St-Pierre down, and unless the fight went there, Shields had no way to win. That isn't St-Pierre's fault.
Because of the fact that Shields' only method of victory was on the ground, it's stupid to criticize St-Pierre for keeping the fight on the feet when it was apparently so easy for him to do so.
Also, the striking exchanges on the feet weren't objectively boring. There have been far worse main events even in recent memory. St-Pierre's win over Shields was still far more action-packed than Frank Mir vs. Mirko Cro Cop, Randy Couture vs. Brandon Vera, Couture vs. Coleman, Silva vs. Leites, among others.
Even main event fights like Nate Marquardt vs. Yushin Okami were really only more exciting because they were more competitive, which again, isn't St-Pierre's fault.
The fact that he wins dominantly is praise-worthy, but it's his dominance that makes him boring to many viewers.
Aside from the dominance and competitiveness angle, the other thing that made the main event at UFC 129 deflating is the acts that it had to follow.
After Mark Hominick's heroics, Lyoto Machida's crane technique, and Randy Couture's emotional send-off, anything less than St-Pierre knocking off Shields' head with a dragon punch would have been anti-climactic.
That's not to mention everything that happened on the undercard.
Prior to the main event, UFC 129 already looked like one of the greatest and most entertaining MMA cards of all time. A let-down was all but inevitable.
The Eye Injury
You don't need to excuse St-Pierre's performance because of the eye injury, but at least don't be hypocritical.
When St-Pierre couldn't finish a one-eyed Koscheck, St-Pierre was roundly criticized. This despite the argument that the fight probably should have been stopped anyway for the sake of Koscheck's health.
Months later, when St-Pierre couldn't see out of his eye, those same critics criticize him for not winning in more dominant fashion.
That is quite the double standard.
Additionally, there are some other criticisms regarding the eye injury.
Some have minimized it as "only a corneal abrasion."
It might not have been a more-serious retinal tear, but a corneal abrasion is still no laughing matter. St-Pierre has blood inside his eyeball. Not fun.
Also, there have been those who have said that if St-Pierre could not see, then the fight should have been stopped (and St-Pierre should have lost).
Well, for one thing, if the eye injury was the result of a poke, (some video evidence supports this) then it would not have been a loss at all for St-Pierre.
Yet even if it was a punch that caused it, the same people who seem to praise other fighters for toughing it out just seem bitter that St-Pierre did it against Shields. That's just pure "hating." Call it courageous, or call it reckless, just call it the same no matter who does it.
St-Pierre Didnt Go for the Finish
St-Pierre didn't go to the ground with Shields, but that doesn't mean he didn't try to finish him.
He kicked him in the head and tried to hit him with massive spinning-back-kicks, overhand rights, and left hooks.
St-Pierre Barely Won the Striking Against a Terrible Striker
Jake Shields isn't a good striker and according to Fightmetric.com, he landed nearly as many strikes as St-Pierre, but that's a bit misleading.
Aside from opening a few cuts, and damaging St-Pierre's eye, Shields didn't land nearly as many of the more damaging and more effective strikes.
St-Pierre hits harder than Shields, so even if we look at the number of significant strikes, St-Pierre's strikes are harder, and that counts for something.
Aside from that though, St-Pierre out-landed Shields in head power strikes by 21-7, body power strikes by 5-0, and leg power strikes by 4-0.
Shields landed a lot of jabs to the head, and outside leg kicks that really shouldn't count for a lot.
St-Pierre also landed a number of strikes that wobbled or nearly knocked down Shields, while St-Pierre never really looked in trouble aside from complaints about his eye injury.
This is a case where the numbers are deceptive.
St-Pierre dominated this fight.
Fair Criticism of Georges St-Pierre
If you're going to criticize St-Pierre, pick a reason that is actually valid.
Dana White went relatively easy on St-Pierre, but he did criticize him for throwing the same looping overhand right over and over again even though he was repeatedly whiffing on it.
That is a fair criticism of St-Pierre.
St-Pierre seemed to be trying to force the knockout instead of setting it up with a more varied and unpredictable attack.
It's almost ironic, considering St-Pierre is just coming off a win over Josh Koscheck where he was easily able to block all of Koscheck's looping overhand rights, partly because they were so looping and so predictable.
Had St-Pierre used straighter punches, more leg and body kicks, etc, he would have worn down Shields more, caused more facial damage, and set up his more powerful shots.
It's kind of like St-Pierre's fight with Dan Hardy, where St-Pierre tried to force the submission instead of wearing him down and doing damage. As a result, Hardy left virtually unscathed.
The same thing happened on Saturday, except that St-Pierre was this time trying for the knockout.
Although St-Pierre dominated Shields, he can still make improvements if he wants to finish fights.
While this wasn't the most visually impressive of wins, it was still a win, and a win over a top 10 pound-for-pound fighter.
Still, despite that, some critics say that St-Pierre should drop in the pound-for-pound rankings as a result.
If anything he should go up in the rankings because he's added another victory over a truly elite fighter onto his record.
While the method of victory counts in the entertainment aspect of MMA, as a sport, all that matters is winning.
Winning is all that St-Pierre has done since April 7, 2007.