Hey, where did Edgar vs Maynard III go?
It was an unenviable task to follow the seminal magnitude of 129. Having been treated to a veritable MMA feast in Toronto, this 130 card probably features at the diametrically opposed end of the entertainment scale, from chicken salad to chicken sh*t might be Brock Lesnar’s assessment based on his TUF13 poultry analogy.
MMA fans are inherently quick to judge a fight card according to the names that prop it up, and at $50 a pop, who can blame them? To the contrary, Dana implores fight fans not to “judge a book by its cover” and at least wait until the fights have transpired before mindlessly writing off a card.
Some cards which appear underwhelming on the surface have been known to deliver an excellent evening’s entertainment, but alas, for Messrs White and Fertitta, 130 would not spare them their blushes. Indeed, seven of the 10 fights went to a decision, of which the co-main and main event were arguably the drabbest affairs, punctuating the overall disappointment of the card.
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Dana White announces Zuffa merger with Twitter
1. Twitter currently appears to permeate everything involving the UFC, especially following Dana's announcement at the 2011 Fighter Summit that fighters would now be incentivised for positive and effective Twitter usage.
Not only did Dana seemingly give away an unprecedented amount of tickets via Twitter for 130 (probably owing to the lack of interest in the card, and reportedly low sales at the box office), but during the live transmission, not five minutes would elapse without noticing some sort of UFC-related Twitter propaganda.
I’m beginning to suspect Dana might have invested in the micro-blogging site. The MMA juggernaut literally exploited all available junctures at which to endorse Twitter, whether it be the fighters personal accounts during their walkouts, or the UFC consistently encouraging the viewers to interact with fellow fans in the #130 online running discussion, during the free live prelims, begetting the buzz in the hope of providing an extra incentive for people to purchase the PPV.
Dang, the UFC marketing department is so savvy. What next? Will the fighters’ Twitter accounts appear on the customary pre-fight “tale of the tape,” nestled between height and weight, prompting Goldie to utter something along the lines of, “so that’s @hammerufc and @rampage4real…everything else is virtually identical,” when two fighters square off with similar physiques?
Or even more extreme, will Dana White urge the fighters to tweet inbetween rounds, to share their thoughts in real-time with the fans on how they think the fight is going?
2. It has been discussed before, and it will be discussed again, but somehow the wage discrepancy between elite fighters and UFC newcomers/budding prospects seems unjust. I understand that degrees of differentiation between various echelons of fighter have to exist, but the chasm appears excessively broad and disproportionate given that all these combatants are risking life and limb by entering the cage.
Both Quinton Jackson and Frank Mir received $250,000 for their mediocre offerings on Saturday evening, whereas Cole Escovedo earned a miserly $6,000 after dropping the fight which opened the evening’s proceedings.
The system is obviously designed to reward those that perform admirably and progress through the rankings, but there still seems to be a disconnect between the inherent risk of the job and the comparatively low wage received by those positioned towards the nether regions of the UFC roster.
Just see how much flirting goes on between Ariel and Rampage
Following his relatively dreary duel with the “Hammer”, Rampage endeavoured to ensure an underwhelmed audience that he was consistently striving to “throw them bungalows” throughout the duration of the contest.
Perhaps it is this aspiration to only throw “bungalows,” universally one of the smallest habitats in which one can reside, that is the issue for Quinton. Maybe securing devastating KOs as in his Pride/early UFC days necessitates Rampage to be more ambitious on the metaphorical housing scale; maybe, he needs to be throwing them “castles” or “mansions” a la Quinton circa 2005.
It is very self-evident why Rampage is presently unable to upgrade his punching power from a bungalow to a mansion. His yoyo weight issues are on a par with Dana White, yet Dana is excused for his body-shape fluctuations, since he is currently spearheading the world’s fastest growing sport. What’s Rampage’s excuse, the absolute necessity to master the X-Box?
Competing in the upper echelon of combat sports invariably requires an unswerving dedication to being the best amongst a select cohort of equally-committed and talented individuals. Post-fight the Tennessee movie-star acknowledged that he needed to go back to the drawing board, but not before he has consumed his own bodyweight in double-cheese pizzas.
The Rampage example is sadly reminiscent of another combat sport luminary, boxer Ricky Hatton. My Mancunian compatriot was notorious for ballooning in-between bouts, and it began to take its unforgiving toll on his career at approximately the same time as Quinton, during his latter 20s/early 30s, when he should have been enjoying the peak of his career but was instead propelled prematurely into his twilight years.
I maintain that the man dubbed Ricky “Fatton” would have given a much better account of himself when he eventually stepped up to the elite level (namely gym-rat Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao), had he not been so over-indulgent during his prime. Rampage would do well to heed such an example.
Though at nearly 33 already and with the intention of retiring within the next two years, is it too late for Rampage to mount a credible run at the title? Who would bet against JBJ obliterating the Memphis native in as conclusive a fashion as he dispatched Shogun? Who would bet against Rashad outpointing his TUF foe in a similar fashion to their first encounter? Who could contest that a primetime Rampage finishes Matt Hamill?
I concede that Rampage’s TD defence looked outstanding, but he doesn’t possess the reserves of energy to prove a consistent threat to his adversary’s consciousness on the feet over the entire 15 minutes, let alone 25.
One certainty is that Dana should think extensively before headlining a card with the UFCs very own B.A. Baracus. Of course, Quinton had originally been demoted to co-main event status following his inadequate (by his own high standards), and frankly tedious displays against Evans and Machida, in which he was dropped on both occasions.
Injury to both main-event participants catapulted Rampage back into the limelight, and yet again, he failed to deliver, especially in the eyes and minds of the fans in attendance, that seem to spend the majority of the time booing during and after Rampage fights these days.
Rampage will always constitute a PPV draw to some extent, due to the increased interest levels inspired by his Hollywood cachet, and his popularity with old-school fight fans that nostalgically recall his golden days, though I would question whether he is a genuine main event attraction in the current milieu of MMA.
I would just love for Rampage to become a full-time athlete in the mould of a GSP and to hear him utter those glorious words “I want to be a better mixed martial artist at the end of the day than I was when I woke up.” Go on Quinton, Hollywood (and video games) can wait another two years for you.
P.S. in reference to the above video, if Rampage is the alpha-male, I'd gladly accept the title of beta-male every day of the week
Wow, now Ariel is coquettishly courting Señor White
Ricky Hatton, akin to Roy Nelson, was acutely cognizant of the media’s perceptions and criticisms of his dietary approach, and also used to enter his place of combat accompanied by a self-deprecating “fat” tune.
Roy Nelson’s predicament is an exaggerated version of that of Quinton Jackson and Ricky Hatton, in that Roy is permanently ballooned whereas Quinton and Ricky cut dramatic amounts of weight to compete. Who can be sure which method is more detrimental to performance levels inside the Octagon?
One thing is clear; Dana White is, in the immortal words of GSP, “not impressed by his performance”. Dana stated that the fat thing “isn’t funny anymore,” so maybe it’s high time for Nelson to do away with this gimmick, if he has the inclination and capability to do so. Nelson should be mindful of Dana’s counsel, as we are firmly aware that he does not possess much patience for such stunts (Dana’s cutting of Kimbo Slice has set a precedent for the removal of gimmicks), and Roy’s “man-next-door, beer-drinking, chicken-wing eating, bar-room brawler” persona is beginning to wear as thing with Dana as Dana’s very own follicly challenged bonce.
Both of Nelson’s recent opponents, JDS and Mir, have expressed disbelief immediately following the fight at how he was able to withstand the inordinate levels of punishment. And whilst disproportionately fit for his mammoth stature, one can’t help but think that a leaner version of “Big Country,” perhaps a “Quite Big Country,” or a “Big Island” would not have needed to harness his embrace with Mir at the fight’s conclusion to prevent himself from collapsing to the mat in a heap of exhaustion.
Was I correct in observing that Mir had himself cultivated a small paunch for this fight, perhaps in homage to his fellow Las Vegan? (the irony that Nelson may be referred to as a “Vegan” in any sense of the word always raises a smile).
Re Mir’s performance, it was impressively comfortable without being comfortably impressive, if you catch my drift. Dana’s initial reaction to what he opined to be a lacklustre display did not bode well for Mir, who White was genuinely considering ousting following his haphazard main-event victory over CroCop.
Of course, White was contractually obliged to retain the services of a fighter in the “W” column. In the end, it would appear that Dana has reassessed and is satisfied with Mir’s showing. Kind of like when you receive a “C” grade for satisfactory at school.
Browne...modern-day Elvis pater? Or am I just a deluded Englishman?
Alas, the old adage “the bigger they come, the harder they fall” springs to mind here. It’s an inauspicious corollary of Struve’s towering (at 6’11" he literally is a “SkyScraper”) frame that when he is on the receiving end of a KO, it instantly makes for highlight-reel material.
Paradoxically, Struve walked out to a tune by my compatriot “Tinie Tempah”, who stands at a tiny 5’8" (hence the stage-name). Should we accredit Struve with this ironic, self-effacing song choice or was this simply a case of pure coincidence unbeknown to the Dutch giant? I would like to think it was the former, inspired by my piece on “MMA Walkout Songs: 33 Alternate Walkout Tunes Fans Would Love To Hear”, though it was probably the latter.
Re Browne, the Hawaiian native is definitely one of UFC’s coolest talkers. His nonchalant, laissez-faire demeanour outside of fighting belies his beast-like performances when locked inside the eight-sided cage. He dropped some stylish lyrics when he visited with Joe Rogan following his superman punch KO, adopting a deep tone of voice, and elongated words to engender a pater that for me personally evoked the image of the charming Elvis Presley (or maybe it just seems like that to an Englishman?)
Brian Stann...the All-American, a hero, a legend, a thoroughly decent bloke
Most people accurately observed prior to last weekend that fighting Brian Stann over Memorial Day Weekend was generally an inadvisable proposition, an assertion with which Stann himself concurred. Following his last few impressive outings, it’s unlikely that fighters in the middleweight division will be queuing up to encounter him over the other 51 weekends of the year either.
If ever there was a man to train up David to encounter Goliath, there would be no better candidate than Albuquerque’s resident strategist, Greg Jackson. It would be genuinely fascinating to compute the percentage of “W”s acquired by the fighters over which he presides.
Following on from yet another impressive Jackson’s fighter display at BAMMA6 just shy of a fortnight ago (with Tom Watson annihilating, and in the process retiring, Ninja Rua), Brian Stann put on a stellar performance against tough competition in Jorge Santiago. This weekend’s main event sees another member of the Jackson camp, the fan favourite Clay Guida, take on former WEC lightweight champion, and bookies favourite, Antony Pettis.
However, I’d be reticent to bet against Guida with master tactician Greg in his corner, even if he is facing a Matrix practitioner extraordinaire in “Showtime”.
There are no gimmes as far as Dana White is concerned when it comes to welcoming fighters into the sport’s ultimate playing field. And Dana rarely affords highly regarded fighters from fellow organisations any tune-up fights in order to gauge their substantive level. Fighters get thrown to the proverbial lions, such as Santiago being fed to Stann on Saturday.
And the fact that Stann comfortably dealt with Santiago further underscores the UFC’s cachet as the hegemonic entity within MMA, along with Stann's own legitimate ranking as a top 10 middleweight contender.
Nelson and Torres both cite Matt Hughes as the inspiration for their hairdo, who in turn was inspired by MMA mullet-pioneer Keith Hackney
Grappling enthusiasts would have been purring over this duel, with the majority of the bout an intriguing chess-match on the ground. And despite his best efforts, “Mighty Mouse” would not be caught in the submission mousetrap which Torres recurrently set up throughout the fight.
The Mouse just proved too scurrying with his movement on the feet, and too elusive with his movement on the ground. Ironically, Johnson is so pint-sized that for once Torres’ inordinately long limbs were not conducive towards securing a submission. Indeed Demetrious Johnson dispels the old adage about being “a man or a mouse,” demonstrating that the two entities are not in fact mutually exclusive by battling head-on much taller adversaries in the cage.
And just to entirely exhaust the mouse analogy, it’s an uncanny coincidence that mise kept as house pets reside in cages. Does Demetrious also train his cardio on a mouse wheel and consume special seed-based food for protein? Ah, we could go all day with that one.
Torres was once considered by some to be one of the best ever mixed martial artists to ever grace a cage, though, akin to Fedor, recent events have to some extent detracted from the credibility of those claims. They both shared an extraordinarily protracted undefeated streak, especially within the unforgiving milieu of MMA, though the difference in both may boil down to age and passion.
Fedor is nearly 35, Torres barely 30, and hence Torres should be enjoying his peak years as a fighter, whilst Fedor is entering the twilight phase of his glorious reign. However, whilst no disgrace to prove incapable of finishing the Mighty Mouse, one would have to question if Torres will now be remembered as an all-time great following three defeats in his last five outings.
One suspects that a GSP or Anderson Silva would have eked out a victory in such circumstances, a hallmark of all the genuine greats. Given how both men fared at 130, maybe it’s time for Nelson and Torres to lose the haircut and escape “the curse of the mullet.”
Da Spider baby
When Goldie proclaimed that Kendall Grove is the tallest fighter in the middleweight division, one couldn’t help but think that this unparalleled loftiness may constitute his greatest achievement or skill.
Though sharing the same moniker does a slight disservice to Anderson Silva, the “Spider” does seem fitting for Grove who appears to crawl around the cage with his impossibly long 4/8 (yet to be confirmed) limbs, spiky black hair and scrawly tattoos, which only serve to accentuate his resemblance to the eight-legged creepy crawly.
And I suppose the distinction can be made between Anderson "The Spider" Silva, and Kendall "Da Spider" Grove, who whilst evidently not in the same fighting league as Anderson, is much more au fait with in vogue underground lingo. Envisage the unlikely scenario in which Kendall amasses a five-fight winning streak and is presented an opportunity to vie for the middleweight belt against Anderson; "The Spider" vs "Da Spider."
You'd just have to hope that Herb Dean doesn't suffer from arachnophobia.
Go on Demetrious, you know it makes sense
In furtherance to the other articles I have recently uploaded onto Bleacher Report MMA, it was interesting to observe.
a) Roy Nelson’s wry quip in the post-fight presser about “bringing in Dan Hardy to help with his wrestling” underscores one of the central themes of the article entitled “Burning Question: Will Wrestling Forever Be the UFC's Dominant Mixed Martial Art.” The point being that the UK’s inadequate wrestling is common knowledge.
On the topic of my compatriot Dan Hardy’s training partners, Roy will undoubtedly improve Dan’s BJJ skills and his wrestling to an extent, but given that he will already be based in Las Vegas, I hope Dan will also be venturing to Couture’s and Wanderlei’s gyms, so that he can also draw off their expertise.
Appearances can obviously be deceptive, but Nelson shouldn’t be the type of mentor to whom a UK fighter should aspire. After all, Nelson, like our British boys, is currently a gatekeeper in his division, having been exposed by both JDS and Mir as the Burger King-consuming fiend that he is.
b) Demetrious Johnson did not emerge to the Mighty Mouse theme tune as recommended in my article entitled “MMA Walkout Songs: 33 Alternate Walkout Tunes Fans Would Love To Hear”, despite my tweeting him the link on a couple of occasions. He instead opted for “All of the lights” by Kanye West, a cool song but not a patch on the Mighty Mouse theme tune. I also tweeted a number of the other fighters that appeared on the list with suggested entrance songs, including both Clay Guida (Ultimate Warrior theme tune) and Antony Pettis (Matrix theme tune), so here’s hoping that just one of them takes heed.