Mildly Amusing Musings in the Aftermath of TUF 13 Finale
The image we all wanted to see
TUF 13 Finale overall turned out to be a rather homoerotic affair, what with:
A. Cope’s proud announcement that he slept next to O’Neil in TUF house, failing to qualify the statement and grinning like a Cheshire cat (Alice in Wonderland reference).
B. Guida’s suspect-looking shoulder thrusts.
C. Joe Rogan’s extensive discussion on the merits of wrist control.
D. Stripper Ramsay.
Follow me on Twitter @jonathanshrager
1. Ferguson Outstrips Nijem
Right up until around 3:54 of Round 1, stripper Ramsay was literally in his element—that is, partly disrobed except a pair of shorts and exposing his flesh to the MMA community, his favourite pastime during the filming of TUF.
In a classic Heel vs. Face encounter, ironically mirroring their coaches during TUF 13, Tony Ferguson shattered the six-figure contract dreams of Ramsay Nijem, and left us all feeling like there was little justice in the world.
Ramsay, aside from his water-baby tendencies, appeared a level-headed and endearing human being throughout the entire process (he even entered the cage to the peace anthem by Orthodox Jewish artist Matisyahu whilst draped in his native Palestinian flag), whereas Ferguson managed to depict himself as a vindictive loudmouth following his unprovoked rant aimed at Charlie Rader regarding the taboo of his absent child.
Rumours circulating suggest that even Ferguson’s own mother was behind Nijem, and not just because she was seduced by his striptease.
The fight itself was intriguing whilst it lasted, with both fighters curiously showcasing the opposite skills which had enabled them to reach the prestigious final. Ferguson was outwrestling the wrestler, and up until the KO, Nijem was giving a good account of himself in the striking department, but endurance was the key distinction, with Nijem tiring fast.
The fact that both fighters demonstrated a will and ability to adapt to their perceived weaknesses augurs well for their futures in the organisation.
Ferguson is an exciting prospect, of that there is no doubt. However, I for one am looking forward to the day which he is pitted against a ferocious welterweight who is capable of finally exacting revenge upon Tony on behalf of dishonoured Rader. He is certainly overdue his comeuppance. Only then will Charlie and I be able to sleep soundly at night.
2. How To Cope with Chris Cope: Earplugs or the Mute Button
Cope should enter the Octagon to this song…give it a listen, it’s pretty self-explanatory
Whilst the final boasted the two standout fighters of the series, the third-place playoff (in effect) pitted Cope against his pal Chuck O’Neil, two underdogs on the show. Cope was second-favourite to advance against both Javier Torres and Shamar Bailey, but he defied the odds on both occasions.
O’Neil’s progression to the semifinal proved most fortuitous, given that he was only afforded the opportunity to appear on the show due to an injury to Myles Jury, and then was awarded a wild-card entry back into the competition. “The luck of the Irish," I believe they call it.
Unfortunately for Chris, he has developed some form of “wooing” Tourette's syndrome, which is exacerbated by the pressurised context of fighting. It’s evident how his nervous energy manifests itself. However, it has rapidly become his hallmark, and as such is a great gimmick with which to persist in order to add to his fighter brand.
A consistent chorus of “woos” were clearly audible reverberating throughout the entire duration of the bout, highlighting that the crowd were consciously co-opting into the joke, whether in homage or to ridicule. As Koscheck always says, it’s better to inspire debate than go unnoticed. Or in this specific instance, it’s better to be wooed than booed.
Dana White in particular would have enjoyed the sight of these two friends throwing down, since he seems to thrive more on fights that feature two men with an amicable rapport. There is probably some underlying psychological Freudian theory for this particular idiosyncrasy if you can be bothered to conduct the necessary research.
3. The Greg Jackson Effect
As foreshadowed in “Mildly Amusing Miscellaneous Musings in the Aftermath of UFC 130," another Jackson’s fighter secures the “W," or perhaps more appropriately ekes out the “W." However, it was far from spectacular and inspired the phrase “lay ‘n’ pray and you shall receive the ‘W.'"
Master tactician Greg does it again. The criticism for producing efficient fighters who are driven by results rather than entertainment is often leveled at Greg. And to a certain extent, this seems feasible. After all, GSP has become noticeably more cautious under the auspices of señor Jackson, as has former-livewire Guida (yet the fact that they both remain undefeated since officially becoming a part of Team Jackson semi-vindicates their tactics).
However, the criticism still proves contentious; Tom Kong was hardly conservative in his approach when he annihilated Ninja Rua. Nor was Carlos Condit when he head-hunted vicious striker Dan Hardy. Nobody can viably accuse Brian Stann of adopting a guarded style as he ruthlessly dispatched with dangerous strikers in Chris Leben and Jorge Santiago.
And Greg has probably given up on his endeavour to temper the wild beasts that reside inside soulmates Donald Cerrone and Leonard Garcia, a futile exercise if there ever was one. Furthermore, Jonny Bones is just a phenomenon, for whom caution would prove counterproductive.
So yes, we may lament the loss of an exhilarating GSP, but aside from this, the allegations appear somewhat unfounded.
However, Guida’s war of attrition against Pettis does highlight the age-old conundrum between entertainment vs. strategy, art vs. science, excitement vs. suppression, throwing caution to the wind vs. pure caution. There was an air of inevitability about the nature and outcome of the fight.
I wonder whether Greg keeps a small pic of each of his octagon conquests and arranges them in a collage, so that he can sit in his office and peruse/admire his ever-growing weekly shopping list of cage casualties? Perhaps whilst stroking his cat (not a euphemism) a la Dr. Evil in “Austin Powers?"
4. Clay Guida: Coincidentally Rhymes with Gatekeeper
Whilst Guida’s performance was less than impressive, in a way it’s preferable to witness Guida on the ground than on the feet. The guy displays so much movement on his feet that you could be mistaken for thinking that he’s at a Zumba convention rather than in the Octagon.
Clay has probably never been inert in his entire life, and watching him bounce about, quite frankly, can induce seasickness even when on firm ground.
Pettis represents one of the new-fangled mixed martial artists over whom we all get enthused (instantiated by that funky kick he attempted off his back during Round 1), until someone like Guida comes along to rain on the parade.
It’s not a matter of objecting to Guida’s appropriation of wrestling to stifle Pettis, but rather that he appeared neither able, nor seemingly willing to inflict any damage upon Pettis, nor genuinely endeavouring to conclude the fight at any juncture.
However, if the referees permit such stale inactivity, then the blame cannot rest with Guida. The issue of judging rears its ugly head yet again, with Bas Rutten suggesting that Pettis won the first round through his attempts to finish from the bottom. Indeed, at times Pettis did appear more active and effective from bottom position than Guida managed from the top.
Guida’s principal method of attack, the shoulder thrusts, seemed highly innocuous. They were hardly tantamount to “pounding through the mat” which Guida had promised in his official pre-fight interview. I couldn’t help but think that the cardboard cutout of Guida, which his brother Jason brought into the Octagon post-fight, would have made it a more exciting fight, though admittedly it may not have made weight.
Even Clay’s post-fight speech was uncharacteristically tedious, essentially comprised of innumerable shout-outs before Rogan mercifully intervened. Don’t tell me Greg is teaching media etiquette also?
Thankfully Dana has since confirmed that Jim Miller precedes Clay in the lightweight pecking order. If someone can still present a strong enough case as to why Guida deserves the shot ahead of Miller, I’ll happily Frank-the-Tank my way through my hometown naked as the day I was born.
5. Scott Jorgensen and George Roop: The Blueprint
Now that's bona fide G 'n' P.
Scott Jorgensen and George Roop demonstrated real, entertaining ground activity which should be the benchmark for anyone who chooses to take the fight to the mat.
Jorgensen knocked a guy clean out from top position whilst Roop showcased some vicious ground 'n' pound, which were highly impressive when juxtaposed with Guida's tame effort. The key distinction: There was a clear intent to finish.
Obviously there are risks when attempting to G’n’P against a BJJ stylist, but this is the fight game; it’s a risk just stepping into the cage. Fighters are inherently risk-averse nowadays owing to Dana’s ruthless extradition policy (the only notable crime being blemishes on your MMA CV).
The resolution in short is to reintroduce certain Pride regulations, which were designed specifically with an emphasis on excitement and finishes. In Pride, elbows were illegal which rendered fighters more susceptible to submissions on the ground and consequently wrestlers had to think twice about takedowns.
On top of this, referees issued yellow cards for those deemed to be stalling fights. Comparethemma.com, simples (this may be a British thing).
6. Kyle "Beastly" Kingsbury
Oh, how the UFC is ever-imaginative with its narrative.
Kyle Kingsbury had featured on TUF 8 under the tutelage of Big Nog, who now trains alongside Fabio Maldonado. Kingsbury is one of the rare few (along with the likes of Dan Hardy) who has been afforded numerous reprieves from typically hardnosed Dana, and has repaid the Baldfather’s faith by winning his last four consecutive fights.
Curiously, and contrary to the popular Samson myth, Kingsbury’s reversal of fortunes has coincided with his new streamline hairdo (incidentally he now resembles a better-looking version of Wandy). Another issue which Kyle may want to address would be his nickname; his full title, including moniker, as read out by Bruce “Balls-Deep” Buffer, is Kyle “Kingsbu” Kingsbury. If converted into an acronym, we can decipher that this becomes the rather inauspicious abbreviation of a certain despicable organisation. Conspiracy theorists would have a field day.
I would personally recommend Kyle "Beastly" Kingsbury in homage to his namesake protagonist of the 2007 film "Beastly", a character who similarly sheds his hair upon becoming a bald beast (representing when Kyle now steps into the cage, or am I getting a bit too profound/absract with the symbolism?).
Kingsbury certainly didn’t have it easy against Maldonado. It was a classic case of “appearances can be deceptive." Kyle is a brutish physical specimen—wider, taller and significantly more toned than his adversary—but what Fabio lacked in raw athleticism he compensated for with technique and heart.
7. Ed "The Hermanator" Herman
An encounter between a “short fuse” and someone who is a self-professed “crazy” man was always destined to produce fireworks. It’s a matchup that Joe Silva probably arranged from simply perusing the list of UFC nicknames.
Paradoxically, it was Herman that appeared the certifiably more insane of the two during Buffer’s pre-fight announcements, pacing back and forth, twitching his eyes and performing seemingly involuntary spasms.
Disconcertingly, he also emulated the Cope “woo” during his post-fight celebrations. Perhaps he had been subconsciously influenced by Cope? We should all pray that thing doesn’t catch on. Unfortunately for Credeur, it appears that being “Louisiana’s first BJJ black belt” does not automatically translate into being an ultimate fighter.
Also worthy of note is that Ed Herman boasts an uncanny resemblance to “American Pie” figure of fun the “Sherminator," which begs the question: Why isn’t Herman’s nickname “The Hermanator?"
8. Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg, a.k.a. the Wise Man and the Fool
"Tito taking a book out of Chuck's chapter right there"...Goldie really needs to stop abusing that Bud Lite sponsorship.
Joe Rogan’s knowledge of the game only serves to compound Goldie’s cluelessness. They are diametrically opposed in terms of their MMA acumen, chalk and cheese if you will.
At times, Rogan is astounding with his knack of forecasting a fighter’s next manoeuvre, explaining his rationale and invariably he is bang on the money. Conversely, when Mike Goldberg opens his mouth, it’s merely a matter of time before he utters something preposterous, embarrassing or plain incorrect. His regular commentary blunders are a phenomenon on which drinking games have been based.
Subsequently, the duo remind me of an old proverb: “A wise man will speak because he has something to say, a fool will speak because he has to say something."
9. Travis "Elvis" Browne
In “Mildly Amusing Miscellaneous Musings in the Aftermath of UFC 130”, I attempted to liken Travis Browne’s pater, twang and drawl to that of the undisputed king of rock ‘n’ roll (no, not Bon Jovi).
And as if anymore similarities needed to be drawn between “Hapa” Browne and Elvis, he was filmed in the crowd (no, not Elvis) at the finale munching down a double cheeseburger. Need I say anymore? Hapa also jokingly offered Amir Sadollah a bite of his burger, though I suspect Browne would have been livid had Sadollah obliged.