Top 5 Unexpected Changes in MMA of the Past Few Months
As each year passes in MMA, the sport grows exponentially and brings on new changes. The UFC seems to grow with each passing day, but in such a sport that is primarily run as a business, the variables in play can sometimes shock us when they change.
This is a look at what has happened in the recent months, closing out the 2011 year.
These are the five biggest, UNEXPECTED moments that left fans scratching their heads, stunned in amazement, or just plain upset.
No. 5: Fight Outcomes
This part consists of multiple points. There are certain fights we knew had the potential to go either way but didn’t expect they would play out the way they did.
Dan Henderson vs. Shogun Rua
Everyone expected a good fight, but we all got one of the greatest of all time.
Frank Mir vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
While "Big Nog" was close to finishing the fight, no one expected Mir to come back and submit him—let alone break his arm.
Chan Sung Jung vs. Mark Hominick
Seven seconds is all it took for “The Korean Zombie” to finish the fight. Hominick’s uncharacteristic start left an opening Chan jumped on and made good use of.
Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Chandler
It was hard to think someone was going to dethrone Alvarez, and Chandler was written off before the fight started. But after an impressive performance, we are left with a new champ.
Wanderlei Silva vs. Cung Le
Many expected Le to come out and run through Silva with his kicks. However, Silva got the better of him and dominated the fight.
BJ Penn vs. Nick Diaz
Penn was on a slide, but his fight with Diaz was expected to be a good one for him.
Never have fans seen Penn get bloodied and beaten the way he was against Diaz.
Michael Bisping vs. Jason Miller
There were high hopes for Miller going into this, who was expected to submit Bisping, or at least do well in the stand up. However, Miller gassed early and put on a very lackluster performance.
No. 4: Keith Jardine Gets a Title Shot
In Keith Jardine’s last 10 fights, he held a record of 3-6-1. After losing four in a row in the UFC, he lost his next fight at Shark Fights. He came back and won a decision in Nemesis Productions and won a TKO in Fresquez Productions. He then joined Strikeforce and fought to a draw against Gegard Mousasi.
Then, Strikeforce gave him a title shot against Luke Rockhold.
Naturally, Jardine's next fight should have been against another contender.
If he fought someone like Tim Kennedy (and won) it would have put Keith in a better argument for a title shot, but not considering his latest results. In fact, it’s questionable why Tim Kennedy didn’t get the shot to begin with.
Not only that, but Jardine had no fights at middleweight. His one and only win in Strikeforce was at light heavyweight. By this logic, Jon Fitch could have dropped to lightweight and could have gotten an immediate title shot.
A baffling matchup, it makes for a confusing situation for most and leaves fans wondering what the business intentions were behind this.
No. 3: Cheick Kongo vs. Mark Hunt
This was a fight announcement that made little sense. It made little sense in the regard of why Kongo decided to take this fight. Kongo is back on the rise in the UFC heavyweight division, and should be climbing the ladder with each fight.
However, he took Mark Hunt.
The fight boded very well for Hunt if he won, since he would have been taking out a bigger name than he had been fighting.
Mark Hunt was an interesting situation to begin with.
Hunt came into the UFC last year riding a five-fight losing streak. He then made his UFC debut and lost by submission to Sean McCorkle. Why the UFC took Hunt in the first place and then kept him after his loss was confusing to begin with. This was why when Dana White said Jason Miller may not have fought again due to his messy UFC re-debut, it made Hunt’s situation seem favored.
After winning a very sloppy fight decision over Ben Rothwell, it was interesting to see UFC matchmaker Joe Silva put together Hunt and Kongo.
For Kongo, this fight does nothing.
If he went goes into his fight and beats Hunt, Kongo will not be that much further up the heavyweight ladder. It looks better statistically on paper to have had three in a row, but Mark Hunt is a step back for where he is now.
No. 2: The GSP Injury Debacle
Georges St-Pierre is a unique fighter and athlete.
He is expected to do great things in the Octagon, and his persona is defined by his work ethic.
His exposure in the media seems to paint a certain picture of him. It would seem that when he is not in a suit, he is in workout attire. It is almost like he doesn’t do anything but train; doesn’t sleep, eat, or socialize.
GSP is always the fighter everyone knows will be completely ready and game-planned and goes through very effective camps. GSP is smart, strong, and focused, and is the last person you would expect to sustain a big injury during training.
However, GSP injured his knee in 2011, which would put him off until early 2012.
The proper arrangements were made to switch around opponents, something they already had to do due to Nick Diaz’s no-show behavior. After Carlos Condit was promised the shot, Diaz bad-mouthed his way back into the title scene when GSP got upset by Diaz’s words following his win over BJ Penn. More switches were made for all the fighters.
However, he recently injured his ACL, which has sidelined him for around 10 months. Once again, shifts were made to accommodate the new injury, and an interim title was created for Carlos Condit vs. Nick Diaz.
GSP getting injured at all is a rare and unexpected thing but to be out for 10 months is unheard of for such a fighter.
Who knows how he will return from his injury?
No. 1: Miguel Torres Cut from the UFC
Dana White usually says and does great things, but this particular decision is mind-blowing. Torres had tweeted a line that involved “rape” and thus the bantamweight was released from the UFC.
This was Torres' first offense of anything upsetting to the UFC brass and was not a decision pressured by a mob of angry fans about him using the word “rape.” Torres was an upstanding fighter in the UFC and WEC and conducted himself well in and out of the cage.
He is also a very good fighter and he is one of the most talented and popular of the bantamweight division. Miguel Torres is currently 40-4 in his MMA career. Pair that with his personality, his style, and his mullet, and you have a great business asset.
The upset is much more drastic since he was punished very harshly but others were not.
Forrest Griffin had made a comment about rape recently as well, and Rashad Evans had made a reference to the Jerry Sandusky case to Penn State alumni Phil Davis. In both cases, nothing was done or at least nothing that was made public.
Regardless if they were punished behind the scenes or not, Griffin and Evans were not cut.
Griffin and Evans are both TUF fighters and popular ones in a stacked division. These are those times where business seems to be playing a bigger role than fairness in the UFC.
Lastly, and maybe the worst, Miguel Torres does not have many options for his career.
The WEC was the home to all the big bantamweights until they merged with the UFC. Now that the UFC owns Strikeforce (and the fact they don’t have a bantam division currently), that is not an option.
Bellator makes it a point not to pick up the recently cut fighters of the UFC in order to not seem like an organization that takes the leftovers of the bigger promotions.
BAMMA has bantams, but they rarely fight and the titles are vacant. Torres will have to fight at other lower promotions and work his way back up.
Fighting is his livelihood and how he supports himself and his family.
Cutting him just didn’t seem justified, even though Torres did do something wrong.
Thanks for reading!