Saturday night we witnessed the derailing of a hype train, the creation of what will be the biggest fight in the UFC this year (unless the Anderson/Jones superfight happens), a lesson is legal elbows that might need to be illegal, and once again if Faber is not in a title fight he will win. Period.
The TUF 17 finale was supposed to be the coming out party of TUF 17 standout Uriah Hall who ran through the flock of fighters without much trouble at all. On the other side of the Octagon on Saturday stood Kelvin Gastlum who quietly played the part of underdog in every single fight he finished in the TUF house. This led him to be the underdog on Saturday night. However, much like his TUF house career, nobody told Kelvin he was supposed to lose. Kelvin outworked Uriah in just about every aspect of the fight and as for Uriah’s videogame striking – he apparently ran out of quarters as they all but disappeared in the bout on Saturday.
As promised Cat Zingano and Miesha Tate put on a wildly entertaining fight! Cat putting an end to a fight in which she lost the first two rounds with brutal knees to Tate. This sets up one of the biggest fights of the year between Ronda Rousey and Cat Zingano. Don’t believe me? Remember when Ronday and unknown Liz Carmouche sold more PPVs than Jon Jones vs. Vitor Belfort? What do you think will happen when two undefeated fighters meet for only the second title fight in the newly formed division? Ken feels this might happen on FOX but for me I think it is headed to PPV.
Uriah Faber went four rounds with Scott Jorgensen in a battle that lived up to the hype with Uriah starting strong and Scott catching his stride by the 3rd round until Uriah finally catches Scott in a rear naked choke in the 4th round. With all the talk leading up to this fight you would have had no idea on Saturday night that these two were friends and occasional training partners. After the fight Faber would quip “I had some close calls in there, but this guy knows my stuff man.”
It was Faber’s second consecutive victory since failing to capture the interim UFC bantamweight championship when he fought current titleholder Renan Barão last summer.
The controversy of the night would belong to Travis Browne who stopped Gabe Gonzaga in the first with a flurry of elbows against the cage that have a lot of people questioning the legality of any of them. For Gabe’s part his team is going to challenge the fight and ultimately the elbows but for the sake of the understanding the rules here it is – Strikes with the point of the elbow in a 12 to 6 motion or strikes to the back of the head or spine are illegal. Check out the video and decide for yourself :
What did you think about this weekend? We go at it again this weekend on FOX for Benson vs Melendez.
The number one question that people ask me when I tell them I host an MMA show is; “Do you train?” I always answer yes and then they will ask if I have ever fought and while I have had a ton of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournaments and a couple of boxing matches I have never taken an MMA fight. Not because of fear of failure or of the fight itself, but because I live in an unregulated amateur state that doesn’t protect its fighters. So for me, it becomes a risk not worth taking.
But what about the 18 year olds who want to get into the UFC? What can they do? Well, let me offer them a cautionary tale about Nigerian-born Pablo Elochukwu who had his first MMA fight on Friday in Port Huron that would be his last MMA bout – as he died after it was over. According to reports neither he nor his opponent went through pre-fight medicals and at some point in the second round the fight seemed to take its toll on Pablo and in the third he was mounted and no longer intelligently defending himself so the ref stopped the fight. Elochukwu was able to walk on his own accord and stand for the announcement of the winner of the fight but when he walked back to his corner something went wrong and he collapsed.
The ambulance was called because like most of these shows EMTs are not on site they are on call because it is cheaper and he was revived on the scene and taken to a local hospital. At some point between the venue and the hospital Elochukwu died and we await the results of the autopsy. The fact remains that if a state is willing to regulate and oversee the professional arm of a sport, that sport being MMA, as they do in the state of Michigan - why would they be so unwilling to regulate the amateur arm of the sport?
Is it cost? You hear that a lot, that regulation and things like having EMTs on site for the event is a barrier to entry for smaller promoters to put on shows. The issue with that is you are making money as a promoter off of fighters who don’t get paid so bank some of that money you make from their sacrifices and use it to protect them. And if you can’t, then go into another line of work.
If you are a fighter, there is no doubt that you have chosen a dangerous line of work. But, why would you not take an interest in your own health and pass on fights where they don’t do, at the very least, blood work and in rare cases and yearly CAT scan. I am heartbroken at reading about Pablo Elochukwu because it is tragic and most certainly preventable. If you look at the number of reported MMA fatalities in the world, there are 9 of them. 70% of those happened in unsanctioned or unregulated bouts. There has never been a death the UFC and that should be the model.
If you want this sport to grow in the way I want it to grow you can understand that protecting the fighters has to be the number one goal in all of this. So do me and any fighter that you know a favor and boycott Michigan amateur MMA shows until the state begins to regulate them. Because until then we will continue to put young or inexperienced fighters into situations where no one is looking out for their best interest and that isn’t good for anyone.
JDT: "Hi Mike. Nick is curious about the .9 pound allowance at today's weigh-in for his championship bout. He doesn't want to be a nuisance about this, but he's a bit confused. Can you shed any light?"
MM: "I don't know what you're talking about. All parties weighed in appropriately according [to] the Quebec Commission."
JDT: "Of course. You're right, and he knows that. He just wanted to know why the Quebec Commission was okay with a 0.9 pound weight allowance for a championship fight. Nick's not going to make an issue of it, but it's been gnawing at him since it was explained to him at the weigh-ins, on an "off the record" basis or otherwise. I just want him to stop thinking about it, and thought you could provide some insight."
MM: "I have been told everyone made weight so there's nothing to make an issue about. He might want to focus on how he's going to win the fight rather than spending the night making excuses about why he lost."
JDT: "C'mon Mike you're just going to stonewall on this issue? We're reaching out in a discreet manner, as appropriate in the circumstances. Meet us half-way."
MM: "Huh? The Commission determined both fighters weighed 170 or less. What am I supposed to do about that? I would think Nick would be excited to compete for the UFC Welterweighttitle. Seems like he's focused on the wrong issue."
JDT: "No one wants you to *do* anything. If the answer is simply "the Quebec Commission permits a promoter to request that .9 pounds be rounded down in a championship fight (unlike, e.g., the Washington commission for Nate's fight), and Zuffa made that request here", then pls confirm. Far better to reach out this way than the uncooperative Twitter/media way."
MM: "How would I know what the Quebec Commission does? I was informed everyone made weight like everyone else at the weigh in. Zuffa made no requests for anything from the Quebec Commission. Good luck to Nick with the fight."
Wow this is going to get crazy before it is all over.
On Saturday night to some degree we all got sucker. Or to borrow a phrase from Nick Diaz – we bought Wolf tickets. The hype prior to the bout between GSP and Nick Diaz had us believing that Georges St. Pierre was going to give Nick the beatdown of his life and that Nick was going to thunder through GSP on the road to claiming what was rightfully his, the UFC welterweight strap. Instead we got the same GSP performance one would expect. It was precise, it was technical, and it was boring. Which isn’t a problem for Georges, who is 11-0 since his loss to Matt Serra, but it is an issue for the UFC.
The UFC sold us on this superhero mythos that Georges was the squeaky clean chiseled hero whose honor was brought into question by the evil villain from a place called Stockton – which in itself sounds like a wretched hive of scum and villainy. Nick played is part perfectly until it mattered and Georges, well any illusions of him ever going for a finish again are safely buried next to Jimmy Hoffa. Everyone who put down there hard earned cash to see this bad blood boil over were treated to a text book performance in outclassing Nick Diaz from the first takedown (8 seconds into the bout) until the final bell. In the traditional superhero mythos the hero will beat the villain to the point that you think he is finished and then a moral dilemma creeps in and the villain escapes to fight another day. In the UFC universe that villain was never in much peril and certainly didn’t get the beatdown of his life, one would expect his sparring sessions are as tough. But he didn’t take the opportunity to wow us with his skill set either – proving that he never belonged in the conversation about the championship, let alone in the bout itself.
Because let’s be honest. Johny Hendricks and Carlos Condit looked like they would have beat both of them on Saturday night and while Johny gets the next crack at GSP, I would not mind seeing a rematch of Hendricks vs. Condit once Johny gets the belt off of Georges waist. Because for as long as Johny has waited for this shot – he looks like someone with the fight IQ and tool set to test GSP in a way few could. Condit out-struck Hendricks but anytime that Johny was in trouble he took Condit down and played the game using the blueprint GSP invented. The subtle difference is that Condit and Hendricks rightly took home fight of the night.
So while we wait to see if Nick Diaz goes to jail for tax evasion and as we stand by to see how bad Hendricks’ injury to his hand is one can take a moment to reflect on if we want to see GSP in a PPV slot again. On Saturday night Georges hometown certainly appreciated his performance, I am not sure the fight world is going to line-up and beg for more of the same from GSP regardless of whose name is next to him on the wolf tickets.