Photo by Scott Peterson via MMA Weekly
When the ratings come in, I'm sure we'll learn that this was one of the most-watched MMA shows in American television history. Does anyone think this show was MMA putting its best foot forward?
I sure don't. I don't think Kimbo has much to be proud of in his win over Alexander. I think Hamill would be the first to tell you that he doesn't have much to be proud of in his win over Jones. I admit that I laughed when Roy Nelson came out to "Fat," but I don't think his inability to get himself into shape reflects very well on him, on the UFC or on MMA. And I think the sport should be trying to attract fans on its own merits, not by bringing in former NFL players like Jones, Matt Mitrione or, in the case of Strikeforce, Herschel Walker.
I have to disagree with Smith about Roy Nelson, he's clearly in excellent physical condition, he's just fat. He's always had strong cardio endurance and is quite physically powerful, to me that's "in shape". As we saw in this season of TUF, just because you have chiseled abs doesn't mean you're ready to go three five minute rounds.
I also disagree about the influx of NFL players, with the exception of Herschel Walker. I think that Schaub, Mitrione and Jones are legitimate prospects in a talent thin heavyweight division and they earned their place in the UFC by doing well on the show. Jones, due to his age and his terrible striking and lack of chin, seems to have very little future in MMA. But that's too bad because he shows a great deal of promise with his takedowns and jiu jitsu game. If he were 26 instead of 36 he might be able to fix his standup enough to compete.
It may be silly for NFL players to try to become pro boxers, but that is because boxing, like wrestling, jiu jitsu, kickboxing, judo or any of the other component sports of MMA is a highly specialized art. MMA on the other hand is the decathalon of combat sports, you don't have to be excellent at any one aspect if you can combine enough assets at a variety of components to fight effectively at a high level. As MMA becomes more popular and lucrative it will naturally begin to draw heavyweight fighters who competed at the NFL level. Just as it began to draw in amateur wrestlers early on because there is NO money in amateur wrestling.
Josh Gross also bags on Nelson:
He entered the reality show reeling from consecutive losses in 2008 (a KO against Andrei Arlovski followed by a three-round decision to Jeff Monson) with the chance to resurrect his career. And, as many projected, he made the most of it. Yet judging from the assembled talent of an improving UFC heavyweight class, it seems unlikely Nelson, a former International Fight League champion, will have much of an impact.
With his biggest rival, Ben Rothwell, getting run over in the UFC by Cain Velasquez in October, Nelson's potential against similar opposition seems stunted at best. Don't expect him to be coddled. He may get lucky if the UFC chooses to rematch him against Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson, whom Nelson defeated early in the Season 10 tournament, but sooner than later the newest TUF winner will fight out of his league.
I have to differ strongly. Compared to other TUF winners like Amir Sadollah, James Wilks, Mac Danzig or Kendall Grove who will clearly never be factors in their respective divisions, Nelson could be credibly matched up with all but the very top of the UFC heavyweight division, right now, today.
I might be the only Big Country fan in the country, but I'm sticking to my guns. The guy can fight and I don't care that he's tubby or a bit of a jerk who tries to be funny and isn't.
I do agree that the TUF 10 Finale was a bit of an ugly mess with the Kimbo/Houston Alexander fight being a stone dud and Jon Jones stupidly getting himself disqualified in a fight that should have been his coming out party as a contender at 205lbs. But for this fan, Roy Nelson's knock out win over Brendan Schaub went a long way toward redeeming the night.