MMA fans might be the harshest and most fickle in the sporting world. There is no better demonstration of the "what have you done for me lately mentality" than the way we have collectively turned on former favorite Forrest Griffin. For an example see the photo shop on the right which has been making the rounds in the BE comments, on the UG and the Sherdog boards.
Not all of the criticism has been mean or knee-jerk. There are questions about whether he was ever any good to begin with, Zak Woods:
Is Anderson Silva just that good or have we been inflating Forrest Griffin's status and abilities for some time?
We always knew that Griffin's chin was not a solid rock nor did he have heavy hands but Forrest had reinvented himself into a tactician. None of that was on display last night.
For the record Forrest Griffin is now 2-2 in marquee fights at light heavyweight (victories over Quinton Jackson and Mauricio Rua, loses to Anderson Silva and Rashad Evans). If we include the Keith Jardine loss than Griffin slides to 2-3 in fights against top competition. All three of those loses come via knockout.
If we dissect Griffin's victories than they appear to be paper tigers as well. Griffin was the beneficiary of favorable judging against Jackson on top of Quinton's mental issues that became apparent after the fight. In the Shogun bout Rua was fighting on one leg due to an ACL tear and was still able to bloody Griffin though in the end Rua would be submitted in unspectacular fashion.
And BE reader FlyByKnight declares Forrest's career over in a thoughtful and even-handed piece, that is nonetheless, damning:
Piling on is the man Forrest Griffin beat for the UFC light heavyweight title, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson on twitter:
Whether one wants to admit it or not, Forrest Griffin's career is pretty much dead as we know it. His days as that one guy who helped bring millions of fans into the UFC are over. His days as that one guy who had his career slaughtered at the hands of Anderson Silva has begun. There's no shame in losing to Anderson Silva. None whatsoever. But, this loss stands out above all others. In one of the most bizarre, embarrassing, and highlight reel knockouts ever completed, Anderson Silva ended Forrest Griffin's career in essentially the same jaw-dropping fashion that it began. And it, quite simply, is a shame.
Rampage might want to check himself, considering that he lost once to Griffin and could very well find himself losing to Anderson Silva in the near future. The old Rampage could have been expected to work his takedowns to force Silva on his back, but the new Rampage that likes to box might find himself looking real bad against Silva.
I'm not even going to dignify the pernicious and wide spread chatter from the knuckle dragging set who insist on believing the fight was a work. News flash idiots -- a work benefits the promotion or the bookies. Anderson Silva was a heavy favorite, he was expected to win and the odds accounted for it. There was no killing to be made off Forrest taking a dive. Secondly, from the UFC's perspective it was a disaster and exactly the opposite outcome that they wanted. The fight seriously damaged the brand of one of their marquee fighters to the benefit of one of their worst draws.
The apparently false reports that he suffered a broken or dislocated jaw seemed to help his cause and many fans embraced that as a life raft for their sinking admiration for Forrest. But with reports surfacing that he suffered no such injury, it's not looking good for Griffin apologists.
Forrest Griffin is the definitive organization man for the UFC. He is beyond loyal to Dana White and that loyalty is a two-way street. Anderson Silva on the other hand is openly scheming to get out of his UFC obligations as quickly and profitably as possible -- his latest gambit is to drop his middleweight belt and move up to 205lbs permanently, even though he insists he won't fight light heavyweight champ Lyoto Machida. If the UFC falls for this transparent attempt to escape the champion clause of their contracts -- which essentially traps their champs into an auto-renewing contract until they lose the title or retire from MMA -- I'll be shocked.
In the meantime, Forrest was certainly ill-served on a number of fronts -- by his own terrible game-planning (or failure to implement a game plan), by Joe Silva and Dana White he apparently seriously over-rated his abilities to give Anderson Silva a tough fight, by the fans and most of all by his own antics during the fight when he visibly gave up and charged chin-first into the third and final knockdown and then ran from the cage.