This is blogging. This is real time. These opinions will likely evolve. This is what I have for now:
- The suspension of Palhares is absolutely justified. Mulhal's angle on the fight was justifiable and his timing on stopping the submission not perfect but competent and timely enough. After the referee indicated to stop the fight Palhares obviously continued to crank. But here's the real issue: how does the UFC indicate to the public there is a penalty for this?
The UFC PR machine is good about spreading the truth, but not some of the details that matter. In this case, the regulatory actions of either the UFC itself or athletic commissions. Knowing there is a comptent and vigilant check on fighter malfeasence goes a long way toward softening attitudes. But the larger mainstream press rarely picks up on the nuts and bolts of MMA sanctioning. It's a lost component of their PR strategy that could pay huge dividends. But first: folks need to believe the checks are credible and meaningful. The task isn't easy but it is important.
- So what about St. Pierre? I'd be lying if I personally didn't say I wasn't a tad bit disappointed. Was it lacking a finish per se? No. St. Pierre dominated, yes, but he dominated positionally. That's as central to effective grappling as can be. But it lacks the solving quality damage provides. It lacks the polish of finishing.
Worse, it makes one wonder about Penn. He seems to be crushing, finishing and disfiguring his challengers. St. Pierre, while positionally dominant, doesn't seem to offer the same sting. While GSP crushed Penn in their personal clash, I am not surprised GSP isn't eager to jump to middleweight. Penn's case to jump to welterweight is significantly better.
- It seems trite to even engage as a topic, but it's also the 800 lbs gorilla in the room: Shane Carwin's power is the substance of nightmares. Dean Lister isn't half the boogey man Carwin is. Mir's point about Carwin is as correct right now as it has ever been: his lack of experience in the Octagon makes questions about his capability legitimate. The problem is there's nothing Carwin can do about it. His power seems to be so blinding (although Mir makes himself to be so cool in the fight he's too cool to defensively maneuver) that the inevitable happens even if Carwin hoped for a more robust challenge.
Lesnar's the ultimate bully but he only could criticize Carwin's sub-heavyweight title status, not his actual ability or performance. For that, he had respect and there was no poker face about it. That should speak volumes
Sadly, the look on Dana White's face after Mir's defeat showed (if you wanted to see it) the look of a sad promoter. Mir vs. Lesnar 3 would've been magnificent. It could still happen, but the promotional momentum is lost. Carwin's now a name they have to spend oodles promoting.
- Miller vs. Bocek? Edgar would clown them both and I don't think he stands much of a chance against Penn. I'll wait until there's more to evaluate.
- I'm not entirely sold on the Diaz weight change, although it is intriguing. His punches did seem to carry more weight but I'm just not sure Markham was all there to compete. And I don't think the weight cut is all to blame.
- The crowd seemed energentic. Which is good. They have that going for them.
- Given the political implications, let's ask: what were the political outcomes? Probably not much and given the lack of overall carnage I doubt the Palhares suspension will matter that much. I also bet the choice to come down on the suspension had something to do with the watching eyeballs from New York. Fighters act up? Fighters get suspended.
- GSP makes guys improve and he brings out the best in him. His challengers never seem to have twisted ankles or wives serving them with divorce papers. They always seem to be peaking at the right time. They come out of fights with him massively improved. I still wonder if St. Pierre's stand-up is overrated, not by collective judgment but by his own election to not use over the course of more than 15 rounds. He doesn't have the same eagerness to demonstrate dominance standing as he does grappling. That's partly understandable and partly suspect.