I have been reading a lot about UFC 112 and the backlash from it whether it be the bad judging (Penn / Edgar) or the Anderson Silva Circus performance, but the problem with these and all the UFC champions lately is they have gotten lazy and let their DOMINANCE go to their head.
I can remember thinking how ridiculous the talk was for all these cases. If you want more, I can remember sitting in the crowd at WEC 36 telling my friend how Urijah would destroy Mike Thomas Brown only to watch MTB KTFO the California kid.
The problem with all these fights and all these champions is challenges. There is a lot to be said for the UFC giving them the best possible matchups and wanting to have the belts on the line a few times a year. The UFC is a business and they need to sell their pay-per-views. I understand their logic and want to see the champs defend their belts multiple times a year, but as fans we have to understand that all these champions are humans. They need to be motivated. Most of them can go half ass it in training every day and still take out the best the UFC or anyone promotion could throw at them. Hell, I am a sales manager and when they started cutting my bonuses, I will tell you I stopped pushing as hard. I do just enough to keep the boss off my back because frankly, there is nothing motivating me to do more.
Each and every one of these champions above is guilty of this same attitude. Anderson wants money fights and does not think he should be disrespected by lesser opponents (especially guys that are not going to challenge him on the feet). BJ Penn is infamous for not training right and having terrible cardio. I blame him for letting that fight go to the judge's and utilizing all the tools at his disposal. Was it bad judging? HELL YES, but for sure if the BJ that had shown up to fight KenFlo or Mr. "YUS" Diego had shown up in Abu Dhabi we would not be having this discussion. The Lyoto you saw fight Shogun was a cautious one who really did not have a good game plan. Did I agree with the decision? Yes, but I would not have been calling it a travesty if Shogun's hand was raised. Was the Urijah Faber that fought MTB at WEC 36 the same one who fought him at WEC 41? Hell, no. Did GSP go out and fight the safe fight to win against Dan Hardy? Heck yeah he did. But he could have finished that fight and should have finished that fight. His kimura and armbar attempts were technically poor and not the best GSP could do. Do I consider that a lack of focus, a lack of training? Maybe. I know if I knew I could go and hold top position against a guy, take him down at will, and keep my belt. I would probably do the same. What motivation would I have to take the extra time in practice and work on those submission intricacies (or the Endgame of BJJ as Keith and Kenny florian like to say)?
What the UFC needs to do is come up with a way to motivate their champions. What the fans need to do is stop nut-hugging and call a fighter the best ever (including lazy ass Fedor, please don't get me started). Is money the answer? probably not. GSP probably makes at least half of his money from sponsors like Gatorade and Under Armour, and I am sure this is true for a lot of these champions. I do not see a good solution to this and do not want the task of Joe Silva, Dana White or the Fertittas in finding a way to motivate them and keep the fights entertainign.
Humans need motivation. Its why thousands of dollars are spent on motivational speakers like Tony Robbins every single year. Its why I feel bad for the next person to take on BJ. Its why Fedor can keep picking and choosing his next fight (Werdum, Antonio Silva, reallly?) Its why GSP is content holding top position, doing a little damage and keeping his belt/
I am a huge fan of mixed martial arts, but if this is the motivation and the preparation that these champions are going to give, then I might as well just sign up for the UFC vault and watch the undercards the next day because these are the fighters that want it.