What is it about Montreal UFC cards that brings out the weird and ugly moments? Yesterday marked the 3rd time that Zuffa has ventured over to the sports crazy Canadian city, with the first coming just over two years ago at UFC 83: Serra vs. GSP II on April 19, 2008. One year later Montreal hosted UFC 97: Silva vs. Leites and of course UFC 113: Shogun vs. Machida II on May 8, 2010. Each of these cards have had one thing in common: Crazy stuff that has the paying crowd and paying PPV buyers enraged.
UFC 83 - Kalib Starnes runs out of the UFC. Our favorite Canadian jogger was not pleased with his UFC contract, so he decided to spend the entire 15 minutes against Nate Quarry simply running...doing nothing, just about throwing the fight on purpose in front of his home country crowd. As you see in the GIF, Quarry mocked Starnes with the "running man" gesture and won a very wide unanimous decision victory, sparking loud cheers for Quarry amidst much booing for Kalib. Not to worry for Kalib though, as he was immediately cut from the UFC and has found very little success in smaller promotions, going 2-2 with a notable loss to Hector Lombard.
UFC 97 - A timid Thales Leites came into the Octagon and put up one of the worst performances from a challenger in a title fight in UFC history. Anderson Silva was the cat pawing at a mouse that was begging to be eaten. Instead of trying to find a way to beat Silva with his solid BJJ, he chose the elusive "butt scoot" move on several occasions. He was out of his league, and lost by unanimous decision. Dana White was pissed beyond belief, and soon Leites found himself on the preliminary card of UFC 101 while Anderson was the co-feature on that same card when he annihilated Forrest Griffin. Leites lost another ugly, dull fight to Alessio Sakara and just like that he was immediately cut. Unlike Kalib, Leites could very well be welcomed back to the organization if he avoids disasters like the Silva fight.
UFC 113 - After a solid LnP performance by Josh Koscheck, Paul Daley's act of thuggery put an ugly end to a boring encounter. The Brit went from fighting for a shot to get legally assaulted by GSP to permanently out of the UFC in a matter of 20 minutes. Josh Koscheck wasn't that much better, embellishing on an illegal knee attempt by Daley towards the rend of round 1, when in reality it grazed him, and then crap-talking the boisterous Montreal fans on both hockey and their beloved St. Pierre. As a result he had stuff thrown at him by the fans on his way to the locker room.
So there you have it. Three years in Montreal and every year a fighter in some way, shape, or form did something to get themselves tossed from the UFC. I totally agree with Dana White's decision to cut Daley, and it was the only thing to do. It was classless, moronic, and dangerous. To use a famous sucker punch example from boxing, James "The hammer" Butler lost to Richard "The Alien" Grant on ESPN's Friday Night Fights 9 years ago. He then knocked Grant down after the fight with a thunderous right hook, dislocating his jaw and lacerating his tongue. Butler was charged with aggravated assault and went to jail*. Basically, if Daley's punch had caused serious damage to Koscheck (it didn't), then the chances of him being convicted for criminal assault would be very likely. Such a shame that Daley threw away his contender status in such a stupid fashion.
Those unfortunate moments aside, it's very evident that Montreal attracts a great crowd and great fights, and last night was no exception. But what will we see for the 2011 trip to the Bell Centre? The light heavyweight showdown between Jon Jones and Phil Davis in an explosive athletic affair that disrupts the rotation of the Earth? Cheick Kongo getting disqualified for kneeing the balls off of his opponent? We shall see. Time will only tell.
* In case you're wondering where Butler is now, he is once again incarcerated, but for a much more serious offense. He is currently serving a 29 year sentence for the 2004 voluntary manslaughter of Sam Kellerman, the brother of Max Kellerman.