UFC 140 was a great event, filled from top to bottom with action and memorable fights. But it also ended with two shockingly violent endings to the featured bouts. I found myself wondering what the long-term ramifications of those fight endings would be should they ever happen on Fox.
The idea of the fights on Fox are to draw in new viewers, people who are curious about the product and turn them into long-term pay-per-view buyers. While the idea of something like a grotesque Corey Hill-esque leg break is something that has come up for some fans, I think that the UFC 140 endings are a much bigger threat to some public backlash.
While the Corey Hill break was horrifying to see, it was a fluke accident. No different from the infamous Joe Theismann leg break in 1985 or Robin Ventura's broken leg/dislocated ankle in 1997.
The real backlash could be from something like Frank Mir breaking Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira's arm. The ultimate point of the maneuver Mir used was to cause so much pain as to make Nogueira submit and, if not, to break the limb. Mir was great in his application of the technique, ultimately doing everything correct. And in the end fans were "treated" to watching Nogueira's arm snap.
What may be a worse highlight for some ignorant member of the media to pick up and run with might be the ending of the main event. Jon Jones sunk in a brilliant deep standing guillotine choke on Lyoto Machida and cranked on his neck until Machida went limp. After holding the choke another few seconds until John McCarthy jumped in to make the save, Jones dropped the unconscious Brazilian to the ground.
That ten second clip of Jones choking out Machida and dropping him to the ground would make great news "Do you know what your kid is watching?" fodder.
Look, we all know that MMA is a great sport. And we all also know that it's a violent sport. But it's hard for me to not wonder if we won't eventually have a moment of such brutality as to cause a backlash against the sport on network TV that actually catches some steam.
Sure, every event will have some ignorant media member whining about fighting being on TV. But what happens when they have a clip that goes beyond a guy submitting or getting knocked out and actually looks like something...well, something like this:
The UFC isn't going anywhere, but there may be an ugly publicity battle somewhere in the future.