Junior dos Santos won the UFC heavyweight title with a quick win over Cain Velasquez to headline UFC on Fox. (Photo: Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)
Other than the length of the action, November's major highlight -- the UFC's debut on Fox featuring a heavyweight title fight between the returning Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos -- hit on all cylinders and brought in a massive, massive audience. It also was a month of fighters saying stupid things and SB Nation acquiring a major asset.
November 2011: Eight Point Eight
For months, we heard about the UFC's debut on Fox. We raised an eyebrow when we heard it was a single fight on the show and raised it higher when we heard Ben Henderson vs. Clay Guida was being relegated to Facebook with no chance of making air. People talked and debated and talked some more. Finally, it was time for the UFC's biggest public moment and it lasted all of 64 seconds.
Despite the quick fight and a new champion in dos Santos taking his crown, the buzz was mainly positive and the numbers showed that an MMA record 8.8 million people watched the fight itself. Needless to say, the UFC and Fox were thrilled and all eyes looked toward the full contract to kick off in 2012, which would include 2000 hours of programming on Fuel TV.
And by the way, Henderson vs. Guida turned out to be a great fight with "Bendo" earning a shot at UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar as a result. Too bad no one saw it. A lot of people did see boxer Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez, which was on the same night.
The month was permeated with two stories of fighters making unfortunate comments, led off by former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Forrest Griffin joking on Twitter that "rape is the new missionary". He later claimed it was because he was flipping through channels and couldn't believe all the media stories about rape, but admitted it was a dumb thing to say given the medium. He visited several rape crisis centers, donated money and managed to keep his job, something that wouldn't be the case one month later for another fighter.
Shortly thereafter, fellow UFC light heavyweight and Penn State alum Phil Davis chimed in on the Jerry Sandusky scandal, telling another media outlet that ousted head coach Joe Paterno followed protocol and that it wasn't fair he was going to be remembered for the scandal. It was probably the wrong thing to say at a time when tensions were high on the subject, but he still said it.
The month closed out with one of the best MMA nights of the year, headlined by what many feel is the best battle in MMA history between Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio Rua. For 25 minutes, the two fit every cliche one could imagine: going toe to toe, swinging for the fences, grasping victory from the jaws of defeat. It was a simply stunning and awesome fight, ironically coming one week after a huge audience had just seen a minute of action with Velasquez vs. dos Santos
In the co-main event, Wanderlei Silva remained out of the retirement line by defeating Cung Le in a fun battle, while Urijah Faber overwhelmed Brian Bowles to earn a third fight with 135-pound champion Dominick Cruz. Unfortunately for Michael Chandler and Eddie Alvarez, their four-round Bellator classic happened on the same night and was overwhelmed by chatter of Hendo vs. Shogun. Chandler submitted Alvarez to win the 155-pound title and made himself a name in one single fight.
For the rest of November's news that included a drug test failure and one of the sport's best known fighters returning to action, keep on reading after the jump.Other Stuff That Happened
In one of the most underpromoted cards of 2011, Mark Munoz stopped Chris Leben in the main event of UFC 138. Leben later reportedly cut 21 pounds in 24 hours and later tested positive for Oxycodone and Oxymorphone...Chael Sonnen got the nod for his long-awaited rematch against Anderson Silva. Silva had heat with manager Ed Soares...The UFC on Fox 2 card was booked for January with Davis vs. Rashad Evans on top...Fedor Emelianenko returned to action and beat up Jeff Monson for three rounds on an early Sunday AM pay-per-view...Boxer Joe Frazier died of liver cancer at 67 years old.
Quinton Jackson got his wish to fight Ryan Bader at UFC Japan...The first UFC on FX show was announced, while the UFC on Fuel TV debut got Jake Ellenberger vs. Diego Sanchez as a main event...Alistair Overeem sued Golden Glory and they planned a countersuit...Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey continued their verbal battles.
145-pound champion Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes was booked for UFC 142...Gina Carano decided to not fight in December...The UFC filed a lawsuit against New York State and two SBN writers signed on as plaintiffs...Nate Marquardt found an opponent for his February BAMMA debut...Gray Maynard talked about leaving for AKA...Arianny Celeste and Sonnen sparred on Twitter...SB Nation announced they were buying MMA Fighting.
Past Monthly Recaps:
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011