Note: Yeah, this article is a little behind the times. I meant to post it on Monday, but being mad jetlagged after the travel from hell combined with my own personal laze resulted in this delay. Now of course, I still think it's funny/discussing important stuff, but if you want to skip over this one as being ancient history at this point, I wouldn't blame you.
It’s ironic that after a night of incredible mano-e-mano action (the good kind…I mean the less-sweaty kind…I mean the less two chiseled guys wrestling around…ah to Hell with it!) the biggest story coming off UFC 142 this past weekend is the con-faux-tation between UFC commentator Joe Rogan and referee Mario Yamasaki.
This story is the toast of every MMA blog from here to Middle Easy. After a decidedly controversial call to disqualify Erick Silva for striking the back of the head, Rogan decided to “call” Mario out on his actions in the post-fight interview
Depending on who you ask, it was either completely called for, or a gross over-stepping of bounds by Rogan. It was also more awkward to watch than Grandma making out with the pool boy, or Ricky Gervais hosting…well, anything, really.
My thoughts? Managers scream, spit, and kick dirk at umpires on a weekly basis in baseball. Players get right in officials faces in Hockey. Even soccer players find time to abuse their referees every once in a while. Rogan was quite respectful in his questioning of Mario, and left viewers (or me, at least) with the impression that shit happens, mistakes can be made, and referees have to make their calls in a split second.
What this really goes to show is the necessity of video replays for officials in MMA – but that’s a blog for another day.
For now, let’s move past the Mario vs. Joe show and focus on some other important MMA news stories coming off this past weekend. And just for kicks, let’s start with the good news first, by bypassing the “news” and “important” parts of what I just said and going right for the gold: overt, cheesy sentimentality.
The Jose Aldo/Chad Mendes Finish is the Greatest Highlight in MMA History
For years, when people asked me what my favorite “moment” in MMA was, I had a ready answer for them: Couture vs. Sylvia, UFC 68. The sight of the weathered old Couture coming out and dropping big Timmeh with one stout shot is the most indelible highlight this sport has (*had). It never fails to put a smile on my face, nor send a chill down my spine. It is everything that is right about MMA. About sports. Hell, about life.
That was my favorite highlight. But no longer.
Jose Aldo’s knockout of Chad Mednes was certainly nice, but it wasn’t “all-time” nice. What was “all-time” was Aldo sprinting from the cage – right past some bushwhacked security suits – and bee lining it right into the stands for the most epic post-fight celebration ever.
Jose Aldo used to be so poor that his coach would have to buy him meals whenever he showed up to training and hadn’t eaten in a few days. To see him hoisted on the crowd’s shoulders while they went absolutely ape, to see the huge grin on his face – well, it wasn’t just a star making moment for Aldo. It was a moving display of the emotional power of combat sports.
It was also nice for someone to show some love to fans who had (by that point) stayed up till the wee hours of the morning to watch him compete.
The Old Vitor is Finally Gone
You’ve read enough, I’m sure, about the “Old” Vitor Belfort by this point. The “Old” Vitor Belfort is the MMA version of Sasquatch: everyone’s heard of him, even if no one can recall ever seeing him. Just look at MMA history – he’s always coming and going, isn’t he? I wish the guy would make up his damn mind already.
Well judging from this past Saturday, the “Old” Vitor is gone – you know, the one who was mentally weak, folded under pressure, didn’t utilize his full range of BJJ skills and had worse gas mileage than a Ford Falcon.
Against a mammouth(ly tired) Anthony Johnson, Belfort got pressed. He got taken down and pressured by a much larger man. He took some damage that visibly hurt him. He was tried and tested, if only for a few minutes.
And he passed the test with flying colors, showing calm and poise in his submission victory over a heaving, hyperventilating Johnson (that sounds sort of funny once you read it).
So let’s give a big warm welcome to the “new” Vitor, who’s calculated, precise, and has a vendetta against the backs of heads the world over.
Vitor Belfort Has Had one Win at Middleweight
Not to harp on the Vitor stuff, but has anyone else noticed this teensy little problem: Vitor Belfort has only had only one victory at Middleweight in his UFC career – and a weak one at that. Yet he’s supposedly an “in the mix” title contender with a (very plausible) case for another title shot down the line.
Follow my logic here: his debut fight was against Rich Franklin at Franklinweight (195 lbs catchweight). Then he sits out a good long while, before facing champion Anderson Silva. This is Vitor’s one middleweight fight, and it ends with the revelation that somewhere, way back when, Anderson Silva took the Red Pill when Morpheus offered it to him.
Then Vitor fought Yoshihiro Akiyama, technically a middleweight fight. However, most people consider Akiyama to be very small for 185 lbs, and seeing as how he’s now competing at a welter, this discredits this win somewhat. Still, this is Belfort’s only victory in the UFC at middleweight.
And then the Johnson fight, contested at..205 lbs? Rumbleweight? Whatever you want to call it, it wasn’t a middleweight fight, that’s for damn sure.
Vitor is a great, skilled, marketable fighter in the UFC middleweight division. Now let’s see about actually getting him a solid opponent there, shall we?
Sam Stout Got Robbed!
Oh, I know, I hate the “got robbed” term just as much as you do. It’s lazy, it’s sensational, and it’s often times an indication that the writer is letting way too much personal bias interfere with their reasoning.
Well, that’s all well and good – but I used to live in London, Ontario, Canada, Sam Stout is a great guy, and he got robbed, damnit!
I understand that in a round by round breakdown according to the 10 point must system, the argument for Stout is murky at best. He lost the first round, might have won the second, and easily took the third. It was inevitable that in a decision that close, the judges are going to give it to the hometown guy, and that’s exactly what happened.
Still, I think Stout won the “fight”, if not the decision. He took Tavares’ best shots, took everything he could throw at him grappling wise, and overcame it. By the end of the fight Stout had clearly broken Thiago, was landing at will, and had him badly hurt. If that fight had another round – hell, another 15 seconds – Stout would have put Tavares away.
But maybe I’m just bitter because I once bumped into Sam at the liquor store, and he seemed like a nice guy. Yeah, that sounds like an objective place to start my complaint from.
Paul Harris is a bad man
Personalities like Rousimar Palhares are the reason I watch MMA – you know, aside from the violence, athletic displays, moments of high human drama and raw emotion, purity of one-on-one competition and girls with fake boobs carrying numbers in their underwear.
Sure, he’s kind of a kook. Just look at the recent Palhares-themed meme that has popped up on the UG and elsewhere (which is quite funny, check it out), mostly centered on his less proud moments. This is the guy who once celebrated before the fight was actually over, and complained to the referee about cheating while his opponent was knocking him out.
But who cares? This is a guy who looks like a miniature, Brazilian version of The Hulk and who’s trademark move is the heelhook. I mean how badass is that? A guy who’s so good at leglocks, he is expected by most fans to hit this rare move every time he competes. That’s insane. That’s like a good striker who’s calling card is a spinning backfist he hits in every fight.
Also, anyone else think a Palhares vs. Demian Maia/”Jacare” Souza/any other BJJ specialist fight would be absolute hell on wheels?
By Elton Hobson