Wow, that's a weird title.
So this year has been a little rough on MMA fans, right? I've had the chance to watch some pretty great fights but there's been a whole lot more bullshit that at this point is just starting to weigh me down. I don't look forward to upcoming cards as much, I don't contribute on BE like I used to, and I think it's starting to affect my performance at work. Either that or the alcohol in my desk. I strongly suspect it's the current MMA landscape though. Yep, definitely the MMA.
But rather than dwell on the persistent negativity and general shittiness that this year has presented to me, I'm going to jump in my time travel machine (the one I keep in my mind) and go back to a year that only gets better with age: 2007. Not sure how many of you were fans back then but let me tell you that, in full objectivity and without a shred of bias, 2007 was the abso-fucking-lute-motherfucking-ly best year of MMA that I've ever experienced. By extension, that means it was the best year for you too. Congrats.
Let's get to that rundown!
Seriously, what is up with my titles? Must be that shitty MMA landscape rising up again. Regardless, 2007 was the year Captain America decided to FACE the PAIN once again and returned to challenge Tim Sylvia for the belt he'd admitted to having sex with at UFC 68: The Uprising.
(Sidenote: Why did they stop giving UFC PPV's the subtitle treatment? Everyone agreed they sucked, but they sucked in a disarmingly sweet way, like when your grandmother gets you a SNES game for Christmas but doesn't realize you only own a Genesis. Yes it sucks, but at least she's trying, dammit.)
That night the biggest uprising I could identify was the one sitting at ground zero in my pantaloons as I watched The Natural drop Sylvia with a right and proceed to assault him with a 5-round Fitching before I even knew what a Fitching was or that they actually sucked and that I should hate it. But none of that happened and I instead watched what is still in my mind one of the greatest fights I've ever seen. So much greatness.
HW: Crocop Gets the Cro-crap Cro-Kicked out of his Cro-cranium
But that wasn't all 2007 had in store for us. We also got to see Gabriel Gonzaga execute Mirko Crocop with his own Fatality at UFC 70: When Nations Collide. Plenty of people have written about that jaw-dropper at length so I'll simply summarize my reaction as the finish occurred (in real time):
Hey, Cro-Magnon Man is pretty competitive in this fight, looks like Crocop is having trouble adjusting to fighting in a cage and - OH MY FUCKING SHIT HE KICKED HIM IN THE HEAD! RIGHT IN THE HEAD! HOLY FUCK I THINK HE'S DEAD, I DONT EVEN CARE ANYMORE ENCINO MAN IS VICTORIOUS! ALL UPRIGHT HUMANS MUST NOW SERVE THE NEANDERTHAL SUPER RACE!!!
Thankfully the Neanderthal Uprising was soon thwarted by the superior frontal lobe as the aforementioned Randy Couture. Modern civilization took a collected sigh of relief, wiped its brow and got back to work photoshopping celebrity faces onto porn stars. When you think about it, that's really what all of this technical innovation has been about. Seriously. Think about it. Now stop thinking about it and read the next part.
LHW: The Iceman Cometh Downeth to the Canvaseth Where, Verily, the Vulpine Boxer Also Wrestleth Most Agreeably
It's become somewhat vogue to get snarky about Chuck Liddell but even for me, someone in no way enamored with his landing strip hair style or less-than-terrifying run of competition in the early 00's, he was a stone cold badass in 2007. That's why I was anticipated his unification match with Rampage Jackson at UFC 71 so much: either way it fell, there would be no doubt who the best LHW in the world was by the end. As it turned out, the end followed pretty quickly on the heels of the beginning as Jackson would catch Liddell cleanly in the first and fully-cement the arrival of the Pride roster to the U.S. But as epic and and impressive as that win was, Jackson wasn't finished as he would follow up that success with an even better match at UFC 75 against "Dangerous" Dan "Decision" Henderson "Hollywood". Also, Hendo. Anyway, that 5 round classic showed that Jackson's vaunted take down defense was merely the edge of a fully-realized wrestling iceberg as he met every facet of DaHendo's game for all 25 minutes and got a close but well deserved decision. Henderson did what he always did, which is show that he's basically indestructible. I have a theory that his mutant ability is to turn damage into wind sprints which is why it appears his cardio is so suspect. I've been lobbying to test my hypothesis by shooting him in the face with a 155 Howitzer but have been denied on the basis there isn't oxygen in the atmosphere to replace what he would consume sitting on his stool. So, once again, science is fucking with my shit. Laugh it up, science. This isn't over......
Anderson Silva had already started his reign of terror against the hapless lambs of the UFC Middleweight division with his arrival in 2006. His maulings of Chris Leben and Rich Franklin looked like someone had hardwired a Game Genie into his svelte and hairless torso, selected "All Available Cheats" and entered the Konami code just for the hell of it. This is not an exaggeration. When archaeologists exhume our remains in a thousand years they'll scoff at the fight footage of Anderson Silva and dismiss him as a mythological beast like the Yeti or a heterosexual unicorn. A similar measure of disbelief existed in the MMA populace after his arrival in the States; Silva decided the best way to cure this doubt was by showing the world what Rich Franklin would look like if his insides were on the outside. And while he may have failed to deliver in the "letter of the law", he was fully successful in delivering its spirit. That night Anderson Silva inserted himself into the waking nightmares of everyone with aspirations of holding the MW belt as well as anyone who likes all of their organs to work properly. I don't feel I'm alone in saying the world is better for it. Thank you, Anderson Silva. Now please never hurt me. I have a family and, more importantly, a whole shitload of nerve endings that are very good at their job.
MISC: Fuck this thing is long. This also happened: Forrest Griffin Choked Out Shogun! WHHHHAAAAA?!? Matt Serra KO'd GSP!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOO WAAAAAAAAYYYYY!!!! Fedor Beat Hong Man Choi AND Matt Lindland!!!!! Well yes, that makes perfect sense and is to be expected.
Anyway, 2007 was a lot of fun. I needed to remind myself of that. You all have a good night.
Post Script: I'd actually been working on this a few months ago and decided I needed to get it out before my motivation to keep posting on BE dried up entirely. Hope you all enjoyed it, but more importantly I hope it triggered the good kind of nostalgia for your favorite fights, events, or just general periods of being an MMA fan. Hopefully we'll see those good times again.