UFC 143 was the final straw in a barrage of UFC straws that overloaded my overworked camel and finally broke its back. I don't have the words to describe just how disappointed I am at the events that transpired at that event. Yeah, it's easy when looking to the surface to choose a side and throw the blame around, but on the atomic level this has been a long time coming and though I am shocked and disappointed, I am not one bit angry at Nick Diaz. If you don't know who I'm talking about, Google him you dumb bitch.
The UFC's president, Dana White, has made some questionable decisions in his career, none more tumultuous than the ones that he has made over the past 4 years, none more idiotic and damaging to the UFC brand, none more damaging to its loyal fan base. Dana White has proven to be effective at whatever it is that his job is, but also equally ineffective because, simply put, he is a good business man and he is a baaaaaad business man. I can't explain it. It's a mind-boggling paradox that makes me respect him and want to slap him in the mouth at the same time. Over the past few years the UFC has gone mainstream, from having popular fighters appear on network television shows, to having them appear in movies, to switching from a middling cable network to one of the biggest television networks in the world. They have absorbed the 2 biggest MMA organizations outside of the UFC. They have provided more events for the fans to watch, and lowered ticket prices for their Pay Per View spectaculars. Sounds good right? Wrong! Because of these decisions, they have also monopolized an entire sport and turned any plausible MMA prospects into timid manufactured clones of athletes that seek to win instead of fight. So what that means essentially is that there are tons of new fights and new fighters under the UFC banner, but they all pretty much suck.
And this is what leads me to my list. Here are the top 5 reasons I now hate the UFC:
This is where the downward spiral of the UFC began for me. UFC 86 was where Forrest Griffin earned the Light Heavyweight Title. Looking back on it, it was a very close fight which had fans and analysts split straight down the middle as to who actually won, leading to what would seem to be the most logical conclusion: a rubber match. But wait, there was no Jackson vs Griffin II was there? Nope. The UFC brass decided that instead of giving the fans what they wanted, nèe, needed, they would try to milk this cash cow for all that it was worth. Instead of the rubber match, Rampage Jackson was banished to the middle of the light heavyweight pack to "work his way back up" to another title shot, a ludicrous idea that was soon scrapped after Forrest Griffin lost the belt to Rashad Evans. Instead, Jackson was given a "prove it" match with Keith Jardine for a title shot, which he won. Soon after that Rashad Evans fought a relatively known piss-drinking entity by the name of Lyoto Machida and lost the belt to him (are you still following me here). Rampage ditched his disdain for Rashad Evans and requested his title fight yet again, but no no no, it gets even better children. Dana White told him that instead of fighting Machida, he would appear as a coach for the second time on The Ultimate Fighter alongside Rashad Evans, and he would definitely get the title shot, no questions asked, after he fulfilled that commitment. After the filming for the show completed, Dana White changed his tune yet again and told Quinton that in order to get the same title shot that was guaranteed to him twice already under two entirely different circumstances, he would have to now have to face Rashad Evans for yet another number one contender's match. Such a convoluted situation solved ever so simply by Rampage when he said "Fuck this shit," and left the UFC to be a movie star. How you like dem apples?
This was not the first time that something like this had happened--Dana trying to get as much mileage out of a "storyline" as possible I mean. He brought the drama a couple of years earlier with BJ Penn and some years before that with Tito Ortiz. You see, before the acquisition of Pride and Strikeforce Dana had a history of fucking up when it came to maintaining fighter loyalty. He treated them like commodities, as if their time, money, and emotional investment was a construct that can be easily controlled and played at will. And every time those popular and marketable fighters gave a big F U to the boss, the entire state of the company was left in disrepair. That's what Nick Diaz did at UFC 143. He said "I'm outta this shit" and he was right to do so. He had the weight of the Welterweight division on his shoulders when the UFC acquired him from Strikeforce to fight Geroges St-Pierre. Nick was to play the "villain" and like it, he was to stir the shit on purpose, he was to drum up as much interest as possible in that fight to sell sell sell because Georges St-Pierre is a carbon copy of a carbon copy of a carbon copy of fucking boring. Diaz caved under the pressure and was not only sent to the back-burner but then was clusterfucked out of a win in that fight. Why should he have to put up with that sort of treatment anymore? It's called, "If you don't like your job, quit" so he did. Someone should also inform Dana White that if he could control his hissy fits and avoid hastily reacting to unexpected situations in the future, he wouldn't have to worry about fucking up the only fight cards I actually want to see.
4. Greg Jackson's MMA
Good gym, good coaches, good strategies, absolutely terrible for the sport of MMA. Jackson' s MMA has systematically castrated every exciting prospective fighter since Diego Sanchez by implementing the "point system." You see, someone over in Albuquerque figured out that in order to win a fight in the UFC, one does not necessarily have to fight. All one has to do is avoid being submitted or knocked out while not losing more points than his opponent in a given match. Meaning, dry-hump their way to victory. Yep, it's that simple! Thanks Jackson's MMA, you've somehow made the latent homoeroticism of Mixed Martial Arts more gay than it already was, and not in the fun way.
3. Affliction, Pride, WEC, Strikeforce, K1, Bellator
You killed them. You killed them all. And since they're all dead, every fighter under the UFC roster has to make sure they keep their fucking job because they have nowhere else to go. Know what that means? Playing it safe. Yup, boring main events, hell boring entire cards simply because the fighters are afraid that if they go balls out, they will either lose and be out of a job or get injured, thus having to spend time they don't have recuperating which will in turn cut off their cash flow. Or, they can use an even worse, unrefined version of the Greg Jackson but-humping strategy to avoid injury all together, not risk losing and getting cut, but also not gain any fans and sponsors. Pick your poison, tiger *rarrww* And since the UFC now monopolizes all of Mixed Martial Arts, there are so many fighters on the roster and so many cards to watch that they don't have the same impact as they used to. There is only one category for fighters to be put into and it is by weight, there are no more speculations as to how a champion from one organisation would fare against a champion from another, and there is no identifying with anyone besides the top-tier fighters and the up-and-comers who challenge them. 70% of the faces I see in the UFC I don't recognize because, let's be honest here, I couldn't care less. Where's the intamacy? Where's that feeling of niche-condescension I used to have when I would do my Matt Serra impression and no one within 3 city blocks knew who the fuck I was talking about? What happened to my UFC?
2. Pool's Closed: The Golden Days Are Over
Jens Pulver, BJ Penn, Matt Hughes, Matt Serra, Karo Parisyan, Evan Tanner, Rich Franklin, Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, Tim Sylvia, Brock Lesnar, ROYCE FUCKING GRACIE. These are some names you need to know if you don't already. All these men put on some of the most kick-ass fights in the history of the UFC. They polarized the crowds and turned casual observers into die-hard fans. I was lucky enough to be around for those crazy moments as well as the introduction to the new era of champions like Frankie Edgar, Georges St-Pierre, Anderson Silva, and Jon Jones, but lo and behold there is a catch. There is virtually no competition for these new champions, they're always getting injured, and when they finally do fight you'll most likely be rooting for the undercard rather than the main event. There are some snore-fests, some novelty fights, some lopsided disembowelments, and plenty of re-matches, but for some reason their performances never stick to you for very long. They have bland personalities. They're not remarkable or memorable in their interviews. They don't make you laugh or excite you, and they don't make you anticipate their next fight. In conjunction with that, the most talented of all the champions, Jon Jones, has the worst attitude I have seen in sports since Terrell Owens. Fortunately for everyone karma came back in full force and Terrell Owens is now broke. Here's to praying for a life-altering injury or an indictment on tax evasion charges for Jon Jones because if anyone deserves to have his life ruined, it's definitely him. And lastly I mean really, who can touch any of these champs? Who? They're in a league all their own and they will continue to be for some time, so what is there to look forward to? I honestly think the sport will die down by the time anyone else interesting comes along, but by then I will have been completely lost as a fan because I just don't have the patience to wait around for sparks anymore. Sorry UFC, but this holy union is officially over.
1. Georges St-Pierre
He is beautiful. His face is beautiful, his eyes are a deep blue, he talks with a cute little quirky accent, and he has the body of a G.I. Joe action figure. He's nice. I accosted him in Las Vegas and completely lost my shit but he reached his hand out and greeted me, waited as I fumbled around in my bag for my camera, and kindly took a picture with me while I made a fool of myself in his captivating presence. I really really really want to like him but unfortunately for Georges St-Pierre, he makes an appearance in all 5 out of 5 of the reasons I now hate the UFC.
Nick Diaz did skip that one press conference but had Georges asked for the fight despite that, Dana would have given it to him, because Dana gives Georges everything he wants. People tend to overlook that by skipping said press conference, Nick Diaz drummed up more hype and publicity than St-Pierre ever could have with his boring, pre-packaged brand of promotion. Diaz had a point when he said that the only way he got a title shot was by playing the villian, and he was right. Why didn't Georges ask for that fight sooner? I have no idea. It's a stretch for some, I know, but there was something in the way that Nick Diaz said it that made me feel for him because he will never have the power to ask for such a thing and get it when he wants to, on his home turf, and who are we kidding here; he's the only legitimate competition Georges has at this point. And please allow my ignorance to show when I ask who in the hell is Carlos Condit??? I digress.
Georges trains with Jackson's MMA and is the poster boy for implementation of the dry-buttsecks-humping-lay-and-pray style of "fighting," or shall I say, "out-pointing," that has become synonymous with said camp. He used to be vicious. He used to be a little cocky. He used to have a gleam in his eye and want to punish his opponents. Now he's just a "nice guy" who tries to "finish" every fight he is in because all of his opponents are his "most tough opponent yet." Yeah ok Georges. Nobody can touch you at this point so either stop pulling that same pre-rendered nice guy bullshit or shut the hell up completely and win your fights how you will no explanation necessary. I can't take it anymore.
He's not going anywhere because he is a UFC fixture. I'm pretty sure his little foray into Olympic Wrestling was his way of trying to escape the pressures of being a champion, but damned if he loses that title due to a risky maneuver or because he didn't keep his opponent in the "power bottom" position, because that would be bad. For him. Much needed for us though. Seriously, if he's not going to the Olympics that means he has to stick it out for another 3-4 years before he retires. It's like a loveless marriage: I fell out of love with him because he fell out of love with fighting a long time ago. There's a certain sadness in all of this, to see such a bright star fade, not due to injury or unpopularity, but simply because his spirit has been sucked dry. He's a former shell of himself but as much as I want to root for him, I still want to root against his bland ass. I don't know, figure something out Frenchie and do it quick because your fans aren't going to be there forever.....scratch that, some of them will. Those fans are what we from now on will refer to as "remedial."
And that just about does it, folks. Yup. I mean, all good things must come to an end and this is the beginning of said end for me. I don't know what the future holds so maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised and my waning fanaticism with the UFC will go out with a bang. Maybe I'll be content with my severance of support for the UFC at some point; maybe not. Here's to UFC 144. Don't fail me now, Shields! (It literally hurt my soul type that)