Yes folks, it's time for me to strap on my old man hat, grab a PBR from the fridge, hike my suspenders up really high and find a plum spot on the "sittin' couch" - for today, we b*tch about the youth.
Ok, I don't know if it's "the youth" I'm mad at, but I'm just assuming based on what I see at most MMA events. See, my real axe to grind is with you MMA fans - and the absolutely silly misconceptions most of us seem to somehow have.
I’m talking about the sort of "facts" you shout across a crowded bar to your friend during a fight, the sort of "facts" you hear circulated at live MMA events, or debated on forums, or condensed into pill form on Twitter.
You could call them "broad-based conceptions" but I prefer the term "misinformed hooey" because any chance to use the word "hooey" makes me feel like a wild-west prospector, Texas oil baron, or Herschel from "The Walking Dead".
Still don't know what I'm getting at? Let's pick an example from this week of MMA news to use and we'll go from there...something along the lines of...
1) Frankie Edgar is done at LW!
Here's a "widely accepted" fact among MMA fans that's about as silly a statement as you can make. I remember first getting a feeling for this sentiment when I wrote that Frankie should get an immediate rematch with Bendo, and the response was...unenthusiastic to say the least. I guess fans didn't want to see more of the greatest series in MMA history (yeah, I said it) in favor of "keeping the division moving".
Fair enough. But then when Dana White read my blog, and called me up personally to tell me he was taking my advice (note: some of what I just wrote was not intended as a factual statement) and booking Frankie/Ben II, there it was again. Not just anger at another Edgar rematch - which I can at least understand, if not support - but an assumption that this fight was a foregone conclusion. Put simply: Bendo 316 says he's gonna whoop Frankie's a** (again)!
Frankie Edgar gave the greatest LW of our generation two back-to-back losses. He gave Gray Maynard the only loss in Gray’s career that Gray didn’t inflict on himself. And for the last two years, he’s been a natural 145’er who’s held a title at 155 (in the deepest division in MMA) and put on some of the greatest fights of all-time.
And most importantly: no one in MMA is better at rematches than Frankie Edgar. Just look at Edgar/Penn II, or Edgar/Maynard III. Frankie bounces back like no one else in the game, and is a master at making adjustments and upping his game for a rematch.
Saying Edgar is “done” because of one razor-close decision loss seems pretty silly to me.
2) Greg Jackson is a boring decision machine!
There’s been a whole ream of articles written about this, so I’ll spare everyone the long spiel and get right down to brass tacks. I’ve included this one in this vaunted list because a) it’s one of the most annoying misconceptions in MMA, and b) it still persists somehow.
This will also be a fun exercise in how to win an argument in under 100 words. Ahem:
Hey you there! You who hates Greg Jackson! Isn’t it annoying how he takes good, exciting fighters and absolutely ruins them with his boring, points first, “winning is the only thing” gameplans?
That was fun.
Here’s another gem of accepted MMA fan wisdom that confuses me more than the whole “Hunger Games” hysteria. After all, isn’t “Hunger Games” just “Battle Royale” with all the strange, unprocess-able Japanese weirdness sucked out, and plenty of “Twilight”-esque teenybopper drama subbed in?
Hey, I told you this was going to be an old man b*tching post, didn’t I? Might as well go with the theme.
But back to Chael. Recently, it was announced that Sonnen will rematch Silva this summer, in an 80,000-seat soccer stadium in Brazil. Aside from flipping right the hell out over this wonderful and exciting news, MMA fans general sentiment could be summed up as “RIP Chael Sonnen”.
I’m having a strange sense of déjà vu here. That sort of attitude seems very familiar. Wait, I remember – it’s the same thing everyone was saying right before UFC 117 two years ago!
And that was the fight, you recall, where Anderson Silva’s vaunted striking skill was more than a match for the Oregon gangster, while Sonnen’s wrestling played almost no factor at all!
Wait, wait a second, I think I got that wrong. What actually happened is Chael rocked Anderson standing multiple times, took him down and beat him up at will, and then…got triangled. Yeah, he lost. But it was far, far from “RIP Chael Sonnen”.
“But Hobbie!” the fan complains “Chael was all ‘roided up! Anderson’s rib was bothering him! This time, a 100% Silva will wreck Chael!”
Yeah, except that Chael being “’roided up” in that fight was no different from Chael being “’roided up” in every single one of his previous fights, if we believe his hypogonadism story. And Anderson Silva having a “rib injury” was no different from every fighter who explains away a lackluster performance after the fact with a vague reference to a hindering injury.
Here’s the truth as far as I can see: everyone who has ever wanted to take down Anderson Silva in his UFC career has done so. I don’t recall Anderson complaining of injury when Travis Lutter almost effortlessly took him down, passed to mount, and very nearly finished the fight. I don’t remember any post-fight injuries being to blame when Dan Henderson held down Anderson for a whole round in their fight.
I see Sonnen/Silva II going very much like Sonnen/Silva I, with Chael taking Anderson down repeatedly and Anderson working submissions off his back. Of course, this means Anderson has a very good chance of winning, just like last time. But assuming this is going to be a blowout is buying the hype just a bit too much.
By Elton Hobson