Various, little things can do a lot to annoy die hard MMA fans, and there's not a week that goes by where something happens, someone says something, or someone does something that draws my ire. Let's see what sent me on a warpath over the past week in this second edition of Ring Rants.
- Spike TV, the cable network that's supposedly comparable to Fox according to certain lawyers, believe the best way to promote MMA on Thursday nights is to have it analogous with domestic disturbances and public acts of violence, if their advertising for 'Beef Thursdays' is anything to go by. With Bellator promoting themselves as the 'toughest tournament in sports', I wonder how they really feel about Spike dumbing down the perception of their product to that of the stereotypes that permeated MMA 10 years ago. Instead of a message about sporting prowess, competition and hard work & discipline to succeed at the highest level, the Viacom channel has gone with a Violence is the answer to all of life's problems angle, no matter how tongue in cheek it's execution is.
Fox on the other hand has brought UFC firmly into its Fox Sports fold, using the same music and similar attention to production as their NFL coverage, with even a custom made introduction. I'll take reverence and respect for the product and credibility over appealing to the lowest common denominator, thank you very much.
- Dana White went off on the perceived betrayal of Randy Couture in defecting to Bellator, stating that he's the "furthest thing from Captain America". That Couture never referred to himself as such, and that it was UFC commentators Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan that attributed the moniker to Couture during the Liddell / Couture golden age, and that it helped his marketability when it came to UFC promoting Couture in fights and making the company money in doing so, is obviously irrelevant ...
- At the UFC 156 pre-fight media scrum, Dana White laid into Tito Ortiz -- former UFC Light heavyweight champion and now fighter manager for Cristiane 'Cyborg' Santos -- for claims that Ronda Rousey hadn't 'proven herself yet'. Most would read that as Rousey's accomplishments in MMA, but then Dana White is not most people. White compared their athletic backgrounds, stating Ortiz was a Junior College wrestler compared to Rousey being an Olympic medallist in Judo.
Consider though Olympic Gold medallist wrestlers Mark Schultz, Kevin Jackson, Rulon Gardener, Kenny Monday and Karam Ibrahim Gaber were mostly 'one and done' in MMA, with Gaber losing his sole match and Jackson not really leaving a mark in his short lived career. Gold medal Judokas Pawel Nastula, Satoshi Ishii and Hidehiko Yoshida had mixed success in MMA as well. Basically as good as Rousey's accomplishment is to win a Bronze medal in Olympic Judo, its only relevance is to serve as fodder for Dana White to use in an ad hominem attack against Ortiz, since her success in MMA was never guaranteed based on past accolades.
White then compares the first 9 fights of Ortiz's and Rousey's career, claiming Rousey's have only gone "9 minutes and 28 seconds" total, while Ortiz's first 9 went "40 minutes and 45 seconds" total. Not one to take Dana White's words at face value, I decided to do my own math based on information available.
Based on the MMA records for both Tito Ortiz and Ronda Rousey on Wikipedia, Rousey's first 9 fights (3 amateur, 6 professional) have gone 9 minutes 23 seconds, while Ortiz first 9 fights have gone 75 minutes 17 seconds. Rousey's is accurate enough within 5 seconds, but Ortiz's is way off, and even longer than White initially stated. Even if White was only including fights fought in the UFC, his total time would actually go up to 78 minutes 33 seconds, assuming Wikipedia's database is accurate. And if Wikipedia is accurate, Dana White probably needs better researchers the next time he wants to make an irrelevant argument, especially considering he ended his rant with "C'mon, do your homework, Tito".
What really matters most is quality of opposition in their respective careers, something Dana White conveniently fails to compare. Tito Ortiz fought the likes of Guy Mezger, Frank Shamrock, Wanderlei Silva and Evan Tanner in his first 9 fights, while Ronda Rousey fought the likes of Miesha Tate, Sarah Kaufman, Julia Budd and Sarah D'Alelio in hers. If you just consider those names today based on the hindsight of history, the comparison in quality favours Ortiz. But really, comparing two different fighter careers from two different eras, without considering the context of those careers doesn't make the soundest or fairest of arguments. Dana White can say Rousey "smokes" and "buries" Ortiz based on accomplishments made within the first 9 fights of their career, but I feel his energy is better served beyond taking cheap shots at former fighters he's had personal beef with, especially when what he says beneath the surface is actually meaningless and proves nothing.
As it turns out, Dana White may be more irritable than usual because of the medication he's currently on since having surgery to help prevent Ménière's attacks, so maybe as that settles down he'll turn his attention to more legitimate concerns, and not petty gripes over UFC Hall of Famers.