2013 May Mixed Martial Arts Postscript: From Elbows to Exits

Photo by Esther Lin of MMA Fighting

The 2013 month of May proved to be just as bizarre as the last. So much so that the two UFC events felt more like background noise amidst the usual controversies.

The MMA world keeps turning, and with every revolution, an event of monumentally crass proportions occurs. Last month we had Matt Mitrione slinging mud, Wanderlei Silva's nightmarish avant garde interpretation of April Fools, and everyone at any UFC event losing either an eye, or a toe. On a scale of 1 to The Manitou, how did April's month of crazy stack up to May?

May 7th; Shane Carwin Tweets His Retirement

Carwin led an interesting career. He began as a 35 year old prodigy, and left a victim of lactic acidosis. Sadly, most will remember him for his excuses for losing to Brock Lesnar at UFC 116. At the time, however, it was one of the biggest fights in HW history (a point UFC marketing wanted to be very literal about), and if you saw it with a crowd, a reminder of the drawing power that Lesnar had in his brief run as champ.

Carwin retired with a unique record of 12-2, each win coming by way of first round stoppage that included wins over Frank Mir and Gabriel Gonzaga. For an engineer, he was a hell of a fighter.

May16th; The Biggest Featherbrain in the World

There's never not a story in MMA that doesn't involve some stupid insensitive remark (see last month), and this time, it was Nate Diaz calling Bryan Caraway "the biggest fag in the world" for taking Pat Healy's money when the UFC gave it to him because Healy got busted for marijuana in his system.

Not sure where to go with this story; Nate is likely not homophobic, as he explicitly stated his support for the LGBT community on the Ultimate Fighter, but regardless, it was a dumb thing to do.

May 17th; "Hey, I think that guy just elbowed you in the head" - Uriah Hall to Cat Zingano on Bryan Caraway

I remember when this story broke, and all I saw was the headline that I had to do a double take, thinking "wait, so Bryan elbowed a cat in the head? Zingano's husband? Maybe Cat's pet turtle named 'Zingano'? Surely Bryan Caraway didn't actually elbow a woman in the head at the weigh-ins of a highly publicized UFC event...

It's one of those stories that's so bizarre is has to be true. I mean, nobody tells their boss they were late to work because a gang of surfers dressed as ex-US Presidents robbed them at gun point unless it actually happened. Or true-ish. Obviously, Caraway denied the whole thing, but his last words were telling...

"Sometimes I'm a knucklehead"

For Bryan's sake, hopefully foolishness doesn't extend to casual elbows thrown at women's heads.

May 18th; The Biggest Featherbrain in the World (Addendum)

Obviously, in MMA, when you say something insensitive, it doesn't end there. There's always some labyrinthian plot involved. In this case, Mike Kogan didn't feel like Nate Diaz had to apologize. After all, Nate was just using 'fag' to be synonymous with 'bitch' and 'sissy'. That's totally less hateful.

I see this logic used all the time. Even Joe Rogan fell victim to it in his verbal altercations. But I'll let you in on a secret knuckleheads; there's a reason you experience outrage from others when you say these words. It's because words are tied to history. And that history can be violent. You don't get to use them in a context you create for yourself. This isn't about political correctness. It's about language. You don't get to re-brand what you don't own.[/rant]

Sometime in May; Something about the HW Championship, Vitor Belfort's Amazing Rise and TRT

There was some MMA action this month, by the way. UFC on FX 8 involved Vitor Belfort's continued run in the UFC, but unfortunately he's on TRT, so it was hard for us to enjoy his wheel kick knockout of Luke Rockhold.

It must suck to get kicked in the head by a juicer, but I guess that's the risk you take in the fight business. Rather than beat, kick, powerbomb, and fire at with heat seeking missiles a dead horse, the discussion about TRT it'll be interesting to see just how far Belfort's synthetic spinach takes him. Does anyone feel like he can beat Anderson Silva (assuming he gets passed Weidman)? A front kick to the face like last time is unlikely. But then again if Anderson isn't dazzling us with one thing, he'll dazzle us with something else. Even if that dazzling involves a totally baffling decision.

In other news, I feel bad for Cain Velasquez. He continues to prove he's the best heavyweight in the world, and in emphatic, fight-stopping fashion, yet nobody cared because of Mark Hunt's incredible run culminating against another fan favorite in Junior dos Santos, who won in exciting and shocking fashion.

May 25th; Forrest Griffin Retires

It was something that felt like an afterthought despite a much better career than fans assume.

Fraser Coffeen's done an excellent recap here, so I won't belabor any sort of retrospective other than to point out that despite his many faults, he's a decent addition to the UFC Hall of Fame.

It's not a great pick, but Dan Marino was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Why not a UFC fighter who began his career as a reality TV star, won a handful of fights in the UFC and then became a UFC champion with zero help from Joe Silva. Quinton Jackson and Mauricio Rua were still mostly in their primes when he beat them, even if their performances were lacking. That's on them though...not Griffin. He may not symbolize good taste, but when it comes to cliches, no one better reflected the principle of "will over skill" better than Forrest Griffin.

May 25th; UFC Hall of Farce

I understand that Stephan Bonnar was a significant piece of UFC history. Maybe there's an argument there about how without Bonnar's famous fight with griffin, that the UFC modern era wouldn't exist but I tend to disagree.

Regardless of how significant his fight was, he was a journeyman. He was a journeyman with very few interesting fights during his UFC tenure, and a journeyman who got popped for steroids twice. What exactly does he symbolize that makes him Hall of Fame worthy?

May 28th; Losers Don't Leave Town in Mixed Martial Arts

Cat Zingano got injured this month, and now Miesha Tate will get the title shot against Ronda Rousey, making this the bagillionth time a fighter coming off a loss gets a shot at the title. You can almost play a drinking game of all this.

Snark aside, at least these are good fights, proving that perhaps the woman's division is not as shallow as was feared by fans when the only female the UFC had on its roster at one point was the dude trapped in a beautiful body.

Shoop there it is!

Apologies for the lame subtitle.

This is probably out of place, and will likely be scrapped for future entries if just to deny the Sherdog forums the oxygen of publicity, but admittedly I still browse their forums for one thing: their Shoop threads. To the uninitiated, "Shoops" are defined as photoshops, and this month produced some gems following UFC 160.

Gray Maynard was victim number one with shoops that ranged from the funny, and the artistic, to the just plain bizarre.

No one is immune to parody, so if you're a fan of Mark Hunt you may want to look away. With this brutal photo as the springboard...between the Hell in the Cell and Airplane gifs, I certainly couldn't.

Off Topic: Penguins vs. Bruins/Blackhawks vs. Kings

I can't root for any team with Dustin Brown on it, so I'm not rooting for a Kings repeat, which is fine...since they're surrounded by absolute monsters. Pittsburgh and Boston is tough because while the Pens have faltered on defense, and are a Vokoun injury away from dead in the water, that offense should prove to be enough. The Blackhawks are probably the most complete team (or "well rounded", as we say in MMA), next to the Bruins, but the Kings have Quick...who is the only reason LA beat a very good San Jose, and the Penguins have Crosby. Pittsburgh vs. Chicago in the Stanley Cup Finals is my prediction, and one that is hopefully more accurate than Gray Maynard decision win prediction.

This month was exhausting; just saying.


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