UFC 165 results: Was Jones vs. Gustafsson too brutal for mainstream fans?

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

Alexander Gustafsson shocked champ Jon Jones by giving him everything he could handle at UFC 165. Was it too much for mainstream sports fans?

UFC Light Heavyweight champ Jon Jones found himself in the "dog fight" of his life Saturday night against 8-1 underdog Alexander Gustafsson. Afterwards both men found their way to the hospital, looking like they'd been in a car accident. Jones took home the unanimous decision win but many fans felt Gustafsson truly won the fight.

Hardcore MMA fans were thrilled with the fight, the action, the suspense, the display of skill, will and heart on the part of both men. But at least one mainstream sports reporter thought it was almost too much for mainstream sports fans - too much blood, too much brutality, too much violence.

Here's what Neil Davidson wrote for Canada's National Post under the headline"Jon Jones' brutal victory shows good and bad of mixed martial arts:"

There was little beauty in Saturday's main event, other than marvelling at the amount of punishment two superbly conditioned and trained athletes can absorb. It was like watching a time-lapse video of two bodies breaking down. Fascinating but brutal.

...

Both men looked like they had been in an accident as they waited for the result to be announced after 25 action-packed minutes. They could hardly stand up.

...

Gustafsson had a bloody ear, a contusion under the eye and a glob of Vaseline on top of a cut high on his temple. Jones had a bandage above his right eye, mouses below both eyes and his post-fight speech came through bloody, swollen lips.

Critics will point to the fight as everything that is bad about the sport. Fans will talk about it for years, debating whether the challenger actually won.

As a card-carrying member of the MMA media I am so deep inside the bubble that I was somewhat shocked by the angle Davidson took in his extremely well-written story. I couldn't tell if Davidson himself was troubled by the violence or if he was imagining a more sensitive fan who might hypothetically be upset by the brutality.

What do you think? Did anyone watch the fight with casual fans? What was their reaction? What do you think?

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