Greetings you filthy set of sub-human miscreants, ne'er-do-wells, nimrods, and scumbags. This is the latest edition of "The Haters' Guide" where Patrick Wyman and I (Mookie Alexander) shoot the breeze on a few topics surrounding an upcoming UFC event. We started this with UFC 170 and were heaped with lavish praise, money, and large cheese pizzas. After much feedback over social media and on Bloody Elbow, we've carefully fine-tuned our levels of hate, which you'll be reading shortly.
The UFC's #2 ranked light heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson will be fighting in front of thousands of rabid European fans tomorrow, and literally tens of people will see it on UFC Fight Pass. It should be a good card, but we've got bigger fish to fry.
Gustafsson on Fight Pass
Mookie: The UFC is struggling for good PPV numbers, Alexander Gustafsson's first fight with Jon Jones was a disappointment at the box office, so what does the UFC do? Put Gustafsson behind a $9.95 a month paywall for his next fight, something Gustafsson himself already says is a raw deal. I don't blame him, and at this point you have to wonder if beating Jimi Manuwa on Fight Pass is going to be glossed over for Daniel Cormier dispatching Pat Cummins.
Let me just vent about Fight Pass itself for a little bit - It sucks. The interface is rougher than an Applebee's steak, the "full fight library" is incomplete even after the TWO MONTH free-trial, the search feature often yields me completely irrelevant matches, and frankly it's not even worth the hackers' time to go into their database and steal credit and debit card information. By the time they've fixed their bugs, improved the usability of the site, and actually fulfilled their promise on being the ultimate home for even worse international versions of TUF, classic fights, recent fights, and Joe Rogan conspiracy theories, I damn well bet you the price will "suddenly" increase to $14.95.
Patrick: I'd like to start by mentioning a few things dumber than putting Gustafsson on Fight Pass after his last performance proved that he's the only guy who can be competitive with Jon Jones. Let's see: Vitor Belfort's current haircut, Jenny McCarthy's stance on vaccinations, political small talk with Jacob Volkmann, turning to MMA Roasted for a nuanced take on gender, Vitor Belfort's last haircut, the manager who signed Rafael dos Anjos to fight the wrong Dagestani, and anybody who thought Patrick Cummins had a legitimate shot against Daniel Cormier. If you were one of those people and you plan on reproducing at some point in the future, I'd recommend buying stock in the company that produces those miniature school buses. You'll thank me in a few years when you have a nice nest egg that you can waste on exiled Nigerian princes, half-off sales at the local Hot Topic, and UFC-branded blow-up dolls.
I'm going to give the UFC the benefit of the doubt and assume that they have some sort of plan here, but let me be perfectly clear: it's the wrong fucking plan. Gustafsson is literally the only hope for the future in a weight class packed with over-the-hill veterans and "prime" fighters who couldn't find any other division's top 25 with a GPS-enabled smartphone while being led by a bloodhound hot on the trail of the subtle aroma of Axe body spray. Getting as many eyes on Gustafsson as possible and building on the momentum he created in his last performance is absolutely essential, especially if you're hoping to use him to sell PPVs at some point in the foreseeable future. That won't happen if his fight is stuck behind a paywall on a poorly-executed platform that's received fewer positive reviews than the NFL's response to head trauma. I hate this so, so much.
Mookie: The light heavyweight division is terrible. Jon Jones helped to make it terrible by beating the piss out of his opposition -- this is amazing because I'm told he keeps ducking fighters -- but subtract that and it's just plain old. Cyrille Diabate is on this card and he's 40, Dan Henderson is 43 and he's fighting in two weeks. Jimi Manuwa is hailed as a top "prospect", and he's 34. Coincidentally, "34 to 43" is the general maximum IQ of your average Sherdog forum poster. Anything higher than that and they ban you for being far too intelligent.
There is no Conor McGregor equivalent at 205. Or Brandon Thatch. Or Aljamain Sterling. We've got Cody Donovan instead. Shoot me in the face.
Patrick: Having spent a metric shit-ton of time looking at prospects over the last few months, I can say with confidence that there's absolutely nobody on the way up at LHW. It's a barren wasteland of 30+ future journeymen and...that's about it.
Oh, one more thing about Fight Pass. Put it on Apple TV, or Chromecast, or the XBox, or PS3, anything so that I can watch on my TV instead of my computer. Every time I fire up the old browser to watch something on Fight Pass, I feel like I'm sneaking in a quickie with some pixelated thumbnail porn pics on a GeoCities site that hasn't been updated since 1999. Actually, that would be a lot less shameful, and I'm pretty sure my fiancee wouldn't look at me with such a damning combination of heartfelt pity and deep-seated disgust.
New Commentary Team
Mookie: You'll notice that this weekend's announcers are England's John Gooden and Dan Hardy, who are making their UFC debuts. It's good to have a second English-speaking play-by-play guy in the fold, with Jon Anik as the other one...
Patrick: I was watching an old UFC broadcast the other day, and Goldberg was surprisingly not terrible, or at least not nearly as bad as he's been over the last couple of years. Be warned, kids: this is why you should stay away from quantities of Red Bull (and who knows what else) sufficient to snap Mia Wallace out of her Pulp Fiction heroin overdose.
I'm familiar with Gooden from his time as an announcer in Cage Warriors, and he's an excellent addition to the UFC's commentary team. He's also a snazzy dresser, with a deep arsenal of bow ties, pocket squares, and tailored suits. I'm not sure quite where I'm going with that, except to point out that a TV personality dressing like an actual professional instead of a hellspawned cross between a penniless mob enforcer and a walking advertisement for the degeneracy of modern American culture should be expected rather than celebrated.
Mookie: I didn't even pay attention to the way he dresses. You'll see boxing guys like Jim Lampley dress-up in fancy suits and a bow-tie, and it gives off the impression that it's a big occasion, whereas we're treated to Joe Rogan's nipples raging war on his tight-fitting dark shirts, while Kenny Florian toggles between TV mob boss and someone whose hair bears a striking resemblance to that of two chipmunks mating.
The Cheesecake Assassin
Mookie: There's a guy on the prelims nicknamed "The Cheesecake Assassin". I immediately thought to myself "Matt Serra really was serious about coming back to the UFC", but nope, it's some Englishman called Danny Mitchell and he's neither a heavyweight nor is he fat. Cheesecakes are considered delicious, which runs directly counter to England's food scene, so the nickname doesn't fit to me. What about "The Crumpet Crusher"? Or "The Mashed Banger"? And we have a nation filled with fatasses and food-mongerers, why don't we have an American UFC fighter with a similar moniker?
Patrick: I'm with you on the conceptual basis of the nickname, and given our proud American tradition of morbid obesity, it's strange that we don't have a comparable standard-bearer. I simply cannot, however, abide the fact that cheesecake - cheesecake, for Christ's sake - is Danny Mitchell's poison of choice. It's strange and borderline offensive. Fish and chips? Sure, I'm with you, even if tartar sauce is nothing but a cruel joke perpetrated on condiment connoisseurs. "The Crumpet Crusher" would be a nice twofer of a joke; despite living in the British Isles for two years, I couldn't pick a crumpet out of a police lineup. With that said, I like the uncommon nature of the nickname - MMA doesn't need more "Pitbulls" - so my feelings are a bit mixed. In sum, I'd grade "The Cheesecake Assassin" at 6.5/10 cans of Xyience.
That's it for us. We're going to serve up a fresh batch of Haterade next week for UFC 171, which is apparently in Texas, and nothing ever goes wrong there. If you have any 171-related topics you want us to verbally destroy, whether it'd be serious or offbeat, please let us know and we'll consider