The month of September was relatively tame for a sport that each month provides us with a range of stories that engage the many archetypes in narratives. From the comedy of War Machine's 18th century perspective on manhood to the tragedy of Jason Mayhem Miller's entire life, September was a little different, and just a little less exotic. In keeping with the writing analogies we went from Chuck Palahniuk to James Frey.
Twitter Beefs and Hand Grenades
If there's one thing MMA is good at, it's the hilariously misguided, overly manufactured "beefs" that occur in our wild west world of twitter conflicts, and enraged bald heads.
In our first round of September nonsensicalness, Dana White and Tito Ortiz engaged in their usual "bad blood". In this case it got as heated as coaching women to box jokes. I have no follow up.
Diego Brandao spoke what could only be described as fratspeak spoken through a Tourette's megaphone in getting Conor McGregor to fight him (?), and McGregor correctly wondered aloud in 140 characters or less whether or not Brandao might be a little loopy upstairs.
As stupid as these are, they're quickly becoming the Lloyd Kaufman films of our MMA cinema. Particularly fantastic is the part where Jason Miller calls Mark Munoz a "bitch" and his own "wife's gimp". Of course, he's tweeting to the Mark Munoz that lives in Hong Kong, and who founded InvestLab. Not the MMA fighter. In Miller's current state, it's quite possible he'd be happy to arrange that bout for PPV.
It debuted to its lowest series rating ever. I'd like think that it's because viewers are becoming more intelligent, knowing full well not to digest the usual cocktail of amateur fighting, prepackaged feuds, and the every season promise from Dana about this season being "the craziest season ever". Maybe people don't want "crazy" Dana. Maybe they just want quality.
Nick Diaz vs. Gray Maynard for TUF 18 (?!?)
...because everyone was clamoring for this one, right? I'm not sure how Joe Silva came up with this one. Perhaps they suspect Diaz will lose, and they're interesting in seeing Nate literally hemorrhage with rage? It's a good fight on paper between two quality lightweights but there's something to be said for styles making fights and knowing full well this won't be a crowd pleaser. To be fair, I actually enjoy watching Gray fight, and I think he's come a long way when you consider when he started the sport, and how he's developed.
Joe Warren KO'ed before Bellator Event
It's true that I have no place to tell a professional fighter that you are training like an idiot, and a madman, but two things about this; either a) you're training like an idiot, and a madman and therefore need to stop or b) you're prone to being knocked out, and should therefore rethink your profession. The Joe Warren situation is an example of the discussion that needs to be had about MMA fighters given the rate of injury, which is something I discussed in my interview with David Epstein. Warren is a solid fighter, but he's on the path to being another Jens Pulver if he keeps this up.
Floyd Mayweather Picks Canelo Alvarez Apart, and oh yea...about Keith Kizer
Floyd Mayweather put on another masterful performance this September. No one will ever be convinced he's a decent human being, but at this point, any questions about his legitimacy should be laid to rest. He's a brilliant boxer, not just talented, but talented and intelligent in the ring. Alvarez is an incredible talent himself, and Mayweather made him look foolish.
Which leads us to part 2. Despite a dominating performance, one judge scored the fight a draw leading to a surprisingly amount of fallout. The real question will be whether or not any of this motivates Kizer to finally understand the concept of accountability. While it's true that any fight is open to interpretation, the job of the judges is score fights in the most scientific way possible. CJ Ross stepped down following her scorecard; one of those fake political gestures that illustrates the illusion of accountability.
Jon Jones has first real test at UFC 165
It was nice to see a discussion about Jon Jones move away from his personality, as if we know the rest of the participants so well that we can make such strong declarations by comparison, to his performance.
And so it has gone. Where the promotion emphasized only reach, the fight itself emphasized only brilliance. The big spinning back elbow was the perfect symbol; faking the takedown in order to land a very specific strike against such a dangerous opponent made the bout one for the ages. Greatest title fight ever? Maybe, maybe not. But it's in that discussion, and that's good enough.
In the wake of the fight, there had been talk of a rematch but now it looks like it's Glover Teixeira next. Which is fine. Let the rematch build organically. It's quite possible Gustafsson is the best contender at 205. Some argued he won the fight. Let them both come back strong with wins over other opponents before putting them back into the frying pan.
So about that Diaz/Maynard fight
Looks like Nate has more important things to do; like go to a high school reunion. I won't plagiarize the jokes from the BE readers on this one, but needless to say, they're worth reading. Under normal circumstances involving people not clouded in weed cocoons each waking second and with zero self-awareness, this would be a decent joke to play on your boss. As is, Nate's probably serious, and will later complain about why he doesn't get paid more. Thankfully Kogan clarified the situation to us the other day.
David Epstein on the Future of Genetics, Training, and Lots More
Normally I'd consider this a shameless plug, but I thought there were a lot of interesting things David had to say that demand questions about the future of sports in my interview with him.
The biggest thing is the potential for an ApoE4 screening test; the gene said to be associated with an increased risk of brain disease. Obviously, combat sports would take the biggest hit if such a test were so readily available. But the real question is how we respond to these technologies. Also, big thanks to those that posted in the comments section. There was some very good stuff posted by the readers of BE, proving that the comments section of any website doesn't have to be a cesspool of humanity's worst traits.
Huge loss to the depth at MW. While Okami suffered a brutal loss to Jacare, it's still odd to think about MW without Okami as the sturdy gatekeeper to ensure who are the contenders versus the pretenders. It's a thankless job, but you need these guys in the division. Needless to say, I disagree with this one.