(Ed. Note: Before this went to publish, Patrick Wyman had to leave early because he says he was traveling for the weekend with his wife. These are the lengths people are going to in order to avoid watching this event.)
Hating on this card is so easy that it's almost not worth it, kind of like mocking fans of the St. Louis Cardinals or New England Patriots, but Mookie and I (Patrick Wyman) have never let that stop us before.
Well, this has been a complete and total clusterfuck, huh?
Patrick: This Saturday night, the UFC is pleased to bring you a grand total of four fighters ranked in the top 15 of their respective divisions for the low, low, low price of $54.95, in HD so crisp that you'll be sure to notice the awful quality of the vast majority of their offerings. Anybody else remember how disturbing porn in HD was before they upped the performers' makeup layering to something resembling a wedding cake? Yeah, same deal here. Some of the fights will turn out to be fun, but by and large better fighters put on better fights, and this card is almost completely devoid of quality matchups.
Mookie: This card isn't even good enough for Fox. It would struggle to average 1 million viewers on Fox Sports 1 even including the title fight. You thought UFC 174 was a bad card? UFC 177 is a shit sandwich wrapped in a casing made out of a dead elephant's foreskin. I almost hope for the chaos of Dillashaw or Barao pulling out at the last minute and forcing yet another cancellation. It would benefit the UFC because they can put this rematch on anything but a PPV main event, the fighters would probably be paid at least show money before being re-booked, and the only losers would be residents of Sacramento, who otherwise have nothing to do in that festering, sweltering shithole other than make more crystal meth. It's one of the few places on the West Coast that is less desirable than Florida.*
* - You think I was done mocking Florida? Dead wrong.
This was designed to be a shitty card in the first place!
Mookie: Ignoring the multitude of injuries that have made this event go from "bad" to "tire fire in the middle of Detroit", the original lineup was as follows:
Dillashaw vs. Barao iI
Johnson vs. Cariaso
Correia vs. Baszler
Ferguson vs. Castillo
Magomedov vs. Odoms
TWO title fights you never wanted plus some random unranked heavyweights, which either ends in fun or wanting to dip your balls into a piranha tank ... because pain distracts other pain. That's what the UFC considers as having equal value to UFC 178. This is like Victoria's Secret saying Kate Upton and Melissa McCarthy have identical global sex appeal. I'd rather buy War MMA twice over than consider the #1 promotion having this dreck pass off as something you have to pay for. Why am I watching Alistair Overeem and Gegard Mousasi and Jacare Souza and all of these top fighters on cable ... yet paying for the privilege to see Ramsey Nijem?
Patrick: That's the most frustrating thing about this card. There were zero fights booked for it seven weeks out, the UFC thought they could pull it together on relatively short notice (as they did with UFC 173), and they settled for slapping two unappealing title bout on top of a bucket of fighters who wouldn't raise the pulse of the most degenerate fight fans on the planet. There are people who salivate over League S-70 and Coliseu Extreme Fights and RUFF and Ring of Combat cards with the enthusiasm of Rex Ryan looking at his wife's feet who are laughing their asses off at the idea of paying money for this dreck. If you happen to meet somebody who's legitimately stoked for this card, be sure to check their arms for track marks and their skin for cirrhosis-induced jaundice, because they're fucking junkies who need an intervention.
Henry Cejudo, Rumble Johnson's pint-sized understudy
Mookie: Olympic gold medalist? Check. Star potential in the land of many midgets lower weight classes? Check. Undefeated in young MMA career? Check. Can consistently make weight? Ummm .... ahhh .... work in progress. Henry Cejudo is a phenom who is making his UFC debut after crushing the scale at Legacy FC. But all of that could go to waste if he can't cut the fat around his waist. (See what I did there? No? Screw you)
Patrick: An Olympic freestyle gold medalist so unbelievably talented that he could roll out of bed and nearly make the Olympic team in 2012 pretty much without training should induce at least half an erection from MMA fans, but there are good reasons not to go reaching for the trusty old box of Kleenex just yet. He missed weight twice fighting for Legacy and pulled out of a third fight without explanation a week or two out, he doesn't exactly have a reputation for putting in hard work, and if that weren't enough, he's deeply involved in some kind of cult-like self-empowerment thing. Cejudo could be the next big thing in MMA, or he could be a total bust whose messy implosion makes Hiroshima look like a local fireworks display. The sick thing is that even without much serious training, he's still probably one of the ten or fifteen best flyweights on the planet.
The existential meaninglessness of Dillashaw-Barao II
Mookie: How often do one-sided ass kickings results in an immediate rematch? Answer: None. Unless Barao was on his death bed and we were watching a zombie version of him, there's very little to suggest that adjustments will be made from May to August that won't result in Dillashaw whooping Renan once more. You know who would've been a good first title defense for Dillashaw? Raphael Assuncao, who beat Dillashaw (albeit controversially) all of 3 fights ago. But nah, when you spend as much time as the UFC has promoting the un-promotable Barao as "BEST EVAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH" you make the rematch to save face, or start calling Dillashaw the P4P king like it means anything.
If Dillashaw destroys Barao again then we'd have just seen the most pointless immediate rematch in history. A Barao win would be awesome, but does anyone give a damn when only 74 people combined have bothered with both fights? The UFC would've likely conjured up the least cared for title trilogy in the sport's history.
Patrick: Uhhh, about that least-cared-for title trilogy, Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski would like to have an apathetic word with you. (Yes, assholes, I know they fought four times. Yes, I know Arlovski knocked him out with a soccer kick the last time, and yes, they still managed to make a soccer kick knockout boring and meaningless.)
From a competitive perspective, Dillashaw-Barao II is the most interesting fight you can make in the bantamweight division given that we have no idea whether Dominick Cruz will come back looking like the bricked-up and downright mean GSP we saw against Condit or the depressingly diminished and angst-inducing Shogun Rua who showed up against Forrest Griffin. Unfortunately, neither Barao nor Dillashaw has the winning personality the good lord gave a fencepost. They're seemingly nice, they work hard, and I'm sure they're beloved of animals and small children, but that makes for two fighters less interesting than a neighborhood lawn competition. MMA is entertainment, and nobody's going to get hyped about two boring, tiny-ass dudes who probably celebrated their title victories by changing out the batteries in their smoke detectors or sneaking a little barbeque sauce onto their skinless grilled chicken and ordering a Michelob Ultra.
The 4 Horsewomen and the Dumbest Hype Train in History
Mookie: The Four Horsewomen is a promotional gimmick, paying homage to the
WWE's WWF's WCW's Four Horsemen, to make it seem like the other 3 women associated with Ronda Rousey are to be just as feared in the sport. It's really just "Ronda Rousey and three of her best friends", but that tag doesn't have quite the fearsome ring to it. Jessamyn "Lady Struve" Duke shouldn't be in the UFC right now. Shayna Baszler was not good on TUF and is likely to lose to Bethe Correia. Marina Shafir got KTFO in her last fight and just started competing professionally. So when Correia beats Baszler this weekend, for the love of god PLEASE do not treat this as anything special. It's a bullshit rivalry that has been plucked out of thin air. Just because the UFC and Correia will run with it doesn't mean that you have to take it seriously.
Patrick: I'm with Mookie in that the Four Horsewomen thing is beyond stupid, but I like that Correia is going with it. Why? Because it's stupid, and Correia knows it's stupid, but she also knows that Ronda Rousey is a crazy person who takes things like this personally (or can at least pretend to for the sake of building a storyline). Correia's going to beat Baszler because "The Queen of Spades" has all the athleticism of a particularly untalented high school JV bowler, she's going to put down another finger, and Ronda Rousey will put on a show. It's a dumb gimmick, but Correia is co-opting it for her own purposes, and that part I love.
Next edition of Haters' Guide will be this September, likely for the hard-to-hate UFC 178, but I'm sure by the time we actually do this series again the UFC 178 co-main event will be Yves Jabouin versus Royston Wee.