DART Fistivus 2016 - With Guests Tim Burke & Kemi

Hello and welcome Bloody Elbow community to another installment of The Discolored Appendage Roundtable! The last time you saw us we tried having a serious discussion about racism in MMA, but after the year we've all had to suffer through, we thought it was best to pour ourselves tall glasses of alcohol and just vent our spleens for 4 or 5 days.

Seriously, if there is a hell, then 2016 can go rot there.

There's no way you can look at it and not have this same reaction.


You'll notice that Kemi is back for his second appearance with us as is staff writer Tim Burke. Tim wanted to be part of Fistivus last year but things just didn't work out as intended. So this year we made the trek up to the great white north in the dead of night, snuk into his house so we could put him in a burlap bag before beating him with a rubber hose. When he woke up tied to the chair in front of the poker table we explained what happened and told him he'd be released after contributing at least 500 words.

NOTE: We did try to keep things as light hearted as possible, but we did get into serious stuff like the passing of Kevin Ferguson (aka Kimbo Slice) and Bloody Elbow staffer/UFC fighter Josh Samman. So fair warning.

Also, if you're a regular reader, you know that we (or at least I do) tend to swear a bit. But I wanted to give everyone a heads up that we all hit it pretty hard this week, even the polite Canadian swings for the fences. So you will notice a serious uptick in our vulgarity, it's because we're all genuinely pissed off saying and saying "Fuck this bullshit" as opposed to "This sure was not very good" just makes us feel better.

So you have been warned.

If you were being as generous as possible, 2016 at best could be described as "complete shit". Even disregarding anything that happened outside of the MMA bubble, things were still rather shit. We saw everything from some of the absolute worst fights ever, the tragic and avoidable loss of life, and the sale of the UFC in a deal that seems to get worse with each passing week.

To vent our frustrations, we're going to hold our own version of Festivus, Fistivus. We're going to take all the pent up anger and rage that's built up over the last 12 months and get it all out of our systems, then hope 2017 brings something better.


Punisher Bass: One of my top worst things from this year was the shitshow that was Kimbo Slice vs. DaDa 5000. And I do mean everything. The before, during, and after highlighted everything that is bad about MMA.

A freakshow fight with two guys who had NO business being even near a cage let alone inside of it. One of them in such poor shape he had to cut so much water just to make weight he allegedly suffered two heart attacks during the bout, and then spent several weeks in the hospital recovering. The other guy was busted for steroids and slapped on the wrist by the Texas AC, and Bellator just ignored his suspension and booked him to fight in the UK a few months later.

Or would have if he didn't DIE.

Yeah, we found out Kimbo was in need of a heart transplant along with having a litany of other health issues (Congestive Heart Failure among them) no one knew about till he was already gone. Somehow he passed all his medicals with flying colors just a couple months earlier and was in perfect health. My dad had CHF and let me tell you, that shit doesn't just crop up overnight. Mix all this together with the allegations that Bellator had been fudging medical records and this whole thing looks shady as fuck.

Shame on Viacom, shame on Bellator, and shame on Scott Coker.

Victor Rodriguez: You know what sucked? Your inclusion of a filthy Canuck. BOOOOOOO!!!

Ben Kohn: I have Canadian blood in me so I must have his back, halfway at least. Like, I'll jump in after a few punches landed on him in the streets. Anyway, I'll start off with a fighter who failed a drug test that hurt. Brock Lesnar. Look, I'm not crazy enough to think he's been clean. The dude isn't normal, at all. But I accept that probably every fighter was on PED's, especially before the USADA came along.

Brock failing really hit home though. He brought me into the sport and I've always been a massive fan of his. I know Bass will bring up his homophobic comments back from the ESPN article (Editor's note: No I didn't, so HA HA!) but considering his weird we are all one statements, I'm giving the benefit of the doubt he may have changed.

Either way, it was amazing for me to watch him beat Hunt when so many said he was going to lose badly. For him to get busted really sucked for me.

PB: We haven't had much luck with these Caynaydians on DART, this is Tim's chance to redeem his country.

As for Brock, I have much bigger fish to fry here. I will say his test failure, along with several other high profile ones, did at least show that USADA testing (while not perfect) is more than a complete and utter joke. They are indeed catching people and not just prelim guys, but the main eventers who can afford the designer drugs and such.

Alejandro Castellanos: I'm on my phone but I'll come back with tons of grievances.

Kemi: Same in both. I'll probably check in later tonight, after jiu jitsu club.

AC: You going to jiu jitsu club? Certainly beats my waiting at a bank where a dude politely told me felt like punching me... or my coming across shotgun aisle -- at another bank today -- or, what you'd refer to as 'the entrance.'

Fuck today.

PB: No, fuck this year.

AC: Yes. But today is especially egregious for me.

Kemi: So tired right now. Here's what made me mad in MMA this year. A couple of things, really. First, reading about how Tyron Woodley was subjected to overt racial abuse after he won the welterweight belt. Granted, you would think that by now, after living in this country for 19 years as a black man, I would have gotten used to racism in America. That it would have lost its ability to shock and sting. No such luck. Keep ya head up, Woodley!

Then the fact that McGregor got TWO CONSECUTIVE FIGHTS WITH DIAZ AT WELTERWEIGHT AFTER WINNING HIS 145 BELT, ARE YOU KIDDING ME. I would grandfather in the bullshit they're pulling with Cyborg, but that's technically next year's issue.

AC: Here are mine, made concise in three points:

1. The death of Josh Samman. What to say about it? He was young, talented, a decent human being, and one of the few good guys on the sport and BE's own and now he's gone.

2. The strange diluting of UFC belts and Erosion of the sporting aspect. What? Yes. Bear with me: the story starts with Conor McGregor and then mixes in with the acquisition of Zuffa by the WME group.

It doesn't take a genius to notice how Zuffa is now in Recoup Investment Mode, that means that the entertainment part of MMA has taken the front seat, very much to the expense of the sporting part. It translates into Conor McG getting the chance at "being the first man to hold two belts," only to get promptly stripped; to the magical creation of interim belts that tend to blink into or out of existence, or promoted to official status. At least 2 divisions got clogged, and, while we get the bandaid of women's featherweight to save a PPV, women's flyweight is still nowhere to be seen.

3. The repugnant trash that permeates and pollute vast swaths of the MMA fandom across the internets. Yeah, I'm gonna talk about those, I'm gonna rail against people now.

And by people I mean more specifically those rotten shitheads that make light of and continue to put down plus solemnly dismissing truly difficult situations fighters face -- like what? The dying of Kimbo, the medical complications suffered by Dada and the stress that put on his family, the fact that Cole Miller can't catch a break in this life or the next, Leslie Smith's tumor, or the fact that Tyron Woodley still gets racist shit on twitter, and that's only what I remember at the top of my head but there's way more. Those people suck at watching MMA.

I say this to them, people lurking the fetid used condom cesspools of forgotten radiation dumps: you suck and fuck you, You are the cancer of MMA. Respectfully.

And that is pretty much it. Short and sour.

Kemi: Yeah, fuck those guys. Respectfully.

Aw man, now I'm all bummed about Josh again. I mean, we only ever interacted on the BE boards, but I did appreciate that he took the time to respond to fans in the comments, and how thoughtful he was and everything. It's fucking weird and jarring to have a totally pleasant, normal interaction with someone, and then find out they died unexpectedly. That, and the Kimbo saga... 2016 has been complete butt. Someone said it's like we're living in an alternate timeline, so I hope Regular Timeline Kemi is having a better year, in some universe where idiocy, hate, and racism aren't still, somehow, shit we have to deal with on a regular.

Tim Burke: I don't even know where to start. MMA has made me sad, mad and everything else in between this year. After covering this sport for a long time, I've become numb to a lot of the bullshit. I can see it for what it is - just static, mostly. But this year was a bit different.

The first thing was the death of Josh, of course. I had never met the dude in person, but I interacted with him a fair amount. I don't want to rehash what I've said before, but death is something I've dealt with a lot in my life, and his passing cut me deeper than I ever expected. It also fucking pissed me off. I don't know if I can swear on this thing, but I fuck it. You're not the boss of me. You're not my real dad.

The other major thing is my fear of what the UFC is about to become. Talent Agency UFC is real, and I don't want to watch a sport that's not really a sport anymore. I don't want Skip Bayless babbling about shit he barely understands. I don't want Jim Rome calling fights (though he can't be worse than Goldberg - "MICHELLE WATERMAN!"). I still believe in the integrity of titles and the legitimacy of real fights between real top contenders and the idea that this is still an athletic competition where the best fight the best. I don't think Ari and the execs agree though.

I want to swear some more. Can I swear some more?

(Editor's note: See? I told you. We're ALL pissed off here.)

PB: Swearing is fair game here far as I'm concerned, in my family "fuck" isn't a word, it's a comma.

I never had any interaction with the man, but I read his stuff and thought he was a good writer. And my heart goes out to his friends and family, especially when it's this time of year.

It really really fucking sucks that we had so much death this year. Ryan Jimmo and Jordan Parsons both leap to mind, plus the fact that both men were killed by being run the fuck over. In most years we'd just bitch about undeserved title fights or an injury wrecking a card, but we had some really heavy duty shit happen.

As for the UFC sale, I don't think WME has a single clue what the fuck they're doing, they're going to run things into the ground and wind up selling the company within two years. I fear they're going to move things to more towards the spectacle than the sport, they're going to drop the USADA testing to save money and stop the big money fights from getting shit canned, they're going to let more guys like Bendo walk because of nickel and dime bullshit, and they're going to find new ways to move more money from fighters pockets to their own.

The whole thing gives me flashbacks to Chrysler getting bought by an investment firm called Cerberus about 10 years ago. Short version is that they went bankrupt less than 2 years later and got handed over to Fiat.

Dana and company were far from perfect, and while money was always their #1 goal, at least they cared about things and knew what they were doing. Marky fucking Mark doesn't need to be deciding who Mighty Mouse fights next. Call me crazy, but I think that within a few years after the product has been devalued enough, Dana will buy back the company for peanuts.

AC: It wouldn't surprise me. Meanwhile, I do hope that MMA develops soundly elsewhere away from Zuffa so that these fighters have a way to go in the case of a PRIDE-like disaster.

PB: Was anyone else amused by how much of a clusterfuck UFC 200 turned out to be? I knew as soon as they started announcing the matchups that things were going to blow up in their face. If there was a grand slam for FAILS in MMA, 200 scored one without a doubt. Jones getting busted for steroids, Hencricks missing weight, a lame main card after a pretty good prelim, Brock's big return going over like a wet fart, and then his steroid bust.

That reminds me, you guys remember Ariel getting banned forever from UFC events because he broke the news about Lesnar's return before Dana was ready for it? Dana had been petty before but that was a new low even for him, but I loved how the bad PR forced him to recant and eat some crow.

We've been buried under such a mound of ever growing shit this year it's easy to have forgotten about everything that went on.

AC: Add Krygawd and Latifgod both dying for our sins to the list, too. Fuck this year, man.

PB: Because I'm the resident atheist, no.

AC: Infidel.

PB: Hey, I still love and celebrate xmas, I just don't go in for all the religious stuff and whatnot. It's all about the jolly old fat guy with a snowy white beard who brings joy the kids all across the wold.

AC: Chill, Bass. I'm also a fellow atheist -- I just think Krylov and Latifi are awesome. Sad to see them get finished like that.

VR: As a fellow unwashed heathen, I should note I'm probably the only ordained minister of this bunch (true story).

Just want to address some of the previous things noted by others. First off, I wasn't as buzzed for the Lesnar thing nor as disappointed when he pissed hot. He was just passing through, and UFC 200 was kinda meh to me personally as is. Didn't even watch it live even though I tried with shitty internet, but didn't really care much at all. The fact that 200 was so underwhelming for so many others like me is a bigger story, and even that's not as consequential in the end.

Racist fans? Yeah, we saw some ugliness, especially with such a contentious election season that really brought out so much ugliness in this country. Somehow, I wasn't as shocked or disappointed anymore, especially with what we saw in 2014: The Year of Hating Women.

The shit we saw then was so heinous and overall fucking vile, yet much like the election campaign illuminating in the worst of ways. Christy Mack and War Machine happened. Grispi and his wife happened. Ray Rice happened. All of these incidents had people defending the aggressors despite details and evidence, including Chuck Zito. So, racism wasn't as big a surprise seeing as Woodley had gotten a ton of heat since he started talking about inequality and strife during the Ferguson protests a while ago.

But the deaths really bummed me out. Kimbo might have been older, but was such a nice guy to everyone. Jordan Parsons was just a kid in my eyes. Josh? Fuck. That hurt. That really fucking hurt. I remember seeing the headline when I was in Mexico that day, and while we didn't interact as much, we bonded quite nicely. We mostly talked about his book, and the only real solace I can take from that is his ability to make the most out of things after so many hardships. He found some degree of peace in life, and sometimes you can't ask for too much more than that.

Then there's just the knuckleheads in the comments sections. Especially the "contrarians" that live to talk shit when I write something but praise others that do the same thing I do for the same thing. It's a minor thing, but it's also just tired.

You know what, though? It's good. I don't really care. While I've wanted to do terrible things to certain people at my day job, my side gigs have been awesome. This place more than anything. I have nothing but gratitude for the opportunity given to me and the people that I work with for being so patient with my many fuck-ups. I sometimes don't feel I deserve to be here, but Nate rolled the dice on me and everyone else has been so, so very amazing. How fucking lucky am I? I went from regular fan to having the chance to work for my absolute favorite sports site in the world? That's nuts. And I get to do stuff like this with you fuckfaced miscreants, who I love even outside of BE. Hell, I even started a podcast, have been invited to talk shop elsewhere and might have other doors open.

So, fuck 2016. But I made it. I'm gonna lick my wounds and keep chipping away at this motherfucker right along with you guys, and that's real.


AC: On a similar note to what Victor said at the end (no, not Krampus -- dafuq is krampus?) I'd also like to add that this year has, weirdly, been the year where I kinda started getting my shit together -- like Tyrone from the meme -- in the academic sense.

I figured I really wanna be a theoretician as well as a computational physicist and have started cranking on things to that end, taking the appropriate right steps for learning new things (geometric algebra) and going back to re-learn things I should've learned (basic quantum stuff, analytical mechanics, some relativity, and even starting some C++ stuff to get my feet wet again with that monster) so that one day I may write my own models, which is awesome.

Tim: I have absolutely no idea what you just said, but congrats.

AC: I wanna do theoretical models for stuff, basically -- think natural interactions of crystals, molecules, electromagnetic interactions, etc (I do theoretical nanotech stuff, which means a ton of quantum stuff) that you then use to model different bits of technology like waveguides, quantum circuits, MEMs, and other things. But I need to know the theory properly before I start cooking up with my own stuff.

Tim: I write about people punching each other in their underwear. You lost me at "stuff". Just jokes. I actually have a programming/analysis degree. I just didn't like the work so I became a bounty hunter instead.

PB: Ok, my nose is still bleeding from trying to understand anything Bomber said there. But the mental image of Tim as a bounty hunter amuses me to no end. Tim Burke: World's Most Polite Bounty Hunter!

Ben: This year was absolutely fucking ridiculous for the many reasons stated above. 2017 is just around the corner. I want to hope and work for a better year. That's all.

PB: Never ever give up hope, that's what the bad guys count on.

AC: Ditto. Hang in there, Ben.

PB: How about more of Bellator's bullshit? People crow about how Coker is like the "good" version of Dana White, but to me he's just as bad, only for different reasons.

Yes, he let Alvarez walk, but he's also the guy who let their next champ Will Brooks go without even making him an offer. Don't get me wrong, I was glad to finally see what Brooks could do in the UFC, but I think he was treated so poorly because the brass would much rather have one of their golden boys (Chandler) as champion. Brooks is a great talent and they just dropped him like a sack or rancid rat assholes.

Even putting aside how they planned to circumvent Kimbo's suspension, as I already mentioned, there's still what they did with Matt Mitrione. While he won his fight in June, he got his fucking brains beaten in while doing it. Just three weeks later they had him fight in the UK. If I'm not mistaken, that was also the event they booked the Daley/Koshcheck rematch for, which mercifully never came to pass.

And then we have Joe Schilling. I'm not a kickboxing guy, but judging from his record he's a decent kickboxer, but I can say without a doubt that he's a shitterrible MMA fighter with his 2-5 record. But he has a name, so last summer (2015) they set him up in hopes of getting some easy highlight reel fodder and to hopefully notch his batting average up to .500. Only for Hisaki Kato to knock his ass out. Fast forward to this past summer and they setup a rematch, this time under kickboxing rules to give Joe the advantage. And despite never even fought a kickboxing fight in his life, Kato knocked him out yet again.

You'd think after lowering the bar so many times for guys like King Mo and Joe Warren, they'd have learned their lesson by now. The MMA gods will fuck your shit up.

Kemi: I think Joe Warren has done OK, though. After his loss to Curran, he came back pretty well against solid competition, including Dantas. Don't know WTF they were thinking with Schilling, though. And apparently they're trying to kill Mitrione? No idea.

I had to double check, and the Christy Mack/War Machine saga was thankfully in 2015, so that bad juju doesn't spill over to this year, which was crap enough already. I mean, it's not like we have a shortage of crap behaviour against women in MMA and, to be fair, in society in general. And then there's Ashlee Evans-Smith dating Jules Wallace for some unknown reason. My other personal pet peeve was Alastair Overeem's complete annihilation in his LONG AWAITED title shot. Every Jamaican cell in my body threw up its... whatever the fuck cells have instead of hands... in response to Reem JUST LYING THERE LIKE AN IDIOT WHILE MIOCIC BASHED HIM. It's hardest for me to deal with Miocic as HW champion, because I literally have no idea what he looks like. I've seen his picture countless times, but if you showed me him in a lineup right now, I would have no idea. All I got is that he looks like a diesel version of the lead singer from Good Charlotte some times.

Anyhoo, some things to look forward to next year? Cyborg finally getting a fight against someone who is well respected in WMMA from this decade. The Men's FW/LW mess being sorted (ha ha). Bisping defending against one of the killers of MW. JoChamp!

AC: What is a "diesel version" of something?

Tim: I actually don't mind Bellator. Brooks got dropped because he's apparently really hard to deal with. Many people swore he'd never get signed by the UFC because of it. Honestly though, I could see him getting dropped and the end of his first contract. Sure Coker does some goofy stuff, but it's just Strikeforce Light to me, and I loved Strikeforce.

One thing I really hated this year was Lookin' For A Fight. Not only was the show god awful, but all this "incredible" talent they found, shockingly, wasn't very good! You don't make the promoter the star of anything. It's dumb. And don't even get me started on Nick The Goof.

And yes, I know some of that show aired in 2015. But I still have to deal with all the clowns from it (besides Mickey Gall - he's awesome), so I'm gonna bitch about it.

One more thing I didn't like about 2016 - Ali Abdel Aziz.

PB: I actually go into Stipe/Reem a good bit in the next part of my Upsets & Batshit Insanity series, but I'll reiterate my thoughts here. His title shot wasn't long awaited, it was a gift. Every. Single. Person. Reem has beat in the UFC, with the exception of JDS, was coming in off a knockout loss in their previous fight. And you could argue that JDS lost to Stipe.

He's also been knocked out in every single one of his UFC losses. Dude has a glass jaw plain and simple, he's been knocked out over a dozen times and only recently has his string of KO losses at HW caught up to the LHW half. So don't tell me "Everyone hits hard at HW". He might be a big strong guy, even without his horsemeat, but mentally he just goes to pieces the moment a fight doesn't go his way.

As soon as Stipe got back to his feet, Reem instantly looked gassed out and wanted nothing more than to get out of that cage.Go rewatch the fight, you'll see him literally run the hell away from Stipe over and over and over again, not circle away, but turn his back and flee. He threw almost nothing but wild swinging haymakers after that in hopes that maybe one of them would connect. Stipe stayed composed and picked his shots and eventually Overeem had another KO loss on his record.

Kemi: "Diesel" is how all my white guy friends in Massachusetts described people who were jacked, or "swole" (which might be the new white-guy-from-Massachusetts thing). No idea how widespread the term is outside of that area.

I literally felt like crying in that Reem fight, and I cannot even think about watching it again. Part of the reason I so desperately wanted Reem to win (other than Jamaican - yay!) is that he's been bashed in the head so many times, that I really want him to stop fighting, and was hoping he would win and then retire forever. I don't know how his brain isn't mush at this point. Reem was our last hope, cuz damn sure Uriah Hall isn't going to win a title for Jamaica any time soon.

I guess it's not all grim. I did get a sweet Nate Diaz and Leslie Smith victory this year, although I realize that for two of you (PB, who hates Diaz with the intensity of 1,000 suns; and Alejandro, who is a mark for Aldana) that might have been one more mark against this year. Either way, let us all take solace in the recent victory of Michelle "Waterman."

PB: Yeah, never heard that term here in the midwest before, but then again the people I hang out with typically have the definition of a couch cushion, much like myself.

Reem has been knocked out so many times, if you tried posting all of the GIFs in a single comment thread, the BE hamster wheels would grind to halt from the stress. It might be a shitty thing to say, but I get great pleasure out of seeing him get humbled time and again after being promoted as some eater of worlds for so many years. He built that rep while being roided to the gills and feasting on cans in Japan.

I understand supporting him though. Everyone knows that I support Woodley because he's from STL, but do you know Andrew Sanchez? The guy who won TUF 23? He's not just from this area, he's from my same town, we went to the same grade and high schools in fact. Hell, I could probably yank one of my yearbooks and find him in it... oh fuck me... I wonder if he had to deal with Mrs. Meyer as well...

Ok, I need to stop there before I go WAY off topic and, oh how I HATED that woman.........

Tim: I know what diesel means and I live in Canada, so you good.

Ben: Andrew Sanchez trains at Marcelo a lot Bass, just an FYI. Nice guy. I think.

AC: Ah, Michelle Waterman. That lady is going places.

Kemi: Good news. Now we get to add Cyborg's potential USADA failure, and all the fuckery that will entail, to 2016!


PB: It hit me this morning, maybe all this is the price we had to pay in order to see Cruz and Pettis fight 3 times this year? If so, it was far too steep.

And with that, I think it's time to end this miserable fucking year, so I will leave you dear readers with this parting gift.


See yall next year.

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.