I hereby present the first installment of Fight Prose: UFC 189, a more or less stream of consciousness review of the night of fights.
Brad Pickett vs. Thomas Almeida – I don’t know what’s happened to Almeida, another bit of detritus scraped off Daddy Dana’s shoe. As for Pickett, Michael Bisping before Michael Bisping. Journeyman handpicked for the Urijah Faber retirement fight. Looking up the record: whoah shit, he beat DJ ten years ago. Well that’s something. This fight is coming back to me… I seem to remember some gnarly head-kick knockout? Knowing my memory it will probably be a boring decision. I see John McCarthy is in the ring where he belongs. Fight ends, ugh, not with a head-kick but a crunching, jumping knee. Paddy’s home: Stephen Dedalus at the Bellagio: ole, ole, ole, ole. Connor’s droogs in full voice. Iron Mike cageside. A bloody open to a bloody end!
Brandon Thatch vs. Gunnar Nelson – this card isn’t even that old but the nu-metal makes it feel like 20 years ago. "The Icelandic Submission Magician" Mike Goldberg says, enunciating every syllable. And Gunnar completes the trick within 3 minutes. "Nine, count ‘em, nine, octagon girls," Mike intones.
Dennis Bermudez vs. Jeremy Stephens – Typical second-tier UFC fight, good quality and not at all memorable. Ah, but Stitch is here! Salut my friend! Your disgraceful departure yet another blemish on the patchy, chafed Dana. Early blood as both men connect. Joe Rogan’s on the grassy knoll auguring the direction of the spray. It’s another knee knockout! Mike alliterates.
(Bas Rutten gets into the hall of fame. Stands and flexes. Crowd says, who? Previews for Rhonda Rousey vs. Bethe Correia with Joe talking Bethe up to the moon. I recall the fight lasted about 10 seconds...)
Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald – I could have sworn this was the main event, but I guess not. In any event, I will choose to avert my eyes for this fight. Once was enough. I will base any of what follows on memory, which is not much. I do remember coming into work the next day and talking to my Irish coworker, a big Connor fan, and he was stoked about that of course (spoiler), but when we talked about this fight, it was clear we were both uncomfortable with what we had watched. The sheer brutality had forced us to question our participation in the spectacle. I remember Rory crumpling in pain at some point as his nose exploded, unable to continue. I remember people calling him a pussy afterwards. It remains worth asking why I follow a sport that considers this sadistic bloodbath one of the greatest fights of all time.
Chad Mendes vs. Conor McGregor – this is the one that started the legacy, innit? In my memory of the fight Chad Mendes was kicking his ass till he wasn’t, but I suppose we’ll see if that holds true. Oh, and there’s live Sinead, I forgot this. That’s a dark and tragic tale. Not the most balanced of characters, was she. Isn’t she dead? Checking. No, just cries in the dark, frantically, something about the pope’s ass. Perhaps Sinead’s fall a taste of what was to come for our Irish hero. Joe tries to talk over her performance but a producer in the truck wisely hushes him. Mendes gets some no name Country & Western over shouting Irish fans. Yeehaw! Despite the venue, this ain’t a home game. To conclude, yup, as I recalled, Chad had most of that fight, Herb Dean had a bit (as usual), and Conor had the win. The beginning of the end? The end of the beginning? The end of the middle of the beginning? Who gives a fook! Bring on Mayweather!