The Biggest Downfall of UFC 282

This past weekend the UFC closed out the PPV schedule for 2022 with a great card from top to bottom. When the prelims are kicking off with a Joaquin Buckley fight, you know you are in for a great night of fights. There were however some surprising defeats and it will be very interesting to see how these fighters respond in their next fights. I was not expecting to see Buckley knocked out like that. I was certainly not expecting to see Bryce Mitchell dominated by Ilia Topuria in the way that he was. It was somewhat less shocking to see Darren Till lose in the way that he did, but still upsetting to see. Despite all of this, the fighter that had the biggest fall from grace, and suffered the greatest loss this week, was one who actually won his fight - Paddy "The Baddy" Pimblett.

There have been a few close fights that have gone to decision recently that have been much debated amongst the fans. Directly after Paddy's fight we saw a draw between Ankalaev and Blachowicz and I have already heard people arguing each fighter’s case for victory. It was a very close fight and I could see how it could have gone either way, and not been a robbery, but simply a very close fight that was very tough to call. 2 Months ago we saw Suga Sean beat Petr Yan in another very close and very hotly debated decision. A lot of people agree that Sean won, and a lot of people argue that Yan should have won. But not many people are calling it a robbery, and claiming that it was not even a close fight. Paddy versus Jared Flash Gordon was a robbery. Gordon himself expressed this after the fight, and many others have as well. Some well respected names in the MMA community have even gone as far as to call it 30-27 for Gordon. I would have to agree with this analysis.

Paddy clearly should’ve lost this fight, but his downfall this week runs much deeper than just a future memory amongst the fans of a sketchy call that he was very lucky to have been on the better end of. I went into the week a Paddy fan, and came out of the weekend anything but. Throughout the week, Paddy showed himself to be arrogant, delusional, and borderline hateful. There was nothing about his actions before, during or after the fight that were admirable at all.

The unraveling of Paddy’s likable character began on Wednesday when Paddy had Dana White on his podcast. It seemed strange to see Dana going on a fighters podcast right before they’re about to fight, but then again Paddy is the new cash cow, as he always says. Paddy has always had a good relationship with journalist Ariel Helwani, or so it seemed, but when he was around Dana, who famously hates Ariel, he quickly changed his tune. He very falsely claimed that all Ariel does is hate on fighters and the UFC in order to make money. This could obviously not be further from the truth and was an especially ridiculous claim to make the same week that Helwani won the award for MMA journalist of the year at the MMA awards - for the 12th year in a row by the way. Paddy’s claims were downright laughable.

Then on Thursday, we have the press conference, where Paddy continued to show a total lack of character. At any press conference, when one fighter tells another foreign fighter to speak English, it is always bothersome. It’s just a gross thing to say to someone who isn’t from an English speaking country, and it never comes off looking good. It really bothered me when Islam Makhachev kept saying this to Charles Do Bronx at the press conference in October. I didn’t see this coming from Paddy, but unfortunately his back and forth with Ilia Topuria quickly devolved into this kind of childish taunting. Pimblett kept telling Topuria to speak English, claiming he couldn't understand him, and calling him a Spanish sausage over and over again. The weird part was that Topuria’s English wasn’t even any less clear than Paddy’s, and the whole thing just felt very negative and unpleasant to watch.

On Saturday we finally get to the fight, and Paddy did not win himself any new fans here either. He kept his chin high and took massive shots from Gordon throughout the fight. There could be an argument made that Pimblett won the 2nd round, but Gordon certainly won rounds 1 and 3. It was a clear victory for Gordon. When Bruce Buffer announced Paddy as the winner, even Rogan looked shocked. Then, after getting the great privilege of talking to the legendary Joe Rogan, Paddy tried to make a joke about how much Joe was going to pay him for the interview. It came off very egotistical and not even the slightest bit funny. He then proceeded to tell Joe how not only had he clearly won, but how he had dominated the fight. This was when it became clear that Paddy is actually delusional.

As I stated earlier, I went into this week as a big fan of Paddy. Throughout the week however, Paddy chipped away slowly at his likable persona until by the end of the fight, it was very tough to think about continuing to root for him. Some fighters have crazy antics that cause the fans to look forward to their fight weeks, but I am no longer looking forward to the next time Paddy fights. If a fighter becomes personally unlikable, but they still act wild and are humorous, at least there is something there for the fans to look forward to. Unfortunately Paddy’s escapades were not even very funny this time around. His behavior this week really ruined it for me, and left him no longer feeling very likable in the eyes of a lot of the fans. It may be that Paddy was just overwhelmed by all the attention this week and got a little out of control. Perhaps we will see him return to a more affable nature next time, but as of now I think a lot of fans have simply stopped caring what he does.

Sam Bethel

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