On Saturday, Forrest Griffin was absolutely embarrassed by Anderson Silva after the light heavyweight practically rope-a-doped him into a solid-right strike to the face. Silva had been gaming Griffin, who looked visibly scared after his first early knockdown in UFC 101. And Griffin didn’t want any part of the beatdown that was going to ensue, throwing up his hand after his second knockdown before running out of the octagon with his tail between his legs.
First thing I yelled after he quit the fight: “What a wussy!!!” And then a myriad of other expletives.
Here’s a rule mixed martial artists: Don’t quit, unless you have to. In this fight, it was more than obvious Griffin didn’t have to quit. He was just being a wussy. Or, even worse, a coward.
Overall, good knockout though by Silva. It was thoroughly enjoyable. It proves he’s one of the smartest fighters in the game right now. And that hard right, makes me think that lean body has more punch than I expected. Apparently, Griffin was scared of a second encounter.
I’m curious to see how much time and space ESPN and ESPN.com will dedicate to next weekend’s UFC 100. It’s just a number, after all, but ESPN loves to make a big deal out of those nice round numbers. And why not? It is a milestone and is being presented as such, with two titles on the line and a stacked card.
I’m curious because I’ve heard ESPN voices say several times that they failed to give the sport, in particular the UFC, the coverage it deserved. They didn’t predict it’s rising popularity. Fair enough. Most didn’t. But I haven’t seen too much of a change in coverage. Little time is dedicated to the sport on TV, and ESPN.com hides it on a back page, which gets its content primarily from Sherdog.com.
Horse racing, I would imagine, is not a sport on the rise. Yet today there is a horse racing headline on ESPN’s home page. I won’t bore you with the headline. We all know what the story says.
“Some horse ran faster than some other horse. The slower horse was shot in the head.”
I don’t really have anything against horse racing. It’s fun to watch a big race, or a small race that you have big money riding on, and the horses are impressive athletes. I just want ESPN to up their game a bit. There’s no avoiding ESPN if you’re a sports fan. It would be nice to not have to look past them all the time to hear about MMA. The sports nation needs to have high standards for the sports leaders.
After Anderson Silva’s disappointing decision win over Thales Leites, the second straight “boring” fight for the middleweight champion, UFC President Dana White said he would have a hard time convincing fans that his next fight would be any different.
There have been two problems with creating matchups for Silva, and White has solved both of them. First, it’s hard to think of anyone in his weight class that is a legitimate threat rather than someone with a “puncher’s chance.” Secondly, with Silva preferring to counter, his last two opponents seemed unwilling to put themselves in harm’s way, leading to boos for a boring fight. At UFC 101 in August, Silva will face light heavyweight Forrest Griffin, and things will be different.
It’s the perfect matchup. Griffin has never been in a boring fight. His are among the most exciting in the sport, and he’s not at his best until his face is bleeding. Excitement problem solved. But as a former champion, he’s also a worthy opponent. Silva’s previous jump up to light heavyweight was a quick knockout over middle-of-the-road James Irvin. Not sure he proved anything we didn’t already know in that fight.
White won’t have any trouble selling this event, which includes B.J. Penn vs. Kenny Florian for the lightweight championship. Fans may be frustrated with Silva, but they know what to expect with Griffin. Oh yes, there will be blood.
Somehow I missed this on fight night, but Anderson Silva is the second champion to be accused of greasing. Georges St. Pierre was greased in his second fight against B.J. Penn by his trainer, although the impact it had on the fight and the intent was debatable. Both seem pretty clear this time.
Silva and Thales Leites could have fought in a vaseline pool Saturday night and it wouldn’t have affected the outcome. It’s the intent that is the real problem. Silva can be seen rubbing his face and moving some of that vaseline to his chest, stomach and arms.
While it’s disturbing to see him so obviously greasing, I’m much more disturbed by his performance in his last two fights. Is it possible some of that grease dripped onto the floor, and Leites was slipping to the ground instead of intentionally falling? Probably not, but that’s the excuse I think he should use. I’d love to hear him use this as an excuse like B.J. did. Then I’d like the guy a little more for making me laugh.
UPDATE: Silva’s manager Ed Soares said the greasing charges were “ridiculous,” but offered a fairly ridiculous excuse.
“How much Vaseline can they put on someone’s eyebrows that’s going to make a difference?” Soares said. “Where’s he going to wipe it? If he wasn’t wiping it on his shorts, where would he wipe it? It wasn’t like he was rubbing it in. He just took it off. We didn’t put it on. It was [the cutman] that put it on.”
Excuse me then, he wasn’t greasing, he was just wiping off the vaseline … on his chest and arms. What choice did he have? There was too much on his face. Soares also defended Silva’s performance in the fight, which has come under criticism.
“He did everything that people questioned he could do,” he said. “When it went to the ground, Thales Leites couldn’t pass his guard. The question if he could go five rounds? He went five rounds without breaking a sweat for 25 minutes. What else does the guy have to do? Is the only thing they want to see is knockouts? Then, put fighters against [Silva] that will stand and bang with him, not guys that will fall on their backs.”
I agree with the last part, but I don’t know if going five rounds without breaking a sweat is something to be proud of.
Dana White can not be happy. In building up the UFC as its president, White said he learned a lot from boxing on what not to do. Too many times, he’s said in interviews, viewers paid $60 for a boxing event, then turned off the TV at the end of the night and said, “Damn. They did it to me again. They didn’t fight.” That’s exactly what happened at UFC 97 in Montreal.
The supposed pound-for-pound king Anderson Silva was coming off a crowd-displeasing win over Patrick Cote in 2008 in which there was very little fighting before Cote blew out a knee in round three. At least someone got hurt in that fight. His UFC 97 fight against Thales Leites was worse – five full championship rounds of patty-cake.
“I personally apologize for what happened tonight,” White said. “You guys know this is not what the UFC was built on. This is not the way fights usually go.”
“I’m personally unhappy with the whole fight. I did not like the fight at all, period, on either side.”
Credit to White for maintaining his brutal honesty even when it puts his business in a bad light. And he’s right, both fighters were to blame. Leites’ game plan, apparently, was to draw Silva in close and then fall onto his back, hoping to draw the champion down with him. Silva instead chose to stare at his opponent, kick his leg, then put his hands on his hips and walk away.
I can understand not wanting to go to the ground with an opponent who could beat you there, but Silva should have backed up sooner if he wanted Leites on his feet, rather than wasting 10 to 15 seconds deciding which leg to kick. And Leites should have realized his falling over strategy wasn’t working (and was truly pathetic). At some point in a fight, an attack needs to be launched, and neither fighter did that. Leites won round two with a take-down, while Silva won three or four rounds by throwing a leg kick or leg punch (yes) every 15 seconds or so. Quite simply, they didn’t fight.
The Canadian crowd, booing for much of the 25 minutes, broke out into two chants of G-S-P for their hometown hero, welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre, and one chant of BULL-SHIT. An embarrassed White wasn’t smiling when he put the championship belt around Silva’s waist.
“We run a fight company, and when guys don’t fight, we sit down (with them) and have a conversation on why they’re not fighting,” White said. “This is what I do. It’s like having any other business and the guy doesn’t come out and perform at work.”
“I’m in the business of selling fights, and I think I’m pretty good at it. But I’m going to have a hard time letting people know that, ‘I promise, his next one is going to be good.’ I need to talk to him and figure out what’s going on and why this is happening.”
Silva said afterward that he was unable to finish Leites, I say he never tried. Silva said he showed he was in good shape and could go five rounds, I say I could’ve lasted those five rounds and I’m in terrible shape.
“I don’t know if it’s that people don’t understand my style of fighting, but I go out there to train to try and be efficient and have a perfect fight,” Silva said through his manager and interpreter, Ed Soares, at the conference. “Not every fight is going to be a knockout, and not every fight is going to be some spectacular finish.”
White said that Silva is still the pound-for-pound best, I say it’s St. Pierre. Why is it a given that Silva is the best? Their skills are comparable, but Silva has now gone 7 1/2 rounds without fighting. GSP has never done that.
In the co-main event, Chuck Liddell received more cheers in another knockout loss to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua than Silva did in his win. Liddell may have lost, but he came to fight and put it all on the line. This fight was almost identical to the Rashad Evans loss. Liddell looked good, although a step slower at almost 40 years old, and was narrowly winning the fight before suffering his third knockout in the four recent losses.
He’s taken too much punishment, and no longer has the chin to hang with the best anymore. I was rooting for Chuck to begin his comeback tour, but even I’m hoping for retirement this time. As of today, I have him as the best light heavyweight fighter of all time.
Occasionally, a girl will make a comment during a UFC fight along the lines of, “This is gay. Why are they laying on each other?” I defend this by saying that if both guys are trying to punch the other in the face to knock them unconscious, or stop the other fighter from breathing, it can in no way be sexual. But when one of those fighters has a tramp stamp, my defense goes completely out the window! Am I watching gay men wrestle with each other?! Are they going to make out? I can’t be sure anymore! Where did this disturbing trend come from?
Brian “The (Booty) Bandit” Cobb is the latest tough guy to enter the cage with a less than manly tattoo. He was kicked in the face early in round two and lost to Terry Etim at UFC 95. I can’t tell what the tattoo is actually of (judge for yourself below), but does it matter? What would it have to be for it to be considered cool despite the location? The sexy silhouette from a trucker’s mud flaps? A … demon shark eating a ….. baby bunny rabbit … while the bunny’s family screamed in horror? Is that enough? See, to me, I would still have to ask him why he chose to get it in that spot. So that’s no good.
The problem with this is that it makes it hard to root for a guy with a tramp stamp. And sometimes I choose who I’m going to root for based on a cool nickname or where they’re from, then I come to find out they’ve got a Chinese symbol on their lower back, and I have to reevaluate my allegiance. “What’s that mean? Peace and love? Pretty cool, dude. My girlfriend has one just like it.”
From the AP:
The Ultimate Fighting Championship is planning to go toe-to-toe with the country’s biggest fitness club chains, and the founder of 24 Hour Fitness is in its corner.
UFC Gym officials said they are close to breaking ground on the first of five health clubs planned in California, and plan to build more such gyms across the country and in Canada.
“We’re going to force all these other gyms to take it up to another level,” UFC President Dana White told The Associated Press on Monday. “Just like we have in the fight business, and everyone’s trying to compete with us now, same thing’s going to happen in the fitness industry.”
Whatever happened to boxing gyms? Do they still exist outside of Philadelphia? In California?
Mixed Martial Arts has taken over boxing as the premier fight sport, held several events overseas, and now the UFC has its sights set on Madison Square Garden and New York. The sports is still illegal in the state, but UFC President Dana White is hoping the poor economic times will help sway legislators.
“Our events have brought millions of dollars in tax and tourist revenue to nearly every city we have held an event,” White said. “We are constantly breaking arena records for concession sales, merchandise and ticket sales. We’re thrilled about the prospect of bringing our sport to New York and hope that legislators will recognize the tremendous economic opportunity it represents.”
I don’t see any way for New York to keep the sport out forever, so they might as well give in now. It’s becoming more and more popular and New York is the logical next step. A 2008 bill has already failed due to the sport’s supposed brutality.
“It’s an uneducated view that somehow thinks the sport is dangerous or barbaric,” said Randy Couture, who has been in the UFC since 1997. “If you look at our track record, it speaks for itself. We’ve had no deaths in the UFC. I’ve seen a couple of broken bones over the course of a 12-year career, one of which was my arm. Those are things that heal. You see minor cuts and all the things you’re used to seeing in combative sports. You see an occasional knockout. The submission holds are very controlled. They’re very technical and tactical. They’re not that invasive. Guys tap out, get up and live to fight again another day.”