Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Rants From Ringside: MMA Edition (AKA The Screwjob Heard Round the World)

Let me preface this by saying there are some serious Spoilers in this so don’t say I didn’t warn you. This past Saturday was UFC 167: GSP vs. Hendricks. The Ultimate Fighting Championship had a stacked card to help celebrate their 20th anniversary. The show featured top stars like Chael Sonnen, Rashad Evans, Robbie Lawler and Josh Koscheck. It was a night of tremendous fights including the main event that put Welterweight Champion George St- Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks. Even though this was one of the better fights of the night it will always be remembered as one of the most controversial calls in UFC history. Johny Hendricks came in looking great. He was busting GSP up at every turn and wasn’t allowing him to wrestle him to the ground like GSP is known for. During the second round Hendricks hit GSP with a left that had his legs looking like limp noodles. I was really surprised he wasn’t able to finish the fight there, even though he definitely tried the best he could. The third round didn’t exactly go Hendrick’s way, but that was the only stumbling block he really had. Round 4 and 5 were clearly his as well. So to most people watching that night, Hendricks had beaten GSP for the Welterweight title 4 rounds to 1. Unfortunately the judges must have not been watching the same thing. They gave the fight to GSP in a tight decision. This was the biggest screw job since the little incident in Montreal with Bret Hart.

The thing that really irked me about the whole situation, besides Johny clearly being shafted, was the fact that GSP got up there and basically retired. He didn’t come right out and say that he was done with the sport for good but he did say that he was going to hang up his gloves for a while. Well, one of the things that I really like about UFC President Dana White is that you can read him like a book, and if you can’t, just wait and he will tell you exactly what is on his mind. They did an interview with him about 10 minutes after the fight and his head was still bright red from being so pissed. When asked about the decision he said, “Nevada is a scary, scary place.” He also talked about how they have “the worst athletic commission on the planet.” This brings up some serious questions when thinking about the future of the UFC. I mean, there is no way that they can move the two closest shows on November 30thand UFC 168 on December 28th. But Dana came right out and said that he is almost scared to bring fights to Nevada anymore because the judges just don’t know what they are doing.

One of the biggest gripes of the casual fan was the fact that GSP could walk out of the arena with two swollen eyes, each with a cut underneath and a generally bruised and battered face still being the champion and Johny didn’t have a mark on him and he lost. The fact is right now there is nothing in the wording of what judges look for that talks about the damage taken by a fighter. I personally think that is something that needs to be taken into consideration when judging a fight. I mean the whole reason people fight is to do damage to the other person, it is only fair to have their successfulness in that endeavor taken into consideration if the fight last the whole 15 or 25 minutes depending on the situation.

It is true that Las Vegas is the fight capital of the world and probably always will be, but it was decisions like the one laid down on Saturday that have ruined some people on boxing. It definitely had the stench of fixing to it. Now do I think the fight was fixed? Absolutely not. I think Johny was yet another casualty of an athletic commission that has repeatedly sent judges to UFC events that just don’t fully understand what they are watching.

The other issue that was brought up surrounding this whole incident was the fact that GSP said he was going to hang up his gloves for a while after this fight. When asked about this, Dana White basically said that this was not happening. He said he would give the guy time to heal and train for a rematch, but Johny was definitely getting his rematch. Allowing GSP to heal is, as of yesterday, mandatory because the Nevada State Athletic Commission put GSP on a 45 day injury suspension and Johny got a 6 month medical suspension due to an injury to his right leg. If you need any more information on what injury GSP needs time to heal up, just Google an image of his face after that fight, yikes.

All in all it was a great night of fights that was capped off with what I think will prove to be one of the most important matches in UFC history based solely on the fact that we got proof that the Nevada State Athletic Commission does not know what they are doing when they are watching a fight.

Thanks everyone for reading and I hope to be writing again soon. –TFC.  

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