Posts Tagged ‘UFC 151’

by Jonathan King The Clinch Report

With the recent rash of injuries in the UFC, many intriguing match-ups have arisen only to disappear. Jon Jones (16-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) the current light heavy weight champion of the world was offered his title shot because of an injury. When Rashad Evans (17-2-1 MMA, 15-2-1 UFC) was unable to compete against Maurcio ‘Shogun’ Rua (21-6 MMA, 5-4 UFC) because of an injury, Jones accepted the title shot and went on to dominate Rua becoming the promotions youngest UFC champion in history. Since then other opportunities have been offered, some accepted, some refused, but none were as successful as Jones.

Recently with injuries to both Georges St Pierre (22-2 MMA, 17-2 UFC) and Dominick Cruz (19-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) and as in the past, the UFC decided to implement ‘Interim’ champions. Currently both Carlos Condit (28-5 MMA, 6-1 UFC), and Renan Berao (29-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) hold these titles in the welterweight and bantamweight division respectively. Both fighters are obligated to unify their titles once St. Pierre and Cruz are healthy enough to compete again.

The past month has been especially rough with both title contenders and title holders being injured. After Dan Henderson (29-8 MMA, 8-2 UFC) injured his knee and was unable to fight Jon Jones several people had the opportunity to rise to the occasion, only no one did. Fighters only have a small window of time before these injuries take their toll. The cliche ‘better to have tried and failed, then to have never tried at all.” seems to be apropos.

As the UFC roster expands more contenders will surely emerge. Hungry young fighters that would relish the opportunity to reach the limelight are moving up the ranks. Fighters such as Chris Weidman, (9-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) Glover Texiera (18-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC), Steven ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson (6-1 MMA , 1-1 UFC), and Alexander Gustafsson (14-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) are certainly going to be looking for the opportunities that Lyoto Machida (18-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) willing let go. Now that Machida is set to face Henderson, it seems obvious that title shots disappear quicker and easier than they are offered.

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by Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Professional Baseball, Football, Basketball, and Hockey all share one common trait. They all have extensive off seasons. Athletes are able to recover, rest, and regenerate. Slowly the athletes prepare in preseason workouts and scrimmages, allowing their bodies to peak physically in accordance with the lengthy season ahead. Still these athletes consistently fall pray to injury. Pugilistic or martial arts based sports are not given the luxury of off seasons. Although they do not compete every day, they fight everyday. Simply because that is how fighters train, they fight.

A Mixed Martial Arts gym is quite an amazing site. To the untrained eye, it would appear that teammates would be fighting with intent to injure or to at least appear victorious. However, that is not the case. The art of sparring and pulling punches while training allows fighters to train somewhat safely, in a rather chaotic environment. Still, accidents happen and injuries result.

Recently, the UFC scrapped the entire UFC 151 card due to events that stemmed originally from an injury. The soap opera that ensued after Dan Henderson tore his knee is well documented. Challenges were made, egos inflated, feelings were hurt, sour grapes resulted, and several fighters were left without pay-days. Some blamed Jon Jones for not accepting a replacement fight Chael Sonnen on short notice, some blamed the UFC for not having a backup plan, or for having a deep enough card. Blame however, has become last weeks discerning water cooler topics for MMA fans. Now a chronic issue, a solution has become tantamount too accountability.

With the news that both Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, and Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo are both injured, the fate of the main event for UFC 153 is in jeopardy. The fight world is again left in limbo. Jackson sustained a undisclosed training injury, while Jose Aldo has a rather serious foot injury. With the both headlining fights scrapped the UFC is scrambling to avoid a second cancellation in less than a month.

The recent rash of injuries, and a ever expanding roster the UFC is posed with its most vexing problem of late. One solution would be to have larger purse fights on the under-cards. The younger fighters that use these spots for growth and opportunity could be given a minor league event or showcase that would enable them to advance. This would enable the company too move more recognizable names into the Pay Per View slots. In Pride established fighters such as Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum, Vitor Belfort, and both Nogueira brothers have fought multiple times in slots that would be considered to be under-card bouts in the UFC. The answer may not be easy, but the need to find a solution has become glaringly apparent.

Dana White, Joe Silva and the Ferttita brothers have already discussed possible ways to deal with the injury bug. Having fighters in a sort of ‘standby’ status has worked once or twice, most notably with Michael Bisping. However replacing a Jose Aldo v Frankie Edgar title fight in Brazil, may be impossible to replace.

Listen above to Dana White speak to the media this morning when he canceled UFC 151

After being a pedestrian during the conference call this morning that shocked the MMA world, it took a while to organize any coherent thought about this situation. Immediate reaction was sadness, for Dan Henderson who obviously is not getting any younger, sad for the fighter who sacrificed, and lost extremely important revenue both from sponsorship’s, and from fight purses. Slowly that emotion evolved into anger directed directly at Jon Jones, and Greg Jackson. Not because of the outlandish things Dana White said, but because they were in a position to satisfy their ultimate boss (the fans), and they refused to answer the call. The very same call that Mauricio Rua answered, that led to Jones becoming the champion.
Rashad Evans was slated to fight for the championship originally but a knee injury forced him out. Rua was offered Jones;  and like a champion he accepted. Now Jon Jones is refusing to do the same. Apparently Jones must has a very short memory, and now an even shorter fan base. The UFC already has enough heels, that are actually really good at playing the bad guy. Kosheck, Nelson, Diaz act universally, they never stray from who they are. Jon Jones does not seem content with either role. Great fighters, want to fight. The fact that Jones did not even want to negotiate terms (ie make it a non title fight, 3 round fight, more money etc) leads me to believe one of two things. First either Jones himself sustained an injury, and this is a convenient way out of the fight. Or he is getting bad advice from his handlers. Either way the damage is done. Jon Jones who once had the potential to achieve Chuck Liddell like status, has assured with one move, that he never will! Fight fans forgive fighters who get beat, who give lackluster performances. However they are historically very tough on paper champions.Fight fans are loyal to their sport first and the fighter second. Jon Jones lost a tremendous amount of respect in the fight community today. Respect that may not ever be earned back. For now, and for some time to come, he will undoubtedly be known as the fighter who choose not too fight too fans, and the employee who let a large number of colleagues, and other workers down!