The first MMA blog I did for Sports Agent Blog dealt with the fallout from a disappointing main event and how it affects the sports as a whole. The UFC is the 800 pound gorilla of MMA and when something happens on the biggest stage in the sport, people react. Imagine a Superbowl where one team shows up seemingly only to taunt the other team and not do what is necessary to win. People would be outraged, and rightfully so, have they no sense of humility or respect? Such was the case this past weekend with the main event at UFC 112: Invincible, from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
I have documented how important global expansion is for the UFC and how Flash Entertainment of the United Arab Emirates purchased a 10% stake in the company to be able to bring it to their side of the world and introduce it to a new audience. Expectations were higher than ever with an arena being built specifically for the UFC to be able to properly showcase the sport. The night featured two title defenses and a slew of other good fights to try to put on the best show possible. The first main event pitted Lightweight Champion, BJ Penn against number one contender, Frankie Edgar. The fight went the distance to a decision that awarded Edgar the belt, with one judge scoring the fight 50-45, or every round for Edgar, which was clearly not what happened. Controversy aside, the fight was kind of boring from the standpoint that we’re used to seeing more out of Penn, which had people clamoring for an exciting main event; Demian Maia against Middleweight Champion, Anderson Silva.
I was skeptical of this fight before the event started. I’ve seen Silva shrug of Jujitsu specialists in the past, not taking them seriously, and that leads to five rounds of wanting more. This time was a little different. Silva wasn’t as aloof as in the Thales Leites fight, but instead, he was downright disrespectful, taunting his opponent with curses and showboating that would make Chad Ochocinco embarrassed. When Silva did engage, he was brilliant, but it seemed that he became bored and instead of finishing the fight to get it over with, he threw on his cruise control in the 3rd round and never looked back. Imploring Maia to fight with him, then seemingly running away when he tried, made people angry fast.
Silva won a decision even though he didn’t act like a champion, and the night with so much promise that was to lead the UFC into the Middle East, ended in a chorus of boos – hardly the way UFC President Dana White and the rest of the MMA world had expected. This fight marked the first time White walked out on a main event and handed the championship belt to the fighter’s manager instead of presenting the fighter with it himself. In the post-fight press conference, White dove right into the subject stating, “I don’t think I’ve ever been more embarrassed in the ten years of being in this business.” He then went on a rant that was ultimately more exciting than the fight, which I personally think is a good quality of a league official instead of taking a hard PR stand to actually talk to the viewing public and press as he is a fan as well is refreshing, and leads me to believe something will get done to insure that the fans don’t get screwed again.
I personally think Anderson Silva should vacate or be stripped of his Middleweight belt and be left to fight in either the Light-Heavyweight or Heavyweight division, since he is clearly bored with the Middleweight competition to the point where the fights aren’t competitive. Silva is widely considered the best fighter in the sport, and for the UFC this is a huge problem in advancing their product. Lebron James isn’t going to look across the floor at the Knicks and think that he is so much better that he resorts to trick shots and showboating. He respects his sport and is going to put up a 50 point triple-double and remind everyone how good he is. I respect that the UFC won’t stand for this, but it makes one wonder how much damage has been done to the trust of the viewing public that feel cheated by the events of UFC 112. I know personally, since I had the event double as the house warming party for my apartment, that people were annoyed and upset by the end of it – something that was embarrassing for me so I can only imagine how bad Dana White wanted to just run and hide after that fight, and I commend him for making the statements afterwards. Hopefully something will get done from a fight booking standpoint, because although every fight can’t be a classic, the main event should at least be competitive.
Anderson vs Fedor anybody?
View the video of Dana White’s post fight press conference here.
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