Originally posted on Writing, Fighting and Other Stuff:
While there was no big pay per view show, this past weekend still saw a lot of interesting televised mixed martial arts. A few thoughts on some of the action:
Prior to the UFC on FX5 show Friday night, they aired a commercial advertisement which featured some cocky fighter strutting into an MMA arena and then starting his match by prancing across the ring with all these fancy jumping, spinning kicks. His opponent stands there looking bored, then floors the hotdog with one punch and pops open a soda. Perhaps upcoming heavyweight Travis Browne should have watched that commercial before his fight with veteran Antonio “Big Foot” Silva. Browne, an athletic 6’7″ 246 pounder, started the fight by immediately throwing a spinning hook kick which missed. He followed up with a jumping front kick which also missed. Somewhere in there, he seemed to hurt his leg and a couple of minutes later ended up getting knocked out by Silva, an opponent he seemingly could have dominated by employing a basic boxing game, as Daniel Cormier did last year. For a fighter who experts have been touting as a potential title contender, Browne now seems more like the definition of an athlete with a million dollar body and a ten cent head. Meanwhile, Silva is more like the MMA reincarnation of boxer Primo Carnera, a gigantic specimen who somehow manages to get impressive wins on his record despite an apparent lack of talent. Carnera did it through fixed fights while “Big Foot” simply seems to be the luckiest man in the sport. He caught the legendary Fedor Emelianenko when Emelianenko was washed up and now he KOs Browne, who looked like a three legged chair after suffering that injury. I do not see a championship in either man’s future.
Speaking of undeserving fighters, why did the Bellator promotion put Brett Rogers into their heavyweight tournament on Friday night? Rogers, whose only claim to fame is he managed to hit the aforementioned Emelianenko with a few punches and open a cut on him before getting knocked out (again, when Emelianenko was already on the downside of his career, though no one realized it at the time) has never shown any serious skill other than a hard punch. Yet, somehow, despite only winning two of his previous 7 fights, he found himself in the Bellator tourney. He took advantage of this opportunity by literally doing almost nothing for three rounds against Alexander Volkov. Browne gave more effort on one leg than Rogers did on two, thoroughly embarrassing himself in losing to Volkov. He simply looked like a man who was there to collect a payday and nothing more.
The same can never be said about long time women’s MMA fighter Tara LaRosa. LaRosa went down to defeat against Brazilian Vanessa Porto in Saturday night’s all female card promoted by Invicta FC. One of the pioneers of women’s MMA, LaRosa was generally regarded as the best female fighter on the planet in the days before Ronda Rousey and Cristiane Santos. I’ve gotten to know her a bit over the years and both like and respect her. She’s always been pleasant and fun to deal with, not to mention a tremendously tough fighter as evidenced by the way she stood up to a severe beating from Porto for three rounds without allowing herself to be stopped. Unfortunately, she looked out of shape and slow. After more than a decade in the sport. LaRosa has had a lot to deal with in both her professional career and her life outside the cage. I wish her well but judging by Saturday’s performance, it may be time for her to think about stepping away from the game.
The weekend’s best performance was probably turned in by referee Nick Gamst. In the UFC match between Justin Edwards and Josh Neer, Edwards slapped a guillotine choke on Neer and “jumped guard” scissoring his legs around Neer from the front and dragging him down to the ground. Neer had one arm inside of Edwards’ arms trying to fight off the choke but before almost anyone realized it, he went unconscious. But Gamst was instantly aware and stopped the fight. The quality of MMA officiating is often poor with referees not well enough versed in grappling sometimes stopping a match when a fighter being choked is still conscious and defending himself and, at other times, waiting too long and letting a fighter be choked past the point of unconsciousness, which is extremely dangerous. Credit to Gamst for knowing what he was doing and stopping the fight at the exact right moment.