(For ten years, Rampage has been haunted by the memory of that brutal photo-bombing. And on November 2nd, he’ll have his revenge. Bellator 106: Bitter Homeboys, only on pay-per-view.)
By Matt Saccaro
The announcement of Bellator’s inaugural pay-per-view was met with almost-universal criticism in the MMA world. And with good reason. Tito Ortiz vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson would have been a terrible main event in 2009, let alone 2013. But with the way people have been mocking it, you’d think that it was the first time a major MMA promotion had a bad fight main eventing a PPV.
This, of course, isn’t the case. The UFC has put on several PPVs whose main events rival Rampage-Ortiz in outright shittyness. For some reason, those PPVs didn’t draw the media’s collective derision like Rampage-Ortiz did. (It’s almost as if the mainstream MMA media is being coerced by some powerful, credential-wielding force…) But that’s OK; CagePotato is here to bring those terrible main events to justice.
So just what has the UFC given us to watch on Saturday nights that was as bad as the upcoming Rampage-Ortiz train wreck? Let’s have a look.
People might not agree with this pick, but Ortiz-Griffin II was an awful main event. By 2009, Ortiz wasn’t important enough to pay for — no matter who he was fighting. Going into the fight with Forrest Griffin, he was 1-2-1 in his last four fights, with his only win coming against Ken Shamrock in 2006. Tito’s best days were far behind him. In fact, he hadn’t beaten anyone NOT named Ken Shamrock since 2006 (and, coincidentally, it was Forrest Griffin who he beat).
Griffin, too, had whatever the opposite of “a head of steam” is going into UFC 106. Rashad Evans embarrassed him at UFC 92, taking the light heavyweight belt in the process. But what Evans did to him seemed tame compared to the legendary beat down that Anderson Silva bestowed on Griffin at UFC 101.
Put these ruts together and you get an overpriced PPV — $60 to watch two guys who would never be relevant again.
If you ever find yourself in a pro-Zuffa state of mind, remember this: They asked people to pay FULL PRICE for UFC 109: Relentless, a card that featured Randy Couture vs. what fans thought was a real-live White Walker (turns out that it was just ancient, broke Mark Coleman).
Everything involving Mark Coleman’s second UFC run in 2009-2010 was atrocious — save for his win over confirmed cheater Stephan Bonnar, which was hilarious. For real though, bringing Coleman back in 2009 was like bringing Tank Abbott back in 2003, it was a bad idea that damaged the UFC’s product and made them look like idiots. As for Couture, he was coming off a win over Brandon Vera, but at that point being able to beat Brandon Vera wasn’t much of an accomplishment.
This main event belonged in a nursing home. Sensing this fact, the UFC tried to market it as the ULTIMATE WAR OF LEGENDZ!11!! Kind of graceless, if you ask us, it’s also reeks of the same sort of desperate vibe that Bellator’s Rampage-Ortiz does.
In UFC 115’s defense, it could’ve been a lot worse.
The main event was scheduled to be Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz III. A third fight between the two men really wasn’t necessary since Liddell had won the previous two in convincing fashion. However, Chuck was in desperate need of a win after suffering two knockouts that were so bad they could’ve been Mortal Kombat fatalities. Therefore, Dana booked a fight that his BFF Chuck had a good chance of winning. He put Chuck and Tito on a new season of TUF and scheduled a faceoff between the two at UFC 115. Unfortunately, one of Tito’s millions of nagging injuries forced him to withdraw from the fight.
In his place, we got a Rich Franklin who’s face had just recovered from having Vitor Belfort’s fists planted into it repeatedly back at UFC 103.
So, at UFC 115 we were supposed to get a fight where neither guy had contended for a title in years and were never going to again but we ended up getting…a fight where neither guy had contended for a title in years and were never going to again — kind of like what we’re gonna see on Bellator’s first PPV.
Wanderlei Silva vs. Rich Franklin wasn’t a great idea for a fight in 2009. It was an even worse one in 2012. It was such a bad idea that, after the fight card was shuffled and the UFC settled on bumping Silva-Franklin II to main event, the UFC offered refunds for people who bought tickets before the card became something that belonged on AXS.tv and not on PPV. This main event was so lackluster that UFC 147 drew the fewest buys of any PPV in the Zuffa era at an estimated 140,000 — pathetic for a promotion the size of the UFC.
Like with Liddell vs. Franklin, Wanderlei Silva-Rich Franklin II was a fight where neither fighter had been relevant in years (like Tito and Rampage) nor were they ever going to be meaningful again (like Rampage and Tito).
Did we leave out your least-favorite UFC pay-per-view headliner? Holler at us in the comments section.