By Jared Jones
If you’re like me, you often like to spice up the average night of fights by placing a few bets. In an era where Tony Ferguson vs. Danny Castillo is deemed worthy of a PPV co-main event, a good old fashioned wager is sometimes necessary to excite an increasingly nihilistic MMA fan such as yourself. First it starts off as a few dollars here and there against your less-informed friends, most of whom you tricked into betting on the clearly inferior fighter (“Yeah, Sinosic is pretty good. I mean, just check out his nickname!”), but next thing you know, you’re gripping the edges of your TV and praying that Stephan Bonnar makes it to the second round against Anderson Silva so your pelvis won’t be broken by Johnny Numbers and that mook Alonzo.
That got oddly autobiographical for a second there, but the point is, gambling is a serious commitment that has serious consequences. Placing bets you don’t actually plan to follow through with is not only an insult to true gamblers worldwide, but a general sign of male deficiency and cowardice. It’s taking a piss on the teachings of Kenny Rogers, is what it is.
The only reason I bring it up is because Luke Rockhold recently made one such proposal to Michael Bisping, offering to bet his entire purse on the fact that he could finish “The Count” inside of one round.
“I’ve got a wager. Bisping is grossly overpaid, comparably to where we are. So, I bet Michael Bisping, if I don’t finish you in the first round, you can have my purse. But if I do finish you in the first round, you give me your purse. So if I don’t finish you in the first round, whether I beat you in a decision or what, you get both of our purses. But if I do finish you in the first round, we switch purses, and I get yours.
Of course, Rockhold’s wager is heavily dependent on whether or not Bisping emerges victorious from his fight with Cung Le this weekend, which the bookies seem to think he will. But that’s beside the point, which is that Rockhold should not be making such ridiculous and empty promises in the first place.
Rockhold is currently higher ranked than Bisping, for starters. Therefore, he should be worthy of Bisping’s consideration. These two also have a somewhat notorious hatred for one another (which I’m sure Bisping would just chalk up to another case of jealousy, misunderstanding, etc.). There’s also the fact that Bisping gets paid to fight, and very rarely (if ever) turns down a fight. And if Rockhold is making the wager in an attempt to get fans more excited for the potential matchup, he can just stop right there. It’s a fight, I’m interested. That’s kind of why I’m here.
Rockhold’s bet is pure hyperbole, plain and simple, as are all bets made in this vein. Rampage Jackson bet his whole purse that his fight with Forrest Griffin wouldn’t go to decision, and when it did (in Griffin’s favor, no less!), surprise, surprise, Jackson did no such thing. Jackson made a similar wager against Matt Mitrione for a fight which thankfully never came to fruition, and Jackson’s just one of many MMA fighters who have made similar “bets” in recent years.
In a day and age where roughly half the UFC’s roster is barely making a minimum wage salary, does Rockhold honestly expect us to believe that money is of no concern to him? At 80k a fight, he’s surely making more than most of his peers, but rolling in dough to the point that he’d be willing to pay all his training expenses, medical bills, and whathaveyous out of pocket to prove a point? Please.
I appreciate that he aptly described Bisping, who cleared $425,000 for his decision via eyepokes over Alan Belcher at UFC 159, as “grossly overpaid [for] where we are,” but I can’t overlook the irony in his line of thinking. “MMA fighters are underpaid, so I’ll offer to give the one ridiculously overpaid guy my purse, which accounts for less than a third of his usual paycheck.” That is some Master Shake-level logic right there.
But I get it, Rockhold is confident that he can finish Bisping inside five minutes. Having picked up back-to-back first round finishes in 2014, it’s not hard to understand why he’d be so confident. But as the old saying goes: Anything can happen in MMA, and Michael Bisping has never been finished in the first round. Never.
As a guy whose life is literally on the line every time he steps in the cage, you wouldn’t think that Rockhold would need any extra incentive to really get his blood pumping, especially not against a guy that he legitimately seem to dislike. *No* MMA fighter should really need additional motivation other than “not die” when entering the octagon, yet Mr. Rockhold has apparently been desensitized to the point that fighting on its own just doesn’t cut it anymore. What’s next, Luke? Shockfighting? A mid-freefall fracas? A fight in a gator-infested swamp while you’re high on mescaline?! I’M SO EXCITEDDD!! I’M SO EXCITEDDDD!!
Point is, if you’re an MMA fighter looking to add a friendly wager to your upcoming fight, at least be original about it. Propose that the loser must get an awful tattoo, like Rich Franklin and Forrest Griffin did prior to UFC 126. Make the loser wear the winner’s cup on his face and speak like Bane for the entirety of the post-fight press conference. I dunno. Just make it something, anything you actually plan to follow through with.
But since he’s such a sport, I’ve got my own proposal for Mr. Rockhold.
(*stares directly into camera*)
You and I, we fight. If I can last more than 45 seconds, you give me the $80,000. If I don’t, I’ll give you two VIP tickets to see my band, Universal Suffrage, Universal Suffering, live at the Palladium, date TBA. You have 24 hours to accept.