(Ah, the good old days…)
New rules regarding cornermen and the application of Vaseline will be on display at tonight’s UFC Fight Night 17, and they’re thought to be permanent. If anybody doesn’t like it they have George St. Pierre’s crew to blame.
MMA Weekly reports that the UFC has decreed “that cornermen associated with the fighters will no longer be allowed to handle the Vaseline used in between rounds to treat and prevent cuts.” Instead, the UFC will provide a cut man to each corner, and he’ll be the only one allowed to apply Vaseline or work on a cut.
Since only two people are allowed in the Octagon at a time, one of a fighter’s trainers has to stay out if they need the UFC-sanctioned cut man to do his work. And since you pretty much always want to put Vaseline on your fighter’s face between rounds, the effect of this new rule will probably be to limit corners to one trainer inside the cage.
Two things on this new rule…
1) Good work by the UFC. Unlike the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which takes a couple months to make a decision, the UFC pounced on this. They saw a potential problem and fixed it for the very next event. It amounts to a public display of their commitment to fair competition, and that’s exactly what they needed to put to rest any hint of impropriety on their part.
2) If what we’re hearing about the widespread use of greasing is true, this probably won’t matter. Applying Vaseline to the body during a fight is a rules violation that’s easy to spot. If anybody’s greasing as a matter of routine, they aren’t doing between rounds. They’re more likely doing it hours or even the night before the fight, according to many fighters. This rule won’t prevent that, though at least it’s a step in the right direction.
MMA has to find a way to put greasing allegations to rest, otherwise we’re going to hear this same complaint every time someone loses a close fight. The worst part is, it’s the kind of allegation you can’t prove or disprove. If Joe Lauzon loses tonight and then says Jeremy Stephens “felt greasy,” there’s no way of knowing whether he’s just making excuses or not (though in that case we would assume that yes, he is).
And finally, let’s go ahead and admit that accusing one another of being covered in lube does not help MMA’s case against the ‘gay foreplay’ detractors. It just doesn’t. Not that we should be too concerned about what these people think, but come on. All this talk about rubbing a hairless French-Canadian down with Vaseline, even I’m starting to feel a little weird about it.