(At one point, Jones tried to pull away because he thought the handshake was over, but Chael held on for like a half-second longer. It was, without question, the most challenging moment of Jones’s professional MMA career. / Photo via Getty Images)
By Matt Saccaro
The fight game isn’t just about tatted-up white guys with shaved heads hitting each other in the face. If it were, BodogFIGHT and the IFL would still be alive and kicking. Marketing /Hype/PR is a crucial aspect of the fight business — but it doesn’t always go so well.
There were times when the UFC has had stunning marketing triumphs (the whole “Zuffa created the entire MMA world and if you don’t like it you’re a butthurt Pride fanboy” shtick). But there were also times when the UFC’s efforts fell flat on their face like Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante against Dan Henderson.
What were some of these hyped-up but obviously bullshit moments? Let’s have a look…
1. Watch Che Mills, the Unstoppable Killing Machine!
UFC 145’s main event of Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans was strong enough to sell a pay-per-view on. Sure, sometimes the promo made the two fighters look like jilted lovers, but we’re not gonna hate on the UFC for hyping up a title fight.
We will, however, hate on them for trying to convince fans that a squash match — Rory MacDonald vs. Che Mills — was some kind of epic duel between two young lions. There was only one prospect in that fight, and it wasn’t Che Mills.
The UFC’s inability to do anything with subtlety ruined the promos for this event, the prelims for this event, and most of the PPV portion of this event. Describing Mills as a “new, dangerous welterweight from the UK” was a gross exaggeration. The British striker was only dangerous if you were a TUF bum or if you suffered an accidental knee injury while fighting him.
During the prelims, Rogan was doing the hard sell. THIS CHE MILLS GUY IS A KILLER. HE’S A MONSTER. HE’S A BADASS. HE BEHEADED NED STARK. HE SHOT BAMBI’S MOTHER. Insane falsehoods like this littered the broadcast. Rogan didn’t stop the bullshit once the main card started, either.
We got treated with pro-wrestling-level fakeness about how Che Mills was on MacDonald’s level up until MacDonald, predictably, ran through Mills.
Thus, the only thing that got killed at UFC 145 was Mills’s career.
Since then, Mills hasn’t legitimately won a fight, unless you count Duane Ludwig’s freak injury as a legit win. Earlier this month, Mills lost via TKO to Irishman Cathal Pendred (never heard of him either) at a CWFC event in Ireland.
2. James Toney, Bane of MMA Fighters.