(The last time Big Daddy got paid on time and in full.)
By Cage Potato contributor Chris Colemon
Only 17 years removed from its inaugural bout, the UFC is just now exiting its awkward teen years and developing into a suave, sophisticated adult. After an extended bout of growing pains that at times threatened the sport’s very existence, MMA is finally coming into its own. Today’s fans witness seemingly daily achievements and milestones that speak to the sport’s rapid expansion. In 2010 alone, the UFC held its first events in Abu Dhabi and Australia, opened offices in China, set a new North American attendance record for an MMA event, crowned its first Mexican heavyweight champion, and launched their first attack in the Battle for New York.
But the UFC’s epic tale is not unlike any other in that each chapter begins where another one ends. For every historic first, there is an all but forgotten last.
Here is a short list of some of the UFC’s important lasts – the rules and regulations sacrificed in the fight for our sport’s survival.
At this point, emotional post-fight breakdowns are the norm for Phil Baroni. (Remember this old classic?) Since each loss seems like it could represent the end of the road for the veteran slugger, we understand why he takes them so hard. But as the above clip demonstrates, Baroni has always had a difficult time coping with losses, even the ones that came before he really had a professional career.
Prior to making his MMA debut in 2000, Phil Baroni was a standout on the Toughman amateur boxing circuit. Though he won most of his fights, he lost a decision to a dude named Sam Rodriguez (date of fight unknown), and reacted by storming out of the ring and beating up every inanimate object in sight, including a defenseless fire hose door. His longtime training partner Mark Coleman would later pay tribute to the incident in the acclaimed short film "FUUUUUUUUCK!"
UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman hasn’t competed in a legit MMA fight since he was choked out by Randy Couture at UFC 109. What you see above is Coleman performing in a worked MMA-style wrasslin’ match at the IGF Genome 13 event back in September against Shinichi Suzukawa (who will be appearing against Bob Sapp on the Dynamite!! 2010 card). The thing is, this particular work was supposed to be worked in Coleman‘s favor. We’ll let Phil Baroni tell the story:
"It was supppose to be a pro wrestling match. It was suppose to be 3 min. Coleman was suppose to win. The fat fucking douch scum bag didnt do the match the way it was suppose to be. That film was eddited. The Fat didck was suppose to tap from a head lock. He would not and kept rope escaping. Coleman squeezed hard a few times and burnt him self out trying to get the guy to tap.
(‘Is this about those stolen Octagon bracelets you found in my locker? Because I was just holding those for Baroni.’ Photo courtesy of The Sun.)
It’s a tough time to be licking your wounds in the UFC. In a move that likely has every fighter to post an ‘L’ on his record at UFC 109 sweating bullets, the organization has reportedly released the “next Anderson Silva,” the “Godfather of ground-and-pound,” and the guy who was on the wrong end of the UFC’s fastest knockout (officially, anyway). Let’s take them one at a time, shall we?
After his loss on Saturday night it now seems like Coleman is done, or at least done in the UFC. At the very real risk of eulogizing Coleman’s career too soon, as we did with Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic’s – Christ, doesn’t anyone quit this sport when they should? – we’d like to pay tribute to the monster Coleman used to be by looking back at some of his finest MMA moments.
Of course, Coleman’s manager only said those things in retaliation for Ortiz calling Coleman a “sissy” after he pulled out of their scheduled bout with an injury, and then he apologized as soon as he calmed down and realized that an attack on Ortiz’s famous porn star girlfriend was neither cool nor necessary. But the HBBB isn’t going to let a little thing like that stop him from a) erroneously attributing the remark to Coleman, and b) being really immature about the whole thing. Why would he? This is Tito Ortiz we’re talking about here, who still insists that his ‘Chuck Liddell was an alcoholic’ comments were meant in the nicest way possible. He’s not one to let the truth get in the way of an opportunity to act like a total jerk.
After a night of upsets and several plodding decisions at UFC 109, we turn to the Potato Index to tell us who’s up and who’s down.
Randy Couture +77 Yes, he dominated Mark Coleman. And yes, that would have been impressive ten years ago. But let’s be brutally honest here. The way Coleman looked last night, there aren’t many light heavyweights in the UFC who couldn’t have beaten him. It’s still a good win for Couture, but it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s ‘getting better with age.’ It just means Coleman isn’t.
Mark Coleman -91 Two months in Vegas working with a striking coach and he still can’t be bothered to move his head out of the way of a punch? DW is right; it’s time for “The Hammer” to hang it up. You don’t want to become another Ken Shamrock, Mark.
(Chael Sonnen explains that it’s the Ultimate *Fighting* Championship, not the Ultimate Mitt-Hitting, High-Altitude Training, Flipping a Tire Around, Screaming the Word "Yes" Championship. Props: MMA Fighting)
Following an expectation-exceeding night of action at UFC 109, the UFC handed out $60,000 pay-bumps to the following competitors:
Fight of the Night: Chael Sonnen and Nate Marquardt, for their bloody 15-minute grind, in which Sonnen survived a nasty choke attempt in the third round to secure the decision victory and earn a middleweight title shot.
Knockout of the Night:Matt Serra, for beating down Frank Trigg and proving that his hands are always dangerous, even if they’re on the end of very short arms.
Submission of the Night: Paulo Thiago, for putting Mike Swick to sleep with a D’Arce choke after knocking him to the mat in the second round of their fight. Thiago: 2, AKA: 1.
(Couture vs. Coleman hype video by Genghis Con. Respect your elders, son.)
ATTENTION, POTATO NATION: It’s Friday afternoon, which means there’s still time to join MMA FightPicker and submit your predictions for tomorrow night’s UFC 109 card. For the thousands of players who have already signed up, we thank you, and we want you to know that we’ll be battling alongside you. In fact, BF and BG have both joined "Palooka Pool 30 #173" in an effort to determine a house champion. (Ed. note: The loser of this challenge will have to get a tattoo on his ass that says "Ben owns this. Not me, the other Ben.") So please join a FightPicker pool if you haven’t already, then take a look at how we’re answering the questions this week…
1. Randy Couture vs. Mark Coleman at UFC 109: Who will win? BF: Randy Couture. If Couture can only beat one type of fighter on the UFC roster, it’s the type that Coleman happens to be: old, a little bit slow, and too dependent on his wrestling ability. BG: Randy Couture. Couture is the master of the gameplan. Coleman drives around Vegas for two days with his low-fuel light on because he’s always late to practice, and runs out of gas on the 215 even though he "put that little extra in there" to begin with. Difference in mental preparation, is what I’m saying.
2. Randy Couture vs. Mark Coleman: Who will score the first takedown? BF: Randy Couture. This is a little tougher to call, because sometimes the first takedown is determined in part by who’s gunning for takedowns right out of the gate, which should be Coleman. I still think Couture can stifle him until he’s ready to work for something out of the clinch, maybe early in the second round. BG: Randy Couture. Ditto to all that. You might see these two guys try to prove a point by slugging for a couple rounds, but the Natural will eventually put Coleman on his back from the clinch.