“Some fighters rise to the occasion, and some fighters are dwarfed by the moment.”
That’s how longtime UFC commentator Joe Rogan puts it in this recent video from FUEL TV, which examines the overwhelming nature of competing in the UFC for the first time, and how those “Octagon jitters” may have negatively affected such hyped-up talents as Daniel Cormier, Hector Lombard, Cung Le, Carlos Condit, and Anthony Pettis. Even if the fight goes well for you, the emotions can be almost too much too bear (see especially: Cat Zingano). It’s an interesting look at the mental challenges that new UFC fighters face, which tend to multiply the more-obvious physical ones. So check it out.
0:00: Some asshole wonders why Matt Hamill needs walkout music if he’s deaf. HA! The joker in question acknowledges that the joke was mean…then repeats it, in case you missed it the first time. 1:10: ”Spread the fuckin’ legs. Fuck. Fuckin’.” 1:53: Hamill’s coach expresses his disappointment in a loving, supportive way. 2:37: “Elbows! Whrrsthgoddmnelbws?? Shut the fuck up. Shut up.” 3:54: “Tito! Get up! Try! You gotta try, Tito!” 4:29: “Well, he wants you to hit him. That’s cool.” 4:49:Donald Cerrone head-kicks Nate Diaz to the mat, then refuses to follow him down, as steam blasts out of Greg Jackson’s ears. 5:23: Donald Cerrone trips Nate Diaz to the mat, then refuses to follow him down, as Greg Jackson has a massive coronary and pisses himself. 5:40: Donald Cerrone trips Nate Diaz to the mat, then refuses to follow him down, as Greg Jackson’s head literally launches off his body. 5:46: “GO FORWARD! GO FIRST! GO FORWARD! GO FIRST! GO FORWARD! GO FIRST! GO FORWARD! GO FIRST! GO FORWARD! GO FIRST! GO FORWARD! GO FIRST! GO FORWARD! GO FIRST! GO FORWARD! GO FIRST! GO FORWARD! GO FIRST! GO FORWARD! GO FIRST! GO FORWARD! GO FIRST! GO FORWARD! FORWARD!” 6:18: Jackson calls Nate Diaz by his brother’s name, possibly on purpose just to fuck with him. 6:35: Richard. Fucking. Perez.
It’s a good way to waste your lunch hour today — better, at least, than talking to that weird guy at the office who always just eats a can of soup for lunch, like, every day. (Seriously? Get some protein in there, you’re a grown ass man.) Anyway, watch it and tune in Saturday. It’s free, so you’ve got no excuse not to, fight fans.
The extended trailer to UFC 159 is an interesting case study. On one hand, it reminds us that at the very least, watching Jon Jones defend his belt against Chael Sonnen will be an entertaining experience. And that’s important, considering the match was seemingly made only with entertainment value in mind. As a light-heavyweight title contender, Sonnen is about as undeserving as it gets, but according to UFC president Dana White (as quoted in the video by Jones), the fans really want this fight. Now, we all know that’s bullshit; I don’t think anybody reacted to the Jones/Sonnen booking with anything other than utter bafflement. Still, it’s a fun fight, right? Right?
Here’s the problem: The UFC 159 video preview does nothing to suggest that the fight will actually be competitive. In fact, it gives more credence to the theory that Jones vs. Sonnen will be a total blowout. Did you know that Jon Jones has never been taken down in his UFC career? (Meaning, Sonnen will have a very tough time executing his only real pathway to victory, even if he is the self-proclaimed “best MMA wrestler in the world.”) Another fun fact: Jon Jones owns the most submission victories in the history of the UFC light-heavyweight division, while Sonnen has already been submitted four times in the Octagon. I mean, besides his takedowns and his trash-talk, tapping out is one of the main things that Chael is known for. As Bones puts it:
- This week’s fight will be Bubba vs. Kelvin Gastelum, a 5-0 prospect (and full-time bail bondsman) from Arizona who, at 21 years old, is apparently the youngest competitor ever allowed onto The Ultimate Fighter. Jones picked the matchup because he sees Kelvin as Team Sonnen’s weakest link, and feels that Bubba’s vast experience edge and overall skills will make the difference in the fight. As usual, Coach Chael Sonnen tries to stay positive: “They don’t know what they handed you,” he tells Kelvin. “They handed you a big opportunity. Everybody here’s gotta win this tournament to get in the UFC. You just gotta beat this guy. This is your ticket, right here.”
- Kelvin is apparently a big Ronda Rousey fan, so Chael sweetens the pot by arranging for Ronda to call Kelvin and wish him luck, then promises that Ronda will come down and train with him if he wins. Man, that devious bastard.
- Chael Sonnen’s friendliness is still throwing Jon Jones for a loop; the champ likes to keep a “mystique” about himself and maintain a distance from future opponents, but Sonnen is making that difficult by constantly engaging Jones in pleasant conversation. Seriously, Chael, when are you going to start fucking with his parking spot and hiding his sandals?
Also: Henderson hints that he’s bringing a secret weapon to this fight, but if that doesn’t work, he’ll just have to hit Machida with his right hand. (Makes sense.) Of course, Hendo vs. the Dragon is a matchup of power vs. speed/footwork, but as Henderson puts it, “we’ll see how quick this old man is too.”
- Adam Cella returns to the TUF house, still wearing his hospital gown, and claims he has no memory of the fight. Nevertheless, he tracks Uriah Hall down in the shower and jokingly asks Hall why he hit him so hard. Hall still feels uncomfortable about the fact that he nearly ended Cella’s life. The fact that he’s naked while Cella is trying to have a conversation with him does nothing to alleviate the tension.
- Kevin Casey suffered a cut over his right eye during his elimination-round fight against Eldon Sproat, and says he chose to fight Collin Hart — a wrestler — because he runs a lower risk of getting the cut re-opened against Hart than he would against a talented striker, like Bubba McDaniel, for example. So yeah, in a way he is ducking Bubba, but it makes sense from a strategic standpoint. Unfortunately, Collin vows to elbow Kevin Casey’s face in.
In advance of the UFC’s first women’s title fight on February 23rd, Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche are getting the Primetime treatment, with a three-episode mini-series introducing viewers to the fighters’ personalities and personal histories. As we learn, Rousey and Carmouche both found themselves directionless after formative experiences — the Olympics for Rousey, the Marines for Carmouche — until MMA opened new chapters in their lives. The similarities end there, pretty much. Rousey is currently living the upwardly-mobile life of a UFC champion, while Carmouche is still broke as hell, working full days at the San Diego Combat Academy just to make ends meet.
A win for Carmouche would be life-changing, and she revels in the opportunity. “I absolutely think I’m going to spoil the UFC’s plans,” she says with a smile. (Hey, whatever happened to looking out for the company?)
Even if Liz is set up as the scrappy underdog who has fought tooth and nail to get where she is, the episode makes sure to push the adversity in Rousey’s life even harder. For better or worse, the Primetime series reaches an all-time high of emotional intensity in the final segment of this episode, as Rousey describes the heart-wrenching story of her father’s suicide, then breaks down in a moment of self-loathing for telling it. “I feel like I’m prostituting his memory for my own career gain, and it makes me feel like a fucking asshole,” she says through tears. Powerful stuff. Give it a look, and you’ll see a side of “Rowdy Ronda” that you might not have known about.
- How likely is it that Edgar will become the third UFC fighter in history (after Randy Couture and BJ Penn) to become a UFC champion in a second weight division?
- Is anybody buying the idea that Bigfoot’s size and power will be a challenge for Overeem?
- What would Rashad Evans need to do, hypothetically, to convince you that he deserves another crack at Jon Jones?
- The UFC injury curse has been eerily quiet lately, with very few withdrawals of marquee fighters over the past two months. So, were Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta justified in throwing those virgins into the volcano?
And now that we have your attention, you might as well watch this stuff too…