(Seriously Mirko, you didn’t miss much. We’ll tell you about it later. PicProps: Vancouver Sun)
There were times during UFC 119 when it felt like everyone involved spent Saturday afternoon chugging tons of codeine cough syrup. Everybody looked just a little slow, a little out of it. It sure didn’t help that the two main eventers were totally sleepwalking during the first 14 minutes of their fight before Mirko CroCop ended things with his vicious head butt to Frank Mir’s knee. The “co-main event” was also entirely forgettable, as Ryan Bader outpointed Roger Nog to reportedly win the Jon Jones Sweepstakes. Guess we’ll have to check in with him in six months, find out how that worked out for him …
This was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a great effort from the world’s largest MMA promotion. It also wasn’t quite as bad as a lot of people are saying. We’re not talking “worst show of all time” territory here. Credit local boys Matt Mitrione, Sean McCorkle and Chris Lytle for salvaging what they could of the day. Also, Evan Dunham and Sean Sherk’s back-and-forth battle was by turns exciting and totally bizarre. Too bad it was marred by a shaky judges’ decision. And hey, the good news is, if you liked UFC 119 you’re gonna love Oct. 16’s UFC 120, which looks just as terrible on paper but at least airs for free on SpikeTV.
CB Dollaway was honored for Submission of the Night after choking out Joe Doerksen, while Sherk, Dunham, Mitrione and his opponent Joey Beltran all took home Fight of the Night awards, in lieu of any Knockout of the Night bonus. It probably goes without saying that translates to a pile of “Sorry, bro” money for Dunham as well as a $70,000 message for Frank Mir, who after scoring the night’s only KO win got left out in the cold.
Maybe rightfully so. If it’s possible, Mir emerged from his win over an uninspired-looking CroCop in worse standing in the UFC heavyweight division than when he entered. That’s tough to do on the heels of a knockout victory. Mir’s performance certainly didn’t “earn” him a higher-profile next fight and with most of the 265-pound division’s other stars already spoken for, it remains to be seen what the company will even try to do with him. Remake the rematch with Big Nog? Ugh, I wouldn’t mind sitting that one out.
Speaking of heavyweights, props to Mitrione for looking like the most-improved fighter on the card. People seem loathe to give this guy any credit – because he admittedly acts like such a jackass — but he looked fluid and nimble on his feet en route to a unanimous decision win against Beltran. In just his third pro fight, Mitrione has so far made good on his potential. When he fights smart and doesn’t let himself get suckered into a wild brawl, he’s starting to look like trouble for anyone with a similar level of experience. The problem is finding those people in the UFC, where most guys have at least a half-dozen fights under their belts before they set foot in the Octagon. Mitrione apparently wasn’t joking either when he fired his agent on national television during his postfight interview with Joe Rogan.
“His name is Malki Kawa with First Round Management,” Mitrione told Ariel Helwani backstage. “He did the worst job ever with sponsorships. For a televised fight he got me $5,000. Five thousand dollars for a televised fight? That’s highly unacceptable. So yeah Malki, you’re fired.”
Like I said, the Indy boys were pretty much the best thing going on this card. Lytle’s win over Matt Serra maybe didn’t mean a lot in the scope of the welterweight division, but it was at least fun to watch. Meanwhile, McCorkle backed up his prefight trash talk by popping the elbow of Mark Hunt with a kimura in the first round. Chances are you won’t witness many more dudes come looking for their contractually-required fights with the UFC after that.
If you want to see video of the submission, while it lasts, look right here.