Ok, let’s get right to the cheddar – the UFC 145 fight bonuses, which UFC President Dana White announced during the post-event presser (video of entire press conference below). It always warms the heart when the fighters who get the big bonus checks are not the big stars, and that’s what happened at UFC 145.
Ben Rothwell, Travis Browne, Mark Hominick and Eddie Yagin all earned an extra $65,000 for their efforts Saturday night in Atlanta, GA. Rothwell got the KO of the night for his come-from-behind stoppage of Brendan Schaub. Browne got the night’s only submission but it was still a good one – forcing Chad Griggs to tap out to an arm triangle choke.
Eddie Yagin and Mark Hominick both took home fight of the night honors for their back and forth war. Yagin also took home the win bonus for earning the split-decision win over the former featherweight #1 contender.
The Immortal beats The Karate Kid and GSP-lite continues to impress
Matt Brown took a little steam out of the home town Karate Kid Stephen Thompson with a unanimous decision win. Thompson burst onto the UFC scene with a nifty lead leg KO at UFC 143. Brown has a toughness that his win to loss ratio doesn’t necessarily reveal, and a win over a top prospect like Thompson helps “The Immortal” get back on the slow climb up in the welterweight division.
Staying in the welterweight division for a moment, Rory MacDonald continued to prove that he is the division’s brightest young star. MacDonald took on the underrated Che Mills and, after getting tagged a little too much by Mills’ sharp striking, took him down at will and dominated on the ground.
MacDonald exhibited smooth striking-to-takedown transitions, excellent ground control and vicious, well-balanced ground striking en route to a second round TKO win over Mills. The twenty two year-old has only lost to current interim champion Carlos Condit, and that was after a fight that MacDonald was arguably winning at points.
I’m sure they are friends and respect each other. But at least a small part of GSP not wanting to fight MacDonald is because it can’t be that much fun to do so.
Miguel Torres’ future
Miguel Torres’ year didn’t get any better with a knockout loss to top bantamweight prospect Michael McDonald. McDonald threw fast and hard punch combinations at Torres during their brief fight, with a number of uppercuts landing.
The last uppercut landed cleanly and knocked the former champion Torres out on contact. Torres has now lost two out of his last three, though this was the first decisive loss for the charismatic fighter since 2010.
More importantly, however, is how well Torres will be able to recover from such a bad knockout. He is a young man by society’s standards at just 31 years of age. But, considering his weight class, where speed and reaction time is so crucial, Torres is beyond a veteran.
There is no telling how much damage Torres’ mind and body have sustained, either. His official record stands at something around 40-5, and goes back twelve years.
That’s an eternity and a huge amount of fights by MMA standards. But Torres likely has dozens more fights that will never appear on any official record. When he was still in high school he’d regularly fight multiple grown men in a single night at unsanctioned events.
Also, anyone who has seen Torres in training knows that he goes harder in practice sparring than many fighters go in competition. And we’ve all seen his warring style in the ring.
Torres has kept up the arrebentacao style and legacy of his mentor, the late, great Carlson Gracie Sr. , and he’s earned world titles, pound for pound rankings and legions of fans because of it. But at some point, his accomplished career will have to come to an end.
Only he knows if Saturday night’s knockout loss brings him closer to that moment or not. Its part of the cruelty of fight sports that careers can be considered full and long, but still leave their owners young, with fire in their heart and their families’ plates needing to be filled.
There is no pension for MMA fighters, no union that will ensure they get at least a living wage in retirement for the blood they’ve spilled and millions they’ve made for their employers. Thankfully, Torres will have a better shot than most fighters at maintaining success once he retires from fighting, whenever that is.
He is college-educated, has been a successful gym business owner for years, and has the kind of reputation – built on accessibility and genuine seeming overall friendliness and community involvement – that could keep him in demand as a trainer and television commentator for years after he hangs up his gloves. At the moment, the bantamweight division moves on with prospects like McDonald and champion Dominick Cruz, but without Torres.
Read Pt 1 of our UFC 145 Aftermath
UFC 145 Post Event Press Conference Video: