Props: MMA Photoshops
In our efforts to give out high fives and bro grabs over how much fun Saturday night’s fights were, we missed the opportunity to give constructive criticism to some of the evening’s lowest moments. We’ll more than likely still miss out on the constructive criticism here, but sometimes there’s just no way to be helpful about something’s ugliness (no matter how hard you try to be). But before we get caught up in the negativity…
Vera and Varner Impressive in Defeat. Before Saturday night, both men were expected to be little more than highlight reel fodder for their opponents. After they came up just short in two of the most competitive, entertaining bouts to be broadcast on Fox, it’d be too easy to make comparisons to Rocky. So instead of making one, I’ll just imply it – problem solved. A loss is never easy for either fighter to swallow, but it could have been much uglier.
Mike Swick’s Feel-Good Comeback Fight. Is it even possible not to feel good for Mike Swick? After losing his last two fights and spending over two years away from the sport, things were looking pretty grim for “Quick.” Watching DaMarques Johnson control Swick for the first round certainly didn’t brighten the mood, either. But if you know somebody who wasn’t cheering while Swick flawlessly finished Johnson, that person has no pulse. In fact, that “person” is probably a zombie. Act accordingly.
Not giving title shots to guys who duck fights. Do you remember why Shogun vs. Vera was booked in the first place? If you said no, it’s because Rua wouldn’t fight Glover Teixeira. Dana White certainly didn’t forget about this - in fact, he brought it up when he was asked why Machida was given a title shot over Shogun after the event. If fans are calling for Anderson Silva to vacate the title because his management doesn’t want him fighting Chris Weidman, then there’s absolutely no reason to give a guy a title shot who refused to fight an up-and-coming prospect, plain and simple.
All things considered, these ratings were pretty good. Like everything else on tv Saturday night, UFC on Fox 4 still got squashed by the Olympics. Unlike everything else, ratings improved throughout the course of the evening. The actual numbers don’t tell the entire story: There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the ratings for future cards on Fox.
The Doctor’s Stoppage of Wagner Prado vs. Phil Davis. There’s nothing more frustrating to me than watching a doctor simply ask a fighter if he wants to continue before clearing him to fight. You’re there because you can tell when it isn’t safe for a fighter to keep fighting, even though he wants to continue. Letting a fighter continue who isn’t physically capable of safely doing so is not only blindly ignoring your own expertise, but also a completely reckless way to get somebody killed.
It wasn’t the popular decision – and certainly not the preferable one – but it was the right one. After Davis’ eye poke, Prado told the doctor that he was seeing double, and the fight was immediately stopped. Naturally, Prado protested the stoppage; no professional fighter wants to look soft, even if he can’t see. But there’s no sense putting an asterisk next to a victory for Phil Davis (not to mention the danger this would put Prado in). Live to fight again, guys.
Phil “The Shockmaster” Davis. He may share the “Mr. Wonderful” alias with professional wrestling icon Paul Orndorff, but after his last two fights, he might as well borrow one of Fred Ottman’s failed gimmicks due to how badly he’s been falling on his face. It’s bad enough to go from the main event of UFC on Fox 2 to the Fuel TV prelims, but when you give the fans the absolute worst ending of the night, you’ll need to break out something extra special to stay relevant in the upcoming rematch. Remember when we were saying this guy should fight Jon Jones? Laissez les bons temps rouler.
Ryan “What’s Wrestling?” Bader. You’re a 2x D1 All-American wrestler. You’re fighting an elusive, karate-based former champion. What’s your strategy? Stand and Wang until you’re confusing the arena’s lights for Heaven, of course. At least he had the decency not to cry about it, so…props?
Joe Rogan’s interpretation of “Poor Cardio” during Varner vs. Lauzon. About thirty seconds into the Fight of the Night earning scrap between Jamie Varner and Joe Lauzon, Joe Rogan began saying that Varner was completely spent and done for. Call me “logical,” but considering that Varner kept fighting (emphasis on fighting – this wasn’t three rounds of lay and pray) into the third round, despite breaking his hand in the second, I’d say Varner’s conditioning looked pretty damn good. It’s one thing to say a guy looks tired, it’s another thing to repeatedly swear that he’s finished as he’s coming forward being the aggressor. Then again, that was nothing compared to…
Phil Davis loves choking out fools with…kimuras? An announcer at an amateur event would get mocked relentlessly for making such a remarkably stupid mistake. Mike Goldberg has zero excuse…not even “I’m Mike Goldberg.”
Whoever this Nam Famn guy is that we kept hearing about. At first, I assumed that there was an innocent slip of the tongue, and wrote it off as a mispronunciation that I won’t pretend I’ve never made. But then I kept hearing about this Nam Fanm guy, and realized that he couldn’t be Nam Phan. For one, Nam Fanm used his boxing to defeat former WEC champion Mike Brown, and Nam Phan lost to Brown. Also, this Nam Famn guy was never in the fight against Cole Miller, and was clearly blown out for three rounds judging by the commentary throughout the fight. Yet, Nam Phan won that fight – fairly convincingly, too.
Come on, Mike and Joe. You’re much better than this. If you won’t give a fighter any credit at all while he’s in the cage, can you at least pronounce his name correctly?