This past weekend was gloriously packed with notable MMA events. From Friday through Sunday, we had an episode of The Ultimate Fighter featuring the sixteenth season’s runaway leader of “Biggest Douche in the House” in action, as well as UFC on FX 5 the same night. That night, we also had Bellator 75, which featured the quarterfinal round of the promotion’s latest heavyweight tournament.
As every infomercial salesman ever said, “But wait, there’s more!” We also had the MMA debut of former WWE standout Dave Bautista at something called CES MMA: “Real Pain”, as well as the sixth installment of ONE FC. Let’s not forget that Saturday featured Invicta FC 3, as the all-female promotion stole the spotlight with a card full of excellent fights. In fact, I won’t even talk about it here, as it is worthy of its own column.
Out of all the high-profile cards last weekend, you would expect a few highlight reel finishes, some great back-and-forth bouts, and at least a couple of instances of awful judging and refereeing, too. That’s all par for the course in our sport of choice. However, there were plenty of things that happened last weekend that were just plain weird. Consider these events, my friends:
–UFC fighter Jeremy Stephens was arrested in Minnesota on the day of UFC on FX 5 for an outstanding warrant he had in Iowa. Dana White maintained that Stephens would still fight even hours before the event when Stephens had still not been released, as he even chastised the media for having the gall to assume that someone who was arrested and held without bail on the day of a fight card might miss his scheduled bout.
Then, White went public with his rather sad story of attempting to get around the legal process (even trying to get police to escort Stephens to his fight and then back to jail) after Stephens’ bout with Yves Edwards was canceled. I guess he thought we would believe it was a heroic effort on his part, but with no details at the time (and only a few more now) regarding what Stephens allegedly did to get felony charges thrown his way, the whole situation felt a little grimy, at best.
Look, I know we all thought it was really cool in Bloodsport when Frank Dux (played by the legendary Jean-Claude Van Damme, of course) eluded the authorities and instructed them that he would willingly be taken into custody only after his final fight in the Kumite, but things have changed. For one, we’re not elementary school kids anymore. For another, we realize now that generally speaking, getting felony charges thrown at you tends to mean you done fucked up, and maybe your boss shouldn’t brag about having tried really hard to get you out for a few hours so you could fight in a cage.
–In Bellator, we had the rarest of MMA happenings (besides a submission via Twister, that is)- a groin shot that actually ended a fight. You might remember that the first time Eric Prindle and Thiago Santos fought, Santos threw an obviously-intentional kick to Prindles twig and berries while standing up with Prindle was on his back. Prindle couldn’t continue and the bout was somehow ruled as a no contest.
Well, after a scheduled rematch fell through, the two finally met again on Friday night. Instead of having a clean fight, they continued their rochambeau, though, as Prindle paid Santos back and then some with a wicked axe kick directly to the groin as Santos was laying on his back in the same position Prindle had been the first time they faced one another. Referee Gary Copeland even said “Don’t kick him in the groin!” right before Prindle threw the axe kick that ended Santos’ night. Right away, it was clear Santos wouldn’t be electing to continue, and this time, there was a disqualification, as Prindle was handed the loss.
–Then, there was the Jens Pulver fight in ONE FC 6’s bantamweight tournament. No, smartass, the weird thing is not that Pulver won, but that he, like Santos, “benefited” (if that can ever be said after such an event) from a groin shot that ended his fight with Ya Fei Zhao. Unlike in the Prindle-Santos bout, though, there had already been two full rounds, and the fight went to the judges for a technical decision in Pulver’s favor. Of course, as Pulver was stretchered back to the locker room, he was in no position to celebrate.
–Even the main event of UFC on FX 5 was not exempt from the weirdness of the weekend. In that bout, Travis Browne was stopped by TKO for his first career loss against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, but this was not the kind of dominating, one-sided victory that would indicate that Silva had earned a spot in the heavyweight top ten. Rather, Silva benefited from an obvious knee injury that Browne suffered early in the fight, which left him wobbly and nervous as he tried switching stances and keeping weight off it, to no avail. Silva landed a nice right hand, but the coup de grace came across as rather anticlimactic as Browne seemed to just turn away and give up due to the inevitability of the loss rather than due to the power of Silva’s strikes.
–Perhaps the weirdest thing of all was that a former WWE wrestler over the age of 40 who had been talking for years about fighting in MMA finally made good on all of the speculation. Of course, it wasn’t Kurt Angle, who disappointingly brings up his supposed MMA aspirations whenever he needs to grab a few headlines from bloggers on slow news days, but instead Dave Bautista. Bautista, who wrestled in WWE under the clever stage name “Batista”, submitted Vince Lucero with a rear naked choke to earn the right to forever say that he beat Vince fucking Lucero with a rear naked choke. Lucero, mind you, snapped a winless streak of 10 straight fights earlier in 2012 by beating the dangerous Eric Flood (1-3 after that bout) at Rage in the Cage 157.
Tags: Antonio Silva, Bellator, Bellator 75, Dana White, Dave Bautista, Eric Prindle, Jens Pulver, Jeremy Stephens, Jon Koppenhaver, Julian Lane, One FC, The Ultimate Fighter, Thiago Santos, Travis Browne, UFC, UFC on FX 5, WWE