Want to know how crazy the last week or so has been for MMA? Consider that one of the sport’s most dominant champions lost his belt in a controversial decision after a very close fight…and that’s not even the most talked about news item. In fact, it’s not even close. The BJ Penn-Frankie Edgar fight may be in the top 5, but barely. After all, we also had Anderson Silva’s latest befuddling performance, Strikeforce champions giving newbies Shinya Aoki and Dan Henderson an unfriendly welcome, the UFC finally confirming Chuck Liddell vs. Rich Franklin, and…what was the last one?
Oh, yeah…a ridiculous brawl in the cage to end Strikeforce’s show last night.
Fallout Continues from Anderson Silva’s Performance
The first few days of this week were quite interesting, as there was a lot of fallout from Anderson Silva’s latest “masterpiece”. After an absolutely puzzling display against a completely confused Demian Maia, there was no shortage of fighters who wanted to get the next shot at the suppoesdly-misunderstood fighter.
Frank Mir made a public appeal to face Silva, even saying that he would fight at a 235-pound catchweight to make the fight more palatable to Silva and the athletic commission. Meanwhile, Vitor Belfort openly pleaded with Dana White on Twitter to give him the next shot at Silva, as the Brazilian striker was likely licking his lips at the prospect of someone daring him to attack and sticking his chin out to be punched. However, the winner of the Silva sweepstakes is none other than Chael Sonnen, who has aggressively marketed himself with a non-stop flow of crap-talking towards the champ that began before Sonnen even defeated Nate Marquardt in the cage.
Sonnen was quoted as calling Silva a “dirtbag” while mentioning that he felt Silva needed a good beatdown. It seems that Sonnen’s trash-talk (as well as his ability to take the fight to the ground and pressure the champ) was enough to convince Dana White to give him the shot he wanted. Silva will not get the welterweight matchup with Georges St. Pierre that he wanted, and instead will face Sonnen in a middleweight title fight.
I’m actually a big fan of this. Fighting in big money bouts outside of the division that he holds the belt in is a privilege, and one that Silva should earn. His last three middleweight title defenses have been absolutely awful, and he’s finally being held accountable for that. Furthermore, White said that Silva would be cut if he acted out in the cage again like he did against Maia. Many people don’t believe White, saying that it would be stupid for him to let a pound-for-pound great go. To that I say, “are you kidding me?” White can’t even sell a pay-per-view with Silva headlining now, because fans won’t trust him with their money. If he pulls this again, will Strikeforce even want him? Why would White worry about that? Because Silva might go fight Jason Miller and dance the whole time before simply running around in the late rounds?
Meanwhile, Ed Soares appeared in a video interview with Kimura.se and offered this incredibly lame justification for Silva’s performance: “Anderson couldn’t find his distance after the third round.” Ummmm…yeah. I understand that I’m not a world-class striker, and that striking is a very complicated aspect of the sport, but if you are able to use fifteen different fighting stances in the first two rounds, mock your opponent, dance a bit and still bust him up to the brink of putting him away for good, you don’t just lost your “distance” for the last two rounds of the fight. Soares also mentioned that Silva got a bit “stand-offish” after the fight because he felt insulted by the media, all of whom came off as “blasting him”. So, members of the media, please be more gentle with Silva. He may tear people’s heads off in the cage and berate his opponents with profanities during his fights, but outside of the cage, he’s a very sensitive guy. Have a heart.
Frankie Edgar will Face BJ Penn Again, Probably Hopes to Have Doug Crosby in Attendance
BJ Penn posted a blog on his site last week, saying that preliminary talks for a rematch with Frankie Edgar were in the works, and that does seem to be the plan at this point. I feel for Edgar, who now has to get ready to endure another training camp to face a guy that he just beat, which must be a mentally draining experience. Still, this will hopefully erase any questions about who the UFC’s top dog really is at lightweight.
In other Penn-Edgar news, Doug “50-45″ Crosby, who famously gave all five rounds to Edgar, has apparently lost his mind. Crosby went on the “Underground” forum, supposedly to explain his reasons for scoring the fight the way that he did. Instead, he simply trolled forum members for hours, posting nonsensical messages in a sarcastic tone, rather than discussing the fight. In the end, he simply gave no justification for his scorecard and disappeared. He also refused to explain the 50-45 score to SportsIllustrated.com’s Josh Gross, who reached the judge by phone.
Another Way to Make Fantasy Matchups Happen
Hey, MMA fans! Want to see your favorite fighters clash, but they’re signed to different promotions? Simply get them in the cage with the Diaz brothers, and it will happen somehow! That’s right, last night we were treated to Jason “Mayhem” Miller vs. Nick Diaz. We were also treated to Mayhem vs. Nate Diaz, which is amazing because he’s currently a UFC fighter who is under contract. Unfortunately, we saw these fights happen at the same time.
Mayhem has gotten a little bit of heat for entering the cage and interrupting Shields’ interview last night. It is true that if he had not gone in the cage, nothing would have happened. However, it’s only true in the same way that you could say to a pedestrian who had been run over by a car while walking in the cross-walk: “if you hadn’t crossed the street, you wouldn’t have been hit.” This doesn’t mean that Mayhem is to blame, in other words.
History also passes the blame to the Cesar Gracie crew. After all, how many times in MMA have we seen a hopeful contender enter the cage to issue a challenge after a successful title defense? When Georges St. Pierre told Matt Hughes that he wasn’t impressed with his performance, he didn’t get smacked around by Pat Miletich or soccer-kicked by Jeremy Horn. The problem here is that there were a few individuals involved, most of whom have the surname “Diaz”, who simply take any chance they can get to scrap.
Here are some other notes about the incident:
— The best tweet of the week (and maybe ever) was made by Dana White. Just minutes after an event where Strikeforce saw three title fights go the full five rounds (including disappointing debuts by Aoki and Henderson, and a dominant win by the soon-to-depart Shields), White tweeted this:
So simple, yet so perfect. A close runner-up was Mayhem Miller’s tweet a few minutes later, which simply read, “Whoops.”
–There were some wonderful nuggets of unintentional hilarity and complete ineptitude on display last night. Some of my favorites included: Mauro Ranallo awkwardly trying to get into the camera shot for the final (post-brawl) interview with Shields, as the cameraman kept panning away to keep him off-camera, Mario Yamasaki’s awkward refereeing during the Aoki-Melendez fight, and Gus Johnson’s absolutely horrid handling of the brawl that ended the show.
Johnson actually said this to explain the situation to an audience that presumably included many casual fans and viewers new to the sport: “Sometimes these things happen in MMA…a lot of testosterone in the cage.” Seriously? So, I understand that he had to think fast, but his first reaction was to throw the sport under the bus and give people the impression that this is a regular occurrence after fights?
If he was going to say something like that, why not include boxing in the mix? Why simply say “these things happen in MMA”? Why say anything at all? He flat-out told new viewers that this is just something that you have to expect during an MMA event, all while using a voice that was almost too-casual, to boot. Just awful. Mauro Ranallo’s little speech afterward where he channeled Joe Buck wasn’t much better. Way to go, Johnson!
Tags: Anderson Silva, awful officiating, bad for the sport, BJ Penn, Chael Sonnen, Dana White, Demian Maia, Doug Crosby, Frank Mir, Frankie Edgar, Jason Miller, lock your doors it's the Diaz brothers!, Nate Diaz, Nick Diaz, Strikeforce, UFC, Vitor Belfort