Strikeforce, the promotion of the ever-shrinking roster, certainly needs help from its big brother, the UFC. After all, the cold reality of running a promotion outside of the UFC and trying to put on heavyweight fights is that you end up having to put your emerging stud of a top-ten heavyweight against the likes of Tim Sylvia.
Now, I am not among the legions of Sylvia haters. The man had his place in the history of the sport. In that ever-so-awkward time frame that bridged the early days of MMA to what we would call the fully-evolved era that we are experiencing now, Sylvia was one of a handful of truly successful heavyweights, and one of the only two (along with Andrei Arlovski) that sustained success between 2003 and 2006. I always thought the guy was underappreciated, even if he was awkward in the cage and became very gun-shy later in his UFC tenure.
But still, I am the last person who would try to sell you on the excitement of a fight between a specimen the likes of Daniel Cormier and what’s left of Tim Sylvia. That’s why we are all pretty thankful that Zuffa has finally taken the opportunity to ship one of their UFC fighters to the Strikeforce hexagon (even the hexagon doesn’t get its respect, as it doesn’t get the capitalization treatment since it isn’t trademarked like the Octagon is).
That’s right, Frank Mir is coming to Strikeforce. Er, for one night only, that is.
See, the ugly reality of Strikeforce in its current, on-life-support existence is that the powers that be at Showtime and within Strikeforce itself will not let the organization go gentle into that good night, and instead would seemingly prefer to sadistically watch it suffer as the blood slowly drains out of it, like some sicko in one of Eli Roth’s torture porn movies.
So, even though the Strikeforce heavyweight division now consists of, well, Cormier and Josh Barnett, who were the final two left in Strikeforce’s fifteen-month heavyweight tournament. For whatever reason, the two of them are not allowed to bolt to the UFC- not yet!- as they are required to fight one more time in Strikeforce. Not against each other, mind you. That would make no sense. Instead, against whoever Strikeforce can dig up. Hence the Sylvia rumors before Mir stepped in to ensure Cormier at least has to have a training camp before his last Strikeforce fight.
You’ve got to give props to Mir for slumming it in Strikeforce while taking a fight against a very tough opponent. Of course, what other options does he have? He just lost a one-sided title fight, he isn’t getting any younger, and he knows that the only way to get back into the cramped title picture is to fight top guys and beat them. This is a big opportunity to do just that against the fastest-rising heavyweight in the sport right now.
The real question: who the hell does Barnett fight? Sylvia? Do they dust Mike Kyle off and have him fight at a 40-pound weight deficit again? Is Andrei Arlovski busy? Perhaps they can call up Fedor Emelianenko and beg him to come out of retirement, saying, “Come on now, baby…we didn’t mean any of that. You’re still the best; just come on back”?
Who am I kidding? It’ll be Sylvia.
From the Prelims to a Title Fight, or, Promotion 101
It’s weird that Strikeforce was never able to eclipse the UFC. I mean, we all know that the UFC has a nearly insurmountable lead over any other promotion in terms of mainstream media coverage, name/brand recognition, production values, TV slots, and roster quality, but I’m saying…besides all those things.
Sometimes, you get a little taste of what may have been a problem over on Showtime. You know, like when they put their probable number one contender to the highest profile belt they have left on the prelims instead of the main card. That’s the first lesson of “MMA Promotion 101″, followed by throwing said guy (Pat Healy) into a main event against your lightweight champion and scratching your head in confusion as to why fans aren’t excited to see the fight.
The biggest problem that high-level fighters outside of the UFC have in terms of getting respect from mainstream fans is that the fans assume that they are fighting “nobodies” if they aren’t fighting in the Octagon. Having Pat Healy, who has fought twice on Challengers series cards and twice on the prelims in his five-fight winning streak, taking on Melendez does nothing to counter this type of thinking.
I actually want to see Melendez-Healy. I think Healy is on a great run and deserves the shot, especially since I have zero interest in yet another fight between Melendez and Josh Thomson. However, I know that I don’t represent the majority. Most Strikeforce fans either don’t know who the hell Pat Healy is, or have a passing knowledge of him but don’t understand why he deserves a title shot. That’s Strikeforce’s fault.
Non-MMA Rant of the Week
Recently, another random psychopath decided that because his life isn’t going so well, he is entitled to end the lives of countless strangers while throwing his own down the toilet. Afterward, the same tired combination of media vultures looking for easy ratings and pointing fingers at everything that they can think of ensued, but I don’t believe that they have looked at the situation logically.
No one would argue that these supposedly-random mass shootings have increased in the last couple of decades, with the most famous one being the shooting in Littleton, Colorado’s Columbine High School back in 1999. We certainly didn’t have all of these mass shootings back in the 50′s or 60′s. The question is: why?
Anyone would concede that some of these fucktards have been “inspired” by the other walking piles of human waste who have preceded them, as a person so weak-minded as to take other’s lives and then their own is likely an impressionable person who is also likely to think that those who have already done so were cool for having murdered innocent people in a cowardly fashion.
However, there has to be more to it, right?
Take all of this with a grain of salt if you want, because I am no criminal profiler, crime reporter, or psychologist. What I do have is a pretty sound grasp on logic, though, and I think I have at least a partial explanation for why this crap is happening all of a sudden over the last twenty years.
Think about it: you’re at the end of your rope. People pick on you and make your life miserable; you’re failing out of med school and your parents are putting the pressure on you (or whatever other reason wackos have come up with for shooting up schools, malls, and movie theaters in the last two decades). You decide you want to end your life. Millions of people have made the same decision, going back to the earliest days of mankind. It’s a tragic way to end any life, but one that has somehow remained a part of human reality for thousands of years.
But then, you stop. You decide, “Hey, I’m going to die anyway. Why not take a bunch of people with me?” My question is: what makes you take that step?
Think of the feelings that would cause such a thought to pop up in someone’s sick little head. Anger. Jealousy. Hatred. The feeling that you might get when you feel that someone else is responsible for the way your life is. That someone else has caused you to fail at the things you’ve tried to do.
When faced with another one of these mass shootings, who hasn’t thought to themselves, as grim as it is to admit, that the person should have just killed themselves and left everyone else alone? The problem is that someone like James Holmes does not think that he is responsible for the way his life has turned out. Holmes, like so many shooters in these situations, had trouble in school and had actually dropped out of grad school. Clearly, he felt that his life was no longer worth anything. But the decision to victimize others instead of just throwing his own life away reveals a lack of any sense of responsibility.
I think that’s the biggest reason that you see these shootings now, while they never seemed to happen 30+ years ago. I know many teachers in public school systems, and when a kid isn’t doing well these days in the American public school system, the parents always want to know why the teacher isn’t doing more. The question isn’t “Well, son, why are you messing around in class?” as it would have been when I was growing up in the 80′s; instead it’s “Well, why isn’t your teacher doing more to help you?”
This kind of attitude is pervasive in our society now and represents what I (and many others) like to call the Participation Trophy Phenomenon. We are so worried about coddling our kids and making sure that everyone is equal that we stop keeping score during youth sports events, refuse to single out anyone for praise or for criticism, and ultimately do not hold children accountable for our actions.
The result is that we have raised millions of people who not only feel entitled to getting things that they have not earned, but who feel no sense of responsibility when things do not go their way. It may sound like I’m reaching, but think about it again: you think your life sucks and you want to end it; why would you go on a rampage before doing so? Why are you angry with strangers about how your life has turned out?
Nobody in that theater last week had anything to do with Holmes’ failure in grad school or any other problems he may have been having in his life. However, they all were put at risk because we have a society full of adults who are so scared to hurt the feelings of our young that we won’t hold them responsible for their actions and teach them that nobody but them is to blame for how their lives turn out.