At the conclusion of UFC 111, Georges St. Pierre still held the welterweight title and Shane Carwin was (once again) next in line for a shot at Brock Lesnar’s heavyweight title. The more things change, the more they stay the same, right?
GSP-Hardy: Boring, or Just Anticlimactic?
The first thing to discuss is definitely the fallout of the GSP-Dan Hardy fight. Everybody that watched that fight seems to have a strong opinion about what took place…some believe that GSP has nothing to apologize for, as his job is to “just win”. Others think that GSP is actually hurting his legacy by playing it safe, and some believe that there is no reason for St. Pierre to stay in that division any longer. Many say that they have found new respect for Hardy, who showed ridiculous guts in getting out of two deep submission attempts by St. Pierre, all while losing respect for GSP because of the way that he chose to fight.
I’m not here to tell you what to think, so…wait a minute…yes, I am.
It’s ridiculous to expect GSP to do anything but give himself the best possible chance to win. I’ve touched on this topic in the past (following the Rashad Evans- Thiago Silva fight), and my stance has not changed. No NFL team would apologize to its fans for winning a boring Super Bowl game, and no UFC champion should have to apologize for giving himself the best chance to win. Like St. Pierre said after the fight, he believes that he has better standup than Dan Hardy, but Hardy is dangerous on his feet and not at all so on his back. Why take the chance?
It’s true that there are plenty of fighters out there, even championship-caliber ones, that throw caution to the wind and please the fans while winning fights. However, when the strategy backfires and the fighter is sent home with a disappointing loss by submission or knockout, are the fans going to chip in and pay him his win bonus? Will the UFC truly keep an exciting fighter on the roster, even after the losses mount due to a style that asks for unnecessary risks? The answer is always “no” to the first question, and nearly always “no” to the second, as well.
Finally, where is Dan Hardy’s responsibility in all of this? You don’t see him complaining about a boring fight, do you? Of course not, because he knows that, as the fighter who wanted to stand and bang, it was up to him to keep the fight standing so that he could take advantage of his strengths. He didn’t do so, and has no one to blame but himself for it. To all of you who wanted a standup war that everyone in their right mind knew St. Pierre wouldn’t allow to happen- blame Hardy for not defending takedowns, instead. Sounds silly, right? Well, it’s just as silly to criticize a guy who did his best to win a fight without stupidly taking unnecessary chances.
I’m not telling you what you can and can’t find boring, although I didn’t find the fight to be boring at all. Anticlimactic? Yes. Boring? No. However, if you didn’t like the fight, you don’t have to order any of St. Pierre’s future bouts on pay-per-view. Vote with your wallet, if you must. Just know that fights won’t always be knock-down, drag-out brawls. This is a sport, and sports contests aren’t always a guarantee of top-notch entertainment. The matchup was too easy for St. Pierre, and Hardy couldn’t do anything to stop St. Pierre from imposing his will throughout. On a side note, I don’t remember this kind of complaining about Randy Couture’s win over the hated Tito Ortiz at UFC 44, which somehow resides in the supposed “Best 100 UFC Fights of All-Time”. Now that was boring.
“Everybody Wants a Knockout”
I may be completely out of my mind, but I swear that I heard referee Dan Miragliotta say “everybody wants a knockout” right after separating Shane Carwin and Frank Mir early into their title fight. At first, I figured I misheard him, as it was pretty loud in the room where I was watching the fights, but after several viewings, I’m still hearing it. This after Miragliotta stood up or separated fighters more than once right after the “boo-birds” started getting vocal. If you read the first part of this story, you already can guess my feelings on a referee pandering to what the audience asks for, which is simply based on how entertained they feel at any given moment.
Is this a sport, or just entertainment? Sure, it can be both, but separating fighters to encourage a knockout or to appease booing fans takes things a few steps too close to the “entertainment” side. Perhaps Miragliotta let Mir get pounded several times more than what was necessary because he wanted to make sure Mir was really out? After all, everybody wants a knockout, right?
–Kurt Pellegrino looked very good in his win over Fabricio Camoes, despite a couple of tense moments midway through the contest where he appeared to be just about done for. It’s good to see Pellegrino finish a victory, especially against a very sound grappler like Camoes.
–I was also very impressed with Nate Diaz, whose standup looked one thousand times better against the dangerous Rory Markham than it did in a sloppy contest against the not-so-dangerous (when boxing, anyway) Gray Maynard. Between Diaz’s penchant for getting caught up in the moment, Markham’s KO power and the obvious size advantage Markham would have after weighing in several pounds over the welterweight limit, I thought this could be a bad matchup for Nate. Just like his brother Nick, though, he proved many people (including myself) wrong.
–I was a bit astonished at the live reaction to Jon Fitch’s win over Ben Saunders. Fitch seems to have trouble finishing opponents with ground and pound, but make no mistake about it- he put a beating on Saunders. I didn’t find the fight to be boring at all, as Fitch was constantly attacking from the top position throughout the fight. Like I’ve said before, fans no longer understand what “lay and pray” really means.
–Yes, the MMA gods would be very pleased to see more of Rachelle Leah back doing what she does best. Very pleased, indeed.
Tags: Ben Saunders, Dan Hardy, Dan Miragliotta, Fabricio Camoes, Frank Mir, Georges St. Pierre, Jon Fitch, Kurt Pellegrino, Nate Diaz, Rachelle Leah, Randy Couture, Rory Markham, Shane Carwin, Tito Ortiz, UFC 111