At first glance, the terms Outcome and Result appear to be nearly identical. In most cases, these synonyms can be easily substituted for one another and never given a second thought. But the events of this past year have led me to take a closer look at just what these two ordinary words mean to the world of Mixed Martial Arts.
A rudimentary internet search of these terms returns a plethora of definitions, more often than not, closely resembling one another:
To come about as a consequence. To end in a particular way.
out·come : n.
Something that follows from an action, dispute, or situation.
As events and fight cards continue to come and go, it seems that this has truly been the year of upsets and unexpected performances. Accordingly, every exceptional display and inconceivable resolution brings with it a flood of consequences. As these byproducts continue to mount, I find more and more that Outcomes and Results seem to lie not jointly, but in opposing positions.
Case #1: Machida vs Shogun
The build-up up for this fight was incredible. Machida was the newly crowned king at 205, and seemed to be an unsolvable mystery for anyone at LHW. Shogun was surging, finally starting to resemble the Pride juggernaut once thought to be the very best in the world. What took place on Oct 24th, was a closely contested strategic match-up in which leg kicks and counter attacks were the weapons of choice. In the end, it would go down as the most controversial decision in UFC history.
- The Result: Lyoto Machida was declared the winner via unanimous decision.
- The Outcome: Shogun punished the legs and body of Machida with pinpoint accuracy. When the decision was read, no one looked more surprised than the night’s winner, Lyoto Machida. The vast majority of the capacity crowd, along with that of the MMA community cried foul, believing that Shogun had done enough to earn the title. Nonetheless, Rua had effectively solved the puzzle of Machida. While his performance did not earn him the title, Shogun was awarded an immediate re-match. Fate would see to it that his second opportunity end in a much more favorable and convincing manner.
Case #2: Lesnar vs Carwin
Billed as the biggest fight in HW history, the biggest question surrounding Lesnar vs Carwin seemed to be whether a manmade structure could contain the sheer power of these two behemoths without imploding. The two biggest, strongest monsters in the division promised a show, and a show is what they delivered.
- The Result: Brock Lesnar wins via arm triangle submission in Round 2.
- The Outcome: Previously believed to be a modern day Neanderthal, with superhuman strength and uncanny speed and agility, Lesnar entered the match as perhaps the most intimidating figure in the sport and was thought by many to be nearly invincible. Carwin was unimpressed. The opening stanza saw Shane completely dominate Brock. Lesnar was clearly out of his element on the feet and Carwin showed no mercy nor restrain, immediately taking the fight to the champion rocking him early and nearly ending the fight with heavy handed G’n’P. But with each dropping of the hammer, Carwin visibly slowed. Lesnar continued to moved and defend just enough to avoid the stoppage, and eventually made it back to his feet by the end of the round. Round 2 would see the coin flipped, as a resurgent Lesnar quickly secured a takedown of the exhausted challenger. It was only a matter of time from there. While Brock showed grit and heart by weathering a storm which had capsized 12 men before him, he also showed that his rudimentary striking ability and failure to react properly to being hit could very well be the key to his dethroning. HW hitters Cain Velasquez and JDS surely took note.
Case #3: Silva vs Maia
The setup? Arguably the most gifted ground artist in the game steps up to show that anyone can be submitted, even the untouchable Spider. During the pre-fight buildup Maia made a few rather forgettable comments about taking one of the spider's legs off. Silva was not amused. Consequently, neither were the thousands of fans who shelled out their hard earned dollars for what turned out to be the strangest performance ever witnessed inside the Octagon.
- The Result: Anderson Silva wins via unanimous decision.
- The Outcome: Did I just see what I think I saw? Was it just me, or has Anderson Silva been possessed by a bi-polar ballerina? The answer to both questions is YES. Instead of proving that Maia has no business inside the cage with him, Silva decided to take things in another direction. That direction was a B-line into Looneyville. Silva, repeatedly screamed at, taunted, and danced for a puzzled Maia for the the better part of the contest, seeming more concerned about perfecting his pantomime skills as opposed to actually fighting. Quite simply, it was the oddest thing ever witnessed inside the octagon. While the performance may have left some of us laughing, Dana White was less than amused. He was so angered in fact that post-fight, he threatened to send Silva packing. Calmer head prevailed and Silva remained in the organization. As predicted before the fight, serious damage was inflicted. But instead of Damian Maia being the reciepient, it was Anderson's reputation that suffered the brunt of the damage.
Case #4: BJ vs Edgar
Dominate, untouchable, world-destroyer... These are just a few of the words used to describe BJ Penn leading up to his 112 showdown with Frankie Edgar. Coming into the fight, no one questioned who the best LW in the world was. BJ had essentially separated himself from the rest of the 155ers as being on an entirely different level. While Frankie had strung together several impressive wins, it was collectively known that he stood little chance against the Prodigy. That all changed as the fighters approached the ring. As BJ made his way through the crowd, something seems a little off about him. Que dramatic foreshadowing...
- The Result: Frankie Edgar wins via Unanimous decision.
- The Outcome: In a closely contested 5 round back and forth battle, many assumed that BJ had done enough to close out the win. To bad that assume makes an ass of u and me. The scorecards were read and history was made. Biggest upset ever? Its possible. Certainly it was the biggest upset of the year to that point. Edgar had little time to enjoy his moment in the sun, as it was immediately determined that his 1st defense would be against none other than BJ. If that wasn't enough, Edgar received even less praise for his victory after it was disclosed that BJ had been sick in the week leading up tot he fight. In fact, for several weeks following the fight BJ remained ahead of Edgar in most LW rankings. Most assume its a foregone conclusion that BJ will regain the title at UFC 118. Still struggling to get his due respect, Edgar will enter the Aug 28th rematch as a considerable underdog at + 250 to BJ's -350.
Case #5: Jones vs Hamill
Finally, Jones' first test. A tough, durable, and extremely strong Hamill should be able to push this new kid on the block and tell if he really is worthy of the hype. Jones is a gifted striker and very unorthodox, but how will he handle Hamill's wrestling pedigree? All viable questions, and we certainly got our answers...
- The Result: Matt Hamill wins via disqualification.
The Outcome: Winner, winner chicken dinner. The victory goes on Hamill's record. But the win went to Jones. Bones was out to prove that the hype is real, and that's just what he did. He controlled the fight from the outset. Easily the more efficient striker, it was on the ground that Jon really shined. He completely manhandled Hamill and outworked him in every position. It seemed like Jones wasn't even trying. He just did whatever he wanted to do. The fight was all but in the bag when a small mental lapse caused Jones to start throwin' "Bows" like Ludacris at a Kenny Florian seminar. 9 to 5 ain't no way to make a living. But in this case, 12 to 6 will get you fired. A series of illegal downward elbows left Hamill unable to continue, and gave Jones the 1st loss of his career. Nonetheless, Bones' stock continued to go through the roof.
Case #6: Fedor vs Werdum
What the F Strikeforce? Why is Fedor wasting his time fighting Werdum? This is going to end by Murder. Fedor by annihilation! Werdum has no chance. Before June 26th, it was hard to argue with that stance. For nearly a decade, Fedor Emelianenko was thought to be some sort of cybernetic hybrid machine developed by cold-war Russia to bring about the end of times. Calm, calculating, sweater wearing, dominate. That about sums up the Last Emperor. This was essentially to be a warm up for a long awaited showdown between Fedor and Alistar Overeem. Someone forgot to tell that to Vai Cavalo.
- The Result: Werdum wins via triangle choke in round 1.
- The Outcome: Were do I start. Outcomes galore!!! 1. M-1 takes a HUGE hit, as does Strikeforce. Since Fedor is the most valuable commodity for both organizations, each immediately went into DEFCON 5 to to figure out how to approach the aftermath. 2. Dana White? Does the phrase kid in a candy store mean anything to you? After relentlessly pursuing the Last Emperor like a fabled unicorn that could never be captured, White quickly changed his tune. The UFC is no longer interested in securing the services for the greatest HW of all time. 3. The UFC can finally lay unfettered claim to having the top ranked HW talent. 4. Fedor's fans (including myself) have been forced to admit that he is in fact human, and not a demi-god born in the fires of Valhalla, as previously believed.
Case #7: Silva vs Sonnen
"I know you are but what am I?" In a classic display of schoolyard trash talking, Chael Sonnen single handily sold this fight to the MMA community, the sports world, and damn near anyone who would listen. Funny thing is, almost no one gave him a chance in hell. Guess the real joke was on us.
- The Result: Anderson Silva wins via triangle choke in round 5.
- The Outcome: Domination… Plain and simple. For 23 minutes and 10 seconds, Chael Sonnen backed up every single word of the epic trash talk which he had been spouting since February 2010. It wasn’t even close. Going into the final frame, Sonnen led on the cards to the tune of 40-34, 40-35, and 40-36. He had completely taken Silva out of his game, and even managed to rock the champion several times on the feet. Undoubtedly, Sonnen was poised to pull off what would have surely been the biggest upset in UFC history, and in the most dominate way imaginable. But with less than 2 minutes remaining in the fight, Anderson Silva decided to throw a wrench in the gears. A momentary lapse in judgment was all that the spider needed, he threw up a triangle attempt, and in an instant, 23 minutes of an inconceivable one-sided ass whooping disappeared into thin air. In the end, Anderson retained his title. But Sonnen proved that anyone can be beaten at any time. The Spider is still the champion, but his aura of invincibility is all but gone. All thanks to an Oregon Real Estate Agent…
As events like those above continue to unfold, I am convinced now more than ever that although words are defined in writing, they can easily be rewritten by actions…