On Saturday night, I went to the huge sportsbar in my town that orders every UFC event. On fight night there's over 400 people there. Some of the patrons aren't educated fight fans. They 'ooh' and 'ahh' over things that should not be 'oohed' and 'ahhed' at, and I've heard numerous times how Kimbo Slice is 'the real deal.' Despite all that, there is a good mixture of both casual and hardcore fans.
I drank a few beers, ate some appetizers, watched the fights, and went home. The next morning I read the post-PPV analysis online and was surpsied. A lot of people were 'outraged' over how Jones let Machida's unconscious body drop to the mat. I think the outrage is artificial and illogical.
Let me explain.
When Jones released Machida to the ground and walked away, I was in awe. Not because of his stoic demeanor, but because of Jones' utter dominance. Even though I predicted Jones would make short work of Machida, I was in awe of Jones' performance in 2011.
Also, I was in awe of the amazing finish and so was everyone else at the bar. The crowd of over 400 people erupted into a frenzy. Talking with numerous fight fans, no one mentioned how disrespectful Jones' treatment of Machida was. I didn't even hear it brought up in side conversations. No one cared. It wasn't their natural reaction to the performance.
Everyone's first, natural was reaction was to Jones' dominance. No one expressed concern about how he dropped Machida. If anything, the way Jones dropped Machida to the canvas after choking him, just increased his percepted dominance. The thought of 'sportsmanship' (or lack of) never came up.
I believe most of the 'outrage' is completely manufactured. To me, the outrage over Jones' post-fight behavior is the product of writers and fans projecting their own feelings on how the sport should be run onto the finish. The outrage also comes from people concerned with how the UFC will be perceived by casual fans.
"If Jones did that on a FOX event, fans would think we're barbarians!"
"Jones showed a complete lack of care toward the other man's well being!"
Seriously ask yourself this question: What was more brutal: the way Jones choked out Machida or the way he let him drop? I don't think people are faking outrage at his seeming lack of sportsmanship, but how could you be disturbed by the drop and not by the actual choke?
It makes no sense. Just because a fight ends, your tolerance of violent images drastically decreases?
What was more brutal: Frank Mir snapping Big Nog's arm in half or Frank Mir getting up and walking away? If you think getting up and walking away demonstrates the mindset of a man without compassion, why doesn't the sight of a man breaking another man's arm similarly disturb you? Do you expect fighters to just flip a switch? Do you think they can go from attacking to caring in one second, foregoing celebrations of victory? This seems very unrealistic. If they can, great, but I don't blame Jones for anything.
If you think 'the drop' was that of unsportsmanlike conduct, would you recommend it being listed as a foul in the Unified Rules of MMA?
If you wouldn't, then the problem is with you and not the sport. You had a visceral reaction to a disturbing, violent image. You either: a) Think what Jones did was wrong, or b) Think what Jones did was unpeasant. Jones' behavior certainly wasn't wrong in the context of the rules. Listed as a foul in the Unified Rules of MMA is the following:
"Any unsportsmanlike conduct that causes an injury to opponent."
The definition of 'unsportsmanlike conduct' is vague, but doesn't include Jones' action.
To be a fan of MMA, you need to be able to tolerate images of extreme violence. Not every fight is a beautiful display of technical grappling. There are going to violent knockouts, deep gashes, gushing blood, and broken limbs. None of these are 'wrong' as they are permitted by the rules. What Jones did was not wrong. It might be wrong in the context of your moral code, but the moral code of a sporting event is the rules. Jones didn't break one of them.