Saturday Night's Mania Event (SNME) is back again, as it will be every Saturday without a major mixed martial arts event (sorry Bellator).
Instead of recapping last week's piece, I'll simply pass along the news that SNME now has its very own section on the upper left hand side of the front page. So whenever you want to find any of these features, that's where you need to go.
I decided this week I would focus on an issue that's been bothering me for some time. The timing is right to harp on it a bit, what with UFC 129: "St. Pierre vs. Shields" just around the corner and all, so I'm going to take advantage.
It's nothing against them personally, as they both seem like stand-up gentlemen. I'm sure they would provide plenty of entertainment if I were to ever get the chance to bless them with my company.
No, my issue is with how utterly and completely dominant they are every time they walk out to the Octagon.
They've single-handedly buried two divisions and left them without an interesting title picture, which is what sells in this business. It's why folks buy pay-per-views (PPV).
It's gotten so bad, and they've cleaned out their divisions so thoroughly, that fans everywhere are yearning for the two to simply forgo these useless propped up challengers in favor of just fighting each other.
What a crock.
Georges St. Pierre has run through every man he's ever faced. Sure, he's lost twice, but he avenged both those losses as emphatically as they were given to him.
He's been so dominant, that fans have taken to complaining about subsets of his skill-set .. like his lack of finishing ability as of late. Whether that's true or not, or a legitimate gripe or not, that's what happens when you set the bar so high by crushing every man in front of you. You better come back and crush the next guy even harder.
The same applies for Anderson Silva. Knockout after devastating knockout, dancing around the Octagon because he's not getting adequately challenged and a record streak that might not ever be reached ... except maybe by St. Pierre.
While all that's well and good, it has major drawbacks. Sustained success like that puts them on a pedestal they, quite frankly, don't deserve. Both of them understand this.
It's why you see them constantly downplaying their own worth whenever some mark interviewer is gushing all over them and calling them the greatest ever. They understand the dangers in buying into their own hype.
The problem is, the larger audience doesn't believe them and two weight classes -- and a whole lot of extremely talented fighters -- are suffering because of it.
Look at Jake Shields. Sports an impressive 26-4-1 record (damn near the same as Silva's 28-4 career mark), won the SHOOTO middleweight championship, the EliteXC welterweight championship and the Strikeforce middleweight title, has beaten some of the best fighters in the world today (including the number one contender to the UFC 185-pound strap) and is anyone giving him much of a shot against GSP?
Why is that? It's not because Jake isn't good. On the contrary, dude is a boss. His jiu-jitsu is disgustingly special and he has this uncanny ability of taking the fight wherever he wants to take it. Kind of like St. Pierre.
But because of how flawless "Rush" has looked, over such a long period of time, it's hard to imagine Shields poses any sort of threat to his throne. As far as credible challengers go, you won't find a guy with better credentials than Jake.
Which means the entire welterweight division, many of which GSP has already had his way with, is chopped liver. There is no longer any reason to care about a title fight involving a 170-pound fighter.
Same goes for Anderson Silva and the way he's systematically dismantled anyone dumb enough to agree to fight him. He even moved up and bitch-slapped a couple of light heavyweights. At this point, no one cares to see him fight a middleweight; none of them stack up.
Yushin Okami, the last man to hold a win over "The Spider" (controversial as it may be), is the current 185-pound challenger getting overlooked by the media and fans.
He's built like an ox, with a relatively well-rounded game and the necessary tools to bring an end to Silva's reign of terror. However, because of the nature of Anderson's run through the UFC, outside of a few rebels who like to go against the machine, no one wants to believe in "Thunder."
I can't blame anyone for overlooking Shields and Okami. As good as they are, they haven't accomplished what St. Pierre and Silva have.
And therein lies the rub. They've created an atmosphere in which I don't care about seeing them fight anymore. When I hear of a pending fight, I assume their victory before the battle is even waged.
I used to love watching Tiger Woods on the PGA Tour because I always felt like excellence should be appreciated. But the fact of the matter is, eventually, I was tired of seeing him lap the field. He got too good for his own good. He only became interesting again when he started running through women like he was running through drivers.
It's to the point where the only fights involving GSP and Silva that are worth the time are pipe dreams that have about as much of a chance of happening as me hitting the lottery.
While we sit here and clamor for the superfight of the century, stellar fighters like Jake Shields and Yushin Okami are getting treated like they aren't worth the time the press is forced to devote to them. Like they don't belong at the top of the heap despite their unwavering work ethic and outstanding accomplishments in the sport.
I like to think we make our own luck and my heart isn't exactly bleeding for these two but they're only part of a larger issue at play here. When they lose, which they both likely will, two new challengers will have to take their place.
Will they be worthy? Probably not. Know why?
Because they'll be fighting Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva. The two men who have single-handedly ruined the welterweight and middleweight divisions.