There were three major mixed martial arts (MMA) events which took place this past weekend. The two largest independent promotions, Ultimate Fighting Championships and Bellator Fighting Championships had an opportunity to steal the show when they competed against each other on Friday night (Oct. 5, 2012).
And they completely dropped the ball.
While the UFC main card was relatively incident free, the big story of the night was the arrest of one Jeremy Stephens for felony assault charges. The lightweight Stephens was expected to battle Yves Edwards in the final bout of the preliminary card on Fuel TV, but his chances of actually competing that night were put in major jeopardy.
Enter Dana White and his rant against the media for something they hadn't even done and then his promise that Stephens would not only be out of jail, but also be competing on the main FX card once he finally arrived to the arena.
That's a ridiculous double standard. Make a rape joke on Twitter? Your ass is canned. Get arrested for a felony hours before a fight event? You're promoted to the main card!
White only made things worse after the show was over by detailing a conspiracy that the Iowa PD had against the UFC, waiting to pick Stephens up until the day of the fight "just to mess with his promotion," instead of logically thinking that the police would have an easier time showing up and arresting a guy that was advertised to be in a specific place at a specific time and date.
While Bellator didn't quite go to Stephens' and White's lengths, its Bellator 75 main event between heavyweights Eric Prindle and Thiago Santos was an exercise in futility. The first bout between Prindle and Santos had ended controversially when Santos had soccer kicked Prindle between the legs while standing over him on the ground, resulting in a no-contest.
The fight was rescheduled two other times, but illness and a failure to make weight by "The Big Monster" provided hurdles to the promotion's good intentions. When both men were matched up for a fourth time at the start of the season seven heavyweight tournament, what could have possibly gone wrong?
Everything, of course. After Santos dominated much of the first round, Prindle escaped to his feet and found himself in the exact opposite position from their first fight with himself standing up and Santos on his back in front of him, spread eagle and ready to defend himself with his guard.
The ref even cautioned not to kick the groin more than loud enough for the TV cameras to pick it up so what did Prindle do? He lifted his left leg high up in the air and axe kicked his opponent........directly in the groin. It was one of the most brutal nut shots in the history of mixed martial arts, especially considering Prindle is about 280+ pounds after rehydrating following weigh-ins. Prindle was disqualified and it's unclear whether Santos will even be able to continue following over a month to recover.
It was that bad.
But the story doesn't end here.
Both incidents had happened on Friday night and MMA fans still had one day to get everything out of their collective systems with the all-female fight league Invicta Fighting Championships on Saturday night.
And boy did they deliver.
One again redefining the phrase "Fights like a girl," the ladies of Invicta showcased their passion for four and a half consecutive hours of nearly non-stop girl-on-girl fight action.
These were women with something to prove. They were out to verify that they could put on just as good of a show as the boys, if not better. And they've been doing it ever since the promotion debuted its first event earlier this year in April.
Once again, the ladies brought it with 10 of the 14 fights getting finished and all four of the decisions being very exciting battles which featured multiple displays of pure heart.
After 39 bouts contested with the promotion, you can count the amount of lackluster fights on one hand. There simply seems to be more of a sense of urgency with the fighters, as if these ladies are finally getting an opportunity to showcase their talents on a larger stage and they'll do anything to make sure people remember their performances.
To be honest, it's incredibly refreshing. It hearkens back to the first few seasons of The Ultimate Fighter where that pot of gold UFC contract at the end of the rainbow seemed to mean so much more.
The smile on main eventer Jessica Penne's face following her triangle choke victory over Naho Sugiyama to win the promotion's inaugural world title (a 105 pound atomweight belt), is something which will be difficult to forget. These were the two best women in the world in their respective weight class giving it everything they had for our entertainment.
Perhaps when you're fighting for more than yourselves, but for an ideal, the bar gets raised just a little bit higher.