SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 27: Anthony Perosh of Australia celebrates his victory over Tom Blackledge of Great Britain during their light-heavyweight bout as part of UFC 127 at Acer Arena on February 27, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
"I fucked up and didn't notice it wasn't."
It was just a tingle midway through the Yves Jabouin vs. Jeff Hougland fight at UFC on FUEL TV 3 last night (May, 15, 2012), but then it hit me like a clean Dan Henderson right hand the moment Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White uttered that simple eight-word phrase on Twitter.com.
I didn't care. I was bored. And not even a sensational scrap between Chan Sung Jung vs. Dustin Poirier less than a half-hour later could help shake the feeling I've been feeling about the recent state of mixed martial arts (MMA) these days.
Here is where all the predictable cool cats can stop reading, cut to the comments and brand me an idiot for being such a curmudgeon. Because that fight is what MMA is all about! And if it doesn't give you a mild stiffy that lasts until the next major show in less than two weeks, well, that's just your stupid problem. Take the good with the bad, fag, and shut your trap.
I'll (kinda) agree because, well, it is what the sport is all about -- it's a shining example of its thrilling excellence. But, it's a little more profound for my sophisticated MMA palate.
That's because when the micro-managing, obsessed president of the world's leading MMA promotion fails to realize that the co main event of 12-fight card on a FOX sister station -- Amir Sadollah vs. Jorge Lopez -- is not even Strikeforce worthy, something just ain't right.
Sure, White's busier than a fucking hooker in Rio during Carnival, jet-setting across the fucking planet in his corporate jet, inking huge fucking deals at breakfast and taking this fucking sport global, baby. Fuck, it's fighting. It's in our DNA, dude. And White is the one with the brass balls who is going to get this bitch bigger than soccer.
And he's hellbent on achieving his lofty goal even if it means the passionate MMA ambassador "fucks up" a fight card we are all supposed to get excited about. The only problem is, outside of the main event and the Donald Cerrone vs. Jeremy Stephens showdown, which was supposed to be the co-featured fight of the night, I couldn't give two shits about the 10 other UFC on FUEL TV 3 fights.
I'm in a unique position, following this sport has turned from a hobby to a responsibility. So if upcoming events or under card bouts don't give me butterflies or get my heart racing, we can attribute it to the day-to-day rigors multiplied by seven or so years. I'm conditioned to not get too excited.
Don't get me wrong, I couldn't wait for Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans. But, I was left completely unsatisfied after "Suga" didn't turn in the performance he promised. The good news, it would appear, was that I didn't have to wait another month or two to get my MMA redemption. Nope, I got served a FOX special two weeks later, complete with one of the most entertaining fighters in the sport, Nate Diaz, who completely routed a very good Jim Miller.
The immediate feeling felt good again, but unfortunately the buzz fizzled before the post-fight presser wrapped. Why? Because I had next to no time to let the Jones-Evans outcome sink in, register and let the anticipation build for the next great show.
Call it what you want. And most would refer to it as over-saturation or #JumpTheShark ... or both. I'm okay with the former and wouldn't doubt the latter because I firmly believe the UFC is trying to do too much, too fast. So much and so fast that once important details like co main prestige, which at some point in time actually meant something, are seemingly rendered meaningless by the one man who probably loves this sport the most.
That's saying something. A lot. And it all but confirmed the feeling I've been feeling since this year began: Quality trumps quantity, bigger is not better. Indeed, less is more, especially when big draws are retiring (Brock Lesnar, B.J. Penn and Nick Diaz to name a few), champions are getting hurt (Georges St. Pierre and Dominick Cruz), divisions are stuck in the mud (Lightweight and Flyweight) and nameless number one contenders (Erik Koch) are headlining major pay-per-view (PPV) events.
Company executives (White), meanwhile, have to hijack their own video blogs to explain RATINGS to fans who likely couldn't give a rats ass about them. Ratings to MMA fans is like practice to Allen Iverson: Irrelevant.
Let's not even get started on fighter behavior, drug habits and The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) expansion of the reality franchise into other parts of the world other than the United States and Brazil. Especially if Ross Pearson and George Sotiropoulos are indeed the leading "SMASHES" coach candidates.
After all, the ratings will stink, one of the coaches will get hurt and White will have to orchestrate musical chairs as the culminating fight night approaches, selling us on the fact that his guys, the UFC, always fucking deliver.
That's what always happens, right?
It's not all that depressing. We've got Junior dos Santos defending his Heavyweight title against Frank Mir. I like that fight right up until the moment "Cigano" connects with a clean shot to the temple. Mir isn't breaking anymore bones ... not at UFC 146 at least. Even still, that's a great top-to-bottom line up that took significant effort to assemble.
And it shows.
The same can be said for UFC 148 and the rematch between Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen. I wouldn't miss that for anything. The rest of the card is pretty damn impressive, too. However, between UFC 146 and UFC 148, which are about six weeks apart, there are four other events with maybe four or five fights that I actually want to see.
Four or five bouts that would have made an excellent card if combined rather than scattering them among too many cards and pairing them with too many other fights -- and events -- most fans couldn't care less about. Can you rattle off the respective co main events?
I can't ... and it's my "job." I'll bet a very small sum White can't, either.
Nothing on those upcoming cards is "fucked up," as far as I can tell. But, then again, I wouldn't really know if there was because I'm too bored look. Or, perhaps, I'm just too busy, forced to waste time focusing on the junk, while the few precious jewels that actually mean something start to mean less and less.
Hopefully, White will fucking take notice.