Reeeee-fuuuuund! Reeeee-fuuuuund! Reeeee-fuuuuund!
The chorus of discontent was audible throughout the UFC 149 main event between Renan Barao vs. Urijah Faber, with many mixed martial arts (MMA) fans inside the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, voicing their collective displeasure for a fight that simply wasn't living up to its lofty expectations.
Most likely, however, it was more about the listless pay-per-view (PPV) main card card that featured four uninspiring decisions (two split, two unanimous). The featured fight of the night, which wasn't all that bad, was just the final straw that triggered a majority of the Calgary crowd's frustrations.
Frustration that wasn't just exclusive to the 16,089 fight fans in attendance who forked over a record-breaking $4.1 million to witness the promotion's first-ever foray into the region. On the contrary, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White revealed at the UFC 149 press conference that he was flat-out "embarrassed" with the action, or lack there of, in the marquee fights.
Check it out:
"I think that the under card was awesome. These guys blew it out of the water. I said this the other day and it's true: This company, we make money. I like breaking records. We broke the gate record here tonight and I'm embarrassed. I was excited when I heard, but now I'm embarrassed. The under card delivered -- they were awesome. The main card did not [deliver]. I don't think the Faber-Barao fight deserved the boos -- you're talking about two of the best guys in the world in a five-round title fight. It was very technical, everyone understands how good Urijah Faber is and Barao dominated him tonight. I think there were a lot of things that went wrong. I felt like I was at UFC 33 again. I think that Cheick Kongo and Shawn Jordan pressed against the fence for three rounds and I think the ref let him do it.... We're at UFC 149. We can count on one hand how many shows actually sucked. And tonight is one more finger on the hand."
White was effusive and visibly distraught about the officiating and judging. In fact, he said if it continued in MMA and boxing that it would "kill" combat sports. He singled-out Yves Lavigne for letting Kongo and Jordan hug for nearly 15 minutes, saying that this is not the "Ultimate Clinching Championship." He was also upset (again) with Josh Rosenthal, who thought a perfectly-placed Matt Riddle kick was below the belt when it wasn't.
Of course, he also talked in great detail about how the fighters have the responsibility to entertain and perform.
The good news, as White mentioned, is the "Prelims" portion of the card featured quite a few solid scraps, a seven-second knockout and several stoppages. However, those fights were available to watch for free on Facebook and FX, meaning that no one is clamoring to get their money back.
And, according to White, despite the reaction from the crowd as the night wore on, no one has confronted him (yet) and requested a refund. It was just the scalpers, remember, who were upset with the final fight card, which was cobbled together after numerous injuries and other issues forced several changes.
Indeed, it appears as though the Calgary market is an advantageous one; however, if and when the promotion returns, rest assured that White and Co. will work like hell to ensure that the fan's who show up get their money's worth.
They owe 'em.