Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) rolled into Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Sept. 22, 2012, looking to put on one of the most highly anticipated pay-per-view (PPV) events in the promotion's history with UFC 152.
It wasn't necessarily because of the awesome nature of the fight card, though the lineup was indeed stout. No, the reason behind the build up had more to do with the fact that the UFC had not put on a PPV card in 1.5 months, after having to cancel UFC 151, as a result of injuries, fighters who were willing to "just say no," and other drama that has lingered over the organization like a dark, rain cloud.
UFC 152 was the culmination of the UFC trying to do its damndest to prove that it's still here, and it's still the number one mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion in the world.
The main event saw UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones looking to defend his belt for the fourth consecutive time against the veteran legend Vitor Belfort. It was "old school" versus "new school," "old lion" versus the "young lion."
Belfort gave it a valiant effort, and he even threatened in the first round with a nasty armbar that Jones later admitted made his elbow "pop." Unfortunately, it just wasn't enough, as Jones, eventually, made it look like just another day at the office, finishing "The Phenom" with a fourth round americana submission.
There was a potential middleweight number one contender eliminator bout. There were knockouts a'plenty and submissions to boot. There were numerous winners and losers, but who emerges from this weekend as the biggest winner and loser of them all?
I'm glad you asked:
You hate Jon Jones. I know. I heard you the first seventeen times you said it. We're good on that point. No confusion here.
You don't like his persona. You think he's smug. You think he got off with a mere slap of the wrist for drunk driving, and I'm not arguing with you. You really hate everything about him, and just the mention of his name makes your skin crawl.
Fair enough, but we've got to start being honest about this guy. Hate him all you want, but that doesn't mean you can't be honest about his abilities.
"Bones" came out as the prohibitive villain. No one was cheering for him. The boos rained down, and for a guy who has been called mentally weak by many, it sure didn't seem to affect him much.
He's also been banged on for never having to overcome adversity. First off, if you've ever said that, you're an idiot. Do you know why he doesn't have to overcome adversity? Because he's that much better than the opposition. You don't hear anyone hating on Anderson Silva for constantly finishing everyone he fights. And, you never will, because it'd be ridiculous.
But, let's pretend for a second that it's not a completely stupid thing to complain about.
In the first round of his fight at UFC 152, Vitor Belfort had Jones in a bad spot. He had him in a deep armbar that would have brought about a tap from most men. But, he took the pain, pushed through it, and ended up finishing another MMA legend.
What more do you want from Jon Jones? Seriously. Keep hating the guy. That's fine. Start a Twitter account. Name it: "JonJonesIsAPrick," and tweet pictures of Jones making the "duckface." But, what you have to stop doing is disrespecting his abilities, because you just sound stupid.
This award had competition. Really, it did. I wanted to go with referee Dan Miragliotta, and I was close to doing just that.
In the opening preliminary fight of the entire card, Charlie Brenneman vs. Kyle Noke, Miragliotta stepped in and stopped the fight, when Brenneman seemed to still be coherent, and possibly could have gotten back up and still competed.
A mixed martial artist who trains for a living deserves the right to be properly finished. Don't get me wrong. I feel totally confident that Noke was on the doorstep of ending Brenneman's night, but everyone involved (including the fans, but especially Brenneman) deserved the opportunity to see that come to fruition.
Later on in the night, Dan officiated the fight between Matt Hamill and Roger Hollett. During the fight, there was one instance, in particular, where Hamill had Hollett pinned down and was raining down punches.
Miragliotta was losing it, repeatedly yelling out, "Watch the punches to the back of the head, Matt! Stop punching to the back of the head!" All the while, Miragliotta was behind Hamill.
What's the problem with that? Referee's are supposed to warn fighters when they hit to the back of the head, right?
One little issue: Hamill is deaf.
Don't get it twisted. I'm not making fun of deaf people -- I'm making fun of people who seem to not realize deaf people are deaf.
But, somehow, Miragliotta was able to escape without taking home the "biggest loser" trophy, and he can say thank you to the guy we were just talking about: Matt Hamill.
Ready the flames. I know they're coming. How can I possibly give the "biggest loser" award to a guy who won his Octagon return bout, right? If anything, I should give it to the guy he beat. That might be what you're thinking.
I'm leaving Hollett alone. He was a UFC newcomer making his debut. He was nervous. He also didn't have a lot of help in the excitement department from his opponent.
Look, I'm sorry. Some of you are going to get really pissed about this. You're going to see it as me picking on the deaf guy. You're going to say I'm undervaluing his skills, especially his wrestling and his takedowns.
I just think he's boring, guys.
I get it. He's strong. He picks people up. He humps them. He gets angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry.
But, when was the last time you saw an exciting Matt Hamill fight? Answer: You haven't. Not recently. Not ever.
And, ordinarily, that wouldn't be quite as big a deal, but it mattered more last night. That's because this card was spectacular. Best ever? No. But it was great. Top to bottom, it was pretty stellar.
The Matt Hamill fight was like an intermission in the middle of awesomeness. The card was great before, it kept being great after, but in the middle, it was great, big, stinking dud.
I'm not saying stop the guy from making a living in MMA. He can even do it in the UFC. Just stop putting the dude on pay-per-view main cards. Please. For everyone.
Those are my picks. But, I'm totally open to the idea of you, Maniacs trying to do better. In the comment section, below, let us know who you'd like to nominate for the "biggest winner" and "lowliest loser" from UFC 152.