As I watched Jon Jones’ facial expression migrate from victorious competitor to nauseated Orthopedic patient, I decided that UFC 159 would officially go down as one of the stranger fight cards I have ever witnessed. Freak injuries, downright bizarre officiating, surprising New Jersey state athletic regulations, Buffer mixing up names and Jim Miller’s beard. The only thing that could have topped it all would have been if Bones had unleashed his lunch all over Rogan’s trademark black shirt, challenging the unflappable broadcaster to complete the post main event interview drenched in championship-caliber vomit. Had only the fights been nearly as entertaining as the various sideshows, this might have been a very engaging card. Sadly, the bouts themselves were on the dull side, leaving me compelled to analyze, not the fights and their respective outcomes, but all that went wrong on that fateful Saturday night in Newark.
JIM MILLER. PAT HEALY. SAME-SAME.
You know something odd is in the air when Bruce Buffer starts announcing that the fight was won by the guy who just regained consciousness. I say this with the upmost respect and admiration for Bruce Buffer. He is one of the best announcers in combat sports. He provides not only consistent and clear orchestration of the evening’s events but an energy level and intensity that Clay Guida should envy. The Buffer “360” is the Loch-Ness Monster of MMA, few have seen it, but those who have can’t shut up about it (me included). He’s the complete package. What I’m trying to say is, if Buffer can get a name wrong, anyone can get a name wrong. It wasn’t his fault....It was just that kind of night....
COME AT ME BRO...WAIT, NOT IN THE EYE!
2 fights were stopped short on Saturday due to accidental eye pokes, once again raising the question of how to deal with those pesky, naked digits. Throughout the broadcast, Joe Rogan continued to campaign for the use of a kind of glove-extension that would act like a mitten, covering and holding together all four of the long fingers on each hand. At first I was not crazy about the idea, but have begun to warm to it after more consideration. A mitten-like glove would bind the fingers together, seeming to reduce the likelihood of a stray finger worming its way deep into someone’s ocular cavity. I don’t see how this would interfere with striking, which, in MMA, can only legally be performed with a closed fist (or are open palm strikes legal and just never used?). If a certain amount of useful finger dexterity is lost in grappling, this could be made up for by adding a kind of textured surface to the glove which could improve grip and favor more technical submission work (though it should be noted that the author’s grappling experience consists of several occasions on which he wrestled drunken friends on front lawns, contests that usually ended with tapping to exhaustion and throwing up large amounts of Pabst Blue Ribbon). None the less, it is an idea whose time may be coming, as we watch relevant bouts and career trajectories cut short or altered by accidental fowls. In fact, I’m so sold on the idea that I have purchased the domain name “www.mittensformaniacs.com”, and will begin selling my wares as soon as I secure proper financing. (“Mittens For Maniacs” is a unregistered trademark, any reproduction or copying thereof will result in hurt feeling and angry gesturing).
PULL MY FINGER.
Of all the fighters on the card I might have been most excited to see Rustam Khabilov compete. You remember him, he’s the guy who uses the suplex the way most fighter use the jab. You gotta’ love the creativity and audacity that is inherent in the strategy of using the ground to repeatedly pummel your opponent’s head. However, in yet another unusual turn of events, Medeiros, while bracing a fall, badly dislocated his thumb and the fight was called way early. Next time Rustam.
30 more seconds and the Chael Sonnen marketing train would have been allowed to keep chugging along at full speed for another 6 glorious months. Can you imagine the spin Mr. Sonnen would have been able to put on the default win via stoppage due to injury? It would have been highly entertaining to watch the gifted wordsmith hype up the rematch. Or better yet, he could just retire and continue to re-write history as the man who “ran through” Anderson Silva twice and broke Jon Jones’ toe with his mind. Instead, Jones was able to convince the ref to halt action shy of the bell and didn’t even notice his horribly mangled piggy until Rogan pointed it out after the fight. However, the break was clearly bad enough that there is little chance the ref would have allowed action to continue after observing it between rounds. Lucky for Jones (and all serious fight fans), he didn’t waste any time.
ON A SERIOUS NOTE. ALMOST.
I will resist the urge to make a “Hatfield and McCoy” joke and instead say a big congrats to Pat Healy on a HUGE win. Yet more proof of how underrated the Strikeforce LW division was, he, along with Josh Thompson, deserve to vault up the 155 lb. rankings. Not taking anything away from Healy, Jim Miller (one of my all time favorite fighters to watch, by the way) did seem to display uncharacteristically poor cardio Saturday. Though this also might be attributed to Healy’s smothering, exhausting style. Either way, very much looking forward to seeing both fighters again. Would love to see Miller work his way to a rematch with Healy, it was fun the first time around, lets run it back.