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UFC London: 'Silva vs Bisping,' The Report Card

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Hahaha. What can I say? I am a man of unpopular opinions and this report card will be no different.

I nearly choked on a fictitious pretzel I wasn't actually eating when James Elliott, UFC vice president and general manager of Europe, Middle East and Africa, went into the post-fight press conference and started giving props to this chemical fire of a train wreck fight card.

"This has been a landmark night for us in the U.K. We really feel like the U.K. MMA scene has kind of come of age tonight. We've had more coverage than we've ever had before. We've got more media outlets here than we've ever had before. So to put on this show these guys put on tonight on the stage that we set for them has been a great sight for us to see so we're delighted with it."


Look, I know you have to promote your show, but that event was trash. It was nearly completely unwatchable, filled with tedious decisions and boring no-name fighters, and even the best parts of this dog's breakfast was marred in controversy.

How much did this card suck? Let me count the ways:

1. A record-tying 10 fights went to decisions. That meant people spent the majority of their fight-viewing time watching one guy unable to finish the other guy.

2. The best fight of the night, Francisco Rivera vs. Brad Pickett, was marred by a terrible judging decision.

3. The most prolific fight of the night, Anderson Silva vs. Michael Bisping, was marred by a terrible referee botching a fight-ending knockout.

4. The fucking feed cut out for two full rounds on the main card, forcing a lot of people to scramble for illegal feeds. Which is ridiculous since the event was marketed as a Fight Pass card. How incompetent do you have to be to lose your feed for 10 minutes?

5. The decisions were boring and could have been set to a voiceover by golf announcers. Nobody was trying to win any fight bonuses. They're all trying to keep their jobs I guess.

6. While this might not seem like a legit complaint to most people who are used to the opposite problem, the pacing was insanely fast. The decisions had scarcely been read when the next guys were being led into the cage. I had to go out for 30 minutes, came back and found I'd missed three fights.

Anyway, we've got some fights to grade here so let's get going, shall we? Who got top marks and who failed to pass in this week's "Report Card"? Find out below:

Honestly, I can't take it anymore. Herb Dean is to MMA refereeing as Ernest is to every movie he appeared in the '80s and '90s. He's a consummate fuckup. The man finds new ways to make new mistakes in every single fight card. I cannot fathom how a person that makes this many mistakes is able to continue working at the same job.

Aside from not calling the TKO tonight when Michael Bisping was a blood-soaked semi-conscious mess on the canvas after the third round of tonight's fights, there was the Urijah Faber vs Renan Barao early stoppage, the Chris Weidman vs. Luke Rockhold late stoppage, the Francisco Trevino vs. Sage Northcutt early stoppage that launched the whole nonsense hype machine, and dozens and dozens of others.

He's not the best referee in the business. He's horrible. He's inconsistent and prone to poor decision-making, sometimes stopping fights the moment fighters are rocked, and at other times requiring a near fatality before he calls a fight over. Whenever he's announced as being the referee for a fight I cringe because I know there's a chance his incompetence will determine the fight's result and not the fighters.

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It's important here that I give some props to Michael Bisping. Because despite the fact he was knocked out cold in the third round and Herb Dean completely botched the call, he did everything he could to win this fight while he was conscious. His heart and courage in the face of overwhelming odds was fairly admirable.

But look, let's place the blame where this truly lies (aside from the referee). Anderson Silva spent a large portion of this fight clowning, baiting, luring, waiting, toying, and otherwise wasting precious seconds off the clock. And by and large it didn't work. He got hit by Bisping a lot while doing this and it cost him the fight.

Highlights! Bizzy earns close decision over Silva

I thought Silva learned his lesson against Chris Weidman by trying to toy with people. And if he didn't, certainly the fact he was dropped by pillow fisted Bisping in the second round should be enough to tell him that the once iron chin is shot and he needs to fight a safer game from here on out.

It's not that Silva didn't have his moments. His head movement at times was classically elusive, his striking (especially his counterstriking) was effective, and his dynamic movements like the kicks and flying knee were deadly. The problem is that these effective moments were offset by some terribly poor decisions made throughout the fight.

Silva's classic rope-a-dope which he employed against Stephan Bonnar was utterly ineffective against Bisping, costing him points in critical rounds. Dropping his hands or wildly trading with Bisping proved to be his worst moments when he looked most vulnerable and least like his old self. Indeed, the "Spider" just looked "old" when this was happening.

Despite the fact Silva scored a knockout that wasn't counted and Dana White's claims he thought he won, I think I've seen enough to last a lifetime. I don't know what else he has left to prove, and honestly if he's getting dropped by Bisping at this point he's going to be KOed stiff by anybody with power. Please, retire gracefully, and live off your endorsements. There's no need to continue.

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Gegard Mousasi showed more emotion today than I've ever seen in all the years I've been watching him in MMA. After getting lustily booed for his dreadful performance in the co-main event, he took it personal and began flipping off the crowd and making imbecilic statements about not caring because "they don't pay my bills."

They do do. Dummy. The Iranian-Dutch fighter made every excuse in the book after the fight about not finishing his opponent, suggesting that others have failed to do so as well, that Thales Leites is tough, that he "dominated" his opponent anyway, and that the last time he tried to go off book he was knocked out by Uriah Hall.

Let's take a vote here. Would you rather watch Mouasi jab his way to a "dominant" decision over Leites or get KTFO by Hall? Look, I know getting knocked out sucks but so does watching a man jab another man in the face for 15 minutes. I don't give a shit how dominant you are. That's boring. That's why we booed you. You bored us.

As for Leites, I don't quite understand this guy's gameplans. He ran into the same issues with Bisping in his last fight, dropping a decision to the volume striker. But here's the thing. We know Leites is a ground fighter and it's not easy for him to get the fights to the ground. However, his chin is surprisingly good for a guy whose primary game isn't striking.

With a solid chin, Leites can afford to take more risks, pressure Mousasi more, go for broke with big punches. Instead, he stood inside the range of "Moose" and got jabbed in the fucking face. You can't kickbox with one of the best strikers in the middleweight division. Either get it to the ground or go down swinging. Everything else is going to get you booed.

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I'd love to grade this fight but I didn't really see it. And if it were just my feed that crapped out I would have gone back and watched it again, but why should I? The fact the feed failed mid-card is part of the story here since it affected thousands of others who were listening to the introductions when the whole system crashed.

By the time the feed came back up near the end of the second round it looked as though the much-hyped Tom Breese was having his share of problems with Japanese journeyman Keita Nakamura. Despite the fact Breese went on to win a unanimous decision victory he sounded fairly bummed out about his performance. Which is good, that will help him to train harder and grow in this sport.

But there's no shame in dominating Nakamura en route to a decision. The former DEEP, Sengoku and Shooto champion has been fighting in pro MMA since Conor McGregor was laying bricks in construction sites in some Irish slum. Although he's never won any "big name" fights he's only once been knocked out or submitted and is one of the toughest outs you'll find anywhere.

As for Breese, despite failing to finish his opponent for the first time in his young career there's a tremendous upside to his game. Not only is he 10-0, just 24 years of age, and training out of Tristar in Montreal with animals that include Georges St-Pierre, Breese passed a stiff ground test with Nakamura, who has seven more submissions than the Englishman has total fights. So just keep calm and carry on, young man.

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There's no point in complaining about the robbery. But Francisco Rivera fairly clearly won the first two rounds en route to what should have been a simple 29-28 unanimous decision victory. Sadly, the judges are degenerate incompetents. We know this. Moving on.

It was nice to hear how happy Pickett was after the fight to be awarded his robbery. This is a man who clearly loves his job, is passionate about it, and wants to keep fighting in the UFC. He was under no illusions coming into the fight that his career was most likely on the line and he gave it his all.

In the post-fight press conference Pickett talked about his body still feeling good enough to fight, feeling good in training, but wondering whether retirement is around the corner. I would say it's close. Perhaps not yet, but he did get dropped twice in the fight. Don't get me wrong, the Englishman fought as a hard-nosed warrior and landed his share on Rivera, but I do feel as though a few inches here or there and we'd have been highlighting this fight as a knockout.

As for poor Rivera, the guy looked sharp on the losing end of a robbery. He countered beautifully, stood in the pocket and traded, and showed he was at least equal to the task in wrestling when Pickett tried to take the game south. Rivera has been a victim of a series of mudfortunate circumstances, including at UFC 181 when he was beating Urijah Faber in the standup until he was poked in the eye and Mario Yamasaki was looking somewhere else.

Despite technically being 1-4 in his last five fights, the UFC would be utter morons to cut this guy. He is the exact kind of fighter you want to keep, not get rid of. And although he's 34 years of age I still saw evidence that he's got some miles yet to go.

Quick Hits From The Undercard

  • Makwan Amirkhani (B) used his wrestling to smother Mike Wilkinson (C) in a relatively dull affair mainly contested on the mat. Other than a guillotine attempt by Wilkinson it was fairly one-sided and best viewed in fast-forward.
  • Again, Davey Grant (B+) used his wrestling to completely control Marlon Vera (C) in a fight that I honestly can't remember much about except that I wanted it to be over.
  • Scott Askham (A) stayed patient and comfortable despite an entire round in which he was on the defensive from the wrestling attack of Chris Dempsey (C-), landing a nicely timed head kick late to seal the deal. One of the few bright lights on a dark card.
  • Basically, Yaotzin Meza (C) failed to get Arnold Allen (A-) to the ground, and was completely outclassed on the feet. Meza showed toughness but not much else against the young prospect.
  • Brad Scott (B-) started with Nick Diaz pressure against Krzysztof Jotko (A) but soon gassed himself out with his own attack, fading in the second and then getting worked over in the third. Note to Scott: If you're going to start a blistering pace you might want to have the cardio to keep it.
  • Norman Parke (D) once again found a way to lose against the highly ranked Rustam Khabilov (C+), who looked very beatable and off his game. It's the same thing every single time with this TUF Smashes winner. He loses the first round, panics and goes hard in the second, fades in the third. He's also dull as ditchwater. Cut him.
  • This wasn't Kimbo Slice vs. Dada 5000 but it was pretty terrible. Daniel Omielanczuk (D) failed to capitalize on the dreadful cardio of Jarjis Danho (F), who quit in the third round after taking a foul. Both men looked slow, tired and out of shape.
  • Teemu Packalen (A) streamrolled Thibault Gouti (F) so quickly that I'd barely had time to decipher whose Reebok shorts were whose before the Frenchman was surrendering.
  • David Teymur (B) stayed patient and calm against the lanky Martin Svensson (C-), finally capitalizing on the Swede's sloppy attack early in the second round. It was a nice UFC debut for a guy without very much experience under his belt.
That's a wrap! Despite the fact this card had more fail than Jackass The Movie, it can only get better next week for UFC 196 when Conor McGregor takes on a cholo from the hood who makes gang signs with his right hand and balloon animals with the left. See you then!

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