UFC Rotterdam may have lacked the glitz and glamour of a superfight like Mayweather vs. McGregor or even your average UFC pay-per-view. But those that spent their Saturday afternoon watching the show were treated to a pretty solid stretch of fights from the Fight Pass prelims through the main card.
There’s some important stuff we should probably talk about beyond the action and great finishes we saw at the event. Let’s get to it!
An Eye On The Problem
So here's an imaginary (for now) situation: some fighter gets their eye permanently damaged after two or three unpenalized eye pokes in the Octagon. They go on to sue the UFC, and in court they provide a tape featuring nearly every commentator in the UFC's employ saying "We really do need to change the UFC glove so that it doesn't pull the hand open, making eye pokes with the finger much more frequent."
How much of a slam dunk is that for the plaintiff? Not that they'd be making many slam dunks without their depth perception, of course.
The Struve vs. Volkov main event was littered with eye pokes. Fortunately, it didn't keep Alexander Volkov from winning, but it certainly could have. Just think back to Santiago Ponzinibbio catching Gunnar Nelson's eye and then knocking him out brutally in their fight.
The eye poke problem has proved big enough that the Association of Boxing Commissions changed the rules to make outstretched fingers (a Jon Jones favorite) illegal. But we haven't seen any points taken away for that, which makes the regulation another interesting hypothetical along with the tree that fell in the forest with no one there to see it.
No points taken away for outstretched fingers, no points taken away for multiple eye pokes. No changes to the UFC's glove design despite everyone pointing out that it would be an easy thing to fix. At what point do we have to admit based on the reality of this situation: that no one gives a damn about the eye safety of fighters?
All Aboard The Zabit Hype Train
Those that tuned into UFC Rotterdam around noon eastern standard were treated to Zabit Magomedsharipov's UFC debut, where he threw a spinning back kick to showtime cage kick combination before taking opponent Mike Santiago down and choking him out.
Magomedsharipov is just the latest Dagestani fighter to emerge from the Northern Caucasus of Russia looking like an absolute killer, and based on his YouTube highlight video, what we saw at UFC Rotterdam was no fluke. Just more proof that you can't judge a fighter off his lack of a UFC profile photo. At this point it's probably best to assume the fight involves a mystical shadow killer instead.
Big In Chechnya
Уважаемые Друзья! Это свершилось!!! Долгожданный дебют Абдул-Керима Эдилова в бойцовской организации UFC состоялся. Поединок против Бояна Михайловича из Сербии завершился уверенной победой представителя клуба "Ахмат" техническим нокаутом во 2 раунде. Я поздравляю нашего спортсмена с этим впечатляющим выступлением. Больше всех за Абдул-Керима переживал мой Дорогой Брат, Глава ЧР, Герой России Рамзан Ахматович Кадыров. Он постоянно был на связи и помогал своими советами. Рамзан Ахматович, эта победа вашего имени! Без вашей поддержки ничего этого не было бы. Дeла реза хуьлда хьуна, ШЕФ, Дала т1аьхье беркате йойл!!!! Также стоит отметить, что дома в Чеченской Республике, на площади перед Мечетью "Сердце Чечни" тысячи болельщиков в прямом эфире на большом экране наблюдали за поединком Абдул-Керима. Вся Республика радовалась этому успеху!!! АХМАТ СИЛА!!!
Speaking of the Northern Caucasus, they also produced Chechnya's Abdul-Kerim Edilov, who KO'd his opponent Bojan Mihajlovic in the second fight on the prelims. He's pretty damn popular in Chechnya for a near-curtain jerker, and you can see crowds of people in Grozny watching his UFC debut on a big screen in the city square.
Unfortunately, his notoriety is tainted by his close association with Chechnyan leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who stands accused of rounding up gay people in the country and murdering them.
Edilov is no fringe character either, he personally trains Kadyrov's children in MMA and was given a Porsche by the controversial leader for his services. When HBO's Real Sports team showed up in Chechnya to do a feature on Kadyrov, Edilov got into a confrontation with correspondent David Scott for filming Kadyrov with his cell phone.
I’m not one to try and make things political, but you have to draw a line somewhere and for me Edilov is way on the other side of it as a personal henchman of dictator purging gay people. It's all pretty dark stuff, and I'm sure it will only get darker as guys like Edilov climb the rankings and get more visibility on the UFC roster.