The Ultimate Strikeforce Championship

Posted: April 10, 2011 in Journalism, MMA
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Strikeforce had its first major card under the UFC banner. As promised, not much changed. It still looks like the same promotion except for the constant UFC v. Strikeforce references. This observation isn’t meant to be condescending. It’s just an observation; the promotion would be stupid not to play up the merger. Overall, it was a pretty good card from what I saw of it (I missed the entire preliminary card and the Aoki fight). A few storylines of interest emerged from the card.

Mousasi v. Jardine

People on Twitter were up in arms over the fight being scored a majority draw. Jardine got his ass handed to him, and he is clearly not a UFC-caliber fighter, but under the rules, the draw is reasonable. Like it or not, “takedowns” is a criterion for scoring a round. At one point in round 1, Jardine had scored 4 of 5 of his takedowns, and I think (can’t prove) he scored another before the round ended. While he did absolutely nothing with those takedowns, that’s not relevant. He scored at will in this way and was also relatively aggressive. Giving him the first round is hardly unreasonable.

As for rounds 2 and 3, he clearly was outclassed and got beat up, but he was never in any real danger of getting knocked out. He was never rocked. Mousasi didn’t deserve to be awarded a 10-8 round for either round 2 or 3. So, judging the fight 29-28 for Mousasi isn’t unreasonable, and with the point deduction to Mousasi for an illegal kick, that would make the fight 28-28. A draw.

That being said, you might have given Mousasi the first round, which would have given him the win. I’m not denying that this is reasonable. I’m also not sure whether the rules demand that Mousasi be docked a point without first being given a warning. All I’m saying is that the draw was hardly “highway robbery.” If Mousasi doesn’t like it, he needs to work on his finishes.

Never leave it in the hands of the judges. As long as you do, people will continue to overuse that phrase.

Diaz v. Daley

I don’t know what happened with Daley. As one Tweeter (@RyanMcBain) put it, he “flopped like Ric Flair.” I doubt Daley’s character but not his toughness, so I’m sure he was hit. I’ll have to watch the replay. In any case, I initially thought the fight was stopped early. Watching the replay of the Big John Mcarthy stop, it was clear Daley was on another planet. He wasn’t even trying to block the punches, which qualifies as “not reasonably defending oneself.” On top of that, it took a while for him to get his senses back. If the fight hadn’t been stopped by BJM, it would have been stopped by the doctor between rounds. Daley would never have made it to his corner without help.

Good stop.

Mauro Ranallo

Mauro Ranallo

I try to be fair and try to have my facts in order before I comment, but ultimately, I have no obligation to do either. I’m just an internet hack like the rest of you. I have no accountability because I’m not getting paid to rant. I rant because I want to rant, and the fact that this is “opinion” rather than “news reporting” is implicit. However, Mauro Ranallo is getting paid, and with that comes the burden of “professionalism.” He has an obligation to be both fair and informed. That’s why I have to take him to task.

I never really got to watch Pride as it was happening. During Pride’s heyday, I was first in law school and then in my first law firm job, so I was lucky even to see America-based UFC cards. Pride fights were a rare opportunity for me. Strikeforce was the first time I had the chance to watch an entire card with Mauro’s commentary. I don’t recall the details, but I remember him saying something to the effect that one fighter had just done an “uchimata move.” For those of you that have never practiced judo, this may seem like he really knew what he was saying. “Oooooo, he knows the Japanese terms for these moves!”

Except that it was harai-goshi.

The moves may look similar to the uninformed, but to a practitioner of judo, the moves are different. I won’t bother to justify that statement. Even though I have only two years of judo, you’ll have to take my word for it. While the execution is similar (not identical), the setups are different, and setups are everything in Judo. In any case, it’s obvious when someone does one versus the other.

Viewers have no obligation to know the difference because they’re paying customers. This is because you, as a viewer, have the right to care about what you want. If you want just to see a bunch of guys take off each other’s heads, that’s your prerogative, but if you want to understand what’s going on, it’s Mauro’s job to educate you. Unfortunately, it’s obvious that he hasn’t done his research. He learned a Japanese phrase and then used it to make himself look knowledgeable. As someone paid to do this job, he should do his research, and the fact that he hasn’t in over a decade of broadcasting MMA events says a lot about his professionalism. The fact that he tried to use a phrase to mislead you says even more.

For what it’s worth, the Twitterverse agrees with me, and not because they’re all judo nerds. For many UFC-only fans, this was apparently the first time they’ve heard Mauro’s commentary, and they were brutal. He kept babbling incoherently, and not one phrase got by without someone tweeting it as a justification for Mauro being fired. So, if you’re unimpressed with my judo nerd rage, it doesn’t matter; he’s still probably pissed you off with nonsensical statements, which means, again, I won’t justify my position.

With the UFC now in control, Mauro has to go. I doubt many fans will miss him. I know I’m beating the dead horse yet again, but MMA is now a big league sport. Journalists, commentators, interviewers, and play-by-play announcers need to catch up.

UPDATE: I had a slight run-in with Mauro via Twitter. He’s apparently a Rangers fan, so he was bad-mouthing the Capitals a little bit. He finally made a comment that gave me an opening, which I instinctively took. Referencing the Caps’ multiple shots on goal that remarkably didn’t result in a single goal, he said the Caps were shooting blanks. I responded that it reminded me of his commentary; he misses a lot too. He took the comment seriously and asked me to back it up. Because I genuinely believed my statement, there was a risk of a Twitter war, and I had no intention of getting involved in that, pointing him to my blog instead. It appears he read it. He wished me a good life and chose to stand by his commentary.

It’s good that he’s confident in himself, and generally he should ignore internet trolls, but he needs to take what I wrote to heart. To the extent that I state my own opinion, I do so rationally and without resorting to personal insult. Moreover, this entry isn’t just my own opinion; it’s also an observation of how everyone else appears to view him. Although my experience is anecdotal, the feelings appeared to be unanimous among those that addressed the job he did. Nobody’s perfect, but if he doesn’t give real consideration to his flaws as a broadcaster, he’ll find himself out of a job soon. He’s in with the big boys now.

Follow me on Twitter @MMADork
Follow Strikeforce on Twitter @Strikeforce
Follow the UFC on Twitter @UFC
Follow Keith Jardine on Twitter @KeithJardine205
Follow the Mauro Ranallo on Twitter @mauroranallo
Follow Ryan McBain on Twitter @RyanMcBain

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