Results of UFC 134 Stupid Predictions™, Judging, and Politics

Posted: August 28, 2011 in MMA
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sad-Face

I suck.

Well, last night was a disaster for my picks. I guess this shouldn’t be much of a surprise considering that conventional wisdom suggests that Luis Cane and Brendon Schaub should both have one easily. This is why predictions are stupid. An errant blow, a sweat bead in the eye, or an undisclosed flu bug can screw up everything. Let’s face it, Brendan Schaub will win that fight 9 times out of 10. Fortunately, this means Jason Probst didn’t do much better on the main card.

Okay, enough excuses. I got pummeled, plain and simple. How bad was it? I went 2-3 in the prelims, and 2-3 in the main card. This reduces my overall record to 48-31 (61%) overall, and 22-14 (61%) in main cards. Jason Probst went 9-3 (75%) tonight. Not bad, though I’ve had better. 🙂

Here are some of the stories came out of the night.

Steve Cofield Agrees

Steve agrees that picks are stupid. Finally, someone backs me up.

Anderson Silva

Well, I . . . just . . . oh, what’s the point? What can I say here that anyone else won’t say? Probably nothing. He’s unbelievably good, and if Dana White is really just figuring out that he must fight George St. Pierre next, then White’s success in building the UFC must have been an extraordinary accident. Most likely, Dana just thinks we’re dumb enough to believe him.

Shogun Rua

I’ve been pretty harsh on the guy lately, but not as bad as some might interpret it. I don’t think he’s championship material anymore. That doesn’t mean I think he should be cut by the UFC. He’s still a competent fighter, and more than a merely the guy that, if you can’t beat him, you don’t belong in the UFC. He’s capable of fighting top talent. However, he’ll never beat Jon Jones. Looking at Sherdog’s Top 10 list of light heavyweights, I also wouldn’t pick him to beat fellow UFC members Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida (despite Rua’s stylistic advantage), Phil Davis, or Dan Henderson. I’d give him even money against Rampage because Rampage is in a similar position to Rua career-wise. That doesn’t change simply because he put a beat-down on Forrest Griffin, who not only has refused to evolve with the sport but also played to Shogun’s strengths. The point is that Rua, win or lose, can still put on entertaining fights, but he probably won’t be champion again.

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira def. Brendan Schaub

As I’ve stated before, this was not a good result for the sport. Everyone in their right mind likes Nogueira. Maybe he’s a jerk in real life, but I’m not going to assume that. He comes across as a decent and likeable guy. We all wish him well, but that shouldn’t come at the expense of the sport. Schaub is the potential future of the UFC, and this loss is a a net loss for the league.

There are two problems with this loss. First, when Schaub is slated for his next fight, how interested will you be? Why would you care about a fight involving a fighter who lost by TKO to an aging, near-retired fighter known more for submissions than for knockouts? Second, it sets up a possible losing streak for Schaub. What if Schaub loses a second fight in a row? What does that do to his confidence? How does that impact his marketability even further? Even if he absolutely sucks, the UFC had the opportunity to foster the illusion that he’s a legitimate contender so that people will pay to watch him fight, and that illusion (or reality) is now in jeopardy.

Of course, this is hardly a disaster for the sport or for Schaub, but even if you’re not a fan of Schaub, it wasn’t a good outcome.

Effective Grappling Means Not Getting Your Takedowns Stuffed

I had a polite back and forth with someone I don’t know, TRFoley, a “Journalist Covering MMA and College Wrestling.” The back and forth went as follows.

Me: Failed takedowns should give the resisting fighter the grappling edge on the score cards. I don’t think judges know that.

TRFoley: untrue

Me: Which part? I ask because the CSAC rule on the subject is fairly clear. Failed takedowns count against grappling.

TRFoley: the rules state grappling but it’s unclear if bad takedown attempts are included

Me: Not sure how you can interpret it that way (based on what I remember), but Twitter no good for this. 🙂

Well, my memory wasn’t perfect, as stuffing take-downs was part of Octagon Control, not Effective Grappling. To be as brief as possible, the CSAC rules, which I chose as my example, state that judges will score fights based on the following criteria in order of importance:

  1. Clean Strikes or Effective Grappling, depending on which was the predominant means of fighting the fight;
  2. Clean Strikes or Effective Grappling, depending on which wasn’t #1;
  3. Octagon Control, which includes, among other things, stuffing take-down attempts; and
  4. Effective Aggressiveness, noting that “shooting takedowns and getting countered and fended off is not effective aggressiveness.”

As far as I’m concerned, despite my unreliable memory, I’m taking the more accurate position. It’s exceedingly difficult to imagine a scenario where someone maintains “Octagon control” specifically through stuffing take-downs, yet the fight remains on the ground more than it does on the feet. Although such a scenario is theoretically possible, it must be rare, and I don’t recall ever seeing it. Ergo, practically speaking, someone who constantly stuffs take-downs should be considered to have won the grappling war because it means there wasn’t enough grappling for “Effective Grappling” to be a significant factor. However, it’s true that “Clean Strikes” would still have a higher value than the “Octagon control,” so if that grappler nevertheless outstrikes the other fighter, he’d still win the round. I just never see it play out that way.

Consider this example: Go back to UFC 119 when Frank Mir “fought” Mirko CroCop. Taking into consideration my failing memory, during the entire first and second rounds, all that happened was Frank tried unsuccessfully to place CroCop on the ground. Neither did any significant striking, and neither did any grappling, and the rules expressly state that Mir’s pressing of Mirko against the cage and making unsuccessful take-down attempts would not count as “Effective Aggressiveness.” With no significant advantage either way, “Octagon Control” should have been deemed the dominant (actually, only) factor on which to score the fight, and Mirko, having stuffed (nearly?) every single takedown attempt, should have been ahead on the score cards 20-18 going into the third round. I’d bet good money, though, that he was down 18-20 because the judges don’t understand the rules.

That’s my point, and I stand by it. It’s a little easier to explain myself on a blog than on Twitter, and the same goes for your responses. As always, feel free. Keep in mind, though, that the fact that there’s a reasonable argument to be made either way is probably the root cause of all of our bad decisions. Fortunately, UFC Rio seemed to be devoid of them. Only Barboza-Pearson could be argued against, and that was close enough not to be considered a bad decision either way it went.

National Pride

As I’ve discussed before, some Americans like to chant “U-S-A! U-S-A!” (or similar chants). Some people think that’s racist. Some people think that’s silly. Some people do it because it’s silly and are just goofing off. Your reason for doing it, not doing it, or not caring one way or the other is fine with me. I don’t care where you fall on that issue at all.

What I do care about is hypocrisy. The Brazilian fans were clearly biased in favor of the Brazilian fighters all night long, at one point chanting for the death of non-Brazilian fighters. I’m not saying the Brazilians are homicidal; it’s figurative, of course. What I am saying is that they were showing a clear national bias, rooting for their Brazilian fighters — even the unknown ones — simply because they were Brazilian. Joe Rogan and Kenny Florian have both criticized Americans for chanting “U-S-A” at UFC cards, claiming that it’s immature and inappropriate. They’ve both done so on Twitter and, in Joe Rogan’s case, during a live UFC card. Kenny Florian might have blocked me on Twitter for merely having the discussion with someone else on the issue. So, I want to know when they’re going to speak out against this supposedly horrible display of bigotry.

Most likely, they aren’t. In that case, the question becomes: Why the double standard? Is there something else at play here? It appears Joe Rogan is trying to advance a political or social agenda with his rants. Is Florian as well? I don’t know. I’d honestly rather not know their politics, because I just want to watch some fights. It’s hard to avoid the hypocrisy, though. I see it too much in politics, so I’m programmed to pounce on it. I’m sick of Rogan injecting it, and I suspect Florian is doing the same thing. Either way, it’s just plain rude. If they can’t remain consistent, they need to stop talking about it.

On a Lighter Note . . .

I recently found this ridiculous gem. I imagine this was the kind of thing my parents liked when I was a child. I suspect he had Asperger or Tourette syndrome, though I’m not qualified to say. He’s apparently Russian, which is an equally valid explanation. I hope you enjoy it as much as I.

Follow me on Twitter @MMADork
Follow the Ultimate Fighting Championship on Twitter @UFC
Follow Kenny Florian on Twitter @KennyFlorian even though he’s blocked me because he can’t take criticism
Follow Joe Rogan on Twitter @JoeRogan
Follow Jason Probst on Twitter @JasonProbst
Follow Anderson Silva on Twitter @SpiderAnderson
Follow Yushin Okami on Twitter if you can find his account. I couldn’t.
Follow Mauricio Rua on Twitter @ShogunRua
Follow Forrest Griffin on Twitter @ForrestGriffin
Follow Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira on Twitter @Minotauromma
Follow Brendan Schaub on Twitter @BrendanSchaub
Follow Ross Pearson on Twitter @RossTheRealDeal
Follow Edson Barboza on Twitter @EdsonBarbozaJR
Follow Raphael Assuncao on Twitter @RaphaAssuncao
Follow Johnny Eduardo on Twitter if you can find his account. I couldn’t.
Follow Spencer Fisher on Twitter if you can find his account. I couldn’t.
Follow Thiago Tavares on Twitter @TavaresMMA
Follow Paulo Thiago on Twitter @PauloThiagoMMA
Follow David Mitchell on Twitter @DaudiMitchell
Follow Yuri Alcantara on Twitter if you can find his account. I couldn’t.
Follow Felipe Arantes on Twitter @SertanejoUFC
Follow Erick Silva on Twitter @ErickSilvaMMA
Follow Luis Ramos on Twitter if you can find his account. I couldn’t.
Follow Luiz Cane on Twitter @LuizCaneMMA
Follow Stanislav Nedkov on Twitter @StanislavNedkov
Follow Rousimar Palhares on Twitter @toquinho_UFC
Follow Dan Miller on Twitter @DanMiller185
Follow Yves Jabouin on Twitter if you can find his account. I couldn’t.
Follow Ian Loveland on Twitter @ianlovelandmma

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