Stupid Predictions™: UFC 140 Postmortem

Posted: December 12, 2011 in Fandom, Journalism, MMA, UFC
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Overall, I'd have to say, 'I told you so ... with a caveat.'

I guess I retired just in time. This card was brutal for me, as I went 4-7. Was it because my heart wasn’t in it, or is that an Ortiz-esque excuse? We’ll never know, but one thing that an honest person such as I must do is take the good with the bad. This fight prediction card sucked, but it goes into the record books with all the others. The bottom line for this run from my UFC 129 Stupid Predictions™ article to this one is 50-29 (63%) for the main cards and 99-60 (62%) overall. My run still beats most of the people paid to pick these fights, though, so I’ll always have that. I know more about this sport than the professionals, and I write just as well as they do.

Jon Jones def. Lyoto Machida by 2nd-round Technical Submission

My prior writings on this “dream matchup” pointed out that, while Jones was likely to win, the character of the fight would be based on whether Jones chose to fight Machida on Machida’s terms or be smart and fight on his own terms. Depending on the choice, Jones would win in either the second or fourth round. In the first round, Jones met Machida on his own terms and got tagged for it. If, in the second round, Jones hadn’t adjusted and pushed Machinda against the fence, eventually going for a submission, Machida would probably have weathered the storm and lasted until round 4, maybe even winning. As I predicted, this was the best stylistic match-up for Jones, and I want you to think about why this is true. Have you ever seen anyone come in on Jones, tag him cleanly, and get out without a scratch? Nope, you haven’t, but Machida did it at least twice. Machida could have KO’d a fresh, healthy Jones, and there’s no one else in the division that can say that.

So, even for those that picked Jones to win, I can still say, “I told you so.”

Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end there. Two of the judges, including Jeff Blatnick (whom I respect a great deal), scored the first round for Jones. I don’t care how many times you watch that 1st round, if you scored it for Jones, you need to be tested for drugs. Machida was the one that threatened Jones, not the other way around. His striking was clean and effective. If Jones hand’t adjusted, he would have been knocked out eventually. That sounds like a round for Machida to me.

In closing, I’ll remind you again about what this fight means to the light heavyweight division. From my Stupid Predictions™: UFC 140 article:

Jones … won’t face another intriguing challenge unless and until Anderson Silva moves up to Light Heavyweight. The only other opponent that will make a Jones fight interesting will be a flu bug, food poisoning, or undisclosed injury to Jones. Mere mortal opponents won’t be a threat to his title.

My friend, Michelle, thought I was kidding when I made the food poisoning argument last night, but it’s no joke. If Jones catches a case of food poisoning a couple of days before a championship fight, he won’t back out even though it could affect his performance. There’s too much at stake. That could cost him his belt, and there’s no way to predict that. Absent that, the Light Heavyweight championship fights will become a series of boring blowouts. There’s no more drama, no matter how desperately the UFC promotes it. Someone needs to enter the division for me to even consider the possibility of a Jones loss.

Frank Mir vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

In a sense, I was wrong about something. With Mir’s recent dedication to striking, you might have forgotten how good his jiu-jitsu is. In fact, he might have forgotten it. Let this be a reminder to you. However irrelevant Nogueira is to the championship mix, and however old he gets, he’s still a threat in a pure grappling match. After becoming the first person ever to stop Nogueira (their first fight), Mir became the first person ever to submit Nogueira (if you call that a “submission”). Out-jiu-jitsuing Nogueira is no small feat, and the rest of the heavyweight division better hope Mir doesn’t get a hold of one of their limbs. He’s still highly relevant to the heavyweight championship mix. Somehow, he managed to remind us of that despite fighting a Nogueira that no longer shares that relevance.

This, of course, brings me to an important point. I know these guys are a lot tougher than I, and I know I’ve never been much of a competitor, but I still have no qualms taking these guys to task for their stupid arrogance. We all know Nogueira is tough, but it’s easily possible that Nogueira just cost himself his career. Yes, his career is nearing the end anyway, and he’ll always have a career training other fighters, but if he wants to fight, he might have pissed away those wishes by trying to prove his manhood in not submitting. If you’re beat, you’re beat. Get over it. Tap, and live to fight another day. No one will question your physical or emotional toughness for doing so. In fact, they’ll praise your intelligence for it. Focus on the big picture, guys (and gals).

This also brings me to another important point. Josh Gross, who I’ve always backed up as one of the few journalists covering MMA that has any of my respect, took a hit in that regard. He tweeted, “Enough with the replays.” He was referencing the continuous replays of Nogueira’s arm breaking. I responded, “You shouldn’t be reporting MMA if you can’t handle the replays.” What I meant was that, as soon as the UFC stopped showing the replays, it became the job of the journalists to do so, so the replays weren’t going to stop anyway. When reporting news (as opposed to opinion), a real journalist doesn’t let his personal views interfere. I’m surprised Gross apparently doesn’t get that. He needs to develop a tougher hide if he’s going to cover the fights.

Tito Ortiz vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

Quick note: No excuses from Tito. This is definitely the new Tito, and I really hope he gets to fulfill his contract. Dana White, give him one more fight. Make a production out of it, then put his ass in the hall of fame where it belongs.

Brian Ebersole vs. Claude Patrick

Quick note: Ebersole won the decision, but I felt he lost. I don’t feel bad about the win, though, because there seems to be a clear split between those that attended the event, who though Ebersole clearly won, and those that watched on TV, who though Patrick clearly won (c.f., Siver v. Wiman). With that in mind, it’s hard to give the judges too much crap. They were in attendance; I wasn’t.

In Conclusion …

So with that, I leave you to make your own picks. I’d say it’s appropriate that this postmortem included points about bad judging and, more importantly, bad “journalism.” As for judging, this problem is easily fixed, creating an educational program for those that judge professional fights, and committing to frequent reviews and annotations for the judging criteria. Not doing so will result in more poor decisions, and rumors of corruption will be inevitable.

As for journalism, this blog started with an article demonstrating the problem we have with press coverage of MMA (which resulted in praise from Jon Anik via a direct message), and in the time since I wrote that article, very little has changed. NBC sports still reports on a guy that out-and-out lies about what he’s been told directly (as Dana White told me directly), and EPSN still links to, and relies on, a website that reports out of their basements. Maybe now that the UFC is on FOX, at least good journalists will start covering the sport, but with Dana White’s embarrassing, unfair, and at times inconsistent moves regarding Nate Marquardt, Miguel Torres, and many of the journalists that cover MMA, it’s going to be hard for the UFC to impress the mainstream, FOX or not.

Oh, and by the way, Tim Tebow is a winner. Get over it, haters.

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Follow Constantinos Philippou on Twitter if you can find him on there. I couldn’t.
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Follow Jake Hecht on Twitter if you can find him on there. I couldn’t.
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