Locked in the Guillotine MMA News Report 8.24.12 CANCELED Edition
Posted by Robert Winfree on 08.24.2012
News and thoughts on UFC cancelling UFC 151 due to Jon Jones' refusal to take a different fight after Dan Henderson's injury and Frankie Edgar dropping to featherweight, thoughts on Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman and more!
Hello one and all, and boy oh boy what a week did we have in the MMA world huh? Things were more or less quiet until Thursday, at which point all hell seemed to break loose. Fortunately you've got me to help you sift through the rubble in the aftermath of events. There's also the latest Strikeforce card to review, and believe it or not there was some news before Thursday, though it of course winds up taking a back seat. With all that big news as a distraction, Locking you in the Guillotine this week was actually easier than usual. Let's get to it.
Only one comment last week, but I'll take whatever I can get. Guest#3134 stopped by and had some things to say about Frankie Edgar. He questioned the nature of the decision between Henderson and Edgar, noting that since rounds are judged round by round a decision for Henderson is certainly more understandable. He also expressed his interest in seeing UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo destroy Frankie Edgar, something that could very well happen.
Green gets things going: Bobby Green defeated Matt Ricehouse by unanimous decision to get the prelims going. Ricehouse showed a decent chin, but had nothing offensive to really offer Green. Green continued to display his lack of head movement, but he clearly won this fight.
De Randamie with the upset: Germaine De Randamie defeated Hiroko Yamanaka by unanimous decision in something of an upset. De Randamie was just 2-2 coming into this fight, but if she continues to improve at the rate she has thus far she could be a legitimate upper level fighter.
Well that was odd: Adlan Amagov defeated Keith Berry by TKO in the first round. Amagov landed a side kick to the knee that sparked some debate as to it's legality. The stoppage was a little early too, but the whole thing was very odd. Still, nothing offensive.
This should have been on the main card: Miesha Tate overcame a tough first round to catch an armbar and submit Julie Kedzie in the third round of their fight. This was a very entertaining scrap, Kedzie showed off her striking skills, but man does her groundwork fall short. Her defensive wrestling was very good, and she fought off the armbar as long as she could, but eventually had to tap out and give Tate the win. Great fun fight to finish off the prelims, but this really should have been on the main card.
Big KO: Ovince St. Preux defeated TJ Cook by KO in the third round with a huge overhand left punch that knocked Cook out cold. The first round had some good back and forth action, including Cook coming back from being hurt and threw some nasty body shots that really slowed OSP down. In the third he landed a huge overhand left to the jaw of Cook that turned his lights off. Good finish for OSP coming off of his loss to Gegard Mousasi.
The 411 unanimous pick curse strikes: Anthony Smith submitted Lumumba Sayers with a triangle choke in the first round. Smith proved much more well rounded than Sayers, he used kicks more effectively, had his opponent mounted, and locked up the triangle choke in transition. Sayers might want to think about dropping to welterweight, he was much shorter than Smith and it played into how elements of the fight played out. First round finish, and nothing offensive here.
The 411 unanimous pick is right: Tarec Saffiedine defeated Roger Bowling by unanimous decision in a fairly entertaining fight. Bowling brought power punches and kicks, but Saffiedine was more technical and a bit more effective and busy. Saffiedine said afterward that he wants to fight Nate Marquardt for the Strikeforce welterweight title, but that will depend heavily on if Strikeforce is around after December.
Well that was fast: Ronaldo Souza defeated Derek Brunson by knockout in under a minute. Souza showed very accurate striking and pretty much just ran over Brunson. The fight was a mismatch to begin with, and thankfully Souza treated it as such. Might as well have Souza and Luke Rockhold fight again assuming Strikeforce is around long enough.
That was fast and impressive: Strikeforce bantamweight woman's champion Ronda Rousey submitted Sarah Kaufman with her trademark armbar in under a minute. I predicted this fight would get out of the first round, and boy oh boy was I wrong. This one didn't get out of the first minute. Rousey did the right thing, she charged at Kaufman and got the clinch immediately and never gave Kaufman a chance to strike. After the fight Rousey called out suspended female fighter Christiane "Cyborg" Santos. I'm not sure if Sheborg can make 135 with any reliability, but that fight is certainly the one that people will be talking about now. This was a good showcase for Rousey, who continues to be the face of woman's MMA. For Kaufman, she's still a very good fighter, but it seems Rousey is just on another level from everyone else right now.
Sonnen calls out Jones: Former UFC middleweight title contender Chael Sonnen has been talking up a storm and calling out UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Sonnen is set to fight Forest Griffin at light heavyweight, and one has to imagine Sonnen is trying to position himself for a title fight with Jones. I don't expect Sonnen to have any level of success against Jon Jones if they do fight, and there's an incredibly simple reason for that: Jon Jones destroys wrestlers. Ryan Bader, Vladimir Matyushenko, Rashad Evans, the reality is that you can't come into a fight with Jon Jones and have the game plan of taking him down. No one has taken Jon Jones down. Sonnen wouldn't be the first to try and fail. This is very good marketing on the part of Sonnen, but there's no way he has any degree of success if the two do fight.
Bones/Machida drama: Word has spread around that Jon Jones isn't very excited about fighting Lyoto Machida again. Machida earned another title opportunity when he knocked out Ryan Bader in the second round of their fight at the last UFC on FOX card. Jones has noted that his first fight with Machida didn't draw good PPV numbers, it was the least bought card of any that Jon Jones headlined last year. Not only was it the lowest purchased, he finished Machida in incredibly convincing fashion. Now the reality here is that Machida is just another pig-hostage for Jones to dismantle while the UFC tries to build a new challenger for him. I'm a Machida fan, but I don't think he beats Jon Jones, and in a rematch I'm not sure he even gets out of the first round.
Edgar dropping down: Despite the very controversial nature of his loss to Benson Henderson, former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar has announced plans to enter the featherweight division. One has to imagine Dana White is extremely happy with this. Frankie Edgar only lost, for my money, twice at lightweight. Once in an early fight with Gray Maynard, and then his first title fight with Benson Henderson. This is a move that has long been speculated about, and it will be very interesting to see how Frankie fares at 145.
UFC 151 ľ Canceled: News broke Thursday afternoon that the upcoming UFC 151 event will be canceled. This is a big deal, the UFC hasn't canceled an event since Zuffa bought the company. The reason for the cancellation is two part: first of all Dan Henderson, who was scheduled to take on Jon Jones for the light heavyweight championship in the main event, suffered a partial tear to his MCL. This injury severely hampered Henderson's lateral movement, and apparently even caused his significant pain if he were in top position from a wrestling stand point. Yet another injury, though this time we're not discussing the injury, we're discussing the second reason the event had to be canceled. Jon Jones elected not to fight the only replacement the UFC could find apparently, in the form of former UFC middleweight title contender Chael Sonnen.
At the media conference call that Dana White had to announce the cancellation of the event he basically threw Jon Jones under the bus. The proposed fight between Sonnen and Jones would have taken place eight days from the offer, and apparently Jones and his coaches didn't feel that was adequate time to prepare for Sonnen. I'm not sure I totally agree with that, because while Sonnen and Jones' original opponent Dan Henderson are different fighters, one is a clinch wrestler with KO power, the other is a power double guy with no power. Because no other fighter could be found to fight Jon Jones, and Jones turned down a fight with Sonnen, the UFC decided the entire event needed to be scrapped. While Dana White has been apparently eager to make this entire thing the fault of Jon Jones, the reality is that the UFC decided to cancel the event. The UFC couldn't find another fight to possibly headline, the UFC has started essentially promoting one fight cards with little depth in the actual event. Dana White deserves a fair share of the blame as well as Jon Jones, but since Dana gets to the media first and has a talent for spinning things, we hear his story first. He did essentially the same thing when Shogun Rua decided he didn't want to fight Glover Tiexiera, we got Dana White's side of the story and as such his point of view in many ways became ours.
Please don't think I'm blindly defending Jon Jones here, I'm not. I would have paid money to see him obliterate Chael Sonnen, which is exactly what would have happened, and there were actually a few other fights on this card that I was somewhat interested in seeing. Now the entire event is off, the reality is that there are no winners here, this sucks for everyone involved. Jon Jones has agreed to fight Lyoto Machida at UFC 152 in Toronto, which will now be the main event with the inaugural flyweight title fight between Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez in the co-main event. This is actually good news for Johnson and Benavidez, that fight was never going to draw huge numbers as a main event, now with Machida and Jones fighting and factoring in all of the buzz around this now, those two will get a chance to shine and really make a name for themselves. While UFC 152 had certainly benefited here, everyone else on the UFC 151 card is in a real bad spot now. These are guys who fight for a living, the money from the UFC and their sponsors pays their bills, and now the entire event is canceled leaving them in possibly a big financial lurch. There were ten other fights on that card, so twenty fighters are now without the money that competing would bring in. For all of them to summarily throw Jon Jones under the bus as well, as most of them have been doing, is simply them not wishing to upset Dana White.
Let me be clear, Jon Jones did not cancel this event. Dana White did. Dana can attempt to blame this on Jon Jones, but the decision was his. He apparently couldn't find any other fight to move to this event, didn't want to look for anyone after Sonnen volunteered to fight, and decided to take this opportunity to bury one of his own fighters. The UFC has put out some dog events, events with main events that had no reason or right to be main events, Rashad Evans vs. Thiago Silva springs instantly to mind, or cards top to bottom bad, UFC 149 I'm looking at you, I have an unbelievably difficult time with this decision by the UFC. They couldn't have found two other guys to take the main event spot? Yeah the card would have been a dog, but Dana could still satisfy his need to bury guys who don't do what he wants when he wants it, and he'd still have had an event and all of those fighters would have been paid. Dana trying to place all of this on the shoulders of Jon Jones is simply him deflecting his own failures onto someone else. The reality is that the UFC hasn't been booking these cards with a plan B if something like this happens. I know that a champion the caliber of Jon Jones has likely never turned down a fight, but this had to be something of an inevitability. One fight cards a huge gamble, and this one wound up coming back to bite the UFC in the ass. There is more than enough fault to go around for everyone involved in this, let's try and make sure everyone gets their fair share, which means holding everyone accountable and not letting someone place all the blame on one party. Jones has his fair share of blame here, but so does Dana White and the rest of the UFC.
My original plan for this weeks Hate Everything segment was dealing with commentary. I wound up changing my mind and instead will focus on perhaps an even more aggravating aspect of MMA fandom at the moment, Dana White. Dana White is the president of the UFC, and is a tireless worker. It's very likely the UFC and MMA in general isn't anywhere near its current position in terms of popularity or success without Dana White. That said, the man is constantly on sound bites, promoting cards, giving his opinions, and as I said last week, overexposure is a huge component in getting burned out and hating things.
Dana White says some of the most ridiculous things in the sport. Between fighters, agents, reporters, columnists, Dana White manages to stand out above all of them in terms of saying stupid things. He has spoken negatively about some of the best fighters of all time simply because he doesn't agree with them. Prior to UFC 100, the UFC released a list of greatest fights, there was a pretty glaring omission from that list in the form of Frank Shamrock vs. Tito Ortiz. I advise anyone who hasn't seen it to look it up, it is a very good fight, and certainly better than several of the fights that made it into the final list. The fight was not counted because at the time Dana White didn't like Frank Shamrock or Tito Ortiz. He still has a bad relationship with Shamrock, though that could just be a grudge against his commentary at this point. Prior to last week's Rousey vs. Kaufman fight card Dana White said publicly that he could only name three female fighters. For a man who runs the largest MMA promotion in the world to be that completely ignorant of a bunch of fighters is startling. I wonder how many flyweights he could name off the top of his head? He also said he would fire Anderson Silva, or have him fighting on the prelims. That's just stupid, yes Anderson's performance against Demian Maia left a lot to be desired, but the man is the middleweight champion, everyone knows you wont put a champion on the under card, no matter how upset you are.
At the post fight press conference for UFC 112, which featured the infamous Anderson Silva vs. Demian Maia fight, Dana White promised to "make it up to you." Apparently that is code for never returning to that area again, as the event took place in Abu Dhabi and the UFC hasn't come close to running another event in that city since. Perhaps the most annoying and grating thing about White is how obviously self serving he is. When dealing with a fight promoter you have to expect them to spin everything their way, that's simply the nature of their profession. When a fighter is fighting for a different promotion they're not relevant, not a top ten fighter, they're a no one. As soon as they sign with you they're world beaters on huge win streaks who have been "flying under the radar" for however long they haven't fought in the UFC. This long history of behavior makes it that much more painfully obvious when he's only trying to help himself.
Consider for a moment his reaction to the decision to the fight between Frankie Edgar and Benson Henderson. When asked about it he said "I'm not a judge." Do yourself a favor, look back at close decision or controversial ones, Dana White has never, never shied away from giving his opinion on them. He's called out judges twice in fights involving Nick Ring, in fights with Riki Fukuda and Court McGee he openly said he thought Ring lost and that the judges were wrong. In fact Dana White has disagreed with MMA judges so frequently he coined on of the most ridiculous terms in the MMA lexicon, "Never leave it in the hands of the judges." Consider just how stupid that statement is, then consider that he refused to say who he thought won the Edgar vs. Henderson fight. Now why would an outspoken promoter with a history of speaking his mind about referees, fighters, judges, and commissions suddenly decide to play dumb? Because he got the outcome he wanted, but not how he wanted it. White has long said he wanted Frankie Edgar to fight at featherweight, and a second loss to Benson Henderson means he got what he wanted, but he clearly thought Edgar should have won the fight. Because he was stuck in a middle position like that, he played dumb, and with a history of being obvious and out spoken, it's just painfully obvious why he's acting like he is.
One of the most telling things came from the UFC's press release following the cancellation of UFC 151, "UFC 151 will be remembered as the event that Jon Jones and Greg Jackson murdered". Now you've read that I think there's plenty of blame on all sides, and that does include Jon Jones, but stuff like that is pointless. Jon Jones is still a UFC fighter, in fact he's headlining the next UFC event, and one has to assume the UFC wants people to buy tickets for the show or watch in on PPV. Him going around touting Jon Jones as a guy who just murdered a fight card isn't going to accomplish that, White is shooting himself in the foot by claiming one of his top drawing fighters, and Jones still holds that title though it remains to be seen if he keeps it much longer, kills cards. You're not encouraging fans to invest money in the product, you're not promoting one of your champions as someone people have to see fight, and it's going to come back and bite you in the ass.
That does it for me this week guys. I will be back next week, and given the state of things I'll likely be looking again at some of the fallout from the cancellation of UFC 151, Dana White will doubtless have many things to say, and unless something else happens my Hate segment next week will look at commentary. Between Octagon Jitters and your submission defense my arms are gassed, and you've escaped the Guillotine yet again. Thanks for stopping by, and I'll see you next Friday.