Locked in the Guillotine MMA News Report 10.19.12: I'm Back Edition
Posted by Robert Winfree on 10.19.2012
News and thoughts on Chael Sonnen and Jon Jones coaching the next season of The Ultimate Fighter and why its a bad idea! Plus a breakdown of Anderson Silva's dominance at UFC 153, a deconstruction of the entire notion of TUF and more!
Hello one and all, I'm back! Yeah, I'm assuming you noticed my absence even though you likely didn't. I was on vacation last week and as such didn't get a column submitted. I am back though, and better than ever. Fortunately the greatest fighter in the world was in action last week, and that gives me plenty to talk about. Also The Walking Dead is back, which always makes me happy. Hey, if Dustin James and Jeffrey Harris can waste space discussing something as totally irrelevant as college football in their introductions then I can talk about good television. The addition of Michonne and Andrea having a somewhat separate story going on should prevent some of the excessive soap opera moments that plagued the second season. I'm anxious to see The Govenor, the preview for the season gave little hints at him and if that's an accurate indicator we're in for a wild ride. OK, enough about TV, you came here for MMA. It's been over a week, so I wonder just how good your defense has become, because you're Locked in the Guillotine again.
Prelims: Normally I'm able to watch all the fights on a card, including the preliminaries, and break down each one individually. Unfortunately that wasn't the case this time. I was traveling during Saturday and wasn't able to watch the event live, and have subsequently been finding the fights online to watch so I can review them. As of this writing I haven't been able to watch any of the preliminary fights, so they wont be discussed.
Maia strikes again: Demian Maia submitted Rick Story in the first round with a combination rear naked choke and neck crank. This was the Demian Maia that first made waves in the UFC's middleweight division. Maia closed the distance and forced the fight to the ground, where he has a significant advantage over pretty much everyone in the division in terms of pure submissions. The move to welterweight seems to have rejuvenated Maia's career, and I wouldn't mind seeing him take another step up in competition.
Mr. Wonderful wins: Phil Davis submitted Wagner Prado in the second round with a nice anaconda choke to get back on the winning track. Davis used his wrestling to control the fight and continued to show off his submission savvy. Unfortunately I didn't see anything really awesome out of him this time out. Davis is still going to struggle against anyone who can negate his wrestling, and his striking still looks like it has a long way to go. Still, a win for Davis is good at this point, but he's going to have to improve his game if he wants to become an elite level fighter.
Jon Fitch is back: Jon Fitch defeated Erick Silva by unanimous decision, but the fight was far from boring. Fitch looked like he wanted to finish, and wasn't afraid to go for submissions if he thought he could get one. His ground and pound was more active too, while not all that damaging he was much more busy with it. This should be a good learning experience for Silva, and his next fight will be interesting after this one. For Fitch this was a great fight to come back from injury to, and I'm looking forward to his next fight.
Teixeira is a bad man: Glover Teixeira defeated Fabio Maldonado between the second and third rounds when the doctor called a stop to the fight. Teixeira displayed some nasty ground and pound in this fight, which is another trademark of his. I'm not on the big Teixeira band wagon just yet, I mean it's not like Fabio Maldonado is truly elite competition, but this was a big win for Glover and it was the kind of fight that will raise his profile enough to get those bigger fights. Maldonado stepped up and took this fight on short notice, and showed tons of heart and a good chin. Hopefully Teixeira's fight with Rampage Jackson comes to fruition since both guys seem to want it.
Big Nog beats Herman: Antonio Rodgrigo Nogueira defeated Dave Herman with an armbar in the second round to score another big feel good moment as his career winds down. For as much as Dana White calls Roy Nelson the ultimate under achiever, I think Herman might be a bigger one. He's got good length, reach, athleticism, and a pretty good chin, but he's unable to make a name for himself. For Nogueira, you know the guys career is winding down and him getting a submission win in Brazil has to be a great moment in his legendary career.
He is the best ever: Anderson Silva defeated Stephan Bonnar by TKO at the end of the first round with a brutal knee to the body. For as much as we talk about the professional wrestling influence on the promos of Chael Sonnen, inside the cage Anderson Silva might be the closest thing to a professional wrestler we've got. I mean, he went out here to put on a show. He deliberately put his back to the cage at times and let Stephan Bonnar try and attack him. Bonnar came to fight, and he tried, but he didn't have the skill set to challenge Silva, and when Anderson wanted that fight over, it was over. Bonnar has a good chin, so Anderson went to the body, which is a terribly under used tool in MMA. The outcome was never in doubt here, but it was a fun four minutes and change. And as you know, body work finishes means we get Patrick Bateman.
Jake Shields busted: UFC middleweight Jake Shields apparently tested positive for some kind of banned substance, the specific substance was not revealed, after his fight with Ed Herman earlier this year and he has been suspended because of it. The fight was Shields' return to middleweight where he was likely hoping to make some kind of run towards the title, but this is a major setback. There were details not revealed due to privacy issues, which is perfectly fair, so we'll just have to wait and see what is next for Shields now that his last win was turned into a No Contest.
Jon Jones to coach TUF against Chael Sonnen: What the hell? In what world has Chael Sonnen done anything to earn a title shot at light heavyweight? He's never fought at 205 in the UFC, he's never even fought a name light heavyweight at a catchweight fight. Sonnen has done nothing to earn this opportunity except talk trash. The reason for these coaching choices are obvious when you look at the ratings for this season of the Ultimate Fighter, last weeks episode scored the lowest rating in the shows history since 2005. Much of the UFC's current success can be traced back to the original TUF show, and of course the fight between Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin that highlighted the end of that first season. The UFC clearly wants to keep the show around, and apparently F/X is generally OK with the ratings to this point, but if they keep slipping at this rate that wont remain the case. Throwing one of the UFC's bigger stars as a coach against an outspoken antagonist like Chael Sonnen looks like an appealing quick fix. Unfortunately I don't think that will be the case. The Chael Sonnen show gets old after about ten minutes, and personally I've been sick of it for a year or more and everyone else is now realizing I'm right, and for as great as Jon Jones is as a fighter, he doesn't really have a forceful personality. Plus the inevitable title fight will be completely one sided, Chael Sonnen has no chance at all of beating Jon Jones, absolutely none.
Hendo is mad: Former PRIDE and Strikeforce champion Dan Henderson is upset about Chael Sonnen getting the next title shot. In the wake of the news being broken he took to Twitter and mentioned that perhaps he should stop focusing on winning fights, and having exciting and entertaining fights in favor of focusing just on trash talking. Henderson was supposed to fight Jon Jones at UFC 151, but a knee injury forced him to withdraw and the timing of his reporting the injury played a role in the cancellation of that event. After that entire mess Hendo was never going to get the next title shot, and there had been rumors of him fighting Lyoto Machida, so he's not angry at being passed over, he's angry at a guy with no legitimate claim to the number one contender spot getting a title shot for no reason. I can't say I blame Hendo here, because I agree with him.
Alright, I'm sick to death of hearing about The Ultimate Fighter. The show is boring, repetitive, stale, uninteresting, and pointless. There's no denying the role that The Ultimate Fighter played in helping the MMA boom, and the first five seasons produced some talented fighters, a few champions, and a couple of great moments. Everything after that has been downhill. No one of interest is fighting on the show, the episodes, fighters, and fights all run together. There is nothing interesting or new about the show, and there hasn't been for a long time. Everything about the show is past its prime.
The reality is that now the UFC likes to try and use TUF to build to the fight between the coaches. Instead of a chance for someone to make a name for themselves in MMA it's about hyping the inevitable fight between the coaches. That has always been a component of the show, except for season two, but it had never been the real focal point. Now that's the only selling point of the show, not the fighters, but the interaction between the coaches and the build to their fight. Essentially it's a really long drawn out countdown with fights mixed in.
I'm tired of the UFC pretending that winning TUF means anything, I mean having to hear Bruce Buffer introduce Mac Danzig as "The Ultimate Fighter season six winner" for every one of his fights is incredibly tedious. Add to the that, Joe Stevenson, Travis Lutter, Kendall Grove, Efrain Escoduero, and James Wilks were all winners of their seasons, and none of them are with the UFC right now, and a couple of them have retired. Yet time and again the UFC will promote the winners as good because they won that show, they will hype the toughness of the show, and what a great opportunity it is. The reality is that most of the guys who compete on TUF don't get into the UFC, they don't become big names in MMA, and most are lucky to fight more than once on the undercard of a Fight Night event or a Fuel TV card. The last season of TUF that I actually bothered to watch involved Brock Lesnar, and that just served to remind me of how boring the show has become.
More than that, I am sick of talking about TUF. Inevitably it gets brought up when talking with friends who like MMA, or other writers, it becomes topics for debate on the 411 Ground and Pound radio show, or for a round table discussion or an All the Kings Men talking points. The show is old, it isn't relevant, and I'm sick to death of being asked how I would "save" the show, or what can be done to revive it. At this point, I'm willing to bet it's beyond saving for the US market. Having the show done in foreign countries like Australia, Brazil, England, and places like that isn't the worst idea because there are theoretically talented fighters there that wouldn't get the opportunity without the show. In the states, the show has been running for what seems an eternity and talented fighters don't go through the show, they just get signed by the UFC. The concept is outdated, the entire presentation is flat, and the show should just go away.
And with that little rant out of the way, we're done for another week. I will be back next week, as I've no plans to take another vacation in the immediate future. There's a couple of big fight cards coming up to start looking at, and of course there will be more news as well. I'll see you all back here next week, but for now you've escaped the Guillotine.