I went to a co-worker's house on Saturday night to watch UFC 97. I must say, I was less than impressed. The first fights of the main card weren't anything to write home about, but then, opening matches usually aren't. Little did I know, I had just watched some of the best fights of the night.
Q: When did the UFC become a dance off rather than a fighting match?
A: Probably around the time it started promoting the movie Fighting, starring a guy whose only recognizable credits are a street dancing movie and an Amanda Bynes movie.
At this point in my rant, let me state that I'm not a hardcore UFC fan. I don't think most people would even consider me an average fan. I'm more a moderate enthusiast, as the only real matches I've seen (other than the odd episode of The Ultimate Fighter) are the ones a friend has invited me over to watch, so if you're looking for a real blow-by-blow, 'I've been there since it was no-holds-barred' review, this is more a 'Wow, I'm glad I didn't have any money on these fights, because they were awful' rant.
It started with Steve Cantwell and Luiz Cane dancing around each other, then quickly progressed on to Cheick Konga very impressively beating down Antoni Hardonk and Krzysztof Soszynski taking Brian Stann appart. From there, it was downhill. Chuck Liddell came in, showing some promise, but Mauricio Rua walking in to techno music, wearing booty shorts I've never seen on a man before (and hope I never will again). From there Liddell walked around the ring on obviously bad knees and got beaten by the man we dubbed "Booty shorts-techno guy." Not exactly a shining moment. After that, Sam Stout came in the ring, looking clean cut and ready for a fight, followed by Matt Wiman, looking and fighting remeniscent of a man who has just seen his first sandwich in three years. I know this recession is bad, but man, Wiman came in looking like "Hobo sapien."
But the real dissapointment came when the indominable Anderson Silva stepped in the ring with jiu-jitsu challenger Thales Leites. The fight was billed as a main event to remember, and it was...just not in the way Dana White and the rest of the UFC were hoping. In what was to be a fresh, hard hitting challenger battling to take the title from a hardened, professional champion, the match quickly degraded from a minute (yes, a full sixty seconds...if you don't think that's a long time, try staring at two grown men dancing inside a cage around each other for that full minute) with no one throwing a punch, to Leites falling on his back, trying to take Silva to the ground were he has notoriously underperformed. When he finally did get Silva down it was more like a tickle fight than a UFC match. After Silva got back up he made sure not to be taken down again. Leites, obviously determined not to be KOed by the champ repeatedly went to the ground, often for no reason, to an embarassing degree. The fight quickly degenerated into Leites on his back and Silva slapping his toes. Silva won.
Through it all were plugs for the aforementioned movie Fighting, and Channing Tatum, who will hopefully do less dancing in his next movie than the UFC fighters did Saturday night. I know we paid for a fight, but we got SNL.
C'mon UFC, show me some backbone. No one's gonna pay for a parody of a fight, when they can go to any bar on Easton Ave in New Brunswick and see it live for free.