Once again the UFC wasted its time by coming down to Australia to endure crappy judges making bad decisions and crowds of homophobic morons booing.
... Actually, that wasn't entirely the case. The bad judges, sure, but the UFC is slowly worming MMA into the Aussie consciousness, and it's a good thing. The crowd at UFC127, if nothing else, seemed to be comprised of genuine Australian MMA fans.
Turned out that one of my friend's friends was an acquaintance of one of the fighters or something, and I was urged to watch the guy's fight avidly. I did so, and wasn't disappointed. I'll leave it vague as to who it was, though.
Michael Bisping put Jorge Rivera "in his place" for the mockery and insults online by not only humiliating the Puerto Rican with easy take-downs but also with a stunning knee to the face. Which happened to be illegal. He also vehemently insulted Rivera's camp and spat upon the mat before them. Now, regarding Bisping's actions, I'm quite annoyed at the responses fans have been giving him online.
The man he struck rattled off unbelievable attacks on Bisping's character over the course of weeks, if not months, and when he took a break from that it was to attack Bisping's family, friends and occasionally to train. They say "trash talk" is a part of the game, and it certainly is. Some of it is to hype up the fight, some of it is to put the opponent off his game -- but we need to remember that if you engage in this sort of psychological campaign you are going to be insulting someone. Bisping had no idea why Rivera and his team did what they did. They took it too far and grossly insulted a man for no good reason. So quite frankly, it's unsurprising that he snapped when he did, and I don't blame him: if you get that personal with a guy, don't accuse him later on of being unprofessional when he snaps. Am I the only one who sees what's wrong here? Here's a hint, the opposite of "professional" is "personal."
The same thing happened with Dan Hardy, who I reckon is one of the best fighters out there, but no, he was definitely not in the right when he proliferated Photoshopped images of Marcus Davis to look like a homosexual drag-queen online. When Davis pointed out that Hardy had gone too far, and that he had children this all could get back too (admittedly made worse because Davis then proceeded to lose the fight), Hardy claimed he was taking himself too seriously and continued mocking him. Well, no mate, he's got a point; this stuff sticks around online.
Nonetheless, Bisping's actions were understandable, and his reason for the illegal knee is pretty valid. Let's not forget when he got it all out of his system he apologized to Rivera. I'm not so sure half the people criticizing him for his actions would be man enough to apologize and embrace a man who spent weeks insulting you on a personal level.
BJ Penn and Jon Fitch clashed in a fight I was more or less stumped for who'd win. Turns out I wasn't the only one. I did expect Fitch to eventually dominate due to his greater size and seemingly impervious defense, and I was right there too. However, the fight ended in a draw, leading one of my associates to observe: "the final round should simply count for more." I can see the logic in that, especially because it seems BJ's early success was due to a shocking strategy. Simply put, by the third round, Jon Fitch had Penn's number and if the fight had continued for another round or two, Penn would've been in very, very deep trouble.
Truthfully, BJ didn't really have much genuine success. He took Fitch down in the first two rounds, yes, but both times Fitch defended the submission and ended up getting the superior position just as the bell would go -- even more stunning, he was doing very well in the stand-up striking too. By the third round, Fitch blasted Penn straight on the chin, took him down and for several minutes he rained unanswered blows upon Penn's skull... sound familiar?
Yes, Penn certainly did look upset as the judges rendered their decision. It was a draw, but Penn felt he had lost, again owing to the dominant performance Fitch showed in the last round. Even more demoralizing, the last round was a shade of the embarrassing loss to Georges St-Pierre. As irritating as a "draw" result is, we should all be glad for it: Penn may likely have retired had he lost to Fitch, which I do hate to say, but that was the most likely result.
But what about the Aussies? Well, let's say it this way. There was a brutal, bloody knockout victory for one. A quick guillotine choke victory for another. A quick guillotine choke loss for another (admittedly after a very good start). Finally, George Sotiropoulos showcases a major problem with Australian MMA -- a definite lack of wrestling backgrounds.
Wrestling is an international sport and whether or not you like it personally it's integral to mixed-martial-arts. Sotiropoulos is a fantastic Brazilian jiu-jitsu black-belt who many believed would dominate the fight if he could take the opponent down. Yeah, but he couldn't.
I actually looked for a wrestling school in my area. There was literally one. And the coach was American (big shock). I suspect you could get some wrestling skills at an MMA gym, but the sheer fact that wrestling is one of the few international sports we outright ignore, if not spurn, means that Australians are always going to be in danger against MMA opponents with strong wrestling backgrounds. Hell, Sotir's opponent did NOT have a strong wrestling background and yet every take-down attempt was humiliatingly shrugged off.
Though that being said, Sotir did manage to win decisions over several decorated American wrestlers, ironically by out-striking them (and they were terrified of taking him down). But nonetheless, the simple problem here was that his take-down attempts against Dennis Siver were embarrassingly weak in comparison to the explosive "I am taking you to the f*cking floor now" take-downs of Josh Koscheck, GSP and Gray Maynard. That cost him the fight.
That's something he has to work on, and every Aussie who wants to prove themselves in international MMA competition is going to have to remember: we don't f*cking grow up doing wrestling. It's such an incredibly important skill in MMA, arguably the most important, and many other nations have five-year-old children taking it seriously. These children grow up to be the dominant MMA fighters of the future. So it's going to take more than a few months of half-assed wrestling to really threaten these dominant fighters, hailing not only from America, but Canada, Sweden, Russia, and much of the world really. Very few places do less wrestling than Australia.
Georges St-Pierre is considered the most skilled MMA wrestler, and he started at age 19. So it can be done, but it's definitely something to think about.