GOOD/BAD: Jaleel Willis vs. Chauncey Foxworth
Foxworth gashed Willis with an elbow towards the end of the second round and the blood flowed like crazy in the third. The fight was nearly stopped a few times, but Willis was allowed to continue and he got the decision win after controlling the entire fight. It wasn’t an overly exciting fight, but it was very bloody and that always adds some drama to things. The blood definitely bumps this from BAD to GOOD. That might be a bit harsh, but we’ve all seen hundreds (if not thousands) of these grinding wins, and they all blend together. It was a fine fight, but nothing to get excited about.
GOOD: Bryce Mitchell submits Jorge Medina
After a nice reversal from Medina on a Mitchell takedown, there was a scramble and Mitchell took Medina’s back and locked on the choke for the submission win. Mitchell is undefeated in five fights and is a very interesting prospect.
GOOD: Shamil Gamzatov stops Teddy Holder
Things started a bit slow but heated up quickly as Gamzatov stunned Holder with a right hand and then landed another big right that ended things about halfway through the first round.
BAD/GOOD: Luiz Firmino vs. Caros Fodor
This was another of those grinding wins, which Firmino won. It wasn’t exciting at all, but this stuff is effective. Still, the only reason I’m adding a GOOD to the back end of the rating is that Firmino was a late replacement. I give him a lot of credit for being able to perform as well as he did. It was fine, it was hard-fought, and that’s about the best I can say here.
Frankie Edgar recently gave an interview where he said he would like to fight UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor at UFC 200 to win that belt, and then fight him again for the UFC Lightweight Title. Edgar is obviously predicting that McGregor beats UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 197.
Let’s assume that’s true for sake of argument. There’s no way the UFC lets it happen. I personally would love it, as it would be so incredibly interesting to see two fighters battle consecutively in different weight classes. I think that’d be awesome, but it would never happen. The UFC is only breaking their self-made rule about not having two division champs because it’s McGregor, who’s one of their biggest (if not the biggest) stars they have.
There’s a lot of money to be made with McGregor, in large part because he does the UFC’s job for them. They don’t have to promote him, which is something they struggle with mightily, they just have to get out of his way. At this point, they’re going to let McGregor do whatever he wants as long as those big paydays are still rolling in. The same can’t be said for Edgar, or pretty much every other fighter on the UFC roster. I’m an Edgar fan, but let’s be real here. McGregor is a money-printing machine and you don’t pull the plug on that until it stops making money. What Edgar can do, though, is get a Lightweight Title shot against McGregor at UFC 200. That’s very likely and is something I’m sure he’s preparing for.
I just want to hit upon the subject of eye pokes again. Matt Mitrione said that the ref and cageside doctor failed him, and he’s absolutely right. He said they should have saved him from himself. I think that’s correct, but it’s also on the fighter to save himself as well. You can’t risk yourself long-term over a fight. To be clear, though, that’s a very very very small portion of this.
If Mitrione had pulled the plug on the fight himself, he loses. His opponent, Travis Browne, would have gotten the win. That’s wrong, and exactly why Mitrione didn’t want to save himself. It would have cost him big time. Not only would he have lost the fight and a chance at the win bonus, but he would also be hurting himself in the title picture of the division. You shouldn’t be allowed to intentionally poke someone in the eye and get a win. You definitely shouldn’t be allowed to poke them in the eyes multiple times and still get a win.
I firmly believe that Browne poked Mitrione in the eye on purpose, and there’s nothing that will change my mind on that. When you stick your fingers straight out at an opponent, that’s intentional. It’s just like flopping in basketball or soccer, you’re doing it to gain an advantage. It’s cheesy as hell and needs to be taken out. The biggest difference here is that it can cause catastrophic harm to the victim, rather than a technical or other such minor harm.
Mitrione is lucky that he didn’t suffer permanent damage to his eye as a result of these pokes. With the current culture of safety surrounding sports, the fact that these eye pokes are allowed to happen is an embarrassment. The referee and cageside doctor failed miserably in their handling of this case, and there should be consequences for that.
I know eye pokes can be subjective, but it wouldn’t be the first time that an official has to make a judgement call. And since a fighter is allowed time to recover from an illegal blow, I think it wouldn’t add much time (if any) to the length of fights. Something should be done, or we’ll continue to have this happen over and over again. This time, the fighter who got poked doesn’t appear to have suffered longterm damage. Next time the fighter might not be so lucky.
Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank