GOOD: Daniel Pineda vs. Emmanuel Sanchez
This fight was solid. Pineda started strong in the first round, but faded badly in the second and third rounds. Sanchez took both of those, though the second was very close, on his way to the split decision victory. Fairly good opener.
BAD: Emmanuel Newton vs. Linton Vassell
The first round was fairly good, but it got bad quickly. Things got sloppy in the second and things never again got to where they were in that first round. Vassell won the decision.
GOOD/BAD: Derek Campos stops Melvin Guillard
The finish was brutal, coming in the second round as Campos landed punch after punch on Guillard up on the cage. That was nasty. The rest of the fight was just okay, as Campos seemed to want things to stay on the ground. Guillard seems done, but who knows if he can turns things around?
UGLY: Kimbo Slice stops Dada 5000
This was so unbelievably bad that you almost have to create a new scale in order to judge just how bad it was. At one point, Kimbo basically fell into full mount. He did nothing and got stood up. From mount. I didn’t think that was even possible. The finish came when Dada collapsed backwards, Ric Flair style, and did a faceplant. It was ruled a stoppage win for Kimbo. It wasn’t known at the time, but Dada went into renal failure and even had his heart stop at some point later in the evening. He had to be stretchered out after being down on the mat for a long time. How was he even medically cleared to compete? Luckily, it’s said he’ll recover so it looks like the fight itself will remain a tragedy and not what happened afterwards.
BAD: Royce Gracie stops Ken Shamrock
They circled each other for a while before Gracie caught Shamrock low with a knee. Shamrock reacted and Gracie pounced to pick up the stoppage win. The ref should have seen it, but he didn’t. I suppose it’s a fitting way to conclude the evening.
UGLY: Bellator and how they handle this stuff
I don’t necessarily have a problem with these “legends” or “special attractions” type of fights. I think they can work and be very effective at drawing attention towards the company, that you can then use to shine a spotlight on more deserving competitors who aren’t as well-know. That’s not what Bellator does, though. They book these events entirely around the idea of watching old famous names from the past fight each other as if anyone cares about who wins and loses. No one cares that Gracie beat Shamrock tonight, that doesn’t diminish what Shamrock did during his career, nor does it enhance what Gracie did during his career. This was probably the oldest main event in history, and that’s not a good record to be holding.
The way Bellator needs to do this, is to separate these “special attractions” and have them each serve as a co-main event below a title fight. Bellator has champions like Will Brooks, Marcus Galvao, Daniel Straus, among others who aren’t as well-known as they perhaps should be. You use these “legends” fights to draw more attention to them. Kimbo Slice vs. Dada 5000 should never had been booked for health reasons, but if you’re going to book it (or a fight like it), then it should be under a fight like Michael Chandler vs. Josh Thomson or even Phil Davis vs. King Mo. Both of those guys (Davis and Mo) are more well-known, but they could also use some publicity as well. What you don’t do, though, is have a trainwreck co-main eventing for another trainwreck.
Another thing you also don’t do is treat these types of fights as seriously as you do the regular fights. They were talking up Kimbo-Dada and Shamrock-Gracie as having long term ramifications, as if anyone is going to remember what happened during these fights in a few months. The way Bellator handles these fights hurts them in the long run. Sure, they’ll get a nice little bump in the ratings, but it’s only for that event because they didn’t use the attention it got to help anyone else. In fact, having too many of these events hurts the company long term. The promotion becomes a joke.
I recently got an email from a longtime reader named Ross Johnson. He’s been to many, many show live and has watched even more shows on television. He’s been to UFC shows, as well as Bellator, Strikeforce, WSOF, Legacy, Shark, etc. etc. He also orders every pay-per-view and watches all the shows. The point is, this guy knows his MMA. He’s seen a lot of great MMA shows and a lot of bad ones. He told me that this was the worst event he’s ever seen. And he was there live, having scored some free tickets in a promotion. He also told me that as many people were there booing, there were more who were laughing. That sums it up right there. Having these “special attraction” type of fights is a tightrope to walk, because you can very easily veer into making yourself a laughingstock promotion. I believe it’s possible to use these fights to bring in more eyeballs, but you have to give the fans a reason to stick around. “Come for the old guys, stay for the young guys.” should be the unofficial motto of Bellator. Instead, it’s more like “Come for the old guys….well, we got a bunch of old guys.” The sad thing is, that’s not even that true. Bellator has some really good fighters on their roster.
The whole point of using these older guys and legends is to help you build for the future. The money you pay these guys should be considered an investment in the future instead of paying for a one night bump in the ratings. To make things worse, Bellator is turning themselves into a laughing stock. One of the biggest lies ever foisted upon the public is that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. When you become known as the promotion where the main eventers are older than a sitcom dad, you’ve got problems. Perception plays a large role in reality, and if people think you’re a joke, it’s hard to come back from that. When people watch sports, they want to watch the best of the best compete. It’s kind of fun to play the “Hey, you remember that guy?” game with non-MMA fans, but that doesn’t mean you want to watch them fight each other.
BAD: Ozzie Alvarez vs. Andrew Ramm
This fight was just kind of there. It was pretty dull and lackluster. Alvarez won the decision in a forgettable fight.
GOOD: Jamie Yager submits Daniel McWilliams
Yager quickly drug McWilliams down, tied him up, then submitted. The whole fight took about 38 seconds. Great win for Yager.
GOOD/BAD: Timur Valiev vs. Chris Gutierrez
The GOOD is for the fight itself, which was pretty entertaining. The BAD is for the decision, as Gutierrez got the victory even though I thought Valiev was the clear winner. He landed the harder punches as well as some hard leg kicks, but two of the judges gave it to Gutierrez. The other judge gave Valiev all three rounds, so it makes for one of those weird split decision wins where some of the scores are quite different. The fight was very close, but I thought Valiev did more to win it.
GOOD: Marlon Moraes stops Joseph Barajas
Moraes stopped things just over a minute into the first round with some hard leg kicks. The stopper came when he caught Barajas in the knee with one of the kicks and it was done. You hope Barajas isn’t hurt too seriously, but those kicks were hard and brutal. After the win, Moraes pondered moving up in weight and taking the belts in the featherweight and lightweight divisions. That would be hard to do, but he’s got the skills to do it. I don’t know if he would be able to, but I’d like to see him try.
UFC Fight Night 83
GOOD: James Krause vs. Shane Campbell
This was a solid fight. It wasn’t spectacular or anything but it was good enough. Krause won the decision by winning the first two rounds before he tired out, allowing Campbell to take the third round. It wasn’t enough, though, but he showed good heart.
GOOD: Chris Camozzi stops Joe Riggs
Camozzi stunned Riggs with a jab and then unleashed a torrent of knees that ended things not quite thirty seconds into the first round. Good win for Camozzi.
BAD: Dennis Bermudez vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri
Too much dull clinch work and too much inaction dooms this fight to be quickly forgotten. A win’s a win, though, so I imagine Bermudez will take the decision here and be happy with it. It was just kind of there. They negated each other too much for this fight to be all that good.
GOOD: Cody Garbrandt stops Augusto Mendes
The finish here was really weird. Garbrandt caught Mendes with some shots that dropped him and the referee stepped in. However, the ref then stepped back out and told Garbrandt to continue. He did and finished the fight seconds later. That was a very odd sequence, and I have no clue what the ref was doing there.
GOOD: Derek Brunson stops Roan Carneiro
Brunson hurt Carneiro and started raining down punches on him, but Carneiro was able to avoid the stoppage for a moment. Brunson then gathered himself and finished him with a flurry that knocked Carneiro out cold about halfway through the first round. Brutal win for Brunson, and also a big one.
GOOD: Donald Cerrone submits Alex Oliveira
Oliveira was having some success on the feet, so Cerrone took him down and immediately moved to a submission attempt. He locked on the triangle choke and that was it. Halfway though the first round, Oliveira had to tap and Cerrone picks a big win as he bounces back from his loss to UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos in December. This was a much-needed confidence boost for Cerrone as he starts to rebuild himself. I don’t know what the future holds for Cerrone, but one thing you can be sure of is that he’ll be ready and wanting to fight again soon. This was a great way to cap a pretty damn good event. It wasn’t all perfect but it had plenty of good action and closes out an eventful weekend of MMA. Onto the next week.
UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos has hurt himself and has to pull out of his fight with UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor at UFC 196 next week. Of course he did. I guess it’s asking too much for some of these guys to manage to not hurt themselves all the time. I understand that accidents happen, but there’s a big disparity between how often some fighters get hurt and some don’t. UFC 196 isn’t ruined by any means, as McGregor is now fighting Nate Diaz, and there’s still a fight between UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Holly Holm and Meisha Tate to get excited about. This still sucks, though. I wanted to see McGregor go for his second championship. Instead, we have to wait a few months (at least) and hope that dos Anjos doesn’t hurt himself again. Yet again, injuries ruin a good fight. I still think UFC 196 is a must-see event, but it does take a hit.
Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank