Let’s face it: Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is no longer a niche sport. Head to any sports bar on a fight night and you’ll see hordes of men and women crowded around televisions watching tatted-up behemoths grapple with each other. The combat is brutal, just like UFC founder Dana White. Through a series of shrewd business moves and a ruthless marketing campaign, he’s methodically crushing the remnants of boxing.
His most recent success took place this past Saturday night at the sold-out MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. As a testament to the ever-growing popularity of MMA (and White’s work), UFC 114 brought in big-time gate receipts as well as pay per view dollars.
We asked guest writer and MMA die-hard Turd Ferguson (seriously, what is up with poop-related things and this website?) to give us his expert summation of the evening. His recap is below:
Antonio Rogerio Nogueria v. Jason “The Hitman” Brilz
Nogueira was declared the winner over Brilz via decision in a fight that many folks in attendance thought he lost. Brilz was a late replacement for Forrest Griffin, who had to pull out due to injury. Although some analysts initially questioned the decision by Nogueira to provide large burlap sacks with enormous “$” signs on them to the judges prior to the fight, that strategy appeared to have ultimately worked out for him.
Diego “Nightmare” Sanchez vs. John “The Hitman” Hathaway
Sanchez took a big knee standing up early in the first round but managed to pull guard and make it out. Still, “The Hitman” Hathaway took this one, improving to 13-0 and looking sharp against Sanchez. Hathaway’s nickname is “The Hitman,” but so is that of Jason Brilz. Also: what will Bret “The Hitman” Hart have to say about this? Probably nothing since he’s an old man now, and pro wrestling isn’t real.
Mike Russow v. Troy Duffee
In the only heavyweight bout on the card, Mike Russow, who broke (fat) camp looking (for the) upset and hungry (for spare ribs), came out and knocked out Troy Duffee at 2:35 in the third round. Duffee, on the other hand, looked like he stepped off a photo shoot for FLEX. At the beginning of the fight, I turned to my buddy and we both agreed that we were rooting for tubby to take this one via knockout and it happened. We celebrated with a high five and then an awkward gaze, if only he knew how I truly felt…
Michael Bisping v. Dan Miller
Bisping took Miller apart in a fight that was billed as a co-main event, even though nobody really cared who won this fight. You could have put two hobos in there for fifteen minutes and it wouldn’t have mattered. But, since this ridiculous nation honors specious things like “human rights,” we get Bisping by decision.
Main Event: “Suga” Rashad Evans v. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson
UFC 114 was headlined by a non-title matchup between “Suga” Rashad Evans and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, two light heavyweight fighters gunning for a shot at the belt.
Nevertheless, with more bad blood between these two fighters than that nightclub scene at the beginning of “Blade,” and definitely more bloodsuckers in attendance (post-marriage starter-wives in full effect), this was a match not to be missed. While Rampage brings serious street cred with both his K-1/Pride pedigree and crazy interviews/behavior, Evans cleans up nice and can do commentary on ESPN. Still, Evans got booed while Rampage got a huge ovation for his first foray into the octagon after a 14-month “retirement” to shoot the new “A-Team” movie.
Vegas odds had Rashad taking this one over Rampage, and they were right so I don’t need to unplug the phone or move into a Motel 8 until my bookie stops calling. In the first round, Rashad landed a serious right that stunned Rampage and forced the fight against the cage. Following that, Evans had a nice double leg takedown that seemed to suggest that this one was going to be a technical lesson from “Suga.” But Rampage fought back, and with about three minutes left in the fight, he rocked Evans with an accidental knee that brought Evans to the ground and nearly ground the fight to a halt. But much like the 19-year-old version of me, Rampage couldn’t close. Evans eventually was able to get to his feet and dance a bit before shooting another take down and all but assuring that he’d get a favorable decision from the judges.
In fact, the only disappointing thing about UFC 114 was the professionalism displayed by a humble Rampage in defeat. Hey, if I pay $44.99 for this god damn thing then I want to see Rampage live up to his namesake – like maybe attack those smug ring girls who won’t return my emails or MySpace messages. And another thing (swigs from whiskey bottle), that UFC ring girl better not try to cover up again when the camera pans to her just because she’s cold. If we wanted you to be comfortable, sweetheart, then they would have sent you out there in your juicy pants and your sorority letter sweatshirt.
Glad I got to watch this as it was the best pay-per-view without a title fight or the word “MILF” in the title that I have purchased in some time. UFC’s growth has been really exciting to witness the past couple years, unless your name is Don King.
So there you have it – excellent recap. Thank you very much, Mr. Ferguson.