...OH, ONE MORE THING - PLEASE BOOKMARK US & VISIT DAILY!
By: Rich Hansen, MMATorch Contributor
Look, I'm no MMA historian. I don't have any clue what made Sakuraba a legend, other than him beating some Gracies. I don't know the matches, I've never seen a Sakuraba fight. For all I know, his legend was really forged by accepting a fight vs. three grizzly bears in order to distract the bears from killing oprhans and nuns who were trying to flee from a burning synagogue. I know, I know, why in the hell would orphans be in a synagogue rather than in the back of a priest's office, but I digress.
The best fight I've ever seen from Ken Shamrock probably had to do with him defending the honor of his sister Ryan Shamrock. I would presume that him being dubbed "The World's Most Dangerous Man" and garnering mainstream attention was a big moment in MMA history. Certainly a bigger moment than him rechristening himself as "The World's Most Disgruntled Bankrupt Former Employee."
And of course the sport doesn't exist if Bob Meyrowitz doesn't agree to fund the Gracie family's desire to open a buttload of jiu-jitsu schools in America, using PPV as it's main form of advertising. Royce may or may not have been the best jiu-jitsu practitioner in the world in November, 1993. Apparently some people were impressed with his ability to make a guy tap out of fear before Gracie's initial takedown was even complete, his ability to choke Ken Shamrock with his pajamas, and his ability to tap a one-gloved boxer. All disrespect aside, it was probably a huge moment in MMA history (then known as human cockfighting).
So I am the first to admit that my knowledge, and my interest, only goes back a certain amount of time. I am studying the past, but it is what it is (I hate that phrase, it's so lazy.).
But rest assured, five years from now, when 2010 is considered the dark ages of the sport (my how time flies), April 17, 2010 will be known as the singular most important night in the history of the *business* of MMA. April 17 is the day when future generations (you know, 5 years from now) can point to as the day that ended the possibility for anyone to compete with the UFC on a regional, national, or global level.
Let's recap, shall we? We shall.
Dana White is a manipulative bastard, and a complete genius. He makes Machiavelli look as strategically cunning as Jimmy Carter. I am now convinced that he spent the last year hyping up Gegard Mousasi, a non-UFC employee the last I checked, just to get Scott Coker to sign him to a long-term, high-money, NON-EXCLUSIVE deal.
I remember a sit down interview that Dana White did leading up to UFC 102. Sean McGrath of the Oregonian asked Dana to assign a number from one to five to each of several fighters, the higher the number, the higher the interest Dana would have to sign said fighter.
Sakurai: 3, I guess
When in the hell does Dana White EVER extoll the values of a fighter he doesn't have? He did it with Mousais, who can't wrestle, and wrestling is the number one, numero uno, most important skill in MMA; and he did it with Fedor, whom he knows he can't sign. What's the common rationale between the two?
He drove up the price on both guys, and knew damn well that Coker would bite. In the meantime he said near nothing about Jake Shields, who is almost a free agent now (more on him later).
No one will ever convince me that Dana didn't manipulate Strikeforce into resigning Mousasi to a deal Coker can't afford; that he didn't peer pressure Coker into dealing with M1-Global; and that he didn't push Dan Henderson directly into Coker's waiting arms.
And I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. I was on Mousasi harder than, well, I won't go there. I would prefer this to get posted with no redacting.
But I own up to my mistakes Here is a list of ALL of them!
I dated Mindy Smith in the 9th grade.
I had Mousasi as #2 in the LHW division.
That's my list. I overlooked the fact that Mousasi can't wrestle, that the upkick to Jacare's melon was a fluky (but totally tripping balls awesome) way to win a fight, and that Babalu is a gatekeeper, nothing more.
Mousasi lost. No, he got dominated. No, he got dominated by King Mo Fricking Lawal. And even though he got slaughtered for 25 minutes, he didn't even elevate Lawal in the process. No, Lawal actually, to me, seems like LESS of a prospect now than he did 24 hours ago.
Lawal gassed in the first round, while being on top the entire round. Lawal had zero clue how to get out of guard, and did zero damage. Lawal fought tough, Lawal fought smart (shocking), and Lawal looked completely unskilled in every facet of the game other than wrestling (See? Wrestling IS that important).
And Mousasi looked worse.
Mousasi made it clear leading up to the fight that he wanted to be patient, coast, get Lawal to gas, and then go wild. Except 1.) He forgot to go wild, and B.) HE GASSED TOO!
I hated this fight more than 90% of the fights on The Ultimate Kimbo. The crowd hated it. Mousasi fans hated it. Scott Coker hated it. Dana White had an orgasm from it.
Gilbert Melendez, though. Well, I've had him at #2 in the lightweight division for months now. Me, FTW... YES! I also had Aoki lower than everyone else, and I wanted to not rank him at all. So, shoulda coulda woulda, right?
Melendez fought the fight in every way he was capable. He broke Aoki, which isn't that hard to do. I was shocked that Aoki didn't try to get Melendez DQd by crying about a fake illegal eye poke or something. This was the one and only thing that went right in Scott Coker's life on Saturday.
I stand by my statement that had Shinya Aoki won the belt, he would've taken it back to Japan and either gone Alundra Blayze on it, or taken longer to defend it than Alistair Overeem's taking to defend his belt. But now Japan can add Gilbert Melendez to the list of things they hate, along with dolphin and whale (South Park reference, Google it or something).
Of course, the Melendez fight didn't start until the top of hour two. The pacing on this show was intentionally bad. They did nothing to speed up the schedule. They showed 4.5 walk ins. They showed 42 commercials for EA Sports MMA (which, if I were a gamer, looks so bad that it would make me STOP playing video games, just out of fear of being associated with a hobby that could include THAT hot mess).
They did unnecessary interviews with the fighters (And let me tell you, that Hendo interview was historically bad. He's supposed to sell the fight. It's pointless to talk trash about Shields in an interview that SHIELDS WILL NEVER SEE! And when asked how Hendo would describe Shields, his answer was, "Slow." Awful. Dana is a genius. Dan Henderson's right hand has charisma, but none anywhere else).
So, um, I'm confused. Where was I? Let me scroll up. Damn parentheticals...
Ah yes. Strikeforce dying. Thanks for reminding. Anyhooooo, so the second fight starts after the top of hour two. Had they thought ahead, they could have done a cold start for the first fight and had the ring cleared by 8:35 (all times Central). Three forty minute blocks is all they needed. But basic algebra isn't Coker's thing. And this fight, shockingly, went to a decision. That's OK, Hendo is going to knock Shields out in round two. And it's not like we're contractually obligated to show highlights of Miller's fight after all.
Then we cut to commercial, and return to highlights of Mayhem's fight. So much for that. Hendo will just KO Shields in Round One.
And so much for that.
Watching Henderson fight last night reminded me of a single woman in her forties, with no kids, and one egg left in her ovaries. She knows menopause is right around the corner, and if that egg doesn't get fertilized in the next 8 minutes, that's it, it's over, it's all over. So she's flailing away, trying to look sexy as hell even though she's way past her prime. She's in the Way-Back Machine. She's hot. She's dancing. She's got everyone's attention. She's even found a few guys to help fertilize that last remaining egg. But then, the clock hits midnight.
And she looks down at the ground. And in between her feet, which are strapped to the most expensive five inch heels she could find, she sees this tiny little egg sitting on the floor. It's looking at her, making puppy dog eyes, weeping a little, and saying, "Mama. Mama." And then it disappears like Keyser Soze.
OK, I didn't really think that during the fight. But it makes me laugh when I visualize it.
Dan Henderson, well...
And so much for that.
He dominated the first round. He was styling and profiling. He was a jet-setting, limousine riding son of a... (pandering to Wade, I mean the most exhalted Mister Keller, Esq., sorry bout that). He was perfect.
And then 1 minute into round two, Jake Shields mounted him (don't worry, he didn't fertilize him), and pounded him into mulch (OK, mulch gets fertilized, whatever). And at the end of the round, Henderson looked between his bare feet, and lo and behold, he saw his career, his relevance, his legacy, making puppy dog eyes, weeping a little, and saying, "Mama. Mama." And then it disappeared like Keyser Soze.
And then he got embarrassed by the least marketable, most despised (stylistically) fighter of his generation. I scored every round of the fight as 10-8, for the ever so rare 48-42 decision.
Lest we not forget that, depending on to whom you listen, Jake Shields' contract is expiring very soon, and he's unlikely to have to fight again before the term concludes.
At this point it was 10:40 PM (CDT). So America has had to put up with almost three hours of incompetent broadcasting, I won't get deep into that topic, as that field has been plowed already.
But there is one crop left to sow here. Frank Shamrock has more animosity towards Jake Shields than Kim Jong-Il has towards the Western world, yet he's still being allowed to broadcast a Shields fight! How in the hell does this get past CBS Sports? It's absolutely outrageous that he flat out admits to hating everything about Shields, and is allowed on the broadcast team for yet another Jake Shields fight.
So, to this point, before we get to the climax of the evening, let me summarize what's happened. Don't worry, I'll be brief.
1.) The newly wealthy Gegard Mousasi was made to look like "King Mo" Lawal's bitch.
2.) "King Mo" Lawal looked so bad in beating Gegard Mousasi that he would be even money if booked in a fight versus Bobby southworth.
3.) The second fight started after 9pm.
4.) The newly wealthier Dan Henderson got punked.
5.) He got punked by someone who is desperate to go to the UFC.
6.) Shields will be leaving, assuming he leaves Strikeforce , as their Middleweight Champion.
7.) They didn't get to interview Shields until about 10:40 (give or take).
But to this point, EVERYTHING that happened was recoverable fromable (I make up words, it amuses me.). Companies put on disastrous cards all the time. The UFC even had a disaster one week ago (a disaster that no one is talking about anymore, mind you).
You saw what happened, no need to recap, as, unlike Strikeforce last night, I don't want to run 45 minutes long and piss off our affiliates.
CBS is going to wash their hands of Strikeforce. I would not be surprised if Showtime either cancels their deal or chooses not to renew when the term ends.
And even if they stay on Showtime, who is going to fight? You have to figure it's going to be a while until Diaz or Melendez return to the cage. Shields is on his way out. Overeem is unreliable. Fedor is, well, Fedor-ing Strikeforce right now*. Shields is as good as gone. So who is going to sell tickets, or draw people to tune into Showtime?
*- According to Webster's, Fedor is a verb, defined as to forcibly have sex with. As in, He just Fedored Strikeforce, or he is really Fedoring Strikeforce right now.
Yesterday was not the beginning of the end. Rather, it will go down as the date that crystallized people's thoughts about Strikeforce. Five years from now, people will look back and wonder in amazement how Strikeforce could have fallen so far, so fast, and to such shocking depths.
Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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