With UFC 111 now in the books this is what we know:
1) GSP is still arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world
2) Shane Carwin is now next in line for a bout that was supposed to be against Brock Lesnar.
3) And……. Strikeforce will now try to heavily promote its upcoming Dan Henderson vs Jake Shields fight with UFC 111 out of the way.
So with that in mind, I figured I would let off some steam after the idea of Mir vs Lesnar III this summer was cut short.
As an avid mixed martial arts fan and a diehard supporter of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and mixed martial arts in general. Mixed Martial Arts has become one of the last great sports.
Fans’ do not have to worry about the legitimacy of the fights or even steroids like other sports. Although there have been cases where performance enhancing drugs have been found, however the UFC did not try to pass the blame like baseball.
The UFC came out and suspended Sean Shirk and others after they tested positive for banned substances.
Although barbaric to some, the thought of two guys standing toe-to-toe trading blows has The UFC has evolved as a whole, gone are the early days of the UFC, in which fighters did not wear gloves and the only way a fight stopped was when the opponent either tapped or went to sleep.
Unlike professional boxing or kickboxing, mixed martial arts requires its fighters to be sound in three respective areas: striking, grappling, wrestling; throw in Mauy Thai, (Brazilian) Jiu Jitsu, Greco-Roman wrestling, and you have one of the most diverse fight in all of professional sports.
However, over the past year, all the greatness of the UFC and everything it stands for essentially been put aside to make room for an inferior MMA league. Strikeforce came to the national attention last fall, when Fedor Emelianenko fought free-style fighter, Brett Rogers.
The fight was viewed by millions nationwide; however the only problem was that the fight was broadcast on free TV, thus inflating the ratings. All of the UFC’s premium fights are sold on Pay-Per-View, therefore lowering the total number of sales.
Even more alarming for Strikeforce is that its highest profiled fight in years was not even a title fight. The heavy weight title holder Alistair Overeem is just now getting ready to defend his title; THREE years after capturing it.
Whereas, the last three years of the UFC, the heavy weight division has seen the comeback of former heavy-weight title holder Frank Mir, the emergence of Brock Lesnar, and a the pair lethal but quiet hands, in Shane Carwin and Junior Dos Santos.
Shane Carwin and Junior Dos Santos had been two of the UFC’s best kept secrets, before Carwin’s fight against Frank Mir, Carwin was little known as a fighter. To some, Carwin had yet to defeat a top-notch competitor.
After knocking out Gabriel Gonzaga with one of the strongest jabs ever thrown; Carwin emerged as the next top competitor in the UFC.
I will admit that I was a doubter myself of Carwin, although it was more because of my bias to see a Lesnar-Mir III rubber match. As I do before every fight, I try to study each fighter, although I admitted that he had the power to end the fight with one punch, I convinced myself that Mir would manage to pull out a win.
Consequently my initial reaction to Mir losing was disappointment and anger, however I realized that’s what makes MMA so great. In any other sport, the chance of a “Mir-Lesnar” type bout or game would be preferred by both the TV networks and fans. However the UFC is sold through Pay-Per-View.
Even though Mir-Lesnar III would garner more attention and higher ratings than Lesnar vs Carwin, The UFC doesn’t give a sh*t. If the UFC was centered on ratings, it would go the same way as Strikeforce, signing a television deal with a national broadcast station and air its fights for free.
Strikeforce has basically become the “fat” friend of the UFC. Sure, it might be MMA, and it might even have one or two guys that could fight in the UFC or even at one point in time held their own in the UFC. Nevertheless, it is filled with guys that could not last in the UFC and were pushed out.
Throw in the fact that Strikeforce has turned into a freak show by signing former Heisman winner, Herschel Walker. UFC President, Dana White said it best regarding the Herschel Walker signing.
“I don’t think it’s bad for MMA if this guy wants to go out and fight. But to give him one ounce of coverage? It’s retarded.
If he wants to have a hobby, that’s fine. But if he fights anybody who is any good whatsoever, he’s going to get beat. He’s one of the greatest athletes ever, but I can’t take him seriously in this sport. It’s impossible.”
Even more embarrassing is the fact that [Brett Rogers] the loser of the Fedor vs Rogers fight is now next in line for the Strikeforce Heavyweight bout, further magnifying how weak and depleted Strikeforce is as a whole.
Alistair Overeem gained the heavy weight belt in 2007 after defeating Paul Buentello, who just recently lost in UFC Live: Vera vs Jones.
Since then, Overeem has fought in various K-1 and Dream fights, with his only real competitor coming against Mirko Cro Cop in 2008.
A fight that ended as a no-contest, after Overeem struck Cro Cop with an illegal knee to the groin.
However, Strikeforce will build up Overeem’s overblown record and overlook the fact that before coming to Strikeforce, Overeem was cut loose by Pride after losing all three of his contests [Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Ricardo Arona, and Lil’ Nog] by knock outs.
Strikeforce is no stranger to making its fighters larger than life, throughout each fight you will be reminded by Gus Johnson and Mauro Ranallo that their fighters are “world class” wrestlers, yet you are never told that they are Olympic wrestlers.
I will give Ranallo the benefit of the doubt, as he has been in MMA for some time, and formerly the voice of Pride.
Throughout the entire broadcast of the Cung Lee vs Scott Smith fight, all the announcer’s could talk about was the comeback of Cung Lee.He was supposed to become the next household MMA name.
The announcers’ raved about his perfect MMA record. Although a [6-0] record over five years is really not that impressive, than throw in the fact that the broadcasters marveled when Lee threw his trademark spinning back kick than somehow managed to land on Scott Smith every time.
With all the hype announcers had put around Lee, the third round turned into one of the most embarrassing moments for Strikeforce.
After spending the entire fight building up its feature fighter, a gassed Cung Lee got knocked out. Out of nowhere the announcers were bewildered, here was the fighter that was going make Strikeforce relevant in the MMA world, and he losses embarrassingly in the third round, in a fight in which he had won, at that point on the scorecard.
For the first time someone called Strikeforce’s bluff, and just as Dana said about Herschel Walker, I wouldn’t take Strikeforce serious either.