And to think, I actually told my brother to TiVo last night’s UFC fight.
It was must-see TV, so of course, I missed it. But, my plan was to whip out the old “don’t tell me what happened” line on anyone who even mentioned the fight before I saw it.
That morning, my thoughts were precise. I was immovable.
This is it, the coming-out party for our newest national treasure. People are going to see what I mean when I say UFC has superseded boxing.
As it turns out, Saturday evening was nothing more than a reiteration that mixed martial arts, in all its glory and all its might, will never reach boxing’s plateau.
Not in popularity. Not in excitement. Not in this lifetime.
Saturday was an evening of huge proportions for the UFC, and regardless of UFC president Dana White saying that Saturday’s Heavyweight Championship fight delivered, the only thing it did was give the sport the black eye it so hoped to avoid.
There could have been worse scenarios for the UFC. Cain Velasquez or Junior dos Santos could have gotten injured and no fight could have happened at all.
The fight could have went five rounds and been a complete snoozer.
The worst scenario would have been a gruesome KO to end the fight, the kind where you knock a guy out and his body goes rigid.
But mixed in that bunch of negative scenarios is certainly the one that came about.
A 64-second fight?
Not good for a multitude of reasons.
Most importantly, the people who have never seen a UFC fight, the people who were using Saturday’s broadcast as their initial test run, they were left to say, “That’s it?”
As the enthusiastic and passionate UFC fan, I get it. I understand that when these guys step in the ring, the fight can potentially be over before either guy breaks a sweat. I’ve seen it countless times and am aware that that’s the nature of the beast.
But if I weren’t as passionate, and I looked down on the brutal sport, as many people in America do, last night just proved my point.
It’s a caged bar fight between guys who are 80 percent in shape that requires no real technical or God-given ability.
If the UFC wanted to do itself a favor and attract fans, put the Anderson Silva-Chael Sonnen rematch on Fox.
Now I know that’s a huge moneymaker that the promotion is justifiably unwilling to give away for free, but that match will represent the art at its finest. That match will show the nation what the sport is really about.
Cain Velasquez is good, but he’s coming off of a long layoff due to a shoulder injury. To put him in there with a guy like Junior dos Santos on national television was a bad decision if the company was looking to promote itself.
When you want to promote yourself, you provide your best product. The UFC failed at that and gave the naysayers a reason to continue saying nay.
Oh, and it didn’t help that one of the best boxing matches of the year took place about an hour after that UFC dud.
The UFC took a huge risk in showing that fight the same night as a Manny Pacquiao fight, and it hurt the UFC in a bad way.
I would hate to say Dana White is getting full of himself, but Dana White is getting full of himself.
Never again do I want to see Mr. White allude to the idea that his sport can compete with the original combat sport, because it simply cannot.
Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez proved what boxing is about last night, and that’s two guys fighting with pride.
Skill, which both men possess an abundance of, was an afterthought in that fight. Those dudes were fighting for pride, and that’s what made it a great match.
Velasquez and dos Santos are the two guys at the top of the division, so it’s logical to pair them up, but that’s where the buck stops. The fight didn’t really hold any weight.
When you watch a Pacquiao fight, you feel something. Whether you want him to win or lose, you feel an excitement that MMA doesn’t provide.
ESPN put things into perspective just last week when they polled the nation with a question regarding megafights.
Would people rather see Anderson Silva vs. Georges St. Pierre, or Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao?
That means would you rather see the best that MMA has to offer duke it out, or the best that boxing has to offer.
The truth is that boxers will always garner more respect when it comes to skill than MMA fighters.
MMA guys might earn the edge in respect for toughness, but then there is a guy like Chris Leben, who you begin to think is more crazy than tough.
Is Chris Leben tougher than say, Bernard Hopkins, a guy who’s kind of crazy in his own right?
I think not.
This fight deal between the UFC and Fox has gotten off to a dastardly start, which puts pressure on the promotion to deliver in its next live effort.
The UFC will continue to grow and gain more fans regardless, but if it ever wants to seriously compete with the sport of boxing, it’s going to take more than 64 seconds to prove its worthy.
Oh, and Marquez won that fight!