I have been a fight fan since I was a kid, watching boxing with my dad. We used to watch greats like the late Matthew Saad Muhammad fight for free on ABC’s Wide World of Sports.
Things have changed.
Now we have backyard fighters getting paid lots of money to fight for real on national television. Fighters who make tons of money for a company are allowed to hurl racist slurs at Hispanic fighters. And the one-time greatest mixed martial artists of all time fighting on a subscription-only channel, for no other purpose than to drive up subscriptions.
But that’s just business. I get it. I thought I had seen it all in combat sports, until UFC Fight Night 84. I learned an important lesson. The fight is never over. Not even if one guy knocks the heck out of the other with an amazing flying knee, then celebrates, and hops on top of the cage. No the fight is not over. In Brazil it’s probably over. In London, it’s just about to get good.
Like Anderson Silva’s knee, let’s fly into the fallout of UFC Fight Night 84.
5. Gegard MEHsasi Underwhelms
I love Gegard Mousasi. He’s one of the most talented fighters in MMA, skilled defensively, an incredible striker and one of the smartest fighters on the planet. Sometimes, though, it just seems he doesn’t like fighting. Mousasi looks like he goes about 75 percent in most of his fights. He’s so good that’s usually enough for him to win. But when he drops below that output level, he finds himself getting knocked, submitted or outwrestled by inferior fighters. Mousasi fights too defensively, and that may be to avoid a spinning heel kick knockout, but as he nears the latter part of his career, he will need to take some major changes in the cage to become champion.
4. Where’s King Mo?
Watching Mousasi fight made me think of Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal and wonder why he is not in the UFC. We know the official story. He was contracted with Zuffa after the acquisition of Strikeforce, but then failed a drug test and started insulting athletic commission officials after he felt disrespected. Maybe Mo doesn’t want to fight in the UFC because he can make more money in Bellator. But I do know this: It’s not a talent thing. In an era where Conor McGregor is allowed to jump two weight classes just because he can draw on PPV, CM Punk and Mickey Gall can get a high-profile spot on a UFC card, and Jon Jones can get an immediate title shot after a hit-and-run accident on a pregnant woman, there has to be room for King Mo in the UFC.
3. The Knee From Hell
Anderson Silva did not look like Anderson Silva on Saturday, except for one brief moment where he destroyed Michael Bisping with a knee. Like Zack Morris, however, Bisping was saved by the bell. Two things: What an adrenaline dump for Silva to believe he won, then find out he has to fight again. It’s amazing he was able to continue. Bisping is amazing to have recovered from that and go on to fight as well as he did. That’s just ultimate bad luck for Silva and bit of luck for Bisping. After getting knocked out while clowning, a broken leg in a fight, a failed drug test, and now a Dusty Finish, are the Gods of MMA trying to tell Silva something?
2. Luke Rockhold is Looking Good (I don’t mean it like that)
Michael Bisping is a man. He’s a fighter. He’s a tough son of a gun. But he can’t beat Luke Rockhold (unless it’s in a gym with no cameras in San Jose). Bisping fought a great fight, but let’s face it; he was nearly knocked out by Silva. If Bisping were an NFL quarterback he would have been Dan Fouts (look it up, millennials). He’s tough as nails, but at this stage of his career he’s going to have a hard time beating someone who is under 40 years old, and certainly not Rockhold, by whom he’s already been submitted. Rockhold may have Junior dos Santos’d Chris Weidman with the beating he gave him. The best fight for Rockhold is against Jon Jones, in a fight that Rockhold would be viable in, because, as we all know, Luke trains with Cain.
1. Anderson Silva is done
He should retire while he can and is still somewhat be remembered as something close to the greatest of all time. With the exception of the knee, Silva was not himself. He got beat by a slower and less skilled guy than him. What is in Silva’s future? He could do some special attraction fights, but for what? He should retire, preserve his legacy and become a UFC ambassador. He’s represented the sport well, defeated the best in their prime. No one wants to see a performance like that again from a guy once regarded as the best of all time.