An Editorial by Matt Hill – MMAWeekly.com
Okay…I’m convinced. ‘TUF’ stars are the real deal, and, in my opinion it can’t be long until one of them wears UFC gold in the form of a championship belt. After seeing many reality show fighters excel in the Octagon, and then witnessing Kenny Florian’s gutsy performance Saturday night, I find it hard to believe that anyone would still question these fighters’ toughness, talent, and determination.
It wasn’t until I saw Rich Franklin lying on the Octagon floor in a semi-conscious state Saturday night that I became fully cognizant that any fighter, with any level of experience, could be beaten – and beaten soundly – by any other fighter on any given night.
Rich Franklin did not lose Saturday night due to a lack of talent. He didn’t lose due to a lack of experience, and he certainly didn’t lose due to a lack mental toughness; Rich Franklin characterizes all of these traits. Rich lost because Saturday night Anderson Silva was the better fighter. Period.
I hereby make this appeal to all vacillating MMA fans:
Just because a fighter loses doesn’t necessarily mean that he is washed up, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he wasn’t worthy of fighting his opponent, and it surely isn’t because he was on ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ TV show and he didn’t deserve his place in the UFC.
I believe that the days of saying ‘TUF’ fighters aren’t capable of competing with ‘veteran’ fighters should be behind us.
This is why I’ve decided to make a chart noting some key wins and losses of five ‘veterans’ and five ‘TUF’ fighters. I’ve tried to use fights that overlap opponents between ‘veterans’ and ‘TUF’ guys. As it turns out, some ‘reality show’ fighters have more decisive wins against veteran fighters than the ‘veterans’ do. I’ve used mostly UFC fights when possible to try and make the comparisons more consistent.
So sit down, grab your favorite cold beverage and drop all of your preconceived notions and look purely at the facts…each fighter’s individual record.
First, we will start with the veteran UFC fighters.
-Defeated: Nate Quarry (KO/Punch), David Loiseau (Unanimous decision), Edwin Dewees (TKO) and Jorge Rivera (Armbar Submission)
-Defeated by: Anderson Silva (TKO) and Ryoto Machida (TKO)
-Defeated: Matt Serra (KO), Chris Lytle (Unanimous decision), Josh Haynes (Unanimous decision) and Jason McDonald (Decision)
-Defeated by: Nate Quarry (TKO), Karo Parisyan (Decision) and John Fitch (Submission from Strikes)
-Defeated: David Loiseau (Submission), Forrest Griffin (KO/Kick), Dean Lister (Decision), Trevor Prangley (Unanimous decision) and Josh Burkman (Technical Submission/Choke)
-Defeated by: Matt Lindland (TKO), Chuck Liddell (TKO), Anderson Silva (Unanimous decision), Elvis Sinosic (Armbar Submission) and Renato Sobral (Unanimous decision)
-Defeated: Evan Tanner (TKO/Cuts), Gideon Ray (TKO/Cut), Joe Doerksen (Unanimous Decision), Steve Vigneault (TKO) and Tony Fryklund (TKO/Cut)
-Defeated by: Mike Swick (Unanimous Decision), Rich Franklin (Unanimous Decision), Jeremy Horn (Submission/Choke) and Jorge Rivera (Unanimous Decision)
-Defeated: Dennis Hallman (Unanimous Decision), David Loiseau (Unanimous Decision), Travis Lutter (TKO/Strikes) and Mark Weir (TKO)
-Defeated by: Chris Leben (TKO/Strikes), Anderson Silva (TKO), Rich Franklin (Armbar Submission) and Lee Murray (Armbar Triangle Submission)
Now some of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ competitors…
-Defeated: David Loiseau (Unanimous decision), Joe Riggs (Submission/Choke), Gideon Ray (TKO) and Steve Vigneault (Submission/Choke)
-Defeated by: Chris Leben (KO/Punch)
-Defeated: Edwin Dewees (Submission), Jorge Rivera (TKO), Patrick Cote (Split decision) and Jorge Santiago (KO/Punch)
-Defeated by: Anderson Silva (KO/Knee) and Joe Doerksen (Unanimous decision)
-Defeated: Karo Parisyan (Unanimous decision), Brian Gassaway (Submission/Strikes), John Alessio (Unanimous decision) and Nick Diaz (Unanimous decision)
-Defeated by: Currently Undefeated
-Defeated: Elvis Sinosic (TKO), Jeff Monson (Decision), Bill Mahood (Submission/R.N.C.) and Stephan Bonnar (Unanimous decision)
-Defeated by: Dan Severn (Decision), Jeremy Horn (KO/Kick) and Tito Ortiz (Split Decision)
-Defeated: Sam Stout (Submission/R.N.C.), Kit Cope (Submission/R.N.C) and Alex Karalexis (TKO/Cut)
-Defeated by: Sean Sherk (Unanimous decision), Diego Sanchez (TKO) and Drew Fickett (Decision)
I am not going to expound on these findings too much, but as you can see, the wins and losses between these ‘veterans’ and ‘TUF’ fighters are as interweaved as one would customarily expect. There are ‘veterans’ who have lost to ‘TUF’ fighters and vice versa.
Simply put, fighters win and fighters lose. Unless you’re Rickson Gracie with an alleged perfect 400-0 record, if you are a fighter, you will experience losses in your career. Sure, I love to watch Diego go out there and perform well and keep his perfect record intact as much as the next guy. I love the build-up a fighter receives when they are still undefeated, and ponder the consequences of a loss for them. Odds are, though, if a fighter fights enough times he is bound to come up short at least once.
As an old adage says, “If you are undefeated, then you are not fighting the right people.”
This is why I don’t buy into the notion that if a fighter loses a fight then he must have been ill prepared for his opponent. Maybe at the peak of his ability and experience levels he still wouldn’t have beaten that particular fighter. Maybe it’s because his ceiling aptitude for the sport is lower than his opponent’s, or maybe it’s the fault of genetics. If everything else between two fighters is even (style, background, height, training, age, experience, etc.), then it all comes down to the fact that some people are intrinsically better fighters than others. Perhaps this is a hard deduction to consent to, but it is true nonetheless.
I believe that ‘TUF’ fighters deserve to lose the stigma that came with being on the reality show. While there were no doubt many benefits that were bestowed upon them as a result of the show, the criticism that these guys have received because of the show has now been proven to be unwarranted.
Wins and losses are settled merely by fighters and not by stereotypes and stigmas.
As Mike Swick said in a recent interview, “I’ve been a fighter my whole life. The Ultimate Fighter show has nothing to do with it.”