Is Joey Beltran’s mustache good for the sport? Does it make him look too Mexican? Does it alienate the non-Hispanic MMA fans? In case you haven’t picked up on it, I’m being sarcastic.
Back before I became an MMA journalist pundit …whatever the fuck it is I do, things were different. 98% of my Twitter followers didn’t know what MMA was or weren’t fans. Now, my Twitter feed is nothing but MMA fans. At first I enjoyed discussing upcoming fights and being in the loop on the latest news but coming up on two years since the birth of SBoI, I have to deal with the other side of it. The dark side… (cue over-dramatic music) A lot of MMA fans tend to over-analyze everything and make mountains out of molehills. Especially when it comes to what is or isn’t “good for the sport”. If some MMA fans obsessed over their children’s every action the way they do everything that happens in MMA, their kids would grow up to be neurotic freaks; possibly serial killers. MMA is gonna be fine. It’s time to cut the apron strings and let your baby grow up and you know, just try and enjoy it. Chael doing a Superstar Billy Graham isn’t going to ruin the sport. Relax. You have to realize that the so-called “casual” fans or potential future fans aren’t paying attention to all this minutia the way we sick bastards are. Anyway, feel free to continue being obsessed just try to do it with a sense of joy, passion, and humor rather than neurotic angst. If you can’t do that, try to keep it off my Twitter timeline. I’d appreciate it, you doughy wankers! (courtesy of @sonnench)
The UFC on FOX 2 card went down at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois and the fans of MMA around the world were treated to a night of solid mixed martial arts on Fuel TV and FOX. Unfortunately for the UFC, all of the fight bonus winners and the most casual fan friendly bouts aired as part of the prelims on the much smaller Fuel TV network and the FOX network showed three technical but less than entertaining fights that went the distance. “All American” Chris Weidman (8-0) used superior wrestling and solid stand-up to edge out Demian Maia (14-4) with a Unanimous Decision. The consensus number one contender Chael Sonnen (26-11-1) stamped his ticket to another showdown with middleweight king “The Spider” Anderson Silva (29-4) by earning a Unanimous Decision over top British middleweight “The Count” Michael Bisping (22-4). In the main event, “Sugar” Rashad Evans (17-1-1) put on a dominant five-round performance against “Mr. Wonderful” Phil Davis (8-1) to earn himself a unanimous nod from the three judges cageside. The card may have fallen short of the UFC’s expectations, but the story may be different for the fighters themselves.
—MAIN CARD (on FOX)—
Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis: Evans via Unanimous Decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45), Round 5, 5:00
Chael Sonnen vs. Michael Bisping: Sonnen via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
Demian Maia vs. Chris Weidman: Weidman via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00*
The UFC takes its second FOX Network fight card to Chicago, Illinois’ United Center tomorrow night for UFC on FOX 2: Evans vs. Davis. The national broadcast network will feature three fights this outing, including a newly shuffled fight between budding middleweight prospect “All American” Chris Weidman (7-0) and crafty submission veteran Demian Maia (15-3). The new co-main event features not only a battle for #1 contender to “The Spider” Anderson Silva’s (31-4) title, but also the crown for the most polarizing figure in MMA as Chael Sonnen (26-11-1) squares off against “The Count” Michael Bisping (22-3) in what is sure to be an all out war of skill and words. The main event is also a title eliminator as “Sugar” Rashad Evans (16-1-1) and “Mr. Wonderful” Phil Davis (9-0) vie for the next crack at 205lbs. phenom “Bones” Jon Jones (15-1). This fight is not being as hyped as it should be, as both fighters are highly skilled and pose very interesting problems to each other. The winner will also be heavily compared to the dynamic champ so a good showing here is a must for either fighter.
UFC on FOX 2: Evans vs. Davis will take place Saturday at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois as the UFC delivers its second official offering of its multi-year deal with FOX. Chris Weidman (7-0) will face Demian Maia (14-3) on short notice to open the night’s broadcast with what will likely develop into a ground battle between wrestler and submission artist. Two title shots will also be on the line as “Sugar” Rashad Evans (16-1-1) squares off with “Mr. Wonderful” Phil Davis (8-0) in the main event and “The Count” Michael Bisping (22-3) replaces an injured “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Mark Munoz (10-2) against Chael Sonnen (25-11-1) in the co-main. With a potential title shot up for grabs, Bisping jumped at the chance to bow out of his previously scheduled bout with Demian Maia and face the Team Quest fighter. However, Chael Sonnen has made no secret of the fact that he will let nothing stand between him and the “12 lbs. of gold” around “The Spider” Anderson Silva’s (29-4) waist.
The UFC will present its first full card on the network TV giant FOX’s flagship station as UFC on FOX 2: Evans vs. Davis looks to name the number one contenders for not one but two UFC titles. Headlining the card is a light heavyweight contest between “Sugar” Rashad Evans (16-1-1) who will face “Mr. Wonderful” Phil Davis (8-0) for a chance at UFC gold in the 205lbs. division. Serving as the co-main event, “The Count” Michael Bisping (22-3) will replace an injured “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Mark Munoz (10-2) against Chael Sonnen (25-11-1) with a middleweight championship bid hanging in the balance. Opening things up for the televised card, Chris Weidman (7-0) will step in on short notice to face Demian Maia (14-3). The bout will represent a chance for Weidman to expose casual fans to his breed of high octane wrestling and top game submissions, but also poses the most serious threat to his undefeated record to date.
Last night outspoken middleweight contender Chael Sonnen (25-11-1) took time out from his packed schedule in the week leading up to his UFC on FOX 2 bout against “The Count” Michael Bisping (22-3) to hold a mini-seminar, private workout, and autograph signing for the fans and fighters at “The Carpenter” Clay Guida’s (29-12) MMA Stop Fitness in the Chicago suburb of Crest Hill.
Though a busy week preparing for his fight limited the affair to just two hours and a few dozen people, it was another prominent display of how top level MMA fighters remain accessible to their fans despite continued mainstream growth in the sport. In his seminar, Sonnen covered wrestling drills and a few other training tips as well as how to handle stepping into the big show. With a series of questions he addressed handling the bright lights saying, “Are you the toughest guy in your family? If that guy [your UFC opponent] comes over are you now the second toughest? Does he get to take the remote and hold the Doritos? Of course not! If you can beat him in your house, then you can beat him Saturday night in the Octagon, it’s no different.” Chael Sonnen gave the members of the gym more than just the two hours promised despite becoming physically ill after his workout.