Last Sunday I spent about 6 hours in my small bedroom in an apartment in a Paris suburb watching, reading and listening to Saturday night’s fights and the resulting aftermath. Does anyone else find it incredible to see the shockwaves sent through the entire MMA world from one night of fights? Seriously, the aftermath of UFC 139 and the addition of Bellator’s amazing lightweight fight is mindblowing, the whole night of fights was. Unfortunately I didn’t see them live although I did buy them on UFC.com to watch the event the next day, so I just had to avoid all contact outside France until Sunday morning. I spent the night in a club in Paris, for the most part dreaming about the fights (at 15 bens a mojito the last thing I was doing was drinking). So when I watched the fights eventually, I got chills. Literally, give you goose bumps night of fights. And after, I realised it wasn’t just me. Every MMA media outlet I regularly visit was in awe at the previous night, especially Hendo/Shogun, which was undeniably one of the best 30 minutes of any MMA fan’s life. It’s not just this war that made this night so special though, I think there are a whole bunch of factors that made this night such a huge deal.
So first of all it’s impossible not to address Hendo/Shogun. It’s not only the 25 minutes in the octagon with each other but the history between them and their accomplishments. It adds so much more depth to the fight and the meaning of it, seeing everything they’ve done, especially Hendo at 41, and still being able to pull off probably one of the most brutalising fights of their careers? Wow. It’s the awareness of the history between these men that really makes this fight, seeing them spend every ounce of energy to keep going, still climbing higher peaks after conquering so many before. As soon as it finished I added it to my list of fights to motivate. You know that list that you could watch over and over, them fights that will always motivate you, force you to push yourself harder and give you the chills? This has got to be on everyone’s list now. I’m a 20 year old skinny Irish guy, I’ve been a solid fan for 5 or so years now (and still feel like a bit of a noob), and fack this at least motivated me to start blogging about this stuff. I’ve been trying to get back training in a club over here and after watching that fight I never wanted it more, and I had no hesitations in joining last night. Dan and Mauricio, you’ve done that much for me at least, I can’t imagine what you’ve done for the rest of the MMA world. A half hour of violence literally must have changed so many lives, actually enriched them. MMA – you’ve got to love its ‘Beauty and the Beast’ effect.
A CARD FOR THE FANS
So aside from the stellar main, the whole card was otherwise stacked on paper, and it delivered. There were quality finishes – subs and knockouts. It was a sweet card to witness because of this ‘transition period’ that Dana references so much. There was a lot of talk about the lack of exposure and marketing efforts for this card because of the Fox fight but did it really need it? It was one of them cards that was just built for the loyal fan base, and we got exactly what we deserved after the past few weeks of fights (which don’t forget started with Penn/Diaz, an awesome fight but mostly lacklustre card). So this was just the icing on the cake after a month straight of fights. And being the card directly after the Fox event, it’s one of the last PPV UFC’s as we currently know them. It felt like a bit of a send off to me – one of the greatest cards in recent memory (perhaps history), after the landmark Fox event, one of the final battles of this era of MMA. It was one for the fans who have been there throughout this era, like Dana said, the new fans wouldn’t be ready for it. They wouldn’t appreciate the beauty of it. It’s one of the last nights that this is the loyal fans’ sport, that it’s our best kept secret before it blows up and changes and is pushed a different way. What a way to remember it. Is it just me or did the WEC and Pride presence add so much to the nostalgia of the night?
So like I said, this card was stacked with quality fights. But the depth of these made the card meaningful. We had another showing from the new Miguel Torres, two awesome ko’s on the Spike portion with the prospect Michael MacDonald (which feels weird calling him a prospect, he’s 10 months older than me), and the return to form of Darth Bader who was rising fast not long ago, putting another unfortunate KO on Jason Brilz’ record. On the main card the vet Bonnar gave Kingsbury a beatdown and Kampmann and Story are always entertaining with Kampmann taking the W. The 3 main fights offered a whole lot. A number one contender match for the bantam belt – either way setting up an interesting rematch whether it was Bowles or Faber. Faber, as always, came back with a vengeance after his last loss, and I think it’s an awesome trilogy to have because of the bad blood between the two. Wand got back to form with a nice KO, it’s always nice to see him smash. And to cap all the action and drama off we got to witness Hendo vs. Shogun.
BELLATOR DIDN’T STEAL THE SHOW… But they stole the afterparty.
Ok so a quick mention of Bellator’s amazing lightweight title fight – most MMA fans may have been focused on UFC Saturday night but I’m sure the video of Michael Chandler and Eddie Alvarez’s war went viral on Sunday. I know I watched it at least 3 times amidst everything else. Another 2 amazing warriors and another fight for the list.