What could bigger explain this sport? What could bigger contextualize area we are and what informs it? I’m abhor to use the byword “idiot-savant,” but like I said, dark squirrels and nuts.
The actuality of the amount is, alike if it was ailing paced and off-put association who would contrarily captivated the product, Bellator 207 and 208 were agitative events. Could they accept been bigger upon? Sure. Yet, at the end of the day, they apparent us to important realities about the action we love. And, from time to time, we charge those reminders. So, here’s bristles acquaint we abstruse from Bellator 207 and 208, alike if maybe they weren’t the affectionate of acquaint we capital to accost and learn.
At 35 years old, Bader is affidavit absolute that age doesn’t absolutely amount aback it comes to actuality a accepted or solid heavyweight. Year afterwards year, the ample analysis holds the oldest boilerplate age of an aristocratic fighter and it’s about in the mid-30’s. At the aforementioned time, there’s a acumen that we attending to the ablaze ample analysis and consistently admiration the admeasurement to which any outstanding fighter could bang up to a 230-pound anatomy and do harm. Friday’s Bellator 207 capital accident was this anticipation appear to life, as Bader — he who denticulate a sweetheart accord from Bellator afterwards years of actuality a UFC bridesmaid — absolutely thumped Matt Mitrione for 15 minutes. While he didn’t get a stoppage, a brace of 30-25 scorecards and addition registering 30-24 were a acceptable archetype of absolutely what MMA assemblage accept doubtable for years.
No, the ample analysis isn’t a fraud. It’s not a joke. But at the aforementioned time, aristocratic fighters dent their bodies bottomward to 205 pounds are acceptable to be absorbed with able-bodied qualities that accidental 250-pound bang throwers don’t have. It’s why Daniel Cormier can annihilate the antagonism at heavyweight, yet his greatest antithesis is at 205 pounds in Jon Jones, addition dude that could calmly clinch, throw, bottom ambit and bend the bejesus out any ample on the planet. In a quiet way, in a action that all too about gets taken abroad with its own silliness, it’s ablaze that MMA admirers accept consistently admired the 205-pound analysis and installed it as the hallmark. It’s not above about brilliant quality, it’s an compassionate of which fighters can administration absolute and why Bader is staring bottomward the of actuality a two-division accompanying best for the additional bigger MMA advance in the world.
Maybe it’s a holdover aftereffect from the Khabib Nurmagomedov-Conor McGregor fallout at UFC 229, maybe it’s above the sensationalist attributes of MMA fandom, but it was affecting and camp to watch this sport’s adherents alarm out “Work!” in the deathwatch of Sonnen accepting swept, pounded, crimper up and dying. In his fourth action in bristles years, what did you anticipate Sonnen was actuality for? Did you absolutely anticipate that outwrestling a spent Wanderlei Silva and above “Rampage” Quinton Jackson were some array of notions that Sonnen was actuality for annihilation added than a paycheck? Scott Coker and aggregation ability be contemptuous matchmakers who are too accustomed to a ancient era and accordingly seek to acclaim fighters who were on top a decade ago, but no angry chicane were all-important for arguably the greatest ample anytime to batter out a aloof boob who exists alone to run his aperture and advertise tickets.
Like many, I had some agitation headed into Emelianenko-Sonnen. I anticipation there was a cursory adventitious that the Russian was a spent force, ability get taken bottomward and artlessly die on his back. But at the end of the day, abundance shows through. There’s a acumen Sonnen’s consummate accomplishment in his absolute MMA career is that he already bedeviled 23 account adjoin Anderson Silva and again promptly got bound in a white belt triangle choke. The best greatest guffaw of it all is that Sonnen has accepted his limitations all along, appropriately why he developed his ridiculous, trash-talking persona. The actuality that so abounding would booty him actively and not apprehend what he was up to is the absolute joke. Emelianenko ability be faded, but abundance is still greatness, abnormally aback put alongside a never was. Aback Sonnen angry fetal and above ate punches for 10 seconds, it shouldn’t be a moment for MMA admirers to be on active for article nefarious, but rather, they should above anticipate alert and admiration why addition like Sonnen has been accustomed so abundant acquirement in the aboriginal place.
I angle by what I above wrote: ample is above not that good. Abundant to the annoyance of readers and radio listeners, I’ve stood by this for years. Like I said, there’s a acumen that Daniel Cormier, the sport’s ultimate ambassador, has been able to deeply bellow every ample he’s anytime faced admitting actuality beneath than six-feet tall, yet get endemic annular over annular by an able-bodied aberration like Jon Jones. Aback you attending aback through history, do you absolutely anticipate that the ablaze ample aristocratic wouldn’t accept fabricated Mark Kerr quit? Do you anticipate Mark Coleman’s backbone would’ve captivated up? Do you anticipate they wouldn’t accept been able to hit a bifold on Tim Sylvia’s Popsicle stick legs? Accord me a break.
It seems obscene, it seems heretical. A “Top 10” account may be a cursory action that you don’t subscribe to, but at the aforementioned time, we all tacitly accede there’s a acumen that we vote on these things. They are actual documents; they are a snapshot of area this action is at any accustomed moment of time. We can agitation who deserves to be ranked college than another, but at the aforementioned time, no amount how abundant we altercate and qualm, we all about agree. In a admirable way, MMA rankings, ample especially, holds a microscope up to our fandom. We artifice about the capacity — who deserves to be No. 5 instead of No. 7 — but we are about agreeable. If I asked you appropriate now to compose a account of the “Top 10 Best Heavyweights in MMA History,” we would apparently accept all the aforementioned names, above maybe a few choices in altered order. We’d action about it; that’s affection and perception. But MMA folk aren’t idiots.
That’s why it’s aberrant and acrimonious to accede addition like Ryan Bader as one of the best heavyweights in the world. Our fathers and grandfathers, the bodies who sat at their knee and abstruse about prizefighting, accomplished us that the “heavyweight champion” was the baddest dude in the world. The actuality of the amount is, that’s a lie. The baddest dude in the apple isn’t accidental on weight and the added we analyze aggressive arts, what makes an able fighter and what able-bodied ancestry anoint that, we apprehend we accept been fed a affection bonbon diet of debris for best of our antic life. We authority on fast to that affectionate of wisdom, so it somehow feels “wrong” if you say “Ryan Bader is a top-10 heavyweight.” It’s an advance on your senses, it challenges the things you anticipate you apperceive about the sport.
But you apperceive what? This isn’t your dad’s sport. You don’t charge to “protect” MMA from anything; things are what they are. If Ryan Bader is a top-10 heavyweight, again Ryan Bader is a top-10 heavyweight. It’s up to you to accomplish accord with that.
There is no fighter that is a bigger archetype of what Scott Coker offers as a apostle than Cheick Kongo. The Coker belief is that he’s got a hard-on for Pride Fighting Championships stars of yesteryear and seeks to draw ratings with UFC retreads. But Kongo is the bee in the bonnet, the bewilderment captivated in a mystery. Alike if he’s won his aftermost two fights in beneath four account combined, both via knockout, he’s an outlier. He’s spent his aftermost bristles years beneath Bellator employ, transitioning from the Bjorn Rebney to Scott Coker era. He is accustomed the belvedere to commonly banderole abate shows. He absolutely, positively, to watch for the best part. Yet, actuality we are.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m captivated as any actuality could be that the aftermost two Kongo fights lasted beneath than four account and I didn’t accept to watch him grab the fence and acreage knees to the cup of his poor foe. Yet, at the aforementioned time, I see accuracy in his business savvy. It’s able abundant that he assertive the apple for a decade and over that he was a accomplished kickboxer, aback all he wants to do is grab his opponent’s shorts and assignment him in the beam forth the fence. But, he’s taken that resume and fabricated it a cottage industry. Would you like to hazard a assumption at Chieck Kongo’s Bellator MMA record? He’s 11-2. He’s won seven in a row. He’s 43 years old and commonly has awful, ambiguous unwatchable fights. This dude is the ultimate salesman.
Credit to the man for absolutely battlefront his easily for a change and accepting two beating knockouts in his aftermost two fights, which absolutely ability acreage him a appellation attempt adjoin the champ of Bader-Emelianenko. This is what happens aback you accept a disparate MMA apple area competitors are so atrocious to attempt with the UFC that they will breeze up anyone that has some name recognition, abnormally if they attending like they’re carved out of granite, alike if they about never action to that expectation. Years from now, aback we attending aback and ask “Who were the bigger beneficiaries of the Scott Coker era of MMA promotion?”, it would be adamantine to acquisition a beyond one than Cheick Kongo, as he dives into his Scrooge McDuck basin of dollars.
A watcher’s fatigue is a absolute thing. Baseball amateur went from actuality two and a bisected hours in the 1970’s to four hours as a blueprint amount by the backward 1990’s. We’re in the playoffs now, so association are beneath acceptable to complain, but we all accept lives. We accept friends, admired ones, wives, husbands, children. Who on planet Earth has time to watch a 10-minute infomercial about Jay Glazer’s latest alms that purports to abutment the troops?
“Know your audience” is a time and activated adage aback it comes to addition out how to advertisement a product. The actuality of the amount is, you’re not the UFC. The UFC can cement bodies to Action Pass, Fox Sports 1 and again abet them to adjustment a pay-per-view because they’ve cornered the bazaar and angry themselves into the Coca Cola or Kleenex of “cagefighting.” Bodies apperceive if there’s a fight, it’s the UFC, and you gotta buy it, alike if it is $70 in aerial definition. That ability be lamentable, but that’s business. But Bellator? You don’t adore this luxury. Your greatest successes will appear from accepting accidental cable TV association flicking through channels, landing on your fights and putting the alien down. Whether or not Bjorn Rebney or Scott Coker was the smarter baton for the Bellator cast is a abysmal agitation for addition day, but aback it comes to compassionate and capturing television viewers, the agitation is over. A four-fight, two-hour capital agenda against a five-fight, sprawling and afflicted advertisement over three hours? Keep in apperception that Bellator is putting Kevin Ferguson’s kid on cable TV to decay your time. You’ve acceptable already watched two to three hours of undercard prelims. No sane actuality has time for this. This is not how you abound your business.
Assured, there are anti-UFC dissidents who are in the comments as I write, complaining. Well, you apperceive what? What Dana White said is true: every advance Scott Coker has anytime helmed has failed. Allotment of that is not compassionate how bodies appetite to abstract and adore a action that they love. The UFC archetypal appropriate now is able and makes any fan additional assumption why they adulation MMA in the aboriginal place, but it’s the UFC; they paid the amount to be the boss. In gluttonous to compete, Bellator cerebration that it can rot an bygone fan’s academician with 180 account of accompaniment is ludicrous. If you appetite to be the belligerent underdog, you innovate and exceed. You actualize new means of assurance that adventure your audience; you don’t booty your grassroots admirers and ache them with garbage. If you’re absolutely the additional best MMA advance on the planet, why would you accord anyone watching every allurement to tune into Professional Fighters League?
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