Making the Grade: Passes/Fails from UFC 174
Demetrious Johnson defended his UFC flyweight title in dominant fashion against Ali Bagautinov. Rory MacDonald put forth the best performance of his career with a win over Tyron Woodley.
You already know all about who won and lost. We here at Haymaker prefer to read between the lines. Here's what we took away from UFC 174 on Saturday night:
Dude Wipes? Dude Wipes
These are a thing. And no one would have known that if their logo was not slapped on Tyron Woodley's butt Saturday night. According to the Dude Wipes website, "If you're still wiping with just toilet paper you're a chump and your ass hates you for it." Dude Wipes come in small square pouches, kind of like condoms. Please, please don't get the two mixed up.
Dude Wipes was one of the big winners of an otherwise lackluster card. Their brand ended up trending on Twitter. They probably would have gotten even more exposure if Woodley didn’t have his back against the Octagon the entire time against Rory MacDonald. If you're going to lose, Tyron, at least do it making your male-hygiene product sponsor happy.
Hair up there
Not only did Asian fighters go 3-0 at UFC 174, providing some of the most impressive performances, they looked damn good doing it. We're not so sure about Tae Hyun Bang's haircut -- almost like a thick Mohawk -- but Michinori Tanaka and Kiichi Kunimoto were both styling with blonde locks. Kunimoto had a little shaved thing going on with some black hair in there, too. And he may or may not have hit up the tanning bed in Vancouver. How many kids in the states are going to show up at school Monday morning with that look. (OK. Maybe none.)
In all seriousness, it was great to see the South Korean (Bang) and two Japanese fighters do well. Bang won Performance of the Night and Fight of the Night for his knockout of Kajan Johnson (now that's Bang for your buck!), Tanaka impressed against Roland Delorme and Kunimoto choked out Daniel Sarafian. The more successful fighters from the east are, the more impact the UFC will have in Asia. If you remember PRIDE, there's nothing quite like a Japanese fighter headlining a card at the Saitama Super Arena.
Say what you want about the credentials of Valerie Letourneau and Elizabeth Phillips. Do they deserve to be in the UFC? And really, what does that even mean? Are they not as credible as one of the dudes fighting on the prelims of a UFC Fight Pass card overseas? Their MMA games are still a little rough around the edges, but Letourneau and Phillips fought their butts off and could have easily been awarded Fight of the Night.
Kudos to the UFC for going forward with a women's fight on this card in the first place. Zach Arnold wrote an interesting piece this week for Sherdog about the absence of women's fights recently. In 2014, only 3 percent of UFC bout have included the ladies. While the UFC's commitment to women's MMA should not be doubted (The Ultimate Fighter 20 starting in September will have an all-female cast), there are irregularities.
This bout would have been easy to give up on. The matchup was initially supposed to be Milana Dudieva and Germaine de Randamie. Both ended up getting hurt and the UFC found Letourneau and Phillips on short notice. The UFC could have just scapped the bout altogether, but the powers that be did not and it worked out very well for them.
Fans bailing early?
If you pay for a ticket, you should be free to do whatever you want, within reason. You can cheer, you can boo. As long as you don't start chucking beer into the Octagon, you keep your hands to yourself and you don't start spouting hate speech, you should be fine. There just seems to be something fundamentally wrong with leaving a fight before it's over. That's what the fans at Vancouver's Rogers Arena did Saturday night -- many of them.
It happens in Major League Baseball, the NBA and NFL all the time. Hell, it happens in playoff games. But it's just really weird to do it in MMA, because you never know. Chael Sonnen was beating the brakes of Anderson Silva back in 2010 and Silva pulled a triangle choke out of his Venum shorts to win in the fifth round. Imagine if you left early that night? Ali Bagautinov didn’t look like he had any chance in duplicating that feat against Demetrious Johnson. But crazier things have happened. And there's always a halfway decent chance the judges will completely muck things up, too. You have to hang around, if only to watch the car wreck of it all.
Showing off her pipes
It's possible all the fans were not leaving Rogers Arena because the main event was boring, but actually due to the incessant screams of a female fan in the lower level. The shrieks were so audible on the broadcast that everyone -- fighters, media, etc. -- were commenting about it on Twitter. Kyle Noke had the best line of all.
Dave Sholler, the UFC's senior director of PR, initially tweeted that it was Demetrious Johnson's wife yelling, but UFC correspondent Megan Olivi set the record straight -- it wasn't the Mighty Wife at all. So who was it? And why on Earth was she staging a savage attack on our eardrums? We may never know. The woman got in more offense than Bagautinov and Tyron Woodley combined.
Old is nu
The silver lining in a pretty dreary night of fights is that we don't have to hear or see that Linkin Park promo anymore (except above -- click if you dare). What is it with the UFC and nu metal? Someone on Twitter actually wrote that they liked Michinori Tanaka coming out to Ke$ha solely because it was a nice change of pace. Ke$ha! This is the level we've stooped to, people.
Promos are not easy. You can't exactly have highlights of dudes knocking each other unconscious set to an Adele tune. But let's get a little more creative, shall we? Tell the fans a story. How many times can people look at highlight-reel knockouts set to hard guitar riffs and aggressive drum beats? Though, I'd listen to Linkin Park all month rather than hear that UFC 168 "You and Me!" ad again.
Stop the madness
Are judges scoring with their hearts and not their eyes now? Is that what's happening? Let the media write the stories and you concentrate on who actually wins the fight. Last week, Diego Sanchez won a decision victory over Ross Pearson in his hometown of Albuquerque. Awe-inspiring. Except it didn't happen in real life, only through the eyes of a pair of misguided judges in New Mexico.
Now, we have a second straight UFC event with an abysmal decision. There have been bad decisions in the past. Many of them. But two this atrocious in back-to-back weeks? That's really difficult to stomach. Andrei Arlovski returning to the UFC after six years is a great narrative, but there's no way he beat Brendan Schaub. UFC president Dana White said the real losers were the fans and he was right. The fight was awful. But just because both guys stunk doesn’t mean the decision shouldn't be accurate.
Maybe both could have lost? I would have preferred Diego Sanchez getting the nod.