Renan Barao didn’t lose this weekend. Actually, he didn’t even fight despite all the posters bearing his name and likeness. Yet, the former bantamweight champion slipped a spot in the UFC’s official pound-for-pound rankings.
Barao was knocked out this weekend. It just wasn’t by T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 177 on Saturday night in Sacramento.
The Brazilian fainted after getting up from a bath during his weight cut and hit his head on the wall in the bathroom. He was pulled from the main event against Dillashaw, the champion, and Joe Soto took his place.
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To add to the embarrassment, Barao left California without his show money and the UFC said he will not get a rematch with Dillashaw next. Now he has also dropped a spot in the pound-for-pound rankings to No. 9. Ronda Rousey somehow managed to pop over him and Johny Hendricks up to No. 8 despite not fighting.
Is that fair? Probably not. The UFC had every right not to pay him — he wasn’t able to do his job: fight. But does not being able to cut weight properly make Barao a lesser fighter? Not really.
The rankings, voted on by media members, are obviously subjective and arbitrary. They can also be silly at times. This is one of the latter instances. Barao was the bantamweight champion and undefeated over more than 30 fights when he fell to Dillashaw back in May. He plummeted in the rankings then and deservedly so. But why drop him now when he wasn’t even able to step into the Octagon? Because you’re annoyed he contributed to making UFC 177 one of the most lackluster events the company has ever done?
The UFC can be upset with Barao and probably should be. But media members shouldn’t dock him a spot in the rankings because something freakish happened. It isn’t like Barao is John Lineker or Anthony Johnson circa 2012. He’s never missed weight before in the UFC.
Maybe if this turns into a thing and Barao can’t hit 135 next time out, you can punish him. This time, though, it’s ridiculous. Are we going to start penalizing fighters who have to pull out of events with an injury now? Anthony Pettis sure wouldn’t be No. 6 pound-for-pound if we treated things that way.
Barao should be held to the same standard. He and his team messed up. He’s paying the price, by not getting paid at all. That doesn’t take away from his résumé as a fighter.
Inexplicable move of the week: Dan Henderson
Remember this, rankings voters?
I was in Europe the last 13 days, so maybe I missed something. Did Dan Henderson compete on any of the last three cards? I don’t remember watching any highlights or reading about him fighting on FOXSports.com. Odd.
Well, for some reason Henderson jumped over Ryan Bader one spot in the light heavyweight rankings to No. 7. The last we saw of Henderson, I recall, was him getting tossed around like a rag doll by Daniel Cormier in May. Meanwhile, I’m pretty sure I recollect Bader looking pretty darn good in a win over No. 10 Ovince Saint Preux last month in Maine.
Oh, those silly voters. Maybe they were watching old PRIDE videos on Fight Pass and got confused.
Tell this man to his face that you dropped him in the rankings.
— To add to the light heavyweight rankings weirdness, Glover Teixeira moved up one spot to No. 3 and is now tied with Rashad Evans. Teixeira has not competed since losing to champion Jon Jones in April and Evans has been out since last November, a win over Chael Sonnen. Anthony Johnson dropped a spot to No. 5 for some reason despite looking like a complete monster in his first two fights back in the UFC.
— Tim Elliott was one of the biggest winners of the weak, even though he hasn’t fought since losing to Joseph Benavidez in April. He was initially supposed to face Wilson Reis two weeks ago in Tulsa, but pulled out with an injury. Elliott moved up a spot in the flyweight rankings to No. 9. Both Zach Makovsky and Brad Pickett dropped. Perhaps they’re both still being punished for lackluster performances this summer.
— There must be a lot of big Eddie Wineland fans voting. Wineland moved up a spot to No. 5 in the bantamweight rankings, ahead of Takeya Mizugaki. Wineland is coming off a loss to Johnny Eduardo in May and Mizugaki beat Francisco Rivera that same month. Eduardo, meanwhile, vaulted a spot over Bryan Caraway to No. 8. Mind you, Eduardo has fought just once since 2012.