Making the grade: The Passes/Fails of UFC Fight Night Macao
Dong Hyun Kim put forth an early Knockout of the Year candidate. Matt Mitrione smashed the face of another former football player. And the first TUF China champion was crowned.
That’s all well and good. But you already know what happened Saturday at UFC Fight Night in Macao. We here at Haymaker are more concerned with reading between the lines.
Here’s what we took away from the event:
UFC Fight Pass
The UFC has gotten mostly criticism for Fight Pass, especially given that the WWE Network supplies much more content for the exact same price ($10 a month). But if every event is like Saturday morning’s in Macao, I don’t think most people will complain. If you’re not going to put big names on these cards — and it doesn’t seem like the UFC will be — then you have to put on good, entertaining fights.
That’s what happened Saturday. Dong Hyun Kim might have pulled off the Knockout of the Year against John Hathaway in the main event. Word will spread that you might miss out on something classic — that holy @#$% moment — if you don’t have Fight Pass. And MMA fans hate to miss out on anything, unless it’s a shower.
Manufacturers of caffeinated beverages
Coffee. Tea. Red Bull. Xyience. Red Bull. Pick your poison. One or all of those was being consumed by every MMA fan in this hemisphere Saturday morning. Obviously, if the UFC is committed to putting on events in Asia they have to be in primetime in Asia. It’s ridiculous to make fighters compete at 7 o’ clock in the morning local time.
That also means a lot of fans, media members and other fighters amped up on some kind of caffeinated product — hopefully one that has not yet been banned in Nevada. And for all those people who stayed up through the night to watch the fights, what the hell is wrong with you?
What else do the South Korean UFC fighters have to do to show the world they want a fight in their home country? Dong Hyun Kim damn near took John Hathaway’s head off. Yui Chul Nam made a huge statement in a wild, Fight of the Night brawl with Kazuki Tokudome. Both guys fought a lot like their countryman, "The Korean Zombie" Chan Sung Jung.
On Saturday morning, Jung tweeted at UFC president Dana White to get a show in South Korea this year. There’s a possibility of it happening. Let’s hope all three of the aforementioned guys are on it. They’ll make it worth getting up when it’s still dark outside.
It’s hard enough being a UFC fan these days. Imagine being the wife or girlfriend of a UFC fan. Now, not only are most Saturday nights a no-go for date nights, some early Saturday mornings are filled up with fights, too. That means no going out on Friday night either. And the rest of your day Saturday is pretty much cooked, since you’re too tired from waking up at the crack of dawn to watch a fight between two guys whose names you can’t pronounce.
Being an MMA fan — it’s one hell of an addiction. There should be meetings for it.
Kudos to Zhang Lipeng for admitting what everyone found out pretty quickly Saturday morning: The TUF China fighters are pretty far behind their North American and Brazilian counterparts. Lipeng beat Wang Sai in a dull fight most notable for its rudimentary grappling to become the first Chinese Ultimate Fighter. And Anying Wang defeated Albert Cheng in another non-descript TUF China bout on the prelims.
It’s to be expected that these guys aren’t quite ready for primetime, which is one of the reasons why this event started at 6:20 a.m. ET. MMA in China is in its embryonic stages — like pre-UFC 1 in the United States. As long as everyone understands that and the UFC doesn’t bill it any differently, we’ll all be OK.
We’re going to give Phan the benefit of the doubt here. Maybe the time difference didnât agree with him. Perhaps he was jet lagged. There had to be something, right. Phan used to be a pretty stout striker, but he didnât look like himself Saturday. In fact, he made Vaughan Lee look like the miniature British version of Anderson Silva. We just hope there was some extenuating circumstances — bad weight cut? — and that all of those battles havenât caught up to Phan. He’s a fun guy to watch. Hopefully he’ll be back to normal for his next fight in the states.
The UFC is clearly committed to doing multiple shows in Asia — and pretty much everywhere else on Earth — every year. But you can’t achieve World Effin’ Domination unless you have some officials, referees and judges who know the languages and can articulate the rules to the fighters.
On multiple occasions Saturday, an Asian fighter attempted to kick or knee a grounded opponent in the head. In the TUF China welterweight final, Wang Sai landed an illegal knee on Zhang Lipeng and the referee tried to explain why he couldn’t do that. In English. MMA is far too dangerous to have those kinds of miscommunications regularly. That’s how someone gets hurt.