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Bellator MMA, World Series of Fighting, & UFC Share Bizarre Weekend

Thursday, February 25, 2016

 

Last weekend could have been the best of the year thus far for mixed martial arts fans. Instead, because of poor judgment, injuries, and unprepared “professional” athletes, it turned out to be a forgettable disgrace. It is not very often when Bellator MMA, World Series of Fighting (WSOF), and the UFC have an event on the same weekend, so when the cages align and the “hardcore” MMA fan marks the weekend on their calendar, it should mean something. However, instead of the incredible weekend that this could have been, it turned out to be a spectacle for critics of the sport to laugh at. The highs and lows of this strange weekend left me with a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. What could have been Good, Better, Best turned out to be The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.   

The Good

UFC Fight Night 83 was the obvious highlight of the weekend. While this card didn’t feature any blockbuster matchups, it delivered a handful of exciting fights and corrected a weekend that had simply come off the rails. In the main event, which was billed Cowboy vs. Cowboy, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone made his welterweight debut against Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira. This fight wasn’t the slugfest many anticipated it would be. After feeling the power of Oliveira, Cerrone showed his veteran skills and took the fight to the ground and quickly dispatched of his opponent with a slick triangle choke. A good fight for Cerrone and a great example of what a highly skilled, well-rounded fighter should be able to do inside the cage. 

The co-main event turned out to be a showcase fight for fast rising star Derek Brunson. Brunson was impressive in a stoppage win over submission specialist, Roan Carneiro. Brunson cemented himself as a fighter to watch in 2016 with the performance; I see big things coming for this exciting middleweight. The one bad thing about this card was simply that it took place on a Sunday. For me, Sunday shows are great but that isn’t usually the case for the UFC. Sunday shows tend to suffer a bit in viewership since UFC events are traditionally held on Saturdays and I am sure this card was no exception.

The Bad

WSOF 28 wasn’t a card you’d write home about. In fact, I don’t think the average fan even knew this event took place. The most dominant fighter in the promotion, Marlon Moraes, defended his title yet again and this time it was inside of a children’s sports facility for what looked like maybe 200 people. WSOF has a roster littered with former UFC fighters and even some past title challengers. It seems completely wasteful to hold an event where 21 out of 22 fighters don’t even have Wikipedia pages. In one of the televised main card bouts, a fighter by the name of Daniel McWilliams entered the cage with no coaches in his corner, no sponsorship banner and a record of 13-32. That is not a typo, this man had a record of 13 wins and 32 loses coming into the bout. Surely there was a fighter on the WSOF roster more deserving of a televised main card bout than Daniel McWilliams. Fortunately for WSOF, this fight card will most likely be forgotten thanks to the controversial Bellator card from the night before. Hopefully, someone at the WSOF offices is hard at work cranking out Wikipedia pages for some of their young up and coming fighters.  

The Ugly   

Bellator 149 was a complete dumpster fire. The main event pitted 49-year-old Royce Gracie against 52-year-old Ken Shamrock. Yes, the same Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock who competed against each other at the very first UFC in 1993. Somehow Bellator officials thought that this bit of geriatric wonderment wasn’t going to stand on its own so they went out and found the two biggest stars of the “backyard” fighting scene and tossed them on the card as well. That’s right, Kevin “Kimbo Slice” and Dahfir “Dada 5000” Harris would be fighting to see once and for all who was the true king of the streets. After all, nothing says legitimate mixed martial arts contest like a fight between two guys who were discovered fighting in an illegal fight ring in Florida. How did that match end you ask? Oh, with Dada 5000 suffering renal failure and having to be revived so that he didn’t die. Yep, he was in such terrible shape he almost DIED. If that isn’t top-notch professionalism, I don’t know what is. Making matters worse, this event is going to go down as Bellator MMA’s largest and most watched event of all time. In terms of historic impact, this card had absolutely none but somehow it ended up being the most well attended Bellator event in the eight-year history of the company. Terrible. 

 

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