Sunday, February 23, 2014

UFC 170: What did we really learn?

UFC 170 took place on Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas and while the main card provided a lot of quick finishes, what did we really learn from this event? For some reason, even though there were some fireworks involved, I came away feeling unsatisfied, which is unusual. Below are just a few thoughts I came away with after viewing this card.

The main event featured women's bantamweight (135 lbs.) champion Ronda Rousey (9-0, 1 KO, 8 subs) defending her title against former fellow Olympian Sara McMann (7-1, 1 KO 3 subs) and to Rousey's credit, she did what she was supposed to do; as a matter of fact, it took her only 66 seconds to do it. So why did I come away feeling like, "what's the big deal?"

For one, the UFC attempting to build Sara McMann as a formidable challenger solely based on her silver medal winning Olympic wrestling background probably had something to do with it. No slight towards McMann's MMA career, especially since she's only had one less fight total than Rousey, but who has she fought; Sheila Gaff in her UFC debut? It's why they went 'the battle of Olympians' route in promoting this fight. Rousey is clearly the cream of a thin crop.

Afterwards the telecast made a big deal about Rousey's 66 second finish being the fastest in UFC Women's bantamweight history. Hello, the UFC women's bantamweight division is exactly one year old; not much history to speak of here. This coupled with referee Herb Dean's stoppage possibly being a little too quick for my and many others tastes seems to taint it as well; more on this later.

However, Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan going over the UFC's top ten ranking of its women's bantamweight division afterwards and making it sound like there were formidable opponents for Rousey there seemed like a slight towards our intelligence as MMA fans. Cat Zingano ranked as the number one title challenger is the only legit opponent at this point and she's earned it. However, she's recovering from a serious injury that has kept her out of action for nearly a year and has recently lost her husband under tragic circumstances; thus, how ready is she both physically and mentally?

None of this should reflect negatively towards Rousey as she continues to do what is asked of her inside the cage; though she still has a ways to go in terms of winning over the fans after her stint as a coach on 'The Ultimate Fighter'. At this point the only fight people want to see Rousey in is against Cristiane 'Cyborg' Santos, but even that may not be good enough. With Santos past of using performance enhancing drugs, questions would arise one way or another; and besides with Santos not even on the UFC roster, it is a moot point.

Some other quick thoughts on UFC 170 include that Daniel Cormier's first round finish of Patrick Cummins should be the last thing Cormier is recognized for; the finish was inevitable before it even started. However, Cormier making the 205 lbs. light-heavyweight limit with no problem and looking good doing it, gives a boost to a division that had been all but cleaned out by champion Jon Jones.

Rory MacDonald defeating Demian Maia via unanimous decision means nothing more than it's time to talk about my final thought, which has nothing to do with this fight. Referee Herb Dean, who I have previously lauded as the best in the business seemed to contradict himself Saturday night. In the second bout on the main card between Mike Pyle and TJ Waldberger, Dean was criticized and questioned for letting Pyle beat Waldberger senseless as the latter appeared to be clearly out and defenseless under Pyle's barrage of punches and elbows.

Yet, later on in the main event, which was also a championship fight, he was quick to jump in and stop the fight after one knee to the liver from Ronda Rousey dropped Sara McMann to her knees. Inconsistency on this night is just one problem I have with Dean; the other and more important is that if there was a fight you were going to let go a little more than others, it should have been the main event. From a fans standpoint, it's the reason you pay your money for; thus it's the one you want to see more of. To quote one of journalist Tony Kornheiser's favorite lines, "Am I wrong on this?"

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