When Georges St. Pierre takes on Carlos Condit this upcoming Saturday we will see if this highly anticipated fight will live up to its hype. Not to lower the expectations, but following is a reminder of some previous fights that failed to deliver.
1: Randy Couture vs. James Toney - UFC 118: Edgar vs. Penn 2, August 28th, 2010
No matter how you look at how this fight was presented, somebody is at fault. If this fight was to be presented as a sideshow attraction, then Couture should have allowed Toney a little more time to showcase his skillset, flick the jab, show his boxing fundamentals, show that “Lights Out” actually cared about being there, before “The Natural” took him down and choked him out. And if this fight was being presented as an actual MMA vs Boxing showcase, then you would think that Toney would have attempted to learn even a little takedown defense, since Couture’s gameplan was as obvious as the difference between night and day. Toney’s management didn’t even need to watch footage, since everyone who has been watching MMA for longer than 20 minutes would know that Couture was going to work the takedown and work the submission. And unlike most MMA fighters, Toney is not living paycheck to paycheck. He could have brought in elite wrestlers to help him in the clinch and to avoid the takedown. If Toney really cared to make a statement in favor of his sport, he would have actually trained to defend it. This fight was overhyped because for all of the talking that James Toney did, there was no actual preparation. And what could have been a compelling showcase turned into a waste of 10 to 15 minutes of UFC 118.
2: Junior Dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez – UFC on FOX 1, November 12th, 2011
Dana White was spot on when he mentioned that there were things that could have gone differently when it came time for the inaugural broadcast on Fox. Showcasing an excellent fight between Benson Henderson and Clay Guida (Ricardo Lamas vs Cub Swanson also would have been a good choice, since that too was a firefight) would have been advantageous for many reasons. For one, the two Lightweight contenders put on an incredibly entertaining fight, and it would have taken most of the attention away from the fact that the Heavyweight Championship fight between “Cigano” and Cain went a little over a minute before Dos Santos knocked out Velasquez to claim the Heavyweight prize. Great way to introduce casual watchers to the sport, right? Have potential fans sit through an hour long broadcast only to watch one minute of actual fighting. It may have been the most viewed hour of MMA in history, but many newcomers to the sport did not return, and it showed in future Fox broadcasts. In retrospect, this could be viewed as a missed opportunity to introduce newcomers to MMA to the speed of the Lightweights along with the power of the Heavyweights. This fight gains the overhyped label because nobody should have to sit through nearly an hour of commercials only to get a minute of actual fighting, especially when there were excellent fights going on over on Fox Deportes.
Looked good before hand…
3: Georges St. Pierre vs. Jake Shields – UFC 129: St-Pierre vs. Shields, April 30th, 2011
The effort that Jake Shields turned in against GSP was admirable, as Shields managed to take two rounds from GSP in the eyes of two of the judges, a rare feat. But one cannot forget the controversial split decision over Martin Kampmann that earned Shields his Welterweight Championship Fight. So from the very beginning, many pundits felt as though Shields should not have been standing across from GSP in the main event that night in the first place. And it did not help that the UFC was trying to paint Shields as a submission headhunter during all of the pre-fight hype, when most of the fighters Shields ended up tapping out were either lesser-known fighters or fighters who have the reputation of sticking to striking (Robbie Lawler and Paul Daley come to mind). So anybody who had paid even a little bit of attention to the career of Jake Shields knew that the UFC was completely misrepresenting his skillset, and it showed during the GSP fight, which was, for the most part, uneventful. The bright side is, those in attendance still got their money’s worth, as Jose Aldo and Mark Hominick proceeded to tear the house down in the fight prior.
4: Jon Jones vs. Vitor Belfort – UFC 152: Jones vs Belfort, September 22nd, 2012
Vitor Belfort should have never gotten this title fight. His latest UFC tenure has gone as follows, he blistered Rich Franklin with his straightforward piston punching, he got his head kicked into oblivion during his Middleweight Title shot against Anderson Silva, he laid out a perennial gatekeeper in Yoshihiro Akiyama and tapped an overweight Anthony Johnson. And the fight with Johnson was contested at 197 pounds, which must be the basis for picking Belfort over absolutely anyone else to replace Dan Henderson against Jon Jones at 205 pounds. Belfort’s effort was admirable, as he briefly frightened the champion with an armbar before getting submitted with an Americana. But this fight was overhyped because there was no reason Belfort should have gotten that fight, but because he was the only guy available who hadn’t been humiliated by Jon Jones, he got the shot. Who else would have been a suitable replacement? Tough call. Alexander Gustaffson was really the only one to come to mind, and even he needs more time to grow. Jon Jones essentially cleaned out the division, and to Belfort’s credit, the buy rates were in the Top 5 among PPV broadcasts for the year. But that does not mean that unworthy fighters should be getting title shots. And beating Anthony Johnson at a Catchweight that is 12 pounds over the initially agreed upon weight limit does not make anyone a contender.
5: Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen II – UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen 2, July 7th, 2012
For all the hype and talk that went into what many called ‘the most anticipated fight in UFC history,’ it sure would have been nice to see it leave the first round. Chael Sonnen probably wishes he could have that ill-fated spinning backfist back, since the backfist led to his slipping, and the slip led to Sonnen getting quickly finished by Silva’s pinpoint striking. It also would have been nice to see Chael win one more fight to get the second title fight, seeing as his contender’s fight with Michael Bisping left many questioning the decision, and Chael still had the stigma of being caught with banned substances in his system hanging over his head. Anderson himself said that Sonnen had no claim to a title shot. But it was no secret that Dana was looking for any reason to book the rematch, and Chael is the best hype man in the fight world today, so there was certainly money to be made. And for all the money they made, and for all the hype they generated, it’s a shame that the fight did not come close to the first one in terms of entertainment value.