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UFC 149 adds up to less than zero

I haven’t written for this site in weeks, months even, and Saturday night’s UFC 149 was a perfect example of why. Everybody who paid to see that card, whether in person at the Calgary Saddledome or home on pay-per-view, should get a full refund. And it should come out of the pockets of UFC boss Dana White and the fighters and the officials, (almost) all of whom failed to deliver. White is right to be embarrassed and angry, although he should be pointing the finger at himself and matchmaker Joe Silva before looking anywhere else.

Yes, the Calgary card has been cursed almost from the beginning, with more match-up changes than any card in recent memory. Among the scratches were Jose Aldo, Michael Bisping, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Thiago Alves, Thiago Silva, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Bibiano Fernandes, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Claude Patrick and on and on and on. And I have to assume that White and Silva did their best to find replacements, but the result amounted to little more than plugging a few holes in the Titanic.

Sure, the preliminary card did its job, warming up the crowd with a series of entertaining fights. Ryan Jimmo’s record-tying seven-second knockout of Anthony Perosh, leaving Perosh with the silliest KO expression since Rashad Evans, will be a part of highlight reels for years to come. Likewise Jimmo’s post-fight robot moves. And there were two other knockouts and a submission before the main card began.

And that’s when the wheels came off. Or the iceberg struck. Or whatever disaster analogy you care to envision took place. Dull, boring, dull, dull fight after fight between fighters who were more interested in hugging out their differences than actually hitting each other (I’m looking at you, Cheick Kongo and Shawn Jordan). There were referees who allowed the fighters to wall stall and referees who saw phantom groin kicks. And the heavily hyped UFC debut of Hector Lombard, a beast with heavy hands and a Rousimar Palhares-like penchant for snapping femurs, he stood there in front of Tim Boetsch, flat-footed and stupid, for three full rounds and deserved to lose the decision.

And Renan Barao? Wipe that lunatic grin off your face. You should be happy you won, but not that happy, not after that performance. Sure, you beat Urijah Faber in a highly technical match-up to claim the interim bantamweight title, but calling a fight “highly technical” is another way of saying “safe” and “safe” means dull. And I don’t pay for dull. The Canadian fans who booed throughout the main card didn’t pay for dull. Think about that — Canadian fans booed. That should tell you something right there.

And that is why I’ve not written about the UFC much lately. The cards haven’t lived up to the hype, if only because there are too many cards and there’s no way they could. Too many cards, too many fighters I care nothing about, all being promoted like it’s UFC 100. I had zero expectations for UFC 149. I mean, Cheick Kongo was on the main card, so how good could it be? But in the back of my mind I believed it likely that even the worst card could exceed my expectations. Didn’t happen. Because you know what’s less than zero? UFC 149.


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