The turmoil and uncertainty sparked by the CBS/EliteXC “Heat” event from Saturday night has the mixed martial arts world as scattered, sliding and uncertain as the rest of the country.
Allegations are flying all over of fraud, rigged outcomes, and general shadiness. Accusations are being made, the law is starting to take notice, and more than anything chaos is engendered. All of this because a girl came in with an extra pound, a kid with pink hair knocked out an extremely inexperienced mixed martial artist, and promoters may (or may not) have offered unethical bonuses (or bribes). Add to all of that at least 4.3 million viewers. The chaos of world financial markets seemed to be mirrored in this relatively small fishbowl, and as of now it’s still uncertain where it may lead. One thing’s for sure: it’ll all be very different when things are settled down.
First at the weigh-ins, Gina Carano doesn’t make weight on her first, or second try. On her third very naked attempt, she makes it, with seemingly little time between the two tries. Some blogs, forums, and commentators cry foul, others, including people in attendance, say there are factors like a moving platform to account for discrepancies. Gina’s may be the least noticed of the major issues from the show, but it seems to be the most likely to have some real weirdness behind it. The laws of physics are hard to monkey with, but scales really aren’t.
Next we have Seth Petruzelli coming off the undercard (and leaving a presumably very upset Aaron Rosa opponentless) and TKOing Kimbo Slice in a measley 14 seconds with a distinctly non-showy short right hand and some followup wild hammerfists on the ground. My first thought on the change was “Uh oh, Kimbo’s screwed”, along with about 500 others who bothered to actually record their opinions beforehand (only my drunk friend heard me say it, and he’s a very unreliable source, the souse). MMA haters are gleefully mocking the outcome, acting as if Kimbo Slice is the pinnacle of all MMA skill brought low by a journeyman karate practitioner. Traditional media is confused, as evinced by Gus Johnson’s insane freakout (I like Gus, but the whole Rocky thing was stupid). MMA hardcores are split: either they believe Kimbo was a huge embarrassment already, or they felt bad for the rookie being thrown into main events. Through the whole thing Seth and Kimbo showed great class that night in admitting the difficulty of getting a new opponent at the last minute and asking the fans to stay positive. Shawn Tompkins really said it best: “Hopefully Kimbo can get back in and fight the guys he should be fighting, and climb up the ladder.” I don’t think Kimbo’s career is done because he lost.
Finally Seth Petruzelli says in a radio interview that he may or may not have been paid to keep the fight standing. This is a fix. He later retracted or restated his comments, but no one seems to be saying his words at the time were different. So the blogosphere is up in arms, Seth goes from the savior of MMA who took out the charade to a goat who took fix money. Chaos reigns.
Right now the world is in some incredible chaos, wars, financial and social upheaval are all over. It seems like the somewhat insulated little world of MMA has caught the same bug. Affliction has rumors of issues all over the place, MMA in Japan is nothing but huge Fedor-less question marks, or whatever the Kanji is, and ProElite, the only other sizable competition for the UFC, is in the midst of some possibly shattering tremors. Things are changing. But from chaos comes new orders, and as the rest of the world goes, so will MMA. I look forward to how things will shake out, but can’t hazard a guess for you.