It’s Monday and like Garfield many of you hate Mondays. Nonetheless, there are some issues that need discussing following the UFC on FUEL 8 card and I feel it is my duty to pontificate, speculate, and bloviate on the following topics. So let’s get it on!
Round One – Wanderlei Silva
The Axe Murderer returned to Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo, Japan, a place where his star once shone the brightest. For the many that remember watching PRIDE, we all know the history of Silva’s dominance, and so for him to return to Japan under the UFC banner was something special. You can’t tell me you didn’t get goose bumps when Sandstorm by Darude started up and the Japanese fans erupted at the site of their past hero.
In a fight that was probably one of the best slug-fests since the last time Wanderlei entered the cage, we saw him take out Brian Stann with a minute left in the second round. It wasn’t the most technical of fights, but it was like so many of the other wars that Wandy has been involved in over the years. Many are wondering if the wise thing would be for the Axe Murderer to finally hang up the axe. I am one of those people. Dana White has not been shy to pull the plug on fighters ie: Chuck Liddell, if he feels that they are not going to do it on their own. Chuck was on a losing streak at the time and took a tap to his chin courtesy of Rich Franklin to finally have the UFC President call for the Ice Man’s retirement.
The question I have, does it matter if Wanderlei is on a winning or losing streak at this point in his career before stepping in? He has fought in Brazil, and now he has headlined in Japan, there really is nothing else for him to do. He is not in the conversation for a title shot and to go out with a win would help prop what is already a great legacy in the sport. Silva says he would like to fight in Japan one more time, but for gun slingers like Wanderlei, he will always want, “one more time.” It’s in his nature to keep going and going and until he finally dies on his sword. Maybe back in Feudal Japan there was honor in that, but we are talking about one of the greatest fighters to ever step foot in a ring or cage, and so his future health should be paramount.
Wanderlei has taken too many shots to the head, and there lies the responsibility of the UFC. If Dana cares for his fighters like he says he does, and I do believe him, then it’s time to have that talk with Silva in the coming weeks. It is the perfect way to end a brilliant career with a win in the country that made him a star. It will be a hard conversation to have and there is no guarantee that Wanderlei won’t just pack up his things and fight somewhere else, but the UFC can set a precedent here and show real compassion, because that “one more fight” mentality is what ruined many fighter’s lives.
Round Two – Judging
It sucks even in Japan. How Diego Sanchez was picked as the winner in his fight with Takanori Gomi at UFC on FUEL 8 is beyond me. I gave the first round to Sanchez and that was pretty much it. Maybe they were passing around the Saki, but the judges were either seeing double or were too busy singing old Japanese drinking songs to pay attention to what was going on in the cage. Hector Lombard getting a 29-28 score in his fight against Yushin Okami was also very curious to me. I don’t want to sit here and say the judging sucked, but the judging sucked. We are getting to the point now where it’s starting to screw with careers, and when there already is a ton of pressure to win in the UFC, you don’t need some stupid judge ruining it for an athlete. Gomi should have won, and it’s a damn shame his hand wasn’t raised in front of his countrymen. The judges took that from him and even the Japanese crowd, who aren’t known to boo, were doing just that, boo’ing and wondering if there was any more Saki left.
Round Three – Hector Lombard
If Jon Fitch was apparently “too expensive” to keep on the UFC roster, Lombard has to be the next big name to get the UFC boot. He apparently signed with the promotion for $400,000 and receives $300,000 as his starting purse per fight, not to mention the pay-per-view participation points he gets. Don’t get me wrong, I understand why the UFC did that, they thought they were getting a monster that would come into the middle weight division and leave a path of destruction until he received a date with Anderson Silva. That was the plan, however; it was quite obvious after his debut fight at UFC 149 against Tim Boetsch that the UFC probably started having buyer’s remorse.
Hector has lost two out of three fights thus far and his performance against Yushin Okami at last weekend’s UFC on FUEL 8 card in Japan was probably not good enough to give him one more shot. If you are going to give fans the excuse that Jon Fitch, who made an average of $66,000 per fight, was dropped because he made too much money, there should be no real reason to hang onto Lombard. Poor Hector was the victim of his own hype, but he just didn’t come as advertised. Unfortunately, it would be best for the UFC and Lombard to part ways and see if Hector can put a few wins together for another organization and come back to the UFC but at a lesser price.
You can listen to Trevor on MMASucka Radio heard weekly on MMASucka.com and Sportsnet.ca. Follow him on Twitter @tdueckMMA