UFC 185 review: Jędrzejczyk’s name, banned strikes, and ethical cornering

Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan have always had problems with complex names. (Shout out to Darren ‘Darren’ Uyenoyama.) It betrays the lack of prep work that they do in stark contrast to what colleagues like Jon Anik and Brian Stann and John Gooden do before their card-calling duties. It’s part of their skill set that ol’ Joe and Goldie have never had to develop, partly because they’ve earned tenure at the UFC and partly because it’s a flaw often exposed outside the limelight of a big fight. That changed at UFC 185.

Mike and Joe have called both of Joanna Jędrzejczyk’s fights in the UFC. (And to belabor the prep work point: they talked at length about her first fight being the first strawweight fight in the UFC. It was the second.) Despite this, they went through dozens of variations of her name. Ya-jay-check. Yen-jay-check. Ya-dray-check. Ye-on-dray-check. Ye-on-jay-chuck. Ya-check-check. Joe decided there’s an “h” in Jędrzejczyk’s first name, turning a simple, easy-to-pronounce “Joanna” into “Johannah.”

It’s unprofessional and potentially damaging to Jędrzejczyk’s career. How does one become a household name when one’s name is never pronounced the same way twice (let alone the right way)?

Perhaps you think this is an overreaction, but think about names like Ndamukong Suh, Nnamdi Asomugha, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Jeff Samardzija, and Nikola Vucevic. These are difficult names, but if you’re fans of the respective sport, you know exactly how to pronounce them because broadcasters say them do so correctly, confidently, and consistently. That’s part of being a professional.

And now the UFC has a champion with a name that the A-team broadcasting pair doesn’t know. They literally do not know how to say her name, and they should. They should have known before her first fight, they should have known last night, and they should 100% know it before they call her next fight.

So, how do you pronounce “Joanna Jędrzejczyk”? Patrick Fannin wrote a great breakdown at Cage Passion Media, and a Polish-speaking commenter (and let’s just choose to believe this random internet person at their word) laid out the following simplified English pronunciation:

yoh-AN-nah yend-JEY-chick

Not so difficult to pronounce now, right?

* * *

Sometime during the pay-per-view broadcast – I believe during the Cejudo-Cariaso opener – Rogan ranted about the stupidity 12-to-6 elbow rule, explaining to the audience that commissions banned it during the sport’s formative years because important people saw karate masters breaking bricks with the same technique.

Rogan’s right, of course. The 12-to-6 elbow is no more dangerous than other, legal strikes, and the impetus for the whole thing is typical human nonsense.

Rogan’s comments also sparked Twitter conversation about knees to the head of a grounded opponent. It’s not that KTTHOAGO have been forgotten about – I think there’s a spark in every old-time fan’s brain when a fighter puts him or herself in a vulnerable position – but the light becomes a little fainter the further out from Pride’s collapse.

Which is unfortunate because KTTHOAGO would be a huge improvement in the ruleset for two major reasons. First, side control becomes a much more advantageous position for strikes. Do you think Mike Goldberg would talk about Randy Couture’s love of the half guard l if Couture could throw knees from side control? Second, it closes a loophole that allows a fighter to intentionally put him or herself into a less-desired position in order to avoid damage. There are also points to be made about making offense more dynamic and disincentivizing lazy takedowns.

It’s a technique that Dana White is on record of being in favor for, and his comments suggest that we’re basically waiting for New York to regulate MMA before the promotion starts lobbying for major rule changes. But I worry that we’re too far gone from the Pride days. There was a lot of potential to make changes when the landscape was in major upheaval. Now, the sport is effectively established in the United States, and it might take some Jon Jones-Matt Hamill-like situation for the right people to make moves.

* * *

Early in the first round, a Rafael dos Anjos left hand landed right on Anthony Pettis’s right orbital. The strike stunned Pettis, and the area around his eye immediately started swelling. It set the tone and course of the fight.

In between rounds, the cut man applied an enswell to the damaged area, and after hearing a brief pep talk, Pettis told coach Duke Roufus that he was good.

Pettis might have been telling the truth, but he wasn’t good for the rest of the fight. Dos Anjos got the best of Pettis both standing and on the floor. The champ’s face got uglier and uglier after each round. By the end of the third, Pettis had lost all hope of winning a decision.

Then, this exchange in between rounds four and five:

Roufus: You can do this. Stay focused-

Pettis: I can’t see out of my right eye.

Roufus: I know, I know. Let’s move that angle. Let’s do this, baby. Let’s go, champ.

Pettis wasn’t just losing the fight; dos Anjos was beating him up. And yet, here’s Duke Roufus sending his one-eyed fighter back out to take more damage in the hopes that he could pull out a miracle. (Live wagering had dos Anjos as an 8-1 favorite heading into the fifth.) This is an all too common event in MMA, and one perpetuated by the sport’s macho culture.

To somehow makes this situation even worse, Mike Goldberg gives us this beauty: “When Duke says son, he truly means that.” A father should never intentionally put his son into the kind of danger Duke Roufus intentionally put Anthony Pettis in last night.

We can add last night to the allegations surround Roufus and Roufusport and the death of Roufusport kickboxer Dennis Munson Jr. The difference being: this one’s on tape.

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