UFC 143: The Aftermath (A.K.A, Screw You Guys I’m Going Home)

Posted: February 7, 2012 in Marketing, PR, Social Media, UFC

Although my New England Patriots lost Super Bowl Sunday, my pick for UFC Saturday came out on top. After a grueling five round fight, “The Natural Born Killer” Carlos Condit stood tall as the new interim welterweight champion. The last few years have brought out a lot of championship bouts that end in a decision and often are met with criticism from those that call them boring. However, the reality is that decision fights are a sign of the sport’s maturity and the depth of talent in the roster.

The reason these bouts go all five rounds is that we are now truly seeing the world’s best compete at the elite level.  In years prior we would see Champions take on sub-par opponents and end fights early.  Now, we see strategic battles that go the distance and become instant classics. Example:  Griffin/Jackson, Machida/Rua I, GSP/Hardy, Cruz/Faber and Edgar/Maynard I.

The battle of Diaz and Condit was certainly a strategic battle, and one for the history books – although not for the reasons it should be.  The interim welterweight championship fight was met with boos, controversy and a sea of tweets that certainly took less than 140 characters to be offensive.  A strong contigent of fans are crying foul, shouting that the fight was rigged and looking for an instant rematch.

However, the truth is – there was no controversy.  There was no rigged fight.  There should be no rematch. Carlos Condit fought well, fought smart and is your new interim Champion.  Now let’s break it down

Fight Breakdown

Styles make fights, and game plans can make or break a fighter’s evening.  Stylistically Diaz and Condit was set to be an epic slugfest.  Any true fan shouldn’t say “oh great, they are just going to swing for the fences” but ask themselves “Hey I wonder if someone will mix it up and try something new?”

Everyone that has every tried to “stand and bang” with Nick Diaz has fallen.  Carlos Condit clearly watched a lot of tape and came up with a winning game plan. Instead of marching forward and eating punch after punch, Carlos Condit employed an in-and-out strategy similar to the style of bantam weight champion Dominick Cruz.  Condit would dart in, inflict strikes and dart out.

Diaz employed the same game plan he uses in every fight. March forward, rely on boxing and try to win the mental game by taunting his opponent. For the first time in 4 years, Diaz was confused and ultimately defeated.  After the second round Diaz should have realized that he needed to do more than just drop his arms, and make scowling faces to win this fight. In fact, I have not seen a game plan this bad since The Situation tried his luck at “comedy”…

The difference in the approaches showcases the true evolution of the sport of MMA.  It is no longer about trying to impose one style over another; it is about playing a human chess match.  (Bravo to the UFC by the way for its new intro video that shows this evolution nicely before this PPV – embedded above.)

They Myth of “Running Away”
I repeat my above point.  Anyone who thinks Condit was running from Diaz was not watching the same fight. Condit had a clear mission: get in, inflict damage and get out.  Standing and getting punched in the face does not bring home the gold. Yahoo!’s Steve Cofield dealt with many fans that didn’t not understand or appreciate this strategy on Twitter Saturday night.  Me? I know better than to tweet on fight night, I’ll leave that to the UFC social team.

From Yahoo! Cagewriter

These are the arguments of fans that still don’t quite get modern day MMA.  This is why even now despite the UFC media machine, the sport cannot be defined as mainstream yet. There is still quite a bit of education needed for fans.

From UFC.com

Take Your Ball and Go Home

There have been a number of fighters that have won my respect more in defeat than in victory.  How a fighter takes a loss, reacts to and moves on speaks volumes to their character.

The post-fight interview from Diaz is the exact reason I’ve never liked the Diaz brothers.  Nick didn’t get his way so he packed his toys up and went home.  You’re sick of this shit Nick? I’m sick of your complaints, your paranoid theories that the world is out to “screw you” and the constant threat to retire.

PR Dream Fight
With the win and the interim strap, Condit is now lined up for the first crack at George “Rush” St Pierre to unify the welterweight title later this year.  Although I noted in my last post this is a less marketable fight than GSP vs. Diaz, it could be the “guy next door” battle the UFC needs to show new-to-non-fans that the UFC is not a bunch of brutes.

Both St Pierre and Condit are eloquent, well dressed, well behaved fighters.  Two ambassadors of the sport that could truly show the skill and respect involved in modern mixed martial arts.

My two cents: put this fight on Fox. Show the world how real athletes behave and fight.  You could see a lot of new fans lining up after this one…

From UFC.com

  1. McClain says:

    Is it just me or has this fight created a ton of buzz? UFC must see the silver lining… also since they confirmed Condit v Diaz II, they gave themselves another chance to put on Diaz v GSP.

    • It is certainly not just you – this fight has a lot of folks talking. And not just the usual MMA fanbase, there are a lot of people asking questions and wondering what happened last weekend since so many people are fired up about it. This is great for so many reasons – 1) This will draw more people to the Fox events to see “what is the big deal” with MMA 2) it will provide Carlos Condit the recognition and attention he has deserved since coming to the UFC as the last WEC welterweight champion and 3) it may force fighters to start looking harder at their game plans before going into a fight like this.

  2. […] Nick Diaz missed a charity super fight at a grappling tournament.  Shocking. […]

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