UFC 142 Isn’t Taking Place in Brazil, It’s Taking Place in the Wild West


Before I get into this, let me get the necessary Internet disclaimers out the door: no, I don’t think Brazil is the wild west by any means. This isn’t an attempt to slag the home of Vale Tudo, BJJ, and specially shaved vaginas. I’m not Chael Sonnen, I’m not from Oregon, my feelings on pink shirts are pretty neutral and my testicles, last time I checked, work just fine.

Wow, one paragraph in to my MMA column and we’ve already gone from vaginas to testicles. We’re off to a wonderful start, aren’t we?

In fact, let’s remove Brazil from the equation entirely. For the sake of the next five minutes that you’re reading my article, UFC 142 is taking place in “Country X”, a nameless, unknown tropical locale that exists outside of time and space – sort of like the island from “Lost”.

Yeah, I like that analogy. After all, the most powerful person on the island was a bald American with a humble background and a decidedly badass streak. Actually, that’s not true – the most powerful person on the island is a shadowy old white guy we rarely ever see, with an equally powerful and mysterious brother.

So to take this analogy to it’s rightful conclusion, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson would likely style himself as this guy – unfortunately, most fans would probably consider him closer to this guy.

I’m not here to slag on “Rumble” (or “Apple Crumble” as his nickname currently stands on Wikipedia) for missing weight. He has legions of MMA fans, his boss, and the 20% of his purse he’ll never see to do that for him. And besides, I think cutting big amounts of weight has to rank right up there with getting a spinal tap and watching “The Notebook” as the most torturous activities a man can engage in.

It’s the whole “weight in under 205 the day of the event” stipulation that’s got me a bit worried. Has anyone ever heard of such a thing being done before? You know, outside of monkey knife fights held in international waters?

So the story, as it stands right now: “Crumble” (sorry, couldn’t help it) had to make 185 lbs on weigh-in day. After a hard cut, he got so sick (or was it the other way around?) that he couldn’t feel his limbs anymore, grew faint, and needed immediate medical attention – in other words, he was Johnny Depp 45 minutes into “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”.

So then, the doctors gives Johnson an emergency IV of fluids to stabilize his condition, hence the grossly missed weight. After missing weight, Johnson agrees to make weight a second time, this time at 205 lbs, the day of the fight.

Only Anthony Johnson could move up from Welterweight, skip Middleweight, and cruise right on into Light-Heavyweight in an afternoon.

Is this ringing alarm bells in anyone’s head? Johnson, while attempting to cut weight, became so ill he needed emergency medical care. So let’s have him make weight again, a day later, any only hours before he fights the notoriously pillow-fisted Vitor Belfort?

I can already hear you saying “But Hobbie, making 205 is way easier than making 185!” and I agree – except that according to Johnson himself, he was 218 lbs as early as last week. I freely admit that I’m no doctor, and that whatever doctor approved this solution must ultimately bear responsibility for whatever ill (if any) comes of it.

But it’s crazy to think that Johnson wouldn’t have to strain a little bit to make that 205, especially if he was having fluids mainlined into his system only hours previous. It seems like a ridiculous combination of reckless and stupid, like trying to jump the gap between two apartment buildings on a bicycle with no seat.

Is the UFC really that desperate to keep Vitor on the card? I suppose they are, seeing as how he’s the most popular fighter in Brazil. Couldn’t they have found someone – anyone – to step in for Johnson, rather than making him cut weight again, then fight, after being so sick he needed medical attention?

Hell, if you’re going to make up the rules as you go along (and they are, make no mistake) why not just have an openweight fight? That would let Johnson fully recover from his brush with…slimming down?…without risking his safety too much. Sure, it seems a little unfair to Vitor, who made weight just fine. But if we believe Johnson (and Dana White) than all parties involved knew he was going to miss weight long before anyone stepped onto the scale. So why not just make it open weight and give everyone a break?

Look, I’m not trying to get on anyone’s case here: not Anthony’s, not Dana’s, not Brazil’s. Unlike most MMA bloggers, I recognize when I don’t know all the facts. And we certainly don’t know all the facts in this case.

I just hope something really, really bad doesn’t happen to “Rumble” tonight. After all, they’ll be 15,000 people chanting “You’re gonna die!” at him when he steps into the cage.

I hope they aren’t right.


One Response to “ UFC 142 Isn’t Taking Place in Brazil, It’s Taking Place in the Wild West ”

  1. Roni says:

    I agree with you that it is stupid to allow the fight to happen.
    But like you pointed out, it would be a major blow to everyone who paid (live or PPV) to have Vitor’s fight taken out.

    And how would they find anyone to fight with a day’s notice? It’s next impossible!
    Just think about it. the fighter would have to be in peak condition, and won’t be able to lose weight (no time for weight cut, since, according to Rumble’s camp, he got sick the morning of the weight ins) and moreover, the fighter would probably have to be in Brazil, or he would have to face an intercontinental flight a day before his fight!

    No, the only option (if available), was to have AJ fight, if he was medically cleared for such. Is it a gamble? I think so.
    but the only other option was to undercut the card and make this already not so stacked card even weaker…

    And if you followed the complaints from Brazilians (or the islanders), the prices were too steep, the fights started too late, and now you took the most known fighter off the card…
    not a nice combination!

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