Two Words That Will Solve the Whole Diaz/Condit Judging Controversy: IMMEDIATE REMATCH
The “average” MMA fan doesn’t watch MMA every single week – and if UFC PPV buyrates are to be believed, it’s not even every month with you guys. The “average” MMA fan likely respects Roy Nelson’s ability to eat punches more than Carlos Condit’s game planning, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The “average” MMA fan thinks Gina Carano is a UFC champion because she kicks Obi-Wan Kenobi’s ass in a movie. You get my point.
So basically, I’m a snotty elitist hippster MMA fan who can look down his nose on all the rest of you while I sip my TapouT latte (coming soon, you heard it here) and talk all about fighters you’ve nevvvvver even heard of.
No, what i’m actually saying is I’m a complete nerd and thank God I’ve already locked down a woman with my rugged Tom Selleck-esque good looks (what the hell!?) or I’d be screwed.
Still, I’ve always considered myself a down to earth MMA nerd. I watch most MMA events with a wide assortment of folks, most of whom have never been excited about a good pass to half guard or a functionally perfect jab. So for me, watching UFC 143 by my lonesome, last Saturday was a shocking moment of “disconnect” from the average fan.
How do I mean? Here’s a rough recounting of my thought process post UFC 143:
Me: “Wow, what a great fight! That was thrilling! I’m so glad I passed on a party with friends, a fun evening out, or passionate sex with my special lady for this! And what a close fight – surely most fans can appreciate the technical chess match, and understand how hard it must be for judges to pick a winner. Let’s hop on the MMA internets/text my buds and see what the man on the street thinks!”
Then I went online.
Sweet myth of Fedor, Mike Goldberg! Turns out while I was enjoying a quiet night of fights, most MMA fans were getting their torches and pitchforks sharpened up and ready to go. There wasn’t a whole lot of regard for the difficulty of the judges job, and there was zero respect for anything resembling a “technical chess match”. There was simply anger. A whole lot of anger.
I’m not going to get in to who “should” have won. I’m just a guy sitting on his couch who watched the fight through a three-beer buzz – who the hell am I to decide who won a MMA world title fight? If only there were some officiating body who could be stationed ringside and who could watch and decide on a fight irrespective of bias.
For the record, I scored the fight 3 rounds to 2 for Nick Diaz, giving him the first two and the final rounds, while awarding Condit rounds 3 and 4. But so what? The moment the fight ended, I thought “this is going to be controversial no matter who wins.” When Condit’s name was announced instead of Diaz I wasn’t even surprised, let alone angry. It was a close fight.
Instead, I got to thinking: what’s the best way to resolve this latest judging crisis? You know, short of judges never, ever having to call a close fight ever again.
Then it came to me. The one solution where literally everybody wins – Carlos Condit, Nick Diaz, Dana White, and the PPV buying audience who apparently hates when the main event fighters don’t drop their hands and take turns slugging each other in the face for their $49.99.
It makes too much sense. As far as I understand it, the plan is for Condit to sit on the shelf until GSP is ready to go, likely in November. That’s an awfully long time to freeze one of the hottest titles in MMA. Or maybe they’ll have Condit defend his “title” once before he returns. That seems like a good plan B, but there’s still a bit of a hitch. People said Condit winning “killed” the excitement around GSP’s return – just imagine what Jake Ellenberger or Johny Hendricks winning the strap from Carlos would do.
So have an immediate rematch. It’s a good thing for Diaz for obvious reasons: namely he can “unretire” and take another crack at the fight he thought he won. Plus all his legion of devoted fanboys can unwad their panties and get back to making fun of GSP fanboys for being too devoted while somehow managing to keep a straight face. You know, the usual.
But what about Carlos? Turns out it’s a good thing for him too, the same way the BJ Penn rematch was a good thing for Frankie Edgar. If Edgar had simply moved on as champion after the first Penn fight, doubts would have lingered about his legitimacy. Instead, the second Penn fight gave him the chance to really cement that title win, while at the same time reintroducing him to fans in a big way.
Same thing for Carlos.
Dana White and the UFC would love it for the same reason they would love any immediate rematch – dollar signs. It’s a chance to sell the same fight you already sold a few months ago, again, for likely even more money. Tell me what savvy, baldheaded former boxercise instructor President would pass that up? That’s probably why White is already pushing for an immediate rematch.
And you fans? This is a chance to set the record straight on the first fight once and for all. If Condit wins, especially if he wins in similar fashion, it shows he’s the superior fighter and Diaz, sorry to say, is not as “elite level” as the Stockton faithful would have hoped. If Diaz wins, it shows he has the fight IQ and dedication to tweak his game and make adjustments, a nessassary ingredient for any UFC title fight. In either case, the hype for the inevitable GSP vs. Whoever fight would be greater with an immediate rematch than without it.
As far as I can tell, no one loses here. This is as obvious a move as giving Mike Goldberg a live source of stats during his commentary and telling him NOT to utter them every second sentence.
Sorry Goldy, couldn’t help myself. Besides, a Goldberg joke connects on 88% of the laughs in most blog endings.