Posted 12/29/2013 by Derek Suboticki in Subo Says

Agony and Ecstasy: UFC 168 Thoug – JOSH BARNETT LOST

  • What a tragic end to last night’s main event. The injury, mind you, is what I’m talking about here, as opposed to some indefensibly nebulous notion that Chris Weidman, by dominating Anderson Silva before winning via TKO within mere seconds (kudos to my editor for, um, pointing out my error on Twitter last night) of his initial triumph, was somehow robbed of a decisive victory.  The purpose of checking leg kicks is to punish the kicker, not to break his/her leg, and Weidman’s method of finishing was infinitely more random than his previous (which, if you will recall, the new champion didn’t get credit for anyway) –  that much is true. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that there is a faction of Anderson Silva fans that resemble the Fedoristas and Pennites of years past. The first fight was a fluke because Anderson clowned, and last night was a fluke because he got hurt. This didn’t happen when Frank Mir beat Nogueira twice; people just blamed that on Big Nog being over the hill and past his prime. I don’t agree with that excuse, either, but it’s more defensible and less insulting to the new champ.
  • I am hoping with all that I have that Weidman/Belfort is held in Las Vegas or New Jersey, if only so Zach Arnold doesn’t have a chance to bitch about it.
  • While I’m a little disappointed that Ronda Rousey’s string of first round armbar finishes ended at UFC 168, it’s a completely meaningless and picky point about which to complain. I mean, seriously – that’s the very definition of unsustainable, and its mere existence is amazing enough. Instead, we saw a sort of flashback to the origins of MMA, the Dark Ages, the Long Long Ago, when an world-class judoka showed an American-style wrestler how exactly hips work. It’s also quite pleasing to see that Rousey, rather than relying exclusively on her grappling/submission game, seems to have put actual work into her striking (her coach’s boast on TUF now looks much less ridiculous than before). All in all, an optimal outcome for women’s MMA – a dominant champion, a healthy draw, an opponent (Sara McMann) already lined up with another (Cat Zingano) waiting in the wings.
  • Anyone that doubts the powerful impact that Rousey has on MMA’s demographics is unacquainted with the bar scene. I, a social leper and solitude aficianado, routinely save $40 by going to a local bar and spending $20 to watch the PPV rather than watching it at home. Even without knowing the card, Ronda’s presence on it can be discerned by a simple scan of the clientele. Regulars have their wives with them; tables of equal sex distribution (unheard of on fight night) abound; the hoots, hollers and “kick his/her ass!”es rival any WWF event you’ve ever attended (I thank, once again, the 40something alcoholics that truly thought Bret Hart needed to teach Owen a fucking lesson at the Denver Coliseum in 1993). I’m not trying to go out of my way to dump on Cris Cyborg (I’ll save that for her manager), but there’s simply no way she could have ushered women’s MMA into the UFC in the way Rousey has. Rousey is truly one of a kind.
  • Ok, I think I can only get away with wasting 15 words on that. “Wasting” is the wrong adjective – I didn’t even copy and paste or use Caps Lock there. I held Shift and depressed each letter key with increasing force and velocity. Not only do I not have to hear about how Josh Barnett is a “former UFC heavyweight champion” (thanks so much for THAT, Joe Rogan and the NSAC) – not ONLY did I get to see Josh Barnett FINISHED in the first round – not ONLY was it the result of the exact kind of shitty, lazy takedown attempt that got Barnett over against Brett Rogers and shitkicked by Daniel Cormier – I got to see all of these things, all of them, at the hands, knees and pointy elbows of Travis Browne, famously branded by Deadspin’s Tim Marchman as “some guy.” Those expecting to see a mea culpa from Marchman will be sorely disappointed; Deadspin’s takeaways from last night’s events were limited to a gruesome depiction of Anderson Silva’s horrific injury and a collection of Vines of the #UFCFart that was heard during Bahadurzada-Howard. Liking Deadspin is acceptable; finding their MMA coverage slanted, petty and shitty are mandatory.
  • Side note: if that was in fact Siyar Bahadurzada that farted on air, then I forgive his lackluster performance, because that sounded like he was dying inside.
  • Jim Miller is awfully good at jiu jitsu. An almost imperceptibly small adjustment while working on his armbar against Fabricio Camoes led to a rapid tap, speaking to the high-level chess that occurs when great grapplers compete. Miller doesn’t win all of those battles against everyone (see his bout with Benson Henderson, widely considered to be a major upset at the time), but he wins most of them against most people. He won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, and I can’t imagine not being excited for his next fight. Maybe he should fight…
  • Michael Johnson, who once again showed a rather impressive southpaw boxing evolution against Gleison Tibau. Tibau, who I love, never got the chance to gas; Johnson, for all of the broken promises and deflated hype of his early career, is becoming a must-watch lightweight. A bout against Miller would both show where Johnson stands in the division and be incredibly awesome.
  • Joe Rogan mentioning Dennis Siver’s front leg gymnastics within the first five seconds of his fights – before either fighter throws a strike – is among the most dependable things in mixed martial arts.
  • I was shocked by Chris Leben exercising his right to stop fighting after the first round against Uriah Hall, but upon reflection, I’m also pleasantly surprised. It’s a widely held view among fighters that BJ Penn explicated when he said “if you tap to strikes, you’re a little bitch, that’s what I think.” In effect, it is asking the referee for help, acknowledging that you are out of the bout before you are forcefully told, which is what Leben did, even in the context of a “loser leaves town” match. If a man, a fighter, an all-time warrior like Leben is capable of acting in accordance with reality, then maybe the stigma against doing so – and the corollary compunction towards unnecessary punishment in the service of honor – will begin to fade.



Derek Suboticki

Derek Suboticki is a weekly contributor to MMA Owl. He also co-hosts Untethered MMA every Thursday at 7 p.m. ET at, also available as a podcast via iTunes. Previous work includes being former editor at Head Kick Legend and Fightlinker and contributor for Watch Kalib Run and Cageside Seats.