Posted 03/13/2014 by McKinley Noble in MMA Buzz

UFC 171: The Attack on the Memory of Georges St-Pierre

Don’t look now, but Georges St-Pierre is under attack.

No, he’s not being dragged back into the UFC Octagon against his will, but his history of dominance is already starting to disappear.

Interestingly enough, it all starts in the first few minutes of Countdown to UFC 171, where the highlights of GSP vs. Johny Hendricks are recapped in slow, painful detail. It’s a grisly concert of punches, knees, and brutal head trauma as Hendricks beats the living tar out of a helpless St-Pierre.

Hendricks is a machine; he’s hammering home every single blow, playing against the backdrop of Joe Rogan’s grim assertions that the (former) welterweight champion is surely a punch away from death.

It’s all wrong.

Countdown to UFC 171 makes it look like St-Pierre—frail, unbearded, and woefully out of his depth—lost a 50-45 decision on the scorecards, only to get a gift judgement.

But that’s not what happened.

In reality, the UFC 167 main event was a tense back-and-forth nail-biter of a fight, with Georges St-Pierre pushing back against Hendricks and his heavy hands.

For every punch GSP ate, he landed kicks. St-Pierre actually got his own takedowns. As Hendricks worked down the stretch, he also ate his fair share of jabs, kicks, and combinations aplenty.

But that’s apparently not what the UFC wants you to remember.

Rather than sell the idea that Hendricks simply got a bad decision in one of the closest title fights in UFC history (one that even FightMetric scored for the challenger), the Zuffa promotional engine is rewriting that history, telling us that Georges St-Pierre was soundly, emphatically, and completely beaten as he greedily escaped with his championship belt.

"If this UFC fight was a sandwich, I'd have eaten 30 of them."

“If this UFC fight was a sandwich, I’d have eaten 30 of them.”

It’s promotional malpractice.

However, it’s not hard to see why it’s being done.

Hendricks is not a pay-per-view draw. At least, not yet. He’s probably not going to bring in the 500,000 to 800,000 PPV buys that GSP could so reliably rake in. But you’ve got to sell the guy somehow. So, you fudge the history books a little bit, change the angles, and push a slightly different memory of that fight.

After all, St-Pierre left, so screw him.

It’s not unfair to assume that’s the sentiment here, especially when GSP is telling everyone with a microphone about the rampant drug problems he’s seeing in the sport.

But while you can smudge the lens of history, you can’t just make up facts.

Disappointingly, that’s exactly what’s happening with the latest promo for UFC 171: Hendricks vs. Lawler, with UFC president Dana White himself touting what badasses Hendricks and Robbie Lawler are on paper:

  • Lawler: 82% Takedown Accuracy
  • Lawler: 6 Knockdowns Scored in the UFC
  • Hendricks: 6 Knockdowns Scored in the UFC
  • Lawler: Finished Opponent in 19 of 22 Wins
  • Hendricks: Knocked Out 3 UFC Opponents in Less in 1 Minute

And all of this is (probably) true.

But not this:

  • Hendricks: 38 Takedowns Landed—Most in Welterweight History

“Most in Welterweight History.”

Just at a glance, that sounds wrong. Not just a little wrong, but more like “Ronda-Rousey-is-the-first-woman-to-win-an-Olympic-medal-in-Judo” wrong.

Hell, even a cursory look over at FightMetric’s UFC records shows the real story:

Most Takedowns Landed in UFC History:

  1. Georges St-Pierre — 87
  2. Gleison Tibau — 71
  3. Jon Fitch — 58
  4. Karo Parisyan — 53
  5. Clay Guida — 51
  6. Rashad Evans — 50
  7. Sean Sherk — 50
  8. Randy Couture — 46
  9. Frankie Edgar — 46
  10. Nik Lentz — 45

Just ignoring all the non-welterweights on that list, St-Pierre, Jon Fitch, and Karo Parisyan have all landed more takedowns than Johny Hendricks in their respective UFC stints.

Again, you can’t make up facts.

Sure, it’s more accurate to say that Hendricks has the most takedowns in welterweight history of active UFC fighters (not too sure that’s true, either; I could always be wrong), but that looks a lot less impressive on a promotional graphic.

Smart UFC/MMA fans will probably pick on this. But casual fans (and inept sports writers) probably won’t. And therein lies the problem.

While it’s the UFC’s job to promote a fight and put butts in seats, they’re using cheap tricks to do it, and hardcore MMA fans are starting to notice. That’s never a good thing. And to be honest, Georges St-Pierre’s history of dominance deserves just a little bit more respect than that.


McKinley Noble is an MMA conspiracy theorist. His work has appeared in NVisionBleacher Report, PC World, Macworld, GamePro, 1UP, MMA Mania and The L.A. Times. Follow him at @KenTheGreat1 on Twitter.

McKinley Noble