How To Survive The Midsummer MMA Drought
An article from UltimateFighter.com. I post it for 3 reasons. 1) It's got some good events listed, 2) it's got a pic of Hughes/Trigg II, & 3) The sentence in bold!
Let's face it, MMA fans. We're spoiled.
Ours is a sport without an off-season, an almost constant slideshow of glorious, year-round violence. From the warm summer evenings to the bleak and endless winter nights, it seems like there's always MMA on. It gives us something to do after a barbeque in August, and it provides a ready excuse for avoiding a get-together with the in-laws in December.
It is, in other words, the most perfect sport known to man. That's why these next few weeks are going to be so difficult.
In case you haven't noticed, the MMA calendar for July is as barren as Condoleezza Rice's womb. After UFC 116 on July 3, we have to last all the way until August before we see another big time MMA event.
Maybe hockey fans are used to going months without any action as they wait for the pond to freeze over again and the Molson to get restocked, but we're fight fans. To us, a month of no fights is like dying a slow, boring death.
A man can get desperate in times like these. Why, just the other day I found myself watching "Face/Off" on HBO just so I could see the prison fight scene. Do you even understand what that means? "Face/Off." One of the worst movies ever made. There's actually a scene where a character says, "I want to take his face…off." And I was willing to sit through it just to see a little fight action. Clearly, something's gotta give.
Fortunately, we live in a magical age where the internet meets the DVD. Thanks to Amazon.com and Netflix, we never have to go without MMA again; we just have to know where to look to get our fix.
With that in mind, I've gone to the trouble of cobbling together a handy guide to the MMA classics that helped turn me into the hardcore, unhealthily-obsessed fight fan I am today. Look these bad boys up, and the next few weeks will positively fly by.
1. Pride 26: Bad to the Bone
A lot of people will tell you that the 2000 Grand Prix is the must-have old school Pride DVD. I can see their point, but for pure entertainment value I've got to go with Pride 26. It features the second meeting between legendary MMA hard-asses Don Frye and Mark Coleman, a fight where Kazuyuki Fujita momentarily rocks Fedor Emelianenko, and appearances by "Cro Cop," Alistair Overeem, and "Rampage" Jackson. There's even footage of a rare Anderson Silva loss. That's like renting "Gone with the Wind" and seeing Bigfoot stroll by in the background.
2. UFC 52: Couture vs. Liddell 2
It could just be because I watched this event at a crowded sports bar in Missoula, Montana, where a table full of frat boys in backwards baseball caps shouted "Iceman!" at the top of their lungs until the waitress had to threaten to revoke their endless wing platter, but this is one fight card I'll never forget. Aside from the second meeting between Liddell and Couture, it also had Georges St-Pierre dominating "Mayhem" Miller (who entered wearing a Hannibal Lector mask and tossing money into the crowd), and perhaps the greatest comeback of all time by Matt Hughes against Frank Trigg. Seriously, my father – a die-hard boxing fan – never liked MMA until I showed him that Hughes-Trigg fight. Now he'll even watch Bellator. Such are the transformative properties of that fight.
3. Pride 33: The Second Coming
When Japan's Pride Fighting organization brought a stacked card to Las Vegas, we knew it was going to be awesome. No one, however, could have predicted it would be this awesome. You've probably seen the highlight where Dan Henderson knocked out Wanderlei Silva with a vicious left hook and then pounced on him with an unnecessary forearm, but have you seen his speech afterwards, where he tells fans they can come to his afterparty at a nightclub, or go to Wanderlei's after-party at the hospital? That's just the beginning. There's also "Shogun" Rua vs. Alistair Overeem, "Mach" Sakurai vs. Mac Danzig, and the infamous fight where Nick Diaz is too stoned to feel Takanori Gomi's punches. Basically, there's something for everyone.
4. UFC 31: Locked and Loaded
If you go back and look at the fight poster for this event from the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, you might think that it's an intentionally bad Photoshop job meant to make fun of a bygone era in MMA. The truth is, this was the beginning of the modern age in many ways, as it established the weight classes now used throughout the sport, while also featuring more future legends than you can shake a stick at. In the main event, Randy Couture squared off against Pedro Rizzo, B.J. Penn and Chuck Liddell both made appearances, and Shonie Carter finished off Matt Serra with the now infamous spinning backfist. Why does Shonie wear those crazy speedos in the fight, you ask? To quote one of the many philosophical gems from his "Ultimate Fighter 4" appearance: "Because I do s*** like that." Yes.
5. UFC 1
Don't watch this event if you have an idealized view of MMA's humble origins in the U.S. On second thought, maybe that's exactly why you should watch it. The truth is that the early UFC's were ugly affairs when compared with today's polished product. A couple of the beatings were downright criminal, Jim Brown spouted all manner of nonsense from the commentators table, and Art Jimmerson showed up wearing one freaking boxing glove, for Pete's sake. Going back and watching this event now is like watching footage of yourself on your first date as a teenager. Parts of it will make you cringe, and yet you can’t look away. Who knows, maybe after seeing Teila Tuli's teeth kicked into the third row, you'll be glad for a little break in the MMA calendar.