I really enjoyed UFC 81 and am giving it a solid A for simply being a fun show. There weren’t any match of the year candidates but there weren’t any clunkers either. What we did see were some amazing comebacks. I really thought Frank Mir and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira were done for. But seeing fighters maintain their composure through such adversity is why so many people look up to them. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all hang tough like that when life is kicking our ass?
The timing of the matches was slow, as usual, but that’s just how the UFC does it. It’s clear to me that they intentionally want to slow the pacing of the show down between quick finishes. I don’t agree, but I can understand that some people might prefer that kind of tempo. But it was a really enjoyable show and it got the bad taste out of my mouth that was left from UFC Fight Night 12 a couple of weeks back. That being said, the show was far from perfect in my eyes. What’s really starting to irk me is how the UFC’s politics are starting to have an adverse effect on the quality of their telecasts. I’m sorry, but there’s something terribly out of place on an MMA broadcast when a fraud like Barry Bonds is identified to the TV viewing audience and Renzo Gracie is not.
Renzo was clearly visible when he was walking down with Ricardo Almeida to the cage and there was nary a mention of his presence. I’m sure he’s persona non grata with the UFC because he had the audacity to earn a living by agreeing to coach an IFL team. But it is just not right. It’s time the UFC didn’t allow petty issues to dictate its media policies. They’re bigger than that. Allowing Mike Goldberg to say something to the effect of, “And Ricardo Almeida is accompanied to the ring by Renzo Gracie of the legendary Gracie family” isn’t going to effect the UFC’s bottom line.
Maybe I’m wrong, maybe not identifying Renzo was unintentional. After all, how many times was Michael Bisping shown on camera and not identified? Then again, maybe that was intentional too. Maybe the UFC didn’t want to focus on him out of fear the crowd would boo him out of the building?