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UFC 86: Fight Critic Review

ufc86mr4_medium_medium.jpg If not for one of the best main events I’ve ever seen on a major card, UFC 86 would have been a very disappointing show. I was completely underwhelmed by the undercard but Forrest Griffin winning the light heavyweight title from Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in the finale was worth more than the price of the pay-per-view. For those talking about Jackson vs. Griffin the current leading fight of the year candidate, I am in full agreement.

While the main event was spectacular, from a production standpoint, this was your typical run of the mill UFC event. Same rap-metal music beds, same format for pre-fight vignettes, and the same graphics package that comes off dull in HD. Some things never change in life and UFC pay-per-views are one of them. You’re not buying a UFC PPV for production value, you’re buying it to see the fights. As I was watching the telecast last night, I realized that their telecasts aren’t really designed for one or two people sitting at home watching a fight by themselves. It is intended for a group of people watching the card at a party or a bar. Everything on the show is secondary to the fight — even the commentary in a lot of ways.

I do have the say that I was once again appalled at there being another commercial during the pay-per-view. The FCC should enact a law the forbids commercials to be played during a pay-per-view telecast. If you pay full retail price for a broadcast, my feeling is you own the time and that the time is yours. A company should not be allowed to used time someone else has paid for to run commercials. How is that fair to the consumer? The FCC worries about a lot of petty stuff and most of it really doesn’t affect the common consumer. Here’s an example of the consumer being taken advantage of and not a word. The UFC and their production company needs to realize that inserting ads onto a PPV telecast is beyond tacky. It’s classless and unfair.

From classless to classy, I have to point out that Miguel Torres got some brief face time on a UFC pay-per-view. Normally the WEC cameo on a UFC PPV is reserved for Urijah Faber, but Torres deserves and needs the notoriety. He has a chance to become the new top pound-for-pound number one in the world. Much like when George Costanza said he couldn’t envision another opportunity in which he’d be able to have sex, I can’t envision a scenario in which Torres loses a fight at 135 pounds. Also, props to the UFC for improving the pace of the show again.

Two other things I noticed: first, there were a TON of empty seats during the first two fights. Vegas is normally a late-arriving crowd but the local fans are usually good about making sure they are there once the fights go live on PPV. The fact that the crowd was so light even after the telecast started shows just how much of a one fight show UFC 86 was. Second, I found it extremely strange that Rampage came out with a logo-less black t-shirt. That might be the only time we ever see a high-profile fighter enter the cage or ring in a sponsorless shirt. I realize Rampage has a deal with Affliction, but was that his way of protesting? Was it an Affliction shirt being worn inside out?

Onto the fights.

Tyson Griffin defeats Marcus Aurelio via unanimous decision

Wow, I couldn’t get over the size difference. I knew Aurelio was taller, but I had no idea he was going to be that much bigger than Griffin. I couldn’t decide whether it looked like a lightweight fighting a featherweight or a welterweight fighting a lightweight. This was the first time I ever felt Griffin looked too small for lightweight. He’s built pretty solid, but I can’t help but wonder if the guy could cut to 145 pounds. If he could, there would be a lot of money in it for him because they could sell the hell out of a rematch between he and Urijah Faber.

It wasn’t a horrible fight, but it wasn’t terribly thrilling either. At times the fight was about as intense as a sparring session. The difference in body-types made the action awkward at times. Griffin still showed tremendous boxing ability to go along with his strong wrestling. No, the guy doesn’t finish fights but he’s extremely skilled and almost all of his fights in the UFC have been exciting. It’s especially hard to finish guys that have 3-4 inches on you in the height department that are also 12-15 pounds heavier come the day of a fight.

I can’t help but wonder if Griffin could he be a finisher as a featherweight?

Joe Stevenson submits Gleison Tibau on the second round

I enjoyed this fight a lot, in large part because it told a story. Yes, I am a sucker when it comes to a story as it pertains to a fight. Sure, I can watch a fight just for the sake of watching a fight, but I think it’s always more interesting when there is some drama behind things. Fighters are human beings and I like it when we aren’t having fights just to have fights. When it comes to sports, you aren’t going to find athletes with better back stories than MMA fighters. The UFC needs to do more story telling with non-main event fights.

Mike Goldberg revealing that Stevenson’s seven-year old son was in attendance for his fight for the first time ever caught my attention. I thought it was a good call on the part of Joe Rogan to say he hoped that Stevenson didn’t feel any added pressure. Anyone with a child knows that’s a pretty good point. Getting hurt in front of his son is something that had to go through Stevenson’s mind.

The comeback nature of the outcome and Stevenson submitting an American Top Team fighter only added to the drama. I really thought Stevenson was on his way to a loss. I felt that this was tthe only fight other than Jackson vs. Griffin that I was able to derive any pleasure from.

Josh Koscheck defeats Chris Lytle via unanimous decision

I really did not like this fight. It was just another case of Koscheck relying heavily on his wrestling and proving that he is simply too much for his opponent. I almost would have rather seen Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Justin McCully, simply because it would have meant that the UFC would have had a heavyweight fight on the broadcast

Stylistically, I was not a fan of Koscheck vs. Lytle at all. One fight I’d like to see is Lytle vs. Marcus Davis. I think style wise the two matchup much better than Lytle vs. Koscheck..

As for Koscheck, I’m not really sure where he goes from here. He’s already fought and lost to the current champion of his division. The UFC can’t put him in there with anyone they hope to groom as a future opponent for St. Pierre, such as Thiago Alves, because Koscheck will likely put them and kill their momentum.

Patrick Cote wins unanimous decision over Ricardo Almeida

Not a good fight with a total clash of styles. Sometimes the striker vs. submission expert matchup works, but this is one of those times when it didn’t. I also think this is another case of the UFC making an error by promising a title shot before a fight takes place. As I’ve said before, when the UFC comes out and promises the winner of the bout a title shot, they effectively eliminate any motive for a fighter wanting to take any risks during the fight. This isn’t pro wrestling; winning and losing matters to a fighter. You tell them that there’s a title shot at stake and they aren’t going to do anything to piss away a coveted shot.

Does Cote deserve a middleweight title shot later in the year? Sure, why not. But as much as he’s looked improved during his second UFC stint, I don’t think he has a chance in hell of defeating Anderson Silva. A lot of people aren’t excited about the prospect of Cote vs. Silva, which is understandable. But name me a middleweight fighter that Silva hasn’t already beaten that you care about seeing fight for the title? That’s where the problem lies.

Yes, Bisping vs. Silva is intriguing, but it’s a fight that shouldn’t happen until 2009. The UFC also should keep Bisping away from Silva if there’s any concern that Silva might abandon 185 pounds because you at least want to have one guy that could potentially replace him as middleweight champion that hasn’t been destroyed by him.

Forrest Griffin wins unanimous decision over Quinton “Rampage” Jackson

There are a couple of points I want to clarify here. To those who claim I scored the fight for Jackson because I am biased, I had to stop myself from laughing. What bias do I have for Jackson or against Forrest Griffin? I am a fan of the sport and a fan of both fighters. I’m totally fine with Griffin as the new UFC light heavyweight champion. I think he’s great for the sport and his title win is also good. It was a close fight and I don’t have a problem with anyone scoring it in favor of Griffin. He fought an excellent fight and the only round that was not close was the second, which clearly went in Griffin’s favor.

The only bias I can think of is that I picked Jackson to win? But that’s a joke. To be honest, I don’t care all that much about how my picks turn out. I’ve made many high-profile picks and have been wrong before. There have been times where the outcome of a fight has gone in favor with my pick yet I am still championing the cause of the losing fighter because I felt he truly won. Over at, it clearly shows my record of major MMA events as over 60%. That’s a pretty strong win percentage so I’m clearly not concerned about how Jackson losing affects my overall percentage, since it’s very respectable. Irrespective of that, I’m not a professional handicapper. If I get a high-profile pick wrong, I don’t lose my job over it. Life still goes on and pretty much goes on the exact same way if I had gotten it right.

It’s just yet another case of people not being able to counter an argument on its merits and hitting below the belt. I just find it humorous because again, what kind of bias do I have towards Quinton “Rampage” Jackson? Someone disagreed with you. Get over yourself. I realize the majority of people out there believe that Forrest won, but I’m not the only won who scored the fight in favor of Jackson. There are also a lot of people that believe neither fighter won.

If you scored it in favor of Griffin, you don’t see me screaming that you’re the one whose biased. Do you see me running around playing the race card against you? Do you see me writing about how the judges were influence by a crowd that was clearly partial towards Griffin? No, because I respect everyone’s opinions. This is a fight that could have gone either way. I can accept the fact that a lot of people believe Griffin won. Jackson left a close fight in the hands of the judges and has no one to blame but himself. I’m perfectly fine with the decision that was rendered. To those who countered my Rampage post from last night in a thoughtful, articulate manner, I am greatly appreciative of your contribution to the comments area. The site is a better place for it.

Also, several people in the days leading up to my fight analysis questioned my comment in which I said Griffin has a “world class chin.” Sorry, getting caught vs. Keith Jardine does not mean you have a glass jaw. Griffin has been in many brawls and has eaten a lot of punches that would have floored the average fighter. He yet again ate quite a few power punches and with the exception of a first round knockdown, he maintained his composure throughout the entire duration of the fight.

That said, I do believe there should be an immediate rematch. I don’t think Jackson was screwed, but the fight was close and the old champion performed well enough that he deserves another shot. As his trainer Juanito Ibarra said after the fight, Forrest did not take the fight away from Jackson.

Just looking at the economic impact of a possible rematch, and I think it’s a shoe-in we’ll see the two fight sooner rather than later. They could hold the rematch off until December, or try to bring them back in October in hopes of having the winner of Jackson vs. Griffin II possibly fight Chuck Liddell in December. That could be pushing it though.

Regardless, I believe that Griffin is a deserving champion and last night’s win makes him the number one light heavyweight in the world. Sometimes I caught some grief from people because of how high I ranked Griffin in my top ten light heavyweight rankings. Where are those people now?

As I stated before, last night’s main event was one of the best I’ve ever seen close out a big show. I liked Stevenson vs. Tibau because it told a story. Well, this fight had a lot of story to it. When Griffin came out and proved right away he was much more a fleet of foot, he instantly showed everyone he felt he had a gameplan to defeat Rampage. As the first round continued, it was obvious in thinking back about all of Jackson’s pre-fight comments that he clearly underestimated Griffin. As time went on, the crowd’s enthusiasm only added to the drama. And as the fight went on, I also couldn’t help but wonder whether we were on the verge of seeing the first-ever “organic” (meaning, a fighter that won TUF that hadn’t previously fought in the UFC) winner of “The Ultimate Fighter” claim a world title? When the fight ended, I honestly had no idea how the scoring was going to go.

In regards to Jackson belittling Griffin in interviews leading up to the fight, I am pretty sure that Jackson has respected Griffin all along and that a lot of what he said leading up to the fight was merely a case of him putting his game face on a little early. There was also some marketing taking place on the part of Rampage. This was proven to me as being fact after Jackson handled himself in such a classy manner following a close loss. The two paid each other a lot of respect during the post-fight interviews with Rogan inside the cage, and it was something I greatly appreciated. Jackson didn’t use the mic time to put himself over and stump for a rematch by questioning the judges. Instead, he gave Griffin his full endorsement as champion. Way to go.

And was it just me, or did Griffin steal the gameplan that Keith Jardine used to fight Chuck Liddell? It was almost verbatim. It also looked like for much of the fight (until the end, at least) that Jackson had gone to the Liddell school of checking kicks. I don’t understand why some fighters just neglect to check kicks. You don’t feel it right away in a lot of cases, but the pain creeps up on you. The pain Jackson feels now in that leg is probably twice as bad now as it was yesterday. If you don’t have good reflexes, checking kicks isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do. But you at least have to make an effort. I do think it was smart for Rampage not to switch stances, because then Griffin would have chopped the shit out of the other leg and instead of having one leg he could walk on, he’d have none.

Overall, any time you have a main event that is this high-profile and delivers as far as overall quality, it’s a great thing for the sport, regardless of who wins. It was the kind of fight that can convert non-fans into fans. It was the kind of main event that can help the sport grow and one that every MMA fan can be proud of.

  • Rage of The Machines says:

    >> A company should not be allowed to used time someone else has paid
    >> for to run commercials. How is that fair to the consumer?

    Simple. If the customer does not like the product, the customer should not buy the product.

  • rolltide says:

    Whats with all the Kos hate?

  • Rage of The Machines says:

    I too am baffled as to why Rampage didn’t win this fight.

    He was almost as elusive as Machida.

  • saerbarnet says:

    The saddest part of this event was not Rampage losing (Cause there we can see a great rematch).
    The saddest part was MELVIN GUILLARD winning. That means we have to see that punk again. (Did he really say he had everything except the ground game to be the best?)

  • P says:

    Great review. I think that a Forest vs. Chuck fight, provide Chuck gets by Evans, and a Rampage vs. Silva fight to see who would fight the winner would be one hell of a great show for the UFC. The two poster boys against one another, I am all in on that one. Plus, who doesn’t wanna see Rampage and Silva again. I know Rampage does. I guess we will see.

  • MMA SKOOL™ says:

    Sam, I’m looking forward to Okami vs. Silva. In fact along with Fitch, I think Okami is long overdue for a title shot.

    Henderson has that heavy overhand right, but otherwise I thought Okami posed a bigger threat to Silva. Silva is a beast, but it seems more like the UFC is afraid he’ll lose to Okami, rather than just the notion that its not a marketable fight.

    Cote will see the same fate as Leban if he ever fights Silva. No wonder Silva wants to move up to 205.

  • Matt says:

    I too thought that Rampage won the exchanges standing up. I’m good with the decision because Forest controlled the tempo and location of the fight for the majority of the time. The one thing that completely surprised me is how bad Rampage looked on the ground in the second. I’m looking forward to a rematch to see if Rampage and his team comes in with a better game plan.


  • Jeff says:

    You didn’t think Kos looked outstanding? Not even good? Come one Sam, Koscheck looked unbelievable!

  • TMAC says:

    Wow, personally I just skipped over all the knucklehead posts about your calling the fight in Rampage’s favor a product of being biased or racist. You posted in the middle of the night and a bunch of drunk keyboard warriors attacked you. Don’t give them the recognition they got by being called out in your article.

    Give us 2x as much copy on the story each round told in the main event and 1/2 as much response to knuckleheads. Not saying you didn’t have a point, but to be the better man and ignore them.

    Personally I had the fight 48-46 w/ Griffin taking 2 (10-8), 3, & 5. The overall key to the fight in terms of scoring for me was the 5th. Jackson’s leg was hurt and Griffiin was able to kick it and use Jackson’s lack of mobility to control the Octagon. Griffin’s right eye was badly cut and was being held together by a small mound of vasoline on it. Jackson was not able to target that cut until 90 seconds left in the round thus not allowing Jackson to limit Griffin’s sight due to the cut and thus control the Octagon. Bottom-line is that Griffin capitalized on his advantages while Jackson was unable to.

    Jackson wins round 1 10-9, but Griffin wins round 2 10-8 because Jackson had zero offense in the round. Round 3 was close w/ Griffin landing more and Jackson appearing to land more power shots, but after watching the fight again Jackson only connected cleanly a couple times that round. Griffin simply outpointed Rampage in the 3rd. The 4th was clearly a Jackson round.

    I think 48-46 Griffin or 47-47 were the 2 reasonable outcomes, but that’s just my opinion. I am baffled that 2 judges gave Forrest round 1, Byrd got the score correct in the end. If I were a judge that gave round 1 to Forrest, I understand giving round 5 to Jackson as a make-up call. I’m willing to bet “make up rounds” happen on score cards more often than we think. My problem in this case is that Byrd’s misjudging of round 1 essentially gave the decision to Griffin after round 3. Anywho he got it right in the end.

    Rematch will headline either an Oct or Nov show with the winner getting Lidell/Evans (although does anyone expect Evans to win?) Superbowl weekend in Vegas. The Ax Murder and Lyoto will face off for the right to be next in line.

  • BoRocker says:

    I’m good with the decision overall. I think the fight was closer than the score cards indicated but the result is the same. Octagon control and 5th round aggression won the fight for Forrest.

  • Sam Cupitt says:

    The Rampage black shirt was pretty much Affliction’s protest to the ban I believe. They did the exact same thing with GSP’s shorts at UFC 83.

  • kingiefella says:

    Congrats to Forrest in winning the title. It was very hard for me to choose who i wanted to win but i am happy for forrest. I feel he deserved the win because he wanted it a little more than Rampage last night. I am looking forward to the rematch but I would love to see Forrest v Liddell…what a fight that would be! I think if Liddell beats Rashad then he will get a fight with Forrest and Ramage will get his shot with the winner of that fight. Comments anyone?

  • Zack with a ck says:

    Fight of the Year? Not even close. Travesty of the year. Forrest won 1 round (rd 2) and Rampge won the rest. TUF hasn’t been validated, it’s shown to be a total fucking set up.

    I’m sure I’ll get over this, but to me this is as bad as the ’72 Olympics basketball gold medal game.

    A fucking disaster.

  • jaydog says:

    Rampage was done in Rd 2. His leg injury clearly had him mentally defeated, hence his survival instead of scramble from the bottom. After Forrest’s less than impressive GNP, Jackson’s recovery was (at least a little bit) heroic and his punishing combos made Forrest’s offense look pretty weak for the next three rounds. In other words, when the buzzer sounded at the end of the 5th, the champ had not been beaten.

    As much as I love Forrest’s warrior spirit, he brought strategy over intensity in the bout, and he really never tried to end the fight, instead opting to coast safely on teh merit of his 10-8 round 2. That’s no way to become champion, in my book, and I think Forrest feels a little underwhelmed as well. If Dana doesn’t set up a rematch to give us a conclusive winner, then the belt will have as little meaning as Couture’s vacated HW title.

  • Sam Cupitt says:

    Are you guys serious?

    That fight was incredible. The people who are saying Rampage clearly won weren’t watching the same fight. Rounds 3 and 4 were as close as they come, with round 5 being slightly behind that. I have no problem with the fight being awarded to Griffin. The only problem I found with the judging was that two of the judges gave the first round to Griffin.

    I would have been happy if that fight was ruled for Griffin, Rampage or even a draw.

  • mike wolfe says:

    Good analysis of the Rampage/Griffin fight. Couple of additional points. First, Rampage looked a little flat and immobile to me even before Griffin started landing the leg kicks. I wondered during the figfht whether Rampage was just waiting for Griffin to move in to land the big bomb, or whether he had some sort of injury. He did have a taped ankle.

    Second, wasn’t Couture in Griffin’s corner? They didn’t show him during the fight, but I could’ve sworn I saw him in the octagon briefly after the fight was over. I know Griffin trained some with Couture before the fight. My point is that Couture can put together a game plan for any fighter, and I think he, like everbody else, got the point of leg kicks from Jardine’s fight. An extremely effective way to break down a stronger striker, especially one who doesn’t go to the ground. And the ko artists like Liddell and Rampage just don’t want to accept that those kicks will hobble them over time and adapt their game plans.

  • It was a close fight, period.

    At the end of it I thought Griffin had it won, or at least earned the draw with the 10-8 2nd (he may not have one a whole lot of damage, but Rampage didn’t THROW a single strike, and spent 2 minutes mounted). That being said, if they had announced Jackson as the winner, it was a close enough fight that I wouldn’t have been able to call it a robbery.

    Let’s just see a rematch by the end of the year and settle it.

  • Mikey Gilz says:

    Ok, i’ll post here because there’s not so many comments to swallow up the good point i’m about to make………..

    Everyone is talking about Griffin not doing anything to win the fight. I ask you. What did Rampage do to win the fight? Since when is hopping around and swinging a wild haymaker a successful strategy against a world class fighter who obviously came in with a couture-written gameplan?

    Forrest was smart and came in with a strategy to win the fight. Regardless of how he won the fight. He clearly won the fight. He controlled where the fight went, he stayed away from the power shots, and he embarrassed Quinton Jackson with leg kicks. This is the strategy that Chuck Liddell was supposed to use in the Pride 03 Grand Prix but didn’t. Couture was doing commentary for that event. He knows how to beat Jackson, and he passed that game plan on to Forrest.

    Quit bitching about scorecard bias. This is not Bisping vs. Hammill. this was a 48-46 fight where Jackson wound up looking like someone Nancy Kerrigan’d him by the middle of the 2nd round. Jackson mounted absolutely ZERO offense in the second, and that’s why it’s a 10-8 round. Other rounds were much closer, but overall Griffin was the clearcut winner.

    So let’s move onto the question we all are scared to think about. Where does this place Forrest Griffin in the Pound for Pound? I don’t want to give him a ranking yet, but i’ll leave you with this……

    Big Fighters win Big Fights in Big Moments

  • Jay K. says:

    Great fight with Forrest and Rampage last night!!

    It definitely showed to me that Rampage needs another coach not boxing trainer. Juanito is great at his boxing with Rampage but he won’t be able to take him any further. Furthermore, Rampage needs an all around coach who can show him more than a powerful standup game that is all due to Iberra’s excellent training.

    Great FIGHT!!

  • Zack with a ck says:

    I stand by my assessment that Rampage clearly won every round except rd 2. I’m both a Forrest and Rampage fan, and I don’t gamble, so my vision is not clouded by any rabid fanboy lust or loss of money.

    The decision was the worst I’ve seen. Period.

  • joe says:

    Rampage needs to talk with Robbie Lawler about how leg kicks suck. Im not surprised Forrest won and think he did a great job. although the judges are still blind. terrible decision

    as far as anderson silver, i think the only way he loses to anyone @170,185 and even 205 is if he is forced to run the gauntlet wwe style and fight 3 fights in sucsession. and im not kidding on this one.

  • MrNiceGuyMMA says:

    Rampage said that he got his ass whooped in the post fighter interview. The interview that happened right after the fight. Forrest got knocked down once. Forrest controlled the entire fight except for that one moment. The judges all show that. The only people who think Rampage won are clearly biased towards him or biased against Forrest for whatever numerous reasons ranging from Pride love to Tuf hate. Having Rampage say that he lost right after the fight should negate anyone thinking he won. Also, working for CBS even in a minor capacity should prevent you from showing such bias as you did in your post right after the fight last nite.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    #19, again, what possible bias could I have? How does my writing for create a bias towards one UFC fighter over another UFC fighter? I don’t hate TUF. I enjoyed PRIDE just as much as I enjoy the UFC, but PRIDE is gone and who honestly still looks at a fighter as representing PRIDE or the UFC in this day and age? Your argument is devoid of any logic and you need to get over yourself.

    In my judgment, Rampage won the fight. It’s as simple as that. Learn to accept the fact that not everyone in life is always going to share the same opinion with you. Are you a child or an adult?

  • joe says:

    sam, he obviously has a childs insight, dont let him get to you. i watched the fight with a party of 11 others , all NY’ers of mixed backgrounds and moderate to good mma knowledge and we all had the fight either for ‘page or a draw.

  • paddiosf says:

    That’s what I am saying also, The UFC wanted Forrest to win the fight..I thought the same as everyone Rampage won 3 out the 5 rounds..It was just what Dana wanted, TUf winner with the belt..I know if Liddell beats Evans, I can see it now Liddell/Griffin “Coach vs Student” that’s what the UFC wants for sure..I’m sure everyone went to to see the Post fight interviews, Jackson know’s he was robbed, he just didn’t want to bad mouth the judges..

  • HexRei says:

    I had a crazy dream that Anderson Silva won the LHW title last night.

  • Kuch says:

    Watch the fight sober. Forrest did enough to win. He didn’t dominate, but then again, he didn’t have to. He was smart with his gameplan and out-hustled Rampage. Rampage honestly looked a little lost and fatigued after round 2, so maybe he was just rusty. I also think he underestimated Forrest.

  • dunlop says:

    First, I am not happy about the decision, but the most unsatisfying part is that somehow they awarded the first round to Forrest, which makes about as much sense as Beverly Hills Cop 3.

    Second, I think Caplan got jipped at Best Buy and they sold him a tube TV. I think he likes to watch PPV’s just to mention that the HD wasn’t any good. Dude, the HD looks fine on my TV and any other HD TV I watch it on. I have no idea what else you want UFC to do to satisfy paying $5 extra dollars, Caplanstein…

    Third, even though I despise Koscheck, that was an impressive victory. Kudos to Lytle for showing a shit-ton of heart as well.

  • stan says:


    “Are you a child or an adult?”

    That’s the thing, Sam. I think some of these posts are actually coming from kids. Anonymity makes everyone a little braver. Combined with youthful naivte and arrogance, this may explain the weirdly hostile tone of comments all over the internet.

    Great site, by the way! You have become my first stop for mma news.

  • Evan says:

    yeah the UFC HD PPV’s look awesome on my TV and all of the other ones I have seen.

  • Ken says:

    fight of the year, so far, for sure. i thought it was a great decision. too often it’s like the champ is spotted a couple points for being the champ. i don’t think that’s cool. if you’re the champ, go out and dominate. if rampage had closed some distance, he could have won. forrest took away rampage’s biggest weapon, his devastating striking. great strategy by forrest, executed for 5 full rounds. no surprise that mr. strategy, Randy Couture was in his corner.

    great fight, great fighters, both class acts and cool. can’t wait for the rematch.

  • Buddha says:

    It was a close fight, but Forrest won, and this is coming from someone who was fully expecting Rampage to win and even wanted Rampage to win. Forrest won and I do not see much controversy to the decision. My cable went out the moment the final bell rang and I had no question the decision was going to be a UD for Forrest, I was surprised to come here and see so many people saying Rampage won.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    “Simple. If the customer does not like the product, the customer should not buy the product.”

    LOL. Because as someone who covers MMA on a full-time basis, not ordering UFC pay-per-views is a realistic option for me.

    Thanks for playing.

  • Evan says:

    Actually I should say the first few weren’t that good but they have stepped it up since.

  • ACK! says:

    Good article, Sam. You make a lot of good points and back them up with solid reasoning. My only problem is that you do come off as a little defensive, but I suppose that’s warranted because a lot of people are using the Griffin vs. Jackson decision as an opportunity to bitch about anything and everything related to the UFC. It was a great fight and regardless of who won it’ll make for an incredible rematch.

  • Ian says:

    They need to rematch. Upon a second viewing I still think Rampage won the fight. I’m a fan of both guys for various reasons, so there’s no bias here. While it’s no doubt that Griffin tends to get help from the judges, he had a good game plan, and those leg kicks he threw nullified Quinton’s explosiveness in terms of finishing the job on Forrest when he had him in trouble with strikes. So, it wasn’t a robbery in the Bisping/Hamill sense, but Quinton deserves an immediate rematch.

    I’m still disappointed that Almeida gassed like that. I honestly thought he would have an easy run through Cote and get a 1st round sub.

    #1 wrote – “Simple. If the customer does not like the product, the customer should not buy the product.”

    This ridiculous notion that if you critique or dislike a certain part of something you really enjoy on the whole, that it absolves the parts you don’t like from criticism is just completely asinine. Or, if you do criticize a certain portion of something, then you should just not watch, buy, or do that thing all together is even worse.

    I want you to read the next paragraph thoroughly and let it sink in.

    People who are passionate about a certain product are going to critique it in hopes to improve those areas that they would like to see changed. It’s called quality improvement, and if nobody ever complained about a product they otherwise enjoyed in an effort to make it better, we’d all be driving cars with no airbags on the way to watch a black and white TV, in a house with no air conditioning.

  • dunlop says:

    I like Caplan’s articles and this is a fantastic site.

    I was just mentioning that after every show, Caplan complains about the HD broadcast. He complains about paying the extra $5 every time. Watch the fights not in HD and tell me if the extra $5 was worth it, it always is.

    I am just stating that as a die-hard HD guy, the picture is very nice and is worth the extra money.

    He complains about the HD and I complain about him complaining about the’s a vicious circle.

  • Plague says:

    Great, I just bookmarked this site and it turns out it’s just a bitch-fest like fight linker.

  • Donk says:

    The UFC has vast sums of money, a huge brand bigger than even the sport itself and the majority of the worlds best talent. Then why do they consistently fail to put on the mega-cards, the so called super bowl of MMA that they were shouting about a year ago? I mean for the even in Birmingham Michael Bisping is headlining for Christ’s sake!

    I also don’t understand how they always leave it up to the fighters to put on a good show, are they incapable of adding to the entertainment? Why is their programme always filled with the same out-dated parts? Can’t they be creative and original, or are they too scared to change what is proved to be a winning product?

    In my view the UFC continues to squander the fantastic chances they have as the market leader in MMA. They could be doing so much more. If this is indeed the ‘greatest sport in the world’, they should treat it as such. But I think it’s more likely that they can’t match the growth of their product, with the growth of their company and the sport. Which is pathetic.

  • marc says:

    Great review!! Although IMO Kos looked pretty good.
    Hopefully future fights will be:
    – Okami vs Silva or if not Okami vs. Cote for the #1 contendor and title shot
    – Rampage vs Wandy – I think timing is perfect for this and Rampage only defended his belt succesfully once
    – Thiago vs. Machida for #1 or Machida vs Forrest next (this is probaly a snoozefest but maybe most deserving contender right now)

    Thoughts on this Sam??

  • neijia says:

    #14 jaydog – yeah, exactly. and if a fight is basically too close to call you don’t give it to the challenger who didn’t convincingly win… oh well rematch!

    Machida looks like the next #1 contender in my book

  • j-rock says:

    Forest did not take it from the champ, PERIOD! You have to beat the champ to be the champ. This just sets up Dana Whites wet dream of Griffin vs Chuck Lidell. Also, for all the Elite XC haters, the PPV sucked beyond anything Elite XC has put out, the main event was the highlight. Right???!!!!

  • Cathedron says:

    I’m not too upset with the UFC doing commercials during their PPVs. I mean, if they don’t do that, then they’d just raise the price of the PPVs. There’s really no winning when it comes to stuff like that. Plus, there needs to be SOME point during the broadcast when I can go to the bathroom without feeling like I missed anything interesting.

  • Anton K says:

    American consumers get slowly duped into receiving less and less for our money… but I digress before I even begin.

    I thought the Griffin/Rampage fight left a little to be desired. Griffin fought a great gameplan against a bored looking Rampage and barely won the fight. The hollow drama of the entire affair was echoed quite loudly by the booing fans. The fifth round was a piss poor showing that clearly reflected the direction the UFC is heading:

    Overhyped and underwhelming. Is there any cultural relevance to Griffin’s championship? At least Rampage KO’ed Chuck Liddell, the face of the UFC. In this case, I felt like Rampage was the black man in the conference room that knew his time was over.

  • Demon6.0 says:

    “And was it just me, or did Griffin steal the gameplan that Keith Jardine used to fight Chuck Liddell?”

    100%! I said exactly the thing to a buddy who’d been watching the fight with me afterward.

    For my money, being a huge Rampage fan, I was very disappointed by the loss. But at the halfway mark of Round 5, I had pretty much given up hope. Jackson’s punching was awesome, but Griffin apparently feels no pain whatsoever. I was really disappointed to see Jackson not using his wrestling, because I think that a successful takedown and some ground-and-pound in the fifth could potentially have swayed the decision his way.

  • Anton K says:

    Demon 6.0

    I agree. Was Rampage afraid of the knees? The fifth round SUCKED.

  • Jay K. says:

    Zack, you’re wrong. Rampage won rounds one and four convincingly with the serious 10-8 rd. 2 loss to Griffin. Griffin also won round three as the Champ didn’t do enough nor press the action. Rd. 5 looked to me could’ve gone either way but it was more a Griffin round.

    My breakdown:

    Rd.1 R-10 F-9
    Rd.2 R-8 F-10
    Rd.3 R-9 F-10
    Rd.4 R-10 F-9
    Rd.5 R-9 F-10

    Both guys are classy and terrific individuals which made the fight all the more enjoyable.


    Jay K.

  • cheapshot says:

    Sam, don’t forget that it’s more than likely that you’re arguing with an angsty 12 year old. Think Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, I know it’s difficult but I don’t see why you should waste your time responding point for point to these people when they clearly don’t put anything like the amount of time you do into their comments. You could always go round their houses and roshambo them like jay and bob do, just an idea.

    Just for the sake of argument I was torn between rampage by one, a draw and forrest by one. It’s clearly tough being a judge but how in the hell they come up with these scores is beyond me.

  • kingiefella says:

    I agree with #22….Rampage clearly stated that he got his ass beat last night…how can anyone say they feel he won that fight? Clearly they were watching this fight through their beer goggles….when they sober up and watch it again they will see that forrest clearly won…ok,…it wasnt the KO win or complete dominant win but a win is a win….rampage had his chance that night to beat forrest…..didnt do it or couldnt do it…it doesnt matter. I feel that yes he should get his rematch but i feel he should go to the back of the line because there are other fighters who should get there chance. Rampage should have maybe 1 or 2 fights then meet the champ (if its forrest) and do what he has to do.

  • kirby says:

    Sam when you say Forest is now the #1 lhw in the world you are correct but that doesn’t stop me from feeling like that statement is wrong. It probably comes down to how Griffen wins compared to how other #1s win. In the UFC BJ, GSP, and Anderson all have dominant wins over top tallent. Griffen wins with intangables like heart, toughness, and smarts. He doesn’t blow peoples doors off. He hangs around and pounces on mistakes. He out works and out cardios people. These things make people underestimate him, myself included. I was at work and didn’t get to watch the fight so all I can say about Griffen now is; he is the champ and he is the #1 guy but…. ” Being the man and staying the man are two different things.” I would also wish Griffen luck but I don’t realy like the guy.

  • HexRei says:

    I think Lyoto Machida is the #1 fighter in the world at this point.. Grifin #2, Page #3.

  • screwface says:

    i agree ufc hd is not up to par with other hd when it comes to sports. yes it looks way better than the standard broadcast but you would think ufc would spend the extra dollar. compare it any other sports hd it just doesnt seem to be as clear. even wwe hd ppvs have a cleaner look to them, and i may have walked past a tv once or twice with one playing to compare :p

  • Kel says:

    Your feeling on Ads during PPV is the same feeling I got the first time I saw a commercial in a movie theater…I could tolerate something like this if they used it to make the PPV a bit cheaper. A price of $29.95 – $34.95 would have made it a much more attractive purchase. They could even limit the commercials to the closed-circuit broadcasts.

  • kobracom says:

    I don’t know what drugs all of you are on that say that was the fight of the year. Second I think it is sad that Forrests performance won him a belt. He is waaay to overrated.

  • Are you having a laugh?. says:

    If its between this fight and the Cung vs Shamrock for fight of the year we would have had the worst year in MMA history.


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