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UFC 93 (1/17 Dublin, Ireland)

By Zach Arnold | January 17, 2009

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Event reports: AOL Fanhouse | Sherdog | MMA Torch | MMA Junkie | Bloody Elbow | MMA on Tap

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, UK, Zach Arnold | 100 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

100 Responses to “UFC 93 (1/17 Dublin, Ireland)”

  1. David says:

    “My expectation before the show is that this was not a card that deserved much interest for pay-TV. It lived up to that expectation.”

    Couldn’t agree with you more Zach! Totally lackluster card! The Brazilians didn’t look like their normal aggressive selves (Palhares and Rua)…

    Also, Drawl and Siver should have been given some main card exposure, ESPECIALLY considering they both finished fights!

  2. D.Capitated says:

    The same Wanderlei Silva that was KO’d by “Haymaker Henderon” you mean?

    Who did it afterwards? Hunt beat Silva before Henderson or Liddell as well.

    The rest of this is ridiculous. Guys who came at the above names with looping punches ended up getting beat on with next to no exception, but its better than the measured approach favored by 4 of the five UFC title holders because, ummm, uh…..

  3. 45 Huddle says:

    Lastly,

    Let’s look at what makes a K-1 Level fighter.

    Mirko Filipovic is very much a one dimensional striker. He relies on the head kick. He doesn’t show great hands. Doesn’t have great combo’s If he can’t get the head kick, he struggles.

    Mark Hunt relied for years on a hard head. He’s out of shape by K-1, Boxing, and MMA Standards, and somehow he is K-1 Level because at one point he could take a punch and a kick to the head.

    Semmy Schilt. Love Schilt from back in the Pancrase days, but for him to win the Grand Prix 3 years in a row is embarassing to K-1. Even under K-1 rules, he would likely be wrecked by many Top 20 boxers. Heck, Gilbert Yvel knocked him silly.

    K-1 Level Striking is a myth. I don’t think World Class Boxing skills are a myth. I would never say the vast majority of MMA Fighters are even in the same league with their hands as the real top boxers. But when it comes to kickboxing skills, there isn’t much of a difference between MMA and K-1.

  4. D.Capitated says:

    Gilbert Yvel knocked him silly ten years ago in a fight where closed fists weren’t even legal. Jesus, you’re stretching.

  5. 45 Huddle says:

    Oh, so he didn’t have K-1 Level Skills then?

    Have you seen that fight? He got knocked silly by palm strikes. That’s why I brought it up.

    My assessments of Cro Cop, Hunt, & Schilt are spot on.

  6. D.Capitated says:

    Have you seen that fight? He got knocked silly by palm strikes. That’s why I brought it up.

    Schilt was wearing kick pads, couldn’t punch, and was 5 years away from going full time in kickboxing. I’d say Schilt probably didn’t have K-1 skills in 1999.

  7. 45 Huddle says:

    Wow, so a fighter can learn K-1 Level skills in 5 years. Amazing. That’s about the same time period many MMA fighters have been striking for. And many of them strike much more naturally then Schilt.

    See my point.

    K-1 is very overrated. While I don’t think boxers would translate well into MMA, I do think purely as an art form, it is at a very high level. The same cannot be said for K-1, which just doesn’t produce these types of prodigies like Floyd Mayweather Jr, Manny Pacquaia, and others who it is obvious to see are on a different level then MMA fighter in their striking skills.

  8. Chuck says:

    “K-1 is very overrated. While I don’t think boxers would translate well into MMA, I do think purely as an art form, it is at a very high level. The same cannot be said for K-1, which just doesn’t produce these types of prodigies like Floyd Mayweather Jr, Manny Pacquaia, and others who it is obvious to see are on a different level then MMA fighter in their striking skills.”

    I could agree with you when it comes to the heavyweights, but the K-1 MAX guys are on a whole other level. Some of the best lower weight fighters in the entire world are in K-1 MAX.

    One other K-1 fighter I always liked was Kaoklai Kaennorsig (spelling?). He was damn good, but he was in a conundrum. He was too heavy to be K-1 MAX (K-1 MAX weight limit is 154 lbs., KK was 175 lb. fighter. Very big for a Thai fighter) and he was too damn small for some of the better heavy K-1 heavyweights. They should have started a middleweight/light heavyweight weight division.

  9. D.Capitated says:

    Wow, so a fighter can learn K-1 Level skills in 5 years.

    Schilt came from a Kyokushin background and was well known as being essentially a standup only fighter. When he stopped working on defending takedowns and submissions and worked exclusively on being a kickboxer, he got a lot better, big shock. Its like saying that a gold medalist in boxing should be able to win a world title right away.

    And as Chuck says, we’re talking about heavyweight K-1, which has been in a developmental lull since Andy Hug kicked off 9 years ago. Watching Anderson Silva, its obvious that he looks a helluva lot more like the top K-1 Max guys than Chris Lytle.

  10. spacedog says:

    45, you’re totally missing the point. High level kick boxing has a skill set totally lacking in fights like this nights. Watch Remy or Aerts or le Banner, the way they set up combos, they way they transition between kicks, and punches it is next level.
    Now if I wnt to see a kick boxing match that is what I watch.If I want to see MMA, then I watch UFC or Affliction and so on. So when a pair of MMA fighters decide to throw out half the game, it is no longer real MMA and becomes… low level kick boxing. And by”low level”I don’t mean K-1 fighters would beat them in MMA, I mean low level in that as a KICK BOXING match the skill displayed is piss poor.

  11. Big Bill Bob says:

    Coming from a guy who believes that muay thai is the superior striking art, I was basically yelling at my computer for Shogun to start throwing some straight punches and Coleman woulda been turned into Coleslaw. Instead he kept farting around with his knees and kicks that did absolutely nothing until the final exchange where Slobgun started punching and low and behold finished the fight. Watch for Patrick Berry to shred your argument of K1 fighters not having high leveing striking as he progresses and kicks the shit out of opponents since hes a semi-accomplished striker compared to people like Slowgun. Terrible UFC again btw.

  12. Ivan Trembow says:

    One of the headlines on the front page of Yahoo.com is “Fighter a fraud” and if you click the link it takes you to Steve Cofield’s piece about how much Shogun sucks. How did it go from “fighter has very disappointing performance” to “fighter a fraud”?

    Also, I think “spacedog” may have said what I was trying to say better than I was able to, although I’d add that it’s ridiculous how the fighters are consistently encouraged to throw away half their game like that by being rewarded for it when they do.

  13. Jeremy (Not that Jeremy) says:

    I agree that having three cards in 15 days is bad for consumers. Especially if we go through an eight week drought in spring or summer like we did last year.

    The PPV buys on cards spaced out more would almost assuredly be higher as well.

    Davis vs Lytle turned my stomach to start the night out wrong. The fact that Davis just refused to pounce on Lytle and finish the fight told me all that I needed to know. These are not UFC level fighters, they don’t understand MMA.

    I’m disgusted that they got a bonus for it, and I’m confused that Coleman vs Rua got a fight of the night bonus as well. They were both pretty much exactly what I don’t associate with high quality MMA.

  14. Ultimo Santa says:

    If I had to rate this card form 1-10, I would give it a 4.

    Rua vs. Coleman was simply depressing, Ltyle vs. Davis was just a decent but somewhat uneventful kickboxing match (I won’t say whether it was a ‘B’ level or ‘C’ level, but it damn sure wasn’t an ‘A’ level) and the main event was a typical Decision Dan snoozefest.

    Horn getting a beating for 3 rounds was entertaining, and bonus points since he got suplexed.

    Nothing else to report the rest of the card.

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

    Penn vs. GSP and Machida vs. Thiago Silva are two quality fights with big implications, so that should make for a much more exciting night of fights.

    And of course we have the most important fight of 2009 happening next weekend (even if no one sees it) when Fedor fights Arlovski.

  15. Ultimo Santa says:

    Why not match up Sean Sherk vs. Kermit Cintron?

    Why don’t you take a guess:

    a. no one has heard of Kermit Cintron

    b. Kermit Cintron would ask for 10x what a UFC fighter earns

    c. it would be a boring fight with a equally boring build-up

    d. all of the above

  16. 45 Huddle says:

    Oh, here we go again with the Kermit Cintron talk. Always comical. There is no guarantee that he would be a champion in the sport. Some styles just don’t translate well to MMA.

    Jordan Breem got on his soap box with the scoring of Franklin/Henderson. Somehow he thought Franklin won the second round because Franklin dominated on the feet and then took no damage on the ground.

    So I rewatched the fight, and specifically the 2nd round. Wow, Breem was way off on this one. Franklin didn’t really have one major shot during the first round of the fight. Yes, he outstruck Henderson, but it was actually pretty close for the first two minutes, then Franklin won the striking for about 20 seconds before it went to the ground for the remainder of the round. Henderson did enough damage at that point to easily win the round.

  17. spacedog says:

    Again, Dana, you miss the point. No one is suggesting that MMA fighters should be as good or better at a different sport (in this case kick boxing) as the top fighters in that sport.
    What we are suggesting is that in an MMA match, they should fight MMA and that when fighters don’t, when they attempt to play to the mouth breathing knuckle heads that are ruining the sport and “make it exciting” or”avoid that pussy ass ground game” they neither make it exciting nor are truly fighting MMA.
    And finally, the shite fest that is a chris Leben fight or last nights “epic clash” is not a demonstration of skill and it is not really that entertaining.
    I prefer quality MMA in all its forms, and that includes the ground game.

  18. 45 Huddle says:

    should say… Franklin didn’t have a major shot during the first 2 minutes of the second round. Need to proof read that one!!

  19. 45 Huddle says:

    I don’t know about anybody else, but when Denis Kang shot that first double leg, I smiled. FINALLY, there was grappling.

    I’m not a big fan of Liddell/Silva either. My favorite fights are ones that are contested on the feet and the ground.

  20. klown says:

    It was a dismal night.

    I’m glad I “punished” the UFC by watching it illegally, and I hope (but don’t expect) that others did the same.

    Rua-Coleman is one of those fights that actually makes me sad. It was depressing on several levels (all touched on in other comments).

    Davis-Lytle was pathetic. These two fights make a mockery of the FOTN bonus.

    Henderson-Franklin went as most people predicted, a boring stalemate. They put on the most skillful performances of the night, but neither man is a superstar.

    No fighter on this card (including Belcher and Palhares) has any aura of fearsomeness. I don’t see anybody ducking ANY of these fighters anytime soon.

  21. Ivan Trembow says:

    There is a very good article by “Total MMA” author Jonathan Snowden on Five Ounces of Pain about the Davis-Lytle fight. Key excerpts:

    “There’s also something dangerous about the mentality Zuffa has inspired in many of its fighters by offering bonuses that often exceed the fighter’s regular purses. It has created an atmosphere where winning isn’t a fighter’s main goal… Winning “Fight of the Night” — that was his main goal. Not winning fights, just fight of the night honors. After all, he could make more money losing the kind of fight he knows Zuffa loves than he ever could with a Yushin Okami style winning streak. Caring more about entertaining than winning is the beginning of the end of integrity, the first step down a slippery slope from sport to spectacle. And it leads to the type of gentleman’s agreement we haven’t seen since the days of Pancrase… Whether or not there was an agreement set in stone, it was obvious neither man was going to the ground. Even when it became evident that Lytle was losing the standing exchanges and didn’t have the quickness to keep up with the elusive Davis, he never once thought about taking the boxer down. He wasn’t driven by a will to win. He was driven by his pocketbook. And the distinction between pro wrestling and MMA just got a little bit blurrier.”

    The full article is highly recommended and it’s at http://fiveouncesofpain.com/2009/01/18/davis-and-lytle-may-have-raised-the-bar-too-high/

  22. 45 Huddle says:

    Davis & Lytle are in an interesting position where they will never be in a Title fight, but they are exciting enough for the UFC to keep around. Very few others fighters can afford to take the chances they did during that fight. At the end of the day, winning is the most important thing for 95% of the fighters. Yes, they can’t stink up the building like Okami, but as long as they keep winning and doing it with moderate excitement levels, the UFC is going to keep them around. It’s only when they continue to lose that they will be gone.

    Lytle & Davis are the exceptions. Even a guy like Gurgel got canned because he lost too often. And he fought for that FOTN Bonus all the time.

  23. ilostmydog says:

    The interesting part is that the bulk of the FOTN bonuses awarded have gone to fights that have significant portions contested on the ground and on the feet, not just one or the other.

  24. Wolverine says:

    I don’t get this whole Davis vs. Lytle argument. People who whine a bout that they didn’t fight to win, but to get a bonus probably didn’t watch the fight. It was Lytle who fought for the bonus and it was Davis who fought to win.

    Marcus fought really smart fight, he actually did everything he could to win, he didn’t slug it out with Lytle, instead he was backing up, counterpunching and working really effective body kicks, some fancy combos (body kick – knee or jab – elbow). DellaGrotte really tuned up his striking game and I he’s really decent kickboxer. Probably not K-Max caliber, but still I wouldn’t call it B or C level.

  25. Jeremy (Not that Jeremy) says:

    Wolvering: Davis displayed no aggression and little in the way of controlling the match. When he had clear opportunities to finish the fight, he didn’t take them. Whether you go by UFC’s scoring system or Pride’s, this was a bad fight.

  26. Wolverine says:

    Come on, some of you say they went for the bonus and you say it was a bad fight, I guess it can’t be both. The most important thing in MMA standing up is landing strikes and Davis did it. I don’t remember any situations when he had opportunity to finish the fight and didn’t take it. Obviously he didn’t go to the ground, but I think it was smart, cause Lytle is a superior grappler and he wasn’t really hurt. Machida (or Florian against Huerta) also does not display agression but still you can’t argue that he’s very technical stand-up fighter.

    And I don’t know what scoring system has to do with deciding whether fight is fun to watch or not. As for scoring Davis won it in both UFC & Pride. Probably this isn’t a fight of the year candidate, but it was ok and I really liked some DellaGrotte stuff Davis presented. It would probably have been more Griffin vs. Bonnar-esque if Davis had forgotten about tactics nad just slug it out.

  27. 45 Huddle says:

    No matter what happens, people will complain.

    When wrestlers stand up and strike, people like Eddie Goldman complains they are not sticking to their wrestling roots.

    When two strikers stand up and strike, people complain that they refuse to take it to the ground. I’m certainly not a fan of purely stand-up fights, but it makes sense for both of these fighters.

    Lastly, it would be one thing if the UFC was rewarding Davis or Lytle with title shots. They are not. They are not being elevated over guys like Koscheck, Alves, Swick, Hughes, and other true contenders.

  28. Dave says:

    45 Huddle is literally the most hilarious dude here always.

    “There was no bad booking on this card. There is no oversaturating of PPV’s.”

    “There are no American troops in Baghdad.”

  29. 45 Huddle says:

    Market dictates oversaturation. And current buyrates don’t make me funny, but correct.

  30. skwirrl says:

    For the record if anybody wants to see an AWESOME fight watch the HBO replay of Andre Berto vs Luiz Collazo from Saturday night. THAT WAS A FUCKING WAR. Early FotY and very strong and legit candidate for the eventual winner.

  31. Ivan Trembow says:

    Davis did not appear to be fighting primarily to win; he appeared to be fighting primarily to win Fight of the Night and secondarily to win. There were times that he knocked Lytle down and could have pounced on him more, but chose not to because doing so would have presumably made him “a pussy” (to use Davis’ own words).

    It’s not just that the UFC rewards people for getting into stand-up-only kickboxing matches, it’s also that they punish fighters who they feel are in boring fights. Yushin Okami had a 6-1 UFC record and got put into a prelim fight, while fighters who didn’t even win TUF got the main card slots instead, and the fact that he ended up having a boring fight against Dean Lister is used as justification for this treatment by people like Dave Meltzer.

    Also, saying that Davis will never be in a title fight as some kind of justification for this behavior doesn’t really justify anything. Who says that he will never be in a title fight? Anybody the UFC wants to be in a title fight will be in a title fight if they have won their last one fight. And if truly has no chance of ever being in a title fight, then what is he doing in the Super Bowl of MMA?

  32. ilostmydog says:

    Ivan, why would Marcus Davis attack Lytle on the ground? Lytle is far more proficient and experienced on the ground than Marcus, and at the same time Marcus was winning the striking. It would literally make zero sense for him to attack Lytle on the ground when he was doing a fine job of beating him on the feet. You really can’t make the assumption that Davis was FOTN hunting because he stuck to an intelligent gameplan and didn’t attempt to combat his opponent in an area where he was at a distinct disadvantage.

  33. Ivan Trembow says:

    “You really can’t make the assumption that Davis was FOTN hunting”

    I don’t have to make that assumption, he made it very clear in his pre-fight interviews. I wasn’t saying that Davis should have taken the fight to the ground more in general, I was saying that a couple of times he had Lytle hurt and could have potentially pounced on him and finished him on the ground.

  34. ilostmydog says:

    Or he could have gotten swept and submitted.

  35. Ivan Trembow says:

    Could have, yes. But is that what he was talking about before the fight? Not wanting to go to the ground because of Lytle’s submission skills? Or was he talking about not wanting to go to the ground in order to potentially win Fight of the Night and have a memorable “war”?

  36. Wolverine says:

    Ivan

    You obviously did watch the pre-fight interviews, but you didn’t watch the fight. Davis didn’t have Lytle hurt on the ground even once (there was one moment when Lytle hurt his teeth, but still he was throwing upkicks). The funny thing is that Davis even went for g’n’p once, but I guess you missed it. You write about C, B or whatever level kickboxing but you can’t distinguish a stand-up war from pretty smart technical counterfighting (by Davis).

    Rewarding intresting fighters and not rewarding boring is nothing new. Pride didn’t even want Sean Sherk cause they thought he was boring. If Okami vs. Lister was on this card instead of Davis vs. Lytle do you really believe it would be a better card. I don’t think so.

  37. D.Capitated says:

    Its funny: People love to criticize PRIDE these days because, well, it deserves criticism on a lot of levels. Meanwhile, the UFC’s business practices are okay because PRIDE did similar things. Its a strange notion that the often corrupt acts of one justify similar acts of another.

  38. Dave says:

    “Market dictates oversaturation. And current buyrates don’t make me funny, but correct.”

    A shitty boxing card will blow away this weekend’s show, as will your average WWE event.

    This month they make their fans pick between the meaningless show or the important show. That can and will piss people off.

  39. 45 Huddle says:

    Boxing fight was great, except for the decision. Not sure what was worse, 30-27 for Franklin or one judge having Berto so far ahead.

    As for the UFC…. They are stil averaging 1 PPV per month. I can afford that. It just happens that they are 2 weeks from each other. But with no PPV in Feb, the Jan 31st show becomes a defactor Feb pay show. I didn’t have to choose anything.

    The only choice I had to make was if I wanted to buy an Affliction card. they are the NEW variable into the equation.

  40. Grape Knee High says:

    On the topic of oversaturation, I do agree there are too many PPV events. But that’s just my opinion.

    However, I also think 45 is correct. If the market — which is the casual fan who buys the PPV — continues to purchase these events, then the market is saying that there is no oversaturation.

    Hardcore fans, particularly those who watch events illegally (and there are many of them), are only a SMALL portion of the market.

  41. Mike Rome says:

    Actually the market makes it very clear there is no oversaturation. In December, where Zuffa had about 5 shows we heard the height of this refrain, and it looks like UFC 92 broke the all time record.

    12 PPV shows a year is not too much. The Spike shows help the PPV shows more than they hurt. This show will do 200,000 buys, which is about what Roy Jones and Calzaghe did, and it will beat almost every WWE ppv domestic number besides the big 4.

  42. Zack says:

    It takes the market a while to catch up. WCW put out shit for a year before it caught up with them.

  43. Mike Rome says:

    Yes, it is “catching up” while they do absolute record business.

    They’re going to have two million buy + shows in the first half of the year. They are doing better than ever before.

    I remember listening to a radio show here where one host said that 2007 may have done well, but with Randy gone, chuck going down, etc the UFC was going to have such a rough 2008. I think it’s pretty clear most critics of UFC business strategy know very little about business.

  44. D.Capitated says:

    I’m sorry Mike, did you predict Lesnar/Couture setting monster buy rates at the end of 2007?

  45. Mike Rome says:

    No, but it was already a very successful year without it. GSP/Serra, Penn/Sherk, Jackson/Griffin, Fitch/GSP shows all did very well, so did Rashad/Liddell.

    Even more, I thought Liddell would beat Shogun in June and end up getting a title shot against Jackson or Griffin, which would have been a near million buy show too.

    I also thought Lesnar might beat Mir and do a second good buyrate, had no idea Couture would come back but figured it was possible, and had hopes for Fedor/Couture. There were all sorts of other possibilities besides Lesnar. Even without Lesnar, it looks like 92 did a million buys without any real gimmicks.

    It’s just kind of an arrested development style recurring gag at this point to see people predicting imminent decline for the UFC. I suppose if people keep doing it forever though they may eventually get it right.

  46. klown says:

    Speaking for myself, I neither predict nor hope for the imminent decline of the UFC. I have been a loyal customer (and P2P marketer) of the UFC for years now. Beyond that, I love MMA, and I believe in its potential for growth, and as long the UFC has a monopoly on the sport, that means continuing growth for the UFC.

    I do predict, and hope for, less greed by Zuffa, higher quality and more affordable entertainment for fans, greater public respect for the sport of MMA, fairer treatment and compensation of fighters, and increased competition in the industry to the benefit of both fighters and fans.

    Beyond predicting and hoping, there are steps we can all take towards the ends we’d like to see. The “market” is not some force outside ourselves, we make interventions in the market every time we make a purchase or abstain from doing so. Whenever we even speak of a product, we are contributing to its branding, and also intervening in the market.

    Individually, each of us can vote with his wallet in strategically selecting what to consume; and we can influence public opinion in our capacity as journalists, bloggers and commentators. The contribution of individuals is small, but when like-minded individuals begin to self-consciously coordinate their actions, the market feels the effects more readily.

    Buying and talking.
    That’s all we can do 🙂

  47. D.Capitated says:

    Mike, dear, listen. If Lesnar had rematched Mir, it would not have done a million buys, plus Nog/Mir wouldn’t have happened on TUF. If Lesnar had lost his second bout in the UFC, you’re pretty clearly looking at no hope of Couture/Lesnar or a buyrate of that size and 2008 ends up doing fewer overall buys than 2007.

    Talking about how you thought Liddell was going to do such and such outlines the problem in assuming anything of that nature in MMA and why I find this sort of analysis almost comical. If only the realities of the sport hadn’t intervened in the far more important business matters, they’d have done two million buys for any given event with the right fights.

  48. The Gaijin says:

    Is 200,000 buys considered good? I think that would point to heavily oversaturating PPV’s (baseline is considered 350-400k, no?), given that people purchased UFC 92 in record numbers and likely abstained from buying (maybe read the results, watched at a bar, watched on-line or waiting to see a replay on SPIKE) and waited to spend their money on UFC 94.

    From a pure market bullying standpoint to hurt Affliction, I guess it will do what it was intended to do…but getting 200,000 ppv buys points to oversaturation to me, especially given the “problems” we’re seeing UFC having filling out cards with compelling matches.

  49. 45 Huddle says:

    $22.50 X 200,000 $4.5 Million

    I would say that is good. Combine that with a $1.3 Million gate. Let’s say they took home half of that….

    They have $5 Million of revenues for what is really just a secondary PPV for them.

    I would say that is very strong.

  50. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    They paid 40kx6 in announced bonuses, Franklin probably got 50k, Henderson 250k (based on their 88 salaries), Rua might have made 300k (had 150k in a loss at 76). Downcard of that, you’re probably not talking significant salaries.

    So you’re talking 240k in announced bonuses, 600k in upcard salaries, and maybe another 400-500k in downcard, and I don’t think any of these guys are on the PPV share plan.

    Your other “high salary” guys are probably Horn (25k based on prior), Belcher (about the same with the win bonus), and Davis (hard to get a baseline since he hasn’t fought in the US in years, but 25k – 40k wouldn’t be totally out of line with the win bonus). I can’t imagine that they paid Coleman more than 50k, and I’d guess less.

    Event margin (presuming that the half the gate that 45 is listing includes rental, any taxes or ticket riders, and facility setup/day of event costs) is approaching 75%.

    That’s a good day at the office.

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