Not since November 2011, when we were all trying to figure out what the FOX deal really meant for the sport of mixed martial arts, has there been a nationally televised event as anticipated at UFC on FOX 5. On paper there was little chance the star-studded main card wouldn't deliver, and for once, things actually worked out according to plan. Sure there were some errant middle fingers and a bizarre toothpick controversy along the way, but if that's the worst we have to deal with, then it's hard to complain.
But if you were unlucky enough to miss anything, we're here to catch you up. So let's jump ahead and get to some headlines.
6 MUST-READ STORIES
Henderson dismantles Diaz, defends title. UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson dominated Nate Diaz over the course of five rounds to earn a lopsided unanimous decision victory in the main event of UFC on FOX 5. (Video.) Afterward Diaz revealed an eye injury impeded his vision for much of the bout, while Henderson's rival, Anthony Pettis, remained unimpressed by what he had seen.
Gustafsson victorious, won't wait for title shot. Rising Swedish light heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson cemented his place in the upper echelon of the division with a commanding decision win over Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. (Video.) Despite earning a title shot with his performance, Gustafsson will look to stay busy and may replace Dan Henderson against Lyoto Machida at UFC 157.
Penn crushed, White asks for retirement. Welterweight prospect Rory MacDonald brutalized B.J. Penn for 15 minutes before issuing a challenge to the only man to defeat him, Carlos Condit. (Video.) Penn was sent to the hospital following the bout, leading UFC President Dana White to publicly ask the 33-year-old former champ to retire.
Silva wants 10 more fights. According to Dana White, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva turned down an eight-fight contract with the UFC in order to sign a new 10-fight deal. The 37-year-old Silva has yet to lose in 16 UFC bouts.
Pacquiao brutally knocked out. Capping an incredible Saturday night in combat sports, boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao crumbled to a monstrous counter right from Juan Manuel Marquez, marking a violent exclamation point on the pair's quartet of fights. (Video.) Pacquiao was facedown unconscious on canvas for several minutes after the fight-ending sequence.
Bellator 83 ends in bizarre fashion. Due to a late bout of food poisoning, featherweight tournament finalist Shahbulat Shamhalaev was unable to compete against Rad Martinez in the main event of Bellator 83. Promotion officials called off the fight just moments before it was set to begin, announcing that it will likely be pushed back to next week's Bellator 84 event.
It was a predictable outcome, but I'm sure a lot of people out there were hoping to avoid a post-fight video with this title.
Well, this seems to put a definitive end to the toothpick discussion.
Okay guys, this is just mean.
Zoila Gurgel made it onto the main card this time around, though unfortunately things didn't quite go as planned.
What was initially only a dream for Nick Newell might not seem so far-fetched after watching him destroy Eric Reynolds and capture the XFC lightweight championship. Could one of the big boys come calling soon?
Apparently the FOX broadcast cut out a few times during the main event and some folks were wondering why. Well, the answer isn't going to surprise you.
STILL THE CHAMP
Big balls, hands swinging. #Loveit— Justin Lawrence (@AmericanKiddMMA) December 9, 2012
Henderson looked tough tonight but I liked him best in Shalomar— Josh Barnett (@JoshLBarnett) December 9, 2012
Kenny florian told a story of rolling with Ben for a few rounds and he pulled out the toothpick after they were done, but in a fight? Crazy— Louis Gaudinot (@LouGaudinotUFC) December 9, 2012
BJ is still the man, one of the kindest guys in MMA, true legend— Brian Stann (@BrianStann) December 9, 2012
When I fight Rory, I promise you, It will either be a 3 or 5 round fight! I will not finish that fight on purpose! I'll torture him!— Siyar The Great (@SiyarTheGreat) December 9, 2012
TOUGHING IT OUT
Broke my arm in the first round ! Thought it was a muscle spasm at first but was broke...no excuse lets keep the improvements + recovery on.— Raphael Assuncao (@RaphaAssuncao) December 9, 2012
ONLY IN 2012
Sorry guys. Whacked my head. I am so sorry. Should have been paying better attention.— tim means (@MeansTim) December 7, 2012
GOOD MORNING LOVELY WORLD!!!AY MAN, GIMMEE A PIECE OF DAT HAMBOYGAH!!! instagr.am/p/S-wepIPZw2/— Pat Barry (@HypeOrDie) December 8, 2012
LET'S SEE SOME SUBS
A STERN REMINDER COURTESY OF MANNY PACQUIAO
@mastakoski Arum couldn't have fucked that fight up anymore if he tried!!! Horrible promoter— Dana White (@danawhite) December 9, 2012
Announced over the weekend (Friday, December 7, 2012 - Sunday, December 9, 2012):
- UFC on FX 6: Hacran Dias (21-1-1) out with injury opposite Chad Mendes (12-1)
- The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale: Mike Ricci (7-2) vs. Colton Smith (3-1) booked TUF 16 final
- UFC on FUEL 7: Cyrille Diabate (19-8-1) vs. Jimi Manuwa (12-0)
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day sees Steve Borchardt take a closer look at: The problem with promoting Abel Trujillo
From a pure sporting perspective Abel Trujillo turned in an impressive performance on Saturday's UFC on FOX 5 prelims. He finished opponent Marcus LeVessuer with a series of absolutely vicious knees to the body in what was the culmination of a violent, prolonged beatdown. What's not to love about a fighter who refuses to allow himself to be controlled against the cage while his opponent works for a takedown and instead takes his destiny into his own devastating hands?
Well, if the recipients of Trujillo's particularly effective brand of punishment were limited to the men he gets in the cage with the answer to the question would be "nothing." Unfortunately that's not the case. Trujillo has twice pleaded guilty to Domestic Abuse Assault Causing Bodily Injury. What makes this particularly hard to overlook is that the victim was the mother of his children.
While there is certainly a line of thinking that everyone deserves a chance to turn his or her life around after committing a crime that doesn't entail jail time, I'm not sure that flies in this case. If Trujillo wanted to be a firefighter or an accountant after what he did, then more power to him. But when a trained fighter decides to lay his hands on a defenseless woman - not just once but at least twice - I have a hard time squaring that despicable act with the privilege of making a living as a professional mixed martial artist. It's uncomfortable watching Trujillo punish an opponent with relentless shots to the body and face when you know he has used those same fists to batter a woman.
Domestic abuse is sickening enough under normal conditions, but when the offender is a man who is trained to inflict grievous bodily harm it becomes even more unpardonable. The whole "with great power comes great responsibility" line might be trite at this point, but it's perhaps nowhere more applicable than in the case of professional fighters. These are men whose bodies are literally deadly weapons thanks to years of training and experience. As a result it's incumbent upon fighters to maintain self control and not use their potentially devastating skill set to bully those weaker than them, especially when it comes to dealing with women.
There are myriad tales of young men who turn to martial arts as a way of harnessing inner demons into productive activity. We've all heard fighters who claim they were "headed down the wrong path" until being saved by MMA. This could possibly rationalize Trujillo's participation in the sport if it wasn't for the fact that he was already training by 2007 when the crimes took place and had his first amateur fight a year before. This doesn't sound like the story of a wayward youth who found martial arts and became a better man because of it.
In the end I don't know what the right thing to do with Trujillo is. His guilty pleas for domestic abuse came nearly six years ago; he very well may have completely repented and become a better man in the ensuing years. Does he deserve to be perpetually punished for mistakes he made in the past? That doesn't seem fair. Then again something seems equally unfair about granting him the opportunity to potentially become a wealthy man by using the same fists he once used to batter a woman.
Ultimately these are the kind of moral decisions we all need to make for ourselves. Some will say Trujillo's past transgressions shouldn't prevent him from being able to pursue his chosen profession whereas others will feel his actions justify blacklisting him from the sport. Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle of the two extremes in that murky gray area where it's impossible to see the world in terms of absolutes.
All I know is that if I was in a position of power in the UFC I don't think I could sleep easy at night being in the Abel Trujillo business considering what kind of blood has been on his hands in the past. There are some stains you just can't wash off.
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.