Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
On November 12, 2011, Junior dos Santos fought then-UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez in the first major network televised fight in UFC history. Dos Santos knocked out Velasquez in 64 seconds, as you all know, leaving Velasquez to lick his wounds while UFC President Dana White, serving as an analyst for FOX, criticized Velasquez's gameplan to an audience of over 8 million viewers.
Later that night, dos Santos admitted to reporters that he suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee less than two weeks prior to the fight. Likewise, in the ensuing days, rumblings emerged that Velasquez had not only re-injured his rotator cuff in the lead-up, but also suffered a serious knee injury that required pre-fight cortisone shots and severely hampered his training. Jon Fitch confirmed as much a few months ago.
And now we get to this. The way the story goes, MMA filmmaker Bobby Razak was setting up his equipment to film a commercial a few weeks out from FOX 1, while Velasquez busied himself warming up on the mat. Suddenly something tweaked, Velasquez crumbled in a heap, and just like that, footage of Velasquez's knee injury was caught on tape.
The video labels the knee injury as a torn ACL. Obviously, the details are hazy. Only Razak, Velasquez, and those present in the room truly know what happened. Likewise, the timing of this release is curious in and of itself, given that the footage sat around in limbo for over a year.
Regardless, if everyone involved is to be believed, one of the most historic fights in MMA history was fought between two men who competed at far below 100-percent. And now they're set to do it again, presumably at full strength. This should be interesting.
You can check out the video in the Stew below. But first, let's get to some headlines.
6 MUST-READ STORIES
The MMA hour. Ariel Helwani is back in your life with another edition of The MMA Hour, featuring a lineup of Daniel Cormier, Mike Pyle, Roy Nelson, Pat Barry, Duane Ludwig and an in-studio appearance from fighter impersonator Pouya Rebek.
FOX 5 breakdown. Striking analyst Jack Slack breaks down a collection of the most electrifying moments from the undercard of UFC on FOX 5, including a pair of brutal knockouts courtesy of Yves Edwards and Daron Cruickshank.
Cormier still wants Mir, Jones. Following his bout against Dion Staring, Daniel Cormier wants to fight Frank Mir at UFC 159. Said Cormier, "Listen, Frank Mir and I have some unfinished business."
TUF 16 Finale salaries. Mike Pyle ($78,000), Roy Nelson ($48,000) and Pat Barry ($44,000) led the disclosed payroll for Saturday night's The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale.
St-Pierre thanks Bendo for Diaz gameplan. Speaking to fellow champ Benson Henderson, UFC welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre offered this preview of his upcoming title defense: "I watched very carefully, your fight against Nate Diaz. I'm going to try to use some of the stuff you have done in the fight to win over Nick Diaz, as well. I'm going to learn from what you did and try to apply it in my game plan. Thanks for showing me the blueprint."
The video of Velasquez in question. Take away from it what you will.
Props to our own Villain85 for the find.
I'll go out on a limb and say this will probably be the coolest submission you see all day.
Another nugget from the weekend: A Sokoudjou fight that last under two minutes? I feel like we've been here before.
(HT: Bloody Elbow)
Of course no fight weekend would be complete without the obligatory Gracie Breakdown to let us know what exactly went right and what went wrong.
TWEET OF THE YEAR
My job is to throw him , how he lands is his business— Rustam Khabilov (@KhabilovMMA) December 17, 2012
CHOPPING DOWN PAUL HARRIS
I couldn't talk to you guys here before, because since the end of fight I was taken care of my foot in the hospital.— Rousimar Palhares (@ToquinhoMMA) December 17, 2012
Unfortunately I broke my foot, when I was giving a kick early in the round. twitter.com/ToquinhoMMA/st…— Rousimar Palhares (@ToquinhoMMA) December 17, 2012
DISADVANTAGES OF BEING A PROFESSIONAL FIGHTER
Joe Lauzon (@JoeLauzon) December 17, 2012
PAT BARRY'S POST-FIGHT RITUAL
Announced yesterday (Monday, December 17, 2012):
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day sees MikeWellman88 pull no punches with: After Another Bad Call, Mazzagatti Is Still At Large
One thing I can't overlook is the refereeing job done by the infamous Steve Mazzagatti, who is at this point notorious for his bad calls. Without rehashing any of his previous missteps, lets go over what happened this past Saturday. Mazzagotti has the best possible view of the action, and is positioned in the cage right where he should be (very, very uncommon). During the finale fight between Colton Smith and Mike Ricci on Saturday, Smith lands a low kick to Ricci's groin, and Ricci instantly reacts and looks to the ref for a time-out. At this point Mazzagati made some type of 'fight on' comment and the action continued. Joe Rogan said it best when he referred to the ref as 'spacing out' and missing the kick. Keep in mind this was a fight where two men were essentially fighting for their future, and their employment. On top of being responsible for both of their safety, the ref also has a job to do as far as enforcing rules.
It's sad that these platitudes need to be stated, but in the case of Mazzagatti, watching him referee a fight may make one ask what his role is to begin with. A fighter who was hit in the groin is allowed five minutes to recover, minutes that one fighter was denied because the ref, who was standing square in front of the two, tasked with watching all the action in the cage, simply didn't see the kick to the groin. I don't think I am alone in thinking that two fighter's can ref their own fight better than this man can, and I also think that he poses a danger to any fighter's he is refereeing. We need to take a new approach to the criticism of referees, and even judges. The commissions should have some form of complaint system in place where the UFC or any other promotion can challenge the effectiveness of either certain calls (or lack thereof), or certain individuals.
The stakes are too high for people like Steve Mazzagatti to have 'six figure' fights under their supervision. A fighter lives and dies by his mma record, and after a long and expensive training camp, with sponsorships, winning streaks, and titles on the line, they deserve a competent referee in the cage with them. We can tweet one liners all we want about the colossal sucktitude of guys like Mazzagatti, and Dana White can blast his effectiveness at every presser after he ruins the outcome of a big money fight, but until something like a fine or suspension is in place, we will still see our young sport affected by such ineptitudes.
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.
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