This was supposed to be a positive column. This was supposed to laud the 15 seconds the world stood still and Jon Jones' competitive fire was truly tested, or hail the whirlwind entry of the flyweights and the moment Michael Bisping finally clawed back from adversity to seize what was his. In a perfect world, Saturday night's fights marked the end of the weekend, and we'd all wake up on Monday morning to jabber about what comes next.
Unfortunately, that isn't the case. It would simply be too easy. Instead, history has repeated itself, and yet another causality of 2012's endless epidemic left everything in ruins.
Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez sustained an injury in training, forcing him to withdraw from Saturday's scheduled title defense against Pat Healy, Strikeforce officials announced late Sunday night. Left without a featured attraction, Showtime has elected not to broadcast the event. As a result, Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Healy has been cancelled.
"When Showtime informed us that it would not be airing the event, we made the difficult decision to cancel Saturday's card in Sacramento," Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker stated in a release. "Without a television partner, we simply could not move forward with this event. We wish Gilbert a speedy recovery and will work diligently and quickly to reschedule the fighters affected by this news on upcoming cards."
In a cruel twist of irony, the cancellation of 'Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Healy' was announced exactly a month to the date from the cancellation of UFC 151. Within that time period, UFC 153 lost its main event and co-main event hours apart, and Frank Mir vs. Daniel Cormier also collapsed under the immense, unblinking weight of the injury scourge.
According to Strikeforce officials, refunds for purchased tickets will be immediately available to fans. Though as we saw with UFC 151, the monetary loss for all involved in the cancellation of an event is far more widespread than a few measly tickets. For Zuffa, this is an unthinkable situation -- two cancelled shows in the span of one month. Where do we go from here? Who the hell knows.
6 MUST-READ STORIES
Melendez injured, Strikeforce cancelled. A last-second injury to Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez led to the cancellation of Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Healy, Zuffa's second canceled event within the span of a month.
Jones defends belt, injures arm. UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones successfully defended his title at UFC 152, escaping a harrowing armbar attempt to submit Vitor Belfort via fourth-round Americana. (Video.) Afterward Jones appeared at the post-fight press conference with his right arm in a soft cast and sling, explaining that doctors believe there could be some nerve damage in his bicep. For more from UFC 152, check out complete results, reaction from the pros, bonuses, post-fight press conference video, and our exclusive photo gallery.
White makes peace with Jones, talks potential Sonnen title fight. UFC President Dana White assured media that he and Jon Jones had made peace prior to UFC 152, adding "He's going to be around for a long time. He's not going anywhere." White also alluded to Jones eventually cleaning out the division, remarking about a potential fight against Chael Sonnen, "If enough people do want to see it, I guess I'd have to make it."
Johnson crowned inaugural champion. Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson survived a fourth-round scare to outpoint Joseph Benavidez and earn the inaugural UFC flyweight title via split decision in the co-main event of UFC 152. (Video.) Surprisingly, a chorus of boos was audible several times throughout the fight, which irked Dana White so much, he issued this message to fans: "I don't want your money. You're a moron."
Bisping climbs ladder. British middleweight Michael Bisping out-wrestled and out-worked Brian Stann to claim a unanimous decision victory on the main card of UFC 152. (Video.) Following the win, Bisping pledged he would one day become a world champion, though Dana White was non-committal about a potential Bisping-Silva title fight.
White rips Bellator over matching rights. Speaking with reporters in the post-fight scrum, Dana White lambasted Bellator Fighting Championships for the application of "matching rights" clauses in its contracts, saying "it's dirty, it's grimy, and it's just despicable."
Didn't feel like plopping down $55.95 for UFC 152's pay-per-view? Check out all the action you missed.
It seems like forever since Dana White released his last video blog, but one finally arrived hours before UFC 152. Here we see the behind-the-scenes happenings of UFC 150, and two takeaways stick out the most: 1.) The eerie, dumbfounded silence in the Edgar locker room after being being robbed of the belt, and 2.) How it never gets easier watching an emotional Melvin Guillard right after he snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.
TUF: The Smashes debuted last week, and unless you live in Australia or the U.K., chances are you missed it. So feel free to indulge this morning and catch up with the first episode in its entirety.
It flew a little under the radar, but former UFC welterweight-turned-middleweight-turned-light-heavyweight Anthony Johnson was back in action over the weekend, hunting for his third straight win against on Jake Rosholt in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
ONE MONTH, TWO EVENTS
Want to say sorry to all my fans and supporters of @strikeforce for not being able to compete. Injured myself early last week. Bummer...— Gilbert Melendez (@GilbertMelendez) September 24, 2012
Sorry everyone i just found out. Im more devastated then you can imagine.— Patrick Healy (@BamBamHealy) September 24, 2012
I need this fight, I WANT this fight. I want TO fight. For me, for my family, my team. Please don't do this to us. @strikeforce— Jorge Gurgel (@JorgeGurgel) September 24, 2012
I offered to fight Healy, 3 or 5 rnd fight. @bambamhealy is a champion, he woulda fought me to save the event an integrity of the sport.— Josh Thomson (@THEREALPUNK) September 24, 2012
I bet the ladies are wishing they were still fighting for @invictafightsinstead of getting into bed with the devil.— Conor Heun (@ConorHeun) September 24, 2012
CHAMPION TO CHAMPION
Well Jon Jones proves one more time he is a great fighter and very smart.He looked great in the fight.It had good fights tonight I like it— juniorcigano (@junior_cigano) September 23, 2012
Ian McCall (@Unclecreepymma) September 23, 2012
THE JANITOR IS NOT IMPRESSED
Vladimir Matyushenko (@vladthejanitor) September 23, 2012
"Victory is reserved for those willing to pay it's price" - Sun Tzu— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) September 23, 2012
GuysI want to thank all you guys for the support and I don't have any excuse for losing jones was a better fighter them me that night— Vitor Belfort (@vitorbelfort) September 24, 2012
Demetrious Johnson (@MightyMouseUFC) September 23, 2012
If you bet some money on my fight. YOU'RE WELCOME!!! Haha #ufc— Vinny Magalhaes (@VinnyMMA) September 23, 2012
Thanks every1 for the great messages. I feel I won but happy we put on an entertaining fight. This will not stop me from getting that belt.— Evan Dunham (@evandunham155) September 23, 2012
A disappointment for sure. Tough biz we are in. Thk u for all ur support.— Charlie Brenneman (@SpaniardMMA) September 23, 2012
DEFEND THE OLD GUARD
YOU HEARD THE MAN
Announced over the weekend (Friday, September 21, 2012 - Sunday, September 23, 2012):
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day sees thehivemind ask: Jon Jones and his Monkey Style, should the UFC alter the rules?
For any MMA fan who watched movies in the 80's, Jean Claude Van Damme's 1988 movie "Bloodsport" holds a special place in their heart. Back then, a no holds barred tournament featuring fighters from a variety of martial arts was only something you could dream about, mainstream MMA did not exist back then. UFC 1 would come years later in 1993.
For anyone who has seen the movie, the Monkey fighter should ring bells immediately. For those who have not seen the movie, here's a sample of this simian technique in action.
Of course Bloodsport is just a movie, you can't actually use the Monkey style in a real fight right? You'd just get kicked in the head. But there is the rub, MMA is not a real fight, there are rules and regulations governing the sport. In particular, kicking the head of a grounded opponent is not allowed. Monkey style just found its niche.
The seeds of Jon Jones using this technique started in his early days as a young up and coming fighter who looked up to a veteran in his camp, Rashad Evans. Evans started his fights out in a crouched down stance before the bell but he immediately got up once the fight started. Jones took that and ran with it.
While he previously only started out in that position like Evans, Jones officially brought Monkey style to the UFC during his fight with Rampage Jackson at UFC 135. Facing a fighter whose only threat was his punching power, Jones stayed low after the opening bell and moved toward Rampage as he kept one hand on the ground, this caused Rampage to have to lower himself to punch Jones thus taking much of his punching power away. The disadvantage of being in that position for Jones is can't strike, but he can go for takedowns. Jones did exactly that as he shot for the takedown from this crouched position. Watch the sequence here: http://youtu.be/KYUuHUmDy-E?t=13m45s
At UFC 140, faced against the unorthodox striking of Lloyto Machida, Jones again began the fight using the Monkey style but unlike the Rampage fight, he was quick to get up after engaging Machida. Skip to 3:15 to see the start of that fight: http://www.ufc.com/media/ufc-140-jones-machida
Jones is effectively playing a game of Chicken with his opponent in this situation, he's counting on the opponent not kicking his head. If an opponent kicks at his head while he's crouched down with a hand on the ground, Jones has to do one of the following:
A. Absorb the blow and let the opponent get warned, penalized, or possibly DQed if Jones cannot continue.
B. Lift his hands up to move away and protect himself from the kick.
Of course the key with choosing option B is by taking your hands off the ground, the striker will not be in violation of the kicking a grounded opponent rule since Jones does not have a hand on the ground anymore.
At UFC 152, Vitor Belfort was prepared for this situation and agreed to play Chicken with Jones as he launched a kick at Jones' head while he was crouched down. Jones choose to get up rather than get hit. Befort may have lost the fight, but he won that game of Chicken. Jones looked towards the ref for help believing Belfort broke the rules, however John McCarthy correctly interpreted the situation and the rules. He also recognized the game Jones was playing as he shrugged him off by saying "you wanna play the game."
The rule forbidding kicking the head of a grounded opponent was intended to protect fighters in a vulnerable position on the ground, it was not intended to be used as a loophole for fighters seeking to avoid standing up and striking with an opponent. Leave it to Greg Jackson to exploit the rulebook to the fullest in order to benefit his fighter.
So far, Jon Jones has been content only to use this technique at the start of fights. But it's only a matter of time before he and other fighters catch on and realize the Monkey style is a smart technique they can use full time to nullify a dangerous stand up striker, particularly one who has dangerous kicks.
Should the UFC lobby to amend this rule to prevent those seeking to exploit it like Jon Jones is doing? Or should the UFC continue to allow this Monkey technique so it can be used as a method to avoid standing up and striking?
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.