At the beginning of this century, the idea of 12 hours of fights, nearly wall-to-wall, would have signaled the end times. In current day New York, where MMA is still unsanctioned, the courtly perukes were surely popping. Not that any of us had to watch, because there is always a choice, but those who tuned in for the entirety of both of Saturday’s UFCs, from Berlin to Sao Paulo, from Fight Pass to Fox Sports 1, from fresh to bloodshot eyes, partook in a marathon of violence like no other we’ve known to date.
It’s my understanding that it was glorious.
We were like Alex undergoing the Ludovico technique in A Clockwork Orange, watching a montage of violent images until we were better. Minus the injections, of course, and the specula (for most of us). We went from drinking coffee to beer through this burgeoning dystopia, the one that signals the UFC has damn well arrived in the global sense. Dana White has been threatening for the last couple of years of running multiple shows on the same day, and though we didn’t scoff, he certainly acted like we did.
What comes next? Three cards in a day? Don’t put it past Zuffa to welcome the challenge. Just don’t say they can’t.
To kick off the 22-fight test of our endurance was a Magomedov, who beat Viktor Pesta via decision. Eight hours later there was another Magomedov, this one 50 pounds lighter, who defeated Rodrigo Damm via decision. After listening to chants of "uh, vai morrer!" -- you will die! -- through 15 minutes of toil, he said he tuned it out by using an internal trump card. "One day we’re all going to die," he said after, "so it didn’t bother me."
My kind of guy.
There were people called "Shoeface," too. Rony Jason is more like the original Jason from a different franchise of slasher violence. My Brazilian colleague, Guilherme Cruz, posted a picture of the pink-hued media room on fire. There were Sinbad’s, Cendenblad’s, and Lex Luthor’s. The German canvas was sent to Brazil. MMA Junkie’s John Morgan was wearing a blue shirt in one of the locales or the other. The whole thing bleeds together along with CB Dollaway’s cuts.
Oh yeah, Dollaway. He and Francis Carmont were taunting each other like mirrors at one point in Germany, just a couple of dudes giving a "bromage" to the now retired Nick Diaz. Dollaway won the fight and then died on Dan Hardy’s microphone afterwards. When asked who he wanted to fight next, he wheezed, "I’m tired." His post-fight drowse was infectious.
In both events we were working towards the battle of M’s -- Munoz versus Mousasi, and Maldonaldo versus Miocic. And in both cases, those main events weren’t what you’d call "competitive." Gegard Mousasi thwarted Mark Munoz’s wrestling in ways that looked spectacular, and ended up choking Munoz out late in the first round. Strikeforce strikes again.
Then Fabio Maldonaldo, a light heavyweight with a delirious enthusiasm for brutal fights, was thrown in against Stipe Miocic, a Cleveland basher whom Pat Miletich calls the new "Croatian Sensation." This one was telegraphed. This was the culmination of a long, long day, and as if to mock our journey to get there, it lasted all of 35 seconds. Miocic drubbed Maldonaldo with a couple of brute rights, and down he went.
In the small window between the end of the Berlin card and the beginning of Sao Paulo, the most diehard fisticuff fans tuned in for Carl Froch and George Groves in London. Froch may have scored the knockout of the night with an anvil right hand that went right through Groves, like he were a Wembley hologram. The violence was on a loop on Saturday. The violence was on a loop on Saturday. The violence was on a loop on Saturday…
Did we like the idea of two fight cards in one day? It was a lot of fighting. There’s some guilt to watching all that fighting as the shadows passed along the wall, and the day turns to night, and night turns to midnight, and all the people who were out doing active, weekend-like things had long since gone to bed.
Guilt, but not remorse. And hey, we get to do it again next month, on June 28, when the UFC holds dual cards in Auckland and San Antonio. Another shut-ins marathon just a month removed from the first. Gentlemen, time to up your quotients of cage violence. By the end of it, we’ll all be as tired as poor CB Dollaway was in Berlin, barely able to make coherent sentences.