Morning Report: Backlash in Calgary; Dana White Suggests Hector Lombard Drop Down to 170

Michael Cohen, Getty Images

It's hard not to sit here and pile onto the negativity that's already been heaped on this past weekend. An almost comical number of setbacks and circumstances led up to the moment the Calgary crowd pelted the Octagon with cries of "Bulls---! Bulls---!", but only once we were there did everything reach the point of surreal.

Barring main events, is it a fair assessment to say UFC 147, UFC 148 and UFC 149 was the worst back-to-back-to-back trio of pay-per-views we've seen in the past few years? As a fan, how many of those three left you satisfied after shelling out $55? It's a tough question because, let's face it, the UFC isn't exactly at fault for all these injuries. But you'd have to imagine we're nearing the breaking point where customers who usually purchase every pay-per-view suddenly become a lot choosier when it comes to burning a hole through their wallet. Call it oversaturation, call it bad luck, call it what you will. Just know that once a product hits that point, it's a long road to come back from.

But again, it does no good to pile onto the negativity that's already coursing through the community's veins. Instead, before we get to the goods, let's talk about tidbit from Saturday night that seemed slipped through the cracks. Namely, the fact that UFC President Dana White is soured enough on his investment in Hector Lombard, he's already suggesting the 5-foot-9 bruiser think about cutting back on his time in the weight room.

"Lombard maybe should fight at 170," a testy White mulled at the post-fight press conference following Lombard's uninspired loss to Tim Boetsch. "He made 185 easily. He's short and wide, but I think he could make 170."

The lesson here: it's never a good sign if your new boss is offering unsolicited career advice after your first day on the job.

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

Boetsch upsets Lombard in lackluster debut. Former Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard dropped a listless split decision to Tim Boetsch in UFC 149's widely-panned co-main event, despite Boetsch breaking his foot midway through the bout. Following Lombard's bizarre debut -- which you can watch here -- UFC President Dana White suggested the slugger try a cut down to welterweight.

Barao claims interim title. Upstart Brazilian mega-prospect Renan Barao dismantled former WEC kingpin Urijah Faber to win the UFC interim bantamweight strap at the main event of UFC 149. For more, check out complete results, post-fight bonuses and press conference video, reaction from the pros, and video highlights of Urijah Faber vs. Renan Barao.

White embarrassed by card. Somewhat surprisingly, UFC President Dana White had no qualms admitting he was thoroughly embarrassed by Saturday night's UFC 149 pay-per-view broadcast.

Daley, Amoussou victorious at Bellator 72. Welterweight bruisers Paul Daley and Karl Amoussou earned first round finishes as the featured attractions of Bellator 72. Daley crushed Rudy Bears for his promotional debut, while Amoussou needed just 56 seconds to submit Bryan Baker and pave his way to a title shot against Bellator champ Ben Askren.

Sylvia not signed to Strikeforce. Despite conflicting reports, UFC President Dana White took to the UG to make it clear Strikeforce had not signed heavyweight free agent Tim Sylvia to fight Daniel Cormier.

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MEDIA STEW

After being swallowed under this recent cloud of negativity, it'd probably do us some good to start off with something a little more light-hearted.

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It got lost in this weekend's shuffle, but Paul Daley exploded back onto the scene for his Bellator debut. (Even if the hammerfist that sealed the deal probably nailed the back of Bears' head.)

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We never got a chance to post this last week, so if you haven't seen the behind-the-scenes footage from UFC 148, there's definitely some worthwhile stuff in here. Top 3 moments, in no order: 1.) Forrest Griffin's backstage scolding, 2.) Dana White asking Matt Serra if he ate Matt Serra, and, 3.) Tito Ortiz dropping one last injury excuse, just for old time's sake.

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One last pick-me-up to remind us all why we love this sport.

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Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Perosh Face.

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(via Zombie Prophet)

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TOUGH SELL

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THE BOSS AIN'T HAPPY

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KEEPING IT REAL

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TOUGH LUCK

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REFLECTIONS

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced over the weekend (Friday, July 20, 2012 - Sunday, July 22, 2012):

UFC on FOX 4: Ian McCall (11-3-1) withdraws with injury opposite John Moraga (10-1)

UFC 151: Henry Martinez (9-2) vs. Daron Cruickshank (11-2)

UFC on FUEL 5: Kyle Kingsbury (11-4) vs. Jimi Manuwa (11-0)

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day sees King's_Gambit offer a counter-point to Dana White: Hector Lombard is Not a Welterweight

Hector Lombard did not lose last night due to being the physically smaller man. At no point did Tim Boetsch outmuscle him or make Lombard feel his weight. In fact, whenever the two tied up, it was Lombard that generally seemed the stronger of the two, even hefting Boetsch up like a sack of potatoes at one point. All of Boetsch's takedown attempts were also easily stuffed by Lombard. This was not a fight like King Mo vs. Lorenz Larkin.

Lombard did not lose due to fighting a former light heavyweight. He lost due to his new-found strategy of standing still as a statue, waiting for his opponent to rush in cluelessy either out of recklessness or lack of skill. I seem to remember first seeing this strategy when he fought Falaniko Vitale last year. The thing is, I'm pretty sure this "statue" MO is done by Hector as a means of pacing himself so that he doesn't gas out, as he often did when he found himself in the third round. Instead of upping or overhauling his conditioning training or learning NOT to throw 110% power into every single strike he throws, he instead decided that a better method of conserving energy would be to stand completely still.

Which really only hammers home another reason why the magical cut to 170 isn't a fix-all: if Hector is already concerned so much about gassing out at 185 that he's content to stand in place for extended periods of time, how the hell is his gas tank going to react to a weight cut? At age 34 and after an 8 year, 35 fight career? If anything, it seems like a recipe for just making matters worse.

I wish that Lombard just lost to Boetsch via being pushed around by a bigger dude. It'd be a lot simpler of an issue. He could bring in Mike Dolce or whomever, cut down, and the wild savage would return. But that's not what we're dealing with. Rather, we're looking at a fighter who has taken his striking, from a footwork perspective, down a terribly wrong path, a guy who seemingly has no sense of urgency and no awareness of when he might be down on the score-cards, a guy committed to waiting for the "one big shot," and a guy who's frozen in place due to a clear anxiety over gassing out. A lot of that is fight IQ or mental, so who knows how that can be fixed?

One thing is for sure though: cutting down a weight class isn't suddenly going to turn a statue into a wild, frenzied animal. Cutting down does not suddenly so dramatically change how a fighter fights.

Believe me though, I'm sympathetic. I think that a lot of the calls for the weight cut come out of Lombard's fans, or people who believed Joe Rogan and the UFC's hype around the guy, desperately searching for answers for how there could be such a giant disparity between what they expected, or were led to believe, and what they saw in the cage Saturday night. How could a guy with such an epic highlight reel fight so timidly and conservatively? The fact is that the gameplan and mentality that Lombard exhibited last night has actually been the path he's been gradually going down, particularly since winning the Bellator strap. He just hasn't been made to pay for it yet. Hopefully, this loss serves as a wake-up call.

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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