A new cool video game from AtomFilms, Jason Oda and the Martin Agency entitled “Kung-Fu Elections”: I’ve always stayed away from politics and videogames but I do follow Mixed Martial Arts closely. Now I feel like these three things can easily go together. I am tempted to conclude that American politics has been completely swallowed by pop-culture but I am afraid to sound apolitical. Via Melodika.net
Fedor Emelianenko signed with M-1. Randy Couture resigned. I am talking about mixed martial arts.
As per FightNetwork, the reigning PRIDE champion from Russia and the aging king of American UFC were not destined to square off in either the ring or the octagon. The long-anticipated brawl that was supposed to determine the best heavyweight and pount-for-pound MMA fighter in the world did not pan out. The half-a-century-old marketing hype immortalized by Rocky Balboa, namely a “clash of systems and civilizations” (Soviet/Russian and American) this time failed to materialize.
Why did this happen? I think the power of numbers simply ruled in favor of the Russian. Couture’s overall record is 16-8, Emelianenko’s 30-1. All Internet polls ranked Emelianenko as # 1 in the world. Couture is 44, Emelianenko is 31. Couture is 228 lb, Emelianenko is 233 lb. Couture was not happy with his UFC salary, Emelianenko found a great deal. It is not surprising that Couture resigned in a split second after learning that Emelianenko did not sign with UFC but instead chose M-1. It is surprising that Emelianenko’s rejection of the UFC and Couture’s resignation came as a surprise to the majority of fans and pundits.
Reportedly, nobody else but Emelianenko was challenging enough to Couture, that’s why he surrendered. UFC owner, Dana White, and a few Internet commentators, have used all the traditional marketing techniques to boost up Couture’s image: a compelling story, a great demeanor, the “Captain America” nickname, a square jaw, and a consistent anti-Emelianenko rant (“overated,” “has problems with Greco-Roman fighters,” “hasn’t fought in the Octagon,” “fought for only three minutes in 2007,” etc.) were supposed to bring Emelianenko to the UFC only to be destroyed by the all-American champion. Meanwhile Couture’s record demonstrates that he has not successfully fought any of the world-renowned heavyweights. He was knocked out by Josh Barnett and Ricco Rodriguez. Yes he defeated Pedro Rizzo. Yes, he came to reclaim a heavyweight title from the giant Tim Sylvia and defended it against the up-and-coming Gabriel Gonzaga. But Sylvia was only a place-holder in the UFC’s rather lukewarm heavyweight division. Gonzaga is a promising fledgling who capitalized on Mirko Cro Cop’s lackluster performance in the UFC.
Between 2002 and 2006, Couture fought in the light heavyweight division where he was eventually destroyed by Chuck Liddell and sent into his first retirement. Couture is a very good fighter but at the age of 44 he has absolutely no world-class heavyweight experience. Instead of resigning from the shaky UFC throne, he should have sought bouts with Cro Cop, Nogueira, Barnett, Kharitonov, Alexander Emelianenko, Mark Hunt (although here Couture would have probably won due to Hunt’s absolute lack of ground game), Mark Coleman, and a few others. Emelianenko convincingly defeated most of them, and those who he has not fought lost to those who he beat.
In the same way as the outcome of the Cold War was determined by sheer numbers, the UFC’s search for world dominance was thwarted by White’s reliance on archaic marketing techniques and by Couture’s self-defeating oblivion to statistics. In the absence of a unified MMA organizational structure, certain close combat events should probably be resolved at a distance.