Working in MMA can play with your mind. It plays with your mind in the sense that guys who you are friends with, often end up trying to knock each other out while the whole world watches on TV. Think about your job. What if two buddies were fighting on Showtime. Who do you cheer for? That’s the predicament I found myself in watching Strikeforce Challengers this past Friday night.
I see Tarec Saffiedine almost weekly, and Tyron Woodley has been a guest on both the radio show and the podcast. Two nicer guys you will never meet and they were fighting in the main event from Nashville. The winner would be talked about as a legit contender for Nick Diaz’s Welterweight Champion, while the loser would find himself a little bit down the ladder in the stacked 170lb division. It was a strange feeling before the start of the fight, and a much different feeling at the end. In round 1, I was on the edge of my seat wanting to see who had the advantage on the ground, and in the stand-up game. I have to be honest; by the end of the fight I was disappointed for both guys. If I have learned one thing from this sport, it’s you can sometimes do more for your career losing a great fight (Mike Kyle, Waachim Spirit Wolf) than you can winning a dull fight. Woodley/ Saffiedine wasn’t a dull fight, but it also wasn’t the kind of fight you want for the library. This was supposed to be a break out night for one (or both) but I don’t know that Paul Daley or Nick Diaz had any trouble sleeping after what they saw Friday night.
I have been around the sport enough to know that styles can make or break a fight, and maybe that was the case here. I just had hoped two guys that I like would make the most of their chance in the spotlight. There was one fight that had people talking on Saturday, but it wasn’t the match-up I thought it would be.
Do you like Women’s MMA? Not in the “Gina Carano is super-hot, and I have to watch” way, just as a sport itself I wonder how many fans the sport has. There is a perception that women’s fighting is wrong. Not Rex Ryan wrong, but it’s still strange watching somebody’s wife, girlfriend, sister, prom date getting knocked out like we saw when Amanda Nunes defeated Julia Budd in 14 seconds of the first round. I don’t know why Dan Henderson’s knockout of Michael Bisping leaves us in awe, when Nunes performance gives you a different feeling as a fight fan.
Maybe it’s our caveman mentality, or maybe we just want to avoid treating the women the same as the men, even though that is the request of all the female fighters I have met. They know the chances they are taking when they enter the cage, but they do it for the thrill, and the one-on-one competition that the casual fan has trouble understanding. I am sure there were people who were stunned by the final punch landed by Dan in the Bisping fight, and had the same reaction watching that, as I did watching a defenseless Budd take shots before the fight was called off. I have asked people that know a lot more about the sport then I do if Women’s MMA is a novelty or is it here to stay. They usually say it depends on the quality of fighters whether or not it can stick around. I don’t know if we will still be talking about Women’s MMA two years from now, but after watching Nunes make quick work of Budd, I think she could be an interesting opponent for “Cyborg” Santos. Can I say the same in regards to Tyron Woodley and Nick Diaz? Of Course, I just hope we see more action from “T-Wood” in that fight, then we did Friday.