This weekend the sport of mixed martial arts took a big fat 'L'.
A revered set of martial artists with a master's grasp of contrasting disciplines were all brought together to prove who was the best athlete. What could of been one of MMA's shining moments reverted into a sideshow. While the postfight brawl made MMA the talk of the sports landscape, the warts of this new MMA culture came to a head this weekend, proving that the game is full of fake gangsters, hypemongers, and con artists that are threatening to eradicate the rising global popularity of the combat sport.
You are saying right now that I am naive. You are thinking that I should have known this already. This is just the new millennial version of chicanery and these elements have always been here, so what's the big deal?
The problem is that too many suckers are in the mixed martial arts business and that element of buffoonery that was once good for publicity stunts or to "grow the sport" has devolved into utter chaos.
Diamond World Fights: MMA Mayhem, literally!
This weekend, the kid gloves came off and MMA was most felonious. It began on Friday, in Delaware for Diamond World Fights, a new MMA promotion launched by a woman of color. The event was supposed to occur at the Bob Carpenter Center at the University of Delaware and feature a headlining bout with Shannon "The Cannon" Ritch and Michael Youngblood.
Instead, it turned into a scammer's version of a Banksy remote controlled public portrait shredding. The promoter, Gail Stallings-Minor never showed up to her own event, billed as "the most extreme fighting allowed by law" as if we were back in the Bob Meyrowitz era of early UFC marketing.
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You know what else never showed up? The certified cashier's checks to pay the athletes that trained 6 weeks to be ready for their pay-per-view time. Also, the balances for the venue, cage builders, and other key contractors and staff.
No, Stallings-Minor sent someone who informed a select few of the staff that she was in the hospital...with the checks. Of course her phone wasn't taking calls and now as forced kickboxing exhibition fights lulled a crowd waiting for pro MMA fights to sleep, it was becoming more apparent to the State Athletic Commission, the investors and the venue that this event would be doomed.
Fighters scampered to figure out if their plane tickets were still valid, folks who looked at the money as a monthly necessity for bills will go without, and a new "bad girl" has emerged in the regional MMA scene and her name is Gail Stallings-Minor.
UFC 229: Nurmagomedov vs. McGregor
Before we unpack all of the ridiculously dangerous post-fight mania, we must start at the genesis.
Former two-weight division UFC world champion Conor McGregor first began landing himself in controversy at the Bellator 187 event in Dublin, Ireland to watch his friend Charlie Ward take on John Redmond.
Ward had just knocked out Redmond in the final seconds of the first round when McGregor jumped into the cage to celebrate with his friend, in a clear breach of rules and then appeared to attack referee Marc Goddard who officiated the event.
Back in April, "The Notorious" was charged with multiple counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief after an incident in the Barclays Center that left fighters and UFC personnel injured during a senseless bus attack.
The New York Police Department formally charged McGregor and he turned himself in. From that incident, McGregor and one of his SBG Ireland teammates, Cian Cowley, were charged with one count of assault and one count of criminal mischief. Eventually, McGregor took a plea deal at his hearing in a Kings County courthouse which saw all felony counts against the popular fighter dismissed.
Fast forward to Saturday night, a main event fueled by the negativity of the past. McGregor's melee at the Barclays Center was used as promo footage for the fight. McGregor went unhinged at press conferences drinking his whiskey brand on the dais and mocking Islam, Russians, and Nurmagomedov's father all throughout the course of the promo runs. Everywhere Mcgregor went, police presence was beefed up to support his super size tantrums including last night at the T-Mobile Arena.
However, it didn't matter. After defeating McGregor in the fourth round via rear naked choke, Nurmagomedov jumped the cage fence and attacked one of McGregor's cornermen. Then, one of Nurmagomedov's associates jumped in the cage and attacked a still recovering McGregor.
Check out the highlights from the Post-fight press conference after UFC 229: Khabib vs McGregor. Subscribe to get all the latest UFC content: http://bit.ly/2uJRzRR Experience UFC live with UFC FIGHT PASS, the digital subscription service of the UFC.
The incidents were very similar from Bellator to UFC and one thing was constant throughout, McGregor and his associates are leading the new "bad boy" MMA faction like the theatrical Cobra Kai gym to Mr. Miagi and Daniel-san. Still, Nurmagomedov was wrong and the melee that caused multiple residual KOs in the streets between the Russia vs. Ireland rabble-rousers was his fault for allowing his emotions to take control of the wheel.
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I'm sure, the pay-per-view numbers were sick and that the headlines will dominate and push the UFC brand name into further reaches of the general casual consumer market. However, the class has been destroyed and the veneer of respect has been shattered.
This weekend MMA took an "L" and it is because of the confluence of the irresponsible marketing and promotional value Dana White and the UFC fostered to sell views and tickets and the slimy way the Diamond World Fights brand handled itself, and the image of the State of Delaware. MMA is global now and everyone is watching.
Remember what the referee's edict is: Protect yourselves at all times. If not beware of the devolution of what used to be something special.