UFC Unleashed (The First Thought You Have)

I enjoy watching reruns of UFC Unleashed. This is due to the fact that, for whatever reason, the DVR description of the episodes no longer informs us what fights we will be watching. You never know what you’re going to get. You might get something deplorable (“Cooooming up next, it’s the Ortiz-Shamrock trilogy! With ALL of the prefight promo packages!”) or something awesome (any fight where Brock Lesnar turtles up and gets pummeled). It’s a roll of the dice.

Bear in mind, I despise listening to the radio. Not only that, but with the present internet culture that is ripe with podcasts and programs that allow you to listen to whatever music you want, whenever you want, I’m baffled as to how terrestrial radio is even still in existence. Why would I allow someone to dictate what I listen to?

However, I love pretty much all MMA. Terrible MMA is great, as long as it isn’t being perceived as good. So my spectrum of taste is pretty broad. To give you an example, I recently watched 620 pound Manny Yarborough (the guy best known for being walloped by the immortal Keith Hackney at UFC 2) record his first and only MMA victory, taking out pudgy, mulleted self parody Tatsuaki Nakano by “smother”. It was just as delightful as you could possibly imagine. The fact that I sincerely believe that it was delightful is a cry for help. I’m aware of this.

Let’s roll the dice with a column. I recorded a rerun of Unleashed, and I’m going to write about whatever fights happen to be on it. I have no idea what I’m about to see. Think of it as an exercise … that I’m inexplicably sharing with the internet. Ready, internet? Let’s see what’s behind Door Number 1 …

Our first fight is … *drumroll* …

Joe Stevenson vs. Spencer Fisher

Alright. A fight I haven’t seen in awhile. This is what I was hoping for. Stevenson begins the fight by smiling and bouncing around like he just got laid. Joe Daddy was always pretty smooth on the feet with his footwork and feints, but he’s one of those guys that just never quite had enough output to be considered a dangerous striker. Then he got T-Boned by a Mac Danzig left hook and hasn’t been right since.

Before the start of this fight, Spencer waves off the “lets touch gloves” offer by Joe at least 3 times, as though Joe had AIDS and Spencer mistakenly thought it could be transmitted through UFC gloves. You sure made your point, Spencer. You don’t want to touch gloves. Anyway, Joe is taking the occasional Fisher leg kick while boxing nicely and takes the 1st round after taking the back towards the end. Spencer is cut, just like always. We’ve got a bleeder!

Both men come out boxing to start the second frame, and Stevenson changes levels for the takedown when he sees fit. Spencer looks old, and this fight happened almost 4 years ago. Stevenson works on top for awhile before securing the feared mounted crucifix position. He proceeds to drop 11 rapid fire elbows onto the already sliced up dome of Fisher, and that’s the fight. Fisher appeared to tap with his leg.

Fights like this pose an interesting question (at least, to a clown like me): When you think of a fighter, what is the first mental image that your brain conjures up about that fighter? I mean, Stevenson and Fisher are both guys that haven’t existed in the part of my MMA fan brain that thinks about relevant MMA topics and fighters in a long time. Stevenson’s octagon glory days are long gone, and Fisher is hanging on by a thread of a thread. They exist only in my memory. So what pops into your head, dear reader?

When I think of Stevenson, I think of him getting beaten by Danzig, and I think of him bathing in his own blood and tears against BJ Penn. When I think of Fisher, I think of the flying knee knockout against Wiman. And yet, I wouldn’t say that I respected Fisher or even enjoyed watching him fight more than Joe Stevenson. Goes to show that different parts of our brains don’t always agree with each other. An interesting thought.

Which brings us to fight number two …

Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin II

Oh geez. Look, I’m not opposed to writing about this fight, even though these two are far from being the fighters I most revere. But did they have to show the entire prefight promo package? Talk about a column killer. Here I was, thinking that this would be a good writing exercise, with the potential to force me into writing about multiple fights I never would have written about otherwise. And what do I get? A lightweight fight that wasn’t even that relevant four years ago and 5 minutes of two awkward weirdos saying tough guy things into the camera, followed by a lengthy commercial break. At least at the end of the commercial break, I’ll get to watch a great fight! Hey, wait …

Snarkiness aside, this 2nd installment in the money grubbing trilogy was pretty much a microcosm of Tito Ortiz. Get a takedown, ground and pound from guard, get tired, stiffen up, stiffen up some more, stiffen up to the point that you stop doing anything, and lose a decision.

I remember watching this fight at a Buffalo Wild Wings with a bunch of people who invited me out to watch some fights. Cool, right? Think again. This was one of those evenings consisting of people chilling out on their respective phones and resisting any actual human interaction. I think I actually fell asleep during the 3rd round. I stopped hanging out with people like that. It’s just incredibly boring.

I’ve always been fascinated by the rabid fanbase of Tito Ortiz. Nobody did more with flame shorts and bleached hair. In the midst of multiple fight losing streaks where he often got tired and didn’t do anything, his fans would still come out in droves. “That guy is a badass”, they’d tell you. My theory is that Tito became popular right around the whole nu metal era of the UFC, where every fighter would come out to Stemm or Limp Bizkit, where tons of UFC fans were also pro wrestling fans, and what better poster boy for that sort of foolishness than a brash, blond meanie who flipped the bird and had a wrestling base?

My favorite part of this fight was right after it was over. Griffin and Ortiz embraced, and Goldberg said “great show of respect by both men”. Based on the personalities of these two, what are the odds that they were actually saying something respectful? 50 to 1? 100 to 1? Come on. They were saying some prison yard shit to each other. You all know it.

I will be writing and opining about things that matter soon. Calories burned. Exercise over.

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