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Raf’s Recollection: I get the feeling we will be talking about UFC 168 for some time.
It wasn’t the most spectacular set of fights we’ve ever seen, but it was a damn good card. That’s not the point.
No, the reason I think we’ll be talking about UFC 168 is the fact that we saw some significant items that will leave some lasting impressions.
We saw old school stalwart Chris Leben throw in the towel after surviving a one round affair with Uriah Hall (as Dana White put it in the press conference, “Chris Leben is a tough guy, it’s gotta take a lot for him to quit in that octagon). We saw Travis Browne capitalize on a major mistake and make Josh Barnett seem almost like an amateur by proxy. And we saw a crowd favorite push an unbeaten champion in a truly spectacular Fight of the Night in Tate vs. Rousey 2.
But what still remains in most people’s minds is the sight of Anderson Silva falling back and holding his leg in agony.
Between that image and the recent departure of Georges St. Pierre, we now have a UFC without two of it’s biggest stars of the past 10 years.
Like any sports organization, the UFC can (and will) survive without these franchise players, but it’s what these two fighters represented that seems especially disconcerting. Aside from their professionalism and exemplary martial artist attitudes, both of these charismatic fighters brought a mystique to the game that could captivate audiences and make them excited for just about any match-up that was conceivable (Silva vs. Cote, anyone? Or how bout St. Pierre vs. Hardy?).
And while the retirement of GSP was a consideration at UFC 167, UFC 168 was the first time we had to seriously consider a world without Anderson Silva and GSP.
At least for a little while.
Certainly, Silva and GSP can come back (I get the impression both will come back), but I believe the untouchable era each of these fighters provided for their respective division is now something of the past. Sure, Jon Jones looks like he can keep a streak going (and, I believe, will still do great things inside of the octagon for years to come), however, I think the era of fighters with this kind of mystique is gone for the time being.
And maybe that’s a good thing?
It’s my hope that we will soon see a new set of fighters step up to fill the incredible void these two fighters left. It’s also my hope we see Silva and GSP back in the ring (as they are both athletes of an incredible caliber). It’s just my own personal opinion, they will return to the cage just a little more mortal and vulnerable.
As part of our extensive UFC 168 coverage, we bring back our pal Sebastian Vendel-Martinez to talk about his observations from the December 28th card and to take his victory lap over guessing one more correct fight in our last installment of Over/Under Kevin.
What the Hell is UFC's Fight Pass?
Educating Kevin on most things is a chore, but trying to teach him about Fight Pass is an extra special kind of headache—as I have to point out obvious reasons why people like us (mainly, idiots with podcasts about MMA) need to spend $10 a month on the damned thing.
Without Fight Pass, we can’t do our job of covering all UFC cards or even executing a One Minute Review of The Ultimate Fighter. In short, the service is a tool for us to give you the kind of extensive coverage you all deserve as rapid listeners of our podcast.
Why any of you guys (or the casual fan of the UFC) need to order it, however, is a question worthy of discussion.
Because, believe me, no one is arguing that the current inception of Fight Pass is perfect (especially after the WWE walloped the UFC Fight Pass with the introduction of their own subscriber-based network this week), but the UFC’s intention to embrace the digital age is something that is worthy of a view.
We discuss all of the implications of the current implementation of the UFC’s new on-demand service—and ask you guys what you think about the service. Be sure to hit us up on Twitter to let us know what you think of Fight Pass.
Jiu-Jitsu Rescued My Saturday
There are some days that start off so bad the only remedy is jiu-jitsu. Such was the case for me Saturday, December 28th. Without getting into too much detail, my morning started off in a spectacularly annoying fashion and I felt the need to try and rid any negative energy before embarking upon day-and-a-half marathon that is covering a live UFC event.
I’m not the type to let negative energy drag me down for long, so I texted my
friend BJJ podcast arch nemesis, Paul Moran (Open Mat Radio), for a recommendation on a good place to train BJJ for the day. He was nice enough to point me in the direction of his home gym: Sergio Penha’s BJJ Academy.
It didn’t take long for me to grab my gi and make my way over to the gym.
Obviously, I got smashed the entire time (what else is new), but the healing power of jiu-jitsu extends beyond how good you are at it. Mostly, it’s just the practice of it that can sometimes cure the roughest of days. The good people at Sergio Penha’s were not only welcoming, but patient and very helpful in trying to correct some of the terrible jiu-jitsu habits I’ve developed over the years. Within an hour’s worth of time rolling on the mats, I felt a great sense of calm restored in my life.
The people and the environment gave me exactly what I needed that Saturday morning: A sense of feeling like I was at my home gym. In fact, my only complaint was that I didn’t have the time to stay there longer and roll with everyone.
I just want to send a big shout out to the good folks over there (including the man, Sergio Penha himself) for making a major difference in my Vegas weekend. I literally could not have done the job I needed to do at the UFC that day without a visit to your gym. When I get back to Vegas, I will definitely be back to train with you guys again.
But, Paul, just know. This changes nothing. You are still my BJJ Podcast Nemesis.