The Weekly Wrap walks readers through the last seven days in
MMA, recapping and putting into context the week's top story,
important news and notable quotes.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship and Spike TV didn't get the
dream scenario of ratings juggernaut Kimbo Slice
reaching the finals of Season 10 of “The
Ultimate Fighter.” But they got something close to it.
Against fellow brawler Houston
Alexander on Dec. 5 in Las Vegas, Slice displayed more than a
one-dimensional game, which seemed, for the first time, to
galvanize support for him beyond the casual viewer. Slice hardly
looked polished, but did drop Alexander on his head in the second
round with a highlight-reel slam and worked some sound fundamental
ground control on the Nebraskan, taking his back and mount.
Alexander started very slow by circling the cage ad nauseum and
trying to catch Slice’s bad knee with leg kicks in a round that,
because of lack of contact, was very difficult to give to either
fighters. Both fighters put their hands on their knees in
exhaustion when the final bell sounded. Slice, 35, who weighed in
at 212 pounds for the catch-weight fight, won a unanimous decision.
UFC President Dana White was publicly critical of the game plan of
Alexander, who was cut from the UFC after the loss.
All told, the TUF 10 Finale drew a 2.4 rating on Spike TV, which
translates into 3.7 million average viewers over two hours. The
number is the third highest for a UFC card on Spike, and highest
for a TUF finale show. Slice's fight against Alexander drew a peak
audience of 5.2 million viewers, a top-five number for UFC fights
but still somewhat below expectations. The live fight did not hit
the heights of the tape-delayed Slice-Nelson fight on during the
regular season, which put up 6.1 million in its first airing and
reached 7.25 million with DVR viewers included. The live event drew
about 1,500 spectators to The Pearl at the Palms Resort Casino for
a $504,350 gate.
The man who conquered Slice on “The Ultimate Fighter,” potbellied
Nelson, knocked out Brendan
Schaub with a first-round overhand right to become the TUF 10
champion. The fight was positioned as the main event on Spike TV,
the first time the UFC has put a TUF finale bout in the
show-closing slot. Nelson, who weighed in at 263 pounds for the
fight, entered the arena to Weird Al Yankovic’s “I’m Fat” and asked
UFC matchmaker Joe Silva in the cage, “Was that exciting enough?”
Nelson pocketed a $25,000 “Knockout of the Night” bonus for the
performance on top of the standard $16,000 win purse under a TUF
While Slice and Nelson took definitive steps forward in their UFC
careers on Dec. 5, blue chip prospect Jon Jones took
something of a pause against Matt Hamill in
a light heavyweight contest. Jones took down Hamill, a Division III
national wrestling champion, right off the bat with a trip, the
impact of which separated Hamill’s shoulder. Jones, who trained
with Greg Jackson’s camp for the fight for the first time, took a
swift mount and rained down rapid shots as Hamill struggled to
defend with a bad arm. Jones eventually switched to illegal
“12-to-6” downward elbow strikes.
Referee Steve Mazzagatti stopped the action to deduct a point, but
noted Hamill could not continue and went to instant replay for the
first time since Nevada’s athletic commission passed a regulation
allowing it. Mazzagatti ruled the illegal blows contributed to
Hamill’s condition of being unable to continue, thus resulting in a
disqualification loss for Jones. Jones was gracious in commenting
post-fight on the decision, though his camp was reportedly looking
to somehow appeal the decision.
Also on the card, lightweight force Frankie
Edgar put forward a technical clinic in dispatching Matt Veach.
Edgar dropped the H.I.T. Squad fighter with a short right hook in
the second round and rained down ground-and-pound until Veach gave
up his back and the rear-naked choke. Edgar made a textbook mental
adjustment to seal the win after Veach came out aggressive in the
first round, landing a spectacular running slam. The back-and-forth
scrap earned both fighters “Fight of the Night” bonuses. Edgar, who
tied Hamill with an event-high $46,000 disclosed payday,
broadcasted a desire to fight next for the 155-pound title.
Matt Mitirone made a successful pro MMA debut by stopping one of
the TUF season’s ten biggest fighters and personalities, Marcus Jones,
in the television opener. Jones lunged in for and scored with a few
takedowns but showed a porous striking guard. Mitrione, who trains
Lytle and Jake O'Brien,
made Jones pay 10 seconds into the second, landing two right
crosses to notch the TKO.
The UFC used the platform to announce coaches for Season 11 of “The
Ultimate Fighter.” Tito Ortiz and
Liddell, who set the longstanding UFC pay-per-view buy record
three years ago, will serve as rival coaches for two teams of
middleweight cast members. TUF 11 will begin airing March 31 on