Monday Morning Reverie: How Do You Spell Anticlimax?
It was supposed to be a memorable and unforgettable evening on
Showtime for the inaugural EliteXC event. But sadly, the most
important battle was nothing more than, well, forgettable.
(Pictures), hailed by the some mixed
martial arts experts as the greatest fighter in the sport’s young
history, lost for the first time in a decade. What was even worse,
though, was that the loss came via disappointing disqualification
after a rather uneventful seven minutes of fighting.
It wasn’t supposed to happen that way, that’s for sure.
Shamrock was set to return to past glory by walloping Renzo Gracie (Pictures) and rekindling the magic that
made him, when he was tearing up the UFC, a one-of-a-kind
In today’s age of Internet message boards, MMA reality TV shows and
major fight organizations routinely pulling in tens of thousands of
live fans plus hundreds of thousands of pay-per-view buys, the name
(Pictures) elicits a terrific and
Today’s pimple-faced baseball fan only hears stories of yesterday’s
greats like Ted Williams and Lou Gherig. Football fanatics are told
of the legendary Jim Brown and Walter Payton. Young NASCAR
followers are doused with folkloric tales of Richard Petty. And
hoops junkies know Oscar Robinson and Michael Jordan by name
It’s likely that much of Generation TUF has not seen Frank Shamrock (Pictures) in action, and at best knows him
as the “better Shamrock.”
Campfire tales have been told regarding Frank’s mythical battle
with Tito Ortiz (Pictures), and his subsequent early
retirement. Shamrock, it turned out, became MMA’s version of Brown
and Barry Sanders, a man who walked away from a sport far too soon
and didn’t achieve everything he easily could have, should have and
Since Shamrock retired from the UFC after forcing Ortiz to tap in
the fourth round, he has tormented us all with hints of actually
un-retiring and picking up where he left off. But, sadly, we were
“treated” to showcase fights against Elvis Sinosic (Pictures), Bryan Pardoe (Pictures) and Cesar Gracie (Pictures) … each three years apart.
Nevertheless, Babe Ruth was scheduled to climb back into the
batter’s box on Saturday night with a chance to clear Yankee
Stadium’s right field roof — and Shamrock’s pre-fight insistences
suggesting he was back for good appeared to foretell glory days’
That was, of course, until Shamrock landed two illegal knees to
Renzo Gracie (Pictures) that forced at first a point
deduction during an injury delay and then, inevitably, a
disappointing and anticlimactic disqualification.
Hit first behind the ear and then near the back of his neck while
controlling from side-mount, Gracie tumbled off Shamrock while
clutching his face and signaling that his vision was blurred as
pain sheered through his brain.
An incredulous Shamrock strolled around the cage, cynical as to
whether Gracie was faking. After several minutes of deliberation,
referee Herb Dean
(Pictures) ruled it a DQ.
The ending left a sour taste in the mouth of many a fan that
expected highlight reel fireworks, whether it would be another
classic slam knockout, striking knockout or dynamic submission.
Either way, Shamrock was supposed to steamroll Gracie, a terrific
fighter from MMA’s most prominent family, but what occurred inside
EliteXC’s cage was nothing remotely close.
In fact, it was Gracie who was winning a contest that gradually
deteriorated into a rather dull affair between two world-class
fighters. To put it bluntly, Shamrock-Gracie was a much bigger
disappointment than Ryan Leaf’s NFL career (well, maybe it wasn’t
No matter how much of a loyal Frank Shamrock (Pictures) fan one might be, those strikes
were blatantly illegal and the disqualification was justified.
Herb Dean (Pictures) is arguably the best referee in
the sport and his sternness inside the cage during that fight
reinstates my claim. He could have easily bowed down to the event’s
magnitude and played it safe by not disqualifying Shamrock. But he
did the right thing.
I’ve already read several online posts about how Renzo faked the
injury and looked for an easy way out. I, for one, don’t buy that
argument for myriad reasons.
For starters, Shamrock is an excellent striker and knees cause a
severe amount of damage. Shamrock hit Gracie twice, with the second
one landing awkwardly on Renzo’s head. It landed just behind and
below the ear towards the back of the neck. I’ve watched thousands
of boxing matches (that’s not even counting the amount of
kickboxing/Muay Thai and MMA fights I’ve seen) and too often
fighters get knocked out or down when blows land on that part of
Equilibrium becomes hijacked and serious nerve damage occurs if the
strikes are hard enough. While the knee didn’t look exactly
consciousness removing, it landed in the perfect spot.
Renzo is one of the toughest cats on the circuit (just watch his
fight with Kazushi
Sakuraba (Pictures)) and if anybody thinks Gracie was
faking the injury or because he was scared, said individual should
check himself into some sort of clinic. Gracie is not going to quit
or fake an injury just to get out of a fight.
Even if Gracie could have continued, he was already hit with a few
illegal rabbit blows (Frank was warned from Dean) and then he was
nailed with two illegal knees. Not saying he did, but could you
blame the guy for hamming it up for the sake of having points taken
away? Who wants to fight someone who continuously lands illegal
The only negative aspect of the fight was how it ended.
Nobody likes watching a disqualification and nobody wants a
potentially excellent fight end with such a dud. Lousy DQ’s are
worse than a fight ending early because of a serious laceration or
dislocated joint. The fight was hyped up beyond belief and to have
it end in such a drab manner is deflating to everybody
Unless somebody put money on the fight being a DQ victory in favor
of Renzo, not one person, including the winner, enjoyed the outcome
of the fight and how it unfolded.
On the other hand, the only truly positive aspect of such an
unfortunate and crummy conclusion is that it leaves the field wide
open for a rematch. As far as I know Shamrock has to fight Phil Baroni (Pictures) next and after that, why not
arrange a bad blood rematch?
There is obviously no love lost between Frank Juarez Shamrock and
the Gracie clan, particularly Renzo, arguably the best of the MMA
The card was filled with interesting fights and it packed a
plethora of potential, but when it was all said and done, the end
result was more or less that of a Monkees album: tons of hype but
severely lacking in delivery and substance.
Like most of the newfangled MMA shows that appear out of every nook
and cranny in the proverbial fightsports house, EliteXC’s debut
event on Showtime was nothing more than a poor man’s UFC.
But shows have to start somewhere.
There were a few good knockouts and one solid fight, but for the
most part, watching the show was like eating store-brand doughnuts
instead of Krispy Kreme.
The production was pretty good and the camera work and replay loops
were fantastic, but everything else was just above mediocre. Not
one fight left my jaw on the floor and the commentary team, for the
most part, left much to be desired.
The best fight of the night action-wise was the throw down between
the suddenly popular Gina
Carano (Pictures) and Julie Kedzie (Pictures). This little war was clearly the
best women’s MMA bout I’ve seen in years and lucky for EliteXC,
Carano won convincingly. Carano is, in my opinion, clearly the
easiest on the eyes among all professional female fighters. I’ll
leave the rest of that statement alone as my wife might become
green with jealousy. …
What has happened to David
Loiseau (Pictures)? This is third straight fight now
where he has failed to deliver the goods. Sure Joey Villasenor (Pictures) is an upper echelon fighter, but
something has happened with Loiseau. Not sure if it’s mental,
physical or something else, but that burning fire and explosiveness
he became known for has evaporated. As a fan of his old fighting
style, here’s hoping he can regain that lost dominance. …
Is it me or is Mauro Ranallo an underrated commentator? Sure his
radio voice gets on the nerves of many, but he has come a long way
since his first few PRIDE commentaries. EliteXC was smart for
scooping him up. I’m ready for the flame mail. …
Is it me or is Bill Goldberg, while a good, professional and
friendly person, not exactly a great commentator? Well, maybe it’s
not his fault, but how many times — and this includes his stint
with the WFA — do we have to hear his broadcast team suck up to him
and say how huge, tough, strong, dangerous, etc, he is? I am
willing to bet that his teammates are wearing “I Heart Goldberg”
shirts underneath their suits. …
Many people might enjoy his silly antics, but Charles Bennett (Pictures)’s Tom Foolery is beyond annoying.
Sure he can scrap and the guy punches hard, but does anybody find
amusement with the ridiculous gold teeth, the camera babble and
utter nonsense he rambles about during pre-fight video interviews?
Thankfully he didn’t use that tired and farthest-thing-from-funny
“my right arm is strong because I jerk off too much” shtick he used
for both King of the Cage and PRIDE. “Rampage” is funny. “Crazy
Horse” is not even close. …
I could tell that promoter Gary Shaw was like a fish out of water
during EliteXC’s debut card. Usually he can’t stay away from the
camera during his boxing events but this time he was just floating
around in the background. That’s good, actually, because since he
is still a novice to the sport, he’d look like a buffoon if he
tried to wax MMA experience and intelligence to the viewers. …
Speaking of Shaw, he mentioned to Carano and Kedzie that they were
the first women to ever fight on a Showtime card, including boxing.
He is wrong. Christie Martin fought plenty of women on the
undercards of several post-prison Mike Tyson Showtime pay-per-view
While EliteXC won’t be toppling the UFC anytime soon, if ever, at
least with Shaw’s presence they stand a fighting chance. Shaw has
promoted or co-promoted some of the biggest and best boxing events
over the last 15 years, so his expertise in that realm alone will
only benefit the fledgling company. We’ll see how it pans out.
I was shocked to see that Monster Energy Drink, my personal
favorite, was sponsoring the event. I literally drink a blue
Monster almost every day of the week. I’m so used to seeing other
drinks that I feel taste like dung sponsor the fights, so I was
happy to see Monster all over the cage. …
Hit me up at www.myspace.com/sherdogsloan.
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