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Sunday, February 01, 2009
Mixed Martial Arts--- UFC 94 Thoughts
by Ivan Trembow

As usual, Georges St. Pierre and Lyoto Machida looked like machines, in this case by dominating B.J. Penn and Thiago Silva, respectively. The best sporting event of the weekend was on Saturday, not on Super Bowl Sunday.

Machida Deserves Title Shot in Next Fight: Machida is long overdue for a title shot and he absolutely deserves to get the next shot at Rashad Evans' belt, not the winner of the upcoming fight between Quinton Jackson and Keith Jardine.

Update: Dana White said at the post-fight press conference that it will be Jackson who will be getting the next title shot, not Machida, provided that Jackson beats Jardine. He said that Machida will “probably” get a title shot by the end of 2009. At this point, the continual snubbing of Machida is just pathetic.

St. Pierre vs. Penn: In the GSP-Penn fight, Penn showed up to fight and looked to be in good shape, but GSP was simply too good.

For all the hype that went into this fight as two all-time greats with both of them at their absolute peak, Penn’s peak in terms of accomplishments was not beating Jens Pulver, Joe Stevenson, and Sean Sherk in the three-fight winning streak that he had going into this fight. Realistically, Penn's peak in terms of accomplishments was beating the #1 lightweight in the world and then beating the #1 welterweight in the world, and that was in late 2003 and early 2004, not in 2008 and 2009.

St. Pierre has Thiago Alves next on his plate, although if Jon Fitch could take down Alves at will like he did, then I’m guessing St. Pierre will also be able to take Alves down at will.

Vaseline Controversy in St. Pierre's Corner: According to this report on Cage Potato: "B.J. Penn's camp has filed a formal complaint with the Nevada State Athletic Commission over Vaseline that was allegedly rubbed on Georges St. Pierre's back between rounds one and two. UFC president Dana White said at the post-fight press conference that he was aware of the complaint, and said he personally witnessed members of the commission take the Vaseline away from GSP's camp and rebuke them in the Octagon between rounds."

White was also quoted as saying that the Nevada State Athletic Commission was "flipping out" about it and was "screaming" at St. Pierre's cornermen about it.

I am in shock about this. I would imagine that if this had been anything other than a huge fight, the fighter who got vaseline put on his back would have been disqualified on the spot, although I don't know that for sure.

I wish we could have seen what actually happened... how much vaseline was applied, who applied it, what the commission did, etc. The UFC has cameras in both corners in between every round, and it sounds like it would have been a big commotion, but the UFC apparently decided not to show the incident during the fight or after the fight, unless they did and I missed it.

Update: From looking at the tape, it was hard to see too much because the director kept cutting away every time vaseline would be on-screen or a towel would be on-screen. However, you can clearly see that one of GSP's trainers rubs his back between Rounds 1 and 2. You can't see in the shot whether the trainer has anything on this hands, but you can see that he is using the same hand that was just applying vaseline to GSP's face seconds earlier, and that is on the tape clear as day.

The athletic commission "flipping out" can be seen on the tape between Rounds 2 and 3. You can see as the round was about to start that one of the NSAC inspectors was thrown a towel and gave St. Pierre's back a very brief rub-down in the seconds right before Round 3 started. Then, between Rounds 3 and 4, it looks like St. Pierre's back got a much more thorough rub-down with towels. Again, it's hard to determine more from this because the director kept cutting away from it.

Zach Arnold also wrote about this on Fight Opinion: "If the NSAC agrees that indeed rules were violated, it will immediately taint St. Pierre’s dominant win over Penn. I realize and you realize that St. Pierre put on a dominant performance, but Penn’s camp has a perfectly legitimate gripe here if the accusations of vaseline usage (in this manner) are true. While Dana White tried to soften the blow of the allegations about possible illegal vaseline usage on St. Pierre, the fact that White is trying to deflect all the heat for the incident on a cornerman and not on St. Pierre is unacceptable."

Fights Going the Distance is Not Necessarily Bad: A lot of people online are complaining about UFC 94 because of the high number of fights that went the distance of three rounds. I don’t think that most fights going to a decision automatically makes an event worse than if most fights end quickly. Even with the one-sided main event, I thought this event was better than the recent UFC event with a bunch of quick finishes that most people said was a great event because of all the quick finishes (UFC 91).

Another Curious Decision for Fight of the Night: Seriously, Clay Guida vs. Nate Diaz gets a Fight of the Night award? And last month, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua vs. Mark Coleman did? And the month before that, Junie Browning vs. David Kaplan did? There were more deserving fights on all three of those events.

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