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Thursday, October 08, 2009
More Bad Than Good at Dream 11 in Japan; and Junie Browning Gets Arrested After More than a Year of His Behavior Being Rewarded
by Ivan Trembow
I have been a bit puzzled by the online reaction to a couple of things related to the recent Dream 11 event in Japan.
Apparently, Shinya Aoki was somehow protected and it was somehow a crime for him to get time to recover after getting kicked in the groin. Really? The instant replays used a reverse camera angle from which you couldn’t actually see Joachim Hansen's foot hit Aoki's groin, but if you go back and look at the original camera angle as it happened live, it’s clear as day that he was kicked in the groin.
Are fighters not supposed to get a break to recover when they get kicked in the groin? The fact that Hansen kicked Aoki twice in the head after kicking him once in the groin doesn’t change the fact that Aoki was kicked in the groin.
Also, the Bibiano Fernandes vs. Hiroyuki Takaya fight was apparently a Fight of the Year candidate. Really? I didn’t come away from the fight with that feeling at all. I thought it was a good fight, but a Fight of the Year candidate? No way.
Apparently following in the footsteps of C.B. Dollaway, Joe Warren lost by submission and then tried to claim that he didn't tap out, even though it certainly appeared that he did (with his fingers). Even if, hypothetically, Warren hadn't tapped at all, his arm was in such a position that the referee would have been completely justified to stop the fight at that moment by technical submission, because otherwise Warren could have suffered a major arm/elbow injury.
On the whole, there was far more bad than good with this event. The "good" was the Aoki-Hansen fight and the Featherweight Grand Prix.
The "bad" was the embarrassing mismatches given to Kazushi Sakuraba and Tatsuya Kawajiri, as well as the awful Hong-Man Choi vs. Ikuhisa Minowa fight and the predictably one-sided fight between Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou and Bob Sapp (although at least the Sokoudjou-Sapp fight didn’t appear to be a badly-worked pro wrestling match with a pre-determined ending, which is more than I can say for Sapp’s previous fight in the Super Hulk Tournament against Minowa).
I know that this "Super Hulk Tournament" crap is the key to Dream's success in the ratings on Japanese TV, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. The same could be said of EliteXC putting Kimbo Slice in fight after fight on major events, and I didn’t support that, either.
Junie Browning Gets Arrested After More than a Year of His Behavior Being Rewarded
The Las Vegas Review-Journal is reporting the sad news that infamous Ultimate Fighter 8 contestant Junie Browning tried to harm himself by overdosing on anti-anxiety medication, and then attacked three nurses after he was taken to the hospital.
Browning was arrested and charged with battery on a health care provider, and he was shortly thereafter released by the UFC. Browning's coach, Shawn Tompkins, has subsequently said in interviews that Browning was not merely trying to "harm" himself by overdosing, but was actually "trying to take his own life."
The UFC did not release Quinton Jackson after he endangered numerous pedestrian's lives in a Monster Truck in July 2008; nor did the UFC release Jon Koppenhaver when he was convicted of assault for punching and choking a man unconscious (Koppenhaver was only released after his comments about the late Evan Tanner); nor has the UFC released repeat criminal Josh Neer (who should be serving a prison sentence right now instead of fighting on the main card of a PPV event in two weeks).
The fact is, committing a serious crime doesn't usually cause a fighter to be released by the UFC, so it's much more likely that the attempted suicide aspect of Browning's incident is the primary factor behind the UFC's decision to release Browning from his contract.
As you may recall, Browning repeatedly became drunk and violent in the fighters' house during the filming of The Ultimate Fighter 8. During the filming of TUF 8, Browning threw a glass at Kyle Kingsbury; got into a poolside scuffle with Ryan Bader; jumped over the Octagon fence and went after Efrain Escudero in an aggressive manner immediately after Escudero defeated Shane Nelson in an NSAC-sanctioned match; threw a glass at Shane Primm's head; and threw two punches at Primm.
Fighters have been kicked off of The Ultimate Fighter for doing far less in the way of rule-breaking, but Browning was not kicked off of the show or released by the UFC for any of these incidents, nor did the UFC release him when he was eliminated from the TUF 8 lightweight tournament in a one-sided fight.
Instead, Browning was rewarded by the UFC, which gave him the one and only main card fight on the live finale that involved TUF 8 contestants who were not tournament finalists.
I wrote about the UFC's decision to reward Browning for his behavior at the time in the following article: Sleazeball Promoters and Trash TV: What The Ultimate Fighter Has Become.
Browning's own coach on TUF 8, former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir, said at the time, "Putting him on the main card, it does reward his behavior. It shows people that if you act like a moron or idiot, you'll get face time. That equals money, so it's creating a shortcut, and they don't have to invest as much time into fighting... I realize that Spike has to sell TV time, and I understand that's part of the whole game, but as far as me as a martial artist, I find it an insult."
Rather than being released by the UFC at any of the aforementioned times, hitting rock bottom, and realizing that he needed help with his addictions, Browning was rewarded every step of the way. It's sad that it took an arrest and an attempted suicide for the UFC to finally stop rewarding Browning's behavior. Hopefully, Browning will now get on the road to recovery.