mma / Columns

411 Fact or Fiction MMA: Were Gegard Mousasi’s Knees at UFC 210 Illegal?

April 12, 2017 | Posted by Lorenzo Vasquez

Welcome back to another edition of 411 Fact or Fiction MMA! I’m your host, Lorenzo Vasquez III, and it is my pleasure to bring you the fact and the fiction stinking up the air in professional mixed martial arts. By the way, thank you for your votes and comments last week. It is appreciated and I highly encourage you to dish it out this week. Last week, Kuch returned for an epic battle with Todd Vote. They traded hammer fist over Khabib Nurmagomedov never fighting for the lightweight strap as long as Conor McGregor is in town, Cody Garbrandt calling out Demetrious Johnson, and Conor McGregor vacating his title to pursue a boxing match in addition to other subjects. Kuch hit the gas pedal immediately and hit Todd with vicious combinations. Todd fired back and eventually took control to score the 25-to-19 victory. Congratulations, Todd and thank you both for your efforts and contribution. It is appreciated.

This week, I’m back stepping up on short notice for a duel with the one and only, Wyatt Beougher! This should be a grueling affair as we tackle Gegard Mousasi’s controversial win over Chris Weidman, the NYSAC’s incompetence, Anthony Johnson veering off the game plan for Daniel Cormier, and much more! Grab some grub and sit back because it’s time for another round of, 411 Fact or Fiction MMA! Shall we…

TALE OF THE TAPE
RED CORNER
Wyatt Beougher
Host/Reviewer/Columnist, 411 MMA/TV & Movies/Wrestling Zones
2-6-0

VS

BLUE CORNER
Lorenzo “Corpse Grinder” Vasquez III
Host/Contributor, 411 MMA Zone
6-4-0


Much like his corner, Anthony Johnson’s performance against Daniel Cormier left us all perplexed from the get go.

Wyatt Beougher: FICTION While some of his tactical decisions in the cage were indeed perplexing, I agree with 411’s Robert Winfree that Johnson won the first round against Cormier. And while putting a shorter guy with a significant reach advantage up against the cage and looking for takedowns might seem like a bad strategy, it’s one that was actually paying off early for the challenger and didn’t seem terribly dissimilar to one utilized by a guy with an even bigger reach advantage to beat Cormier in the past. That said, Anthony Johnson isn’t Jon Jones, and I’m not sure it was necessarily the best game plan to implement. But as far as his overall performance for the first eight minutes of the fight? I think Johnson did remarkably well for someone who had basically already checked out of MMA.

Sure, his acceptance of that other job offer was probably conditional on him not winning the UFC Light Heavyweight championship; however, even the fact that he would accept another position ahead of arguably the biggest fight of his career speaks volumes to where his mindset was, and in a sport where even the smallest mental lapse can be disastrous and legitimately dangerous to a competitor’s long-term health and wellness, I think Rumble acquitted himself remarkably well. Between the final moments of the fight and his post-fight interview announcing his retirement, though? I probably would’ve gone with FACT. But with the lenses of time and perspective on my side, I have to go FICTION here. Rumble went into the fight with a gameplan, flawed as though it might have been proven to be, and he executed it to the best of his abilities, only to fall to a superior fighter who could exploit those flaws. Randy Couture (in his old man incarnation) proved that the right gameplan can actually make a world of difference in a fight that shouldn’t even be close on paper, and I think that’s what was perplexing about this fight – that Johnson wasn’t equipped with a game plan that better suited his fearsome knockout power and didn’t require him to play directly into Cormier’s greatest strength (wrestling). Had he simply implemented an Old Man Couture plan and put Cormier against the cage and dirty boxed with him, we might have seen a significantly different result, but I don’t think anyone should be claiming that Rumble didn’t execute to the best of his abilities.

Lorenzo Vasquez III: FACT Fact, plain and simple. I thought the first round wasn’t too bad of a showing; but still, I expected Johnson to come out looking to control the pace with defensive wrestling, range, and the monster power in his fist. He did a little of that in the first but eventually blow us away with his attempt to outwrestle Cormier. That route was sure to fail. Considering the fact he retired immediately after the bout and had apparently been suggesting he would hang up the gloves for some time (according to his coach Neil Melanson.), Johnson’s head wasn’t in game 100%, thus, explaining the chosen route he decided to follow. If you ask me, the hunger didn’t seem to there.


Because there were no instant replays allowed, Dan Miragliotta’s original call should have stood, whether right or wrong; and if Chris Weidman was unable to continue, Gegard Mousasi should have lost the UFC 210 bout as a result of landing illegal knee(s).

Wyatt Beougher: FICTION Initially I went FACT on this one, but the more I thought about it, and tried to write about it, it occurred to me that the right call in this situation, or at least the one that was the least damaging to both participants, would’ve been to just rule it a no contest. The second knee looked illegal to me, but I can understand that in the heat of the fight, it was probably a difficult call for Miragliotta to make. As fans with the benefit of DVR and slow motion, it’s easy to say that it should’ve been a loss for Mousasi, but imagine if Miragliotta’s initial ruling had stood and Mousasi had lost the fight – there would be a vocal contingent of fans claiming that the knees were legal and it was a bad call. My opinion might not be a popular one, but in situations like this, where title implications are on the line, I think the best call is probably just to rule it a No Contest and then let the UFC schedule the inevitable rematch. Sure, there are going to be a lot of fans who are unhappy, but no matter who ended up winning, that would have been the case anyway, so why not let two prohibitive title challengers actually fight to a non-controversial decision, rather than essentially forcing both guys to step backwards – Weidman due to the loss and Mousasi due to the nature of the win? Like I said, probably not a popular opinion, but I think, at least in this instance, it’s the best one.

Lorenzo Vasquez III: FICTION As of the time of this writing the NYSAC has come forward and declared that the use of instant replays, in this case, was allowable, according to MMA Weekly. But, even so, this whole mess is nonsense. At the end of the day, Weidman took two legal knees to his head and was deemed unable to continue. The action was stopped by the referee, Dan Miragliotta, who thought the knees were illegal. He cleared it up by polling (asking for the opinion of an outside official) John McCarthy and reversed his decision to the correct decision. Ringside physicians determined Weidman was done and, thus, Mousasi walks away with a TKO victory. It may not be the cleanest of victories, but it is a victory. I’ll take it a step further and say that before the fiasco Weidman appeared to be slowing down while Mousasi looked to be the fresher of the two and beginning to get the better of the exchanges. The fight shouldn’t have been stopped but the ref was not in the best position to make the right call. As a result, we have what we have. For what it was, I believe the right call was made.


Jon Jones better take a warm-up fight because, if the past speaks volumes, then his past suggests he will have a rough night if he immediately steps into challenge Daniel Cormier for the light heavyweight title.

Wyatt Beougher: FICTION If this statement was about literally anyone else, including the other champion stepping back into the Octagon to fight for a title after a lengthy time away from the cage, I would’ve gone FACT. But this isn’t Georges St. Pierre we’re talking about here, it’s Jon Jones. And even a rusty Jon Jones is still the best fighter in the world today. To continue the GSP comparison, in this case, Cormier is Jon Fitch – he can beat everyone else in the division, but the dominant champion is just going to outclass him. Sure, Jones’ return fight against OSP after his indefinite suspension in the wake of his hit and run charge wasn’t the prettiest fight, but Jones was clearly the vastly superior fighter in that fight, and I also think that he tends to fight down to his level of competition. He is, quite possibly, the most talented fighter this sport has ever seen, and while Cormier is a more than competent fighter, I just feel like Jones has his number.

Lorenzo Vasquez III: FACT The last time Jon Jones stepped into the octagon after an extended absence was against Ovince ST. Preaux and he looked vulnerable and beatable. If the past is an indicator of anything then he better take a warm-up fight because the Jon Jones who showed up at UFC 197 may get owned by Daniel Cormier. I suspect Jones feels the same as he has mentioned the possibility of taking a tune-up fight.


SWITCH!

Considering his own past which includes a hit-and-run accident with a pregnant woman for which he was at fault, Jon Jones should be the last person criticizing Daniel Cormier’s controversial weigh-in.

Lorenzo Vasquez III: FICTION Jones doesn’t have the cleanest background, and he’s gone through some major controversy but, like it or not, the man has the right to call out Cormier as he pleases as Cormier has the right call out Jones for his controversial behavior, etc. Anyway, this is what has made the Jones-Cormier feud what it is today. It’s that bitterness and ugliness which has the sold the fight. Jones keeping his own “2-cents” to himself isn’t going to sell this rematch; and for his own sake, it isn’t going to help him get under DC’s skin.

Wyatt Beougher: FICTION Cormier has been talking trash about Jones for a year now, both provoked and unprovoked, using any even remotely questionable thing Jones has done, so why shouldn’t Jones keep the feud going when Cormier does something questionable of his own? While I’m not sure Cormier clinging to the towel was what allowed him to make weight for his fight, as someone who cut weight regularly for several years when I was young and it was much easier, I can tell you that at the end of a cut, especially for a fighter like Cormier who started his career at heavyweight, you don’t just lose that last pound (and change) in under three minutes. Had he taken the full two hours the NYSAC allowed him and made weight? That’s a lot less questionable (I once lost two pounds by standing on my head for forty-five minutes), but with the way things played out, I think Jones is well within his rights to draw attention to it. I’d probably feel differently if Cormier had actually stuck to his repeated claims that he wouldn’t talk about Jones until Jones was actually able to fight, but he’s broken that self-imposed silence too many times over the past year for me to believe that the weigh-in incident is not fair game.


Dillon Danis needs to drop the Conor McGregor act because it is not working for him, plain and simple.

Lorenzo Vasquez III: FACT Well, in some manner you can say it is working. We are talking about him here and so is every other annoyed individual. Nonetheless, while Danis needs to make a name for himself and rake in attention if he wants top dollar, his little act is a bit over top for a person who doesn’t yet have an MMA bout under his belt. The young man may be darkening the skies with heavy clouds, but should he fail early in his MMA career, those heavy clouds may provide nothing more than a sparkle or two before whimpering out. Danis should turn the knob back a few dials, pick up a few wins and great performances, and then bring out his inner Conor McGregor.

Wyatt Beougher: FACT As much fun as it would be to see Danis continue to run his mouth right into what would almost assuredly be a one-sided beatdown at the hands of Jon Jones, unless he’s willing to actually entertain the possibility of stepping into the cage and not hiding behind the clear advantages a grappling match would provide him, I think it’s time for him to just shut his mouth and go back to relative obscurity. At least the Notorious has backed up his claims inside the cage instead of just talking incessantly.


With the amount of controversy caused by the New York State Athletic Commission, the UFC would serve itself best to keep big fights out of the state until the commission gets through with its “growing pains.”

Lorenzo Vasquez III: FICTION The NYSAC has some inexperience problems. Besides all the controversy from UFC 210 and past events, these guys apparently have a problem with breast implants and that just says a lot. Anyways, breast implants aside, New York is big money; and, I hate to say it, but I agree with Dana White, these guys need to get the experience and put in the miles. That means big fights and small-time fights and everything in-between. We’ll witness some blunders (maybe some huge blunders) but it’ll get better with time, at least I hope. And keeping big fights out of New York means staying out of Madison Square Garden. You can’t have that. Let’s move on and hope these guys get their gears lined up.

Wyatt Beougher: FICTION Honestly, while this card was marred by weigh-in controversy and a questionable referee’s decision, I don’t think the UFC can afford to keep big fights out of the state. Out of Buffalo or Rochester? Sure. But after spending years trying to run fights in New York City, limiting the largest media market in the United States to subpar cards out of a fear of a replay of UFC 210’s screw-ups seems like taking a giant step backwards. Sure, New York sports fans have proven to be far more loyal than their west coast counterparts in Los Angeles (see: the awful Jets still selling out home games vs LA not even being able to keep one football team, much less two of them – I seriously doubt the Rams or Chargers will stay in LA permanently), but if they end up getting nothing but Fight Pass-worthy cards, Big Apple fans ARE going to lose interest eventually.


So who won? Was your host able to oust Wyatt on short notice, or was Wyatt on par this week? You’ve got until midnight eastern on Saturday to vote, so make sure you make your voice heard!


And that’s it for today but, as always, we’ll be back next week with another contest! And please, be sure to vote!

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