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The Savage Truth: "UFC 41 - The Flavor of the Month"
By Greg Savage
First off has to be my take on Atlantic City. What in the world is going on here folks! I am at the beach and there is freakin snow everywhere. That’s not how it’s supposed to be, I live in Huntington Beach and it never snows here. Did I mention it was like 30 below? Or at least it felt like it for this California boy.
Standing outside the airport in the snow, for 45 minutes, waiting for a cab didn’t help matters. I knew we were in trouble when the kids started running up to Sherdog yelling "Frosty." Hopefully the UFC can get the schedule right next time—winter shows in Florida or Vegas and save the spring or fall slot for the northeast.
Now that we got that taken care of, on to the show we go. Shocked beyond belief is the only way I can put it. I even noticed in my review of the event that I pondered that, after submitting Tank Abbott in the blink of an eye, Frank Mir might have been the man to give Ricco a run for his money. Umm, yeah.
What I meant to say was Tim Sylvia, yeah that’s it. Come on? Who in their right mind picked the “Grizzly Bear,” I mean “Maine-iac?” Congratulations to those of you who went on the record with your Sylvia pick, both of you. I saw you guys working. That was one of those “I will pick this guy since no one else thinks he will win and just in case he does I will look brilliant” picks. Well done, mission accomplished. Hell, the only thing more surprising than Sylvia’s stunning win was the fact that my pal actually bought a round at the bar after the event. I guess there is a first time for everything.
I wonder how long “The Maine-iac Grizzly Bear” (oh, that rolls off the tongue nicely) will get to cinch the UFC gold around his waist since the recent past has not been too kind to the champs. I hope for his sake and the UFC’s as well, he can bring some stability to the picture. The Heavyweight Champion turnstile that has been spinning out of control since the Barnett suspension has put the clamps on any effective marketing of what should be the most noticeable personality in our sport.
A big congratulations to Tim Sylvia whom I am sure is enjoying his huge win, made all the more sweet when you add in the fact that just about everyone gave him little or no chance to pull off the big upset. He, who laughs last, laughs hardest. I think I heard that somewhere before.
And my hometown legend, Tank, going down in just 46 seconds, man that was tough to watch. After all the hype, to have such an anti-climactic ending left all in attendance feeling a bit cheated. Too bad for the UFC, the man with more charisma and fan appeal than their entire roster of fighters combined, happens to be a 37-year-old brawler whose best days are behind him.
I am sure Tank will be back but I also wonder what kind of impact he can have in the quickly evolving atmosphere that is the UFC heavyweight division. I will guarantee one thing, Tank will always be a fan favorite, win or lose, because of the highlight reel KO’s and the verbal gems he drops whenever he gets on the mike.
People love his blue collar, pound em’ into the ground type of style and he summed his whole image up best with a post fight quote, “I don’t like to lose that way, but I am not too sure I would want to win that way either.” Classic Tank, and that’s why he is loved and hated for that matter.
That brings us to my prediction of an Uno win. As much as I would like to say that fight was a draw, I just can’t bring myself to say it. BJ won rounds one, four and five with Uno taking two and three. It should have been scored 48-47 in Penn’s favor but thanks to the shoddy judging, BJ will go home empty handed and the title will hang in limbo for another few months until everyone can agree on what to do with it. Penn-Uno III anyone?
It is cliché but when it comes down to it, any fighter that allows the judges to decide their fight only have themselves to blame when it doesn’t turn out the way they want. That said, I still would be pissed off if I felt I had won three rounds and my opponent had won two and I had to watch my title belt go back into the box instead of going home with me.
So after the press conference I roll back into the media room to send my in my review and low and behold they have all the results printed out with the judges names and round by round scoring. So I start looking them over and notice that the guy who scored the fifth round of the Penn-Uno fight 10-10 was the same guy who scored the Serra-Thomas fight 30-28 in favor of “The Terror.”
So I start asking around, “Does anyone know who this Steven Wright guy is and what is his background?” One of my smartass friends who works for the UFC tells me, “He is a stand up comic. Haven’t you ever heard of him?” I just chuckled and told him, “No s***, that explains the scores.”
Well it looks like the card for UFC 42 is taking shape with the following matches either inked or in the works: Hughes-Sherk, Lawler-Spratt, Couture-Arlovski, Crunkilton-Franca and Cabbage-Sean Alvarez. Can’t wait to make my way down to the Sunshine state for some exciting UFC action. But for now the road trip from hell is over, nothing on the docket until WEC 6, the return of Frank Shamrock, on March 27 in Lemoore, CA. I still don’t think I will believe he is fighting until I see them close the cage door behind him. Here’s to Frank’s return and four weeks without having to get on a plane.