This past weekend was the first time in almost six months that two UFC events took place on consecutive nights.
The two “Ultimate Fighter” cards (one the finale of TUF: The Smashes in Australia, the other TUF 16 in Las Vegas) produced such noteworthy moments as a star Hector Lombard finding redemption after a disappointing UFC debut and then calling out Michael Bisping, a thrilling win by Ross Pearson over George Sotiropoulos which settled a grudge between coaches in the process, a stunning knockout and emotional post-fight display from Pat Barry and another KO from Roy Nelson followed by some hilarity from the self-proclaimed “fat boy.”
Not to mention nine of 11 fights Saturday night ended with emphatic finishes to the point that many were calling the show from the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino one of the best of the year — if not the best.
Yet it was all overshadowed by the announcement that UFC 158, headlined by Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz, will officially take place March 16 at the Bell Centre.
That’s because the UFC had the welterweight champion from Montreal in Vegas and on hand to speak with reporters about the matchup — and why Diaz is GSP’s next opponent not Johny Hendricks or Anderson Silva.
It’s becoming a trend for the UFC to upstage its own current events with news of future events coming down the pipe. Earlier this month, at the pre-fight press conference for its big UFC on FOX show in Seattle, reigning Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey was in town and introduced officially as the UFC’s first female champ.
Suddenly, people wrote less about the stacked card that was to come two days later and more about the new addition to the world’s biggest MMA organization.
I suppose you can’t blame the UFC for doing this. You’ve got to strike when the iron’s hot, so to speak, and when you have all the media already gathered in one location, there’s no better way to capitalize.
But considering how much social media is utilized by the organization, often times these types of things are broken (read: leaked) during off-weeks. Not this time.
Since we’re talking social media, here are some of the highlights of what GSP said (brought to you by some of the on-site reporters’ tweets):
Some interesting stuff from GSP presser. Said he considers Diaz number one contender and says it would be bigger fight than Hendricks.
While the Diaz fight isn’t the one I think makes sense right now — Diaz is coming off a loss and a drug suspension and the matchup against him will always be marketable later, whereas the Hendricks one is most marketable now — it’s hard to argue with St-Pierre’s reasoning.
Obviously, the UFC agreed and is giving him the fight he wants.
NOTES: Giving a fighter the fight he wants simply based on him calling out someone is another trend the UFC has seemed to have set. (See Diaz vs. GSP, MacDonald vs. Condit, Sonnen vs. Silva, Sonnen vs. Jones, etc.) Given this, Bisping should expect to fight Lombard next, not Silva, should he beat Vitor Belfort in January …
Tickets for UFC 158 will go on sale to the public on Jan. 19, the organization announced this week. More information regarding ticket prices and the usual pre-sales will be available next month …
Tickets for the upcoming fight card featuring Rousey’s first defence of her belt against Liz Carmouche go on sale this week, starting with the pre-sale for UFC Fight Club members on Wednesday at 10 a.m. PT. UFC 157 takes place on Feb. 23 at the Honda Center in Anaheim and will also feature Dan Henderson vs. Lyoto Machida and Urijah Faber vs. Ivan Menjivar …
Rousey is getting all kinds of media attention these days. She was named No. 43 on the top 99 most desirable women list from askmen.com. The poll involved more than just sex appeal, but also took into account character, intelligence, talent, sense of humor, professional success, achievements in 2012 and potential for 2013 …
In the category of “don’t touch this,” here is a story about a former Ultimate Fighter cast member who suffered a gruesome injury to his, well, sensitive member. Be warned: contains graphic material (no pun intended).