MacDonald on MMA: News isn’t all good

August 16, 2010, 4:03 PM

Big news this week as Ontario is now opened up to MMA.

That’s great news, but I must say I’m not sure it’s as huge as everybody thought it would be. Toronto’s the biggest city in Canada and it opens the doors to having a UFC event in Toronto, and it’s great to have another MMA event in Canada.

But the door appears to have been slammed shut on MMA in Vancouver so as one door is opened, another closes.

They fired the head of the athletic commission in Vancouver and replaced him with a bureaucrat, who from what I understand, was instrumental in getting the sport banned there in the first place. So it looks like it’s going to be a struggle to continue to promote MMA fights in Vancouver.

It’s definitely not getting any easier.

It’s great that Ontario’s opened up, but let’s be honest, the Ontario fighters were all fighting in the Quebec shows anyway. So from the standpoint of developing fighters, I don’t think it’s going to make a huge difference in the sport. It just opens the doors to smaller shows a little closer to home and obviously the UFC will come and do big shows. But as I said, we may have lost the Vancouver UFC show and simply gained the Ontario one in its place.

And I’m not so sure about the UFC holding its first show at the Rogers Centre. One of the great things about watching a UFC event is the atmosphere and the crowds and I’m not sure I want to watch MMA at a 60,000-person venue.

I’m not sure if even Dana White wants to do that. He’s also been a big proponent of the atmosphere, and do you really want a venue where the Octagon is just a small speck where the fans in the upper levels can’t even see the fighters?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be negative. It’s fantastic news, but I don’t think it’s as huge as everyone thought it would be.

At the end of the day, I don’t think it’s going to do huge things for the sport in Canada, or North America for that matter. It’s just another place that’s been approved. It seems like every other month UFC vice-president of regulatory affairs Marc Ratner is putting a notch on another place that has opened its doors to MMA.

Now some thoughts on recent shows.

UFC 117

Jon Fitch, who beat Thiago Alves handily, continues to get a bad rap for being boring, but I don’t find him boring at all. He continues to work for submissions, ground and pound, and his standup even looked good. I don’t find him any more boring than Georges St-Pierre. It’s strange that people love GSP so much but find Fitch boring. I’d love to see a Jon Fitch vs. Jake Shields fight.

Meanwhile, Alves looked sluggish and he really needs to consider going up a weight class. I’ve seen Alves in non-fight shape and he’s bigger than I am and I’m one of the biggest middleweights.

He’s not very tall either, but he’s extremely thick and muscular. Either he has to lose some muscle, which is very hard to do when you’re as young as he is, or move up to middleweight.

Junior Dos Santos took out Roy Nelson, but wasn’t able to knock him out like everyone predicted. What a chin that guy has. He looks like a fat Chris Leben!

I was wrong about Hughes. I guess we can really give him that Gracie killer moniker. He takes on Royce and Renzo and now chokes out Renzo’s top student in pretty short order. Clearly, he’s still going to be around in the 170-pound division for a while.

The main event was a case of Chael Sonnen having talked the talk and then walking the walk. He may have lost the fight but he backed up everything he said he was going to do to Anderson Silva. He must be very disappointed but he can certainly hold his head up high.

Sonnen made a bad mistake, and Anderson being the champ that he is capitalized on it. That’s the sign of a true champ, to hang in there for 4 1/2 rounds of pure mauling, and then win.

A lot can be said for both guys.

Chael showed everyone the blueprint on how to beat Anderson Silva. The only problem is I’m not sure anyone else can fight that same fight—a non-stop grinding, punishing fight—and never take a break.

It was fun to watch.

At the end, he got a little lazy—and justifiably so—after keeping up that pace for nearly five rounds. He was down in what I call the danger zone; when you’re in your opponent’s guard, you either have to have your head pressed up against his chest with no space at all, or postured up straight with lots of space, but NOT in between in what I call the danger zone.

It was a great triangle by Silva. Not spectacular, but solid and something you’d expect from a black belt in jiu-jitsu. There are a number of defences, but the best is not to be caught in that in-between space and not doing anything at that particular moment. It’s unfortunate because he fought a brilliant fight up to that point.

It happens to everyone; just ask Fedor.

Strikeforce Challengers: Miesha Tate wins women’s tournament

I’m all for women’s fighting–it’s exciting and I have no problem with it. But I definitely have a problem with fights of two, three-minute rounds. What if the fighters were tied after two rounds? Even three-minute rounds are wrong. This is MMA, it should be five-minute rounds.

Strikeforce Challengers: Randy Couture’s son Ryan wins pro debut

I’ve trained with Ryan many times down at Randy’s gym in Las Vegas and I believe he’s going to be a good fighter. He fights like his dad, and he talks like his dad. And he’s smart and taking things slow. He’ll probably have a good future in the sport.

With his name alone, he could go far. But he’s not just a name, he’s got skills. Like he said in his interview, he’s got some of the best guys in the world to train with. He runs the gym for Randy, so he has the ability to train with these guys day in and day out.

Finally, speaking of Randy, I saw The Expendables. It was a pretty good flick and exactly what I expected. No real plot-line, lots of action and enjoyable to see all those action guys in one movie.

I never would have said Sylvester Stallone was a great actor but with Randy Couture acting beside him and other guys like Jason Statham, you can tell they are miles ahead of Couture as far as acting goes. I love watching Randy fight, but I don’t love watching him act.

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