Selling The Drama

Selling the Drama: The Fight Never Lives Up to the Hype

In the wake of UFC 114, a lot of the commentary coming off the internet has been about how the event as a whole was boring and how the much-hyped main event failed to live up to expectations. Hearing people complain about the action and outcome of Rashad Evans’ win over Quinton Jackson has made me want to stop being a fight fan…at least for a couple minutes.

To all those disappointed fans, I ask the following: what did you expect?

It’s time that people realize that the fight is never going to live up to the hype, for a multitude of reasons, and it’s not the fighters who are to blame for unrealistic expectations not being met.

First and foremost, anyone who believed that Rashad Evans was going to walk into the center of the Octagon and spend 15 minutes exchanging uppercuts with Quinton Jackson needs to give their head a shake.

Just as Josh Koscheck said he was going to knock Paul Daley out before he walked into the cage and dominated him on the ground for three rounds, Evans has always and will always play to his strengths, no matter what is said before a fight.

Secondly, after years of boxing, professional wrestling and MMA, how do people still not understand the nature of pre-fight hype? No matter what arena is being occupied, pre-fight trash talk is designed to draw your interest and get your butt in the seats or watching from the comfort of your living room on pay-per-view. It’s a vehicle for building excitement and it worked perfectly for this contest.

Less people would have been excited about this clash if Evans came out and said how he was going to utilize his wrestling to avoid getting tagged by Jackson’s powerful punches. In fact, there probably would have been some pre-fight backlash against wrestling, dastardly fundamental base that it is. Instead, you push the rivalry, push the heat and talk about knocking each other out. Both Evans and Jackson played the pre-fight hype game perfectly, and are probably richer for it today.

Lastly, to the fans who are annoyed at what they perceived as a lack of action and overall boring fight, I quote Dana White: “If you don’t like it, don’t watch.” Seriously.

This was a pretty damn good fight, and while it failed to reach Leonard Garcia vs. Chan Sung Jung levels of knuckle-chucking, not every fight is going to be an absolute barnburner. That is what makes those encounters so epic, and just because a ridiculously over-hyped fight didn’t produce 15 minutes of fury doesn’t mean that it was boring.

Wrestling is a part of the sport, and right now, it is the dominant discipline. All the fans who are sick of seeing one guy take down the other or press him up against the cage and tire him out better get used to it or change sports, because it’s not going anywhere.

This isn’t boxing; the two combatants aren’t always going to circle each other looking for the knockout. That’s just not how it works. They’re also not going to deliver on the over-the-top promises and expertly edited hype that is fed to the fans before each event.

Dan Hardy didn’t knock out Georges St-Pierre, Josh Koscheck didn’t stand-and-trade with Paul Daley, and Rashad Evans didn’t get into a firefight with Quinton Jackson. How anyone is shocked and appalled by this is beyond me.

I’m sorry if you expected any or all of those things to come true. Maybe I just have different expectations than everyone else. Or maybe I just listened to way more Public Enemy back in the day and heeded the words of Chuck D and Flavor Flav…

Don’t believe the hype.