Here I am sitting up at 1:30 AM, perusing the net and running across articles like one by Trent Reinsmith from Bleacher Report. I can’t help but think, “What is with all the negative press around UFC lately?” First we have one article from CBS Sports claiming that UFC has peaked and will never see its status on par with that of other major sports like NFL or NBA and now we have a rather depressing article from Bleacher Report predicting a boring bout between two excellent fighters.
Just because there may be an expectation by some or many that GSP will win the bout doesn’t mean the fight will be as dry and uninteresting as the “Machida vs. Henderson” bout at UFC 157. GSP is skilled and athletic, versatile and dynamic… based on his previous exhibitions he’s not likely to dance around the ring and peck at his opponent till the clock runs out. Diaz talked a big game during the Media Call on Thursday and sure a lot of it was meant to build up hype for the fight. The comments may have been polarizing, but anyone expecting an outright verbal cat-fight between the the two don’t know GSP’s style. Further more, to predict the outcome of a fight based solely on the result of a Media Call is rather risky business.
Each time fighters enter the octagon there is a degree of chance… That chance creates unpredictability… I could sit here and give you all sorts of opinions about what I think will or will not happen during the fight… but I’m not so arrogant to do so. I’m fairly good at making predictions but I know that there’s always a chance I will be wrong and honestly I’ve just been surprised way too many times to sit back with a smug look on my face and expect to watch the outcome of a fight unfold like a plain paper napkin. Besides, let’s be honest… You can analyze the Media Call any which way you like but if I were to make any assumption it’s that any fighter that isn’t intimidated by GSP isn’t taking the fight seriously. Diaz may have been pumping himself up in preparation for the fight or testing GSP to see how threatened he might feel by Diaz. If there is one prediction that can be made with a fair degree of certainty it’s that no one really know’s exactly what will happen at UFC 158.
Looking back on UFC 154 you may remember the look on Condit’s face as he watched GSP walk into the octagon. He didn’t show any outright panic but his strut sped up a bit, as he paced to and fro. Ultimately, he put on a very good fight in-spite of the emotion surrounding the event and that’s likely because he respected his opponent. Many placed bets against GSP ever recovering from his injury but he came back with a fury. (Simple win or loss predictions aside.) Did anyone expect the fight to unfold exactly as it did? Who knows, but I certainly didn’t… While I can see the allure of analyzing past bouts and fighters’ statistics to make educated predictions, at the end of the day I’m just a fan and I watch the fights purely for entertainment. That being said, I’ve found I enjoy a fight much more going in without any expectations at all.
Perhaps what Mr. Reinsmith from Bleacher Report was trying to do was lower his own expectations in the contradictory hope that he’ll be pleasantly surprised by the outcome of the Diaz vs. GSP fight. Though, is it necessary to use this negative reinforcement as a tool to incite scrutiny and controversy from the fans?
It may get an article some publicity but it’s not really serving the public any good. As a journalist I believe it is best to keep as close to the facts as possible. If you want to editorialize, fine, do so in an editorial, but even then, do so with the intent to inform the public of something worth their time.
A pessimistic article based solely on opinion with no factual references to even provide some basis for the position taken is just wasted text. There’s enough unfounded hype generated before a fight to allow the media to respectfully stay out of it. Leave that to the promoters and marketers.
Where do I stand on the upcoming fight between Diaz and GSP? Right where I always have… Curious about fans reactions and open to any possibility while maintaing hope for, at the very least, an entertaining confrontation. At the end of the day I wish both fighters the best of luck!