MMA is a always thrilling, but sometimes events happen that surprise us, or worse, let us down. 2013 has been full of great changes, but it has not been without some major letdowns. Let’s revisit some of the disappointments of 2013:
10. Dan Henderson gets KO’d by Vitor Belfort
Poor Henderson. One second he’s about to fight Jon Jones at UFC 151 in 2012, then he finds himself knocked out by Belfort in 2013. At 43 years old, Pluto has a better chance of getting reinstated as a planet than Hendo does getting a title shot. Henderson made good money, but his three losses in 2013 qualify him as having the worst year ever.
9. Luke Rockhold gets KO’d by Vitor Belfort
Talk about a choke job. Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Rockhold debuted amid big fanfare and then got knocked out by a head kick. The loss was so stunning that Internet conspiracy theorists were saying Rockhold threw the fight and even signaled to Belfort when to kick him. Probably not true. Rockhold just fumbled the ball on the handoff on the first play from scrimmage. He’ll have more downs.
8. Cat Zingano gets injured, ousted from The Ultimate Fighter
So this Saturday Ronda Rousey battles the No. 2 contender for her title. That’s because the No. 1 contender, Zingano got injured. Zingano vs. Rousey would have been a much more intriguing fight at UFC 168. Rousey already whipped Tate, armbarring her twice in one round, nearly breaking it one of the times. Tate could pull off the upset, but Rousey vs. Zingano would have been a more original, possibly more competitive fight .
7. Anderson Silva gets knocked out shadow-boxing
Everybody loves a good upset, but you want it to be legitimate. Chris Weidman knocked out Silva after Silva was acting like he was drunk at a party goofing off with friends. Unfortunately the so-called greatest mixed martial artist of all time got knocked out seconds after breaking a sweat. He’ll be better in the rematch, but the invincibility title is gone.
6. Bellator cancels first PPV
Sure, the main event was sort of weak, but it was still going to be a historic moment. Bellator was set to launch its first PPV headlined by Tito Ortiz vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. In kind of a spectacle sort of way, the main event was supposed to be Bellator’s big voyage into PPV. Well Ortiz broke his neck training and the fight never happened. For now the PPV world is still a mystery for Bellator.
5. Strikeforce folds
The once mighty No. 2 organization in the world folded and the UFC is still the biggest boy in the yard. The San Jose, California-based company held a final show in January and fans said goodbye to MMA on Showtime, but more importantly a viable competitor to the UFC. Strikeforce launched the careers of Ronda Rousey, Daniel Cormier, Gilbert Melendez and others. Its presence made the world of MMA a better place.
4. Alistair Overeem shrinks and implodes
The guy who retired Brock Lesnar, who was next in line to fight Cain Velasquez for the UFC title, got busted for elevated testosterone levels and then got knocked out by Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, then Travis Browne. Overeem used to fight like a fierce tiger attacking his prey. In his last two fights, he lacked drive and a killer instinct. Overeem fights Frank Mir next year with his UFC career probably on the line. What a sudden and fast fall.
3. Rousimar Palhares
A heel hook is a great move, but if you hold it too long, it might cost you a lot of money. UFC President Dana White fired Palhares after he held the submission hold too long on Mike Pierce. That kinda stuff should be long gone from MMA. White, always wanting to make the UFC more appealing to advertisers, canned Palhares and everybody loses.
2. Georges St-Pierre retires
We accept it. He was tired, worn out. He needed a break. Good for him. Still, it’s unfortunate that St-Pierre chose to walk away from the sport, just as fighters were finally figuring the GSP puzzle out. St-Pierre was arguably gifted with a decision victory in his fight against Johny Hendricks. Fans want a rematch. Instead, GSP is out probably for the duration of 2014 and Hendricks gets to fight Robbie Lawler for the richest prize in the welterweight division. Kind of a letdown.
1. MMA still banned in New York
Really? New York lawmakers still won’t allow MMA in the fight Mecca of the world. UFC dolls are sold at Target, for crying out loud. MMA is safe, athletic and a responsible sport. It’s time to overcome past ignorance s and biases and give the public what it wants.