Sunday, April 18, 2010

Strikeforce And CBS Get A Black Eye

As I watched the Strikeforce card on CBS that was held in Nashville last night (hey it's after midnight) I was forming ideas for this post. All of that went out the window after the fights were over and a melee erupted in the cage. Jake Shields had just defeated the legendary Dan Henderson and before he had a chance to revel in his glory Jason "Mayhem" Miller somehow got into the cage and got into Shield's face asking for a re-match. Shields got angry and shoved him and that touched off a near riot as Shields camp who were there celebrating with him jumped on Miller and several of them were punching and kicking him. It was settled down but all of it was caught live by CBS who never attempted to cut away to a commercial until after it was all over. You see, Shields was the underdog even though he was the middleweight champ. Henderson had been brought in specifically to fight Shields in his first title defense and virtually nobody thought that Shields could win. It had been speculated that Strikeforce was trying to get rid of him because he only had one fight left on his contract and thought that they didn't want to pay him what a champion should be paid. So he was looking into his options and was considering signing with another organization such as the UFC.

With all of that going on it looked like his title run was over about twenty seconds into the fight when Henderson clocked him with one of his overhand rights that appeared to flash KO Shields. He hit the ground head first but woke up enough to weather a beating that Henderson put on him for the rest of the round. However in the second round Shields turned the tables on Henderson and made him fight his fight. He took him down, mounted him every round after, controlled him and maintained position and basically dominated him for the rest of the fight although he did have to work hard for it. It's easy to understand that after overcoming all of that and winning that Shields let his emotions get the best of him but it's no excuse for his camp to lose their control like they did. I have a feeling that there are going to be many suspensions and fines forthcoming. One thing I'd like to know is how Miller even got into the cage and worked his way up to Shields. None of this would have happened if a little security had been properly applied.

In case you didn't know it there were two other title fights that were aired. The first was a boring, lackluster fight between 205 pound champ Gegard Mousasi and challenger Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal. Even though he won Lawal showed just how far he has to go before becoming a complete fighter. He gassed after the first round and appeared to have no answer for Mousasi's guard. Unfortunately for Mousasi he never showed any urgency in the fight and I feel that he gassed himself shortly after Lawal did. His plan was to take Lawal into the later rounds however after the second round he looked slow and awkward and had virtually no takedown defense at all. While gassed Lawal did what most fighters do in that situation and fell back on his instincts, what he knew best, and that was wrestling. He was able to take down Mousasi almost at will and hold him down until he got his second wind and do just enough to win which wasn't too hard since Mousasi didn't do much on his own. This was a very disappointing fight. I don't think that Lawal will hold his belt long if he has to fight many well rounded fighters.

The middle fight pitted Japanese submission ace Shinya Aoki against 155 pound champ (and Jake Shields teammate) Gilbert Melendez. Many pundits put Aoki as potentially the number one 155 pounder in the world after BJ Penn lost last week, pending the outcome of this fight. Where Lawal was able to takedown Mousasi almost at will Aoki however was unable to get the fight to the ground for very long and couldn't get any takedowns going his way. Melendez used a "sprawl and brawl" game plan to keep the fight standing for the most part until the later rounds where he grew more comfortable and would go into Aoki's guard briefly to deal out more punishment. Melendez dominated Aoki in a way that not many people thought he could.

Since all three championship fights went the distance none of the undercard fights were shown which is a shame since several of them appear to have been very exciting and were finished in the first round. Perhaps they'll be available for viewing at a later date. Here's hoping that the poor sportsmanship shown will not affect the growing sport of MMA too badly and that CBS will not decide to drop their coverage. That would be a travesty.

No comments: