Tomorrow night at the UFC on FOX 6, Clay Guida will be making his featherweight debut against Hatsu Hioki. It’s a better weight for Guida to be fighting at. The lightweights have become so big that it’s difficult for a smaller guy like Guida to compete with the elites. All he has to do to make 145 is skip breakfast, take a massive dump, and run on the treadmill for a few minutes.
His grappling-centric style is much better suited against guys his own size, as evidenced by his one-sided loss to the monstrous Ben Henderson, and his weird performance against Gray Maynard in his last fight. Guida simply could not move Henderson around, and he got pretty well dominated. Against Gray, however, he decided to go a different route – just keep the hell away from him.
Guida employed a stick and move, and move, and move a little more, and then just keep on moving strategy en route to a split decision loss. He took a lot of shit for it too. Dana White said the fight sucked, and tweeted that he’d never seen Guida get booed before, and that he himself was booing as well. Guida was very defensive of his performance, and continues to be. He spoke to Sherdog and took issue with the fans:
“I think the crowd definitely played into it, maybe some uneducated East Coast fans that were just out in Atlantic City for a good time who didn’t realize what was going into that fight. True fans and media know what went on in the cage that night, so that just motivates me to go out there and not let that happen again.”
Now, I’m not going to sit here and defend East Coast fans just because I’m one of them. Fans are fans no matter the location. Except Philly fans, who everyone knows just suck. Normally it irks the shit out of me when I hear the fans booing the fighters. Most of it is unwarranted, but sometimes you really can’t blame them. Booing ten seconds after a fight hits the mat is the work of uneducated ‘Just Bleed’ types. But 25 minutes of anti-fighting? I’d say some of that criticism was justified.
Tickets are expensive, and above all the fans just want to see a fight. Game planning is great ‘n all, but eventually a fighter must fight. I thought his strategy was great, in the first few rounds. I figured Clay was playing the point game, frustrating Maynard – which he clearly did, doing enough to take three rounds, but then would at some point actually partake in the fight. He didn’t really do that.
Not to mention the criticism Guida received reached well beyond the East Coast, and had nothing to do with uneducated fans and everything to do with the simple fact that people watch fighting for action. If we weren’t interested in action we’d watch chess or poker. Sure, the strategy is important, the technique is important, but what makes MMA so exciting is the action.
Guida would have been better off had he just acknowledged that it was an off performance, and moved on. By defending the indefensible he invites further criticism. I didn’t stop being a Clay Guida fan after that fight. Not every fight is going to be great, and every fighter has off performances. Guida is still a guy with seven Fight Night bonuses, and two Fight of the Year notches on his headboard. And he should do very well at 145. But damn, the last fight sucked ass, just own it.