As expected, UFC fans are buzzing about last night’s FOX show, and not in a good way. The boos were loud in the arena during Rory MacDonald and Jake Ellenberger’s non-fight, and they continue in text form on forums and websites across the net today. Dana White, always vocal when he thinks a fight didn’t live up to the hype, critiques this one:
“When you get these fights where guys talk s–t, those fights always suck,” White said of the bout. “I think that for Ellenberger to go out and say [MacDonald] doesn’t deserve to be in the top-10 and then not go out and try to prove that he doesn’t belong in the top-10…Ellenberger literally did nothing.
“And in my opinion, Rory didn’t do anything to try and finish him and put a stamp on it and make a statement, not only to the world, but to the guys that are in the division.”
“But tonight was the night. Tonight was an important night that everybody was excited for, and yes, I understand that sometimes you know you’re fighting somebody dangerous. F—king Ellenberger just sat there f—king two feet away from me and said, ‘That wasn’t me tonight, I wasn’t myself.’ So if you’re Rory, and you’re that f—king good and talented, then you imposed your will on him and show the rest of the world, not only do I belong in the top-five, I should be fighting Georges St-Pierre.”
“(UFC executive) Lorenzo (Fertitta) texted me and said, ‘This is terrible.’ I texted him back and said, ‘Ellenberger’s freezing. He froze tonight. I don’t know why, but he did. And when he froze, Rory did nothing.”
“You don’t want to put on a bunch of performances like that,” he said. “It’s not good for anybody. It’s not good for him, it’s not good for us, it’s not good for the sport. Not good for FOX. Definitely not good for pay-per-view.”
So yes, Rory won on the scorecards but lost basically everywhere else. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where he could have poured more cold water onto his career than he did last night. He might be wierd and honestly kinda unlikable but at least he puts on a violent fight. Now he doesn’t even have that going for him any more.
It’s one thing for a guy like GSP to go into safe mode once he’s a big enough star that people will watch him regardless of how he fights. MacDonald is nowhere near that yet, and if he gets a rep for fighting like this he’s going to see the big opportunities to showcase his skills decrease and the talk of title shots dry up. And then if he loses one or two via bad luck or bad judging, he’s liable to get turfed.
Yes, that was all speculative fiction based on a future where Rory MacDonald fights like a cunt for the next two years. We can only hope those boos and the beating he’s taking in media circles today sink in and he goes back to being the Rory MacDonald we enjoy watching fight.
Front-Page Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor