(“Leila, tell me again about how you used to be a TV star!”)
I’m not sure if Jon Jones knocked something loose with his spinning back cartwheels and what not, but Stephan Bonnar seems to have a hazy memory. Yahoo has a great piece up about fighter’s best MMA memories (MMAmories? Aren’t those boobs?). Bonnar chimes in with the one that sticks out in his mind and it’s chocked full of paradoxes and anachronisms:
Stephan Bonnar, UFC light heavyweight, UFC 51: “It was just two episodes into the airing of Season 1 of The Ultimate Fighter and I hadn’t had much air time, so I pretty much was anonymous. I was at UFC 51 in Las Vegas with my trainer, the late great Carlson Gracie Sr. The main event was Tito Ortiz vs. Vitor Belfort and it was my very first UFC. I was so excited. I had always wanted to go to a UFC and it was like a dream come true. I still couldn’t imagine fighting in a venue like this. I ran into Dana White, then we ran into Dan Henderson. Holy crap! Dan Henderson. I was like a basketball fanatic meeting Michael Jordan. Then Dana proceeded to bust his balls about losing to Kazuo Misaki. What surprised me the most was the amount of pretty girls there dressed to kill. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I thought for sure a UFC would have been a huge sausage fest, but it wasn’t! What were these girls doing watching this crap, and they seemed to be really into it. Every time my friends and I got together to watch a UFC, it was a dude thing. If there were girls there, they certainly weren’t paying any attention, nor did they care. The main event was great great fight. In my opinion, it could have gone either way, but Tito walked away with a split decision. An exhausted Vitor exited the cage and was walking right past us when an enraged Carlson (Vitor’s former trainer from childhood) was shouting obscenities at him in Portuguese. Vitor stopped and attempted to retort, then Carlson lunged at him, throwing a hard right hand that barely missed. Immediately, Vitor’s cornermen restrained Carlson, who had the fire of the devil in his eyes. I knew they had a falling out, but, wow! I reminded myself to stay on Carlson’s good side. My first UFC was definitely a memorable night.
Look at that last sentence; how can something so adorable be so wrong? It seems like he didn’t memmer much correctly. UFC 51 took place on February 5th, 2005. Dan Henderson lost to Kazuo Misaki on August 26th, 2006. On top of that, PRIDE Bushido 12 was on the same calendar day as Bonnar’s second fight with Forrest Griffin at UFC 62, so him being there when Dana cracked on Hendo had to take place after that date. Two separate situations AT LEAST eighteen months apart were lumped together by Bonnar. I feel really bad pointing it out too, because Stephan says he was with Carlson Gracie, who passed away in February 2006. Bonnar is also a bigger MMA nerd than Kenny Florian, so for him to mess up the chronology of something he was physically there for is weird.
This whole little piece comes off like nitpicking – anyone can have an off day, right? But take a look at what Frank “THE TANK” Trigg has to say:
Frank Trigg, UFC welterweight, UFC 91 and UFC 46: “UFC 91 with [Frank] Mir and [Brock] Lesnar had the all elements you want to see in a great fight. I remember it so vividly. I remember Frank being down and being beaten up to the standup to the restart. It was all so exciting. Frank was a former champion and a lot of people were asking before the fight could Brock handle that situation. And then Frank gets that kneebar and it was amazing to see the fight change that quickly and end that way…
Brock vs. Frank I happened at UFC 81, not 91. That’s two mistakes by fighters in a row. Now I know you can’t be all snobby about it, but can we at least get some disclaimers? You have to quote the fighters exactly with an article like that (especially to keep from getting all Baroni), but at this point you’re starting to get fans with close to encyclopedic knowledge of the sport who are gonna pick up on mistakes. Especially ones like this, where it’s clear guys aren’t recalling things completely right. Yahoo Sports just officially changed their site from saying “MMA” to “UFC”; they now have an even bigger obligation in catering to “ultimate fighting” fans. The last thing they would want to do is make this a habit.
Also, Bonnar’s miscalculations made me think of this great piece from George Carlin that begins at 3:58 :