twitter google

Shooting From The Hip: A poor choice of words, playing the game & calling timeout

What NOT to say during a live UFC broadcast. I’d have to say if I was making a list of phrases not to utter during the commentary portion of a live mixed martial arts event, “He’s getting molested” would have to be near the top of the list. Any of you guys that caught last weekend’s inaugural “UFC on Versus” event know what I’m talking about? It happened during the Cheick Kongo vs. Paul Buentello mauling.

Here’s a play-by-play of the play-by play:

Goldberg: I don’t know how much more Buentello can take, Joe.

Rogan: Oh, he can take it all night. The thing is; will Herb Dean let him? He’s getting molested.

Goldberg: You must intelligently defend yourself.

Right off the bat, I feel like Joe Rogan is the best in the business at what he does, so this is in no way an attack on one of my admitted personal favorite commentators in the sport. If anything, it’s a plea to the entire mixed martial arts community to NOT make this some kind of trendy MMA slang.

Let me ask you guys something: What is the first thing that pops into your noodle when you hear the word “molested”? For myself, it’s nearly impossible not to associate the term with unwanted sexual acts with a minor; one of the lowest and most unforgivable offenses on the earth.

I understand when you’re kicking back with your boys watching a UFC it may get a few chuckles when you joke that one fighter is raping his opponent, but in my opinion, molestation jokes have no place or time where they are funny; and that absolutely includes a commentating microphone of a major mixed martial arts event with more than one million eyes and ears watching and listening.

It may not be pretty to listen to, but I’ll take a good old fashioned Lampley meltdown (see video below) over a molestation reference any day of the week.

Playing the game? Many of you guys heard Herb Dean tell Paul Buentello that he was doing just that after taking a set of knees to the Chiclets from Cheick Kongo during the pair’s “UFC on Versus” tussle.

So what is this “playing the game”? Well, it was described by Joe Rogan during the broadcast as a situation where Buentello had both hands off the canvas, but when he saw that he was going to catch a knee to the dome, he put his hand down on the mat to make the knee illegal. And that’s exactly what it is. I’ve heard “Big” John McCarthy giving other fighters the same warning in UFC’s past, so it’ nothing new to the sport.

My beef with this instance of “playing the game” is that fact that “The Headhunter” was supposedly “playing the game” for a full four seconds before catching some tough love in the form of a knee to the face from Kongo while technically “downed” (one hand on the mat) before Dean deemed that Buentello was basically at fault. Buentello puts his hand on the canvas at 1:43 of round two, takes the first knee to the head at 1:40, and the second at 1:39. To me, that’s not playing the game, but getting illegally bludgeoned.

I could be wrong, but my interpretation of “playing the game” has always been when a fighter attempts to put his hand down just as the knee is about to hit him, and not four or five seconds after the fighter has touched his palm to the mat. I don’t feel like a fighter is “playing the game” after having his hand on the canvas for two seconds or longer. That’s plenty of time for both a skilled referee and the opposing fighter to see what’s going on.

The rules are there for a reason – to protect the fighter – but with the sport being as young as it is in the grand scheme of things, sometimes it seems like we’re making things up as we go. Like when you’re playing touch football with your buddies back in grade school and some wise-ass decides to change the rules in the middle of the game. What is that? Unfortunately for Buentello, he couldn’t just take his ball and go home.

You can’t call “timeout” in MMA. You just can’t. Have you guys ever seen or been in a fight where someone is getting their lunch money taken from them and they decide it’s time to call “time”? You can’t do that. That is so against the rules of fighting that it’s not even funny.

The reason I’m bringing this up is because I saw two men that seemed to call “time” during last weekend’s “UFC on Versus” card. The subjects in question: Paul Buentello and James Irvin.

First it was Irvin who freaked out when he took a “for real punch” to the eye. I was shocked when referee Josh Rosenthal informed James Irvin that he had five minutes to recover from being punched directly in the face from the fist of Alessio Sakara. Luckily, some sense was eventually made of the unfortunate situation and Irvin was informed – rightfully – that he had basically submitted from a punch to the face.

Then it was Buentello who turned away from Cheick Kongo when his finger was jarred out of socket. I have no doubt that the injury must have been excruciatingly painful due to Buentello limping around the Octagon following the digit disaster, but the fight should have been waved off right then and there, just like the Irvin fight.

Long story short, if an injury occurs in MMA from anything other than a foul, it’s a wrap. No “timeouts” in MMA, fellas.

Junior dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez. How can this fight not come to fruition? With Frank Mir and Shane Carwin set to duke it out tomorrow evening at UFC 111 for the right to challenge Brock Lesnar for the real UFC heavyweight crown, there really is no other fight for either of these human wrecking machines that have been carving out a path of destruction on their way to the top of the heavyweight mountain. Both look nearly unstoppable at the weight class, which brings me to my next topic.

Five unstoppable forces in UFC heavyweight division. Can we just celebrate the fact that the state of the UFC heavyweight division is the best it’s ever been right now? Right now we have a situation where there are five incredibly talented big men that look nearly invincible. There’s UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, a better than ever Frank Mir, and a trio of undefeated human wrecking balls, Junior dos Santos, Shane Carwin and Cain Velasquez. What do all of these guys have in common? I can’t visualize any of them losing any time soon; but some of them will do just that. The beauty of the situation we find ourselves in is the possibility of establishing a heavyweight title holder that can not be disputed in just about a year’s time.

Until next time, bang, bang…. BANG, BANG, BANG!!!!!.

Jim Lampley: There you go – four punch, five punch, six punch combinations – body shot, body shot – bang, bang, bang…. bang, bang, BANG!!! Try and stop it. Bang, Bang! Here I come. Bang! You wanna throw some time? Bang! This is the Manny Pacquiao that has dominated boxing for the past three years. Bang, bang, bang, BANG, BANG!!!

Max Kellerman: And when Pacquiao…

Jim Lampley: You wanna throw back? Bang!! Keep coming!

Max Kellerman: And when Pacquiao starts doing this, now I tend to agree: Clottey has to do something to keep him off.

Follow 5OZ