Who should take the blame for the snooze-fest that UFC 149 was?
That is the burning question fight fans are asking this week after shelling out 55 bucks to watch a PPV that didn't deliver the goods. No one seems to know exactly what went wrong for a card that, on paper at least, should have been exciting to watch.
Whose Fault Was It?
It may be the UFC's fault for diluting the talent pool with so many events, Hector Lombard's fault for not being as good as what he was built up to be, Cheick Kongo's fault for engaging in a clinch-fest with Shawn Jordan, or referee Yves Lavigne's fault for not encouraging the fighters to press the action.
There is no clear answer, but it seems likely that the combination of all of the above added to the embarrassment that UFC 149 was.
Injuries that robbed the main card of Jose Aldo, Siyar Bahadurzada, Claude Patrick and others, were clearly another key factor that diminished the excitement of the UFC 149 main card.
Additionally, fans simply weren't that excited about the main event, a tactical five-rounder between Renan Barao and Urijah Faber for the interim bantamweight title.
How Do We Fix It?
The UFC has a main event and a co-main event on every card with the hopes of avoiding situations like the one they faced on July 21.
They figure there's a distinct possibility that one of the two fights that get top-billing will be a dud or end very quickly. It's very rare that both the co-main event and main event are duds on the same card.
For example, fans forgot all about Forrest Griffin's slow-paced brawl with Tito Ortiz in the co-main event of UFC 148 because Anderson Silva delivered an exciting knockout in the main event.
And when Mike Russow was clearly overmatched in his tilt against Fabricio Werdum at UFC 147, no one seemed to care because Wanderlei Silva and Rich Franklin put on an exciting show in the main event.
UFC 149 was one of the rare cases where both the co-main event and main event didn't deliver as promised.
Lombard Disappoints, Main Event Too Tactical
I can't rip the UFC for showcasing Hector Lombard in the co-main event slot, as many fight fans were excited to see what this guy was all about. He had won 31 of his past 34 fights, and a convincing victory over Tim Boetsch would have perhaps propelled him to a title shot against Anderson Silva.
No one could have expected Lombard would stand flat-footed and look like a shell of his former self from his fighting days at Bellator.
In the main event, fans were hoping to see Urijah Faber end his trilogy with Dominick Cruz. Renan Barao stepped up to the challenge when Cruz went down with an injury, but fans were already lulled to sleep by the rest of the main card by the time their fight went down.
It's just the nature of sports that not every game can be exciting and action-packed. UFC 149 can be chocked up to one of those rare duds that didn't deliver, but all it will take are a few good main events in a row to gain the fans' trust back.
Who is to blame for UFC 149? A diluted talent pool due to too many UFC events? Poor officiating? Fighters that would rather clinch than throw punches? Let me know in the comments.
Eric Holden is a lifelong UFC fan and supporter of the sport of MMA. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.