UFC President Dana White spoke in funereal tones at the UFC 149 post-fight presser on July 22, calling out everyone from referee Yves Lavigne to heavyweight fighters Shawn Jordan and Cheick Kongo for ruining much of the main card action from the league's Calgary debut.
Many fans were expecting a slight letdown after the record-breaking UFC 148 that featured the legendary Anderson Silva defending his middleweight title for a tenth time, but no one could have expected the main card of UFC 149 to be as dull as it was.
I would liken it to the "Paranormal Activity" movie series, as the crowd waited through countless minutes of buildup for an exciting moment to break up the suspense. Unfortunately, the crowd-pleasing strikes were few and far between, with fighters on the undercard stealing the show.
Undercard Fighters Save the Day
Bryan Caraway had a gorgeous third-round submission victory, Matt Riddle earned a stoppage and Ryan Jimmo tied the UFC record for fastest knockout in league history. The undercard got the show off to a rollicking start, but Kongo's clinch-fest with Jordan drew the ire of White.
"The undercard delivered, the main card did not," White said of UFC 149. "I don't think the Faber-Barao fight deserved the boos that it got. You're talking two of the best guys in the world in a five-round title fight. It was very technical. Everyone knows how good Urijah Faber is and Barao dominated him tonight."
White didn't seem to have a problem with the main event of Faber versus Barao, as he chocked it up to elite fighters being tactical and technical, but the Kongo-Jordan fight clearly annoyed him.
Dana White Rips Into Lavigne, Kongo and Jordan
"Cheick Kongo and Jordan pushed against the fence for three rounds and I think that the ref let them do it," White added. "This isn't the Ultimate Clinching Championship, it's the [Ultimate] Fighting Championship. When you see two guys just clinching for three rounds, and in the third round they clinch for an entire five minutes, and this idiot is standing around looking at them."
That "idiot" White was referring to was Yves Lavigne, who didn't stop Kongo and Jordan from turning their fight into a snooze-fest. "As a referee, your job is to enforce the rules and make sure that these guys fight," he noted. "If they're not fighting, you break them up and make them fight. We're talking about guys that are experienced, who have enough fights by now. Yves Lavigne was horrendous tonight."
White was also not pleased with Hector Lombard's performance in his UFC debut. Many fans were expecting Lombard to run through his opponent, Tim Boetsch, and make a statement that he's a legit challenger to Anderson Silva's middleweight title. However, Lombard stood flat-footed and looked slow, losing a split decision that end his double-digit win streak.
"We're at UFC 149 and you can count on one hand how many of our shows have sucked, and tonight is one more finger on the hand," White said.
White was expected to announce at the post-fight presser who would fight Anderson Silva for the next middleweight title shot, but the sluggish pace of Lombard-Boetsch left him no choice but to give it a few more days to sleep on it.
Does the UFC and White owe anything to the Calgary fans who paid good money to watch UFC 149?
It's unfortunate, but any sporting event runs the risk of not living up to par. I have gone to plenty of New York Mets games where the pitcher gave up a ton of runs in the first inning and there wasn't much excitement in the atmosphere.
These things happen, and sports fans just need to learn to live with it. Not every performance and event is going to be exciting, but not much can be done about it. That is just the "real" element of UFC fighting, since it's not scripted like a WWE event.
All the UFC can do is moving forward into the future by putting together lineups that feature top-level fighters, and hope that they deliver as expected.
Eric Holden is a lifelong UFC fan and supporter of the sport of mixed martial arts. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.