Thank you Strikeforce for living up to every ignorant fan's view of mixed martial arts. Sure the three big fights on CBS on Saturday night turned out to be pretty solid. You had a gigantic upset and birth of a new star with Jake Shields manhandling Dan Henderson. Shinya Aoki was sent to his rightful place in lightweight rankings and Gegard Mousasi was uncovered as a bit overrated.
How many casual or non-MMA fans will remember that after watching the Diaz Gang go 7-on-1 against Jason Miller? Here are the top culprits contributing to a messy night on network television.
1.The Diaz Brothers
Why the Stockton thugs are ever allowed near a cage when it's not their fight is beyond me. Nick immediately looked to throw a punch after Shields pushed Miller. Once the fight started Nate was circling the scrum punching and kicking any body part he could. How easy would it have been for one of those kicks to nail Miller in the face or head? Did anyone notice how many times CBS had to hit the mute button before the fight? Nick was in their cursing like a sailor. Now you see why Dana White sadly said last month he just can't have the guy in his organization.
2. Gus Johnson
When it comes to basketball, Johnson's energy level is great but when calling a fight you can't flip out on every strike or takedown, especially if the fights go the full 25 minutes. Johnson screaming, "he's out!" 25 seconds into the Shields-Henderson fight was ridiculous. Sure Shields was hurt badly but he wasn't "out" cold. The end of the night was disasterous as Johnson tried to cover for the jackasses fighting in the cage. His "gentleman, we're on national television" line was fine. But when he suggested postfight brawls sometimes happen in MMA, he sent a bad message. At the highest level, they don't happen very often. Even WEC fighters Urijah Faber and Jamie Varner picked up on Johnson's gaff.
White trashed Johnson's work.
"When have you seen anything remotely close to that happen at a UFC event?" White told Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole. "What kind of ridiculous commentary was that? That was an idiotic thing to say. And then he was yelling at them to stop, telling them they are on national television. That was just another example of how bush league they are."
Update: Dann Stupp from MMAJunkie was nice enough to point out that the UFC had a melee of its own back at UFC 45. Yahoo! Sports' Dave Doyle made mention of it when we ran through the history of UFC events in honor of UFC 100:
That incident left the 9,200 in attendance in an ugly mood for the next fight, a brawl between punchers Tank Abbott and Wes “Cabbage” Correira. Abbott got the biggest response from the crowd of any competitor on the evening, but he was TKOd in just 2:14. After the fight, both corners got into an altercation that was calmed down just before a full-scale brawl broke out, leading the crowd to litter the cage with garbage.
3. Frank Shamrock
Shamrock's bias throughout the night was shameful. A fight announcer has a lot of influence over the audience. You tell people something, they follow intently. Shamrock's issues started with the Mousasi fight where he misread or refused to believe what was going on. He picked Mousasi and he was sticking with it in spite of the fact that Muhammed Lawal, showed in the first round, Mousasi didn't have the technical ability or fighting spirit to stay off his back. The main event featured an anti-Shields stance throughout the early rounds. The announcer and fighter have had a bitter war of words over the years. Shamrock actually admitted on the broadcast that he didn't attend the prefight fighter meeting with Shields because he can't stand to be around him. At the end of the fight, Shamrock finally admitted he was wrong but next time, if there is a next time, he needs to keep his personal feelings away from the call of the fight.
4. Jason Miller
Miller's a goofball and was simply trying to be funny when he got in Shields' face to ask for a rematch but he's got to know better than to do that right after a big win. Emotions run high, and when Shields has his buddies, the Diaz Gang, in the vicinity you know it's a recipe for disaster. Miller did apologize on Sunday but just after the melee he still appeared to think it was a joke with his "whoops" tweet @mayhemmiller and his cheshire cat grin as he walked by the announcers.
5. Jake Shields
It was completely out of character for Shields to act like a buffoon. He seems like a classy guy but because he lost his cool things ignited quickly. He pushed Miller and was one of the first guys looking to throw a punch.