CONOR McGregor and Holly Holm suffered shock losses at UFC 196 last weekend — results which only served to heighten fans’ interest in the sport.
Miesha Tate proved she could seriously challenge Ronda Rousey when the pair meet in the Octagon again, while Nate Diaz knocked the air of invincibility out of McGregor.
The fact McGregor’s fight went ahead at all was impressive. A featherweight (65.8kg) fighter, he was initially scheduled to take on Rafael dos Anjos. But when the Brazilian pulled out of the bout just a couple of weeks beforehand with a broken foot, Nate Diaz was announced as his replacement and the Irishman would instead fight as a lightweight (70.3kg).
McGregor was roundly praised for agreeing to step up to an unfamiliar division, while Diaz was also lauded for agreeing to fight on such short notice.
On the other hand, UFC President Dana White came out last week and criticised Holly Holm and her camp for fighting — and risking her bantamweight title — instead of waiting for a rematch with Ronda Rousey, whom she defeated at UFC 193 in Melbourne back in November.
It’s this view that’s earnt White the wrath of MMAjunkie’s Ben Fowlkes. In a video on the site, Fowles laid into White and the UFC for what he saw as blatant hypocrisy.
“My pick for the most nonsensical opinion so far of all, that would have to go to UFC president Dana White, who maintained that Holly Holm and her team messed up big time, not just because Holm lost … but because Holm took the fight at all,” said Fowlkes.
“That’s criticism based just on the decision to have Holm defend her title rather than wait for the return of Ronda Rousey.
“If you detect a little hypocrisy there, congratulations. You are paying attention.
“This is the same Dana White who has criticised fighters in the past for sitting out while they wait for title fights or sidelining themselves while they renegotiate contracts.
“He’s the same guy who loves to remind fighters that their window of financial opportunity is rapidly closing so they should fight as often as they can and make as much money as they can, while they can.
“Yet here he is criticising Holm for doing exactly what he says fighters should do.”
During the week, White said Holm unwittingly gave up the chance to achieve great things by listening to her management and opting to get back in the Octagon.
“It’s one of those things. I feel bad about it. I feel bad for Holly. I don’t know if Holly really knows what she lost,” White said on ESPN radio.
“I think (Holm) has so much faith in the people that surround her, she feels like, ‘Well, they got me this far.’
“The sad part about that is, listen, he (Holm’s manager) is an old boxing guy who thinks he’s smart, and he’s not.
“We had this meeting, and Holly wasn’t even in it. Holly, that’s your life. You should be in that meeting. Don’t leave it to these people.
“Anyway, Holly made a lot of money. She accomplished great things, she beat Ronda Rousey. But it could have been so much bigger for her, and the sad part is, I don’t think she even knows it.”
Fowlkes had a huge problem with this, because it goes against what White has said in the past.
Last month he praised McGregor for his willingness to fight when most people would choose to sit on the sidelines.
“You know how many times opponents pull out and most guys wouldn’t fight. He doesn’t care. He’ll fight anybody, anywhere, anytime and he absolutely means it,” White said.
“Let me tell you, it’s what makes Conor McGregor, Conor McGregor. It’s amazing.”
Since her win over Rousey last year, Holm has made it quite clear she wanted to stay active and was keen to fight in the meantime, rather than just wait for Rousey to recover. However, she toed the company line during this period too, always saying while that was her preference, she would ultimately leave it up to the UFC to decide her fate.
Fowlkes thought it was unfair to dump criticism on Holm when she was basically just doing what White had praised McGregor for.
“That’s one of the problems. Rousey’s been off filming movies, we don’t know what her schedule is, when she’ll be back, and yet people seem to think Holm should have been willing to wait more or less indefinitely just to make more money against Rousey,” he said.
“White was full of praise for McGregor … he’s been full of praise for other champions who’ve been willing to fight anyone, anytime, anywhere, so why have we suddenly decided Holm and her team are a bunch of morons for trying to defend her UFC title?”
Hypocritical? We’ll let you be the judge.
Courtesy of NewsCom.au by James Matthey