5am on a Sunday morning isn’t most people’s idea of fun. It’s a moment in the day that the sporting stratosphere is still in full swing and combat sports get their time to shine. It was no different this past weekend as UFC and boxing again gave the combat-hungry public something to savour disappointing. The two compete for audience share and Saturday showed just why both are so hard to turn off once you’ve switched over.
We’ll start from the end and go backwards. The evening concluded with British light welterweight Amir Khan losing both his titles and bemoaning a refereeing performance that saw him docked two points for pushing. Khan should have known a bit better than to agree to a bout in Lamont Peterson’s home city of Washington DC. Was the plan to have this as an excuse all along? Through the beer goggles of the aftermath of a night out, you could see Khan could have controlled the fight. There will be a rematch. It remains to be seen how much damage this does to Khan’s standing in the triumvirate featuring Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. On this evidence Khan, wouldn’t be a match for either of them.
Anyone that had reason to think that match shocking probably don’t know Dana White’s wrestling-boxing-martial arts hybrid exists. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has been aggressively targeting the mainstream and achieved recognition with their first network broadcast last month. The latest pay per view shows why this side of the combat game excites many. As with boxing, the undercard is sometimes where the best action can be found. This week, UFC offered the chance to watch a man have his bones broken.
Brazilian Antonio Minotauro Nogueira went into UFC 139, at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, with one thing on his mind – revenge. On the other side of the octagon was the only man to ever inflict a TKO on him – Frank Mir. When it was in the books, the revenge mission couldn’t have gone any worse.
The Brazilian looked to be in the ascendancy after flooring Mir with a right hand before transitioning into a guillotine choke and going for the win. Nogueira wasn’t prepared for what came next. Mir’s reversal took the form of a tight kimura armlock and then came the snap, crackle and pop. It was hard not to feel slightly nauseous at a sight rotten.com had perfected some time back – watching someone’s shoulder dislocate and arm break before your very eyes. It was shocking to watch but it’s why people flock to watch combat sports. They’re the one contest in the sporting world where you’re in the ascendancy one second the next your nose has been splayed across your face.
White called it the “submission of the century” and it’s hard to argue with him. Below is a video of the break but we’ll warn you it’s not for the faint of heart…