Saturday 26 May 2018

Comment: Joe Brolly's emotive MMA column smacked of breath-taking ignorance

Joe Brolly wants MMA and professional boxing to be banned
Joe Brolly wants MMA and professional boxing to be banned
Fergus Ryan

Fergus Ryan

This week’s MMA column looks at some more unqualified MMA coverage and reviews last weekend’s UFC on Fox: Teixeira vs. Evans in Tampa Bay, Florida.

‘Say it ain’t so, Joe’

I must say I found Joe Brolly’s article pretty entertaining, quite disturbing too, but entertaining nonetheless. I think it would be similar to watching an episode of ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ and thinking that was a portrayal of real life.

Honestly, I’ve only ever seen flashes of the Kardashian’s show but I saw enough to know their reality is a lot different to mine and 99% of people’s daily lives. I don’t think anyone would watch that show and think it was ‘real life’.

Similarly, Joe’s article was a collection of dark stories from boxing tragedies and some from his own dark thoughts; that was the disturbing bit. I don’t think anyone even vaguely familiar with boxing would say Joe’s article is a fair depiction of the sport.

I also think the timing of the article is interesting. The article opens referencing the tragic death of an MMA fighter but proceeds to list a litany of boxing tragedies. I think it’s fair to say Brolly probably doesn’t know much about MMA and wasn’t bothered to find out.

So then, is his article just an attempt to get some publicity for his brand off the back of a young man’s death?

‘He’s fucking dead.... Dead! Do you comprehend what that means? For him? For his family?’

These are not my words, I’m paraphrasing Brolly himself from the point in his article where he lambasted noted sports writer Hugh McIlvanney. However, I think they are pretty appropriate words to be directed back at Brolly.

At best the article is entertaining. At its worst it is insulting and ignorant.

At the end of his article Brolly opines - “These violent life-and-death sports are fun. They bring us to somewhere primitive inside us... It is why young, penniless men are queueing up to try to murder each other in cages and boxing rings.”

His parting shot can only be described as one of breath-taking ignorance.

Challengers Emerge at UFC in Tampa

The main card winners at the UFC’s return to Florida all took a very big step closer to a title shot in their respective divisions.

With the featherweight division in a little bit of flux due to the side projects being pursued by Conor McGregor, Cub Swanson showed he might be only a win or two off a title shot. He came close two years back, only for a six fight win streak to slide into two straight losses. Both losses came against Top 5 ranked opposition but nonetheless, he’ll need to beat a name above his #6 position to finally get a crack at the belt.

A solid victory over Hacran Diaz last Saturday was certainly a step in that direction. Looking like he barely got out of third gear, Swanson was never behind in the fight. Ricardo Lamas has been side-lined since last November. A Swanson v Lamas match-up in late summer could be a nice contender eliminator fight.

After almost two years out with a string of injuries, Khabib Nurmagomedov pushed his impressive undefeated record out to 23-0.

Though the win came against a late replacement in Darrell Horcher, Khabib was executioner like with his task.

The Dagestani fighter was supposed to headline this event only for his original opponent ruled out with injury. He has now cemented his place as the #1 contender in the lightweight division.

He holds a win over champion Rafael Dos Anjos from April, 2014. If both men can stay healthy we should get a rematch in the 2nd half of 2016.

Rose Namajunas handed Tecia Torres her first professional loss in Tampa Bay. Torres is a game fighter but it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what she’s good at other than being tough and a grinder.

Namajunas had a clear reach advantage and looked the much faster fighter on the night. Though Torres landed some good shots, Namajunas seemed to be able to rally back and mix up her attacks with takedowns.

Namajunas is now 3-0 since losing to then champion Carla Esparza. Though Esparza is ranked #2, one spot ahead of Namajunas, she hasn’t fought since surrendering her title to Polish stand-out Joanna Jedrzejczyk due to a shoulder injury. She faces Juliana Lima next weekend.

Though a rematch between the two is likely at some point, Namajunas will likely be next in line given how easily Esparza was beaten by Jedrzejczyk.

Glover Teixeira made short work of former light-heavyweight champion Rashad Evans in the main event. The Brazilian backed up his reputation as one of the hardest hitters in the UFC by dropping Evans in the first half of the first round. Credit to the referee Herb Dean who was quick to intervene once Evans dropped to the canvas.

Teixeira is now on a three fight win streak and called out #2 ranked light-heavyweight Anthony Johnson. If he can overcome Johnson he may have to sit out till Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier rematch. Cormier had to pull out of his proposed fight with Jones this weekend at UFC 197 due to shin injury.

Jones will now face Ovince St.Preux leaving a possible rematch with Cormier in the UFC’s debut show in Madison Square Garden, New York in November.

Elsewhere on the card

The entire card delivered start to finish with the ‘Fight of the Night’ coming in the opening bout. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos needed all three rounds to beat Omari Akhmedov.

John Dodson confirmed he’ll be a threat in the bantamweight division after moving up from flyweight.

Raquel Pennington pushed into the top 10 in the ladies bantamweight division. Her UFC record is currently 4-2, 7-5 overall and though she is competitive she still may have need a few more wins before getting contender status proper. The log jam at top the of the division with Miesha Tate, Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm all looking for a slice of each other, means Pennington may have to remain active and winning to force her way into the title picture.

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