During last night's post fight press conference, Ken Shamrock was asked how he felt about his loss to Royce Gracie. Shamrock replied that he felt lost. That sentiment pretty much sums up Bellator 149: Shamrock vs. Gracie in a nutshell.
I watched the first couple of prelim fights on the live stream before leaving the day job to head to the Toyota Center for the main card. I was especially impressed with the heart of CJ Hancock as he fought back from a nasty gash over his eye in the second round to go on to victory in his pro debut.
I arrived in time to see the first VOW fight. VOW is a program wherein US military veterans are trained in MMA by Bellator fighters. The program also raises money for wounded veterans. Who can't get behind that?
The final prelim featured Issac Villanueva making short work of his opponent. Look for more of him at 205.
Then it was time for the main card. I correctly picked four of the five winners, only missing on the main event.
In my opinion, the best fight on the five fight main card was the opener between Emmanuel Sanchez and Daniel Pineda. It went the full three rounds before going to a split decision. It was a close fight and really could have gone either way.
The second fight went to a split decision, but Emanuel Newton may have cost himself the fight. He lost a point in the second round for repeated groin strikes. It would be a theme for the evening.
Melvin Guillard lost the third fight of the night by TKO to Derek Campos. Still billing himself as the Young Assassin, Guillard came out swinging, but could stand and bang with Campos. It may be time for Guillard to look for other employment.
Remember a few years ago when John McCain likened MMA to human cockfighting? That's all I could think of during the Kimbo Slice/Dada 5000 co-main event. Nobody expected that fight to go beyond the first round, least of all the fighters. They were both visibly winded half way through the first round and it only got worse from there. The big punches both men are famous for in their street fighting videos became flailing attempts to stave off one another. In the end Slice won by TKO, but it was really exhaustion and weight cut that did Dada in. He was taken from the ring on a stretcher and hospitalized with renal failure. It wasn't a good fight or even a good "event." It was just embarrassing.
And then there was the main event. The story of Grace and Shamrock is filled with controversy. The third fight in this "trilogy" continues the trend. A pair of fighters known for their ground games decided to stand up and throw punches. Then Gracie landed a knee to the groin that Shamrock reacted to after a second knee hit him in the head. Gracie took Shamrock down as he grabbed his junk and began to wail on him. The ref called the fight for Gracie in the first round. THE FIRST ROUND! No amount of hype can fix that. Shamrock was livid for all the good it did him. Later, Gracie boasted of his first knockout. Shamrock was, as discussed, lost.
Bellator is, it seems, at a crossroads. Events like this draw massive media attention and fan interest, but that cuts both ways. Your main events were unimpressive and circus-y. They reinforce to casual fans and critics all the worst aspects of the sport. Nobody is going to remember Sanchez and Pineda. The lasting image of Bellator 149 will be Dada 5000 taking two steps forward and falling flat on his face. There's a metaphor for you.