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THE ROCKTAGON
W/ JAMES SWIFT
 
And so, another year is in the books, and if you’re like me (six feet tall, approximately 131 pounds, and inarguably handsome), you’re more ecstatic to see 2010 DIE than you are the capture of Osama Bin Laden. . .or the Oakland Raiders winning the Super Bowl, whichever is least likely to happen within the next one hundred freaking years.

Every years (except last year, for some reason) this fine, outstanding site holds an annual “Year-In-Review” awards celebration-thingamabob, and since I know as much about modern day pro wrestling as the aggregate ROH fan knows what it’s like to feel a female breast, I decided to hold my own awards banquet to celebrate something I actually give a shit about: mixed martial arts, you people of fluctuating characteristics and traits!

Now, a lot of you aren’t really fans of the “MMA”, as some of the street people call it. I know this, because each month, I get about three or four e-mails from people saying that I should cover pro wrestling instead. Can you believe the nerve of these folk? DEMANDING PRO WRESTLING CONTENT ON A PRO WRESTLING SITE, WHAT A BUNCH OF PRIMADONNAS, AMIRIGHT?

Well, if you’re looking for a resolution for 2011, it should be to lose about eighty pounds of blubber, move out of your parents’ basement, and actually kiss a girl for once in your life. But also, you might want to try the whole “mixed martial arts” thing out, because believe it or not, it’s the exact same thing as pro wrestling, back when pro wrestling was kind of awesome.

Matches that mean shit. Pay Per View bouts that actually deliver. Sensible storylines, and booking that is, for a change, logical. For all of you belly-aching slobs that do nothing but complain about how much WWE and TNA swallows, I think it’s high time you got off your cellulite clogged asses and scoped out a UFC pay-per-view or two. That, and you really do need to lose some weight, I swear, I can actually hear the corpuscles of fat expanding through the Ethernet cable.

So, to get you in the MOOD, I’ve decided to hold a 2010 recap of the year-that-was to get you pumped and primed for the mixed martial arts in 2011.

Since this is the inaugural showcase for MMA here at TWF, I decided to build the awards ceremony from the ground up. In this article, you’ll see a number of awards and horribly designed MS Paint abominations, because I can’t afford Photoshop/really don’t give a shit.

One of the hardest things I ran into was coming up with a name for this bloated excuse for a multimedia spectacle. If you’re going to name such a gargantuan event after someone, how do you pinpoint a desirable candidate?

Well, I decided to go back to the OLD school UFC, and it dawned on me that the awards ceremony could be named after just ONE person: a man who’s technique, and persona, and skill effectively made mixed martial arts the modern day sensation that it is at the current. A man who’s lasting legacy can not be overstated, a man who showed the world what TRUE mixed martial arts fighting was destined to become. And that man, of course, is. . .

Keith motherfucking Hackney.

Really, who else could this awards ceremony be named after? Keith Hackney was a dude that fought Royce Gracie in a tank top, won a fight over Random Task from the Austin Powers movies by punching him in the balls until he passed out, and oh yeah, beat the hell out of a dude that outweighed him by about four hundred fucking pounds. Let’s see your Anderson Silvas or George St-Pierres pull off that feat.

So anyway, enough chit-chat, eh? You really don’t need me to tell you how this stuff works, so let’s hop right into the festivities, shall we?

Welcome all, to the

First Annual TWF MMA-Year-In-Review Awards, the 2010 Hackneys!

The Jimmy the Greek award for best career suicide attempt

Honoring the mixed martial arts personality that did the best job of fucking up his or her livelihood over the last 365 days

Nominees:

Chris Leben, for winning two fights in two weeks, thus rejuvenating his career, and then celebrating by getting busted for drunken driving in Hawaii; Dan Henderson, for turning down an extension of his UFC contract (which pretty much guaranteed a shot at Anderson Silva), going to Strikeforce, and getting his ass kicked by Jake Shields; Paul Daley, for getting himself banned for life in the UFC by jumping Josh Koscheck after the bell; Gerald Harris, for landing a slam of the year nominee on David Branch, and getting kicked out of the UFC for acting like a jackass in his follow up bout with Maiquel Falcao; Chael Sonnen, for putting on a match-of-the-decade contender with Anderson Silva, only to test positive for steroids a few weeks later; Todd Duffee, for throwing away his UFC career for the sake of a cameo spot in a straight-to-DVD movie; and James Toney, for making his mixed martial arts debut, despite having about as much knowledge of the sport as he does the ability to conjugate simple English verbs.

And the winner is. . .

CHAEL SONNEN!

 

 

It’s one thing to make a boneheaded blunder in the MMA world. It’s really ANOTHER when you manage to do so at the absolute MAXIM of your career. Chael Sonnen found himself at the crossroads of MMA immortality after he came (this) close to defeating Anderson Silva at UFC 117. It was more than apparent that there was a rematch on the horizon, with an entire season of The Ultimate Fighter probably in Sonnen’s cards.. We’re talking media exposure galore. We’re talking sports coverage galore. We’re talking money galore. Simply put, Sonnen couldn’t have been dealt a better hand in his razor thin loss to Silva, and how does the fuck stick respond?

That’s right, by pissing positive for anabolics. With one whiff of the pee cup, a full year of UFC promotional plans got flushed down the commode: no multi-million dollar rematch in July. No coaching stint on TUF. Initially staring down a year’s suspension, Sonnen managed to convince the California State Athletic Commission that his positive test is due to a condition known as hyprogonadism, which sentenced him to only a six month ban instead. Now, instead of a raking in a small fortune on his Silva vs. Sonnen 2 purse, he’ll be taking on Wanderlei Silva in a bout that really doesn’t mean jack shit in the welterweight division.

Congrats on such a brazen display of chemical ineptitude, Mr. Sonnen. I hear Josh Barnett plans on sending you a complimentary fruit basket for your inspirational achievements in the field.

The Is That Vince Russo Peeking Through The Curtain Award?

Honoring the mixed martial arts moment of the year that most reeked of pro wrestling-like tomfoolery.

Nominees:

Strike Force gets itself kicked off CBS when Cesar Gracie’s camp lays a Four Horsemen style beat down on Mayhem Miller: Josh Koscheck sells getting hit by a nonexistent knee in his bout with Paul Daley, followed with a heel promo on Montreal; James Toney builds up his fight against Randy Couture by cutting promos involving an action figure in a dress; Chael Sonnen embarks upon a cross country shit-talking spree to hype his bout with Anderson Silva.

And the winner is. . .

THE JOSH KOSCHECK \ PAUL DALEY BOUT FROM UFC 113!

 

 

This entire fight, from bell to bell, was basically MMA as booked by Jim Cornette. For starters, the first round ends with Josh Koscheck selling a knee strike that did not even remotely connect in an attempt to get Daley disqualified. Now, an MMA fighter PRETENDING TO SUFFER FROM A PHANTOM STRIKE is weird enough as it is, but oh no, it gets way more fucked up from there. After the bout ends, Paul Daley waltzes across the cage and sucker punches Koscheck, which results in Daley getting fired from the UFC. Koscheck, who is already hated like you would not believe in Canada, just sits in the corner, licking his lips. At this point, you’d EXPECT the guy to get on the mic and try to drum up some sympathy from the crowd, but NO, THE MOTHER FUCKER GRABS THE HOUSE MIC AND PROCEEDS TO CUT A HEEL PROMO ON THE MONTREAL CANADIENS INSTEAD. What followed was a year’s worth of shit talk, culminating with Koscheck getting decimated by Georges St. Pierre in that very building six months later. And yes, you are NOT alone in thinking that such sounds JUST like something Jim Cornette or Bill Watts would’ve scripted.

The John Kreese Pupil of the Year Award

Honoring the mixed martial arts personality that has gone above and beyond the call of duty in expressing the fact that he no longer has any business, desire, or personal stake in fighting anymore.

Nominees:

James Toney, for doing a year’s worth of shit-talk, only to get taken down, drummed on by a dude in his late 40s, and tapping out in the wrong direction; Scott Coker, Strikeforce owner. 2010 business highlights include getting booted off national TV, being unable to establish long-term championship pictures, and having a heavyweight division in which nobody wants to fight anybody; Jens Pulver, for adding two more matches to his ongoing six fight losing streak in 2010; and Tito Ortiz, who ended up no-showing a TUF finale fight, almost losing custody of his children (to a porn star, no less), and rounding out the year by getting his ass kicked by a deaf guy.

And the winner is. . .

JENS PULVER!

 

 

Taking a look at Jens Pulver’s fight record really doesn’t tell the whole story here. Yeah, it’s pretty obvious that the dude is riding a gargantuan losing streak: as of late December 2010, the tally stands at six consecutive losses. Not only that, but Pulver has just ONE win in his last nine fights, and that occurred WAY back in 2007. After putting on the last truly respectable match of his career (a bout against Urijah Faber that I thought was one of the best bouts of 2008), Pulver hasn’t survived A SINGLE round in his MMA escapades, as he’s been knocked out and submitted by just about every single person on the WEC roster since.

In a sterling attempt to make 2010 his turnaround year, he got submitted by Javier Vasquez in March, leading to his ass getting thrown out of WEC. In an even MORE sterling attempt to revive his career, the recently “self-employed” Pulver got tapped by Diego Garijo in a little more than a minute on an internet PPV called “War on the Mainland”, leading to a thorough on-air tongue lashing from Bas “Jesus Christ” Rutten. To make the year complete, Pulver signed on for a match at the Target Center against some no-name, which Jens decided to no-show. At this point, you really have to wonder what seven consecutive losses would mean when you’re already riding high on the six loss hog, but who knows what trails this former UFC great is blazing? He keeps this shit up, and he may just become the MMA equivalent of the Brooklyn goddamn Brawler in 2011.

The Mickey’s Malt Liquor Award for least Spirited Performance

Honoring the mixed martial arts personality that had the single least-respectable in-ring performance of the year.

Nominees:

Jake Shields, who at UFC 121, came into his company debut half-dead from water-weight exhaustion; Anderson Silva at UFC 112, whom proceeded to break dance his way to a decision victory over Demian Maia; Brock Lesnar, whose UFC 123 title defense was foiled when he was swarmed by what appeared to be invisible bees; and James Toney, for being James Toney in his bout against Randy Couture at UFC 118.

And the winner is. . .

JAKE SHIELDS at UFC 121!

 

 

You really can’t make a more lackluster first impression than the one Jake Shields made at UFC 121. Shields, considered by many to be the greatest welterweight fighter on the planet not named Georges St. Pierre, was on a fourteen fight winning streak when his Strikeforce contract came up. Obviously, Dana White and company snatched him up immediately, and gave him a warm-up bout against Martin Kampmann, which Shields was supposed to easily dominate.

The problem, however, is that in Strikeforce, Shields fought at 185, and for his UFC debut, he was supposed to weigh in at 170. Apparently, Shields wasn’t informed of this until two days before the fight, which meant that Jake spent the better part of the last 48 hours before his UFC debut attempting to sweat, piss, shit out and puke up whatever poundage he could to make weight.

Shields looked like a sundried prune just walking to the cage, and by the end of the first round, Jake looked like he was staring into the great beyond, or whatever they said that light was supposed to be in Poltergeist.

By the end of his fifteen minute contest against Kampmann, Shields was practically dead as a doornail. Despite the incredibly unremarkable performance, the biggest shock of the match wasn’t Shields overt shittiness in the ring, but rather, the fact that he won the split decision on the judge’s scorecards, which now sets up an April 30th date with GSP for the welterweight crown in Toronto.

Here’s hoping that someone reminds Shields that it’s a 170 pound fight a couple of days earlier than they did for his last UFC fight.

The Two-Condom-Sizes-Too-Small Award for Breakthrough of the Year

Honoring the mixed martial arts personality that saw his stock raise the highest in 2010.

Nominees:

Nate Diaz, for getting screwed out of a decision victory against Gray Maynard in January only to move up a weight class and kick ass at welterweight ; Shinya Aoki, for overcoming a very bad loss to Gilbert Melendez in April and immediately going on a three fight winning streak in his native country of Japan; Edson Barboza, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu striker extraordinaire, newly recruited UFC lightweight with four finishes in 2010 alone; George Sotiropoulos, for going on a three fight tear in the UFC lightweight division; and Maiquel Falcao, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu striker extraordinaire (middleweight version) that became the only person in UFC history to win a decision victory even though he choked his opponent unconscious in the first round.

And the winner is. . .

 

GEORGE SOTIROPOULOS!

 

 

George has really had something of a Cinderella year in the UFC. For starters, he upset Joe Stevenson in one of the single hottest crowds of the year in a bout in his home country of Australia in February, thus earning him the nickname “Step Up Sotiropoulos” in the process.

His next bout was a very technical (read: kind of boring) victory over Kurt “The Italian Batman” Pellegrino on the UFC 116 undercard, and he finished the year by submitting Joe Lauzon with one of the most beautiful fucking armbars you’ll ever see at UFC 123.

With a perfect record in 2010, Sotiropoulos looks to kick off his 2011 campaign with another home-country win over Denis Siver. (Spoiler: He’ll probably get it). From there, Sotiropoulos really has to be just a win away from title contention, although the influx of WEC talent in the UFC may make his long-delayed (and deserved) title shot even longer. Even so, I expect great things from the man that had arguably the best year of anyone in the UFC, and I wholly expect 2011 to be an even brighter one for the upstart Aussie.

The UFC 34 Award for Outstanding Achievement in the field of Pure Shit Production

Honoring the single worst mixed martial arts event of 2010.

Nominees:

UFC 112: the first open air event in UFC history, no doubt to help get the smell of two of the year’s worst fights and a horrible decision loss out of the Abu Dhabi arena; Strikeforce: Nashville: a show headlined by three title fights that all went the distance, and in the worst ways imaginable. UFC 122: a show that was blacked out in German TV due to national legislature that bans “violent sports” from being televised. Consider how lackluster the card was, most UFC fans in the States and abroad wished that same mandate was enforced in their neck of the woods.

And the winner is. . .

 

STRIKEFORCE: NASHVILLE!

 

 

How bad does a show have to be to outdo UFC 112, a show that featured two of the worst matches in company history?

Well, in such instances, you REALLY have to up the ante. If UFC 112 almost caused a sea of United Arab Emirates to storm the cage and crucify your top middleweight, you’d have to bring the SHENANIGANS to an all time high in riposte, and that’s EXACTLY what Strikeforce brought to the table with their second televised CBS special.

On paper (PAPER!), the Strikeforce: Nashville card looked pretty respectable. The problem, however, was that it entailed three title fights. That means that if each bout went a full 25 minutes, you had yourself approximately an hour and a half of screen time. And what do you know? ALL THREE MATCHES, sure enough, WENT to a decision call.

The first bout was a pretty boring “dream match” between Gegard Mousasi and King Mo. The second was an even more boring “dream match” between Gilbert Melendez and Shinya Aoki, where it was quite clear that Aoki just did not give one fuck about what he was doing. The main event COULD have saved this show, but after Henderson decided to just stop trying in the second round, you had yourself one of the biggest production missteps in the history of mixed martial arts.

The big, stinking icing in the shit cake, however, came in the post-fight. It was already a given that Shields was on his way to UFC-land, and after drumming the guy that was SUPPOSED to kick his ass for four rounds, the crowd was, well, quite perturbed. This leads to, off all people, Mayhem Miller challenging the guy that’s leaving the company to a rematch, which then turns into a four on one ass kicking off Miller while a disembodied voice yells “Gentlemen, We ARE ON LIVE TELEVISION!” over and over until the screen fades to black.

So you had three heavily hyped fights that DID NOT deliver. You had a show that WENT OVER its allotted time limit by almost an extra HOUR. And to top it all off, you had a really cheesy looking melee that resulted in the company getting kicked off CBS. Shit, Shit, and one more mound of shit for good measure.

Strikeforce: Nashville, was an unmitigated disaster, and a show so bad that it almost put the company into an early grave. The show was supposed to be the organization’s coming out party, but due to infrastructural ineptness, that same show pretty much insured that Strikeforce will be locked in the MMA closet from here on out.

The Ken Shamrock \ Dan Severn Ensemble Award for Best Collaborative Effort in Sucking

Honoring the single worst mixed martial arts bout of 2010.

Nominees:

Anderson Silva and Demian Maia, at UFC 112, for putting on a fight so bad that it almost lead to a revolt in the United Arab Emirates; Matt Hughes and Renzo Gracie, at UFC 112, for putting on a bout that resembled a cage fight between Jack Lemon and Abe Vigodda; and Frank Mir and Mirko Cro Cop, at UFC 119, for putting on a three round snoozer mercifully concluded by one of the pussiest looking knee strikes in MMA history.

And the winner is. . .

 

MATT HUGHES AND RENZO GRACIE AT UFC 112!

 

 

If you ever wanted to see two legends die hard in the ring, then this is the match for you. While the other nominees were bad, they at least had some modicum of entertainment value, whereas this is simply 14 and a half minutes of complete and utter boredom. For starters, Renzo Gracie gassed about one minute in the fight, followed shortly thereafter by Hughes. That means that this match was basically the UFC equivalent of a dead zebra getting gummed to death by a toothless lion, with Renzo basically falling over dead and Hughes being too goddamned exhausted to finish him until the absolute last fucking second of the bout. Remember that one Evening Gown match between Pat Patterson and Gerald Briscoe from a couple fo years back? Well, this is probably as close as the UFC will get to replicating that in-ring abomination. Ten years ago, this MAY have been a somewhat interesting bout. The same way cheese made ten years ago was good cheese ten fucking years ago, this bout is no different than shoveling a handful of decade old gouda down your throat hole.

The Danny Davis Memorial Award

Honoring the single worst officiating job in mixed martial arts in 2010

Nominees:

Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos vs. Jan Finney, at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum: the single most vicious display of female battery outside of a Lifetime movie about domestic abuse ever aired on television; Gerald Harris vs. Maiquel Falcao, at UFC 123: a match that went 15 minutes, even though one of the competitors was choked unconscious in the first round; and Matt Mittirone vs. Kimbo Slice at UFC 113: America’s most beloved pseudo-fighter gets his legs blasted off by a former NFL player, concluding with the Internet Meme Superstar eating close to twenty unanswered shots before the ref called the bout.

And the winner is. . .

 

CRISTIANE “CYBORG” SANTOS VS. JAN FINNEY!

 

 

There’s a fine line between stupid officiating and being an accomplice to manslaughter, and the zebra striped dumbass in charge of officiating this bout came within inches of presiding over the first televised homicide in MMA history. For starters, Finney was extremely undersized going into the bout, and if you think that didn’t play a factor in her walloping. . .guess again, Holmes. For the better part of five minutes, Santos pounded on Finney like a prison snitch, until the point that Finney basically turtled up and ate Ike Turner biscuits for a good forty seconds fo defenseless teeth rearrangement.

What really pushes this bout to the top of the heap is the fact that it didn’t stop in the first round. Even though Finney received several lifetimes worth of ass kicking in the span of about two and a half minutes, the official for the bout decided that Finney was still capable of intelligently defending herself, which from my perspective, kind of looked like a woman choking to death on her own bicuspids.. So, Finney went on to receive the worst beating this side of a Women in Prison picture for almost TEN minutes before the referee decided that Finney had lost enough teeth, blood, and brain cells to finish the bout.

In fact, the officiating in this match was so bad that Strikeforce implemented a new policy that required officials to provide experienced, credentialed information before officiating match-ups in the company.. Of course, that’s what any rational fucking mind would think, but Strikeforce, sure enough, used local rubes to officiate just about every card they’ve held since. Idiocy doesn’t begin to paint this portrait: if you wanted to color by numbers, I’d advise you to yank out the crayon labeled “criminally negligent” instead.

The D.B. Cooper Award for Robbery of the Year

Honoring the single worst MMA judging decision of 2010

Nominees:

Leonard Garcia vs. Nam Phan, TUF 12 Finale: a call so bad, it lead to over 5,000 complaints to the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Sean Sherk vs. Evan Dunham, UFC 119; Jason Brilz vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogiuera, UFC 115; Jake Shields vs. Martin Kampmann, UFC 121; Quinton Jackson vs. Lyoto Machida, UFC 123; Frank Edgar vs. B.J. Penn, UFC 112

And the winner is. . .

 

LEONARD GARCIA VS. NAM PHAN, TUF 12 FINALE!

 

 

Shit, finding a bout that didn’t have a B.S. decision would be easier for 2010. Needless to say, there were PLENTY of deserving nominees this year, but the Garcia \ Phan bout wins the proverbial pastry for actually inciting scores of sofa activists (read: assholes with nothing better to do) to wrap their sausage fingers around their keyboards and fire some complaints DIRECTLY to the NSAC. While that alone wouldn’t score it the top honor, the following tidbit does: that same putsch was instigated by none other than Joe goddamn Rogan, which means the dude from Fear Factor actually promulgated something of a social movement. Garcia actually gets the honor of starring in two controversial (read: undeserved victories), as earlier in the year, he was given the decision victory over a guy known as “The Korean Zombie” at the first (and last) WEC Pay-Per-View. Ultimately, you can either assume that Garcia is the beneficiary of some highly unprofessional judging, OR you can make totally unfounded statements about him greasing the palms of the officials before his fight. Needless to say, we all know we’re going to take the high road on this one. . .

The Inverted Nobel Peace Prize Award

Honoring the single best rivalry in mixed martial arts of 2010, exemplifying the universal truth that the best way to settle differences is through interpersonal violence.

Nominees:

Frank Mir vs. Brock Lesnar: Mir claims that he wants Lesnar to be the first fighter in UFC history to die in the ring. Lesnar questions Mir’s sexuality, and both men end up getting their asses kicked by better fighters before they have a third match; Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen: Sonnen goes on a cross country tour to criticize Silva for not speaking English, being Brazilian, and not voting Republican. Silva goes on to riposte by choking Sonnen out with his ankles. George St-Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck: Koscheck tries to choke out St-Pierre’s male nurse on a season of The Ultimate Fighter. GSP responds by turning Koscheck into Two-Face at UFC 124. Quinton Jackson vs. Rashad Evans: B.A. Baracus returns from making box office bombs long enough to get outwrestled by Evans. A long-delayed bout that was sprung due to a “Yo Momma” contest at the end of UFC 96. No, really.. Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez: Velasquez says he’s going to beat Brock Lesnar for “Brown Pride”. Lesnar responds by saying he’s going to eat a burrito after beating Velasquez. Spoiler: Lesnar never got to eat that burrito. And Strikeforce vs. Strikeforce: because I don’t think if ever seen a company not named TNA do such a tremendous job of beating itself.

And the winner is. . .

 

CHAEL SONNEN VS. ANDERSON SILVA!

 

 

One of the biggest criticisms about the world of boxing these days is that it seems to be promoted on the strength of racial ethnocentrism. In a stunning display showcasing just how different the UFC operates, the promoters of the organization decided to turn what would otherwise seem to be an uninteresting match-up into one of the most entertaining spectacles of the year by having Chael Sonnen, a fairly unproven mid-card guy that barely got past Nate Marquardt earlier in the year, embark upon a nationwide “shit talk spree” in which he did nothing but criticize Middleweight title holder Anderson Silva.

At first, he criticized his disrespect for the fans. Then, he started criticizing him for his Brazilian jiu-jitsu technique. And then, he decided to take things to a whole other level.

Sonnen said that Brazilians were rampant crooks and pickpockets. Then he said that Silva refused to speak English because he hates Whitey. And when confronted with a controversial quote he made earlier, he blamed the quip on some Mexican-sounding guy. At the time, Sonnen was campaigning as a Republican in the Oregon state senate (no, I swear), so make of all of that what you will.

Sonnen’s racial comedy routine went un up until the fight, which thankfully, was one of the best main events in UFC history. Afterward, an immediate rematch was lined up, which ended up getting pissed away (literally) when Sonnen tested plus sign on a steroid test.

 

The fight ended up being one of the most successful shows of the year, turning what was supposed to be a lukewarm event into one of the most heated feuds of 2010. It was also demonstrative of the UFC’s newfangled marketing strategy for 2010: when it comes time to promote, that race card better be out and shining for all to see.

The Bigger Surprise Than Finding Out She Had A Penis Award

Honoring the single biggest MMA upset of 2010

Nominees:

Fabricio Werdum vs. Fedor Emelianenko: the “Last Emperor’s” ten year plus undefeated streak comes to an end at the hands (err, legs, really) of the UFC castoff in a Strike Force main event. Chael Sonnen vs. Nate Marqhardt: Sonnen survives two guillotine chokes to outwrestle the highly favored Nate, thus (thankfully) robbing us of an Anderson Silva vs. Nate Marqhardt II main event later in the year. Yushin Okami vs. Nate Marqhardt: because dropping the ball once just wasn’t enough for Nate in 2010. Rafael Cavlacante vs. Mohammad Lawal: King Mo, Strikeforce’s ripoff, I mean, homage, to Rampage Jackson gets KTFO by random, generic Brazilian Jiu-jitsu striker #1,256. Jake Shields vs. Dan Henderson: because even though “Hendo” had an additional 30 pounds and five full minutes of free shots, Shields still managed to lay and pray his way to a victory over the dude that provided us with last year’s Knockout of the year.

And the winner is. . .

 

FABRICIO WERDUM VS. FEDOR EMELIANENKO!

 

 

Werdum beating Fedor isn’t just the biggest upset of 2010, it may very well be the greatest upset in MMA history. Werdum, a guy that had a 2-2 record in the UFC, went into his bout against Fedor (who hasn’t lost a match. . .EVER. . .in his nearly fifteen year career), was riding low on a lackluster decision victory over Antonio Silva, whereas Fedor had just knocked Brett Rogers’ incisors down his own throat hole. The match was expected to be an easy “W” for Fedor, who would then go into face Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem on the company’s biggest card EVER.

And then, the unthinkable happened.

Early in the bout, Fedor threw some of his signature bombs, and Werdum went down. Fedor hopped into Werdum’s (a world class Brazilian Jiu-jitsu submission artist, by the way) guard, and before you know it, “The Last Emperor” was trapped in an arm triangle that he had zero possibility of escaping. Fedor then tapped out, as Werdum celebrated like he had just won The Super Bowl on a last second hail Mary.

The loss shocked the MMA world, giving the fledgling sport it’s version of “Buster” Douglas defeating Mike Tyson. Everyone saw it, but nobody believed it. Six months later, we still have a hard time believing it, which is why it’s the hands-down winner of most shocking upset of 2010.

The Ike and Tina Award

Honoring the single worst, one-sided MMA ass-kicking of 2010

Nominees:

B.J. Penn vs. Frank Edgar, UFC 118; Randy Couture vs. James Toney, UFC 118. Georges St-Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck, UFC 124. Alistair Overeem vs. Brett Rogers, Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery. Shane Carwin vs. Brock Lesnar, UFC 116. Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos vs. Jan Finney, Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum.

And the winner is. . .

 

SHANE CARWIN VS. BROCK LESNAR, UFC 116!

 

 

What makes this match standout above the field of competitors, and what makes it stand out amongst just about every MMA fight I’ve ever witnessed, is that the dude in this fight receiving the brunt end of the year’s most hilarious face raping is the one that eventually went on to WIN the fight. That alone is enough to make this 2010’s recipient of the coveted Ike and Tina Award, but for those of you that need some elucidation, allow me to pull out some explication real quick.

Brock Lesnar is the UFC World Heavyweight Champion. People don’t like him. He murder-death-kills Frank Mir a year ago, and then he comes down with some intestinal disease that almost kills him. Instead of rolling over dead like most common sense people, Lesnar decided to DEFEND his title, putting his life on the line YET AGAIN against Shane Carwin, a dude that’s never had a fight go longer than five minutes. Also, Carwin has hands the size of aquariums, and you best believe Brock realized that quite early in the fight.

For the first four minutes of this fight, Brock Lesnar received one of the most heinous beatings this side of Tim Robbins in The Shawshank Redemption. Eventually, Shane threw so many punches at Brock’s unbreakable noggin that he simply passed out from kicking too much ass, which allowed Lesnar to pull a Homer Simpson and sneak in a retardedly easy submission in the second round for the victory.

There aren’t too many truly iconic moments I’d think of from 2010. With that in mind, fuck the Chilean minors, because seeing Lesnar rebound from THIS ass whipping is THE photo op of the year, if you ask me.

The Sub of the Year Award, Presented by Subway © Mmm…eat fresh!

Honoring the most memorable submission victory in MMA from 2010

Nominees:

Fabricio Werdum vs. Fedor Emelianenko; Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen,, UFC 117; Chris Leben vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama, UFC 116. Matt Hughes vs. Ricardo Almeida, UFC 117. Phil Davis vs. Tim Boetsch, UFC 123.

And the winner is. . .

ANDERSON SILVA VS. CHAEL SONNEN, UFC 117!

 

 

There’s a difference between pulling off a cool and inventive looking submission hold, and then there’s pulling one off that’s a technical marvel. The above mention submissions “pioneered” by Hughes and Davis were indeed neat looking, but truth be told, they kind of lacked the drama that makes for a true submission of the year nominee.

For that same reason, you can discount the fabled “Werdum triangle”. Granted, it was a defining moment in the history of mixed martial arts, but since it occurred in just minutes of the opening bell, I’m not so sure I’d give it the proper recognition as this year’s award winner.

On any other year, Leben’s literal last minute submission of Akiyama at UFC 116 would be the sub of the year winner, for sure.. As awesome as that display was, nothing from this year can top the last ditch triangle submission by Anderson Silva in his bout against Chael Sonnen at UFC 117.

For 23:30 seconds of a 23:40 bout, Sonnen absolutely dominated. The thing is, Silva dominated the bout for the ten seconds that mattered most, as he sunk in a picture perfect leg triangle (converted into an arm triangle) with about a minute and a half left in the final round. With nowhere to go except the emergency room, Sonnen woefully tapped out, giving Anderson not only one of the most memorable come-from-behind submissions in the history of mixed martial arts, but delivering UFC fans with what may very well be the single greatest ending in the company’s seventeen year existence.

The “Thirsty? Well How About Some PUNCH!” Award

Honoring the most memorable knockout in mixed martial arts from 2010

Nominees:

Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogiuera, UFC 109; Gerald Harris vs. David Branch, UFC 116, Matt Serra vs. Frank Trigg, UFC 108, Dave Henderson vs. “Babalu” Sobral, Strikeforce; Paul Daley vs. Scott Smith, Strikeforce.

And the winner is. . .

CAIN VELASQUEZ VS. ANTONIO RODRIGO NOGIUERA, UFC 109!

 

 

While there really weren’t any laugh-your-ass, holy-shit “that guy just got brain damaged” knockout highlights from 2010 (honestly, I’m pressed to give Hendo’s KO of Michael Bisping from last year the award AGAIN this year), there were more than a few standout picks for Knockout of 2010. Ultimately, what made Velasquez’s knockout of Nog the front runner was the fact that it actually had some semblance of RELEVANCY in regard to the UFC title hunt. Going into the bout, Velasquez was a highly touted up-and-comer, but he really hadn’t “proven” himself in the Octagon against a tried-and-true veteran, such as former PRIDE Heavyweight champ Antonio Rodrigo Nogiuera..

More so than any other knockout from 2010, this one POSITIVELY stunned me. For one thing, Nog was a dude that’s basically MADE A LIVING off getting his ass kicked by leviathans like Fedor, Tim Sylvia and Bob Sapp, so the REALITY that this Cain kid could do something NONE of those MMA legends could is downright attention-clutching.

It was a direct hit, a medium range jab that sent Nog to the canvas like a sack of potatoes, resulting in a reverberation that shock waved its way throughout the entire MMA world. After thing bout (and especially after the knockout), EVERYBODY in the MMA press knew this Cain kid was for real.

And eight months later, that unproven kid is now the heavyweight champion of this world.

 

The Better Than PRIDE 33, UFC 79, WM X-7, The First Two One Night Stand PPVS, A Free Gordita Meal from Taco Bell and a B.J. from Scarlett Johannsen COMBINED Award

Honoring the absolute best Mixed Martial Arts event of 2010

Nominees:

UFC 116;UFC 117; Strikeforce: Sobral vs. Henderson; K1 World Grand Prix Final; WEC: Aldo vs. Faber

And the winner is. . .

UFC 116!

 

 

Out of all of the shows I saw this year, I think UFC 116 is the one that really made me feel like I got the most out of my five dollar cover charge. While I do think that UFC 117 was a VERY close second choice, the fact of the matter is that show had a super-boring Jon Fitch / Thiago Alves bout before the main event, which did kind of suck the life out of the room, whereas UFC 116 was pretty much LOADED with ass-kicking fights from start-to-finish.

When UFC 116 was over, it felt as if I had something to talk about for the rest of the month, and you know what? I did. For the next three weeks, all me and my little MMA buddies did was talk about the fallout of the show, and that, mis amigos, is the true hallmark of an outstanding pay-per-view show: it stays with you, long after the cable bill has been tossed in the trash.

Brock Lesnar making the most improbable comeback in the history of the UFC (until Anderson Silva topped him a month later). Chris Leben submitting Yoshihiro Akiyama at the absolute last minute of the fight. Stephan Bonnar saving his career and regaining his former glory (yeah, that may be a bit too much vaunting, but whatever) by beating the fuck out of some Polish dude with a lot of tattoos.

When it was all said and done, you walked out of this show with some memories, and that’s really all you can ask of your pay-per-view huckstering entertainment bastions. In fact, I would go on record as saying that the UFC really needs to go out of its way to make the July 4th weekend show it’s version of Wrestle-Mania, but for the time being. . .does anybody want to watch that Brock Lesnar match again? Because I know I sure as hell want to.

The Award for Best Bout Since Alien Took On Predator

Honoring the single best mixed martial arts fight from 2010

Nominees:

Anthony Pettis vs. Ben Henderson, WEC 53; Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen, UFC 117; Jorge Santiago vs. Kazuo Misaki , Leonard Garcia vs. Chang Sung Jung, Chris Leben vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama, UFC 116.

And the winner is. . .

ANDERSON SILVA VS. CHAEL SONNEN, UFC 117!

 

 

In case you couldn’t figure it out, I REALLY like this match. Before I hop on the 2010 bout of the year’s Johnson like a hobby horse, allow me to give the runner-ups their proper recognition.

The Pettis / Henderson bout was a match that gave us the dual pleasure of being THE match to close out World Extreme Cagefighting’s illustrious seven year history, and being one that absolutely RULED, to boot, AND provided us with what may be the single most satisfying last minute of ANY bout in 2010, as Anthony Pettis become the first MMA fighter in history to ALMOST win a title using a cage-assisted variation of the Van-Daminator.

The Santiago / Misaki bout was my favorite international match of the year, because it was SUCH a pro-wrestling styled bout. Santiago went in as your cocky, gaijin heel (basically, a REALLY poor man’s Anderson Silva), while Misaki played Japan’s wide-eyed (and hopefully less xenophobic) Chael Sonnen. While Misaki got off to a hot start (even landing a couple of near-finishing sub attempts here and there) Santiago managed to take the initiative, beating on Misaki until his corner crew threw in the towel with less than thirty seconds to go in what very well could have been a decision title change.

If you haven’t heard about the Leonard Garcia \ “Korean Zombie” match. . .well, the Internet hasn’t lied. If want hard hitting action and nonstop fisticuffing sans rhyme, reason, or psychology, than this is the bout to Youtube. I wholeheartedly agree with the Sherdoggers for once: this really is the greatest shitty fight in MMA history, even if I STILL think that one Don Frye / Yoshihiro Takayama is the all-time belt-holder as far as spectacular, technique-less brawls go in the sport.

The Leben \ Akiyama fight had a tremendous last second finish, but the fourteen minutes leading up to it were just as entertaining and enthralling. This was one of the few fights from 2010 that combined legitimate technical prowess with fuck-this-shit, I-want-PUNCHING action in a package that didn’t dissatisfy either taste. That, and it’s ANOTHER excuse to watch UFC 116, so see it already.

Of course, Silva / Sonnen HAS to be the 2010 MMA fight of the year. More so than any match I witnessed in 2010, THIS was the one that made me feel like I was watching something TRULY transcendent from mere sport, and probably the hardest I’ve marked out for ANYTHING since David Tyree caught that pass from Eli Manning in Super Bowl XLII.

You couldn’t script this thing if you tried, and I’ve NEVER had a crowd experience that registers the way this fight did. This bout REALLY got people worked up, and seeing a show I spent many an hour watching people of different ethnicities and creeds hate one another during the World Cup, trust me, THAT’S SAYING SOMETHING.

Everything about this match was just pitch perfect: the build-up, the storyline, the false finishes (Silva did go down a couple of times),the character development (in which the former God-like Silva turned mighty mortal in the span of about five minutes), and oh yeah, that triangle submission finish.

Long story short, THIS is why I love mixed martial arts. If you’re looking for a match to get you “into” the sport, than I’d advise scooping up a copy of UFC 117, highlighting this bout, and grooving on it.

The Alfredo Bundy Award For Excellency in the Field of Ass-Kickery

Honoring the mixed martial artist with the most impressive resume for 2010

Nominees:

Junior Dos Santos, 3-0 in 2010 in the UFC Heavyweight Division; George Sotiropoulos, 3-0 in 2010 in the UFC Lightweight Division; Cole Konrad, current Bellator Heavyweight Champion, 7-0 in 2010 fights; and Phil Davis, 3-0 in the UFC Light Heavyweight Division in 2010.

And the winner is. . .

COLE KONRAD!

 

If you’re not a big fan of mixed martial arts, the first thing you’ll probably think of when hearing the name ‘Cole Konrad’ is ‘who the fuck is Cole Konrad?’ If you are a big fan of mixed martial arts, the response will probably still be ‘who the fuck is Cole Konrad?’, so if you will, allow me to put over this kid before Sports Illustrated and all of those other shit rags start sucking him off as being the great white Hope of the sport.

Konrad is the current Bellator Heavyweight Champion. He’s also a big, fat corn-fed farm boy, so he looks like the end result of what happens when you stick Roy Nelson and Brock Lesnar into the teleportation machine from The Fly. Bellator is also a company that was founded as a showcase for Hispanic fighters so. . .yeah, you connect the dots on this one.

This is Konrad’s first year of professional fighting. As a rookie, he’s already the world title holder in the nation’s third largest MMA promotion, and he’s got seven wins on the calendar year. He’s also the protégé of one Brock Motherfucking Lesnar, so it’s safe to assume that, at some point Konrad will be UFC bound.

Even though Cole looks like Bobby Hill on HGH, the dude is GOING to be a force in the Heavyweight picture for years to come. Imagine, if you will, a fighter with the pure strength and force or Brock Lesnar. Now, imagine that same mutated freak of nature, with the ground game of a GSP or Jon Fitch, and with the submission skills of a Demian Maia.

Konrad represents the next-next generation of MMA fighter. His base discipline isn’t wrestling, but a combination of all of the mixed martial arts pillars. He’s basically being bred to be the most-well rounded and conditioned heavyweight fighter EVER, and the kid is young. I mean, younger than most of the people reading this right now, and I know we have a pretty juvenile audience base here at The Rocktagon.

If this kid learns how to box, all I can is that I wouldn’t want to be a Stefan Struve or Cheik Kongo right about now. Konrad is the 2010 MMA fighter of the year. . . A good three or four years from now, he might be the fighter of the year on everybody else’s ballot, as well.

The Break-Out-The-Kodak, Wipe-The-Tears-From-Your-Eyes And Change-Your-Underwear-If-You-Have-To Award

Honoring the single defining moment in mixed martial arts for 2010

Nominees:

Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen at UFC 117; Silva pulls off the comeback of the decade and submits Sonnen in what may very well be the greatest championship bout in UFC history; Fabricio Werdum vs. Fedor Emelianenko; The UFC castoff ends “The Last Emperor’s” ten year undefeated streak, and in under three minutes, to boot. Anthony Pettis vs. Ben Henderson at WEC 53; Pettis lands the “kick heard around the world” in the last minute of the very last fight in WEC history, thus sealing the company’s fate as one of the most kick-ass promotions ever; Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin at UFC 116; Lesnar comes back from intestinal death, gets his ass brutalized for five minutes, weathers the storm, and submits Carwin in the second round; Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez at UFC 121; “Brown Pride” triumphs over Viking Dignity as “The Terminator” demolishes Brock Lesnar for the UFC Heavyweight championship (thus marking the SECOND time that Brock’s had a world title reign ended by a fan favorite Mexican-American).

And the winner is. . .

FABRICIO WERDUM VS. FEDOR EMELIANENKO!

 

 

December 2000. That was the last time Fedor Emelianenko got a whiff of defeat, and even then, it was a bullshit, no DQ call.

For the last ten years, Fedor has absolutely dominated the heavyweight division in every promotion he’s ever been in. In PRIDE, he had a score of memorable fights against the likes of Big Nog, Cro Cop, and the two Marks (Coleman and Hunt).In Affliction, he bashed the brains out of former UFC champions Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski. And last fall, Fedor scored one of the gristliest knockouts in MMA history as he dropped Strikeforce media creation Brett Rogers like a bag of beets on live television.

Of course, Fedor has had his moments of doubt. He almost had has neck broken by Kevin Randleman. He almost got knocked out by Fujita. Arlovski and Rogers both got some good shots off on him.

But no matter how imperiled “The Last Emperor” looked, he never lost.

December 2000. It was an entirely different world when Fedor “earned” his last loss, and on June 26th, 2010, the seemingly last consistent thing on Earth came to an end.

The fact that Fedor lost is shocking enough, but the manner in which he earned his first “legit” loss makes the fact even more startling.

Fabricio Werdum was supposed to be a soup can, a dude Fedor was supposed to maul on his way to a potential Mega-PPV battle against SF Heavyweight Champ Alistair Overeem. Werdum had a 2-2 record in the UFC before he was cut, and he really didn’t look that impressive in his last fight against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva.

The bout began. Fedor came out swinging, and in less than thirty seconds, Werdum was knocked flat on his ass. . .just as we had all expected.

Fedor started throwing some bombs on the ground, and all it would’ve taken was for one of them to connect to put Werdum in a vegetative state. But none of them did, and it allowed Werdum, a world class Brazilian Jiu-jitsu fighter, to sink in a deep triangle choke.

Eh, Fedor’s been here before. Yeah, he looks like he’s in trouble now, but he’ll get out. He always gets out.

Five seconds become ten. Ten seconds become twenty. Werdum starts to hyperextend Fedor’s arm.

And then, it hit us:

Oh my god, Fedor isn’t going to get out of this.

Werdum rolled to his side, as millions of MMA fans the world over looked on in utter disbelief. Fedor Emelianenko, the most consistent thing on the planet, the unbeatable, unconquerable Last Emperor of our sport. . .

. . .just tapped out.

9/11. Hurricane Katrina. I graduated high school, I got an associate’s degree. I got my learner’s license, I got my legit driver’s license. Eleven Super Bowls were decided, three presidents occupied the Oval Office. WCW folded, ECW folded, the mother fucking Arena Football League folded, PRIDE FC and every other fighting promotion not owned by Zuffa went down the shitter. I got laid, I almost died on an operating table, and I published two books.

All of that shit, a virtual lifetime, occurred between Fedor’s two losses. In many ways, Fedor’s “first” real loss represents a changing of the guard, an end of an era, and as much as we hate it, the validation that things will never stay the same.

There were a lot of memorable moments in MMA this year, but none of them resonated with MMA fans as deeply as Fedor’s loss to Werdum in late June. It was a bout that, more than any other this year, affected us on a level deeper than simply being another MMA fight. It was a moment, that most MMA fans thought they would never see, and a moment that most MMA fans will struggle to accept for years to come.

I don’t really know what Fedor’s loss means in the great scheme of things, but I know that it’s definitely a paradigm shift of some kind. Fedor was the last sure thing in a world that thrives on entropy, and now? Who knows?

2010, in general, was a year that proved that “situation normal, all fucked up” is the new status quo. I don’t know what the economy is going to do, and I really have no idea where the fuck I’ll be by the end of 2011. What I have realized is that there are no sure bets in this world, and nothing we can really count on with 100 percent faith. The lesson we learned from Fedor’s loss is, ultimately, the same thing we’ve learned from the year as a whole:

Thank God it’s over.

 

JAMES SWIFT is an award-winning freelance writer, a world-renowned author, the future of journalism and citizen media, and arguably the greatest scientific champion of all time.

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TWF FLASHBACK

November 2006

SATIRE: DISCONTINUED WWE XMAS PRODUCTS!

by Sean Carless

With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).