ufc is the new pet rock
ESB Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2012
Re: UFC on FX 7: Belfort vs Bisping
by Ben Fowlkes on Jan 20, 2013 at 3:00 pm ET
Moments after expertly fitting his shin upside Michael Bisping's skull in Sao Paulo, Vitor Belfort launched into a passionate monologue that left me feeling like one of us is definitely confused about the way things work in the UFC.
Which one of us it is, however, is something I'm less sure about the more thought I give it.
First, just so we can all appreciate the absurdity of the situation, let's recap what actually happened in Saturday's UFC on FX 7 main event. In one corner we had Belfort, who was coming off a loss against UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones in a fight he never really had any business in, seeing as how he hadn't won a UFC fight in that division since 2004. Still, it was hard times at 205 pounds just then. Belfort stepped up, nearly finished with a surprise armbar, then got systematically dismantled by Jones, who spent the next three rounds picking him apart in much the same way that a cat dissects a bird it's in no particular hurry to eat.
But hey, big deal. He rolled the dice, came up short, then headed back to middleweight where he belonged, right? That brings us to this fight with Bisping, who was promised a shot at UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva if he won this fight. Belfort? No, he received no such promise – or, really, any promise beyond a paycheck. Once he'd safely head-kicked his way to victory, all it told us was who the next middleweight title challenger wouldn't be.
You could forgive Belfort for feeling a little directionless just then. You couldn't even be too shocked if he decided to call out the champ, if only to give himself a little guided momentum in uncertain times. It's only his choice of champ that remains really baffling.
"Let me fight Jon Jones," Belfort said in his post-fight interview, right after begging the UFC to get rid of "that clown" Chael Sonnen, who is currently scheduled to fight Jones at UFC 159 in April. "I need that rematch. Take that clown away. Go home. Let me fight a real champion, champion against champion."
If you weren't interested in the results of Belfort's post-fight drug test before, you ought to be now. I know fighters can get carried away in the emotions of a victory. Without a doubt, TKO-ing Bisping in Brazil had to be a big one for Belfort. But anyone who talks that crazy ought to have a chemical excuse, and I'm not sure adrenaline alone (or even synthetic testosterone) is enough to justify that logical leap.
Was this a serious request by Belfort? Does he really think that the UFC is going to run an entire season of reality TV pumping up the Jones-Sonnen fight, only to change it up at the last minute and replace Sonnen with the last man Jones defeated? When he says "champion against champion," does he mean UFC champion against Cage Rage champion? Or does Belfort somehow regard himself as a current UFC champion – despite the fact that he is, you know, not one? And, if the answer to that last question is yes, how different is he from "that clown" Sonnen, who got a few chuckles when he walked around with a fake UFC belt, claiming that it was the real thing?
You could argue that at least Sonnen was in on his own joke. Belfort, on the other hand, seems like he might not even realize that he's criticizing Sonnen for doing almost exactly what he would like to do.
The crazy part is, what Belfort is asking for is not nearly as impossible as it ought to be. Just look around. The next scheduled light-heavyweight title fight includes a challenger who lost his previous fight, and in a completely different division. Meanwhile, down at welterweight, the champion is slated to defend his title against an opponent who's coming off both a loss and a lengthy drug suspension. It's a similar story at featherweight, only without the drug suspension, and with at least the benefit of a challenger who was very recently a champion.
With a landscape like that, can you blame Belfort for having a skewed sense of what's possible? He already had one title shot he didn't earn. Why shouldn't he go ahead and ask for another?
After all, according to the UFC's Marshall Zelaznik, the powers that be aren't inclined to grant him a title shot in the division he's actually competing in. Not with "the way he lost to Anderson [Silva]," and not unless he wins "another couple fights to get back in contention."
"But," Zelaznik added, "you know how things shake out in the UFC, so he's done himself justice tonight."
Yes, we do know. We know all too well. So does Belfort. He might sound a little bit crazy now, but in his defense, he is playing a crazy game. Experience in the UFC taught him the rules – or, if you prefer, the lack of them. We can't be too surprised now that Belfort's trying to make them work in his favor. Nor should he be surprised to see that a "clown" has beaten him to it.