This Saturday’s main event at UFC 180 is the feel-good fight of the season. Fabricio Werdum vs. Mark Hunt makes me feel warm and cozy and #sweaterweather. Considering this event could have blown out worse than Cain Velasquez’ knee when the delicate little Heavyweight Champion of the World suffered a torn MCL and meniscus, we (and the UFC) are lucky to have stumbled into the best storyline in recent MMA history, the resurgence of People’s Champ and opposite of delicate man, Mark Hunt. I would argue that this fight is more exciting than the original and, in fact, I will do that right….now.
The second most exciting thing in combat sports is a Heavyweight Championship fight. Sure, other weight classes are fun too but if there was a Royal Rumble with the champions every weight class (let’s do this, Dana), the HW champ would be the biggest and scariest dude in the ring. Velasquez vs. Werdum certainly fit the bill for an awesome and intriguing fight. It was the best fight between the most deserving guys AND it was the UFC’s first event in Mexico AND a Mexican was the favorite in the Main Event. I couldn’t be less Mexican but for a moment I understood Brown Pride. Both fighters have looked so.damn.good. recently that a victory for either wouldn’t have been surprising so, regardless of the result, this was going to be a win-win for the fans. It seemed like the only way this event could have gone wrong was if it didn’t happen and, as has been the UFC’s luck, that’s exactly what fucking happened. Given the number of less-than-popular Main Events recently, the UFC must be dying for things to just go as they goddamned planned is that too much to ask?
But instead of being the victim, the matchmakers thankfully said, “Fuck it, let’s give the people what they want.” It’s interesting they said those exact words (they didn’t) because that’s the point I’m trying to prove. We, the people, don’t want predictability at the higher end of our excitement-potential spectrum. Werdum vs. Velasquez? Sure! Sounds fine!
BUT what if instead of Velasquez it was Mark Hunt fighting for a (somewhat fake) Championship Belt?
A likable underdog is the most exciting thing in sports because the risk and the reward are much greater. And oh man are the risks huge. Mark Hunt would be the underdog if he were fighting Werdum in Japan after a full training camp. But now he’s fighting on, what, 3 weeks notice? He is, at this moment, probably 25 pounds overweight and is fighting at altitude against an opponent who has essentially been living in the clouds for months. To make things worse, as of Wednesday, Hunt is now dealing with some serious personal issue. These are all wonderful and totally legitimate excuses that will help soften the blow to my soul if he loses. It’s not hard to understand that this probably isn’t the ideal time for the biggest fight of his life but (insert Eminem lyrics here). That’s not how Mark Hunt operates or why he is so fun to watch.
To make matters better, Fabricio Werdum is also a likable guy and has sort of become the honorary Mexican in the lead up to this fight, so if he beats Hunt at least it wasn’t some asshole. This is even considering that my bachelor party was held at the HP Pavilion in San Jose on June 26, 2010 when Werdum submitted Fedor and ruined EVERYTHING. It’s amazing that I still got married. Fortunately, my friends were looking after me and made me drink so much that I remember nothing and don’t have to believe anything. The reality is whatever I choose for it to be. Let’s hope this is an event worth remembering.