December 22, 2006
All that glitters is not gold
By JOSE RODRIGUEZ -- Calgary Sun
No doubt the mass marketing machine of the Ultimate Fighting Championship has catapulted mixed martial arts into the mainstream.
It has turned an underground sport into a multi-million dollar sensation and has spawned numerous clones.
But here's a little food for thought.
At what point does feeding the mass exposure machine begin to hurt the sport?
Case in point: Matt 'The Terror' Serra, all around good guy and well-established jiu-jitsu fighter and welterweight winner of the The Ultimate Fighter 4. On the reality show, he won over fans with his no-nonsense approach to the game and his New York cabbie accent.
He's been around the block in the fight game but he is -- at best -- a good journeyman. A second-bill man with a record of seven wins with four losses.
Yet, as a result of winning the reality show, he has a shot at the title in February against belt holder Georges St. Pierre of Montreal.
On the other side of the coin is the growing lineup of legitimate contenders who had to punch and kick their way to a title shot.
First in line is Diego 'Nightmare' Sanchez. He is undefeated in the Octagon with a perfect 17-0 record. He deserves a title shot long before Serra.
There is the outgoing king Matt Hughes, who, with a record of 41 and 4 had a bit of humility beaten into him when Georges St. Pierre embarrassed him last month to take the belt.
Or even Karo 'The Heat' Parisyan who's only lost twice in his last 12 fights and those losses came at the hands and feet of Sanchez and St. Pierre. His record is 16 and 4.
Now, I'm not one to question the very successful formula that has allowed the UFC to grow.
But you have to ask, does Matt Serra really deserve a title shot?