One of the best fighters in mixed martial arts doesn’t talk to his boss, fighters will have more options for weight classes (soon), and for what seems like the first time in forever, everyone made weight for a major UFC pay-per-view. Huh?
Finding the proper response to much of the news finding its way into our social media feeds is becoming a tougher task every day. Nothing is surprising, and there’s always more to the story. Leaving us with one reply: “huh?”.
Last week, Jon Jones shed some light on his not-so-great relationship with UFC President Dana White, which features a complete lack of communication. Also, the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports added several weight classes to the unified rules of MMA, while every fighter competing at UFC 214 successfully made weight, keeping one of the best cards in-tact come fight-night.
The reason “huh?”, in its various forms, is such a quality reply is simple. The word is as versatile as a response gets, and while it may require some explanation, “huh?” is sometimes the only way to react to the news of today. Defined by Merriam-Webster as an interjection that’s “used to express surprise, disbelief, or confusion, or as an inquiry inviting affirmative reply”, “huh” or “huh?” can mean a lot of different things.
Despite some of the follies of human evolution (see: Anthony Scaramucci), the development and growth of “huh” is something we should embrace. To be the change we want to see in the world, here are a few MMA stories last week that made us go “huh?”.
4. Jon Jones and Dana White don’t talk
There were plenty of interesting stories, quotes, and dynamics at play in the build to UFC 214 last week. One of the most intriguing involved the communication, or lack therof, between now-light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and UFC President Dana White. Huh?
Initially, it was White who shared with ESPN that they hadn’t talked since Jones “pulled out of UFC 200” in July of 2016. He cited frustration over Jones’ lack of reliability over the years, but said that the two didn’t need to talk for Jones to fight and that they were fine now. Then, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, it was Jones’ turn to shed some light on the situation. While White was obviously frustrated with one of his highest-profile fighters following UFC 200, Jones says he was the one ignoring White. Not the other way around.
“I just feel like when you’re making the company money and you’re a pay-per-view draw and you’re ultimately putting money in his pocket, then you mean a lot to him,” Jones said. “The moment you aren’t those things, you mean nothing to him, and he’s done a decent job of showing that. I felt completely abandoned by him … in a situation when I needed him the most.” – via Los Angeles Times
It’s a two-way street when it comes to this kind of stuff, especially when Dana White and Jon Jones are involved. Is it weird? Yeah. But it’s nice to see that, despite the lack of a working relationship with White, Jones was able to get back in the Octagon as soon as possible following UFC 200. Why Jones is able to work without White, while Demetrious Johnson has to get publicly torched on the promotion’s podcast before booking a bout, is confusing. Either way, Jones is back, and we couldn’t be happier.
3. More weight classes officially added to unified rules of MMA
The weight classes added by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) have been adopted by the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC) for the Unified Rules of MMA. The new classes will be at 165-pounds (super lightweight), 175-pounds (super welterweight), 195-pounds (super middleweight), and 225-pounds (cruiserweight), while welterweight remains at 170-pounds. Huh.
The person to thank for these changes is CSAC executive officer Andy Foster, who had the changes brought to the ABC after his commission approved the new divisions earlier this year. Of course, promotions are under no obligation to incorporate these weight classes, but Foster feels as though they’ll gain popularity over time.
“When California club shows and Texas club shows and others have 165- and 175-pound divisions and fighters are locked into those, then I think we’ll see a change,” Foster said. “It could take four or five years, maybe shorter than that.” – via MMAFighting
More divisions means more to keep track of. With events seemingly every weekend, from promotions around the world, more divisions sounds like MMA is moving closer to the convoluted world of boxing. That’s a bit extreme, and considering some of the current gaps between divisions, finding options for fighters without a perfect home is a good idea.
It’ll take time, but if fighters are willing to take advantage of the additional weight classes and the dangers of weight cutting can be reduced, then we’re all for it. Whether or not adding weight classes reduces dangerous weight cuts can be debated, but as long as there are more, better options available, it’s a step in the right direction.
2. Everyone made weight for UFC 214. Whoa.
One of the best cards of the year survived the long road to fight night, fending off the MMA gods and the issues that have plagued the best events of 2017 thus far. The sub-par birth of the women’s featherweight division, losing the interim lightweight title-bout between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 209 on weigh-in day, and Amanda Nunes pulling-out of UFC 213 stand out as difficult moments for both the promotion, and fight fans.
So, as the title-fights and big names made their way onto the official UFC 214 fight card, we had a right to be nervous. Even the most positive of fans felt nerves throughout fight week and weigh-ins. But, we made it. Damn it, we made it! Despite the event featuring fighters like Cris Cyborg, Renan Barao, Daniel Cormier, and more who’ve dealt with weight cutting issues. According to many, CSAC is to thank. Huh?
I just made 145 for the first time under the CSAC weight cutting reform. It has been a great experience so far and will save fighters lives.
— #andstill #UFC214 (@criscyborg) July 28, 2017
The first event under new regulations approved by the commission earlier this year, UFC 214 went off without a hitch. The 10-point plan put in place by CSAC gives the commission much more insight into the weight cutting process for the fighters competing in California, and if Anaheim’s pay-per-view is any indicator, things are looking good. CSAC is leading the charge in weight cutting reforms, continuing their push from 2016. Being able to increase fighter safety, while reducing the number of late-notice cancellations and dangerous weight cuts, is a win for everyone involved.
Dana White and the UFC’s new light heavyweight champion Jon Jones should probably talk, since they haven’t in more than a year. But even if they don’t, it’s nice to know we can still see Jones in the Octagon. We could even see Jones competing at cruiserweight in the future, thanks to new regulations in the Unified Rules of MMA. If Jones wants to try it out, doing under CSAC’s watch may be the way to do it. Huh?