Three “Huh?” Moments in MMA Last Week: Sept. 4 Edition

UFC 214 Jon Jones MMA UFC 232
Jon Jones Credit: Dave Mandel/

The biggest fight ever might just end up being the biggest fight ever, the MMA media found its tail and then chased it for a few hours, and top trainers shared their biggest mistakes. 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, the pay-per-view numbers for Mayweather-McGregor started to get out, and they look as impressive as expected despite some major issues. Jon Jones has some major issues, even though he’s reportedly passed a USADA administered blood-test the night of UFC 214. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Brett Okamoto got some of the top trainers in MMA to admit their biggest mistakes.

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: KFC’s VR Training), 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?”.

PPV issues for Mayweather-McGregor don’t stop record-setting pace for buyrate

Despite some major issues on fight night, the pay-per-view buyrate for Mayweather-McGregor is on pace to match or break the mark set by Mayweather-Pacquiao in 2015. Huh.

Many fans had issues watching the fight after purchasing the event on a variety of platforms. From Showtime to UFC Fight Pass, things were going poorly. So poorly, that Showtime was hit with a class action lawsuit just days after the fight. Refunds are on the way, and it’ll be interesting to see how they impact the overall numbers for the fight.

Even with those issues, Mayweather-McGregor looks like it may have been the biggest fight of all-time, in terms of viewers. According to MMA Fighting, the event is projecting toward the “mid-to-high four millions in domestic pay-per-view purchases.” That would place it on-track to top the 4.6 million mark set by Mayweather-Pacquiao a couple of years ago. UFC President Dana White has also touted a 6.5 million buyrate, with that likely being the global buys of the bout.

For a fight with a result we all saw coming, with major PPV issues, and a bunch of illegal streams, breaking the buyrate record is one of the most impressive aspects of the Mayweather-McGregor adventure.

Jon Jones passed a test that doesn’t matter

Last week news broke when it was revealed that Jon Jones passed a blood test administered by USADA on the night of his most recent bout at UFC 214. And that doesn’t matter at all. Huh?

Before it was revealed he’d passed that test, it was announced that he’d failed another USADA test following weigh-ins for UFC 214. The difference in that test, and the test on fight night, is that it was testing Jones’ urine. Not his blood.

As you’d expect, different tests are used for different bodily fluids. The test utilizing Jones’ blood wasn’t testing for the same substances as the test utilizing Jones’ urine. Therefore, passing the blood test effectively does nothing to exonerate the already existing USADA violation. Despite these facts, various parts of the MMA media, and even CSAC, took the time to confuse themselves and look out of their depth when it comes to covering banned substances in sports.

Not everyone needs to be an expert on steroids in sports. But, if you’re going to report ‘news’, you should probably have a well-rounded grasp on what you’re reporting. That wasn’t the case when Ariel Helwani reported Jones’ clean blood test from fight night at UFC 214. The result was a bunch of initial confusion and misinformation, what Helwani’s source likely wanted to achieve in the first place.

Thankfully, the MMA media is full of smart guys who’ve spent years researching and covering steroids in sports, and the confusion was sorted out relatively quickly. MMA Fighting quickly changed the tone of their initial piece, and we’re all back to being bummed about Jones’ likely lack of a future in the UFC.

Top trainers share their mistakes with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto

While some of the MMA media was confused about yet another Jon Jones debacle, Brett Okamoto of ESPN released one of the best pieces of the year. Huh.

Chatting with several of the top trainers in mixed martial arts, Okamoto earned the trust of these people, and got them to share and discuss the biggest mistakes of their careers. From Jason Parillo and Mark Henry to Javier Mendez and Mike Brown, some insightful stories and information were shared regarding some notable moments in UFC history.

“It was bad in Toronto [when Pettis missed weight for an interim title fight against Max Holloway last December]. I’m the one who pulled the plug on his weight cut. He was having some bad seizures almost, it was pretty scary. I’m behind what California is doing with weight cutting. I’ve never agreed with the weight cutting culture in this sport. I hope the UFC does add more weight classes. It won’t dilute the weight classes, it will be more champions for them to promote.” – Duke Roufus, Roufusport MMA – via ESPN

There’s nothing like MMA, and covering the sport reveals some of the most interesting aspects of life and sport that exist. Anytime you’re working and talking with people who train and fight for a living, the stakes are raised. While that may lead to some uncomfortable and tough circumstances, the potential for incredibly interesting pieces like this is another result, and we’re happy journalists like Okamoto are out there sharing these stories.

By another measure, it looks as though the boxing bout between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor reached expectations. While it’s yet another monetary measure, it’s something. At this point, it seems as though it’s impossible for Jon Jones to reach even the lowest of expectations, despite passing a USADA administered blood test on the night of UFC 214. Hopefully one day he’ll be able to publicly share his mistakes, like Brett Okamoto was able to convince a few major MMA trainers to do last week.

Huh? for the road

Volkan Oezdemir AMA from MMA