Mixed martial arts has grown in popularity over the years and 2008 brought about many great moments in the sport. To only pick 5 out of the many moments mma was pretty difficult, but I feel that I have picked some of best and most memorable moments from the sport this year. I’m sure most people won’t agree with me, but hey if you don’t then you can always make your own list.
#5 Moment – UFC 87: Seek & Destroy, Minnesota, Aug. 9, 2008, Manny Gamburyan vs. Rob Emerson
With a fight card that consisted of Brock Lesnar vs. Heath Herring, Kenny Florian vs. Roger Huerta, & a welterweight title bout between Georges St. Pierre and John Fitch most might wonder why my #5 moment is Manny Gamburyan vs. Rob Emerson. If you saw the fight then you probably understand why I consider a 12 second knockout in the first round to be worthy of my list. If you missed the fight then you can check it out on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQP8nW9V6Dg. The fight was great considering it only went 12 seconds. Gamburyan came out guns blazing and Emerson caught him with a right hand dropping Manny to the ground. As Gamburyan fell to the ground he grabbed on to Emerson’s leg causing them both to go down. In the scramble for position Rob Emerson threw a left hook and dropped poor little Manvel “The Anvil” like a bad habit. I think what made the KO so great was the fact that Rob Emerson was on both knees and a bit off balance. Anyone who missed it should just check it out!
#4 Moment – UFC Press Conference, Canada, Nov. 18, 2008
At a press conference to promote the up coming UFC 94 title bout between Georges St. Pierre and BJ Penn, UFC President Dana White was asked about whether or not he would consider having Gina Carano fight for his organization. Anyone who follows mma knows that Dana White has always been strongly opposed to women fighting in the UFC. While White did say that he would be willing to offer Carano and her opponents a venue to fight, it will be in the WEC and not the UFC. This is big for the future of women’s mma and hopefully it will have a positive effect on the sport. To read the complete article go to http://www.660news.com/news/sports/article.jsp?content=s111849A.
#3 Moment – WEC Live, California, June 1, 2008, Jens Pulver vs. Urijah Faber
Jens Pulver vs Urijah Faber was an excellent match up. Faber, the featherweight champ, had been destroying opponents left and right, so it looked like “Little Evil” could be the one to come in and put an end to Faber’s reign. While this fight didn’t end with a stunning submission or jaw dropping KO, Pulver did manage to do something that other contenders had failed to do: he took Faber the distance. Jens took all of what Faber was dishing out and at times it looked like Jens was going to get knocked out. I think that if Pulver would have taken the fight to Faber the outcome might have been different, but as it went down Faber won by unanimous decision. Hopefully there will be a Faber/ Pulver 2.
#2 Moment – WEC: Faber vs Brown, Florida, Nov. 5, 2008, Urijah Faber vs. Mike Brown
This fight was originally scheduled for Sept. 10, 2008, but was postponed because of the threat of hurricanes. I was pretty disappointed because of this, but as the saying goes “good things come to those who wait”, and boy was this one worth waiting for. Since this fight was for the featherweight title it was scheduled for 5 rounds, but it didn’t even make it through the first. Both fighters came out a bit cautious and Mike Brown took it to Urijah Faber. I think the fight could have gone longer, but Urijah made a mistake and Brown caught him and dropped him like a ton of bricks. When Faber went down Mike Brown jumped on him and landed numerous blows, causing the ref to stop the fight at 2:23 in the first round. Thank goodness for instant replay, because the whole thing happened so fast. If you missed the fight you can check it out on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnYwuvSwUMo.
#1 Moment – EliteXC: Heat, Florida, Oct. 4, 2008, Kimbo Slice vs. Seth Petruzelli
The stage was set for a match that would prove to the world whether Kimbo Slice was for real or not, except Seth Petruzelli was not Slice’s intended opponent. The match was supposed to be Slice vs. an aging Ken Shamrock (who despite being a phenomenal fighter in the past, hadn’t had such a good showing as of late). Why the change? Well, Shamrock sustained a cut over his eye while warming up for the fight and was not allowed to go, so 1 hour before the fight Petruzelli accepted. Trust me, I was so shocked, because I turned on the tv late and there was Frank Shamrock talking about how his brother and Slice wouldn’t be fighting. Guess that teaches me to get to the tv quicker. The reason that this is my #1 pick of 2008 is not because I’m a Kimbo Slice fan, but because this fight put down all of the hype that promoters and fans had been saying about Kimbo. Seth Petruzelli, a guy who had been released by the UFC, came in and beat Kimbo Slice in a matter of 14 seconds. I guess it goes to show you that you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket (since EliteXC folded at the end of October). Kimbo ended up taking home $500,000 for his 14 second performance. The fight wasn’t amazing by any means, but I feel like it is definitely worthy of my #1 slot.
Sources: www.youtube.com, www.ufc.com, www.wec.tv, www.660news.com, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimbo_Slice