Brandon Vera Was Robbed

I pity UFC.

I slept past 3 AM two nights ago because I had a wonderful night celebrating my Grandpa and Grandma’s Golden 50th Wedding Anniversary. I was the co-emcee of my Tito Toto and I was really amazed on how the ceremony was conducted, plus, the fact that only a few couples reach that far.

My heart was also overflowing for Ana Ivanovic for clinching her first Roland Garros French Open title against Dinara Safina and overtaking Maria Sharapova for the world rank number 1. Same with Rafael Nadal’s fourth in row against #1 seed Roger Federer.

I woke up before 9 AM yesterday just to make sure that I’ll be watching the live satellite feed of UFC 85: Bedlam in Balls. It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of MMA, and I couldn’t be happier if a countryman, like Brandon “The Truth” Vera is stepping inside the Octagon.

Brandon Vera faced a household name in PRIDE, Fabricio Werdum. Werdum is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt but his MMA career wasn’t too close as brilliant. His showcase match was a loss against the UFC interim champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at PRIDE.

I was surprised to see Vera wearing a Philippine flag designed Muay Thai shorts. He’s to vocal about his Filipino roots through his words and actions (together with ancient Filipino writing “Alibata” tattoos on his back) but I will never imagine this American-raised pug to act ala-Manny Pacquiao.

Vera started relax concentrating on how he will utilize his strikes while Werdum is busy doing takedowns. Most of Werdum’s shoots proved to be useless and Vera gets away with just only a few seconds. A solid exchange happened and Werdum was shook, backpedaled on the side of the Octagon, and initiated another clinching match.

It all went down to Werdum’s final takedown wherein Vera has nothing left to do but to cover. Werdum unleashed about 20 ground-and-pound punches that was landing either on air or on Vera’s tight defense. I presume only 5 or 6 left hands landed cleanly but Werdum’s right is just too wild to connect. Suddenly, referee Dan Miragliotta stepped in and called it a halt, with only 15 seconds remaining to end the opening round.

Brandon Vera was robbed. The ref spoiled the whole fight that should have ended in an exciting manner, either way.

Last week, Dan Miragliotta also officiated the worst officiated mixed martial arts fight on EliteXC. Kimbo Slice received 50 telling blows comprising of elbows and punches from James Thompson without defending himself in a span of 1:30 minutes, and still won the fight after retaliating too little. Okay, Thompson’s cauliflower ear is bloodied but Kimbo was trapped beforehand. Kimbo wasn’t covering anything while Vera was covering his face perfectly moving his hips to try unmount Werdum.

*****

MY 10 TAKES:

1. Brandon Vera did well in covering his face with ala-Evander Holyfield type of cover. To avoid the worst possible outcome (which happened in the fight), he should have tried to keep Werdum as close as possible to himself to avoid strikes. He should have also slipped a surprise attack, such as a right cross to surprise the “going bananas” Werdum.

2. Brandon Vera played safe in the cover because if he’ll ever release any punches in that position, Werdum the BJJ black belt will surely grab that arm for an immediate armbar. Vera did the wise decision but was a big gamble.

3. Werdum is not known to be a ground-and-pound fighter but his D- striking improved to C+, thanks to Chute Box. But his strikes, either standing or on the ground, is not dealing damage. Therefore, Miragliotta should have checked those “fast but empty” punches that Werdum is unleashing.

4. The term “intelligently defending” is the example of what Vera did against Werdum. In the mixed martial arts rulebook, a stoppage will be decided by the referee if any fighter is NOT intelligently defending himself.

5. Since I started to watch MMA (the time where nobody’s watching in the Philippines and your father will always tell you that UFC is too brutal too watch), Miragliotta should have extended the 15 seconds remaining on the round if Werdum will rock Vera even for a single blow. Yes, even a single blow that can be termed as a strong punch is justifiable stoppage. Worse, Werdum is doing non-stop, crazy barrage of attacks which is not dealing damage or even landing on Vera.

6. If Miragliotta is fair, he should have spared the first round to the two fighters and start fighting in the second round. Werdum is a BJJ champion and it did not show. Vera is a dangerous striker but was cut short due to the stoppage. I am expecting Werdum’s surprise submissions on the mat while Vera unleashing his knees more on the next rounds. This fight is spoiled and could have been the fight of the night.

7. Vera has no history of TKO whatsoever. He has never been bloodied and knocked down or even knocked out in his fighting career. If Werdum is ring worthy of handing Vera’s first TKO loss, it should have be done in more convincing way. Miragliotta did not respected Vera’s reputation.

8. Dan Miragliotta should be undergoing an investigation. If athletic commissions in boxing sacks erroneous referees and judges, they should act the same in MMA. Miragliotta seemed to be a fight fixer and maybe doing side bets on his fights he’ll be officiating. If proved guilty, Miragliotta should be banned for officiating for life.

9. If Fabricio Werdum is guy enough and convincingly the victor, he should be accepting Brandon Vera’s call for a rematch. The Brazilian surprisingly denied the request. I wish this guy receives another great beating from Minotoro.

10. If Mixed Martial Arts wants to be the most exciting sport, the referees should implement as close as possible how the early fights were officiated. I remember the time when refs will only stop the fight if the fighter is too bloody to continue, cannot continue due to injury, recipient of too much hard blows, unconscious, paralyzed or dying. MMA, same as boxing, is a dangerous sport and everyone knows that a fighter might be permanently or injured or die while fighting. Every viewer and aficionado of the sport knows that including the fighters, so why removed the “danger” part just to call an “early” stoppage to save a fighter? Referees today only “foreshadow” the “danger” part on the fear of further injury and just not let the fighters fight until they aren’t enable to continue. That gives boring results for the audience and make controversial fight endings that will make the losing fighter be nuts.

*****

Brandon Vera is now training with an upcoming Filipino fighter with the name of Mark Muñoz. Muñoz is 205 pound former NCAA champion wrestler standing 6’0″ tall. He debuted last week on WEC 34 beating Chuck Grisby on first round. Grigsby is currently on indefinite suspension due to a serious head injury after their fight. Muñoz has a solid record of 4 wins and no losses.

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~ by Joshua Tadena on June 9, 2008.

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