Twenty six fighters competed at Saturday’s UFC on FOX 18 event in Newark, New Jersey, but the MMA world only seems to be concerned with Anthony Johnson (pictured) and Sage Northcutt – for completely different reasons.
Johnson solidified his status as the most dangerous light heavyweight by beating Ryan Bader long before they stepped into the cage, then beating Bader senseless once they did. Johnson’s lethal one-punch knockout power put the fear in Bader so badly that he abandoned his game plan just seconds into the scrap.
A couple of errors later and Bader was unconscious on the canvas. #Planking
In a matter of merely 86 seconds, Johnson obliterated Bader’s five-fight winning streak and evaporated any chance of “Darth” ever sniffing a UFC championship affair.
Johnson’s powerful performance could score him a crack at a victorious Jon Jones, which would land him the biggest opportunity and payday of his career.
Sage Northcutt found himself on the opposite end of the spectrum following Saturday’s disappointing defeat to Bryan Barberena. The 19-year-old has been heavily hyped by the UFC since day one. He’s young, undefeated, athletic, good looking and possesses a physique that makes women swoon, so why wouldn’t they?
The primary problem was, instead of allowing Northcutt to blossom organically, the UFC constantly shoved “Super” down our throats. As if three fights in just three months weren’t enough, they tweeted and re-tweeted (and re-tweeted, etc.) every video of Northcutt bending pans with his bare hands, unleashing flashy kicks in practice or simply sitting in a chair flashing his golden boy smile to their millions of Twitter and Facebook followers.
It’s not Northcutt’s fault the UFC decided put their powerful marketing machine behind him – what’s he gonna say, ” No thanks, guys”? – but when someone containing all of his attributes is blatantly forced into the spotlight with very little in accomplishments to warrant the publicity, we all know full well in the haterade day and age, the backlash is bound to be lethal.
Oh, and let’s not even get into the animosity his peers felt towards Northcutt after discovering he was already on a lucrative $40,000 to show/$40,000 to win salary plan after just his second UFC fight, which made him the highest paid athlete at UFC Fight Night 80. Most UFC rookies start out at $10,000/$10,000, then go up a few thousand dollars in their next bout if victorious in their debut.
You compile all of that together and that’s why the hate hit an all-time high after Northcutt quickly tapped to an arm-triangle choke while Barberena was in his HALF-GUARD. I’m not talking about the typical keyboard warrior shade that fans share after someone loses, these were Northcutt’s MMA peers giving him the business.
Woo!!! Tapped like a little Bitch & Tried to tel the Ref Different!! @sagenorthcutt VonFlu/Got You
UFC promoted superstars are losing at an alarming rate (Northcutt, Paige, and Rhonda). The only one left is Conner.
Lol……………in half guard
Yancy Medeiros @ymedeiros
I NEVER gave up… #underpaid
Brendan Schaub @BrendanSchaub
I love Sage and he has a huge future but that wasn’t a choke. I call that giving up sorry kids
Ramsey Nijem @RamseyNijem
Lol what a joke @sagenorthcutt tapped out to a choke set up #whitebelt
And on, and on, and on…
Northcutt is still two years shy of legal drinking age, so let’s hold off on the “bust” label for now. However, the UFC isn’t doing him any favors if they keep forcing the youngster into a spotlight he’s clearly not ready to shine in.