Saturday’s UFC on FOX 22 event was about as ho-hum as they come. No titles were on the line, not even a top contender contest. The show’s biggest selling points were that it was headlined by two of the UFC’s golden children – strawweight Paige VanZant (pictured) and welterweight Sage Northcutt.
There’s no denying the UFC’s powerful marketing machine has been behind the two youngsters for the past yearish – just check the UFC’s Twitter and Facebook posts. However, just because you’re young, blond and good looking doesn’t mean you’ll automatically live up to expectations.
Proof was in the pudding (again) Saturday in Sacramento. VanZant, 22, was the show’s biggest star, with her cover girl face conducting national interviews with the largest media outlets.
“12 Gauge” shot blanks against Michelle Waterson, who is eight years VanZant’s senior but easily choked VanZant out like she had never fought an MMA bout in her life.
Speaking of getting submitted in two of their last three outings, “Super” was far from it against Mickey Gall in the co-main event.
Northcutt, 20, who has every fancy kick imaginable in his repertoire, might be able to smash apples and bend cooking pans with his bare hands, but he can’t grapple worth a lick. Accentuating that point is the fact it was only Gall’s fourth professional fight, with the last two coming in the UFC.
Veteran Cub Swanson perhaps had the best take on the quality of the bout:
It's weird the UFC booked an Amateur fight as the Co-Main event 😳
— Cub Swanson (@CubSwanson) December 18, 2016
It may have been amateur hour in MMA’s big leagues, but VanZant and Northcutt sure weren’t paid like amateurs. VanZant pocketed $43,000 in her submission loss, while Waterson made a total of $30,000, with half of her paycheck coming via win bonus.
That means Waterson would have made nearly one-third of VanZant’s disclosed salary had she lost.
Northcutt scored $60,000 for tapping out to Gall. Gall made $40,000, with half coming by way of win bonus. He would have banked one-third of Northcutt’s salary had he not derailed Northcutt’s hype train.
One can’t help but wonder if VanZant and Northcutt didn’t look the way they did, would the UFC’s support of them – promotion and pocketbook – be the same? I think we already know the answer to that.