Considering so many mixed martial arts bouts ended in controversy this past year, it was only fitting the UFC’s final show of the decade conclude with some dissension. While the blunder at Saturday’s UFC 124 extravaganza wasn’t nearly as bad as the travesty that went down last weekend, two unfortunate fighters suffered, nonetheless.
For the first time in company history, Octagon president Dana White allowed viewers to decide which contestants would take home ‘Fight of the Night’ honors. While fans appreciated the ability to have their voices heard, there was plenty on line financially for athletes not named Georges St-Pierre or Josh Koscheck.
Speaking of the card’s featured attraction, it stands to reason the main event of a major pay-per-view broadcast provide the night’s biggest thrills. That’s the reason the superstars receive top billing in the first place.
Additionally, it’s why 23,152 St-Pierre fanboys packed the Bell Centre in Montreal to earn the UFC a live gate of $4.586 million. The record-setting show allowed the company to offer up an all-time high for ‘Fight Night’ commissions. Each winner was handed an extra $100,000 for their special performances.
Unfortunately for Sean Pierson and Matt Riddle, voters appeared to have been brainwashed by the nonstop pre-fight love GSP vs. Kos 2 garnered and completely forgot other athletes were also competing up north. Although their hotly contested war wasn’t scheduled to air, Pierson’s unanimous decision win made an appearance on the PPV broadcast just before Stefan Struve steamrolled Sean McCorkle in the evening’s co-main event.
“The reporters aren’t happy with it,” White said at the post-fight press conference. “It’s one of the hazards. [The fans] are always chirping about how we mess it up and here we are.”
Ok, so the fans thought GSP beating the heck out of Koscheck’s right eye provided more edge-of-your-seat excitement than Riddle and Pierson laying the lumber on each other for 15 action-packed minutes. It was the MAIN EVENT, and all. The last scrap of the night should be the show’s most spectacular.
What’s the big deal? Enthusiasts will just get it right the next time. Right, Dana?
“They blew their chance,” White matter-of-factly stated. “That’s it. It’s over.”
Thankfully, MMA’s ultimate shot-caller put his Santa cap on a little early this year and promised to “take care of” both Pierson and Riddle. White also joked St-Pierre would pick up the $100k tab for his fellow Canadian Pierson.
After collecting his eighth consecutive runaway victory en route to becoming the welterweight division’s G.O.A.T., it’s not like St-Pierre couldn’t afford it.