twitter google

History lesson: Small back problems with big consequences

(Jackal Godzillad messaged me today with an interesting theory on the potential cosmic implications of Thiago Silva pulling out of his fight with Lyoto Machida. I’ve always been interested in the whole ‘ripples in the pond’ thing, and I thought it was interesting to look back at a small event that turned out to have major implications down the road. Enjoy!)

Back injuries are pretty common in MMA. Careers have been ended, rising stars have fallen, all because of back problems. As far as injuries symptomatic of the sport goes, it’s not all that bad. A fucked up back is probably preferable than the dementia pugilistica (aka punch drunk syndrome) which often hits boxers. But as an inconsiderate fan who cares little for the reason my favorite fighters can’t perform, I find it just as annoying.

Now the all too familiar back injury has reared it’s ugly head towards MMA once again. Thiago Silva has been pulled from his October fight at UFC 89. His opponent, Lyoto “Bike” Machida, is left on the sidelines kicking up dirt until Coach Dana locates someone willing to fight him on short notice or moves him to December’s New Years Eve show.

You can shrug all this off as no big deal or consider it as fate knocking over a cosmic domino that starts another chain reaction similar to what happened not too long ago.

Let’s go back two years to another October card with a fight canceled due to back problems. The city was Las Vegas, Nevada. The event was UFC 64. The fight was Keith Jardine vs Mike Nickels. Nickels didn’t even bother to show up to weigh-ins. He phoned up Joe Silva and let him know about a (tattoo related?) back injury that would force him to stay home watching “Inked” reruns.

Jardine was left with blue fighting balls. Meanwhile, Forrest Griffin was fresh off of beating Stephan Bonnar for the second time and needed an opponent who’s ass he could kick. With dollar signs in their eyes, UFC brass scheduled Griffin vs Jardine for December’s Liddell vs Ortiz card with an eye on setting up Griffin vs Liddell in the spring.

Jardine was thrown in to lose. Straight up. The biggest event in UFC history was meant to set up an equally big-assed show combining the winner of the night’s two main events. All Forrest had to do was win. And win he did… until he fucking lost. Keith “Grandpa” Jardine forced Joe Silva to throw out his notebook like he was droppin’ outta skool. Months of planning straight into the garbage because some asshole didn’t remember his place.

With a Chuck vs Jardine title fight pretty damn unsellable (Jardine only became vaguely visible after getting uppercutted into the stratosphere by some dude), Quinton Jackson’s title shot was forced onto the Light Heavyweight autobahn and the rest is history.

The story is simple: Back injury causes fighter to be moved from October to December, fighter being groomed for title shot gets absolutely jacked and the Light Heavyweight division is thrown into Joker-like chaos. A butterfly flaps it’s wings at one UFC and it leads to all sorts of unexpected repercussions down the line.

My bet is that Machida will be shuffled to the New Years card, get FUCKED UP, and all the fans who believe it’s divinely written in stone that he’ll get a title shot will be left with their wieners – or vaginas – in their hands. Fightlinker doesn’t discriminate. Fighlinker likes having vaginas in his hands. (Fightlinker’s note: we also vaguely suspect that many Machida fans have vaginas despite being male)