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Strikeforce Challengers Notes

-While I know there are lots of good MMA fans in Kent, Washington, the majority of people in attendance last night did not represent them well. You know at the beginning of the televised card they whip people up to make a good impression for the viewers? The people in Kent spent the first five minutes of the event booing like morons. By the end, they were randomly yelling “Heeeeey, hoooooo!” every 3 seconds. Worst. MMA. Crowd. Ever.

-And I can only assume that the crown elected their moron royalty to be the refs at this event. These guys were calling for action the moment a fight hit the ground. The threat of a standup was overbearing for the entire event. Regardless of if a fighter was working half guard or side control or even rubber guard, the ref was shouting out warnings every 10 seconds. Even when Conor Heun was working crackhead control during the 10 seconds we actually got to see him on the ground, the motherfucking ref was complaining. They also pulled fighters out of the clinch as if they were boxers. Fucking clueless idiots from start to finish. With people like this reffing across the country, I’m surprised MMA still manages to be awesome.

-Did anyone else find it ironic that Shayna Baszler gassed three minutes into her five minute rounds fight? She’s a jiu jitsu wiz and has some decent striking skills, but I’m starting to wonder if she’s been ignoring the less fun shit like cardio. Fortunately for the rep of women’s MMA and unfortunately for Baszler, Sarah Kaufman lasted the 15 minutes just fine. After a first round where Baszler tried out a nifty but less than effective … eeeh. I don’t know what to call it … knee on neck / arm choke? It looked pretty slick but didn’t get the job done. After that point she ran out of steam and in for the next two rounds was basically a pinata, eating basic but effective strikes from Kaufman. Kaufman won the fight on the judges’ scorecards. Shayna slips down the rankings against a fighter she should have been able to beat. Kaufman earns my respect for coming in shape and diligently defending herself on the ground.

-Jorge Gurgel and Conor Huen are both great ground fighters, but we didn’t get to see any of that. Another 15 minute slugfest went down between them and while it was lots of fun, I wanted me some slick jiu jitsu action. It was not to be, as the fight hit the ground maybe twice and both times Jorge used his mighty jitz to escape so he could stand back up. At one point he literally passed on a gift wrapped ankle and Connor’s back just so they could bang some more. Jorge Gurgel is eternally dumb. That being said, he won the fight on the scorecards so good for him.

-Overall, very solid event without any bad fights. The only shitty thing about the event was the crowd and the refs. And Mauro was generally annoying as usual but what are you gonna do? I just tuned him out after he worked a terrible “Rock Em Sock Em Robots” reference into his act.