We’re up to UFC 45 on Yahoo’s Countdown to UFC 100 and it’s still sounding like every second UFC event ended with a near riot / main event disaster / shit thrown into the cage. Or in the case of UFC 45, all three:
The first was a middleweight grudge match between Phil Baroni and the late Evan Tanner. Baroni spent most of the first half of the first round mercilessly pounding the grounded Tanner. Referee Larry Landless didn’t stop the fight but did pause the match to allow the doctor to check Tanner’s cut.
The fight continued, and a rested Tanner reversed position on Baroni and began dishing out punishment from the top. Landless asked Baroni if he wanted the fight stopped, misheard Baroni and stopped the match at 4:42 of the first.
At first, the largely pro-Baroni crowd booed the decision. Then Baroni shoved Landless, which cause the crowd to turn on Baroni even more vociferously. Baroni was suspended for four months for putting his hands on a referee.
That incident left the 9,200 in attendance in an ugly mood for the next fight, a brawl between punchers Tank Abbott and Wes “Cabbage” Correira. Abbott got the biggest response from the crowd of any competitor on the evening, but he was TKOd in just 2:14. After the fight, both corners got into an altercation that was calmed down just before a full-scale brawl broke out, leading the crowd to litter the cage with garbage.
This whole Countdown to UFC 100 thing is supposed to pump people up for the big hundredth event, but so far it’s just a reminder of how rocky a road MMA has had on it’s way to becoming a real sport. Personally, I’m amazed Dana White and the Fertittas stuck around through it all.