Anyone who has watched prize fighting, in the modern era of promoting televised PPV fights, knows that promotions need to do what they can to try to sell an event to the public. We all know that crazy things happen and know to take them with a grain of salt. The eloquent Mike Tyson once said during a press conference for the Lennox Lewis fight:
“I want to rip out his heart and feed it to him. I want to kill people. I want to rip their stomachs out and eat their children.”
Needless to say, no one wanted Mike to actually follow up on that promise or threat and no one actually was stupid enough to complain that he did not kill people, rip their stomachs out and eat a few children. So let’s not get to carried away here but at the same time, when you have someone completely mislead the general public and have almost a dozen statements about how big of a war this is going to be and how much you like fighting then literally run away from the other fighter for over 6 minutes in a 25 minute fight, the fans of the sport have a legitimate complaint.
We are not talking about circling the opponent here. What we are talking about is literally keeping a distance that eliminates either fighter from striking or engaging each other effectively. This tactic was not of fighting but surviving the bout.
This issue is about Carlos Condit the fighter, not the man, the husband or the father. This is not some sort of personal attack on him or his family. From all accounts, he does seem like a good person in general. However, at the same time, when you are marketing yourself as a fighter with the name “The Natural Born Killer” and making statements about yourself like what a “warrior” you are and saying you’d “fight for free”, yet not defend the title for 10 months, it is fair game to be called out on your very own statements when your fans paid about $50 to watch the event.
Had his nickname been Carlos “The Accountant” or “The Retirement Plan “Condit and his slogan “I fight only for the money”, it would be hard to justify discussing his style in the Diaz fight. It is just very misleading to tell your fans that you are something you clearly are not anymore. For 3 weeks, before the Diaz fight, all we heard from Carlos was:
“As long as I am breathing, as long as I am conscious, I am coming for him. You know, they are going to have to carry me out of that octagon”
“I’m coming to fight. I expect a war. Nick’s a warrior and we are going to step in there and get after it from bell to bell until one of us doesn’t move anymore.”
“I finally get to get in there and not hold back and just let it go.”
“I am trying to make it so the ref has to jump in and save your life”
“I tell myself to keep my hands up and my chin down and go out there and bury this mother f#%$er”
“I love to fight, plain and simple. I would do it for free if I could not make a living doing it”
“I have the skills and abilities to take Nick Diaz out”
“I am a warrior, that’s what I am. I always knew I was”
“I am dying to get in there and fight, I cannot wait”
“Carlos Condit is coming to finish you”
“The whole time we are hunting this guy, try to finish him every f#%$ing round. Every f#%$ing round see if we can knock his ass out, you know what I mean.”
These are the actual quotes from that three part Primetime series that the UFC made to promote UFC 143. It is one thing to say whatever you want to pump yourself up or your fans up but to some extent, you better at least deliver on some of what you say. This is basically more or less a bait and switch. It is hard to find the perfect analogy for this situation but since video games are all the rage and the UFC just came out with their newest version of Undisputed…
That is how it felt when we all watched Carlos Condit’s performance at UFC 143. We were told we were going to get a fight that could be the fight of the year but what we actually got was nothing more than a guy who literally wanted nothing to do with engaging his opponent. Sure he got the decision but everyone knows, he just wanted to get the hell out of there without looking like BJ Penn after UFC 137.
Since the rules allowed for this type of fight plan, the real losers here are the fans and the sport in general, except those who just wanted to see Nick lose a judges decision. A real fight fan would rather see his guy put on his best performance; win or lose, it doesn’t matter because a fighter can not always control that. The only thing a fighter can control 100% is their performance. How the fight actually plays out and the judges decision, if it goes to that, is out of his hands. It is hard to believe that this fight with Nick Diaz is what Carlos Condit would want to be remembered by.
This is one area that fight fans are different in Japan. Getting a “W” in a fight does not automatically make you a winner and getting a “L” does not automatically make you a loser. You are more judged on what you show during a fight than who won or lost. A great effort by a losing fighter is just as appreciated by the Japanese fight fan as the winning fighters performance.
A fighter cannot win every fight but he can give everything he has every time he gets in the cage. There is nothing more a fighter can give but his best performance, win or lose. That’s what real fight fans will remember and that’s what real fight fans should respect.