UFC 244 brought the UFC back to Madison Square Garden in one of their most highly anticipated and unique events to date. The title on the line, created by and for the fans with the help of Nate Diaz calling out fellow “bad mother-f*cker” (BMF) Jorge Masvidal. While there was an anticlimactic end to the event, there are some things to take away from UFC 244.
1Check Yourself USADA
Before fight week, Diaz was ready to skip work for UFC 244 on the grounds that the way USADA handled the situation regarding a positive result for a banned substance would taint his legacy. By not playing by their rules, not only did he clear the air but he put the one’s that check balances, in check to help the event move forward. That’s a BMF move, title or not.
2Kelvin Gastelum’s Street Magic
UFC weigh-ins lately can never seem to go on without some sort of controversy, or at least an opportunity to start some. While Jennifer Maia missed weight and had to forfeit 25% of her purse to Katlyn Chookagian, Kelvin Gastelum weighed in officially at 184 pounds, however, because his elbow touches his coach’s shoulder, some seemed to think that would make him lighter. Apparently, when it comes to weigh-ins in New York, towels and shoulder touching create levitation. Despite that, Darren Till was able to win so whatever Gastelum’s weight was, didn’t matter.
See the alleged elbow trick in the video below posted by Mike Heck.
New Yorkers know that when the Commander in Chief comes to town, expect delays and issues navigating around the city. Nevermind who the president is, expect the type of security one would anticipate when someone like that comes to an event. Friday before the event, Dana White said about the area near Madison Square Garden, “the only way you can even get on that block is you have to have a UFC ticket.” Madison Square Garden sits on top of New York’ Penn Station, which is one of the many ways fans used to get into the city and the venue. Media attending the event posted on social media the additional security both inside and outside of the venue. See the posts from MMA Junkie and Submission Radio:
4Corey Anderson Makes Case For Jon Jones
Dana White said during the post-fight presser Anderson needed to prove his case for a title shot and admitted his win at 244 may have done that. However, he also said Dominick Reyes did too with his TKO over Chris Weidman, so if a title shot is not in the near future for Anderson, surely a title eliminator between Anderson and Reyes is. Time will tell but Anderson certainly cannot be ignored after his dominating finish of Johnny Walker.
5Kevin Lee Is Going Nowhere
Lee has had trouble making weight, suffered some losses and was seemingly counted out. However, the way he decimated Gregor Gillespie not only underlined what Lee is capable of but let fight fans know he is not going anywhere.
6NYSAC Is Soft!
Not really, the thing about BMF’s is that they can sometimes be too bad for their own good. Nate Diaz wants to run it back with Jorge Masvidal after suffering a TKO loss via doctor’s stoppage. White almost agreed but when he saw Diaz afterward backstage, he said in the post-fight presser, “His eyebrow, was hanging over his eye.” So as much as fans wanted the fight to live up to what was on the line, it’s not worth risking the health of any fighter. Still, two split decisions on one card may not have been split had they happened in a state that didn’t just lift the ban on MMA three years ago.
7Pause On Boxing
Canelo Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev was also happening the same night as UFC 244 and the fight was put on hold until the main event of UFC 244 closed out. Dana White said during the post-fight presser that the MGM Grand asked for permission to show UFC 244, while they waited. There was a time in MMA that if someone like Canelo was boxing, the UFC would not hold an event. The growth of MMA has been explosive in recent years, and regardless of one’s political views, or how you may feel about the current President of the United States, a sitting President went to an MMA event in a state it was once banned. That’s got to count for something positive in MMA.