It was a busy, busy 11 day stretch at Fightful.com.
That was to be expected. From the last Thursday in March to this past Sunday was insanity. Dozens of wrestling events and shows for WrestleMania week, plus the post-show Raw, Smackdown, and everything in between. We had three sets of boots on the ground for UFC 210 coverage, which was a nice moment as we grow as a site. In taking all of this in, I realized that UFC 210 was the most pro wrestling thing I've covered this year.
Brandon Howard said it best.
He's right. And it hardly ended there.
UFC newcomer Pearl Gonzalez was the subject of controversy when the New York State Athletic Commission disallowed her from fighting up-and-comer Cynthia Calvilo -- at least briefly. Gonzalez was later cleared, and given a personal scrum Friday evening to address the situation. Gonzalez and Calvilo were really the only virtual unknowns on a card full of current and former champions. For better or for worse, Pearl Gonzalez isn't unknown anymore.
Gonzalez ended up dropping the fight to Calvilo. For those of you unfamiliar, Calvilo is a bit of a phenomenon. She made her UFC debut at UFC 209 on the main PPV card, only to turn around and compete at UFC 210 in similar fashion. Perhaps most impressively, she wasn't even a professional fighter eight months ago. Following the bout, Dana White gave her a raving endorsement at the post-fight presser. She got the rub.
That was far from the weirdest thing that happened. Chris Weidman, who desperately needed to at the very least to not lose, took on a surging Gegard Mousasi. You couldn't have scripted what played out.
Controversy ensued in the second round, as Mousasi landed a couple of knees to the head of Chris Weidman. The second knee was dangerously close to being illegal, as Weidman was trying to get his fingers on the mat. Mousasi was able to pull Weidman up just enough to land cleanly, but referee Dan Miragliotta stepped in to address it. After determining the knees to be clean, Weidman was then confusingly offered five minutes to recover -- which isn't a rule. Shortly after, the doctor called an end to the fight...even though the fight wasn't originally stopped via TKO.
Per the New York State Athletic Commission, instant replays aren't allowed to consult in the event of illegal knees, which means Miragliotta's original call should have stood.
Gegard Mousasi was awarded the fight via TKO, and frustratingly agreed that Weidman deserved a re-match. Weidman, confused, thought he had his hands down until seeing the replay. Deflated, Weidman apologized to his home-state fans.
By the way, this was the last fight on Gegard Mousasi's contract. Either he's re-signing a big deal, or leaving the company with a questionable win. I'd be personally shocked if the fight result wasn't overturned. Despite UFC President Dana White stating he's not looking to book a rematch, it's naturally there if the sides choose to revisit it.
If you're a WWE fan, you're familiar with how the WCW Invasion went. WCW's wrestlers came in to face the competition, and were disposed of in short order. Check out how former Bellator Champion Will Brooks did Saturday night. Spoiler: he lost. Quick.
I was probably more excited for Anthony "Rumble" Johnson vs. Daniel Cormier than any fight so far in 2017. There was fear we wouldn't get to see it when Cormier missed weight Friday, only to return minutes later and make weight....while allegedly illegally holding on to a towel. DC, you heel.
When the fight finally hit the cage, Anthony "Rumble" Johnson, probably the most powerful puncher in the division's history, executed a baffling game plan. Rumble, who has pretty good wrestling, tried to clinch with a Greco-Roman Olympian. His corner, frustrated and confused, walked away from the cage after Rumble would be submitted minutes later.
At 33 years old, Johnson is still well within the title picture. Well, he would have been. Instead, he retired, citing a dream job offer. The reality is Johnson could have likely competed for another 5 years in the Heavyweight division if he so chose.
You'd think that was about as deep as the storylines went. Nope. UFC flew in currently suspended Jon Jones and 37-year old Jimi Manuwa, who both had full-on promos cut on them by Cormier. Not surprisingly. Cormier spoke openly with Fightful about his adoration of pro wrestling.
Brandon Howard is completely right, and MMA isn't hamstrung by saturation of weekly shows. They've learned to maximize their press conferences, post-fight interviews, vignettes, and even have a little accidental help from weigh-ins and inept athletic commissions.
UFC 210 was the most pro wrestling thing I covered during that ten day stretch.