If Hulk Hogan was at all plugged in to his surroundings Saturday, he might have gotten the feeling he was witnessing the regeneration of his own carnival business: characters sniping at one another in promos, exaggerating their personalities, then meeting in the ring for some primal reconciliation.
The lone difference: MMA fighters don’t get hurt as badly as wrestlers do.
Take Marcus Jones and Matt Mitrione, with Jones unreasonably upset that Mitrione had perhaps ended the career of friend Scott Junk with an inadvertent poke in the eye; Darrill Schoonover, who fought with all the might of a man trying to overcome the nickname “Titties”; and the biggest babyface of the night, Kimbo Slice, who proved that with a solid base camp and against an opponent with virtually no ground game, he can just about scratch out a win. (As Slice predicted, Houston had a problem: that problem was training for a track meet.)
Never mind Jon Jones’ disqualification -- a classic wrestling finish, inadvertent as it was -- or the staggeringly absurd idea of having Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell as rival coaches on an eleventh season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” Wrestling’s influence has been present for years, but it appears to be getting less and less subtle. Whatcha gonna do?
Next for Jon Jones: He’s gone to school with a jiu-jitsu player and an NCAA wrestler: time for a striker. What’s Rich Franklin up to?
Next for Kimbo Slice: Some serious managerial strategizing: Slice is too green to hang with the top 15 and too old to groom. Mostapha Al-Turk might be beatable; if the UFC is into nostalgia -- evidenced by the recent Renzo Gracie signing -- then recruiting Oleg Taktarov or Patrick Smith would be more his speed. And as awkward as it sounds, meeting the loser of February’s Mark Coleman/Randy Couture match would at least give Slice a chance to outbox a guy ten years his senior.
Next for Roy Nelson: A complete lack of nursing, considering his pre-“TUF” credentials: perhaps the winner of next weekend’s Cheick Kongo/Frank Mir bout.
Roy Nelson pocketed $25,000 for Knockout of the Night honors with a first-round clubbing of Brendan Schaub; Frankie Edgar and Matt Veach split $50,000 for Fight of the Night…According to MMAWeekly, the Pearl at the Palms drew an alarming 1,200 spectators for the event, a turnout that might be blamed in part by the promotion’s inability to push Slice as a feature attraction until the series wrapped three days prior…The Nevada State Athletic Commission made use of instant replay for the first time Saturday in evaluating Jones’ disqualification loss to Hamill; Hamill was said to have dislocated his shoulder during a slam earlier in the round, which probably meant the fight was over then, but you can’t rule on probable cause…In the post-fight press conference, Slice commented that you have to be “like genius-type smart” to learn MMA’s nuances. This guy? I like him. I like him a lot.