Antonio McKee's Blogs

  • Primer: UFC 125 By: Jake Rossen

    Gray Maynard (left) | Dave Mandel/

    For decades, boxing was criticized for devoting little time or resources to undercards. Events pushed two headlining fighters; fans -- especially celebrities, who need to devote time to important thoughts -- grew trained to not even show up for preliminary bouts.

    The UFC has rarely had that problem: a major selling point of MMA has always been substantial cards. Taken as a whole, there’s some irony in the fact that Saturday’s UFC 125 may be a stacked program in search of a main event.

    Lightweight champion Frankie Edgar is undeniably talented, especially considering his slight build and successive victories over B.J. Penn. But he’s struggling to make an impression in fans who consider his style aggressive reluctance -- he’s a point fighter, which is crowd death in a sport that promises violence. Matching him against Gray Maynard, a more physical but equally unemotional athlete, demands some kind of structural support. (The UFC nearly had it when they placed Jose Aldo in the co-main event slot; unfortunately, Aldo was injured.)

    Maynard and Edgar have worked very hard to reach rare air in MMA, and one might be only an “Ultimate Fighter” coaching job away from getting the audience emotionally caught up in their career.

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