Georges St. Pierre file photo | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
The Weekly Wrap walks readers through the last seven days in MMA, recapping and putting into context the week's top story, important news and notable quotes.
In a performance that led UFC brass to acknowledge he has cleaned out his division, welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre dismantled Josh Koscheck with a steady diet of crushing jabs at UFC 124 on Dec. 11 in Montreal, setting an all-time UFC attendance record in the process.
For the second time in 2010, St. Pierre turned in a title defense that left the mind reaching to conceive of any feasible remaining challenges in his weight class. The champion busted up the last man to take a round from him -- in 2007 -- by pumping a left jab that fractured Koscheck’s orbital bone in the first round. Koscheck, who was showered with some of the loudest boos in UFC history and put in a separate hotel to dodge rabid Montreal fans, had little more to offer than winging overhand rights. St. Pierre took the fight on straight 50-45 scorecards. UFC President Dana White said it was the most damage he had ever seen done with a jab in a MMA fight.
Talks began toward a St. Pierre title defense against Jake Shields on the UFC’s debut card in Toronto in April. White said St. Pierre has convincingly cleaned out the welterweight division and now warrants a shot at middleweight champion Anderson Silva if the pound-for-pound king defeats Vitor Belfort in February. St. Pierre re-iterated that if he were to move up to middleweight, he would have to increase his current walking-around weight of 190 pounds to at least 200 pounds. If he makes the jump, St. Pierre wants to say there, saying to go up and then down again would hurt his reaction time, like it did boxer Roy Jones Jr.
With the win, St. Pierre tied Matt Hughes’ record for most consecutive welterweight title defenses in UFC history.
UFC 124 by the numbers:
30. Number of consecutive rounds St. Pierre has won, a UFC record.
5. Number of consecutive welterweight title defenses for St. Pierre, tying Matt Hughes’ record.
110. Significant strikes landed by St. Pierre in the fight, according to Fight Metric, compared to 16 for Koscheck.
23,152. Attendance at the Bell Centre in Montreal, a UFC record. That tops 21,451 for UFC 97 in April 2009 and 21,390 for UFC 83 in April 2008, both also in Montreal. UFC 83 is thought to have done the bigger actual attendance; the attendance tallies reflect tickets that were sold but not the number of people in the arena. The Wrestling Observer reported that several thousand more UFC 97 tickets were sold -- likely to scalpers -- than people who attended. That was not the case for UFC 83
$4.6 million. Gate receipts for UFC 124, down from $5.1 million for UFC 83 and $4.9 million for UFC 97.
$100,000. Performance bonus amount for Best Knockout (Mac Danzig), Best Submission (Marc Bocek and Jim Miller, both taking $50K) and Fight of the Night (St. Pierre and Koscheck). The only other time the UFC paid such rich bonuses was at UFC 100 in July 2009, the most lucrative event in company history.
Other UFC 124 notes of interest:
The event marked the first time the UFC allowed fans via text messaging to decide who won the “Fight of the Night” bonuses. Fans chose the main event, prompting White to call an immediate end to the experiment, saying fans “blew their chance.” White said he would have given the bonus to undercard fighters Sean Pierson and Matt Riddle and joked that St. Pierre owed his countryman, Pierson, $100,000.
Jim Miller declared himself ready for title contention after tapping Charles Oliveira in two minutes with a sudden kneebar. It was Oliveira’s first loss in 15 career fights. Mark Bocek also made his bid for being viewed as a lightweight contender, masterfully mounting Dustin Hazelett and slapping on a top-side triangle choke-amrbar combination for the first-round tap. It was Hazelett’s first lightweight fight since 2007 and his third straight loss. Bocek called out George Sotiropoulos after the fight.
Also picking up wins were Stefan Struve (round-one TKO over Sean McCorkle), Mac Danzig (round-one knockout over Joe Stevenson), Thiago Alves (unanimous decision over John Howard), Dan Miller (split decision over Joe Doerksen), Sean Pierson (unanimous decision over Matt Riddle), Ricardo Almeida (unanimous decision over T.J. Grant) and John Makdessi (unanimous decision over Pat Audinwood). Doerksen was cut from the UFC after his loss, FiveOuncesofPain.com reported.
There was widespread confusion when it was announced in the arena that Jesse Bongfeldt and Rafael Natal had fought to a 30-30 draw. In actuality, the scorecards showed a majority draw at 28-28. Judges Sal D’Amato and Tony Weeks gave Natal the first two rounds 10-9 and Bongfeldt a 10-8 third. Judge John Woodburn had it 29-28 for Natal, giving Natal the first two rounds but a 10-9 third for Bongfeldt.Â
Canadian media reported that Sean Pierson ran into some trouble back home with his employer, the Toronto Police Department, for fighting at the event. Recently hired as a police officer, Pierson was told he has to choose between a fight career and police work. The department did not approve the UFC fight as an outside activity, as is required. Pierson, 34, said he expected to start the police job a few days after UFC 124 but was technically under employ when he fought. He had not made a public final decision at week’s end.