Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series: Season 3 kicked off in the early hours this morning with 8 fighters looking to impress the UFC boss and gain a contract to the world’s leading MMA promotion. Included in those 8 fighters was Manchester’s Brendan Loughnane (17-3) who won his bout against Bill Algeo (12-4) via an incredibly one-sided unanimous decision, with all three judges scoring the fight 30-27.
Fantastic night for Brendan, right? Wrong. Dana chose not to give him a contract due to some of the decisions he made in the fight, including shooting for a double leg takedown in the last 10 seconds of the fight. In the post event interview with Laura Sanko, Dana said
“Let me tell you what you don’t do. You don’t come here; you don’t fight that type of fight and you don’t go for the double leg.”
Dana did express his admiration for Brendan’s heart and skills however he believed that he didn’t perform in the right way to secure a contract.
Reading between the lines a little here, will uncover what Dana really meant. Brendan put on probably the most technically skilled performance of the night, showing off his striking and his grappling capabilities, but Dana wants out and out violence from these young fighters. He seemingly wants them to stay in the pocket and slug it out until one hit’s the mat. Sure, it’s exciting to see two fighters that want to stand and bang it out. Fights like Don Frye (20-9-1) vs Yoshihiro Takayama (0-4), Diego Sanchez (29-11) vs Gilbert Melendez (22-7) or Robbie Lawler (28-13) vs Rory MacDonald (21-5-1) have all gained legendary status with fans and journalists alike. The problem is these fights are outliers, they’re freak incidents that just occurred when the stars aligned. You can’t force two fighters into a classic, they just happen.
Social media has reacted to Dana’s comments with the majority of fans and outlets condemning his decision to pass Brendan over for a contract, all seemingly confused with Dana’s reasoning behind it. The question it leaves in my head, is what exactly does Dana White want from UFC fighters and potential UFC fighters? Do you want those rock em’ sock em’ brawlers? Or, do you want the best skilled fighters in the world? Do you want those fighters that have the lethal combination of skills and fight IQ? Don’t forget that the most successful fighters in the UFC are the ones that refrain from the brutal brawling game. They are the fighters that have long, fruitful careers by minimising the unnecessary damage taken in each of their fights.
UFC Copenhagen has just been announced and tickets are shortly to be released to the public although, not one fight has been announced for the card. Brendan was by far the most popular fighter on the card last night and would be a perfect fit for it. Not only that, the UFC have expressed their eagerness for a Darren Till (17-2-1) vs Leon Edwards (17-3) bout in the future, that card would have to take place in England and there is nothing better than seeing English fighters on those cards. There is a place for Brendan Loughnane in the UFC, so here’s to hoping that logic takes over soon!