Mann Talk – Give Shogun a Break

‘Mann Talk’ is a new weekly column from PRO MMA ( staff writer, Richard Mann.

I’ll admit it. Since I don’t really like shelling out the almost 50 bucks it takes to buy a UFC pay per view, I usually head over to the local Hooters to check out the fights. Naturally everyone suspects that I have ulterior motives, especially my girlfriend who isn’t too fond of the girls in the orange shorts and push up bras.

Even though it is free it is always pretty hectic, so I miss out on most of Joe Rogan’s shockingly one-sided commentary. However, there are perks to watching the show along side the meat of the UFC’s fan base. During the Mauricio Shogun Rua versus Mark Coleman fight, the fans were continually voicing their displeasure with the Brazilian’s performance.

Calls of “I could beat a 44 year old” and “I’m glad I didn’t pay money to see this” were voiced as if they were sitting cage side. One man, who was spending his one weekend a month with his third grade daughter watching the UFC at Hooters, told me, “this guy is supposed to be a beast, but he doesn’t even want to fight.” Despite their disgust with the fight, it still earned fight of the night honors from Dana White and the UFC. The Hooters fans were not the only pundits dissatisfied with Rua’s performance.

Journalists like to be very decisive. The mindset is basically, if you are wish washy and try to come down on both sides of an issue not a lot of people will want to read your stuff. Yahoo Sports writer Kevin Iole certainly took this approach when, in his recent article, he said, “[Shogun] moved more like a housecat that had gotten into a bag of Friskies and gorged itself.”

Let’s put Iole’s extremely witty description of Rua’s performance aside for a second since he was not the only writer or blogger to jump on him after the fight. It is true that his fight against 44 year old Mark Coleman was not his most impressive performance, but the media onslaught seems a little bit over the top, especially to those who are familiar with Rua’s pride performances.

Shogun has never been a cardio machine. In many of his best performances he has still gassed out. For example, part of the reason his match up with Antonio Rogerio Nogueria was so exciting was because both of the fighters were dreadfully tired and yet fought on.

Despite being promoted as a muay thai ace, Shogun has never had exceptional hands. On the feet he does most of his damage in the clinch, which he owned against Coleman. Over the course of his career most of his knockouts have come on the ground.

This, of course, isn’t even taking into account his history of injuries. Iole would have you believe that since “[Shogun] walked to the microphone, and in an opening statement, before he was asked a question, said he had trained feverishly and that training always is harder than the fights” that the injuries are not an issue.

Shogun’s second ACL injury was reported on March 4th 2008. According to the West Los Angeles Physical Therapy website, “rehab following the traditional ACL repair surgery often takes six to nine months until full strength and function are restored.” Which means that if Shogun had immediate surgery, he could have just finished his rehab as recently as December.

Mauricio Shogun Rua did not live up to the hype last Saturday night, but the hype was never anything that he had created. Considering this was his first fight back after a pair of devastating knee surgeries, it is unfair to judge his future entirely on this performance. Since he has accepted a fight with Chuck Liddell, let’s try to hold off judgment until after that fight.

By:  Richard Mann

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