News broke on April fool’s day that Tony Ferguson had to pull out of his bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov for UFC 223. While the two men seem to have a history of just not being able to fight, there seems to be some new history being attached to Brooklyn and Barclays Center when it comes to MMA. With the sport of MMA being new to the state of New York since the ban on the sport of was lifted it seems there may be some bad mojo for MMA when it comes to Barclays Center specifically.
Please adjust your tinfoil hat as the case is made starting with UFC 208.
February 12, 2017 UFC 208
UFC 208 was the event that was to crown the promotion’s first ever women’s featherweight champion. While many knew this division and title were being made to create a path for Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino to claim this title that she now holds, it was Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie that would face one another to get the division going. The fight was a five round slugfest that had de Randamie strikeHolm after rounds two and three ended and were cause for some controversy after she won a unanimous decision over Holm. Almost as soon as the official result was announced, de Randamie started the dance that would drag the title away from her and have a new fight happen at UFC 214 which was essentially a “do-over” inaugural title bout for the women’s featherweight division when de Randamie would not defend the title against Justino.
Justino set the division straight when she won the title from Tonya Evinger at UFC 214 but the fight that was supposed to get things going for her cementing her herself as one of the baddest women in MMA was certainly delayed from what went down at Barclay’s Center that night. It should also be noted that nearly all the bouts went to a decision except for Ronaldo”Jacare” Souza’s submission win over Tim Boetsch. Dana White said the event was not one of their better events and hoped the main event “would erase most of the rest of the night but that didn’t happen.”
July 13, 2017 Mayweather vs. McGregor Press Conference
In promoting what many would see as the highest profile combat sports event of 2017, the media tour that was being made to garner interest in what people, for some odd reason kept seeing a boxing match between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr. as an MMA vs. boxing match stopped by Barclays Center for part of the tour. It was probably the lowest point of all the press conferences for that event as both men were about two hours late to it, and when it seemed Mayweather’s call to “form Voltron” looked like he was having McGregor jumped by his bodyguards during it created for an uncomfortable situation. It was not a good reflection on combat sports but while it was for a boxing event, it did include one of the most prominent competitors from the MMA world along with being co-promoted by the UFC making another stop in Barclays Center, and it is one of those events folks would rather forget.
Should we worry about UFC 223?
UFC 223 has yet to be written but the misfortune that has fallen on Tony Ferguson is disturbing, to say the least. While this piece has been written fresh off the news of his pulling out of the bout and being replaced by Max Holloway it should be noted Holloway is coming off of recovering from an injury himself and on a week’s notice against one of the scariest lightweights in the UFC. This early in the week with weigh-ins yet to happen fans should keep their fingers crossed that this conspiracy theory does not hold any water and something grand comes out of the event.
Maybe Bellator MMA should just stick to Madison Square Garden.
Edward holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Bachelor’s degree in Communications. Along with over 20 years martial arts experience, he co-hosts The Coast-2-Coast Combat Hour, and also writes for Sherdog while maintaining his own site, The Blogboard Jungle. You can follow him on Twitter @Carbazel