Alright, time for full confession: I'm not the greatest at correctly picking the outcome of fights. There, I said it. Even after 16 years of following this sport, it still surprises me more often than not. But sometimes I get a feeling about certain fights. And on those rare occasions when I get such a feeling, I'm almost always right. Throughout the past few weeks I've felt almost certian that Brett Rogers was going to knock out Andrei Arlovski in impressive fashion. Sometimes I see something in a fighter's eyes in interviews. Sometimes I notice something that their opponent is NOT saying in interviews that gives me a feeling of certainty. But the topic that I ask you readers about today is this: Is there a double standard in regard to how MMA fans have reacted to Brett's victory last night as compared to how they reacted when Fedor knocked Arlovski out in January?
To be sure, not all victories are created equal. I think that most observers would agree that Andrei Arlovski was well on his way to easily winning the first round against Emelianenko when they fought in January. Andrei controlled the fight during that first round and had many Emelianenko fans nervous until he leapt in sloppily with his hands down for a flying knee and got tagged right on his less-than-world-class chin for a knockout loss. But let's not forget, even AFTER that loss most observers of the sport had him as a top 5 heavyweight in the world (some sites even had him top 2 or 3). Now fast forward to last night in St. Louis and we see that same Andrei Arlovski getting knocked out in 20 seconds by a large, hungry Amercian heavyweight. Rogers literally could not have had less trouble with Andrei. Yet the reaction I've seen in the 24 hours since by most bloggers and mma news sites has looked something like this: "We didn't really learn much about Rogers last night but we did learn that Andrei is done."
While I agree that there are still questions about Brett's game, we do know this much: He's a bad-ass heavyweight that has proven that he can easily trash what was a consensus top ten opponent if the fight stays standing. I'm definitely not saying that we should annoint Brett Rogers. I would not advise doing that. But I would like to see the young man get more than his share of respect as a world-class heavyweight. I'd also like to see less written about what Andrei didn't do, and more about the great showing that Brett Rogers gave last evening. It just struck me as a bit of a double standard from what I saw written back in January when Fedor's performance was seen as almost heroic in his come-from-behind victory against "The Pitbull". If such a double-standard exists, I have no idea what the motivation would be other than possbily a hesitation to put stock in a commodity new to the upper echelon of the sport. As always, that's just my perspective and I could easily be wrong. What say you?