So, that Andrei Arlovski vs. Frank Mir bout finally happened.
It was a bout “more than ten years in the making” according to some MMA pundits — folks who remember both athletes when they proudly wore UFC gold. Folks who had hoped to see the two square off, instead of seeing the second act in the career of Tim Sylvia, were finally getting their wish.
Folks who saw the UFC through some dark hours were getting a little gift — and they were excited about it.
Some of them had actually hoped Arlovski, who had previously won five straight bouts, would receive a title shot instead of the showdown with Mir. So they were doubly grateful.
But then, the fight finally happened. And after what seemed like an eternity, the fight finally ended.
It was a slow bout between two old warriors, two fighters worthy of the utmost respect but sadly, who also looked nothing like athletes who should contest a UFC heavyweight title.
Predictably, it wasn’t received well by the media, the fans, or Mir and Arlovski’s colleagues.
Here’s a sample.
From Bleacher Report’s lead MMA writer:
This fight really killed momentum for both Arlovski and Mir, no matter who wins.
— Jeremy Botter (@jeremybotter) September 6, 2015
From another heavyweight contender, Roy Nelson:
— Roy Nelson (@roynelsonmma) September 6, 2015
Arlovski himself, who won by unanimous decision, expressed disappointment in his performance during a downbeat post-fight interview.
It would seem a sad moment in MMA.
Well, the truth is this wasn’t.
It was a good moment.
We already knew Father Time is undefeated, as Glenn Johnson famously said while announcing his retirement.
What we learned — what we know for sure now — is that neither guy belongs in a heavyweight title fight again. It’s best we learned that watching them fight one another rather than watching them get demolished by one of the top dogs.
That’s why it was a little disappointing, but it’s all good.