Stipe Miocic isn't wrong, but that's not going to help him

Admit it, you kind of forgot about Stipe Miocic.

In the aftermath of the UFC 226 main event, all that shouting and pushing and grinning about how much money everybody was going to make, you forgot that the most dominant heavyweight champion in UFC history had just vanished from the cage without a word or a second glance, like a magic trick where he became invisible the moment the belt was no longer his.

You’re not alone. We all forgot about him then. There was just so much going on at the time. But don’t think he didn’t notice.

Miocic (18-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) wasn’t a fan of the post-fight antics that night, as ESPN.com in a recent interview. What with former champ Brock Lesnar (5-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) entering the cage and new champ Daniel Cormier (21-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) going all in on hyping up a fight with him, it “was a (expletive) show,” according to Miocic, “and it was disrespectful.”

“I didn’t think that was what the UFC was all about,” Miocic said.

Really? You didn’t?

Here’s an immutable fact about the UFC and its owners: They like money. This was true when the Fertittas called the shots. It’s true about the new owners at Endeavor. It’s definitely true about UFC President Dana White, the one constant between the two eras.

To us, the UFC may be the most dominant promoter in a sport we love. To them, it’s the code to an ATM that never stops spitting out cash.

One major way they make that cash is by selling pay-per-views. Whatever sells more PPVs, that’s what they’ll do. This was true back when Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock kept fighting over and over without Shamrock ever coming close to winning. It’s still true now that Lesnar is the UFC’s solution to every problem.

After all this time in the UFC, did Miocic really not know who he was dealing with?

Maybe. Or maybe he just wanted things to be different than they are. And, honestly, that’s somewhat understandable. Because when he makes his case for an immediate rematch with Cormier, you can’t say he’s not talking some sense.

“I cleaned out the division,” Miocic said. “I defended (the UFC heavyweight title) more than anyone, and you’re gonna tell me I don’t deserve a chance to get it back? Get out of here. Kiss my ass if you don’t think I deserve that.”

He’s right, you know. He did clean out the division, such as it was. He did set the UFC record for consecutive heavyweight title defenses. He beat so many challengers that we had to import a new one from the division below.

Meanwhile, next month down at men’s bantamweight, you’ve got former champ Cody Garbrandt, who successfully defended the belt zero times, getting an immediate rematch against the guy who took it from him. So how does Miocic deserve less consideration than that?

But then, this isn’t about what anyone deserves. They aren’t sitting around in the UFC offices right now debating what’s right and what’s wrong. They’re trying to sell some PPVs and make some money. Christmas is coming, and that Las Vegas driveway snow isn’t going to import itself.

So of course the UFC didn’t think twice about turning its back on Miocic. Of course the whole MMA world jumped straight to debating Cormier vs. Lesnar and forgot all about the former champ. His very valid complaints about that – seriously, we’re going to give the next title shot to a guy who hasn’t had a legitimate win since 2010? – can’t drown out the sound of all that money rolling in.

This is the sport we have, regardless of whether or not it’s the sport we want. It’s the sport we’ve made for ourselves, for better or worse.

Miocic doesn’t have to like it. In fact, you can understand why, right about now, he couldn’t be blamed for hating it. But after all this time he should at least understand it.

For complete coverage of UFC 226, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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