Okay, that’s an unfair headline. Technically, I guess Penn didn’t say that he would personally kill Sean Sherk. He just said that Sherk was “dead”. And yet, Sherk still lives and breathes. He even managed to walk into the cage and shake Penn’s hand in an uncomfortable moment. Still, it was a hell of a way for Penn to celebrate his dominating victory over Joe Stevenson for the vacant lightweight title. The situation it created was awkward, but no more so than having Sherk sit in for the broadcast of the fight.
Honestly, who thought that would be a good idea? He’s watching two guys fight for the title that was taken from him after a positive steroid test. That’s like inviting your ex-girlfriend over to watch the sex tape you made with your new girlfriend.
As if the situation wasn’t strange enough, Joe Rogan made a point of asking Sherk (immediately following the submission victory by Penn) how frustrated he was by it all. How about, I don’t know, Very? Really very frustrated, Joe, thanks. What did he expect Sherk to say? That’s just rubbing it in.
As for the fight itself, Penn looked dominant. He handled Stevenson from the beginning and bathed in his blood en route to victory. He also looked in shape, even if he wasn’t severely tested, and bragged about his abs, which were visible (kind of) for the first time in years. Stevenson appeared to take the loss hard. It’s almost as if he expected to win, which is endearing if a little naive. He was clearly a level or two below Penn, but so are a lot of people.
In other action:
– Gabriel Gonzaga looked very mediocre in his loss to Fabricio Werdum. Despite damaging Werdum’s legs with kicks early on, Gonzaga couldn’t follow up and ended by folding fairly easily as soon as Werdum put the pressure on. Maybe it was just a bad night for “Napao”, or maybe he was overrated following his win over “Cro Cop”. I’m going to say it was probably a little of both.
– Was Kendall Grove stoned for his fight with Jorge Rivera? It seemed as if he didn’t really take it seriously, even when Rivera was pummeling him against the cage. Rivera came to fight last night. I don’t know what Grove came to do. Looks like another reality TV star who isn’t going to justify the hype the UFC has tried to put behind him.
– Marcus Davis got himself another explosive victory against another outmatched opponent, so now maybe we’ll get to see him fight someone a little tougher. Davis is an exciting fighter who might really be able to do some damage, but first he has to get some real competition.
– Paul Taylor and Paul Kelly as “Fight of the Night”? That’s the official word, but I don’t see it. It wasn’t a bad match, but it certainly wasn’t the best or most exciting one. It was fairly plodding, with a pace that slowed noticeably after the first few minutes. If I’m Wilson Gouveia or Jason Lambert, I’m a little pissed off when I hear that these two unintelligible Brits (that wasn’t just me, right? you couldn’t understand a word they said in the post-fight interview, could you?) got the bonus check for what looked like a mid-level encounter with little fireworks.
– The bizarre ending to the Hardonk-Robinson fight justified my confusion at why this bout was even scheduled, but at least it was mercifully short.
– James Lee seemed to be phoning it in against Alessio Sakara, and he paid the price. It was interesting the way Rogan kept remarking how calm Lee looked before the bout. Almost as if he didn’t care. After that performance, I have to say that I question whether Lee wants to be a f-ing fighter. Maybe it’s time for a Dana White pep talk.