The hoopla machine was in overdrive for this weekend’s UFC 111 event. It came equipped with a three-part “UFC Primetime” series, featured the temporary return of Octagon queen Rachelle Leah, countless ESPN interviews, and was headlined by Georges St-Pierre, the organization’s most marketed superstar and reigning welterweight king.
Unfortunately for all involved, the extravaganza failed to live up to the hype after GSP was unable to provide the spectacular ending he desperately wanted, and most fans expected him to post against an overmatched Dan Hardy.
“I was not that pleased about my performance,” St-Pierre said at the post-fight press conference, as he compared his efforts to a sprinter unable to top his best mark.
“I won, but I haven’t beat my performance of last time, so I’m not happy. I wanted to finish, have a clean win and for me, like this, it’s not clean.”
Although he has now posted convincing unanimous decision victories in three of his previous four outings, including his last two fights, it wasn’t as though the Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt wasn’t trying to finish Hardy. He caught hold of the Brit’s arm on two separate occasions, however wasn’t able to complete either submission attempt.
His inability to dispose of Hardy may have caused St-Pierre to leave New Jersey with an empty feeling, but he certainly wasn’t the only one. UFC president Dana White claimed his Twitter was getting blasted with complaints of undying boredom.
“I can tell you this, the fans were not happy with tonight’s fight,” White said of the much-hyped 170-pound title bout. “My Twitter was blowing up with a lot of negative stuff about the main event. People said, ‘If I wanted to watch wrestling, I’d go to the nearest college,’ and stuff like that.
“It was no secret that Georges St-Pierre was not going to stand up with Dan Hardy. This is mixed martial arts … when you show up to fight him you better have some takedown defense.”
Because of their aggressive marketing efforts, and the fact St-Pierre’s name is attached to it, the UFC is expecting huge pay-per-view numbers for their latest show. However, White understood why fans may have left the Prudential Center with a bad taste in their mouths and admitted that all their scraps can’t be gems.
“Not every fight on the card is going to be the greatest fight in the world,” said White. “It happens sometimes.”