Sunday, July 14, 2013

Grappler's Quest/UFC 162/WSOP weekend wrapup

It's been a pretty interesting last 10 days or so for this now relatively boring corporate warrior. In those 10 days I:
  • Cut 11 lbs to compete in Grappler's Quest at the UFC Fan Expo
  • Medalled (silver) in the no-gi of said Grappler's Quest
  • Was eliminated in the first round of the gi of said Grappler's Quest after blowing a big lead
  • Watched UFC 162 with half the Ultimate Gaming company over at my apartment
  • Played, and busted, from the main event.

Weight cut/Grappler's Quest

The weight cut was terrible. Weigh-ins were July 4, so while everyone in this country was enjoying hot dogs and apple pies, I'd gone 24 hours without water and was doing fun things like taking 10-minute baths in scalding hot water and going outside in the 115-degree sun wearing plastics and a terrycloth bathrobe. I felt gross and weak and sick by the time fireworks rolled around. Much thanks to Robyn because I certainly wouldn't have made it without her.

Nevertheless by Friday I felt totally recovered. I won by points in overtime in the semifinals and then lost in the finals by advantages. The win was right there for me, but I simply wasn't aggressive enough. I took a private lesson with my jiujitsu coach Sim Go on how to pass more aggressively and I feel if we rematched now I would win. But oh well, lesson learned.

The next day I went in determined to be more aggressive, and it worked...for a while. I got out to a quick 5-0 lead and was threatening my second pass of the match with a minute left when I foolishly got caught in an armbar. I know what I did wrong now -- I should have controlled the head as well as the feet while passing, then moved to checking the hip.

In any case, no excuses: I lost because I haven't been dedicated and haven't been spending enough time on the mat. I guess that's an inevitable consequence of being really busy, but I really expected to win these divisions and I'm still very disappointed I didn't.

WSOP Main Event

Of course, nothing soothes the ego pounding of losing at an amateur grappling competition like potentially winning $8 million in the biggest money competition in the world, so the day after that, I jumped into 1B of the main event. I had a good but not great table; good enough that the 69k I finished with the end of the day was mostly the result of other people's mistakes.

Day 2B was a disaster though. I played a 115k pot where my opponent was absolutely crushed. At 250/500 and only 3100 chips in the middle, Villain managed to blast off his >55k stack with 88 on a 543 flop. I had 33 and I wasn't even sure I was ahead when I stacked off, and this guy puts it in with 88. Well, I guess that's why you play the main. Needless to say, I did not win this pot, and busted about an hour later.

The WSOP was obviously tremendously disappointing this year. Ten small cashes might be frustrating, but 0 cashes is worse. Who'd have thought.

UFC 162

Obviously would be remiss if I didn't talk about one of the most talked about fights in the history of the sport. Like everyone else, my mouth was agape when Chris Weidman cracked Anderson Silva with a big left hook and hammered home the coffin nails with some nasty ground-and-pound to make the former champ's eyes roll back in his head.

First of all, I'll just say that if you thought this was a work, you're a moron. The UFC has so much to lose from a worked fight. If you thought Anderson was paid to lose by someone outside the UFC, you're just as dumb because I can't imagine who would pay Anderson enough to harm his sponsorship agreements with juggernauts like Nike and Burger King. Finally there's the obvious: if for some reason Silva intentionally were going to lose, I'm pretty sure tapping to the kneebar/heelhook combo Weidman put him through in the first round would be better than being crushed and concussed by a 210 pound professional fighter. Just sayin'.

So with that bit of nonsense out of the way, the next talking point is generally going to be the question "if Silva didn't dick around, would he have won?" Well the great news is, we're going to find out on December 28! That's going to be a mega-card which approaches a million PPVs, the first time we've talked about those kind of numbers in a fight that didn't involve Brock Lesnar or Georges St-Pierre.

To answer the question - who knows? I think it's important to remember the showboating, taunting etc is part and parcel of Anderson Silva's game. He wants you to come at him aggressively with strikes. Guys who come at him aggressively with strikes usually get plunked, plain and simple. And in taunting Weidman, he actually did get the latter off his takedown game.  To say "would Silva have won if he didn't drop his hands" is like asking whether elite poker pros would make more money if they didn't screw around with small suited 2-gappers. Elite poker pros are elite because they know when and how to play those small suited 2-gappers, not in spite of it.

But -- and this is a huge but -- it's important to remember that Silva has done this before, and Weidman was the only one to make him pay. Silva did this hands down, chin up thing with Forrest Griffin, Stephan Bonnar, Demian Maia and others, and no one made him pay for it. Weidman's better than all of those guys, plus at 38, Anderson is an aging fighter. Both his reflexes and chin simply can't be as good as they were before. I think Anderson should still be favoured in a rematch, but as I tweeted this morning, I think the line (currently -175/+145) will probably get very close to even at fight time. My advise is you should bet Weidman now if you want him, and wait to fight night to bet Silva if you want him.

That's it for now -- things are slightly less insane in the Ultimate Poker world these days, so hopefully I'll update more frequently. Hope you guys had better WSOP than I did! (Not exactly setting the bar high, I know.)


  1. Terrence, what do you think is the peak age of a boxer vs. an MMA fighter? What about the ideal retirement age?

    1. Evidence suggests that it's career length more than actual age that is the larger factor. See for example the recent article here: