A mixed martial arts blog about UFC, Bellator and other MMA promotions and fighters.
Montreal, the UFC career-killing city
Josh Koscheck prefers his second shot at Georges St-Pierre's UFC welterweight take place anywhere but Montreal.
Understandable seeing how in the champ's hometown, rock stars look at GSP and think, "Man, that guy's a rock star."
But maybe there's something else about Montreal, something beyond just being at the worshiping altar to GSP.
Maybe Montreal is a career-killing city. The UFC has brought its traveling road show to the Bell Centre three straight years - UFC 83 in April 2008, UFC 97 in April 2009 and UFC 113 last Saturday. The arena is fantastic, the city is beautiful and exciting, and the fans are alive, passionate and knowledgeable.
But each show in Montreal has cost at least three fighters their careers in the UFC. Here's the breakdown:
UFC 113: May 8, 2010
Paul Daley: A promising welterweight star with raw power from the UK, Daley (above, foreground) got fired during the post-fight news conference, albeit not without cause. After the final bell rang in his eliminator bout against Koscheck, Daley rose to his feet, stalked Koscheck and sucker-punched him. "There's no excuse for that," UFC president Dana White said after the fight. "These guys are professional athletes. You don't ever hit a guy blatantly like that after the bell. I don't care if he fights in every show all over the world, and becomes the best, and everybody thinks he's the pound-for-pound best in the world. He will never fight in the UFC ever again. Done."
The win gave Koscheck his second title shot and the chance to coach against GSP on Season 12 of "The Ultimate Fighter" (premiering this September).
Kimbo Slice: He put up an uneventful fight against Matt Mitrione, losing by a second-round TKO. Given his history as a street fighter and YouTube heavyweight champion, Slice's MMA career has always been subject to much criticism. White also said he'd let Slice lose at the post-fight presser, though he sounded less happy about it than expected.
Yoshiyuki Yoshida: He entered the UFC in 2008 and went 2-3. Koscheck smushed his face, followed by Anthony Johnson. His loss to Mike Guymon by unanimous decision sealed his fate. When you're on the receiving end of multiple knockout of the year candidates, don't make any big investments.
UFC 97: April 18, 2009
Chuck Liddell: Yes, "The Iceman" is returning to the Octagon this July at UFC 115 in Vancouver, but on April 18, 2009, after 11 years in the UFC, his career was considered done. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua knocked out Liddell in the first round, his fourth loss in his last five fights. Liddell, the loser of a fight, was the last person to leave the Octagon that night as Montreal fans serenaded him with emotional support and thank yous for an impressive career and being MMA's first mainstream star. White was adamant that Liddell's career was finished that night. Although he never specifically said the words, Liddell's post-fight comments strongly suggested he would retire.
David Bielkheden: A rear naked choke from Toronto's Mark Bocek was Bielkheden's second loss in three UFC fights. Not the way for prelim fighters to sustain a career.
Ryo Chonan: One of four men in this world who can tell their grandchildren they beat Anderson Silva (in Pride), Chonan was 1-3 in the UFC, all four bouts going the distance. His loss to TJ Grant sent Chonan back to Japan.
UFC 83: April 19, 2008
Travis Lutter: He went 1-2 in his second stint with the UFC, losing to Silva and Rich Franklin back-to-back. Now he's fighting on the undercard of Moosin MMA's May 21 card in Massachusetts featuring Tim Sylvia against strongman champ Mariusz Pudzianowski.
Kalib Starnes: The British Columbian was 2-2 heading into UFC 83, then lost a decision to Nate Quarry. Seven months later, he was fighting in a Destiny MMA show. And his UFC bout was on the pay-per-view card.
Charles McCarthy: A "TUF" Season 4 veteran, McCarthy lost by TKO due to an arm injury against Michael Bisping and announced his retirement five days later.
Kuniyoshi Hironaka: TKO losses to Thiago Alves and Jonathan Goulet sent Hironaka back to Japan's Dream promotion.
This is not to suggest that if Koscheck were to lose a title shot against GSP in Montreal, he'd get whacked from the UFC's roster. You don't go from title shot to the want ads in one night. Usually, that is. But if you're a UFC fighter, try to schedule your next bout for the card before or after the next Montreal bout.