Earlier today it was announced that this summer we will see a trilogy fight between reigning heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder. Fury is contractually obligated to give Wilder this rematch.
The real fight to make should be between Anthony Joshua and Fury to unify all the heavyweight belts, however, boxing is notoriously known for immediate rematch clauses in contracts and in all honesty it’s one of the problems with professional boxing and it has spilled over into the world of mixed martial arts, and that isn’t good for anybody.
Instead of a unification bout, we are going to be mistreated to the 3rd fight between 2 guys that honestly don’t need to fight again. The 1st fight was a draw, the 2nd fight Fury demolished Wilder. There are not too many pundits out there who believe Wilder will be able to get it done in the rematch, I side with the pundits.
Mixed martial arts isn’t quite as bad when it comes to immediate rematches, but they do happen and more often than not they are unnecessary.
T.J. Dillashaw knocked out Cody Garbrandt cold in round 2 of their 1st matchup for the UFC bantamweight title. Garbrandt was the champion at the time and was granted an immediate rematch. I found that to be off-putting because of the fact Garbrandt was in his 1st title defense and was unable to hold on to the belt. Getting knocked out clean should have been enough to allow Dillashaw to move on to another challenge, but it wasn’t.
In the rematch, Garbrandt was once again knocked out by Dillashaw. Proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that the rematch was unnecessary and was only given because the UFC was trying to push Garbrandt.
Before anybody gets their panties twisted yes, Dillashaw was later found to be guilty of doping after losing his belt to Henry Cejudo, but that doesn’t change the point. The rematch between Cody and T.J. was unnecessary and undeserved by Garbrandt.
Israel Adesanya is set to face Yoel Romero this Saturday night in the main event of UFC 248 for Adesanya’s Middleweight belt. Romero’s manager Abe Kawa of the prestigious First Round Management firm responding to somebody on Twitter today said that if Romero wins, rather than face anybody else they will be more than happy to give Israel an immediate rematch since Israel gave Romero this fight in the 1st place, even though Romero is riding a 2 fight losing streak, he was given this fight by Israel because Israel said nobody wants to fight this guy, I’ll fight him.
I truly understand the sentiment behind Kawa’s statement, he wants to return the favor that was given to his fighter, and I get that. If Romero does win, especially if he knocks out Adesanya early, (who by the way will actually be defending his belt for the 1st time), then what actual reasoning would warrant a rematch?
Anderson Silva was given an immediate rematch after losing to Chris Weidman. This instance of the immediate rematch being given I have no problem with. Silva was a champion who had been on an incredible run of 2,457 days and 10 successful defenses before getting knocked out by Weidman. His accolades and resume’ alone warranted that rematch.
We all saw what happened though, Silva lost the rematch. By the way, rematches typically are won by the fighter that won the 1st time.
Jose Aldo the longest-reigning and most successful featherweight champion in the history of the UFC lost his title to Conor McGregor in 14 seconds. The immediate or any rematch was not given to Aldo, who like Silva, was actually deserving of one. 14 seconds didn’t tell that story properly. We will never know what could have happened if the rematch was given because it wasn’t. We are so far removed from that, that it doesn’t even matter at this point, well except to one person Jose Aldo.
While I do believe that Aldo deserved the immediate rematch opportunity, the UFC decided it was better to keep the division moving forward.
Their plan, however, was not executed because McGregor never defended the belt and was later stripped of it because of his unwillingness to defend it. Causing a break in the lineage of the belt, and chaos in that division as they tried to sort through it. The rematch in this instance would have quelled all that drama, and therefore should have happened.
While I’ve only given a couple of examples of immediate rematches in mixed martial arts there are others that have happened and didn’t need to.
The immediate rematch holds up weight classes. Other fighters who are working to hopefully one day get their shot at becoming a world champion are left in limbo and forced to take fights that are unnecessary for them as far as title implications go because they have to make a living!
Case in point; number 3 ranked Curtis Blaydes, the UFC heavyweight who has done more than enough to earn a shot at reigning champion Stipe Miocic is sitting on the sidelines awaiting his opportunity at championship gold because the next heavyweight title fight will be between Miocic and Daniel Cormier. This will be a trilogy fight. DC won the 1st time, then went on to defend against an outmatched Derrick Lewis while Miocic sat on the sidelines and complained that he should get an immediate rematch against DC when he returns to the octagon, which he did and subsequently took the belt back.
Now while these 2 ( Miocic and Cormier ) are rumored to be dancing again for a 3rd time this summer, we will have a log jam at the top of the heavyweight division. Blaydes and Francis Ngannou both have legitimate claims to be the next to fight for the title. Who should actually be next isn’t all that clear because Francis beat Curtis twice, and Francis also lost in his one title opportunity against the current champ, meaning in theory Blaydes should be next.
Fighters may even lose their opportunity, or never even get one because of immediate rematches at the top of their division, and how is that right, or fair?
Rematches are bound to happen in combat sports. However, wouldn’t it make more sense to let the story grow and actually create buzz rather than just keep putting together the same fight over and over again?
Let 2 fighters that have fought before, fight other people. Especially the person that lost the 1st match up. The one that lost the 1st time should go back and do work, earn the opportunity again all while having a set target in mind down the road. It gives both fighters the opportunity to continue to evolve, and it gives the promotion a chance to actually promote the fight by creating a build-up to it.
The immediate rematch serves its purpose in the event of a draw, or a very controversial decision. If you get finished by knockout or submission, you should not get an immediate rematch.
The sport of boxing as we all know proceeded mixed martial arts. Mixed martial arts promoters have been fortunate to have boxing as somewhat of a template and a blueprint on how to promote mixed martial arts fights. Emulating the good things about the sport all while trying not to replicate the mistakes boxing has made.
The immediate rematch is definitely an example of something that need not be replicated in mixed martial arts except under special circumstances (i.e. Silva and Aldo) hopefully, mixed martial arts promoters get the memo.
Christopher James has been in the MMA industry for 15 years, Working as a ring announcer for promotions like the XFC, Island Fights, Combat Night and Fight Nights Global during his career. Chris’ love for the sport and the athletes that partake in it led him to writing and doing face to face interviews with the athletes he admired and respected. Chris isn’t conventional by any stretch of the imagination, he has his own style, and takes pride in not being a “cookie-cutter” member of the media. Unique and sometimes controversial takes are what he brings to the table, forcing folks to think a little differently about the world of MMA. He also has a love for music as he has been a dj for 25 years and his love for music gets brought to the MMA world when he gets his guests to sing on his weekly show Cage Side with Christopher James which can be seen Wednesday nights on FACEBOOK LIVE, and soon via podcast.