Controversy dogs main event at UFC 169 between Urijah Faber and Renan Barao
Renan Barao (red gloves) fights Urijah Faber (blue gloves) during UFC 169 at Prudential Center on February 1, 2014. (JOE CAMPOREALE-USA TODAY SPORTS)
UFC 169, which took place from the Prudential Centre in New Jersey, was a nice appetizer before Super Bowl 48. The organization always likes to put on a big fight card ahead of the big game, and this time they were literally piggybacking the NFL.
In the main event, Urijah Faber (30-7) got another shot at a UFC title, something that has escaped his grasp for years. Faber, who was on a four-fight winning streak going into the title fight with UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao (32-1-1NC), was awarded the opportunity after longtime champ Dominic Cruz (19-1) was stripped of the title for inactivity due to injuries. Barao went from interim champ to the real deal in just under four minutes of work last Saturday night.
Barao staggered Faber with a right hand, followed it up with a left and then threw multiple hammer fists until referee Herb Dean stopped the bout. That finish led to controversy, as many people thought the fight was stopped too fast. Let’s not kid ourselves because Faber was getting beat up pretty badly. But there is a case to be made that the fight was stopped prematurely. UFC president Dana White concurred.
“You’ve heard me up here a million times talk about Herb Dean – I think he’s the best referee in the business,” White said immediately following the event. “He rarely ever makes mistakes, but he made a mistake tonight.”
Faber might have got his last shot at gold, but it’s hard to count the “California Kid” out. Faber is one of the best in the business, but unfortunately the “always a bridesmaid” tag could follow him for the rest of his career.
Also last week, UFC Canada announced all of its Canadian dates for 2014. A few weeks back I wrote that the UFC will be making a return to Rogers Arena on June 14 and, yes, all that was confirmed along with Montreal, Quebec City, Halifax and Toronto. It’s tough to say what kind of card the Vancouver show will get. The UFC likes to do it big for their July 4th show, so I’m not sure on how many big names will be available to compete. I do expect a big Canadian contingent and if I had it my way it seems like the perfect chance for the organization to welcome back local MMA veteran Kalib Starnes.