Last night, the UFC 169 main event of Renan Barao and Urijah Faber ended in controversy as Barao floored Faber at about the 3:30 mark of the first round and referee Herb Dean stepped in to stop the fight. Dean is widely considered one of the top referees in the game (if not the top referee), but the stoppage left a bad taste in Faber’s mouth and was possibly a bit early for a title fight. It is a stoppage that has far reaching implications for both men. Let’s take a look.
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Barao was set for a showdown with Champion Dominick Cruz, until a Cruz injury derailed that match and Faber stepped in. With this win, Barao settles the title picture at Bantamweight – he is no longer just interim Champion, he is the champ. Go get yourself some sponsors, Renan!
Because thee is no one else left in the division who is ready for Barao right now. His most likely move will be a move to 145 lbs, especially if that weight class is vacated by teammate Jose Aldo.
For Faber, things are more complicated. You have to feel for the guy, he has given his all many times and left it in the ring, and this last match up certainly leaves you feeling he had more to give. But….
This was his fifth attempt at winning UFC gold, and for the fifth time he is walking away without the title. He is popular and he makes good money. The UFC seems to treat the guys that are box office draws a bit different, so Faber is likely to be around as long as he wants to be.
Hopefully Faber walks away and retires. A sixth title shot is unlikely to happen so there will be no going out on top for him. He can continue to fight and draw paychecks but he should consider walking away now. He seems like a smart man, and a guy who hopefully has been doing what he said he was doing and diversifying into other aspects of the business (teaching, opening an academy, perhaps commentary) and doesn’t need the money.
He wasn’t able to win the championship in his prime, he should not drag out his career and risk his faculties by thinking he can win it in the twilight of his career.