10.23.2008

Junie's 15 Minutes (And My Thoughts on BJJ black belt testing)



Well, Junie got another shot at his 15 minutes of fame last night. What ultimately happened? He got his 15 minutes....sure....but fame? Not so much. The match lasted longer than he said it would, he neglected to finish Roli like he said he would, and was clearly gassed at the end of the fight. Not the strongest performance we've seen so far.

A few more weeks.

With a decision win over Delgado last night, that’s what Junie guaranteed himself – at least a few more weeks on the show.

Check after the jump for my thoughts on the episode and on bjj black belt testing (but be warned, I'm definitely not an expert on the latter).



First – the pre-fight shenanigans. For the record, I’m still confused on where/how Delgado got his black belt; I know he posted a video on his blog on MMAWeekly, but that video still doesn’t answer any of my questions. Incidentally, it’s titled “Roli Delgado black belt testing 2/2”, which looked like Delgado on the bad end of an MMA fight before he caught the guy with a weak upkick....cut to him getting his black belt. Wtf? Today, I located part one from a post on Sherdog. You can check it out here.

Let me say this – had I not seen the title of the video, I don't know that I would've guessed it was a black belt testing. (But that could obviously be due to my general lack of knowledge when it comes to many bjj issues.) I didn't see Roli throw any punches, so I would assume the message he’s trying to get across is that his testing was to beat these fighters who were using an MMA style (with gloves) with only bjj techniques (and no gloves). Then he gets his black belt.

However, I still question the validity of that as a BJJ black belt test. Now, “BJJDenver” on here asked me what my impression was of a BJJ black belt test. Although I meant to message him about that, I’ll throw it out there now, and Denver, feel free to comment in reply or send me a message.

I’ll again state that I’ve never taken a bjj class, and of the few bjj black belts I’ve personally known, I’ve never had the chance to ask them about the circumstances behind them receiving their black belts (although I don’t think the topic has ever come up in a normal conversation).

Regardless, the impression I’ve gotten from info I’ve picked up here and there is that there is not a strict uniform system to awarding bjj belts like you would have with karate, where you learn X number of moves then you get promoted. Instead, it’s more a discretionary practice that also draws on a student’s experience in practice and competition in addition to the learning of techniques.

I’m sure there is a particular skill set that one must possess to be considered for a black belt, but I’ve always gotten the impression that the actual awarding of the black belt came after recognition from the coach that the student was ready, and/or after a great personal achievement in the use/practice of bjj (i.e. Frank Mir getting his black belt after breaking Tim Sylvia’s arm).

In that way, I think bjj is superior to many belt/ranking systems in traditional martial arts, because the ability to memorize a certain number of moves doesn’t necessarily mean you actually have an understanding of those moves. With bjj, it appears to me that the coach must recognize that the student is ready, and such a state can be proved by things other than the learning of techniques, but also things like successful application of the techniques, being able to teach them to others, demonstrating a certain attitude about the sport, etc. (Denver, let me know if I’m way off here.)

A number of members of the TUF cast have stated in their post-episode blogs that it took a while for Delgado to explain himself, and if you actually have a black belt, it shouldn’t take you an hour to explain who it’s under. I do agree with that. I understand there are internal politics with any organization, and there are a lot of people out there training in bjj, but the longer you’d take to explain something like that, the worse it sounds to me.

I understand that this gauntlet could have been part of a black belt test, but again, I'll leave it to the people who have actually trained in bjj to give me their opinion.

Moving on….

So Junie rolls up to the fight announcement with a black belt on which he’s written “McDojo BJJ”, which he then proceeds to throw at Delgado and then spit on it. Classy, Junie. Really classy.

Then we see that Junie is having problems making weight after Mir proclaimed that Junie was already lower than he was when he came on the show, so he wouldn’t have a problem. Junie lost the two pounds, though, and we once again see him doing a great job of repping Kentucky when he stated that Kentucky was the capitol of inbreeding. Again…classy, Junie. Really classy. But of course, the TUF editors did a great job of giving us no clue on how the discussion got to that point – it was just Junie talking about inbreeding. But frankly, I don't think setting up the context would have made it sound much better.

Then we have the fight.

As many of you know, Junie posts a weekly blog on UFC.com. You can check out this week's entry here. In it, Junie quickly admits he was gassed by the end of the fight.....and even before he left the locker room.

So when did I know my cardio wasn’t there? After the warm-ups. I hit pads in the back, and I was like #$%$, I’m gassed. That’s why I was trying to keep the pace of the fight a little slower.

Slow or not, it wasn't hard to see that Junie got more in his element in the second round, but he kept failing to follow up when he had the chance. I do think it was smart he stayed off the ground; it showed that even with a potentially questionable black belt, Delgado had enough bjj skills to worry Junie.

I wasn't extremely happy with Junie's performance, but I think it's clear he realized his fight prep was almost worthless. He gassed early, didn't execute a good gameplan (or any gameplan except to win), ate like crap, had a hard time making weight, and so on and so on. Ideally, this would make Junie realize that he needs to change things up and get more serious about the opportunity he has on TUF.

Do I think this will stop him from getting drunk and breaking something on the next episode in his post-victory celebration? Absolutely not.

Do I think this will make him take stock of what he's doing and maybe shape up a little bit? Hopefully.

Post-fight, I think it was respectful that Junie apologized to Nogueira, although I'm not entirely sure Nogueira understood everything he said. What will be more relevant, though, is how he handles himself in future episodes. With Junie, as usual, there's no telling what will happen.

Junie has done interviews with Cage Potato and MMA Junkie this week. Check them out here and here, respectively. (I'm sure all of you are furiously clicking away.)

I think that the most telling thing in the two interviews was from Junkie:

Don't expect Browning to tone it down. He's a step closer to a shot at a coveted UFC contract, one he expects to win his way.

"It's going to be the same Junie for the whole season," Browning said. "If [fans] are turning in to watch all the crazy [expletive], tell them to keep watching. They'll be entertained. I'll put it to you that way."


So in case you missed the memo that Junie is the head of the crazy [expletive] committee, you're now on notice. I don't think he'll be giving up the position any time soon, and I don't think people will stop watching any time soon.

-PreView

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