Of Rape Jokes And Fighter Decline – Why Miguel Torres Only Hastened The Inevitable

The biggest story of the past couple days has been that of Miguel Torres dismissal from the UFC for something he wrote on Twitter. With UFC 140 on the horizon and the first big press conference for the second UFC on Fox show, Torres firing for writing that “If a rape van was called a surprise van more women wouldn’t mind going for rides in them. Everyone likes surprises” was a shock to many fans considering Forrest Griffin made an explicit joke on the same subject at the start of the Jerry Sandusky child rape scandal at Penn State and kept his job, as did Rashad Evans who explicitly mentioned it during some pre fight trash talk with Paterno apologist and Penn State Alum Phil Davis. Evans still has a job in the UFC, of course, and Griffin is still gainfully employed by Zuffa.

Miguel Torres, on the other hand, is now perhaps the best bantamweight fighter not under the Zuffa umbrella or under a Bellator contract. Torres on the other hand was an expendable fighter on his way down, not up or staying in position. He may have been ranked as a top 10 fighter but cutting someone of that talent doesn’t come easy. In the long run it probably would’ve happened once he couldn’t keep up with the level of competition, which wasn’t that far off.

While we can read a lot more into this than is there, the two underlying reasons many use to defend Torres seem hollow. It’s not the Fox deal, either, as Evans committed a historic blunder and probably took a well deserved brow beating from Zuffa management. Torres is a fighter on the downside of a career about to crash, and crash hard, if history follows.

Griffin and Evans aren’t. Far from it in fact.

Griffin and Evans having a historical importance to the company as two of the first “Ultimate Fighter” winners and former champions as well is an economic factor in keeping them. You can’t deny that; Evans is too valuable to cut and Griffin too popular, there is no doubting that, but exceptions can be made to any rule. Both fighters have years of being on top in front of them, albeit not as many as they had at the start of their careers. Griffin can still potentially be a top tier fighter in the light heavyweight division and has enough size to potentially make a run at heavyweight. Evans is the second best light heavyweight in the world right now behind Jon Jones. Both are more than capable of winning the title back, too, as Griffin’s ability to brawl his way into a fight and Evans ability to wrestle his way into it make them both dangerous if flawed contenders for a variety of reasons.

Torres isn’t.

His relatively recent descent from a top pound for pound fighter in the WEC to fringe bantamweight contender in recent years makes him expendable. He may have been a great fighter but lower weight fighters lose their ability to remain on top much faster than the bigger fighters; Jens Pulver is the best example of this and Torres is following “Little Evil” in descending rapidly in both stature and ability. He’s a fan favorite and a terrific commentator, one of the few UFC fighters to regularly host ESPN’s MMA Live, but Torres decline from king of the division to another fighter on his way down and out made him expendable.

There comes a point in time when every fighter starts losing to guys that were winnable fights a short time before. Joe Lauzon knocking Pulver out was an upset when it happened but should’ve. Losing to Demetrious Johnson earlier this year at UFC 130, someone Torres would’ve demolished 12-15 months earlier, is a pattern of fights starting to develop for him the same way it happened to Jens Pulver. Two losses to Brian Bowles and Joseph Benavidez seemed fluky at the time in the same way Lauzon’s win over Pulver was; it should be a sign that Torres is on his way down and out. In a year a fighter like Antonio Banuelos is going to finish “Angel” and we’d think of it as an upset. And the year after, it’ll be a shock but not a surprise. And the year after, it’ll be the norm. That’s where Pulver is now and where Torres will be sooner than later.

In reality Torres is on his way out of the sport and things like rape jokes, while funny to some, put you closer to the cold wasteland that is the regional fighting circuit than being a good citizen.

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