UFC 217 went down on Saturday night in Madison Square Garden and it was incredible. One monster fight after another, three champs losing their belts, capped off by GSP making his return after four years and beating Michael Bisping for the middleweight title. An amazing fight, an amazing story, and an amazing comeback. That guy is away from the sport for that long and he still comes back and does what he does? Impossible.
But you know how this business is and how the world is, just when you think you’ve seen the most amazing thing ever, along comes something else that tops that. And just when you thought you’d seen the fight of the year on Saturday night, along came Bengals-Jaguars, and more specifically A.J. Green v. Jalen Ramsey.
And I know what you’re thinking. Whatever, Rome. It’s a stupid football fight. I’ve seen a million of them. The receiver and the corner get locked up, there’s some grabbing, and some jawing after the whistle, and everyone acts like it was a big deal. Well, if that’s what you’re thinking, then I guarantee you haven’t seen this. Because I’ve never seen anything like this.
Let me set the stage. It’s late in the first half. Green and Ramsey have been jawing at each other for most of the game and it’s about to get real. Roll it.
If you haven’t seen the video, run, don’t walk to pull it up. Because that was an all-timer. Green put his hand on Ramsey’s shoulder and Ramsey shoved him to the ground. A little excessive, but not really that far out of the realm of normal post-play scuffling. And then AJG went GSP.
Hopped up, grabbed him with something close to a rear naked choke, pulled him down, and then started raining hammerfists down on Ramsey.
AJ GREEN PUT HIM IN THE GROUND!
I’ve never seen a receiver handle a defensive back like that. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anyone handle anyone like that. An absolutely incredible move. Flawless victory. The only thing missing was Joaquin’s music and Bruce Buffer declaring the winner.
And I know that everyone is going to say that this isn’t the A.J. Green they know. That this isn’t like him. I agree. Just like I can’t condone what Green did at all. There’s no place for that outside the octagon, but I’ve got to admit, I am kind of impressed. Again, I don’t condone it, but that was a hell of a takedown and then he got into the ground and pound with lightning speed.
As you can imagine, Ramsey’s teammate, Barry Church, wasn’t nearly as impressed with Green: “He snuck him to begin with, try to choke him out from behind. I mean, that’s just a coward move. Hey, they both got ejected, we went out there and finished the fight and took the W home, so they lost on both ends.” Calling it a “coward move” and then going scoreboard is pretty strong.
The Bengals, on the other hand, had their guy’s back. Adam Jones said, “Some bleep you need to keep on the field, and some bleep you don’t bring on the field regardless of what it is.” And added “I’m not going to get into verbatim what he said to A.J. and how everything happened, but he’ll get what he asked for. It all comes around. It always comes around. … Just watch you say and be respectful to people. You never know what happens. You never know who you’re going to play with. You never know who you’re going to see again. I’m going to leave that at that.”
Oh, and don’t for a second think that Ramsey doesn’t want to see Green again. He does. ASAP. Green was escorted off the field and according to reports, Ramsey was spotted trying to get to the visitor’s locker room for some payback, had to be restrained by security, and was reportedly heard yelling that he was going to find Green once security released him. Incredible.
So what happened? What made a guy like Green, who’s regarded as one of the calmer players in the league, snap like that. AJ said it was football.
Question is, is this the end of this? And based on those involved and those who weren’t, it sure as hell doesn’t sound like it.