By: Jesse Donathan
The fallout from Sage Northcutt getting the brakes beat off him by Cosmo Alexandre still hasn’t subsided. “Northcutt’s ONE FC debut at ONE Championship: Enter the Dragon didn’t exactly go as planned,” writes author Lewis Mckeever in his May 25, 2019 bloodyelbow.com article titled, “Brendan Schaub questions Sage Northcutt’s future after ‘life-changing knockout’ loss in ONE FC debut.”
“It was a mistake for Sage Northcutt to sign with ONE Championship,” said the former UFC heavyweight Schaub. “You (expletive) the trajectory of his career,” according to Schaub of ONE Championships decision to match Northcutt up with Alexandre, a vastly more experienced kickboxer who shattered Northcutt’s face with just one punch.
Bloodyelbow.com would go on to write that according to Schaub, “I hate to say this because ONE Championship has been good to us, good to Mighty Mouse, and it’s obviously on the fighter and it’s up to him to navigate his way through the rankings of fighting, but you (expletive) him, ONE Championship.”
As BoxingInsider.com previously reported, Northcutt found success in the UFC’s 155-pound lightweight division, while having a less than perfect run in the UFC’s 170-pound welterweight division. So, Northcutt’s decision to fight in ONE Championship at 185-pounds was a perplexing one, especially against a veteran kickboxer like Cosmo Alexandre who laid waste to the young mixed martial arts prospect in just under 30-seconds without even breaking a sweat.
It was an ill-advised, ill-fated decision from Northcutt’s camp which could very well end up haunting the young star for years to come. And one, according to Northcutt’s coach Urijah Faber that wasn’t completely unforeseen.
“Against some advice, the fight was taken,” Faber told “The MMA Hour” host Luke Thomas. As MMAFighting.com’s Alexander K. Lee reported, Faber would tell Thomas that, “In retrospect, there were some warning signs maybe not to take this fight and like you said, it’s not like you go into a fight thinking you’re gonna get your face smashed.”
Lost in the sea of Monday morning quarterbacking, hindsight being 20/20 and the controversy surrounding ONE Championships lack of transparency in their weigh-in model is Cosmo Alexandre himself. On the tail end of a career that has the kickboxer thinking about retirement and the means to do so comfortably, Alexandre is now universally known as the guy who smashed “Super” Sage Northcutt’s face into a million pieces.
“When they brought a stretcher, I knew something serious had happened,” said Alexandre in a May 24, 2019 bloodyelbow.com article titled, “Cosmo Alexandre ‘sad’ about Sage Northcutt’s multiple fractures after KO win.”
According to bloodyelbow.com’s Lucas Rezende, Alexandre would recall the immediate aftermath of the fight with Northcutt stating, “When the fight was over and he got back up his face was already swollen, and that’s something unusual. I had a feeling that it wasn’t 100 percent.”
Alexandre went on to be quoted by Rezende as stating, “The next day I heard that he had a long surgery. I hate that, man.” Northcutt reportedly underwent a nine-hour surgery in the wake of the 29-second KO loss in the Singapore based promotion. According to the Brazilian stand-up specialist, “I’m doing my job there, to go in there and win. I know we can get hurt, but nothing that serious. I was sad because that’s his job and I don’t wish that to anyone.”
“I’ve fought everyone and won everything I could win in Muay Thai,” reflected Alexandre. “The major titles, I’ve fought and won them all.” Which underscores the curious nature of the matchup ONE Championship put together in pitting Northcutt, a talented but green striker just starting his journey in mixed martial arts against a crafty and seasoned veteran like Alexandre with over 85 professional kickboxing matches to his credit.
Northcutt not only found himself outmatched, but he was also outgunned, reportedly giving up some size to his Brazilian opponent according to coach Urijah Faber. The UFC hall of famer would go on to tell host Luke Thomas that fighters are still cutting weight in ONE Championship despite the promotions attempts to eliminate the practice by introducing a new weigh-in model and system, redefining the conventional weight classes under the umbrella of safety.
Interestingly, ONE Championship’s new, redefined welterweight division model alone spans 170.2 pounds thru 184.9 pounds. For comparison, the conventional 170-pound welterweight model most fight fans are accustomed to is widely used by the sports premiere mixed martial arts organization in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and is common throughout much of the mixed martial arts world.
ONE Championships welterweight division is approximately the equivalent of spanning the UFC’s welterweight and middleweight divisions, coincidentally exactly what we are talking about in the controversy surrounding Northcutt being led through the gates of the slaughter house to meet the executioner Cosmo Alexandre.
With ONE Championship enjoying the reputation as an exciting promotion delivering violent fights that the fans want to see, they are ultimately the clear winner here when former UFC stars like Northcutt and others are blasted into the upper stratosphere under the ONE Championship banner.
But with the promotions lack of transparency during the weigh-in process, yet justifying their redefining of the conventional weigh-in model and system under the guise of safety there is growing concern ONE Championship may need to return some of their safety merit badges.
Sage Northcutt is looking at a lengthy layoff after disturbing the bull and getting the horns. Having your face smashed into 30-pieces is no laughing matter. With even Northcutt’s own camp expressing regret over having taken the Alexandre fight it is hard to believe the matchmakers at ONE Championship didn’t see the ultimate end result coming from a mile away themselves. An organization advised and lead by knowledgeable and former mixed martial arts greats, ONE Championship isn’t blindly stumbling through the dark house in the middle of the night. They know exactly what they are doing.
Northcutt was sent to slaughter in order to help put ONE Championship on the map. A better UFC 155-pound lightweight than a UFC 170-pound welterweight, Northcutt had no business meeting a fighter like Cosmo Alexandre at 185-pounds at this stage in his career and he was predictably scalped as a result for his efforts.
Now, instead of being praised for their new weigh-in model and system, ONE is increasingly under scrutiny for stacking the deck in their favor. With Northcutt’s sacrifice to “The Just Bleed God” highlighting the fact that smaller, less experienced former UFC fighters are being toe tagged and bagged against larger, top tier ONE Championship based competition and the promotions lack of transparency surrounding its weigh-in results; more questions than answers are beginning to surface. We are talking about squash matches here for all intents and purposes.
In short, if you’re a big name signing to ONE Championship you can now consider yourself marked for death. Northcutt’s career may very well have been cut short by a variety of unfortunate circumstances to include ONE Championships match makers and Northcutt’s failure in taking sage advice from his own camp and team.
One can only hope Northcutt was compensated handsomely to agree to take a trip behind Cosmo Alexandre’s woodshed, because the only thing he discovered were the wonders of modern facial reconstructive surgery. Northcutt was fed to the wolves in a promotional war where ONE Championship sent a loud and clear message to the UFC that their former stars will be laid to waste in ONE Championship in a bid to show the world that there is a new sheriff in town.