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“Super” Sage Northcutt’s Career in Question after Devastating ONE Championship Loss
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.
Cosmo Alexandre Smashed Former UFC Fighter Sage Northcutt’s Face into ‘30-Pieces,’ says Coach
By: Jesse Donathan
A predator versus prey scenario unfolded before our very eyes at “ONE Championship 96: Enter the Dragon” last Friday, May 17th, 2019. Former UFC Fighter Sage Northcutt had no chance as he was violently knocked out by the veteran Muay Thai kickboxing master Cosmo Alexandre in under a minute. In a May 20, 2019 MMAFighting.com article titled, “Urijah Faber: Sage Northcutt’s cheek was ‘splintered’ into 30 pieces’ in ONE debut,” author Alexander K. Lee writes that Northcutt’s coach, Urijah Faber, described Sage’s opponent, Cosmo Alexandre, as manhunting Northcutt in the ring. Speaking to “The MMA Hour” host Luke Thomas, Faber went on to describe exactly how Northcutt was walked down by the crafty veteran Muay Thai kickboxer.
“Right off the bat, (Cosmo) did like a couple stutter steps, switch-step fakes to kind of corral Sage in. Sage went one way and then the other way, first time in a ring, and literally gets manhunted with the nastiest punch and crushes his whole face.”
“Cosmo who’s an amazing kickboxer and a big, strong guy, came out and pressed the action right off the bat,” said Faber.
While hindsight is 20/20, and there will always be those claiming Urijah is crying over spilt milk there is a candidness and honesty to Faber’s reflection of went wrong for Sage Northcutt that leads one to believe there may be more to what he is saying than just highlighting his favorite passages out of the big book of excuses.
“In regards to any potential issues with weight, Faber mentioned that it’s possible Northcutt (who competed at lightweight and welterweight in the UFC before meeting Alexandre at 185 pounds) was giving up some size despite ONE’s strict weight-cutting policies,” writes Lee.
According to MMAFighting.com, Northcutt’s coach told “The MMA Hour” that he, “talked to multiple guys there that were cutting weight and it is what it is.”
“ONE Championship’s weight classes are unlike any other martial arts organization in the world,” declares ONE Championships website onefc.com. The promotions website goes on to state that, “ONE leads the global martial arts industry by banning weight-cutting by dehydration, choosing instead to implement a revolutionary system that ensures athletes are fully hydrated, fit, and healthy ahead of their bouts.”
If Urijah Faber is correct, it sounds like he believes some shenanigans were amidst. As BoxingInsider.com previously reported, it was a questionable decision to have Northcutt fighting at 185-pounds to begin with given his previous performances at 170-pounds. According to MMAFighting.com, in retrospect coach Urijah Faber, “wondered if his team should have counseled him to hold off on making his ONE debut until the circumstances were more favorable.”
MMAfighting.com’s Alexander K. Lee would go on to write that coach Faber told “The MMA Hour” host Luke Thomas that, “… against some advice, the fight was taken, not that we don’t believe in Sage absolutely, in the future I’d like to see him at 170 pounds and I’d like to see him at least be able to follow through with an entire camp or at least more than he was able to.”
As defined on ONE Championship’s website, their welterweight division is contested at 77.2 kilograms-83.9 kilograms. (Or approximately 170.2 pounds to 184.95 pounds). Making it a completely redefined welterweight model from that of the conventional 170-pound welterweight system most fans are accustomed too.
If coach Faber is correct, and fighters are still cutting weight despite ONE Championship’s claim’s, ONE’s newly redefined welterweight division spanning nearly 15-pounds could potentially see fighters weighing much more than 185-pounds once the referee gives his final instructions.
The headlines across the online world read, “Former UFC fighters are being beat up in ONE Championship.” With Northcutt and other UFC star’s turbulent debuts in ONE Championship, the Singapore based promotion is enjoying a surge in popularity and reputation as being a tough organization to compete and succeed in. The organization has been heralded for introducing a new system designed to address the problem of weight cutting and dehydration of athletes in combat sports.
Under the umbrella of safety, the organization has led the way for change, but according to MMAFighting.com there is a curious lack of transparency within ONE Championships weigh-in model.
According to author Alexander K. Lee, “ONE does not make their weigh-in results public and the lack of transparency raised the question of whether or not Alexandre had an advantage in Faber’s eyes.”
With ONE justifying their new weight class model under the guise of safety, yet maintaining a lack of transparency in their weigh-in results; there is room for scrutiny here and it seems like bad form to say the very least. And with claims not only are fighters still cutting weight, but that larger, experienced fighters are being pitted against smaller, less experienced former UFC star’s ONE Championship is going to have to iron out some of the wrinkles still lingering in its curtains.
Let’s not beat around the bush here, Sage Northcutt was sacrificed at the alter of the “Just Bleed God.” A fighter who enjoyed success in the UFC’s 155-pound lightweight division, but who had his struggles in the UFC’s 170-pound welterweight division competed, at apparently against the advice of others according to his coach, at 185-pounds in ONE Championship against by all reports a larger, more experienced kickboxer in Cosmo Alexandre who shattered Northcutt’s face into 30-pieces with just one punch. Reportedly requiring a nine-hour surgery to repair the fighters broken orbital bone and who will no doubt be out of commission for some time to come as the recovery process takes its course.
MMAFighting.com would go on to report on coach Faber’s interview with Luke Thomas, that according to Faber, “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.”
Though according to a March 16, 2019 MMAfighting.com article titled, “Molly McCann to undergo surgery for broken orbital after UFC London win over Priscila Cachoeira,” author Shaun Al-Shatti writes, “McCann (8-2) is scheduled to undergo surgery Sunday morning for the grisly broken orbital bone she suffered midway through her bout against Priscila Cachoeira on Saturday night.”
And more recently, according to a May 12, 2019 Washington Post article titled, “After scary KO, a former UFC champion hints she might be ready to walk away,” author Des Bieler writes that former UFC strawweight champion Rose Namajunas was lucky to escape her fight against Jessica Andrade without serious injury. According to Bieler, “Namajunas’s awkward landing had some observers — including other MMA fighters — concerned that she might have broken her neck.”
Highlighting the fact fighters should be prepared for just about anything when they step into the ring or cage, including death or serious injury. The possibilities of which can be greatly amplified by convenient, selective matchmaking, poor guidance or an unwillingness of fighters to listen to their team or coach. There is a trail of broken faces and shattered dreams in the world of combat sports that stretches back for generation’s and it doesn’t look like the machine is in danger of slowing down anytime soon either.
Former UFC Fighter Sage Northcutt Flatlined at ONE Championship 96: Enter the Dragon
By: Jesse Donathan
Former UFC prospect “Super” Sage Northcutt was knocked out cold in his ONE Championship debut Friday, May 17th, 2019 against Cosmo Alexandre. A fighter who started his career in the UFC’s 155-pound lightweight division in 2015, Northcutt finished his tenure with the world’s premiere mixed martial arts promotion at 170 pounds in the UFC’s welterweight division. Northcutt competed against Alexander in ONE Championships welterweight division, which according to the promotion’s website is contested at 77.2 kilograms to 83.9 kilograms.
Dusting off the trusty calculator, that’s 170.226 pounds to 184.9995 when using a rounded up 2.205 pounds to 1-kilogram calculation. Let that information sink in for a moment; ONE Championship’s welterweight division is not the same welterweight division mixed martial arts fans are accustomed to dealing with in the UFC. According to MMAFighting.com’s Guilherme Cruz, the bout between Sage Northcutt and Cosmo Alexandre was contested at 185 pounds.
“Take one glance at Sage Northcutt’s record and an obvious trend jumps out about his UFC run,” writes MMAfighting.com’s Shaun Al-Shatti in his July 13, 2018 article titled, “After ‘constantly under-eating’ and fighting ‘cloudy’ at 155, Sage Northcutt begins new welterweight journey at UFC Boise.” According to Al-Shatti, “Over the course of three years in the promotion, the exceedingly polite Texan has racked a perfect 5-0 fighting at lightweight, but a less-than-stellar 0-2 resume competing at 170 pounds.”
With Northcutt fairing worse during his run in the UFC’s 170-pound welterweight division than his tenure at lightweight, one might wonder why anyone thought it was a good idea for Northcutt to compete at 185-pounds?
According to a May 17, 2019 social media posting from MMA analyst Luke Thomas, “Some are arguing there’s a size discrepancy. I have no idea if that’s true because there’s virtually no transparency in ONE’s weigh-in system.”
So here is what we do know, according to the promotion’s website onefc.com, “ONE Championship’s weight classes are unlike any other martial arts organization in the world.”
A fact any potential fighters looking to sign with ONE Championship need to fully understand before signing on the dotted line. According to ONE Championship, “The new program, which is the first of its kind for combat sports, is focused on athlete safety by introducing “walking-weight” competition via multiple weigh-ins and tests before and during fight week, including three hours before an event begins.”
According to a July 31, 2014 bleacherreport.com article titled, “The Beaten Path: Cosmo Alexandre Moves Away from Blackzilians, Up to 170 Pounds,” author Scott Harris writes, “Alexandre said he walks around at about 180, so a cut to 170 instead of 155 makes sense.” And Northcutt’s walking-weight? According to a June 24, 2018 mymmanews.com article titled, “Sage Northcutt Explains Decision to Return to Welterweight,” Northcutt walks around at 185-190.
As far as height is concerned, Northcutt is listed at an even 6-feet and Alexandre at 6’2”. The idea that there was a significant size discrepancy doesn’t seem to hold up to analysis once the numbers begin to be put into perspective. Though it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume both Northcutt and Alexandre have put on weight since these numbers were initially reported. So, what went wrong for Northcutt?
According to the bleacherreport.com, Alexandre is a, “Muay Thai Miyagi, with multiple world titles and 19 knockouts on his 42-14 resume.” According to Harris, Alexandre has trained among some of the best in the business, including a tenure with the well-known Blackzillians in Florida, a training camp which has counted the likes of former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans, former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, the titan Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, Alistair Overeem and others among its ranks.
So, it should come to nobody as a surprise that Sage Northcutt, at just 23 years old, with an 11-3 mixed martial arts record against mid-tier competition at best in the UFC was knocked unconscious by the veteran professional fighter. Though Alexandre himself only has an 8-1 professional mixed martial arts record, he is the vastly more experienced fighter and the outcome was not unforeseeable to those who looked at page two of the fighter scouting report.
On May 18, 2019 ESPN MMA analyst Ariel Helwani reported on Twitter that, “Sage Northcutt just posted on IG that he came out of a nine-hour surgery. Suffered 8 fractures in his face as a result of that KO loss yesterday.”
Sage Northcutt was fed to the lions in short, the young mixed martial arts prospect faced the toughest opponent of his career thus far and he got knocked unconscious as a result. In a sport where there are generally only two outcomes, victory or defeat, one must be prepared for the even worst. Unfortunately for Northcutt, having his face fractured is an outcome that must be taken into consideration before entering the arena and these kinds of losses only serve as learning tools for the future. The good news is Northcutt can learn a lot from this fight and go back to the drawing board in learning how to deal with fighters walking him down, looking for the one-shot kill, sniper like finish.
With ONE Championship redefining todays conventional weight class system, we can fully expect more big-name fighters to fall in ONE Championship as the new, unconventional weight classes all but guarantee more interesting matchup’s and defeats in the future. A fact exemplified by former UFC 155-pound lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez getting starched in his ONE Championship debut as well.
According to an April 2, 2019 bloodyelbow.com article titled, “Eddie Alvarez: Timofey Nastyukhin’s punch ‘instantly blinded me and split both eyelids in half’,” author Zane Simon writes that within minutes of Alvarez’s debut in the promotion he, “was being picked up off the canvas, having been handed one of the worst losses of his career, against the relatively unheralded Russian, Timofey Nastyukhin.”
ONE Championship is in the business of promotion, and as such any high-profile signings to the Singapore based promotion can expect the company to make the most of their investment. ONE Championship is proving they are here to give the fans what they want, and god bless them, that is exactly what they are doing. In a market dominated by the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the worlds premiere mixed martial arts organization, its going to take something special to compete and thus far it looks like ONE Championship is here to win.