If you have a question of your own for a future mailbag column, hit me up @BenFowlkesMMA. Until then, let's all revel in the wonderfully inquisitive nature of some of my other Twitter friends. Who's first?
@johnkwon89 what's your thought on Shogun's long lay off. He looks pretty fat now. Do you think he'll deal well with five round return?
Pretty fat? Are you trying to give the guy a complex or something? Okay, so he's been laid up after knee surgery, maybe eating a few too many pizza rolls while watching back-to-back episodes of "Law & Order" on the couch every afternoon, but what do you expect? He's in recovery. Plus, that show is great for helping him improve his English.
But you do bring up a legitimate point about his conditioning. We all saw how terrible he looked the last time he tried to come back too soon after knee surgery, and now he seems to be feeling the pressure to get back in the cage before the UFC creates another one of those annoying interim belts. I think that would be a colossal mistake, and hopefully there's someone close to Rua who can tell him as much.
Let the UFC create a phony belt if that's what it takes to get the time in the gym you need. Regaining your timing, dealing with ring rust, that's enough of a headache when you're in fighting shape. If you're in Lennie Briscoe/pizza roll shape, it's a recipe for a beatdown.
@MaxFlabber Hey Ben, are you gonna check out the KSW fights in Poland this weekend? Butterbean's fighting, right?
I'd like to tell you that I have too much dignity or too little time to sit down and watch Butterbean fight Mariusz Pudzianowski in one of the most obviously contrived "grudge matches" in the history of combat sports. But sadly, neither is true. Once that fight shows up on the internet somewhere I'm sure I'll sit down with a cup of coffee and some Xanax and watch it. Will I hate myself for it? Probably a little bit, yeah. But I'm used to that.
@jpcampbell710 Do you think fight contracts should be 3 tiered with base pay, smaller win amount & a larger amount to finish? & do you think that would up the sense of urgency to finish fights?
On the surface, it sounds like a brilliant idea. But the unstated assumption here is that finishing a fight is necessarily a better or more desired outcome than letting it go to the judges. For fighters that may be true, since you never know what Cecil Peoples might have been looking at during your fight and there's always a chance the judges will completely screw it up. But for fans I'm not so sure it works the same way.
For instance, Forrest Griffin-Stephan Bonnar I was a legendary fight and it went to a decision. Chuck Liddell-Wanderlei Silva is another good example, as is Leonard Garcia-Chan Sung Jung. Even recently, at Wednesday night's UFC Fight Night, the Fight of the Night bonus-winner was a three-rounder between Jared Hamman and Kyle Kingsbury that went to the scorecards. And the last fight Hamman was in, another FotN against Rodney Wallace, that also went the distance.
My point is, I don't think we need to see a fight finished in order to enjoy it. I think we just need to see two competitors fighting like they're both trying to finish the fight. Maybe your incentive idea could get more people to fight that way, but my guess is the guys who know their best chance for a win is in the judges' hands won't risk a loss and all the long-term ramifications that come with it for a little more money in their pocket right now. The best solution is for fans and promoters and sponsors to reward exciting fights. Not just finished ones.
@cthulhukitten how do you see Paul Daley influencing the Strikeforce welterweight division?
First of all, I can't believe it's taken this long for me to get a Twitter question from a creepy mythological monster kitten. At least the wait's over now.
But in answer to your question, in the short term I think he'll have just the impact Strikeforce is looking for. He's got a big name, a big mouth, and whether fans love him or hate him, they definitely seem to care about him. That's all good news. But do I see Daley becoming the Strikeforce welterweight champ? Not as long as Nick Diaz is around.
Maybe Daley could beat Marius Zaromskis or Joe Riggs to build himself up in his first fight, but I'm not sure I'd even like his chances against someone like Evangelista Santos right now. As we saw in his last two fights (which were not against the toughest guys in the division, let's remember) Daley's takedown defense is atrocious and his ability to work off his back is almost non-existent. See how far that gets you when you're facing legitimate, well-rounded competition.
@BeatdownRadio Mailbag Q - What do you find more loathsome right now, the wrestling in MMA discussion or the state of the Chargers?
My problem with the wrestling in MMA discussion is that it's the wrong discussion. Wrestling is not the problem. Neither are wrestlers. The problem is that there are many different ways to fight, some of which are popular with the masses and some of which aren't. That's the nature of the sport, and it always will be.
The Chargers, well, let's just say that as a San Diego State grad I've stopped asking whether they're going to break my heart each season and have instead focused my attention on when.
@Resnicno Do you think Strikeforce will manage to book what's obvious (Fedor vs Barnett) or will they mess up like w/ Miller/Diaz?
I highly doubt Strikeforce would book Fedor/Barnett right out of the gates. Instead they'll want to build up to it, letting each guy win a couple while the public gets more and more eager to see them collide. You know, sort of like Affliction did. And that worked out so well, didn't it?
One thing (perhaps the only thing) I've learned about MMA matchmaking throughout the years is that the promoter shouldn't make fights with a predetermined winner in mind. You never know for sure who's going to win any given fight, and there's something about trying to build up a fighter by giving him an easier opponent that invites disaster. Look at Bobby Lashley-Chad Griggs, for example. Or Fedor-Fabricio Werdum. And those are both just in the last four months!
If the fight Strikeforce ultimately wants is Barnett-Fedor, I say make it right now. Make it while you know you can. Seize the day and all that crap. But that's just my opinion, and what do I know? I'm only a guy who doesn't like to keep getting burned by the same mistake over and over again.