Morning Report: 'Real fighters' and the struggle between management and independent contractors

Anne-Marie Sorvin-US PRESSWIRE

As mixed martial arts ages, some fighters are getting smarter. Their IQs aren't changing. We're all mostly locked in on that measurement. But they're beginning to make wiser decisions about who they face in their career, or at least aren't accepting things reflexively.

There's an interesting debate going on in the comments on a post on Bloody Elbow about what UFC President Dana White describes is a new and troubling phenomenon of fighters turning down offered bouts. To White, this isn't just new, it irks him. It makes his job harder, for starters. But he believes there's something else going: 'real fighters' (whatever that means) don't turn down fights. They take on all comers. He's not really sure who he has on his roster that fits the description of real fighter anymore. This isn't how things used to be in the UFC and he's not sure he likes where things are headed.

We bring this up because apparently Cheick Kongo not only turned down the Roy Nelson fight, he also declined another as well. In the wake of UFC 151, there may have been scapegoating of Jon Jones for turning down Chael Sonnen, but it also shed light on a practice of turning down fights among the UFC ranks that is actually widespread and not going away any time soon.

So here are the two arguments. On the pro side, fighters should be able to turn down fights. They're not employees, they're independent contractors. It's within their rights to be able to do that. Just because the UFC offers them a fight doesn't mean it's one that makes sense for their career.

On the con side, hey, this is the fight business. Either you're going to fight when asked or you're not. And if you're not, what are you doing here? Besides, if you do the UFC favors, more often than not those favors come back around your way. Do you really want to anger the very people whose help you'll be asking for later? Don't bite the hand that feeds you. Oh, and if every fighter just turned down fights whenever they felt like it, would the UFC even be able to promote an event?

As for me, I say fighters should be able to turn down fights and that's the end of it. But that's just my $0.02. There's a poll at the bottom of the post where you can vote and let your voice be heard. While you're here, check out the video of the strangest TKO ever, the best slugfest ever, the best college brawl story ever and the best FanPost ever. Well, maybe not ever, but you get the idea. They're good.

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

The betting lines for a proposed Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre fight are out and they may actually surprise you.

Rashad Evans may have his biases and allegiances, but also swears if GSP does fight Silva, it's GSP who will 'definitely' win

UFC 154's prelim card ratings from the FX broadcast are in and they're, well, a bit understandable given all the competition from college football, but they're also mediocre.

Tom Lawlor. A college brawl he's involved in. The story of how it all went down. What's not to love?

Sam Stout is upset and tells MMA Mania that he lost to John Makdessi at UFC 154 because 'The Bull' actually 'ran away'.

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MEDIA STEW

I've seen quite a few things in my days covering this sport, but TKO by vomit is definitely a first:

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Dan Hardy does a web exclusive interview with our Ariel Helwani where he discusses training with GSP and maybe some new enemies he'll need to confront:

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People talk about slugfests, but I've still never seen a better one than this:

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UFC lightweight Joe Lauzon fights Jim Miller at UFC on Fox 5 next month, but wants to show you his place before that. Take a look:

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A prison guard in New Mexico decided to fight inmates under vaguely MMA rules while on duty. Pretty great guy:

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CUTTING WEIGHT SUCKS

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YOU'RE NOT A TEEN

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NO PAIN, NO GAIN

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WHITE MEN CAN'T JUMP

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GOOD QUESTION

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ANNOUNCED FIGHTS

- Zach Makovsky vs. Anthony Leone, Bellator 81

- Zoila Gurgel vs. Jessica Eye, Bellator 81

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's FanPost of the Day comes courtesy B Dane who sizes up the competition and believes there's no reason to think St. Pierre will get muscled around by Anderson Silva:

Georges St. Pierre:

AGE: 31 
RECORD: 23-2 (8 KOs, 5 SUBs)
HEIGHT: 5'10"
REACH: 76"
DIVISION: 170lbs

Firas Zahabi said prior to GSP's fight with Jake Shield, that Georges would enter the ring at "192 or 193lbs." He also stated that Georges is "walking around at 194lbs."

Looking at this, I can't say that I buy the idea that Georges St. Pierre would be overpowered, or physically outmatched by Anderson Silva. The height and reach are not that different from the challenge presented by Carlos Condit (although Anderson is Anderson, and Carlos is Carlos), and no doubt less significant for someone with the ability to grind out wins with takedowns and smothering top game like GSP. There's evidence that says the weight difference would be less than 10lbs if the Superfight were to occur.

It's very possible that GSP would be able to work a pressure and takedown game plan resembling the one utilized by Chael Sonnen, a larger, but arguably less talented MMA Wrestler than GSP, who won 5 of his 7 rounds in the cage with Anderson Silva (he got finished in devastating fashion in the other two its worth noting). GSP is also not as prone to being submitted from the bottom as Chael Sonnen.

I'm not denying that there is a very strong likelihood that Anderson Silva knocks GSP's teeth out. But, if Chael could dominate Anderson for 22 minutes, I see no reason why GSP can't get 5 takedowns, and potentially do it for the full 25. And if GSP can beat Jake Shields, and Jake Shields, can beat Dan Henderson, and Dan Henderson can beat Fedor... then anything can happen.

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