Fightweets: Fallon Fox fallout, Invicta, and more

Photo courtesy CFA

Whatever your opinion on transgender fight Fallon Fox, one thing is for certain: No fighter has gotten more attention before engaging in a single noteworthy mixed martial arts bout since Kimbo Slice himself hit the scene.

And it's not like Fox is going out of her way to seek the publicity. She's been quiet throughout this firestorm. The only statement she made on the Matt Mitrione situation was dignified. If this was a gimmick or if she was being handled by a manipulative PR firm, we'd actually hear a whole lot more from her than we have. It's pretty clear she just wants the opportunity to fight, nothing more, and nothing less.

Whether it's appropriate for a transgender fighter to fight women is a valid subject of debate. The hatred and vitriol Fox has received isn't, and hasn't reflected well on the sport or its fan base.

The Fox-Mitrione situation is just one subject we tackle in a jam-packed edition of Fightweets. If you'd like to be considered in a future edition, send me a tweet.

Fox-Mitrione fallout

@Asylum_Rule: re: Mitrione suspension. Another dose of fake morality from the UFC or justified?

Justified. The bottom line here is that the UFC needed to send a message. Mitrione's comments sparked a moment of critical mass on the issue which required action.

Keep in mind, the UFC is still trying to get legalized in New York. Every time a fighter misspeaks, the obtuse hacks at the culinary union fire off an out-of-context press release to legislators and media making it look like the Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta are personally responsible for someone else's words. If the UFC hadn't responded quickly to Mitrione's comments on Monday, you can be sure that by Tuesday, the union would have sent out a release blaming the company. Regardless of the inevitable internet debates over who gets punished and who doesn't, company did the right thing in suspending Mitrione, period.

@CBL1978: Do you think this will cause UFC fighters who don't have a fight to promote to stop doing interviews?

I doubt it. Keep in mind the interests of promoters and those of fighters and agents don't always intersect. If you're a fighter's agent, you want your client to build on his buzz after a big win. You want to capitalize on the momentum, raise his profile, attract new sponsors, and so on. You don't want him to just vanish for the next 3-6 months. The post-fight buzz in the days after a big event matter as much in making stars as the pre-fight buildup. In a crowded sports landscape, MMA needs all the attention it can get, and not making fighters available in the days after the fight would only serve to diminish the product's visibility. And for every "Meathead," there are a hundreds of non-meatheads who get positive buzz off such interviews.

Invicta

@Christopher_kit: Why do people appear to review the Invicta shows differently to any other? Are we trying to be cool and idealistic?

I've never been cool and I lost my idealism years ago, Chris. But I think the reason why Invicta shows are looked at differently than other shows is that it's such a unique model in the market. There are two aspects to this: One is the product itself, and the other is the business model.

As for the product in the cage, Invicta clearly showed, in short order, that the quality and depth of women's MMA has improved to a degree far beyond previous assumptions. It fills a niche in an under-served portion of the market and it consistently delivers entertaining fights. So as the groundswell of support for the product developed, following Invicta sort of became the MMA equivalent of following your favorite underground indie band before they got signed to a major label.

Speaking of getting signed to a major label, that brings us to the business side of things. Namely, how are they making this all work? I personally found the "controversy" over their number of free streams amusing (I mean, really, write your Senator and demand a Congressional investigation, while you're at it). I'm more interested in figuring out how a small company can afford the sort of major-league production setup Invicta has, fly people in from all over the country, draw relatively small crowds, charge a low PPV price, and stay in business. As far as I can tell, they're following the Silicon Valley internet model, where you build a new website concept, or an app, and bleed money at first, with the idea that eventually a deep-pocketed investor comes along and makes you rich beyond your wildest dreams, like Facebook buying out Instagram. Invicta's still going, so they've got to be doing something right.

Anyway, this is all a long-winded way of saying: They're new, they're unique, the product delivers, and there's an air of mystery about the whole operation. What's not to discuss?

@Dpop2: Are ppl really impressed with Cyborg fighting a punching bag? When will she fight someone credible in her weight?

I get where you're coming from Dpop, since, after all, Cristiane Santos treated Fiona Muxlow the way my Clippers did the Lakers this season, leaving me to wonder who in the Pacific Division could challenge the Clips. But I digress. I don't know that people were necessarily impressed with Cristiane Santos' victory over Fiona Muxlow per se (although you had to be impressed with Muxlow's ability to take a beating). I think the question was, how was she going to look after being out of action so long, and, presumably, while she's being drug tested. Cyborg's physique didn't look quite as cut last week as it has in the past, and, while again granting that she wasn't exactly facing world-beater competition, she also didn't have the listless look so many fighters coming off PED suspensions seem to have.

As for fighting someone credible at featherweight, I mean, most of the best talent is at 135 and under. The fact they've got to recycle Marloes Coenen, who Cyborg has already soundly defeated, tells you all you need to know.

Next for Mousasi?

@MooksInsight: Who should be Gegard Mousasi's next opponent?

I actually want to see Mousasi vs. Alexander Gustafsson now more than I did before, simply for having the fight teased the way it was before Gustafsson was pulled. But I don't know that the timing would be right. Gustafsson seems to be in position to come back and fight a big name in the pecking order, whether that's a title shot or someone like Lyoto Machida. Mousasi is going to be sidelined awhile with surgery. There's no real obvious next fight for Mousasi right now simply because we don't know how long he'll be out and what the divisional picture will look like when he's ready to return. But a fight against one of the veteran, former champion-types who are looking to stay relevant would seem a decent matchup, depending on who's available.

Where are the flyweights?

@PaleoDavid: Why's Dana White not expanding the 125 class? There are solid guys out there like Josh Sampo, Will Campuzano, etc

You know, I'm glad you brought up Campuzano. He was probably the first fighter I saw on a major-league card and thought "there needs to be a flyweight class for guys like him." He fought in the WEC as an undersized bantamweight, went all-out, but usually lost in the end. I particularly remember an entertaining slugfest with Eddie Wineland in up in Edmonton, in which Campuzano started strong before Wineland rallied.

Since he was released from Zuffa, and granted he was let go with a 1-4 record in the company so it's not like it was out of the blue, he's gone 3-0 at 125 pounds, including a win over Sampo. I say with another win or two, he deserves a chance at his natural weight class.

As for how long it will take? I'm not sure. On one hand, the company is still paring down the roster while also adding women's bantamweights. On the other, If flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson defeats John Moraga when they get around to rescheduling that fight, then we're looking at a situation in which DJ is already recycling challengers. So it behooves the UFC to fill out the division sooner rather than later.

Sonnen or Melendez?

@8Ricky6: Who do u think has a better shot, Melendez or Sonnen in their upcoming fights? Gil looks like he's in shape????

Wow, four question marks. Yes, Gil looks like he's in shape!!!! I'd be pretty surprised if Jones had much trouble with Sonnen (as an aside, ever notice the people angriest at the Jones-Sonnen matchup always treated various farcical Fedor Emelianenko matchups over the years -- like middleweight Matt Lindland and freakshow attraction Hong Man Choi -- with a straight face?).

Melendez, though, I would not be surprised if he got the upset. He's the underdog against Henderson, but if Melendez can recapture the energy he channeled into sizzling performances in 2009-10, when he had a chip on his shoulder and wanted to prove he was the best lightweight in the world, then we'll have a heck of a fight on our hands.

Where is Hendo's place in history?

@TheWarehouse27: Is Hendo underrated? never seen him mentioned w/ GOAT's, but he should be

My first instinct when you asked this question was to think that Dan Henderson is actually pretty accurately rated. He's a well-respected veteran with an impressive list of accomplishments. But he's also lost his share of fights, which would seem to put him just below the mythical all-time greats,

Then, I stopped to think of the guys like Randy Couture, B.J. Penn, and so on, who are usually mentioned on the short list, and they've have also certainly lost their fair share of matches. The difference here, of course, is that Couture and Penn held UFC titles and have been pushed on television as all-time greats, while Henderson spent most of his prime in Japan. And considering Hendo is still the only fighter to simultaneously hold multiple weight-class titles in a major promotion, and how he's defeated former champions in every weight class from welterweight to heavyweight, you know what, TheWarehouse? I'm with you on this one. Hendo's place in history is underrated.

Bonus speed round

@TheTyGuy10: Most exciting under the radar fight in the next three weeks? I vote either Mein/Brown or Healy/Miller

Love Jordan Mein vs. Matt Brown. Chance for Mein show right away whether what we saw last time out was legit, against one of the sport's hottest fighters, to boot. Yes, please.

@Daewolf: With Renan Barao defending a 2nd time,why did the ufc not strip Cruz and give him a champ fight if he returns?

Actually, I think a unification fight for Dominick Cruz against a fighter who's built up the momentum of two straight interim title defenses would be bigger than anything else UFC could come up with for Cruz.

@allyh84: If Urijah Hall wins on Saturday, who would you match him with next, and why?

Hey, did you know that there are TWO URI(J)AHS FIGHTING ON SATURDAY'S CARD??? And the one has NO J IN HIS NAME??? THAT'S CRAZY!!! (Sorry, saw about 10 billion Tweets on this Thursday).

@Christopher_kit (yeah, him again): How on earth can Bellator call a 4-man lineup a tournament?

Damn, dude ... do you actually want to see an eight-man Bellator light heavyweight tournament? Even after that Christian M'Pumbu-Attila Veigh fight? They're doing us a favor keeping it to four.

@TheAntiChinoGuy: best advice for someone looking to take up mma :)

Master the art of fighting with one boxing glove and one bare hand and you'll be remembered forever.

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