Just when it seemed like all was calm between the former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and his erstwhile employer,things erupted again this week.ne gets the feeling this won't be the last time the two take shots at each other through the media. That keeps the page view numbers up at MMA Web sites, even if it's not necessarily best for either St-Pierre or Dana White's mental health.
The latest round of comments between GSP and White are at the top of the agenda on what was otherwise a calm week in the MMA world. So without further ado, on to the latest edition of Fightweets.
Will GSP return?
@RuckerYeah: After GSP and Dana's latest statements, do you think GSP will ever come back?
You know, as the dust settles after the latest dustup, one thought keeps creeping into my brain: If GSP really feels this strongly about cleaning up performance-enhancing drugs in the sport, why did he wait until he was on the outside looking in before speaking up?
As much as people clamor for a better drug testing system and more money for the fighters, the only way things will change is if the people at the very top of the chain -- the handful of fighters who command big buy rates -- demand it. If St-Pierre used the week of the Hendricks fight, during the time the UFC was getting so much attention for the 20th anniversary, to make the claims he made in Montreal this week, damn right the issue of PEDs would have commanded the spotlight. When St-Pierre was the longtime welterweight champion and the company's biggest draw, that's when he had the power and leverage to effect change. GSP, the semi-retired former champion, who stepped away and waited until his latest monster paycheck cleared before speaking up? Not quite as powerful a force for change.
Still, though, this is not a public relations war White is going to win. This isn't like when Randy Couture and White were at odds in 2007. Back then, there were hundreds of thousands of new fans who didn't know much about Couture's legacy in the sport and didn't feel a deep emotional tie to him. Hardcore fans were vehemently on Couture's side, sure, but the rest of the fan base shrugged and moved on to the Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira-Frank Mir interim title fight. This time, though, the majority of UFC fans have been following GSP as long as they've been following the sport. He's practically inseparable from the sport in many fans' eyes.
This is one of those deals where you've got two very stubborn people who very much believe in their positions, when the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Will things escalate, or will cooler heads prevail? That will go a long way toward determining whether GSP eventually returns.
The brushback the company got post-UFC 167 didn't die down until White stopped talking about it in public and Lorenzo Fertitta took over as the public voice. They'd do well to follow that course again.
UFC a monopoly?
@jbellamar: A 40B marketcap of Viacom has nothing to do with their MMA unit's marketshare. Weak attempt by @danawhite to refute 'monopoly'
Actually, I'm with White on this one. Is it the UFC's fault that a mega-corporation with unlimited spending power doesn't want to sink necessary resources into making a real run at the UFC's industry top spot?
Yes, things are a whole lot more complex than saying "Viacom $40 billion" and leaving it at that. I once worked for a billion-dollar company in a division that made money hand over fist, but threw around nickels like they were manhole covers. We've all been there. But the bottom line is, if someone high enough on the Viacom chain wanted to make Bellator a bigger priority nothing's stopping them.
Bellator as presently constituted still had the financial resources and legal muscle to keep one of the world's best lightweights, Eddie Alvarez from jumping to the UFC. They embarrassed the UFC by getting a gaggle of former champions and Hall of Famers to jump over, either to fight or work on their reality show. They were were poised to enter the pay-per-view market. Oh, and they've snapped up a wide variety of talented prospects, which has had a noticeable effect on the quality of the lower end of the UFC's cards.
That's with Viacom keeping Bellator on a tight leash. Good on them for getting as far as they have within those parameters; plenty of promotional competitors burned through millions with no rhyme or reason and were gone as soon as they started, so it's hard to fault them for running a disciplined operation.
But Viacom has the financial wherewithal to make Bellator a real rival if it wanted to, so calling the UFC a monopoly is, in fact, ridiculous.
UFC on FOX 11
@elcujorino: With Browne/Werdum and Tate/Carmouche for UFC on Fox 11 who do you predict will main event? I have a feeling Edgar/Penn III
Well, White said on FOX Sports 1 Wednesday night that Browne-Werdum would likely be the main event after all, despite what the company initially said. And it's not a bad main event. As for Edgar-Penn, that's a coaches' fight, it's not going down until after the next season of The Ultimate Fighter airs.
@sigep422wesg: Hey Dave whats ur thought on this card being Florida??? Dana said they wouldn't go back!
Ehh, never say never. I'm not sure why any pro sports franchise which isn't the NFL tries to do business in Florida (Seriously, the Tampa Bay Rays play great baseball, have one of the best managers in the game, a tremendous scouting staff, go to the playoffs every year ... and play in front of a near-empty house day in and day out). But anyway, when White was badmouthing Florida, it was a string of bad houses in South Florida which did the trick. They've never been to Orlando and they haven't been to the central part of the state since a Fight Night in Tampa five years ago. If you put all those factors together, Orlando seems like a decent gamble for drawing a solid crowd.
@darthcoder2: Kevin Gastelum to be #1 contender by end of the year. True /false?
False. And that's no knock on Gastelum. Give him some time, ya know? He's only 22. He's clearly got legit potential and probably the best prospect TUF has produced in years. But he also only has seven career fights, and he's making his way through the killing field that is the welterweight division. Change your question from "the end of the year" to "the end of 2016" and you might be on to something.
@upupmma: ricardo almeida is a judge? Wow when did this happen?
Almeida has been judging in New Jersey since he retired a couple years ago. He'll be a judge for both title fights at UFC 169. Prior to this, per the good folks at MMADecisions.com, the biggest show he served on was UFC on FOX 3 in E. Rutherford, N.J. The only decision which stands out was his 29-28 card in favor of Josh Koscheck over Johny Hendricks. Jeff Blatnick and Cardo Urso had that bout 29-28 Hendricks; I was cageside and scored it 29-28 Koscheck watching it live. Anyway, Almeida as a judge for the two title fights should be a good test of the "retired fighters would make better officials" theory.
@dpop2: I don't get all this ‘Silva is delusional' talk. He lost one round then broke his leg. I mean do ppl forget chael and hendo?
True, but neither Chael nor Hendo knocked Silva cold. On one level, it speaks to Silva's competitive spirit that he refuses to accept the losses and wants to get back to action. On the other, I mean, c'mon man. He beat you twice.
Lawler or Condit?
Yes to Robbie Lawler deserving the shot; no to Condit being robbed. That said, my initial reaction when I heard about Robbie Lawler meeting Johny Hendricks for the interim welterweight title at UFC 171 was that Condit deserved the shot. But if you think it through, Condit has lost two of his past three fights. He lost convincingly to St-Pierre and had his chance against Hendricks, even thought it was a close fight. Lawler not only has won three in a row since returning to the UFC, but he put a hurting on Rory MacDonald, the guy UFC was grooming to be the their next big Canadian draw. Lawler getting the shot isn't just a good story. He earned it. And if Condit puts together another quality win over Tyron Woodley on the heels of his victory over Martin Kampmann, then you're set up for a real nice fight between Condit and the Hendricks-Lawler winner later in the year.
@kalamity113: Do u think Brad Tavares is still gonna be out of the top 10 or 15? Despite an impressive winning streak he isn't flashy. Agree?
Agreed. Nothing about Brad Tavares' style suggests he's going to get a big push from the UFC any time soon. But he's basically Fitching his way up the ladder. I think Tavares belongs in the Top 15 after his fifth straight win on Wednesday night, and I think he's earned a crack at a lower- Top 10 middleweight. But his climb will continue on its measured pace.
Mir vs. ‘Reem
@auggie85: why is there no mention of Mir/Overeem? I almost forgot it was happening.
Ehh ... it's not really a story line you can fit into those cable bumper ads. What are you going to say? "These former champs are losing ... and losing ... and losing some more ... one will lose yet again" over clips of both guys getting ragdolled in their recent fights? I suspect coverage of Mir vs. Overeem will bubble up over the course of fight week, but until then, UFC is right to keep the focus on the featherweight and bantamweight title fights.
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