Fightweets is back this week after a little break. And breaks aren't something we should expect much in mixed martial arts any time soon, not with the UFC running 10 events between now and June 14, a full slate of Bellator events, and all the assorted nuttiness which inevitably fills the gaps.
So let's get right back to it. Maybe we're in the calm before the storm, but you guys have stepped up like always, asking about everything from the UFC light heavyweight title plan to the Fight Night numbering system to, of course, Gina Carano. So let's get right to it.
Ronda Rousey vs. Gina Carano, continued
@chjoin: Gina back is a good for WMMA. But there is no reason at all to even consider giving her a title shot from a loss 5 years ago!
Well, there's one good reason to give Carano, who is meeting with UFC president Dana White next week, a title shot: Ronda Rousey vs. Gina Carano would be bigger than any fight the UFC can make with its current active roster. And it's not like the company hasn't put the money-drawing storyline ahead of what's best for a division before: Non-competitive fights like Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock and Matt Hughes vs. Royce Gracie were among the biggest hits of their respective eras.
That doesn't mitigate the issues involved, of course. Like you said, Carano hasn't fought in five years, and in her last matchup, she was mauled by the then-Cyborg Santos. Cyborg wants to get into the UFC, and was told she has to get down to 135, then told she'd have to take fights outside the UFC at 135 before they'll consider it. Rousey has stated that she's OK with fighting Carano at a catchweight, which kind of makes the whole argument for keeping Cyborg out sort of unravel. And that doesn't even go into Carano's own trouble making weight over the years.
So yeah, there are plenty of reasons why Carano, whose last victory was in Oct. 2008, shouldn't get an immediate shot at Rousey. Carano's return to the sport in and of itself should be a welcome thing. I hope she's given a tuneup fight before Rousey gets the chance to tear her arm off. But if I'm wrong, well, the hardcores who protested that Hughes vs. Gracie would be a mismatch were drowned out by the sound of ringing cash registers and I'm sure the same will happen again.
Can Bellator and WSOF step up?
@SlayKatzNY: What does WSOF and Bellator need to do to elevate their brands & be considered "top tier" organizations?
Ehh, what do you mean by "top tier?" Do you mean equal to, or ready to make a run at, the UFC's leading position in the industry? That's how this is usually meant, so I'll assume that's how you mean it.
Astonishing sums of money were blown during MMA's peak years by promoters who thought they were going to come in and take over the world. Bellator and World Series of Fighting have both gotten as far as they have (and those are different levels: WSOF is nearly as far back as Bellator as Bellator is to the UFC) by not making a reckless rush the sport's top dogs the way their predecessors did.
There was zero fanfare for this, but Thursday marked the fifth anniversary of the first Bellator card. Think about the MMA landscape when Bellator debuted in April, 2009: the UFC was barreling toward its UFC 100 crescendo. Strikeforce had just partnered with Showtime. Affliction was coming off its second straight Fedor Emelianenko fight. We were less than a year removed from the demise of Elite XC and the IFL. Bellator debuted on Spanish-language television.
Would anyone had ever guessed that five years later, Bellator would emerge as the clear-cut No. 2 player in MMA? Highly unlikely. But they have. Business-wise, Bellator has gotten where it is by being everything all the UFC wannabes weren't.Their tournament format, for all it's flaws, differentiated the company from everyone else and based it on easy-to-follow sports logic. They've run a disciplined financial ship. They've made smart moves in improving their television position. They're alive when their 2009 cohorts have vanished, and there are signs -- like a string of solid ratings this season -- that the brand is starting to gain some traction. For all the criticisms they've taken, many of which are justified, the fact they are where they are is a success story in and of itself, when you consider how many promotions have come and gone.
As for World Series of Fighting, they should keep filling exactly the niche they've filled. We have this inherent need in the MMA online space to have everything make clear, lineal storyline sense. But can't there be room for a promotion which simply provides a fun night of fights, without any greater cosmic significance? When you tune into a WSOF events, you're all but guaranteed you're going to get the gamut. WSOF has given Nick Newell a platform to showcase his skills; has given Tyrone Spong his opportunity to test the waters in MMA; gives outlaws like Rousimar Palhares a second chance; gives the likes of Jon Fitch and Josh Burkman a chance to show they still have it; gives guys like Marlon Moraes a chance to break through; gives us can't-turn-away-from-it brawls like Ray Sefo vs. Dave Huckaba. With such a hodgepodge of stuff, you're probably going to find something you like. You rarely walk away from a WSOF event thinking "That was boring." Why does it need to be anything more?
UFC light heavyweight title fights
@auggie85: Thoughts on the UFC making next-next contender fights? Who knows how jones/glover or the winner/gus will end
The way things go in MMA, I'm guessing the chances that we proceed directly from the Jon Jones-Glover Teixeira winner to Alexander Gustafsson to the Daniel Cormier-Dan Henderson winner are roughly the same as any of us hitting Powerball.
How many times over the years have MMA promoters announced they're going from Plan A to Plan B and not gotten there? Look at what happened to Anthony Pettis. He came into the UFC as the final WEC lightweight champion. He was promised the winner of the Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard title fight at UFC 125. Next thing you know, Edgar and Maynard goes to a draw and Pettis takes a fight in the interim and loses to Clay Guida. Then Pettis had to wait so long for a title shot that he was going to go down to featherweight, before he got a knee injury which kept him out just long enough to have to miss fighting Jose Aldo in Brazil, which magically healed just in time to fight in his hometown against Ben Henderson instead.
Or it can be something as silly as a judges' error, like the one in the Demetrious Johnson-Ian McCall flyweight tournament semifinal bout, which meant they had to push the whole tournament back a few months to re-do the fight.
Or Seth Petruzelli can come in and knock out your promotion's one and only meal ticket in 14 seconds.
Anything can happen, really.
In this case, it seems like the UFC is simply saying out loud what they'd likely normally be discussing internally. It does' t seem too far-fetched to think the results most expect will actually pan out: Jones plows through Teixeira, Jones and Gusty have a barnburner which could go either way, and Cormier beats Henderson. But what if Teixeira knocks out Jones? Is the UFC really going to make the world's best pound-for-pound fighter wait through two more title fights before getting another title shot? Ultimately, there's some merit to announcing this plan, as it gives a storyline for fans to follow as the year unfolds and allows the division a direction to build toward. But, well, don't bet the farm on it.
@ryan_Drescher: With Cormier-Hendo winner getting title shot, where does Phil Davis fit in the LHW picture?
In the "stay perpetually ready in case someone gets hurt" category. The odd man out so often seems to find his way back in simply by continuing to win and then being in the right place at the right time.
Fight Night follies
@jmichaelbrad: What's with the confusion about the numbering of the Fight Nights? Sherdog has this one as UFN 40 but others have it as UFN 39
I've pretty much thrown up my hands on this one, jmike. Last summer, I tried to argue that when the UFC Fight Night series started on FOX Sports 1 last summer, it should start over as a new series. I was overruled by, well, basically everyone across the MMA media spectrum. Conventional wisdom became that the FS1 series is the continuation of the old Fight Night series which ran on Spike TV. The year and a half of basic cable fights on Fuel and FX 1 in the interim were held as their own little series, removed from the Fight Nights in their own little time warp.
Despite this fixation on the phrase "Fight Night," which enabled a series on one network to get continued more than a year later on another one while ignoring all the small-cap fight nights in between, the first several events in the Spike series were actually called "Ultimate Fight Night," not "UFC Fight Night." So the fight cards on both FS1 and Spike have to be lumped together as one series because they share the sacrosanct "UFC Fight Night" name on one hand, but on the other, the series includes events which had a different name. OK then.
So anyway, on to UFC Fight Night 40, or 39 (which is really 35, or 34, when you factor in "Ultimate Fight Nights") ... You know what? On second thought, I don't even care to figure it out. I know that one of these fight nights along the way was alternately referred to as "Fight for the Troops 3" and another the "TUF China Finale," so take your pick which one threw the numbering off. All you need is one big outlet to decide to not officially consider one of these events a Fight Night, and things get even more confusing.
Bottom line for me, whenever possible, I just go with "a UFC Fight Night card on (date) in (location)" and avoid the arbitrary numbering ridiculousness. Saves a lot of headaches.
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