Long term, I tend to think having Cain Velasquez as the UFC heavyweight champion is better for the UFC's interests. The truth is I'm not sure how much Latin America or reaching out to Latinos domestically is part of their expansion plans. Sure, they want to reach them. That much we know. But a recent Sports Business Journal article detailing the UFC's international expansion plans never mentioned any Central or South American territories as destinations. Not even once.
It'd be foolish to expect Peruvians to be as excited about Velasquez as Mexicans. They all speak Spanish, but are vastly different nations and cultures. Still, has anyone else noticed since Velasquez's loss to Junior dos Santos the talk of the UFC holding a show in Mexico has all but stopped? UFC programming runs in that market and despite cartel violence, Mexico's economy is on the up and up. It makes sense to want to do a show there. But the key ingredient is having a fighter to sell to the local audience and losing the belt clearly put that priority on the back burner.
Dos Santos isn't that guy, although obviously he'll work just fine in Brazil. And maybe that's enough. In fact - as you'll see inside today's post - maybe his outspoken stance on performance enhancing drugs is everything this sport needs to turn a corner on abuse. That's a good thing, but that's not going to get UFC in Mexico any faster. Part of me can't help but root for Velasquez as a way to reach an audience I'm afraid will stay at an arm's distance without him or someone of comparable skill and cultural identity.
Brazil is no market to sneeze at and has more 'raw material' to work with. I'm just hopeful somewhere in the UFC's plan Mexico, parts of central America and South America that make sense are on the docket for expansion, too.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot: Chael Sonnen is going to have a field day with Anderson Silva's new magazine photo shoot. Go inside today's Morning Report to see everything that took place behind the scenes.
5 MUST-READ STORIES
Junior dos Santos willing to take random blood tests. The UFC heavyweight champion is showing an extra commitment to keeping the sport clean.
Pierce vs. Rocha split decision was an error. In a surprise to no one, a judge for the athletic commission in Florida gave the wrong score to the wrong corner.
The best father's day gift guide for UFC/MMA fans only. If your old man is into this sport, use this helpful reference guide as a way to find him a good present.
Joe Rogan goes one on one with Bloody Elbow. In part one of the conversation, they discuss bad decisions in boxing, boxing vs. MMA and more.
Want a behind the scenes look at Anderson Silva's Brazilian Rolling Stone shoot? Of course, you do:
Mike Tyson discusses the impact the Gracie family has on fighting:
Michael Bisping explains his injury and brings viewers up to speed on what he's been up to:
MIRROR MIRROR ON THE WALL
The awkward moment when you are about to hug someone sexy as hell and then you hit the mirror.— Miguel Angel Torres (@MiguelTorresMMA) June 14, 2012
PULL THE TRIGGER TO THE REAR BETWEEN BREATHS
Michael Chiesa (@MikeMav22) June 14, 2012
THE SECRET LIVES WE LEAD
Secret?I kinda really like being a little suzy homemaker ☺— Kenda Perez (@KendaPerez) June 14, 2012
I'LL TAKE ONE-WORD TWEETS THAT SAY NOTHING FOR $200, ALEX
Fierce— Gina Carano (@ginacarano) June 14, 2012
Announced yesterday (Thursday, June 14, 2012):
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day comes courtesy Jack Slack, who remembers the greatest amateur boxer ever after news broke the Cuban died this past week:
The best amateur boxer to ever live passed away last night. After winning 3 olympic golds in a row, the Cuban was offered one million dollars to fight Muhammad Ali and famously stated "What is one million dollars next to the love of eight million people?" A strong man indeed.
I talk a lot about correct jabbing, head movement, footwork and so on. Teofilo Stevenson is perhaps the best technical heavyweight you will see, to this day.
Teofilo Stevenson - El Fenomeno (via REYELBRAZ)
Found something perfect for the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's post.