SAN DIEGO -- Ah, San Diego. Home to attractions like the world-class San Diego Zoo, arguably the best ballpark in Major League Baseball (while housing one of baseball's worst teams) in Petco Park, and the best ribs this side of Memphis at Phil's BBQ.
Then there's the Valley View Casino Center, home to Saturday night's much-anticipated Strikeforce bout, featuring women's bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey vs. challenger and former champ Sarah Kaufman. The former San Diego Sports Arena is likely the most dilapidated venue in America still regularly hosting big-time MMA fights. This is a building the NBA's San Diego Clippers deemed substandard, then moved off to Los Angeles. And that was back in 1984.
But this old barn has seen its share of memorable MMA moments over the years. Like WEC 38, which featured not only the classic Jamie Varner-Donald Cerrone brawl, but also Ben Henderson's Zuffa debut, and the first time Jose Aldo Jr. sprinted into the crowd, after he made short work of Rolando Perez.
Strikeforce itself has a history in this building, as last year Nick Diaz and Paul Daley put on as good a one-round fight as you'll see before John McCarthy stopped it in favor of Diaz with seconds remaining in the round.
As the hours wind down to the next big event at the VVCC, Fightweets makes its debut. If you want to pick my slightly off-kilter brain in a future edition, send a tweet to @davedoylemma.
All things Chael P. Sonnen
Ryan in Toronto (@RuckerYeah) asks: Do you even think Chael is still relevant? I mean what can he even get out of fighting Forrest Griffin?
Well, Ryan, Wednesday's news of Sonnen's twitter fight with Jon Jones drew more Facebook likes and story comments than anything that ran on MMAFighting that day, so I'm going to go with an emphatic "yes" on Sonnen's relevance. As for fighting Griffin, I think this is the right career move. For every valid criticism you can make about Sonnen, there's no doubt he's a ferocious competitor who hasn't given up on his championship dreams. He anxious to shed his image as the old-school Boston Red Sox of MMA. He's not getting a title shot at middleweight anytime soon after dropping two to Anderson Silva. So moving up to 205 is logical at this point. Which leads us to ...
Fraser (@fraz1001) opines: Did JBJ get trolled by Chael P. Sonnen!? JBJ has since deleted his responses!
I'll go with another emphatic "yes" here. Assuming Jones beats Dan Henderson, the UFC will begin recycling his challengers, with Lyoto Machida up next. Jones' response to Sonnen guarantees that Sonnen isn't going to let up. Given both me and my MMA media cohorts' inability to ignore Sonnen and the readers' tendency to devour everything with his name attached (even those who claim they're sick of Sonnen's schtick still click on the stories), Sonnen is setting himself up for a situation in which, if he beats Griffin on Dec. 29, he's likely setting himself up for a bout with Jones based on pure fan demand. Although Jones tried to play it cool after Sonnen successfully trolled him, the fact Jones deleted the bulk of his tweets afterwards says otherwise.
Oh, and speaking of Forrest ...
Steven C (@Steven1cr) queries: Are people being unfair asking Forrest to retire? In the past 5.5 years he's only lost to Evans, Silva & Rua.
The thing is, it's not the fact that Forrest lost in and of itself, it's the way he's lost. And the way he's won, for that matter: I thought he actually lost the UFC 148 fight to Tito Ortiz. Since Silva dropped him with the Bruce Lee one-inch punch three years ago, Griffin has looked like a fighter without a purpose, which is something I could have never imagined typing in 2006. I'm not sure if asking him to straight-up retire now is fair, but if the Griffin of the third Ortiz fight also shows up to fight an undersized Sonnen, then it might be time for him to consider other life options.
Jordan K (@SlayKatzNY) wants to know: Which five international markets are critical to the longterm success of the UFC? Which markets should the UFC invest in?
My first inclination is to answer "Brazil, Brazil, Brazil, Brazil, and Brazil," and leave it at that. But that might be overstating things a bit. The UFC's Brazilian business is on fire at a time when things have hit a plateau here in the States. Success in Brazil is not only good for the UFC's bottom line today, but consider the dividends it will pay in the future: Brazil produced some of the world's top fighters back when Anderson Silva could walk the streets of Rio without being noticed. How many more fighters will this nation of nearly 200 million people produce now that the likes of Silva and Jose Aldo Jr. are rock stars? Not to mention there's been a spillover effect here in the U.S.: There seemed to be more Brazilian fans than American for Silva-Sonnen for UFC 148 in Las Vegas, and UFC on Fox 4, with Machida and Mauricio Rua and both fighting, managed to do what the UFC couldn't on two previous Staples Center trips: Fill the place.
So now that we've established Brazil as the No. 1 market of importance, an unscientific look at the rest (Although it would be make things easier to bust out Canada as its own market, we're counting North America as one). These are in no particular order: 2. China. This is for the same reason every other American company from Wal-Mart to your neighborhood local taco truck is trying to get a foothold: More than a billion potential customers. The debut show in Macau on Nov. 10 will make for an interesting test case. 3. Japan. Sure, the country's burned out on MMA at the moment, but these things go in cycles. The UFC's Saitama show in February show was a sellout and was well-received. Even doing a single show per year will help the company maintain a toehold and build a brand-name advantage in an upscale market for when things come back around. 4. Mexico. This is too big a fight-mad market filled not to start running shows eventually. I live in Los Angeles. I have a lot of Hispanic friends in town, and I heard from every last one of them, fight fans and non-fans alike, the day after Cain Velasquez beat Brock Lesnar for the UFC heavyweight title in Anaheim. And if you were there that night, you would have thought you were at Arena Mexico given all the Mexican flags and Lucha Libre masks in the crowd. Give the Latino fan base a reason a reason to watch the UFC and they will. 5 (tie). The U.K. and Australia. The mere fact they're shooting a "TUF" which pits the two countries against one another tells you they understand they need to continue investing in both if they wish to grow their market share.
Mathew McCormick (@Matttheofficial) asks the big question: Who do you think would win in the biggest super fight, ever? GSP? or Silva?
Based on what we know now, with GSP on the sidelines for the past year and a half and Silva clowning everyone in his path? Silva. And that's not even going into the size differential. I'm not breaking it down further than that until we see how St-Pierre looks when he returns to action against Carlos Condit.
Jake Schneider (@Canadianish) interjects: Could a short term solution to MMA judging be simply have more judges score the fight, 9 judges as opposed to 3
Good grief, Jake. Have you been going a little too heavy on the Labatt Blue? You've seen how badly three judges can screw up a fight decision, right? Can you imagine the bedlam that would go down if you tripled the fun?
Matt (@MattHeavyMMA) demands answers: What happened to the Twitter Mailbag?
Good question, Matt. I see all sorts of "mailbags" around the internet. I don't know about you, but the only things I get out of mailbags anymore are credit card solicitations and birthday cards from my mom. Calling reader feedback on the internet a "mailbag" would be like insisting on calling MMAFighting.com a newspaper. Now, a question for you, Matty: If it's called "Fight Day Live," why does it air at night on the East Coast?