Since the week started, we've seen the announcement of the main and co-main events of UFC 160; the first title fight in the history of The Ultimate Fighter finale; the buzz build for UFC 157 and the first women's title fight in UFC history; the ongoing saga of Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos; and the minor little detail of the International Olympic Committee turning its back on a sport that's been associated with the Games since the days of the ancient Greeks.
In other words, just another week in the world of mixed martial arts.
So without further ado, let's jump right into another edition of Fightweets. If you would like to be included in a future edition, go to my Twitter page and tweet me a question.
@JBlazeNYC: Is it odd Bigfoot gets title shot b4 Vitor, considering how Cain beat him? Or is it result of HW div mess?
@JBlazeNYC: Yeah, before Vitor gets one at MW, his was a freak loss to Spider, Bigfoot was dominated
... oh. You mean "Why did Antonio Silva get another fight with Cain Velasquez before Belfort gets a rematch with Anderson Silva?" Gotcha.
Silva's getting his title shot in large part because of divisional circumstances. Junior dos Santos wants another fight before he fights Cain again. There's no way you can sell Alistair Overeem as a title contender at the moment, not after what went down (or more precisely, the way he went down) at UFC 156. Fabricio Werdum is tied up with "TUF: Brazil" duties. That leaves us with Silva, who, since his bad loss to Velasquez last May, has knocked out two top-10 fighters in Travis Browne (who might not be ranked now, but was then) and Overeem. Bigfoot might not be the ideal challenger, but he's a plausible one, especially if the fighter who manhandled both Overeem and Fedor Emelianenko shows up.
As for Belfort, "The Phenom" doesn't benefit from the same set of circumstances which got Bigfoot a title shot. Anderson Silva has a legitimate challenger, Chris Weidman, in his picture. The middleweight champion also has more pull in picking his next opponent simply because of who he is and what he's accomplished, and it's pretty clear that a rematch with Belfort doesn't hold much appeal to Silva. Belfort's also a hard sell as a title contender after dropping two title fights in recent years. And I'm not even going to get started Belfort and TRT at the moment.
All in all, comparing Silva and Belfort's situations is an apples-and-oranges sort of thing.
Dos Santos vs. Overeem
@Jacobshad: Thoughts on Cain vs Bigfoot 2 and JDS VS Reem for contender?
I pretty much laid out my thoughts on Velasquez-Silva up above, but I have to say, I do like dos Santos vs. Overeem. The script has been flipped from last year's UFC 146. Dos Santos is in the position Velasquez faced this time last year, as he's looking to return from a one-sided championship loss, in a co-main event directly underneath the guy who defeated him. And like Velasquez last year against Silva, a solid win over a contender puts JDS right back in the title hunt, and in this case would set up a monster trilogy fight.
Overeem? His legacy's on the line. If he suffers another brutal loss in his second fight back after his suspension, that pretty much closes the book on him. If rebounds and pulls off a win (and tests clean afterwards), he's back on track.
And of course, unlike Velasquez vs. Bigfoot last year, there's a real grudge between JDS and Overeem. All in all, consider me among those who consider UFC 160's co-main more interesting than the actual main event.
@Thracian_Books: What do you think of the UFC payscale? Is it fair?
Well, this was a sneaky little question. Thracian_Books is Brian D'Souza, author of the book "Pound for Pound: The Modern Gladiators of Mixed Martial Arts." I haven't read the book, but looking at various book reviews, it's clear the sport's pay scale is a recurring theme.
But that said, I'll take this loaded tweet at face value just for the hell of it.
MMA's pay scale might not be fair, but neither is life. Fighting for, say, $6K to show and another $6K to win sounds pretty harsh. But, if a fighter doesn't want to accept those terms, guess what? No one's buying a ticket to see the guy in the opening match. They're not producing revenue for the company. If someone doesn't want to fight for 6 and 6, dozens of others are willing to step up and accept the opportunity. It might sound cold, but it's simple supply and demand.
If you get to the point you're a salable commodity, then yes, you can score big. That's true for the guys at the top, whether you're someone like Georges St-Pierre raking in endorsements, or Fedor Emelianenko and his handlers, who made an art form out of soaking rubes for gigantic sums of money. It applies to the guys in the middle of the spectrum if you're in the right place at the right time. Hector Lombard scored when his Bellator contract came due and the UFC wanted his services. Eddie Alvarez will, too, regardless of how his legal situation pans out.
The people at the top make it big, the people in the middle might get ahead if they catch a break, and the people at the bottom fight for scraps. It's true in MMA and it's true in our capitalist society as a whole.
Champs likely to lose?
@Elcujorino: If you were to bet which champ would be most likely to lose their upcoming bout Cain, BenHen, Johnson, Jones or GSP & why?
Someone asked me something similar a few months ago, and if I remember correctly, I blithely declared Junior dos Santos had no real challenges on his horizon. So with that in mind, make of the next paragraph what you will.
I don't see the Velasquez-Silva rematch being the same slaughter as the first fight, for all the reasons listed above, but I still see Cain coming out the winner. (Unless Bigfoot unleashes those meat hooks he calls fists. Something tells me we'll be seeing a lot of those Overeem and Fedor fights between now and May). John Moraga, who is Demetrious Johnson's next foe, has good power for a flyweight, but I imagine he'll run into the same problems with DJ's speed the rest of his opponents have experienced. Not to mention, Johnson's endurance in the championship rounds is something to behold. Do I even have to address Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen? And I don't see St-Pierre having much trouble with a rusty Nick Diaz. So that leaves us with Benson Henderson vs Gilbert Melendez. Melendez looked like a fighter going through the motions over the past year or so. Bendo would eat that guy alive. But if the Gilbert Melendez of, say, 2009-10 shows up, Henderson's title could very well be in jeopardy.
Wrestling, Olympics, and MMA
@Dpop2: Do you think there will be mass influx of wrestlers coming to MMA now that wrestling is out of the Olympics?
Thing is, there already is. At a media lunch last week, before the IOC news came down, Dan Henderson was asked about MMA's relationship with wrestling. Said Hendo: "On one hand, guys are leaving wrestling after college to go to MMA, so that's not helping on an international level. But on the other, there are more kids taking up wrestling than there have in a long, long time, and it's because they want to learn wrestling for MMA. So it all equals out."
Guys like Henderson and Daniel Cormier deserve all the credit they get for their accomplishments on the world wrestling stage. But for every Hendo and DC, there are many more successful wrestlers-turned-fighters who never went to the Olympics, whether they be former NCAA Division 1 champions like Phil Davis and Johny Hendricks, or All-Americans like Chael Sonnen and Frankie Edgar. Hell, Jon Jones' highest level of wrestling competition was junior college, and look where he is now.
As Henderson alluded to, the more kids see wrestling as a pathway to success in MMA, the more kids are going to take up the mat game. There's no doubt on a worldwide level, losing the Olympics is a big blow to the sport. But as long as there are kids out there who see wrestling as their pathway to become anyone from the next Frankie Edgar to the next Cain Velasquez, one has to hold out hope for the sport's future.
@damonen When Dominick Cruz returns do you think he should be thrown in against Barao or McDonald after a 2yr layoff?
@Samsonmma: Would it make sense for Cruz to vacate the title, if only so he can get a tune-up fight when he comes back?
Interesting questions. It's generally taken as truth in this business that if you're the champion, and you've been injured, you resume defending your title as soon as you come back. But by the time Cruz returns, he'll have been out so long that the idea of a tuneup fight is at least worth considering. Still, though, when push comes to shove, he's the champ, and he'll have a well-established interim champion one way or another when he returns. GSP set the template back in November when he was out for 18 months and took on the super-tough Carlos Condit in his return fight. If it's good enough for St-Pierre, it should be good enough for any champion.
@RuckerYeah: So, what's Cyborg thinking?
Good question. The latest questionable decision is the fact that Cris Cyborg's press conference, in which she's going to give her side of the story, is set for 6 p.m. local time on a Friday night. That's traditionally the time when corporations send out press releases stating their disgraced executives are leaving the company, or news along those lines. On the surface, it's hard to justify why Cyborg might want her release, given an apparent lack of alternatives, but who knows? Maybe they'll surprise us tonight.
@Elcujorino: Why the f--- is Dave Doyle so f--- awesome? Haha
Dad, when did you learn to use Twitter?