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Twitter Mailbag: Talking UFC's Schedule, Silva-Sonnen II, and More

Photo by Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Photo by Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

As we face a rare summer weekend without any major MMA events, the Twitter Mailbag returns to answer some of your questions, mock others, and just plain ignore the rest. Good clean fun, basically.

If you’ve got a question of your own, find me on Twitter at @BenFowlkesMMA. If I’m not there, leave a message and I’ll get back to you at my earliest convenience. Now, who’s up first?

Matt Giesbrecht @MattGiesbrecht
Do you think that Ortiz-Griffin is a good co-main event at UFC 148 or should they have added a fight? #mailbag

UFC 148 is that rare event where you could put Aunt Jemima vs. Mrs. Butterworth as the co-main event and it wouldn’t harm pay-per-view sales a bit. We all know what people are paying to see there, and it’s at the top of the card. The rematch between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen ought to drive fan interest all by itself. Anything you see on the way to that fight is a bonus, kind of like showing up to see the Red Sox and the Yankees play and finding out it’s free tote bag day at the ball park. You didn’t buy tickets because of it, but hey, you get there and you’re all like, ‘Free tote bag? Yeah, I guess I got some stuff that needs toting. Sweet.’ Am I saying that Griffin-Ortiz III is the cheaply-made tote bag of MMA? Yes, I am. Deal with it.

Christopher M. Karim @cmkarim
With Overeem suspended for PED use, is UFC sending wrong message by having him at fan expo?

Interesting question, Christopher. On one hand, here’s a guy who White insists he is still too angry at to even talk to, who he says lied to his face, and we’re going to parade him around these sponsor booths as if he’s any other fighter in good standing with the UFC. On the other hand, how much do you need to punish a person? He’s already suspended, which meant he missed out on a title fight and a bunch of money. Must he also be locked in the MMA attic until December? And if so, how are we going to explain all those weird noises when we have people over and he’s up there moaning and banging around?

On the other other hand, Frank Mir is going to be there too. He received a therapeutic-use exemption for testosterone when he fought Junior dos Santos in Overeem’s place. How much more upset can we get when the difference between the two is that one asked first and the other didn’t? And hey, as long as we’re pointing fingers, Stephan Bonnar’s going to be there. He tested positive for steroids six years ago, so the fact that we’re not concerned about what kind of message it sends to have him at the expo suggests that either we forgive and move on at a certain point, or else we don’t, but we still want a chance to get the fist-pose photo with our favorite fighters anyway. Either way, sins are forgiven when there’s money to be made.

Andrew Neilson @acneilson
is erik silva vs rory a more relevant WW fight than rory and bj penn? #mailbag

Absolutely. But then, almost any fight featuring Rory MacDonald against an active welterweight would be more relevant than a fight against B.J. Penn. That’s nothing against Penn, who’s one of this sport’s all-time greats. All I’m saying is a) he’s not really a welterweight (I mean, really), and b) wasn’t he retired? Just because a public challenge from MacDonald convinced him to get out of the recliner and take the fight, I’m not sure that makes it a terribly meaningful contest.

Steve Martinez @stevemteezy
How crazy am I to think Bj has a great shot against Rory IF he shows up in great shape? Big IF, I know.

When Penn’s in shape, you can never count him out. What I question is his motivation. What’s he doing this for? Money? Pride? Just ‘cause? If he finds himself stuck underneath MacDonald midway through the third round, I’m not sure any of that will give him the drive he needs to get up. Penn is great when he's gone through a hard training camp and he’s got a fire burning in his belly. When either of those things isn’t the case, he’s simply very good.

Gary LaPlante @GaryLaplante
Do you think the UFC will realize that their market demo doesn't want to stay home every Saturday to shell out fifty bucks, to watch cards that while still entertaining are watered down compared to years past?

In fairness, it’s not every Saturday. Sometimes it’s Friday. Sometimes, such as this weekend, there’s nothing at all. Plus, they aren’t all pay-per-views. In fact, it’s been almost a month since the UFC asked you to pay for something, so I have to think that if Dana White were here right now he’d tell you to stop [expletive] complaining, you [expletive]ing [expletive].

But okay, I understand your point. The UFC does ask its fans to give up an awful lot of what I’m going to go ahead and term "social opportunity nights" (that’s trademarked, btw), so you have to wonder how that will play with the coveted 18-34 year-old male demographic that the UFC is always talking about. Boring old people don’t mind staying home and watching TV every weekend. Young men are more apt to want to leave the house for some, um, social opportunities every now and then. Plus, as you mention, the schedule can only be expanded so far until the roster is stretched thin, resulting in weaker lineups. But that wasn’t your question. That was the premise upon which your question -- not to mention the questions of several others who tweeted at me in this go ‘round -- was based on.

So, do I think the UFC will realize that? If it’s a real thing that’s really happening, and not just a popular hypothesis, yes, I think the UFC will realize it. The numbers will tell the tale eventually, and the UFC has historically been pretty good about responding to the wants and needs of its fanbase. Personally, I think 2012 is the year the UFC will discover that it might be overdoing it. Whether it will take immediate action, and what that action might look like, I have no idea.

Ben Brophy @BBrophy723
how many wins would it take thiago alves to get back into contention?

It’s not only how many fights you win, but who you beat and when you beat them. The welterweight division is a mess right now, so even if Alves went on a summer-long tour of brutality, it probably wouldn’t help. He needs those guys at the top to sort their issues out, and, let’s be honest, he probably also needs Georges St-Pierre to not be the champion anymore. If GSP jumps weight classes, loses the belt, or just flat-out retires, Alves could be right back in the top contender spot with two or three impressive wins. Otherwise, it could be a long, hard slog for "The Pitbull."

Joshua @artsyfartsytwat
How did you find it going to a Bundeslige game?

It was great, even if I was bummed to get there and discover that the only beer for sale was non-alcoholic. Though, after seeing the way the Hertha fans reacted when their team lost to the worst team in the league, I started to understand why the powers that be didn’t want to give them a chance to get too lathered up. Also, when 50,000 people show up to see the second worst team in the German soccer league play the absolute worst team, it reminds me that Dana White has some work to do if he still wants MMA to be the biggest sport in the world.

tony woods @tonywoodsnc
is Glover Texiera as good as most people think he is and whats next for him?

I don’t know. Nobody knows yet, because he hasn’t faced top competition. Sure, he looked like a monster against Kyle Kingsbury, but Kingsbury, as nice a guy as he is, isn’t exactly the cream of the light heavyweight crop. I’m not sure if the answer is to try and wedge him into a fight with a former champion right off the bat, but let’s put him against someone on the high end of the top ten and see what he can do before we start printing up those Teixeira posters for our bedroom walls.

Ryan 211 @Ryan211
Will the recent list of injuries end up resulting in lower ticket sales? #TMB

Maybe not significantly lower, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s already resulting in later ticket sales. Who wants to book that trip to Las Vegas six weeks out when you can never be sure that all the fighters you want to see will be healthy enough to make it into the cage? At least if you go to Vegas to see Carrot Top you can be reasonably sure that it won’t be Gallagher who shows up on stage once you get there. I mean, either way you end up seeing prop comedy, so you probably get exactly what you deserve in the end, but you see my point. People like to know what they're going to get for their money. That's a desire that's simply incompatible with the phrase 'fight card subject to change.'

Brian Edwards @kayminsdad
What on earth gives for the Franklin/Silva PPF? I love Rich, ain't no way I'm paying $55 to see him fight with that card.

Two things here: 1) While you claim to love Rich Franklin, I see it isn’t an unconditional sort of love, which saddens me, and 2) Yeah, that card’s a tough sell. I don’t know what else to tell you.

Josh C @_allmyfriends
In your opinion, is Anderson/Chael II the most anticipated matchup in UFC history?

I’m going to be the annoying jerk who answers a question with a question: how do you measure anticipation levels? Is there a special sensor I don’t know about? Because otherwise, how can you tell if one event is noticeably more anticipated than another, and what would that mean, anyway? Let’s just say that, yes, I am really looking forward to seeing that rematch. Maybe even in the same sense that I looked forward to Christmas when I was ten. Isn’t that enough?

Morgan Waltz @MorganWaltz
How do you feel your podcast is compared to @arielhelwani's? Is there anything you plan on doing to improve the podcast?

I see absolutely no way that the Co-Main Event Podcast could possibly be improved upon. How dare you even suggest it. Also, Ariel has a podcast? Huh. I guess I should check that out when I get a free hour or five.

Jesse Raine @jesseraine
quality (or lack there of) of TUF fighters aside, is the influx of more recognizable names on prelims a good reason for TUF?

Sure, but only if enough people watch TUF to make those names recognizable.

Daniel Downes @dannyboydownes
Ok then, how weird does it make me...uh...I mean my friend that he was excited to hear this.

For those of you who don’t want to click the link, professional fighter Danny Downes has just informed us all that the upcoming remake of Total Recall will, in fact, include a mutant woman with three breasts. In other words, it will be true to the original in all the important ways. I don’t think a little excitement over news like that makes Danny -- that is, Danny’s friend -- weird at all. However, I remain fundamentally opposed to the very notion of a Total Recall remake. Even though I know I’ll end up seeing it anyway. At least now I know it can't be all bad.

Pedro Figueiredo @pedromfdo
Do u think UFC should make legendary fights? Would u like to see Marco Ruas and Mark Coleman in the cage for 3 min rounds?

Legendary fights? You mean old guy fights. You mean a couple geriatric dudes throwing slow-motion bungalows at one another's skulls. No thanks, Pedro. There are some sports where the occasional old-timer night might have a certain harmless, nostalgic appeal. Professional fighting is not one of them.

ash. @ash01
If Dana said TUF Live was the fresh spin on the stale series, what dose he say about the show now to defend it?

My guess is he doesn’t say anything. My guess is he points to last season’s dismal ratings, then does that thing with his eyebrows, then storms out of the room. My point is, if people aren’t going to watch, why kill yourself trying to do live TV, especially if it’s just going to end up in the TV no-man’s land of Friday night anyway? Personally, I liked the live aspect of the show, if only because it made it feel slightly less reality show-y, but because of the Friday night time slot I ended up DVRing the episodes anyway. So what’s the point? Doing the show live means asking fighters to stay in that house twice as long, and it also means fewer opportunities to craft meaningful storylines. The ratings tell us that live TV is cool, but it doesn’t trump bad positioning in the lineup. If the best you can hope for is mediocre results, you might as well make it easy on yourself.

TheKidd @VineStreetLife
I'll switch it you think Clay Guida's gogogo motor will negate Maynard's physical power advantage? I say no. #TMB

I think you’re right. Guida has done an awful lot with the skills and natural ability that he has, and anyone who gets a win over him has to earn it. But Maynard, with his high-pressure style and power wrestling, seems like a nightmare match-up for him. The oddsmakers who have Maynard as a 3-1 favorite seem to agree.

Barry Williams @vamtnhunter
Given Bob Sapp's recent run of dominance, do you think more top fighters will start training in seclusion?

Wait, are you trying to tell me that Bob Sapp trains? In what sport, competitive diving?

Money @Money644
i got a different topic for you. Is MMA your favorite sport to watch? and if so, what is your second favorite sport?

MMA is definitely my favorite sport to watch, though I do wish that I got to do more watching and less watching while typing. After MMA, football (the American kind) is secure in the number two spot. But here’s the weird thing: covering a year-round sport for a living has absolutely made me less enthusiastic about watching sports in general in my leisure time. It’s kind of weird. There was a time when I could have reeled off the current National and American League standings from memory. There was a time when I knew the Lakers starting lineup better than I knew family members’ birthdays. Now it’s as if that information has been moved out of my brain to make room for all the different weight classes Kenny Florian fought in. In other words, sorry for forgetting your birthday, Mom. Blame KenFlo.

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