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Morning Report: Judge Adelaide Byrd, noted for scoring Guillard 30-27 over Varner, commissioned to Aldo vs. Edgar

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In 13 UFC fights, Frankie Edgar has had his fate sealed by the judges' scorecards 10 times. The number drops to five when you narrow it down to his six UFC title bouts -- a whopping 83% for any math-challenged individuals out there -- and a majority of those five decisions have been mired in controversy in one way or another.

So, considering the numbers, it stands to reason that the Nevada State Athletic Commission would be interested in securing its three most competent, least provocative judges for the upcoming "superfight" between the former lightweight champ Edgar and longtime featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo, of which a decision is a highly, highly likely outcome.

Or maybe that's just wishful thinking. I say that because apparently, according to a report from MMA Junkie, one of the three judges who may decide the fate of Edgar and Aldo is Adelaide Byrd, better known as the individual who awarded Melvin Guillard the most bizarre and puzzling scorecard in recent memory -- a 30-27 over Jamie Varner at UFC 155. (For those that forgot, the remaining two judges awarded a 30-27 the opposite way, in a bout that saw Varner dominate Guillard with seven takedowns to zero.)

That scorecard wasn't exactly a fluke either. Byrd has a record of questionable rulings, which leads one to wonder, what exactly does an official need to do to fall out of favor with the NSAC? Particularly when it comes bookings of great significance, like, say, a heavily anticipated title bout featuring a man known for fighting to close decisions?

Regardless, the NSAC's decision is final. So it's probably best if we hope for a finish when both men meet in two weeks, lest we get another controversial Edgar trilogy started up.



Aldo vs. Edgar officials named. Judges Jeff Collins, Junichiro Kamijo and Adelaide Byrd -- the last of which is infamous for a recent, bizarre scorecard in December's Jamie Varner vs. Melvin Guillard bout, among other controversial rulings -- have been selected by the Nevada State Athletic Commission to score UFC 156's main event between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar, according to a report from MMA Junkie. Additionally, Dana White's favorite referee, Steve Mazzagatti, will oversee the anticipated title bout.

Jung eyeing return, title shot. Finally on the mend from a lingering shoulder injury, Chan Sung Jung, the "Korean Zombie," is targeting a return to action around May or June, after which he hopes to receive the title shot he was inches away from earning in mid-2012.

TUF 17 recap. If you missed the debut episode of The Ultimate Fighter 17 last night, feel free to catch up with a running recap and video highlights.

Sponsor pays Hawn after initial refusal. According to Bellator contender Rick Hawn, sponsor HTFU initially reneged on a commitment to pay him $1,500 because the CEO of the company, Mark Gingrich, "wasn't happy with the outcome or my performance." After receiving personal threats from angry MMA fans, Gingrich later decided to fulfill the agreement, attributing the initial confusion to a simple miscommunication.

Sonnen: Armstrong almost sued me. Midway through an interview on the Jim Rome Show, Chael Sonnen unveiled this anecdote about his mini-feud with Lance Armstrong, which, given Sonnen's history, may or may not be true: "He hit me up with the whole 'I'm gonna sue you' routine and I hit him back with the whole 'I'll kick your ass' routine. That's it, that's where it ended. I thought he was going to go through with the lawsuit but he did not."

Jackson believes Jones' kicks should be illegal. Speaking to ESPN, Rampage Jackson vehemently argued for UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones' oblique kick to be banned from competition. Said Rampage: "It should be called the illegal kick. It should be banned and it shows a lot about the fighter's character that he would throw it. How would he like it if somebody threw it at him and stopped him working for a year? I thought it was an illegal move."



NickTheFace, sir, you've done it again.


Next, Belfort vs. Jax. Make it happen, Joe Silva.


Anytime fighter introductions are 20 times longer than the actual fight, you know you've got something good on your hands. (For the lazy, just skip ahead to 1:57.)

(HT: MiddleEasy)


If you didn't catch yesterday's TUF debut, here's a little slice of what you missed.


Common sense says there's no way this is real. But apparently, before Corn Nuts were the official corn snack of the UFC, they released this radio promo.

(HT: Reddit)


Get the question right, she takes off clothes. That about sums it up. (Possibly NSFW.)


Remember when Glover Teixeira did this to his last opponent? So yeah, Saturday should be interesting.



















Announced yesterday (Tuesday, January 22, 2012):



Today's Fanpost of the Day sees Tkeaner examine: The struggle to gain the casual fan & keep the diehards

It is impossible to argue that the NHL, MLB, NFL and NBA have massive fan-bases. Many of those fans are repeat customers and loyal fans. The UFC, on the other hand, is still a growing entity just blossoming into his pubescent years. It is in a constant struggle to grow its fan-base and remain on or close to the forefront of the sports landscape. This struggle essentially comes down to attempting to win over both the "diehard" fans as well as the casual fans.

Allow me to use the term diehard here loosely, for the lack of a better word. The diehard fans certainly tune in to most or all fights on free television and likely purchase at least a few PPVs per year. They know every fighter on every fight card along with who is good in what discipline. They frequent the MMA sites such as MMAJunkie, MMAFighting, follow Ariel Helwani on Twitter, and preach MMA to anyone who will listen. Some even train themselves. The thing about diehard fans is that the UFC already has them. They have already penetrated that market. In essence, the number of diehard fans in the market is fixed. It is also much smaller than the diehard fan-bases of the other major sports.

The casual fans play the role of the variable in this growth equation. The casual fans are those who will turn into a few fights a year that peak their interest. They know when something big is happening in the world of MMA but other than that they don't follow the sport much. However, the casual fans are the ones that make the biggest difference for the UFC. They are the difference between a solid 500,000 PPV buy and an outstanding 900,000 PPV buy night. Obviously, the UFC depends on the diehard fans because one diehard fan will bring in more revenue per year than one casual fan will bring in per year. The goal is to constantly penetrate this casual fan base market in hopes of turning them into diehards.

This longwinded business lesson will help us understand a few things about some of the recent, potentially questionable, decision making of the UFC. Sonnen v. Jones clearly makes very little sense to the diehard fan but to the casual fan it's a fun fight with two fighters they know well. GSP and Nick Diaz, while not nearly as silly, are two fighters casual fans know and a fight the UFC can very easily market. The decision to wait for a marketable fight for Anderson Silva also seems clearer now. The company needs to capitalize on the opportunities to attract the maximum number of casual fans because it only has so many real chances to do so. They know that the diehard fans will show up because regardless of how questionable the decisions may be, they are still big fights.

The hope is that the UFC does not begin to alienate the diehard fan-base with these decisions. By continuing to put together matchups for the casual fan, they run the risk of losing some legitimacy as a sport. The NFL doesn't put the Patriots and Jets in the Super Bowl every year because they know it will get strong ratings. The teams earn the right the play in that game, just as fighters should earn the right to fight in the big fights. It makes sense what the UFC is doing and hopefully, these decisions will end up helping to grow the sport in the long term.

Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.