Has it only been three weeks since the last UFC event? Given the pace at which the schedule has moved this year (and will again, pretty much beginning with tonight's event in Maine), it feels like we haven't had a fight card in years.
Especially since years' worth of headlines have been crammed into those past three weeks. So let's get into this week's edition of Fightweets, where we'll talk about everything from Gina Carano's people engaging in preliminary talks with Bellator, to the repercussions of Jon Jones' injury, to the Jon Koppenhaver headlines kicking off a debate about sexism in MMA, and oh yeah, we'll even talk a little bit about tonight's main event.
Why would Gina Carano pick Bellator?
@sigep422wesg: what kinda SENSE do u make of @ginacarano going to Bellator?? Thats pointless, right?? Seems kinda dumb
Actually, I can see plenty of reasons why this would make sense for Carano: 1. Bellator/Viacom have already proven they'll shell out big money for select talent who can, to use one of the more infamous MMA phrases of 2014, "move the needle," and Carano will bring the company a huge buzz. 2. She wouldn't have to cut down to 135, which was a stretch of an idea even during her heyday, since Bellator appears ready to focus on featherweights. 3. She wouldn't have to take a quick-but-vicious ass-kicking from Ronda Rousey. 4. Viacom is far more likely to be receptive to the idea of promoting Carano's movies/finding her other work within their corporate realm. 5. She already has a good working relationship with Scott Coker.
Let's face it, by insisting on ignoring anything above bantamweight on the women's side, UFC left this door wide open. Now it's up to Carano to weigh whether what Bellator might be able to off would be of more value long-term than the huge one-night score a fight with Rousey would undoubtedly bring.
And if so, who does Ronda fight?
@johnsnow266: Who/when does Ronda fight next if Gina goes to Bellator? Holm broken arm. Cyborg in Invicta. Zingano fighting soon. Beat rest
Actually, it sure seems like Cat Zingano is the answer if she defeats Amanda Nunes at UFC 178, doesn't it? For one thing, Zingano had already been promised the title shot before she was injured and went through personal trauma. For another, she's got a quirky, marketable personality, which would help sell a Rousey fight in a way Sara McMann and Alexis Davis couldn't. And, promoting Zingano's undefeated record and airing the clips of her wrecking Miesha Tate should resonate with the casual fans. Combine that with Rousey clearly angling for a date on one of the year-end/year-starting blockbuster cards and the timing just might be right.
Jones-DC postponed; no title shot for Alexander Gustafsson
@mah2478: Gus and Rumble as the co-main event to Jones and Cormier. I'll buy the PPV right now if that was it.
Ding ding ding, we have a winner. Look, I can't blame Alexander Gustafsson for wanting back in to the title position. But it's a simple rule of thumb in the combat sports world: Challenger gets injured in training for a title shot, a new challenger takes his place. Champion gets hurt? The person who was preparing to meet the champ at the time he got hurt holds on to his title shot (No doubt, someone out there is furiously Googling, looking for examples otherwise, and no doubt they'll find a few. Congrats. You get a cookie. I said "rule of thumb," not "etched in stone").
I'm a little biased because I was more interested in Jones vs. DC than Jones vs. Gustafsson all along, but the former match has far more interest with the general than the latter and that's not about to change. I'm sympathetic to Gustafsson's plight. But I like what mah2478 is thinking. Put Gustafsson vs. Anthony Johnson as the co-main to UFC 182, and dangle the carrot that, since Gustafsson would be training anyway, he gets promoted to the main event if either Jones or Cormier fall out (in which case, after a second postponement, whomever is healthy is going to need to fight again to stay active). It's not exactly "win-win," per se, but it's the best way to cover the bases.
@auggie85: With the 177 & 178 shake up. How well do both ppv's do?
Short answer: Ouch.
Longer answer: I think 177 very much has its work cut out, but I think 178 won't do as bad as people seem to think.
The appeal of 177, such as it was, was going to be the whole "two title fights" thing making the whole bigger than the sum of its parts. Minus the flyweight title fight, you're left with the original main event, the bantamweight title rematch between T.J. Dillashaw and Renan Barao. The last fight between the two was an absolute beatdown and they went straight back to the rematch without rebuilding Barao, so the fight's a tough sell to begin with. Underneath that? Well, Tony Ferguson vs. Danny Castillo is your co-main. And two of the main carders don't have wikipedia pages. At least UFC 174, the card most point to as the most glaring evidence the UFC has become stretched too thin, had Rory MacDonald in the co-main.
As for 178, I actually have a gut feeling this card won't do nearly as bad as people expect. Granted, I'm thinking in relative terms here. Obviously, in comparison to what the card would have done with Jones vs. DC on top, it won't be anything to write home about. But, I think by the time the end of September rolls around, we're looking at, UFC 176 was canceled, a lot of people are likely to skip UFC 177, when fans get around to looking at UFC 178, it will be awhile since they've spent money on a PPV. They're going to see that 178 still has as a solid top-to-bottom card as has been presented all year. Donald Cerrone vs. Bobby Green is all action; Dominick Cruz's return against Takeya Mizugaki has intrigue; as does Zingano's return. And one gets the feeling when all is said and done that Conor McGregor is going to talk people into buying the PPV all on his own, even if it's just because they want to see Dustin Poirier knock him cold. I'm not predicting a blockbuster here, mind you, just a non-disaster, which is the best you can ask for under the circumstances.
@TokoBali2: Does MMA have serious issues with sexism, or are War Machine and the few fans that 'support' him just the 1/2
@TokoBali2: 2/2 ineradicable couple of loonies found in any group/subculture?
I'm leaning more toward two than one, but given what's gone down with both Koppenhaver (I'm following my man Chuck Mindenhall's suggestion to stop indulging in his "War Machine" fantasies here) and Josh Grispi in recent weeks, I can understand why it looks like the first.
First, let's briefly discuss the Salon article which made the rounds this week which referred to "the horrific misogyny of mixed martial arts culture." I'm not going to do them the clickbait favor of a link. The piece was strangely lauded in some circles for being well-researched, despite the fact there is no evidence the author spoke to a single woman who fights, trains in MMA, reports on the sport, or is in any way connected to MMA's culture. Or done any original reporting, at all. All this leads one to believe the author started with a bias and then did simply did a few google searches until she found what she needed to cut-and-paste into her narrative.
Of course, when even such lazy, cursory pseudo-journalism can turn up too many examples of men treating women in such an unacceptable manner, then, well, there might be some fire to that smoke. And it doesn't help when the president of the largest MMA company was making fun of Cyborg Justino's looks, or when Bellator's former boss hired Koppenhaver to begin with. The people who run the sport can set a better example by not engaging in such ridicule and by doing a more thorough job weeding out those with domestic violence histories.
Beyond the corporate level, it can be a hard thing to get a handle on in such a decentralized sport, where the cultures and mentalities vary from gym to gym. But I, and anyone else around the sport who has been here even a minimal amount of time, can tell you that the amount of good people far outweigh the bad; the number of women who have found empowerment through training are too numerous to list here; and the number of people who have matured as people through their MMA training far outweigh the Koppenhavers and Grispis. Even if it doesn't feel that way at the moment.
Which way do I go?
@TheBigJimShow44: Which fight should I attend: Jones vs Cormier or Silva vs Diaz?!?!
The logical answer to me seems to be "both." But, that said, I've got employers picking up the tab, and I know that most people don't have the budget to go to both cards if they're the ones footing the bills. Soooo ... man, this is sort of like, you have the money to buy one of the two hottest sports cars in the showroom and you have to decide between them.
What do you value more? On one hand, in Jones vs. DC, you have one of the biggest fights in UFC history, one between a fighter who has been all but untouchable and another who came down from heavyweight and is undefeated. And, by the way, they hate each other, in case you haven't heard. In Silva-Diaz, you don't have the title stakes, but you have the drama of the return of both the best fighter in the history of the sport after everyone thought he was through, against a popular antihero who is making a return after a long holdout. Throw in a fireworks-promising style matchup and we basically have MMA's ultimate fun fight.
If I really, really have to pick just one? I'm going with Silva-Diaz by the thinnest of margins. The deciding factor being that we're highly likely to see Jones and Cormier both participate in many more significant fights over the next few years; but for all we know, the collision between Silva and Diaz could be the last time we see either of them in such a spotlight. But I wouldn't blame you for picking the other one, either.
@RuckerYeah: What do you make of Chael's comments on Chris Jericho's podcast?
I think Sonnen is following the image rehab playbook to the letter. The first step was appearing contrite when in front of the Nevada Athletic Commission. The next step was to find some friendly territory to get his side of the story out in depth. Do you really think a pro wrestler is going to question him too closely on steroid use? He can disappear again for awhile, then make another appearance at a convenient moment after more time has passed. At some point, he'll get another television gig, whether it's a return to FOX or somewhere else. And once he's on TV, the charm takes over again. Will it work? We'll see. But America loves redemption stories, so my guess is that, it probably will.
Saturday night's main event
@LeonVegaSuarez: Bader or St.Preux?
Great question. Ovince St. Preux (who, incidentally, does not like being called "OSP," and I don't blame him, because who would want their nickname to sound like a ripoff of one of the sport's biggest stars?) has looked impressive in his recent outings. Bader has looked good enough in recent fights to make you think he might not be a gatekeeper after all. The winner of this fight matters in the light heavyweight picture going forward. I've been having trouble picking a winner, so I'm just going to punt on that one and enjoy the fight like the rest of you.
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