No big, long-winded intro this week. Let's go straight into another edition of Fightweets on a busy weekend.
Did Miesha Tate overstate her case?
@JtTreichel I think Miesha Tate is overplaying her hand by comparing her pay to Rousey, and thinking she has leverage. Agree?
I agree with pretty much everything Tate had to say on The MMA Hour on Monday ... except the part where she compared her salary to that of the UFC women's bantamweight champion. Rousey has become a transcendent athlete like no mixed martial artist before her. She's earned every last dime of her superstar money. Tate doesn't measure up to those standards, but then, no one else in the sport does, so there's no shame in that.
But that's really the only thing with which I disagree. I was in Chicago in late July for UFC on FOX fight week. All week long, Tate was the biggest star to the people, from the open workouts to the weigh-ins, even though she was in the co-main event. At United Center on fight night, Tate got the biggest response of anyone in the card, including the headliners, T.J. Dillashaw and Renan Barao.
She does great television ratings, has strong social media presence, and has done everything the UFC has asked of her. That includes going out and beating Jessica Eye in Chicago for her fourth straight win and what was supposed to be a title shot. To not inform her personally that the bout with Rousey was being taken away her was poor form. To then turn around and expect Tate to go from a crack at Rousey to a Fight Pass bout is straight-up garbage.
No, Tate doesn't deserve Rousey money. But she deserves a whole hell of a lot better than she's getting, and if she doesn't get it, I wouldn't blame her for walking away.
Trouble in Camp Rousey?
@dpop2: Are we starting to see the beginning of the end of Ronda's MMA career? A lot of drama before her title defense
If Ronda Rousey's career was an episode of Behind the Music, this would be the point where the band could do no wrong, had a string of No. 1 hits, was flying private jets to gigs, and so on ... but the warning signs that things were getting out of hand were starting to pile up.
First we had Ronda's mother lash out in public, which at first, came off like a soccer mom who realized she no longer had control over her kid's every move. But her words suddenly seemed sage when the astounding case of Edmond Tarverdyan's bankruptcy proceedings -- in which he claimed unemployment and no income during the period he guided Rousey to unprecedented success -- came to light. Add in Rousey's reaction when asked about her relationship with the controversial Travis Browne, in which she hung up on a media conference call, and yeah, sure seems like there's the potential for trouble in paradise.
Whether this is the beginning of the end, though, remains to be seen. If this was to truly play out in Behind the Music style, Rousey would go halfway around the world and have her Buster Douglas moment next week against Holly Holm. Maybe these are just the inevitable speed bumps along the way and she'll make the necessary adjustments, which she's successfully done every step of the way so far. Without being a part of her hermetically sealed inner circle of confidants, though, there's really no way to say for sure.
Does UFC need to get rid of Vitor Belfort?
@HockeyandBeers: Is Vitor getting KOed by a Hendo bomb and needing medical attention & misses the post fight presser the best outcome for UFC?
I mean, that's a bit harsh. I'm not going to go wishing hospitalization on anyone. But I do think it's in the UFC's best interest at this point for Vitor Belfort to go off to South Park's Island of Misfit Mascots or wherever he happens to spend his time between fights these days, and never come back to the UFC.
The UFC's doing its best to put the testosterone replacement therapy era, one in which performance enhancing drugs seemed to run amok, in its rear-view mirror. TRT is banned. Legitimate PED testing is in place, despite the hiccups getting it up and running.
As for the faces of the previous era, Wanderlei Silva's been marginalized. Chael Sonnen is in the middle of his two-year suspension. Dan Henderson, who faces Belfort on Saturday night in Brazil, took TRT when it was legal, has never popped for a PED, and has pretty much just put his head down and got back to work. He's pretty much been the model on how you'd hope someone associated with a tainted era would go about business.
Belfort, however, has been anything but. Not only did his rampage through the middleweight division in his late 30s to become the most glaring example of an era in question, but his behavior in its aftermath just serves as a constant reminder. Every time Belfort fights for the UFC, it's going to be a circus like the one we've seen over the past couple weeks, where he's dodged real interviews (like last week's last-minute cancelation of an MMA Hour appearance) about real questions turned up by reporters like Josh Gross.
So, yeah, again, I'm not going to wish physical harm on Belfort. But the best thing that could happen for all involved would be for Belfort to just go away, something he seems highly disinclined to do.
@MorganWaltzUFC: Dave, with all these title fights coming up do you see any of the belts changing hands? Why?
Man ... the fun part about pondering this question is that other than next weekend's one-sided-on-paper women's title fights, every championship bout on the upcoming docket looks like it could go either way. Who knows whether Jose Aldo, having fought once in roughly the past 5,460 months, will be in prime form against Conor McGregor? Chris Weidman vs. Luke Rockhold has an "immovable object vs. the immovable force" vibe to it. Donald Cerrone, sure, he lost to Rafael dos Anjos last time they met, but Cerrone's a different fighter than he was back then and RDA is coming off knee surgery.
If I had to pick just one, though, I'm going to go with Carlos Condit vs. Robbie Lawler. Not because i'm counting Lawler out by any stretch. Just because I know both of these guys are capable of a unique kind of in-cage craziness and I would not put it past either to go on an insane flurry that finishes the other off. To me, that's a true coin flip of a title fight.
Reaction to Friday night's Bellator
@MorganWaltz (and several with similar questions): As MMA fans, when do we stop and say enough is enough with these retirement home fights. What's next, Butterbean vs. Tank?
Friday night's Bellator 145 exemplified the company's catch-22. This was supposed to be the tentpole event in which Bellator's in-their-prime fighters were the evening's attractions, not the past-their-prime big names. The card was capped by an awesome featherweight title strap between Daniel Straus and Patricio Freire, one which would have been on the very short list for a Fight of the Year in any year which didn't also have Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald.
And the public reacted with a collective yawn. Website traffic was less than impressive, and my Twitter timeline was about the same as a minor Bellator show at a casino, not a tentpole show.
On the other hand, the announcement of Gracie vs. Shamrock and Kimbo Slice vs. Dada 5000 in February was mostly met with derision.
Legends fights have a purpose, but they also have a shelf life. Bellator needs to get its homegrown fighters over with their audience if they're going to have a long-term future. Judging by Friday night's reaction, the company needs to figure out how to speed up the latter before the clock runs out on the former.
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