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Fightweets: Could Manny Pacquiao lawsuits affect MMA?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Manny Pacquiao and his promotional partners are sued for fraud. Reebok payout figures are released, and the troops aren't happy.

Per usual, the fight game's most savage battles are outside the arena.

So we'll talk about those, the UFC's Hall of Fame revisions, And hey, we even have a question about an actual fight, the UFC Adelaide main event between Stipe Miocic and Mark Hunt.. So let's get on with another edition of Fightweets then, shall we?

Potential repercussions of Pacquiao lawsuit

@Tmac27: Does the impending lawsuit against Pac-Man set a dangerous precedent for the UFC?

First off, anyone who spends money on a Floyd Mayweather fight at this stage of the game kind of deserves what they get. But anyway, Tmac refers to several lawsuits which have been filed in the wake of the news that Pacquiao fought last weekend's fight with Mayweather with an undisclosed shoulder injury.

Am I the only one who gets the sense that those involved in the class-action suits also would have been squealing the loudest had Pac-Man pulled out of the fight? Canceling the date, and leaving thousands of people stuck with the artificially high airfare and hotel bills, would have been a far bigger fiasco than Pacquiao pulling out with an injury.

I want to brush this off as a bunch of crank lawsuits that will get dismissed. But there's always a judge out there willing to award some dolt big bucks because they didn't know coffee was hot, so who knows where this will lead? If you buy a fight event not knowing the gamesmanship involved, you're the equivalent of the idjit who is stunned when they burn themselves spilling coffee.

So yes, if this somehow ends up in a big judgment against Top Rank/Showtime/Pacquiao, then it would have ramifications for the entire fight business. How many times over the years did Tito Ortiz lose a fight, then claim he had a broken neck, 19 broken bones in his foot, and a hangnail? If Pacquiao gutting out a shoulder injury and pushing forward with the fight gets determined a fraud, then the UFC would have been put out of business by now under those standards.

UFC Hall of Fame revamp

@ELCujorino: Well @davedoylemma If Uncle Dana is making a "Fight Wing" for UFC HoF then I guess Shogun & Hendo will be in it and then as fighters too

The UFC's Hall of Fame changes are a strong step in the right direction and speak to the sport's permanence. Instead of the current incarnation, the Hall will be divided into separate wings: Pioneers (basically, pre-Unified Rules), Modern, Fights, and Contributors.

I particularly like the segment honoring classic fights, since it neatly resolves what had been one of the Hall's most controversial aspects. Stephan Bonnar as a UFC Hall of Famer? A much-mocked idea. Bonnar's legendary TUF 1 Finale fight against Forrest Griffin as a part of the fight wing? Much more acceptable.

This could also pave the road for, say, someone like Matt Serra, who's not a Hall of Famer by strict HOF standards, to get honored for his knockout win over Georges St-Pierre. And yes, the idea of Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Dan Henderson getting in both for their lifetime achievements and for their legendary 2011 fight is good, too.

Where this will get interesting is in interpretation. If you're going to have a Pioneers wing, you're going to look a bit silly if you keep Frank Shamrock out. Whether a political issue like this gets rectified will go a long way toward determining how much closer the UFC Hall goes toward becoming the Hall of Fame of record for the sport of mixed martial arts.

Allow me to throw out another idea, here: Every legit sporting Hall of Fame has a media/broadcaster wing of some sort. While this sport hasn't been around long enough to merit a media wing, my MMAFighting colleague, Dave Meltzer, belongs under the Contributors wing. He's the only journalist of note who has been covering uninterrupted MMA since UFC 1. He was covering this when no one wanted to touch this. If that's not enough of a contribution, nothing is.

Reebok fallout

@DarrylNeary: Could this Reebok deal cause fighters to jump ship to, for example, Bellator just like Phil Davis did recently?

Davis' circumstances were a bit unique. He gambled on fighting out his UFC contract and lost badly to Ryan Bader, which limited his bargaining power. So Bellator made sense for him in a way it might not for others of his stature.

That said, yes, I do think some fighters who might have been inclined to stay loyal to the UFC would start to consider looking elsewhere, if the new Reebok payouts represent a big cut in their income. Ana Claudia Guedes, whose management firm represents one of the sport's high-end guys in Junior dos Santos, tweeted "Fighters who can fight out their contracts, should. It's that simple."

This doesn't necessarily mean competitors who have grown accustomed to making a certain amount of sponsorship revenue can necessarily stay at the same level in Bellator, since brands perceive UFC as the industry leader and aren't likely to cut the same deals with fighters if they switch. But with Viacom throwing around money, they could potentially make it up for lost sponsorship income in per-fight salary.

It will also be interesting to see how things shake out on the low end of the scale. If you're a hot young prospect, do you want to want to go to the UFC and take shorter Reebok money now, in the hopes of becoming the next GSP or Ronda Rousey? Or do you go with Bellator, make more in sponsor money now, and hope Viacom is still throwing around money by the time you get toward the top?

As much posturing as everyone's doing now, no one actually knows how this will play out, but it will remain one of the sport's most interesting storylines for the foreseeable future.

Fighters' union

@JtTreichel: The fighters need a union, I nominate @davedoylemma to lead the charge...but if not you, who might advocate for the fighters?

Ha ... there have been several attempts to put together MMA writers' associations over the years. None of them have ever materialized. So if journalists can't get their own act together, you're probably looking in the wrong place if you want them to lead the charge for someone else.

Ultimately, I honestly don't think a strong MMA union is ever going to happen. The only fighters with leverage in the system are the ones at the top, those who draw the biggest buy rates and have considerable fan followings. If, as a thought exercise, Conor McGregor and Jose Aldo decided at the last minute to lead a fighter walkout at UFC 189, then yes, things would change pretty quickly. But you've got about as much chance seeing McGregor and Aldo walk out on the biggest paydays of their careers as you do of seeming them team up to colonize Mars.

Likewise, when they were in their PPV primes, you never heard Anderson Silva or Georges St-Pierre advocate on behalf of guys making 6K to win and 6K to show. These are also, by and large, the fighters who will have individual Reebok sponsorships, so they're less likely to squawk about that deal.

If anything good has come out of the Reebok pay flap, it's that fighters have started talking about the payouts and costs. More sunlight is never a bad thing. A formal union might not happen, but public disclosure of what fighters were making in sponsorships now, combined with the power of social media, is a step in the right direction.

Refuse to fight?

@Zachmarcus: Can you see UFC fighters not wanting to fight until the sponsorship deal changes?

I mean, I can see some not wanting to, but when push comes to shove, how many fighters are actually going to follow through? Your options are basically fight and get paid, or don't, and you can't make your rent. For every fighter unhappy with lowball money, there are a half-dozen who would gladly take their place for the opportunity.

Stipe vs. Hunt-o

@RuckerYeah: Stipe Miocic vs. Mark Hunt. Who takes it?

A question about a fight on a fight website? You crazy, Rucker. I've gone back and forth on Saturday night's main event in Australia. And by "back and forth" what I mean is, my head tells me that time is going to catch up with Hunt eventually, and that this is simply Miocic's time, especially after going toe-to-toe with JDS. My heart tells me it's stupid to count Hunt out. However it pans out, it should be an awesome slugfest, and after a week like the one we've just been through, that sounds like just what the doctor ordered.

Got a question for a future edition of Fightweets? Go to my twitter page and leave me a tweet.

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