Here we are on the brink of the UFC's unplanned big weekend off.
But before you head out to a weekend of college football, barbecues, watching the 478th re-airing of "Ultimate Matt Hughes" on Fuel TV, or however you plan on spending your time off, you still want to talk MMA.
If you want to be included in a future edition of Fightweets, you can always go to my Twitter page and leave me a question, hashtag #Fightweet.
With that, off to the races:
The Thing That Happened Last Week
Becky (@AZSportsMaven) asks: I keep hearing about fighters unions: I think this situation proved they can "just say no" to a fight and have some leverage?
This has been one of the undercurrents of debate in the fallout from UFC 151's cancellation, with some of the loudest voices rather ironically coming from non-union newsrooms.
A fighters union is a noble idea, but I'm skeptical it will ever happen, for a simple reason: The stars at the top have too much at stake to rock the boat. This goes across the board in individual sports. There are no boxing, golf, or tennis unions of note. Floyd Mayweather isn't going to skip a pay-per-view payday in order to help Glass Joe get medical benefits; Tiger Woods won't boycott the Masters to help the guys who are struggling to keep their PGA Tour cards; and Roger Federer won't avoid Wimbledon on behalf of the better paydays for unseeded players.
In that framework, do you think Jon Jones, or any other MMA headliner who gets a PPV percentage, is going to make a stand for the guy at the bottom of the card making $6K to win and $6K to show? The opening-match guys have no clout. If they don't like their working conditions, there are plenty of other fighters who will step in and take their spot. Without the help of the guys at the top, a union would never get off the ground.
Chris Hansen (@ChrisHandsom) wants to know: Who do you think has a better chance at beating Jones? Henderson, Chael, or Vitor?
First off, Chris, shouldn't a guy who catches predators for a living be using a handle other than "ChrisHandsom?" Or is that how you lure them onto the set?
Sorry, couldn't help myself. On to your question: I think Jones beats all three of them, but I basically would put their chances of pulling off the upset in the same order you have them listed: Hendo first because you can never count out that big right hand; Sonnen second, because if he hits the double, all bets are off; Belfort, well, he's got a puncher's chance, but that's about it.
Jordan (@Slaykatzny) summarizes: Both the UFC & Bones should be deemed responsible 4 the doomed event. Bones is selfish & the UFC built a 1-fight card. Thoughts?
Congrats, Jordan. You just said in your first 118 characters what my friends in the MMA media and I took approximately 78,987,004 words to say over the course of a week. So I'll let your words be the last on the matter.
One FC the next PRIDE?
Justin Morata (@JUSTOSLICE) queries: Can One FC be as big as PRIDE once was, as the premier international organization?
I hesitate to say this, because PRIDE diehards tend to react to the suggestion that anything could ever be equal to their favorite promotion the way the special kid in "There's Something About Mary" did when you touched his ears, but yes, if the right circumstances come together, there's a chance. Not a high probability, mind you, but a chance.
Consider this: Japan went through its mixed martial arts boom and bust in the early part of the past decade. Then North America had a huge growth period. Now it's Brazil's turn.
One FC is beamed across Asian markets which reach two billion homes. Many of those countries have yet to experience their initial surge of MMA interest. I'm not saying it will happen, but with the the right combination of exposure, a charismatic native fighter, and smart promotion, it could happen, whether its in South Korea, China, Singapore, Malaysia, or another country. It's just a matter of whether the conditions come together to ignite the spark and whether One FC has the promotional wherewithal to pull it off.
New weight classes
Len (@R3d_G3NRAL) posits: Wouldn't it be awesome if there were 2 heavier weight classes for UFC like 235 lbs. and 195 lbs.?
I understand where you're going with this, but I think the last thing the UFC needs at the moment is more titles in the picture. Consider the three weight classes they've added over the past few years: Featherweight, bantamweight, and flyweight. For all the tremendous talent in those divisions, the only way the new weight classes have been able to draw big is when they've put Urijah Faber on the bill. And his stardom came partly because Versus may as well have been The Faber Channel during the WEC's heyday, a luxury that isn't possible today.
A generation down the road, there may be enough talent in the sport to fill out mid-heavyweight and what may as well be called "Franklinweight" divisions. But for now, the UFC is still in the process of familiarizing consumers with a trio of divisions that are loaded with talent. It would be wise to continue focusing on those efforts in the foreseeable future instead of adding more belts to the mix.
Suzanne Davis (@SoozieCuzie) asks: Varner/Lauzon, Fight of the Year, in my opinion. But what is with the recent trend of calling your own timeout?
I still give Chan Sung Jung vs. Dustin Poirier Fight of the Year honors over Lauzon-Varner, but really, it's like trying to pick your favorite Picasso. As to your question ... you know, I haven't gone back and looked at tapes or anything, but I've covered my fair share of Jamie Varner fights over the years. And Varner seems like one of those fighters, along with James Irvin, who for whatever reason always seems to have weird stuff go down when he fights. If Varner isn't calling time, then he's either being fouled (Donald Cerrone drilling him in the head with a knee while he was downed; Kamal Shalorus hitting him with three low blows in their WEC draw) or he's being called for obscure rules violations (like his UFC 62 loss to Hermes Franca, which to this day remains the only time I've seen a fighter docked a point for running in a fight I've covered live). I can't pin this to any rational cause.
As for fighters trying to use a timeout, I mean, sometimes it works, even though it shouldn't, you know? But sometimes it doesn't. Just ask Gabriel Gonzaga, who called a timeout in his title shot against Randy Couture at UFC 74 after Couture busted his nose, got lectured by Herb Dean for doing so once Dean realized he was had, then got TKOd into career oblivion. Bottom line is, you take your chances when you get cute with the rules.
Dana Becker (@DanaBecker) Early prediction for winner of next season of TUF?
TUF predictions, ehh? OK, here's what I foresee: A bunch of dudes will hang around a house and train. They'll slowly lose their minds as they're deprived contact from the outside world and kept away from women. Something wacky and outrageous will happen midway through the show, which will cause Dana White to drop in and give everyone a stern lecture. The coaches will start getting on each others' nerves right around the time to start promoting the coaches' fight, and eventually we'll wind our way to the Finale.
From there, the winner, if he's lucky, becomes the next Ryan Bader or John Dodson and has some career upside. If not, he becomes one of those Facebook prelim guys you need to look up on Wikipedia to remember which season they won. As for a winner ... hmmm ... I just called up Luke Thomas' story listing the roster, closed my eyes, pointed my finger at my screen, and landed on the interestingly named Leo Kuntz of Bismarck, N.D. There's my pick.
UFC returns to England
Tomo James (@Tomo_658) asks: What do u think of the fights on UFC Fuel 5? I think it's a good card and I'm from Nottingham too so it's on my doorstep!
Wait, what? You want to talk about fights? How novel.
UFC Nottingham on Sept. 29 isn't the most star-power driven card of 2012, but if you look at the actual lineup, I think you're in for a solid night of fights. Stefan Struve against Stipe Miocic is the main event. Struve's last three losses have been knockouts at the hands of Travis Browne, Roy Nelson and Junior dos Santos. The unbeaten Miocic is a striker, but Struve is big step up in competition. Good test for both. Dan Hardy should roll over Amir Sadollah, which if nothing else should make a festive atmosphere in Hardy's hometown. Brad Pickett and Yves Jabouin are a pair of fighters who both finally seem to be living up to their potential. And Paul Sass-Matt Wiman is a good stylistic matchup. Again, the show is not exactly Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre from a headline perspective, but if you look at the card, on paper it looks like you'll get your money's worth.
Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar
@Asylum_Rule asks: Some talk that this Koch injury is a little too timely. Do u think it was played up to get the Frankie match up?
On one hand, I can't blame anyone for wanting to play conspiracy theorist after everything that transpired last week. On the other, I mean, man ... if people are looking at reasons to complain after we've been handed a fight many have wanted to see for years, then they really do need to shut off their computer, get outdoors, and enjoy their Labor Day weekend.