After a hiatus in order to fully follow the madness that was UFC 157 fight week in Southern California, Fightweets is back. You guys and gals have plenty on your mind, from UFC 157 to the "100 UFC cuts" to superfights to the World Series of Fighting. Among other topics. So let's not waste any more time. On to the questions.
Okay, first I'll remind you to tweet me (@davedoylemma) if you want to be included in a future editions. Now, on to the questions for real.
Success of UFC 157 a surprise?
@ryan211: 157 PPV buys blew a lot of expectations out of water. Really? You could tell it was going to be a huge success a week before!
It depends on whether you primarily live in the MMA bubble or the real world.
As last week progressed, from watching Ronda Rousey on HBO's "Real Sports" to simply feeling the palpable buzz at Wednesday's open workouts -- which had a bigger crowd and louder reactions than any open workout I've attended in seven years covering this sport -- to the electricity in the air at the Honda Center from the moment you arrived, you could tell this was going to be one of those occasions that only come down the pike every once in awhile, where a fight transcends the MMA bubble and becomes consequential in the mainstream.
While all this was going on, the MMA bubble continued on in its own little parallel universe, where about five percent of the people make about 50 percent of the noise, but they're wrong about things they're yelling about roughly 90 percent of the time. If you stuck to Twitter last week and heard a million and one reasons why Ronda Rousey was going to be a failure as a pay-per-view headliner, then yes, you were probably blown away by the response to the fight. But if you actually got out in the real world, UFC 157's success shouldn't be a surprise in the slightest.
How will fighters respond to UFC cuts?
@CrazedfishUK: Does the UFC's latest cut policy mean we may see an increase in Schaub-Johnson fights? Can't get cut if u win!
I've seen this line of logic used a lot over the past week, but I haven't often seen it thought through to the next step. OK, let's say a fighter plays it safe in order to win and keep his job. Then what? The UFC's actions have made it pretty clear they're not going to go too far out of their way to push you if you go that route.
Sure, you might buy yourself another fight and payday. But the chances you're going to be featured on pay-per-view, or a Fox main card, or really anywhere except Facebook or Fuel from that point on are slim. Decreased visibility doesn't help you land bigger-money sponsors. And it probably goes without saying you won't see many of the infamous locker-room bonuses, either.
The Yuhsin Okamis who grind their way to the main event are few and far between. Jacob Volkmann was 6-2 in the UFC over his past eight fights when he was cut after a loss.
So yeah, playing it safe might keep your job today, but will it help down the road?
As for how this will play out in the Octagon, I think UFC 157 shows it's probably going to be a 50/50 proposition. Yes, there was Schaub-Johnson, but there was also Dennis Bermudez vs. Matt Grice. There was also the Nah-Shon Burrell-Yuri Villerfort slugfest followed immediately by the Jon Manley-Neil Magny snoozer. Who do you think is going to get positioned better on the card next time, Grice, who lost, or Magny, who won?
World Series of Fighting
@Elcujorino: What kind of future do you see for WSOF? Ray Sefo has a lot of MMA connections and UFC is downsizing.
World Series of Fighting 1 in Las Vegas on Nov. 3 brought in a gate of $82,000 while paying the fighters $352,000. I didn't pay as much attention as I should have in Economics 101, but I did absorb enough to know that paying out more than four times as much money as you're taking in isn't a sound long-term business plan.
It comes down to the terms of NBC's deal with WSOF, for which both parties have been pretty tight-lipped. WSOF paid for the air time on the cable network the first time around. Unless NBCSN is paying WSOF enough of a rights fee to keep the company afloat over the course of the three-year deal, then WSOF is in for an uphill struggle.
In the short-term, the threat of mass UFC roster cuts helps WSOF somewhat. A flooded market means WSOF can scoop up some quality fighters for shorter pay than they'd have to offer otherwise. True, it's not like picking up Volkmann is going to put WSOF over the top in and of itself, but simply adding fighters of Volkmann's caliber is a big improvement over the Travis Bartlett-type characters who appeared on the first card.
Fedor vs. Sonnen
@jpm9: Who wins out of @sonnench and Fedor?
In Fedor Emelianenko's prime? Fedor, easily. In fact, Fedor wins that one so easily, I wouldn't be surprised if you told me Sonnen was Vadim Finkelstein's backup plan if Matt Lindland turned down their 2007 fight. In 2013? With Fedor two years removed from any serious competition and retired for nearly a year? With Emelianenko's last big challenge being a loss to Dan Henderson, who's basically Sonnen plus a big right hand? And with Sonnen using TRT, like Hendo? Under those circumstances, I wouldn't be so quick to bet the house on Fedor.
Opinions of Dana White
@yannikyriacos: What responsibility does @danawhite have as a figurehead and leader? Does he fulfill this?
Umm ... a figurehead has no responsibilities. See Matt Hughes and his "mentorship" vice-presidency. Now, what type of responsibilities does a leader have? That's more a senior thesis than a tweet. Care to narrow the scope of this down a bit?
@yannikyriacos: Yep - does @danawhite represent MMA well?
That's better. Look, Dana is who he is. To refer to "the MMA bubble" again, outside of that bubble, the casual fans who make the difference between the UFC of 2001 and the UFC of 2013 love White. If you've ever been around for a UFC event, you know White will spend all day taking pictures and signing autographs for fans. The fact that he'll publicly take accountability if a fight card is terrible, like UFC 149, then go out of his way try to put together something to make up for it, is the sort of thing that's won him a lot of loyalty from the public over the years (Ever see Bob Arum say "The fight sucked" and promise the fans a better show next time?).
There seems to be a line of thinking out there that if only White would act as corporate and dull as someone like NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, then somehow the UFC would magically morph into the NFL's stratosphere of the sports world. That's never going to happen. You could have the Dalai Lama as the president of the UFC and there would still be a segment of the public which is never going to embrace combat sports.
But as much some try to parse every one of White's words as though he's a politician running for office and not a fight promoter, the fact remains when you strip it all down, this is still the business of cage fighting. A rough-and-tumble, crazy, warts-and-all, testosterone-fueled business. So, if you're talking about what the MMA business is, rather than some fantasy vision of what some would like it to be, then yeah, White's a pretty apt frontman for the industry.
Clippers or Superfight?
@Christopher_kit: Would you rather see Clippers win the championship or witness Jon jones Anderson Silva?
Ehh ... I'm a Clippers season-ticket holder and I've enjoyed the ride this season. But I'm resigned to the fact that when they go up against the Thunder or Spurs in the playoffs, Vinnie Del Negro is probably going to Grady Little this team at the worst possible moment. He's just not the sharpest knife in the drawer. And besides, I'm pretty convinced that Dana White is presenting Lyoto Machida as a title contender for Jon Jones specifically because he knows Jones doesn't want to rematch Machida, and thus he's nudging Jones in the direction of a superfight with Anderson Silva. So l'll vote for the one which has a better chance of happening.
@SlayKatzNY: Enjoyed your Roundtable column. Question though: Why no serious Struve/Hunt title consideration. Slim pickins. JDS, Werdum & ?
But that's the thing: Junior dos Santos and Fabricio Werdum are both still there. I guess in my mind, I see in Struve a potential serious contender who still isn't all the way there yet. Even if he beats Hunt, he still hasn't defeated anyone top 10, so I'd still like to see him take out an upper-echelon guy before getting a title shot.
I'm not as sold on the idea of Hunt as a potential contender, but will grant that if he can beat Struve and look impressive in doing so, then he's earned the right to prove himself against one of the big boys. Still, I think the best bet for the winner of Saturday's fight is to have him square off with the loser of either Cain Velasquez-Antonio Silva or JDS-Alistair Overeem and then maybe graduate to a title shot from there if all goes well.
@TheBmartin: Hunt vs. Struve - how do you see it going? Better than Schaub-Johnson? Please???
Compared to Schaub-Johnson, pretty much anything else is like a prime rib at Morton's. Hunt vs. Struve, though, is like when they come around with the dessert tray afterwards. I'd be stunned if this one didn't bring the heat. Then again, weren't we saying this about Schaub-Johnson, too?
The guy who will run over Jose Aldo
@Destroykillburn: This isn't question: Shamalahaev is the best featherweight striker on the planet, not Aldo. Wait and see.
Noted. When Shahbulat Shamhalaev steamrolls Jose Aldo, @DestroyKillBurn called it first. In the meantime, ShahSham's (yeah, I just made that up) next fight against Pat Curran sounds pretty kickass.