411 Fact or Fiction MMA: Should Jon Jones be Stripped of the Interim Light Heavyweight Title?
Welcome back to another edition of 411 Fact or Fiction MMA! I’m your Lorenzo Vasquez III, and it is my pleasure to bring you another round of 411’s Fact or Fiction MMA. Before we move on I want to say thank you for your votes and comments last week. It is always appreciated. Last week, Todd Vote decided to try his luck against one of the best in the game, Jon Butterfield. They tackled subjects like Luke Rockhold leaving MMA for modeling, CM Punk fighting in the UFC one more time, and Donald Cerrone waiting for Robbie Lawler in addition to much more. Unfortunate, for Todd, it was not in the books for him to walk away with the win. Jon was able to take the lead early and hold it for the entire contest eventually scoring a 25-to-14 victory. Congratulations, Jon, and thank you both for your efforts and contributions. It is appreciated.
In this week’s jump into the realm of what is fact and what is fiction, former host, Wyatt Beougher, challenges the Supreme Overlord, Mark Radulich. They will lock horns as they dive into subjects like Jon Jones’ right to the interim title throne, Daniel cormier saying he’ll stand and bang with Anthony Johnson, CM Punk making $500k, and much more! Alright, you know what time it is. Grab some grub and get comfortable because it’s time for another round of, 411 Fact or Fiction MMA! Let’s it get it going…
TALE OF THE TAPE
Mark “Headshrinker” Radulich
Radulich in Broadcasting Network
Host/Reviewer/Columnist, 411 MMA/TV & Movies/Wrestling Zones
— MMA Alley (@MMAAlley) September 14, 2016
The light heavyweight champ is correct; Jon Jones should be stripped of his interim title especially if he’s trying to fight someone other than Daniel Cormier in his return bout.
Mark Radulich: FACT The whole point of any interim title is so that the division doesn’t have to wait an extended period of time for the champ to come back from a forced hiatus to defend the belt. Cormier got injured and that left Jones without a fight and the UFC 197 PPV main event in the lurch. Jones was and, as such, he should only have 2 options: fight another contender if Cormier can’t come back in a reasonable amount of time or fight Cormier. If he wants to join the legion of fighters aiming for MONEYWEIGHT fights, God bless him, go in peace my son. Please fight Stipe Miocic or Fedor in Bellator or a bear in the woods; I don’t care. However, if he isn’t going to defend the interim belt he won or he won’t unify the titles with a willing and able Cormier then he absolutely should be stripped of the title as soon as possible. As long as he’s not holding up the division or hanging on to a title that is ready to be unified I’m fine with him doing whatever he thinks he can make honest money doing.
Wyatt Beougher: FACT Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if Dana had told Jones that he wouldn’t be getting an actual title shot immediately upon his reinstatement after his recent history, which would explain why Jones has apparently focused his attention on Anthony “Rumble” Johnson instead of blood rival (and current UFC light heavyweight paper champion) Daniel Cormier. Jones is unpredictable, though, so it’s entirely possible that he wants to fight an opponent that fans have been clamoring to see him fight rather than a guy that he’s already soundly, soundly beaten. Admittedly, though, I’m a Jones supporter and I despise the current hive mind vibe* that Cormier and his oft-injured teammate Cain Velasquez (who, let’s be honest, has fought less frequently than Jon Jones over the past handful of years and probably shouldn’t be talking) are currently putting out, but even saying that, if Jones was offered a fight with Cormier and is instead pursuing a fight with Johnson, then by all means, strip him of the fake title that UFC probably never should’ve instituted in the first place.
*Granted, I don’t necessarily disagree with what Cain and Cormier are saying – that Jones shouldn’t receive an immediate title shot in the heavyweight division after coming off of a (pair of) suspensions and also that UFC shouldn’t be giving him a fight with someone other than Cormier when Cormier is healthy and billing it as an “interim title fight”. Both solid viewpoints, but I just dislike the way they’ve come across whenever the topic of Jones comes up. It makes it seem like Cormier knows that he can’t beat Jones and resents him because of it, and that his heavyweight buddy is just taking up for him. Cain’s comments feel especially disingenuous considering how many title defenses/opportunities he’s had to miss or postpone due to being injured. I daresay the former heavyweight champion has ruined more main events than the current interim light heavyweight champion.
UFC Fight Night 94 post-fight facts: Derek Brunson's first-round KO streak enters record book https://t.co/y9GV42vI6s
— MMAjunkie (@MMAjunkie) September 18, 2016
Derek Brunson’s impressive, albeit, a little controversial, TKO win over Uriah Hall and his five-fight winning streak more than justify his claim that he deserves a title shot next.
Mark Radulich: FICTION What a mess the Middleweight division is. Silva loses it to Weidman, Weidman loses it (after albeit quite a few successful defenses) to Rockhold who proceeds to immediately drop it to Bisping. At this rate Dan Henderson will KO Bisping again, reclaim the title and immediately retire. Any who, Derek Brunson is doing just dandy these days but he still hasn’t beat The Soldier of GOD, Yoel Romero or Jacare Souza. As a matter of fact he’s lost to both of them at some point in his career. Brunson is currently ranked #9 and has beaten approximately nobody at middleweight ranked 1 – 8. The man needs a high profile win and/or a successful match against either Romero or Jacare. If he beats say Machida and Jacare in his next 2 fights and Bisping successfully hangs onto his title after his match with Henderson, I’ll buy Brunson as a title contender. Brunson’s current streak is nice but it’s not about the length of win streak. It (for me) is about the quality of fighters you beat on the way to a title shot. If you consistently beat some of the best, sure, why not go for the gold.
Wyatt Beougher: FACT Though primarily technically. Brunson reeling off five straight wins is actually the deciding factor for me, along with the fact that he would be a fresh matchup at the top of the middleweight division. I actually covered the season of The Ultimate Fighter that Uriah Hall was on for 411, and like so many others, I sang his praises as the future of the middleweight division after he looked like a legitimate killer on the show. I was still pulling for Kelvin Gastelum to beat him at the finale that season, and when I saw the relative ease with which he was able to do so, I began to think that my initial expectations for Hall were greatly exaggerated, and the ensuing few years have basically borne that doubt out as fact. This was the tenth-ranked guy in the UFC’s official middleweight rankings beating the ninth-ranked guy, so it’s not like he pulled an earth-shaking upset or anything.
So, to clarify, I don’t necessarily think that beating Uriah Hall, especially in even a remotely controversial fashion, is all that impressive, and while I don’t particularly think that Brunson will actually get a title shot with his petition, his five-fight win streak is more than enough for him to at least be making noise about it. Who knows? Maybe singing his own praises will bump him to the front of the line if someone higher than him in the division gets injured.
— BJ PENN (@bjpenndotcom) September 18, 2016
Daniel Cormier is pushing the hype train by saying he’d stand and trade with Anthony Johnson and leave wrestling out of it. There’s no way he’d do such a thing.
Mark Radulich: FACT Oh he might try. But once Johnson starches him with one of those iron fists of his, he will default to what he knows best, wrestling. And why shouldn’t he? He’s an olympic caliber wrestler, that’s his bread and butter. Look, if he wants to stand and bang with Johnson for the sake of entertaining the fans I’m all for it. However, that’s not how he’s going to win the fight. There’s always the chance that a Cormier punch will touch Johnson’s button and send him crashing to floor but it’s not likely. And he’d be fool to take Johnson’s best punches and not try to take him down the mat and submit him. Sell that PPV to the rubes Cormier but you are not fooling me.
Wyatt Beougher: FACT I’d like to think Cormier is a man of his word, but the truth is, he’s a champion fighting irrelevancy that’s been brought on by his mortal enemy, a guy who missed more time over the past two years than he’s actually fought. And therein lies the power of Jon Jones – he’s had more fights cancelled since January of 2015 (two) than he’s actually fought (one), but he’s so completely dominant that he is the still the first light heavyweight fighter people want to talk about. And, as I mentioned above, with Jones saying he wants to fight Anthony Johnson (or at least being rumored to fight Rumble), Cormier boisterously proposing that he’d ignore his greatest strength to play directly into Johnson’s just feels like a guy desperately trying to take the spotlight off of an interim champion who still isn’t cleared to fight. I’m not saying I blame Cormier, but when Jones made a point early in his undefeated championship run to fight his opponents in the areas where they were believed to have their biggest advantage over him, this kind of claim from Cormier rings doubly hollow.
— BJ PENN (@bjpenndotcom) September 16, 2016
Jose Aldo wanting to fight Anthony Pettis if, Conor McGregor does not defend the featherweight title next, is the Brazilian’s way of trying to say he can beat the bigger man just like Conor.
Wyatt Beougher: FICTION Not unlike Daniel Cormier, I think Jose Aldo is just desperate to put some of the focus back on him after Conor McGregor usurped his press coverage AND his title. And in McGregor’s defense, he already proved that he could beat an opponent who had traditionally fought at a heavier weight when he defeated Frankie Edgar on two occasions, so claiming that he only wants to fight Anthony Pettis out of some need to prove himself just seems like FICTION to me.
Mark Radulich: FICTION I’m not a mind reader but I’m guessing here that this is Aldo’s way of wanting to have another big money fight (it’s all the rage these days). I’m pretty sure Aldo looked at the potential contenders at featherweight and said, “Who the hell are these people?!” Pettis is a former Lightweight Champ, he’s been a coach on TUF and he’s not drawing million dollar PPV buys, people at least know who he is and want to watch him fight. This is about money, pure and simple. I don’t think Aldo gives a damn about “beating the bigger man” or in any way comparing himself to Conor McGregor. If anything he’s studying McGregor and trying to figure out how he can sell million dollar PPV buys.
Former UFC star Chael Sonnen signs multi-fight deal with Bellator MMA https://t.co/GlkspMqs9y
— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) September 16, 2016
Despite, being a huge signing, Chael Sonnen is one fighter Bellator does not need and would have done well to not sign.
Wyatt Beougher: FICTION Were there other fighters Bellator probably should’ve pursued before going after Chael Sonnen. Probably, especially depending on your opinion of the former two-division UFC title challenger. That said, I don’t think Bellator would have been better off not signing him, for the simple fact that he’s still a more relevant fighter than Bellator’s current/previous cash cows, men like Ken Shamrock and the recently-departed Kimbo Slice. Bellator has not shied from the fact that those men were only signed for their name value and not any contribution they could actually make inside the cage, so in that respect, a relatively fresh Sonnen is a step in the right direction, assuming he didn’t completely let himself go during his suspension.
Mark Radulich:FICTION Chael Sonnen is exactly what Bellator needs. Bellator is stuck in a rut. Occasionally, they produce a Kimbo Slice vs Ken Shamrock freak show-type fight that draws a nice crowd and a sizable home viewing audience. But, more often than not, unless you are a dedicated fan or are covering it for a website, Bellator has become a second thought. It is the TNA (at it’s height) to the UFC’s WWE. The UFC casts a huge global shadow and it sucks up a lot of marketplace. Bellator needs talkers, ambassadors, hawkers, promoters and carney’s to drive of their market awareness and hopefully their television audience. Here’s the deal, you might have the best, most entertaining fights going but if nobody knows it’s on then it doesn’t matter. Sonnen has his own podcast. Sonnen has been in at least one (that I know of) mainstream Hollywood movie. Chael is everything that Bellator needs. He’s a salesman. Bellator needs him to sell their product to those that haven’t yet discovered MMA and those who have become disenchanted with the UFC. There’s a market for a circus out there. Bellator has become a circus. Now all they need is the right clown to tell the world about it. Chael Sonnen, is the clown Bellator needs and quite frankly the one it deserves. If he can draw new fans to the product then he’s worth his weight in gold.
CM Punk earns $500,000 for blowout loss; Conor McGregor says Punk earned his respect. https://t.co/0SojH5ZkrT
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) September 12, 2016
Fighters upset with CM Punk earning $500k at UFC 203 are misdirected and should be upset, instead, with the men running the show.
Wyatt Beougher: FACT Though, to be honest, I’d say there’s more than a hint of professional jealousy when it comes to other fighters’ feelings about CM Punk’s disclosed purse for his fight at UFC 203. I’ve mentioned a few times in the comments here on 411 and also in discussions with my friends on social media that while I don’t disagree that CM Punk’s next fight should probably happen outside the UFC, I also can’t fight the guy for taking the deal that UFC offered him. And while MMA purists have pointed to said deal as proof that Punk only turned his attentions to mixed martial arts for purely financial reasons, at thirty-five years old*, I can certainly see why Punk opted to make the leap directly into the Octagon rather than taking the time to build up his name with relatively easier fights in smaller promotions. There are a lot of farms near where I grew up, and Punk’s situation reminds me of an old saying popular with the farmers in the area: “You’ve got make hay when the sun shines”**. Punk is a savvy enough businessman that he realized that, as a guy with no combat sports background to speak of and a litany of lingering issues from two decades of living on the road, a few (reasonably expected) losses outside of the UFC would all-but-ensure that he would never fight for the world’s largest MMA promotion. So when he stepped away from wrestling and announced an interest in MMA, it actually made the most professional sense for him to take whatever offer the UFC made him, and it’s hardly his fault that it was so much higher than fighters with significantly more experience than him. In the same boat, how many of the fighters complaining about Punk would’ve turned down the money and taken a lesser deal elsewhere?
*At the time that he signed with Zuffa.
**For those unfamiliar with the phrase or its meaning, hay is basically tall grass that is cut, dried, and baled for animal food. Because wet hay will clog a baling machine almost immediately and ruin a farmer’s day, it basically means you take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to you when they arise.
Mark Radulich: FACT Nobody held a gun to anyone’s head in signing CM Punk to this crazy deal. The UFC wanted to make money off of his name and he wanted a shortcut into the premier MMA promotion in the world. Ultimately, this is the UFC’s doing, just like it was when they signed James Toney and Brock Lesnar. In all of these cases they could have said, “No.” In all of these cases the UFC could have hung onto their integrity and treated MMA with dignity. Instead, they chose to make money. They are the ones that ultimately decided to sign a sports entertainer to an exorbitant amount of money in the hopes that they’d be rewarded with several times the return. If you want to yell at someone in this deal, yell at the UFC management. They chose money over integrity and they will every time. If you don’t like it, as Ronda Rousey once told Miesha Tate, go compete in the olympics. Frankly, any fighter who didn’t see the bigger picture with this CM Punk deal and instead is kvetching about the money he made doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously in the first place.
So who won? Did Mark stomp the snot out of Wyatt? Or, did Wyatt destroy and overthrow the Supreme Overlord? You’ve got until midnight eastern on Saturday to vote, so make sure you make your voice heard!
And that’s it for today, but as always, we’ll be back next week with another contest! And please, be sure to vote!
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