411 Fact or Fiction MMA: Who Should be Ronda Rousey’s Comeback Fight?
Welcome back to another edition of 411 Fact or Fiction MMA! I’m your host, Lorenzo Vasquez III, and it is my pleasure to bring to you the fact and the fiction swirling around in this sport we call mixed martial arts. But, before we move on, I want to thank you for your votes and comments last week. It is appreciated and encouraged. Last week, Wyatt Beougher and Mark Radulich squared off as they jumped right into subjects like stripping Jon Jones of his interim title, Derek Brunson earning a title shot, and Bellator signing Chael Sonnen in addition to more. Both men made valid points. They dug in deep and brought everything but the kitchen sink. When the dust settled Mark was left standing. Mr. Radulich picked up the 22-to-15 victory. Great effort by both individuals. Congratulations Mark and thank you both for your contributions.
This week, your host of the 411 Ground and Pound Radio Show, Robert “The Last Rider” Winfree, steps up in an effort to upend the undefeated Dino Zee. With all the shenanigans of the past week this looks to be an unrivaled affair as both jump into the fire to discuss Ronda Rousey’s comeback fight, the UFC not wanting to match Conor McGregor with Eddie Alvarez, Roy Nelson kicking John McCarthy, and much more! You know what time it is. Yes, you do. Get that grub, have a seat, and get comfortable because it’s time for another round of, 411 Fact or Fiction MMA! Let’s get the show going…
TALE OF THE TAPE
Robert “The Last Rider” Winfree
Contributor/Live Coverage Guru/Host, 411 MMA Zone/411 Ground and Pound Radio Show
Dino “Salad Bar” Zee
Contributor, 411 Wrestling Zone
— BJ PENN (@bjpenndotcom) September 23, 2016
In regards, to Ronda Rousey’s return, the former champion should have a warm-up fight first before getting a title shot against Amanda Nunes or, whoever is the champ is by the time that story begins to play out.
Robert Winfree: FACT I’m going to be taking a fair amount of theoretical stances this week rather than practical. Ronda Rousey hasn’t fought in nearly a year already, and her return would likely be either the year end show that is UFC 207 or whatever numbered event corresponds with the Super Bowl for early 2017 all but guaranteeing a layoff of over a year. Any fighter with that kind of layoff usually needs a bit of a warm up fight, more so in Rousey’s case as her time away hasn’t been injury related but is entirely self imposed. Rousey is an emotional fighter and after suffering a traumatizing defeat in front of a huge audience giving her a relatively easy opponent rather than a title fight wouldn’t go amiss in rebuilding her confidence. Rousey’s return will draw regardless of the opponent so it doesn’t have to be against the champion to draw money, after this much time off putting her in there against someone other than the theoretically best fighter in the division makes plenty of sense. Practically the UFC will put her back in the title mix, she is a former champion and still a tremendous fighter, but giving her a tune up fight makes a bit more sense from where I sit.
Dino Zee: FICTION This is the question where I probably lose immediately, but so be it. Holly Holm is on a two fight losing streak, so even if there is intrigue in a rematch, she’s actually managed to fall farther than Ronda has at this point, and both need a little luster added before going for that fight. The third Tate fight will always be there, but why do it now, with absolutely zero stakes? That leaves the rest of the bantamweights, where Rousey already proved to be better than pretty much all of them. All except for, of course, Amanda Nunes, the champ. So, while it may be unpopular, as long as Nunes is the champ, I say just go for Rousey/Nunes. No, Rousey most certainly didn’t earn an immediate title rematch after her performance against Holm, but the circumstances don’t really leave anything better. Rousey/Nunes will most likely be the fight, and I don’t think giving Rousey a warm-up fight – unless they actually go for the Holm rematch which, again, I don’t see happening right now – is the right play. It is truly a sad and shocking day when the UFC makes a fight based on intrigue and attention.
— BJ PENN (@bjpenndotcom) September 22, 2016
With all the drama between the UFC, Eddie Alvarez, and Conor McGregor—the UFC claiming McGregor is still hurt and McGregor denying the claim, claims Alvarez hasn’t been offered the fight or that he was asking for too much money, etc.—making a Alvarez vs. McGregor fight at UFC 205 seem less likely, you get the feeling the UFC does not want McGregor to fight Alvarez just yet.
(Note: This statement was sent out before news broke of Alvarez vs. McGregor becoming the offical headliner for UFC 205.)
Robert Winfree: FICTION I was going fact until the final caveat because I don’t get the sense that the UFC wants to wait on McGregor and Alvarez. Dana White has publicly stated that McGregor will defend the featherweight title, but since we have no corroborating evidence I tend not to take him at face value. The current bit of drama is unfortunate but hardly unexpected given the number of moving parts involved here. The lightweight division has at least two ready and viable contenders in Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson, plus Donald Cerrone holds a win over Alvarez and would likely happily make the weight cut for a title shot. On the other hand is Conor McGregor, who has yet to log a single title defense yet has so transcended the sport that certain concessions to him are only logical. The reality is that giving McGregor a chance to make history and become the only simultaneous two division champion in UFC history makes tons of sense, it’s a tremendous hook for the audience and McGregor’s celebrity status would further drive the buy rate for that kind of event. The UFC really wants to make that fight, they’re just negotiating in public and the reality is that Eddie Alvarez isn’t necessary to drive the business up for that fight, the lightweight champion could be anyone and get essentially the same box office draw.
Dino Zee: FICTION Just a couple days ago, I would have gone a hard FACT on this one, believing that the UFC was actually going to make its Featherweight Champion defend his Featherweight Championship after two fights outside the division, but, silly me, I should have known better. Yes, 205 was still missing that huge fight we’d all assumed it’d have. Now with the announcement that these two will be meeting as 205’s Main Event, this fight is ON!
— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) September 27, 2016
The UFC will have to release Roy Nelson for his actions against the referee, John McCarthy.
Robert Winfree: FICTION They likely should and probably will, but last I checked there’s nothing legally binding in the language of the UFC’s contracts that mandate the release of a fighter for what Nelson did. This is a technical fiction but a fiction, none the less.
Dino Zee: FICTION If everything’s equal, then he has to be punished under the Jason High Protocol of 2014. And so, I say “fact.” However, we know that this company never treats everything the same, and since Roy Nelson is more popular than High was, I can see UFC keeping him. However, a push of frustration is hardly the same as a kick, and so, I feel that Nelson’s actions were actually worse, and again, should probably lead to him being cut. So, why “Fiction”? Because the UFC doesn’t “have” to do anything that they don’t want to, and if they don’t want to cut Roy, they won’t. It’s as simple as that. He should, based on past instances, be cut, but yeah, I don’t see it happening.
— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) September 26, 2016
Cris Cyborg should not fight at 140-pounds again unless it’s for a super fight with Ronda Rousey or, even the women’s bantamweight champion. And, if the UFC still wants to put on Cris Cyborg fights, it’s time for them to bring in some true 145-pounders.
Dino Zee: FACT The hoops they make Cyborg jump through are, at this point, ludicrous. There’s no Rousey fight on the horizon, and there’s no plans for a 145 division, and Cyborg has said most recently (so please save old quotes) that she cannot and will not makes 135. So, what’s the point? If we’re bringing her in to main event a show, as was the case vs. Lina Lansberg, then just let her fight at 145. She’s doing the favor here, saving a card that had no main event. Why does she have to do this unnecessary cut? I’m not Cyborg’s biggest fan, but this has gotten ridiculous. When we were trying to see if she could drop to 135, the fights at 140 made sense. Now, though? Absolutely not. And if the UFC doesn’t want to make things easy for her, then just let her worry about her 145 Invicta Championship instead.
Robert Winfree: FACT For several reasons Cris Cyborg can’t make 135 pounds. In a similar way that Jose Aldo can’t make 135, or Luke Rockhold can’t make 170, the notion of her dropping down to bantamweight simply has to be put to bed and left there. That doesn’t preclude her continued appearances for the UFC, it doesn’t mean the UFC needs to create a full featherweight division, it just means that further fights involving her should be at featherweight. Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm both have fought successfully at 145 pounds, Miesha Tate wouldn’t have to cut weight for a fight there, it’s really not a complicated situation. If someone wants the chance for a big payday against Cyborg it just has to be at 145, it’s not like that’s her walk around weight either, cutting to featherweight is hard for Cyborg. Cyborg will still draw interest, other fighters could still potentially beat her, money will still be made by all parties. This isn’t nearly as complicated as much of the media or fanbase is making it.
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) September 20, 2016
Al Iaquinta made the right call to step away from UFC 205 due to the UFC refusing to rework Iaquinta’s contract for an increase in compensation.
Dino Zee: FACT While it is really hard to side with a guy who yelled at fans because they DARED to boo, I’ll cape up for Al here. If his story is even half true, he was hounded repeatedly by the UFC and Thiago Alves’ camp while he recovered from injury. This eventually pissed him off (can you believe it?!), and so he agreed to the fight when he was healthy. However, after sitting out for nearly a year and a half, he realized that most of his money was gone, and so he wanted to rework the deal, and the UFC didn’t. So he stepped out of the fight. I know a lot of us are in the “You signed a contract, you honor it’ mindset, but the UFC has proven year after year to not care about contracts, and to only be looking out for themselves. If that’s the case, then I’m never going to fault a fighter for doing the same thing, and looking out for number one. This may very well bite Iaquinta in the butt down the road, but I appreciate the moxie, and I love how easy it is to get him to fly off the handle.
Robert Winfree: FACT I’m taking another theoretical stance here. When an independent contractor is unhappy with compensation or wants to re-negotiate then no longer providing his services during that time is hardly uncommon, and that’s precisely the situation Iaquinta is in. He’s unhappy with the Reebok deal, and the majority of fighters should be because they really got the shaft on that one, and wants to be adequately compensated for the loss of income that it represents. The UFC clearly has a different idea about what value Iaquinta has so the two parties will negotiate and come to an agreement one way or the other. This is simple business. Now there’s a perfectly valid counter argument that as he’s not fighting he’s not getting anything, but I went the other way on this one.
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) September 27, 2016
With all the talk about money put aside, from a competitive and the-best-fighting-the-best standpoint, Eddie Alvarez vs. Conor McGregor is the perfect fight for both Alvarez and McGregor at this junction in their careers.
Dino Zee: FICTION What about Cerrone? Cerrone wants the fight with Conor, and he beat Alvarez. To me, that’d mean that Conor is better than Eddie, and so the “best fighting the best” angle would go out the window if Alvarez/Conor is made. Yeah, yeah, Eddie’s the champ and Cowboy isn’t, but at least this was settled straight up, and not via MMA Math. Alvarez vs. McGregor, with talk of money excluded, is definitely one of the best fights to put together, but I don’t know that it’s the “perfect” one. I’m still highly looking forward to UFC 205, and I think Cowboy will find his way in the cage against the winner.
Robert Winfree: FICTION The best challenge for Alvarez is either Khabib Nurmagomedov or Tony Ferguson, the reality is that Conor McGregor hasn’t won a fight at lightweight in the UFC. For McGregor, in the vein of best fighting best, it’s either Max Holloway or a rematch with Jose Aldo. Holloway has won nine fights in a row, the only fighters with longer active UFC winning streaks are Demetrious Johnson and Jon Jones, since losing a decision to McGregor and a rematch genuinely intrigues me; while, Aldo just earned the right to a rematch by beating Frankie Edgar. The fight between McGregor and Alvarez isn’t necessarily the most meritorious, it’s probably the best drawing though. Giving your biggest draw the chance to make history makes all kinds of sense and I’m not opposed to it, but the arguments in favor of it are financially based rather than being based on competitive merit.
So who won? Was Robert able to end Dino’s undefeated run? Or, did Dino ride into the sunset carrying one more win over his shoulder? 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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