411 Fact or Fiction MMA: Will Georges St-Pierre’s First Fight Back Be Against Conor McGregor?
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 you the scoop on the fact and the fiction swirling around the biosphere we call mixed martial arts. Before moving onto this week’s shenanigans I want thank you for your votes and comments last week. It is deeply appreciated and I encourage you to do the same this week. Last week, Dino looked to rebound from his draw with Jeffrey Harris as he and Scott Kuczkowski traded barbs over Georges St-Pierre’s return fight, Josh Thomson’s loss at Bellator 172, and the UFC Flyweight division losing Horiguchi in addition to other subjects. Kuch showed up ready for war as he stunned Dino early to take the lead. He worked the body and battered Dino’s legs. Unfortunately, Dino was savvy enough to find his composure and regain the lead on his way to an 18-to-14 victory. Congratulations, Dino and thank you both for your efforts and contributions.
This week, the only man to come within inches of defeating Dino Zee, Jeffrey Harris, returns to challenge another heavy hitting fact or fiction competitor, Mark “Headshrinker” Radulich. Jeffrey and Mark will lock horns as the trade barbs over Demian Maia opting to fight Jorge Masvidal, Bellator MMA’s dependence on older talent, UFC 209 missing the Diaz brothers, and much more! This is looking to be a barnburner so grab some grub and get comfortable because it’s time for another round of, 411 Fact or Fiction MMA! Shall we proceed…
TALE OF THE TAPE
Mark “Headshrinker” Radulich
Radulich in Broadcasting Network
Jeffrey “The Vile One” Harris
Contributor, Various 411 Zones
— MMA mania (@mmamania) February 27, 2017
With Woodley vs. Thompson II taking place this weekend Demian Maia should have opted to wait for his title shot than sign to fight Jorge Masvidal at UFC Fight Night Nashville.
Mark Radulich:FICTION You play the hand you’re dealt in the UFC and it’s best not to say “no” if you are healthy enough to fight. From a bird’s eye view, that seems to be operating philosophy of UFC management these days. Maia would have done himself no favors by turning down a main event slot in the hopes he gets the winner of Woodley vs Thompson 2. Also, the only certain in the UFC is that nothing is promised. There’s no way of telling for sure that Maia would indeed be challenging for the title next. For all we know, the winner of Woodley/Thompson would be fighting Brock Lesnar in a cage suspended over a shark tank covered in barbed wire next – you never know with these guys! I exaggerate but the point is that by taking the fight Maia clicks all the boxes; he’s getting a payday, he’s doing a favor for the company and if he wins it’s another notch on the belt. If the company wasn’t looking at him to challenge next for the title, now maybe they do.
Jeffrey Harris: FICTION Jorge Masvidal has a good claim to title contention now after his recent wins and starching Donald Cerrone. Demian Maia was right to wait to see what happened after the first fight, but now that the rematch was signed, he can’t sit around and wait forever. When you wait, there’s still no guarantee that a title shot will be there at the end of it. Just ask Rashad Evans or Dan Henderson. The waiting strategy doesn’t always work. Demian Maia vs. Jorge Masvidal is a tough fight, but Maia also has some distinct advantages with his grappling over Masvidal that could favor him for the match-up. Beating a top contender like Masvidal to seal a title shot wouldn’t be terrible for Maia either. Also, even if Maia did wait, there’s no guarantee he’d still be in the title mix due to the return of Georges St-Pierre. He could potentially get matched up against the Thompson/Woodley winner for an immediate title fight. Remember, even though GSP hasn’t fought in almost four years, he never actually lost the welterweight title. He relinquished the belt. Sometimes fighters should wait strategically. For Maia, this isn’t the time for him to wait.
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) February 22, 2017
There’s no way Michael Bisping is trying to duck Yoel Romero by attacking Romero’s past involvement with USDA and performance enhancing drugs.
Mark Radulich:FICTION Michael Bisping wants to fight GSP or take any fight that either ends with a big payday or lets him hold onto the belt a little longer. By attacking Romero’s past involvement with the USDA he’s trying to discredit him as a title contender. Basically he’s saying, “I shouldn’t have to fight this guy, he’s a cheat!” I know the impulse is to think this is akin to a wrestling feud where Bisping is saying these things to heat up the feud. He isn’t though. He’s trying to say Romero doesn’t deserve a title shot. I think Bisping and his chin know that Romero will knock him out and he’s doing everything in this power to avoid it. Bisping vs Romero has no upside for Bisping. He either loses his title and isn’t fighting a guy with big name market value or he keeps the title but gets his face broken and still doesn’t get a big name market value opponent. If this were about competition I’d answer differently but it isn’t and Bisping knows that.
Jeffrey Harris: FICTION I’m saying Fiction because of how the statement was worded. Look, the things that happened with Yoel Romero happened. Romero’s done some pretty shady things, both inside the Octagon and outside of it, in the past. Do I think Michael Bisping is trying to duck competition? Yes. He’s the middleweight champion. I get that he wants to cash in and make a lot of money now, but that also doesn’t mean he’s Conor McGregor and can fight whoever he wants. The UFC gave him essentially the fight he wanted in Dan Henderson, who was ranked No. 13. He barely got past that fight. Now, it’s time to fight the top contenders. If you truly believe you are the best and you can beat them, then fight them. If you believe they don’t have any advantages anymore due to USADA cracking down on PEDs, then doesn’t that favor you for the fight? Regardless, I don’t think Bisping is trying to duck the fight by making those statements because those statements are basically true.
— Emmanuel Sanchez (@ElMatador145) February 27, 2017
Bellator MMA must throw aside their reliance on older talent and begin to push and build their product on the younger talent on their roster because at this rate their product is more likely to stagnate than expand.
Mark Radulich: FACT Don’t get me wrong, they need their “older talent” to draw the crowds but they do in fact have to keep a steady stream of up and coming fighters on the undercard. I was just telling Winfree the other day that Bellator was fun to watch during the pre-Spike era when they were doing tournaments. I said that at the time the early tournaments were chock full of youth (in most but not all cases) and it was fun to watch these guys make their way up from obscurity. Now that Bellator has become Elite XC 3.0 (Strikeforce was 2.0) Bellator isn’t as much fun for me. I tune in to see the circus fights and then I mostly forget the product exists. If they start combing the regionals for some real youth talent I might actually re-engage on the product again. Ken Shamrock against a bear on a unicycle in a tutu is fine for the main event but the TV undercard should be all young, hungry fighters and prospects.
Jeffrey Harris: FACT They’ve needed to do this for a long time. Sure, the likes of Phil Davis, Rory MacDonald, and Benson Henderson from the UFC are solid acquisitions. But doing fights like Tito Ortiz vs. Chael Sonnen only gets you so far. That fight did just under two million viewers. That’s not even close to what some of the biggest MMA ratings are for Spike TV. Even Ortiz vs. Stephan Bonnar did higher numbers. I get they are doing those type of joke fights to get their eyes on the product, but they aren’t doing a good job of building their lesser known talent and making more homegrown stars. They let Will Brooks slip away, after he beat all of Bellator’s top lightweights, including Michael Chandler twice. That was a mistake. They should be doing more to push and brand fighters like Michael “Venom” Page, so when contract time comes they will want to stay in Bellator and not get enticed by a UFC opportunity.
I think jettisoning the tournament model was probably the right move because Bellator was no longer really holding to it. Not to mention, the former champions did not want to go through tournaments again in order to earn another title shot. The tournament system had become a joke. However, it was basically replaced with nothing but freak show fights as the anchor for the product. They need to push more solid meat and potato fighters and fights as well as branding homegrown stars to help expand and build their product. No disrespect to Scott Coker. He’s a veteran promoter and been in the fight game a long time. But, how well did becoming a distant No. 2 to the UFC with Strikeforce really go for him? Strikeforce MMA expanded, and they didn’t do the best job of it. They over-extended themselves and made big moves they weren’t ready to make. It was a model that wasn’t sustainable, and we know how that turned out.
— MMAWeekly.com (@MMAWeeklycom) February 22, 2017
Chances are very good Georges St-Pierre’s first fight back will be against Conor McGregor as it stands to be the biggest UFC fight ever to this point in time.
Jeffrey Harris: FICTION No question, it would be a huge fight. At the same time, something just tells me the fight isn’t going to take place this year or this moment in time. It wouldn’t surprise if it happens at some point in the future. But something tells me a Georges St-Pierre fight vs. Bisping is more likely in his first fight back than Conor McGregor.
Mark Radulich: FACT McGregor isn’t due back until the summer and UFC 213 in July needs a mega-main event. GSP vs McGregor serves that purpose. GSP vs McGregor does more buys than just about any other reasonable option on the table. Maybe they go with GSP vs Anderson Silva but I think that train has left the station. I’m not sure outside of the old die hard UFC fans, anyone watching the product right now would give a hoot about that fight. You also don’t want to risk GSP losing in his first fight back in anything but the most lucrative fight you can make right now. Sad as it is to say, McGregor is the biggest male star the UFC has and they stand to make the most money by immediately putting those 2 together. Maybe after, depending on how things go, you make GSP vs Bisping at Middleweight. But you have to do GSP vs McGregor in July first.
— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) February 22, 2017
Cris Cyborg should be disciplined for failing to disclose her use of a ban substance until after her positive test despite USADA clearing her and giving her the green light to compete on grounds of legitimate use under the prescription of a doctor.
Jeffrey Harris: FACT I’m not taking back a single word of what I said. I stand by everything I said in this situation. So yes, she should be disciplined. She did obviously commit a violation. USADA said she was in violation and pointed it out to her. Except USADA decided to be lenient in a puzzling move. Cris Justino was completely at fault for her failed test, and she should’ve been punished for it.
Mark Radulich:FICTION On what planet do people purposely incriminate themselves? Why should she have told anyone anything if she was using a substance under the guidance of her physician. I went on medically supervised diet, I didn’t run around my job telling everyone I was on an appetite suppressant (unless I was asked directly about it). I assume she thought she was on terra firma since she was under the care of a doctor. Furthermore, if she’s cleared to fight and she’s a big draw (which she is) why would they punish her. You want your draws out there drawing money. What purpose does it serve to punish her after she’s been cleared? Get her in the cage with de Randamie and let’s move on with this.
— Benjamin M Clark (@clarkyrock187) February 25, 2017
The UFC dropped the ball in what could have been one of the biggest pay-per-views in its history by not involving at least one of the Diaz brothers in a fight at UFC 209.
Jeffrey Harris: FICTION It’s sort of a random statement. The UFC has tried to put together some fights for Nick and Nate Diaz recently, but from what I’ve read, they have turned them down. They can’t make them fight at this point. It didn’t seem like either fighter was jonesing for a fight at UFC 209. Plus, UFC 209 is in Las Vegas. It’s not like it’s being held in their neck of the woods in the Stockton area. There’s nothing to indicate they were looking to get a fight for UFC 209 either, so again, it’s a pretty random statement. Who would they have fought anyway? Just book Nick Diaz in a welterweight title fight against Woodley? I’m sure Woodley would’ve loved that. But then Nick Diaz would’ve complained about fighting a wrestler. 209 is the area code of Stockton, so what? That wouldn’t mean they would earn more money for the card than a non-209 event featuring the Diaz brothers. I’m sure the hardcore Diaz fans would’ve gone crazy over it, but casual fans aren’t going to care that it’s 209 and the Diaz brothers are on it. The next fight for either Diaz brother will likely draw interest and money regardless.
Mark Radulich:FICTION I feel like I’m missing something here. The events not in Northern California. Nick Diaz hasn’t won a fight since 2011. As for Nate, I guess he’s got some cache with the one win against McGregor almost a year ago. And sure, who doesn’t love or love to hate the Diaz Brothers? However, the main card for 209 has 2 title fights, Rashad Evans and Overeem vs Hunt II. The PPV card is just fine the way it is. If anything, it’s UFC 210 that could use a little Diaz Brother sizzle. You’ve got Cormier vs A. Johnson 2 and Weidman vs Mousasi…and that’s about it. This is their first Buffalo card since 1995. Maybe the Buffalo locals are hot for the UFC in any capacity but if you want to spice things up a bit, throw a Diaz Brother or 2 on that card. UFC 209 is just dandy the way it is.
So who won? Was Jeffrey able to bring down Mark or did Mark walk-through Jeffrey? 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!
Do you have comments and questions you’d like to get to me, or statements you’d like to see on 411 Fact or Fiction MMA, shoot me an email at:
Also, follow 411’s various and sundry zones on Twitter for your daily 411 fix!