411 MMA Fact or Fiction 11.28.12: UFC Show Money, Bonnar In Wrestling, More
Welcome to another edition of 411’s MMA Fact or Fiction, and as always, I’m your host, Wyatt Beougher. Last week, Jonathan Solomon took on Alex Watt in what proved to be a close, well-fought contest. When the dust settled, both guest judge Todd Vote and I scored the bout in favor of “The Juggernaut”, and the reader vote concurred with our scorecards, as Solomon picked up nearly 46% of the reader vote. This week, I’ve got an extra special treat for you, as this will mark the first (and potentially only) triple threat edition of MMA Fact or Fiction, as Scott Kuczkowski takes on Todd Vote AND Alex Rella. And, because I don’t like making things easy on myself, guest judge Mark Radulich and I will be scoring each round for all three fighters based on a modified ten point must system. I’m actually grateful that Mark is joining me at the judges’ table, as he’s got real world experience judging, so I can’t think of anyone better to try this grand experiment with me than him. (And, for those keeping score at home, I actually made my Fact or Fiction debut in the qualifiers for the first TOURNAMENT OF GREAT SIGNIFICANCE in a triple threat.)
TALE OF THE TAPE
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‘The Man Without a Zone”
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1.) It’s definitely a good thing for the bantamweight division that Dana White has said that Renan Barao will defend his interim title.
Scott Kuczkowski: FACT Christ, it’s about time the UFC started correctly managing their interim champions. The whole idea behind the interim champion is to provide a means for fighters to continue challenging for the title while the “real” champion is out; not for the interim champion to sit on the sidelines for 9 months while the champion heals. The UFC should absolutely make Renan Barao defend his title if they know Dominick Cruz won’t be back anytime soon. I think the UFC screwed the pooch when it allowed Carlos Condit to sit out and wait for GSP; I’m glad they aren’t doing the same thing with Barao. While the Bantamweight Division isn’t as stacked or as deep as the Welterweight Division, not having the title defended for an extended period of time can really cripple an entire division.
Todd Vote: FACT Even more so when you consider how young the division is inside the UFC. Having the champ on ice is bad enough, but having him on ice, and then having an interim champ that chooses to wait it out rather than defend the interim title really puts a hold up on the entire division. There is a winner in every fight. You get a few 3 or 4 guys going on a tear and then what happens? You got a giant clusterfudge at the top of the division with several people having legit claims to a shot. Having the interim champ defend his title can help with that potential congestion.
Alex Rella: FACT Yes this is definitely a good thing for Barao and the rest of the bantamweight division. It was one thing for Condit to wait up nine months for GSP, one of the greatest fighters of all time. But it’s completely different for Barao to wait even longer for Dominick Cruz. Cruz is one of my favorite fighters and one of the top fighters in the world today but he’s still nowhere near GSP’s league. So Barao defending his interim title will increase his stock and make an eventual title merger fight more worthwhile and anticipated if he has defended the title once or twice. You know it’s bad when Barao got close to zero reaction from the Brazilian crowd at UFC 153. The UFC’s bantamweight division may not be the deepest but it definitely has enough fighters at the top to make for worthy contenders. Michael McDonald would most likely be the number one contender for the interim belt with Brad Pickett and Mike Easton not far behind. So it’s good to keep the division flowing and give Barao and the other top bantamweights more exposure with chances to main event some cards.
Judge Wyatt Beougher’s Scorecard: All three guys coming from a similar point of view, and while I admired Scott’s frankness and Todd’s point that a fighting interim champion can help to prevent a logjam of challengers at the top of a division during a champion’s injury, I’m giving the nod to Rella in this one, for pointing out that an interim challenger can actually improve his stock and directly improve the perception of his eventual title fight with the champion by successfully defending his interim title. 10 – Rella, 9 – Vote, 9 – Kuczkowski
Judge Mark Radulich’s Scorecard: 10 – Rella, 9 – Kuch, 8 – Vote; Rella easily gave the best and most complete answer. All of the writers are correct in their assertion that making the interim champion defend his belt is the right thing to do but Rella (and to a lesser extent Kuch) went into detail about how that might play out. Plus, Rella and Kuch noted how Barao is not Condit and that allowing Condit to sit and wait for GSP set a bad precedent that the brass must now correct in Barao. Well done fellas!
2.) The recent spate of the UFC paying its fighters show money (and sometimes bonuses) in the event of injuries or other personal situations is a positive trend for the sport, even if it won’t silence the Zuffa detractors.
Alex Rella: FACT It’s always nice to see Dana White going out of his way to help out his fighters. We’ve seen it happen recently with Dennis Hallman having to back out of his fight with his personal issues and at UFC 154 when Ring got sick. Unfortunately unforeseen events do happen and sometimes it could really hurt a fighter and his family financially, so White giving a payout is really considerate of him and it won’t hurt the UFC at all. I don’t see it silencing the detractors at all as there will always be people that complain that the UFC doesn’t take care of its fighters. Also this hasn’t been a consistent thing. Maldonado got a large bonus when he stepped in on short notice and lost his third fight in a row but DaMarques Johnson did the same thing and got released afterwards. So it is a positive trend but it is still a little flawed.
Todd Vote: FACT This is a very nice thing for the brass at Zuffa to do. Knowing how much some of these guys make, and how much it costs them to train for 6 weeks to get ready for a fight, it’s got to be heartbreaking for these fighters. So Zuffa offering the money to them, due to something that they really couldn’t control, is a very cool move on their part. But they also need to not make it a complete habit that someone gets paid even if they are injured. You just know that somewhere down the line, this is going to happen, then it is going to come out that the “injured” or “sick” fighter faked it just so he could get paid, and not have to fight. Then the guys who actually do get injured or sick at the last second will be screwed because some douchebag tried to take advantage of things.
Scott Kuczkowski: FACT But before I support this, I guess I should clarify that each situation should be treated separately. If a fighter’s opponent gets injured or cannot compete, then I agree with paying the uninjured fighter, especially if he went through an entire training camp and was on schedule to make weight for the fight. It sucks that a fighter could prepare for 12 or 16 weeks for a fight and be told the week of the fight that his opponent is injured or has fallen ill after weigh-ins, so I agree with the UFC paying the fighter their show-money. However; I do not think the UFC should just make it a standard policy that this is how they will handle business. I think the UFC should instead get in the practice of having back-up fighters for most of their cards. These backup fighters would be able to step in and fight in the event someone gets injured. Of course, the backup opponent would be known to both of the originally scheduled fighters. Until the UFC can get on board with this, paying the uninjured fighter is probably the best route to go (as long as this doesn’t get abused).
Judge Wyatt Beougher’s Scorecard: All three guys said “Fact” here, but they’re all over the spectrum in their responses – Rella is the voice of optimism, Todd is the voice of skepticism, and Kuch comes in right in the middle. For his even keel, I’m awarding him this round, and I’m giving Rella a slight nod over Todd because Todd bummed me out. 10 – Kuczkowski, 9 – Rella, 8 – Vote
Judge Mark Radulich’s Scorecard: Kuch – 10, Vote – 9, Rella – 8 Kuch and Vote gave the most complete answers here but I’m awarding Kuch the round for going into more detail regarding potential abuse of Zuffa’s charity and then giving an alternative suggestion for dealing with fighters having to pull out of cards i.e. standby fighters. I like it Kuch and we miss you Sunday mornings at 11 am on the 411 Ground and Pound Radio show.
3.) The theory that Stephan Bonnar is getting into professional wrestling makes sense in light of Bonnar’s physique and noticeably darker tan at the UFC 153 weigh-ins.
Scott Kuczkowski: FICTION First off, Bonnar has always appeared to be a pretty muscular guy during his weigh-ins. This is probably because he’s a pretty big guy for a Light Heavyweight fighter, so he has to get good and shredded to make weight. Secondly, while Bonnar is a decent mixed martial artist, he doesn’t have anywhere near the charisma or fan following to go into professional wrestling and be a draw. Stephan might be quirky and witty during his little videos the UFC produced with him and Forrest Griffin, but that doesn’t mean he can tell a story in a wrestling ring and make people care about him. Third, considering that he’s probably used steroids throughout much of his MMA career, I’d guess the use of those steroids has caused him some jaundice, which he tried to cover up by hitting the tanning beds. While Stephan Bonnar may get into professional wrestling one day, I don’t think it had anything to do with his tan or physique at the weigh-ins.
Alex Rella: FACT It is the second time he tested positive but I guess it makes sense. Bonnar hadn’t fought in almost a year and he says he considered himself retired at that point. Bonnar is a big guy and has the personality for wrestling if he should choose to go into that now that his MMA career is over. It could explain his testing positive for steroids. Drostanolone is used mainly by bodybuilders, so it’s possible that Bonnar was trying to bulk up for his new career and couldn’t get it out of his system in time for the fight. But it doesn’t help his case that it’s the second time he has been caught.
Todd Vote: FACT Though I don’t know exactly where he expects to go work, with WWE having a wellness policy designed to prevent the use of drugs. I know, I know, they can cover it up if they really wanted to, but…. Say Bonnar makes the WWE roster based on name value. You don’t think the WWE would make it highly publicized that they busted a former UFC fighter taking steroids? They would do it just to make the UFC look bad. Anyways, Bonnar, if he is indeed going into professional wrestling would probably be best off in Japan. I suppose he could go to TNA, thus enabling TNA to be the first US based wrestling promotion to feature a legit MMA fight on PPV, with Mo vs. Bonnar… You know what? I could actually see that working… Book it Joe!
Judge Wyatt Beougher’s Scorecard: I’m torn on this round, as Scott gives the superserious (and likely correct) answer, but Todd’s is just so over-the-top that I can’t decide. 10 – Kuczkowski, 10 – Vote, 9 – Rella
Judge Mark Radulich’s Scorecard: Kuch – 10, Vote – 9, Rella – 8; This round clearly went Kuch because he gave the correct answer, Fiction. I’m in agreement with Kuch that Bonnar’s physique was the result of steroid use and more to the point, his steroid use seems to be the result of historical abuse (addiction perhaps) rather than an in interest in pro-wrestling. Though I disagree with FACT as an answer, I liked Vote’s contribution too regarding Bonnar’s interest in pro-wrestling vis – a – vis everywhere worth working will require that he pass a wellness test. If Bonnar is truly interested in pro-wrestling he must know that he needs to be off the juice well before considering any offer to work for TNA or the WWE. Like I said, I agree with Kuch, I don’t think his current physique has anything to do with a potential interest in pro-wrestling.
4.) Signing Sara McMann to coach The Ultimate Fighter alongside Ronda Rousey and making a fight between the two Olympic medalists would be the best possible path forward for the UFC women’s bantamweight division.
Todd Vote: FICTION There are just too many unknown factors at this time to be able to answer this question properly. Do we know yet when the UFC plans to debut the female bantamweight division? Do we really want to base a season of TUF around two fighters who are essentially untested in UFC waters? We all know Rousey is a draw, don’t get me wrong, but this women’s MMA thing will be fairly new to a lot of the casual audience, I’m guessing. Next, do you really want to run the risk of the TUF curse putting a halt to your first female MMA fight in UFC history? TUF coaches fighting at the end of the season hasn’t exactly worked out all too well thus far for Zuffa. While the idea is solid in theory, I think it would be better to get the division rolling before featuring them on a season of TUF.
Scott Kuczkowski: FICTION I like the idea of having the two of them coach The Ultimate Fighter, but only if the entire season was dedicated to building the women’s divisions. Unless the UFC did that, putting them on The Ultimate Fighter to coach a bunch of men would be a waste of time. Unfortunately, The Ultimate Fighter isn’t the platform it once was; there have been too many crappy seasons that promised fights that never happened. Having McMann and Rousey might give a slight ratings boost, but eventually the show would devolve back into a bunch of drunken clowns with stupid hair-dos and weak tattoos making the entire sport look foolish while they cry and throw tantrums inside the house. Instead, the UFC should make the Rousey/McMann fight a PPV main event, promote it as the first women’s fight inside the octagon, and then give them the same Prime Time treatment they gave to Anderson/Chael and GSP/Condit. Frankly, this fight could sell itself, so putting them on TUF is really a waste of time.
Alex Rella: FACT I was hoping we would get a true number one contender fight between McMann and Carmouche but giving McMann a title shot against Rousey right away works too. Giving the two women coaching spots would be great exposure to many UFC fans that may not be familiar with the two fighters or are maybe just close minded towards women’s MMA. Rousey has been a draw so far and has gotten more mainstream media attention than almost all the other fighters in the UFC. It also helps getting viewers since she is attractive and one of the best trash talkers today. McMann’s wrestling background makes her a legitimate threat for the title as well. Also it’ll be nice to see TUF get mixed up a little. The show has been stagnant for years so it would be a nice change of pace to see the two women coach either other upcoming female fighters or maybe some guys.
Judge Wyatt Beougher’s Scorecard: Kuch is firing on all cylinders here, and his answer is honestly the best thing that could happen for the women’s division, regardless of how the buy rate for that hypothetical PPV turned out. Alex nudges out Todd for second because he mentions a McMann/Carmouche contender fight, which is a fight I was really looking forward to before Strikeforce sh** the proverbial bed. 10 – Kuczkowski, 9 – Rella, 8 – Vote
Judge Mark Radulich’s Scorecard: Kuch – 10, Vote – 9, Rella – 8; Once again FICTION is the right answer so poor Rella right out. Kuch gave a solid response stating that Rousey and McMann only work as coaches IF the entire season is female contestants only and not two women coaching a team of men. He is also correct in stating that Rousey vs McMann makes more sense on PPV than it does as the coaches’ battle on TUF. He is absolutely right in his assessment that the usual promotional tools of Primetime and Countdown would be more than sufficient to promote a title fight between them, especially if you have a really solid undercard. For example, Rousey vs McMann in Anaheim this February with Machida vs Henderson as the co-main event would be brilliant. Now, later in the year, again with an all-female cast, if you do TUF with Rousey and Tate, that gives their rematch a new sexy spin and it helps build the division. McMann is the wrong choice and TUF shouldn’t be your leadoff.
5.) The injuries to Gilbert Melendez and Luke Rockhold not only hurt the Strikeforce: Champions show, but also speak to how little value the fighters are placing on the show.
Alex Rella: FACT Strikeforce’s final show had potential to be one of the best events ever with all of its champions competing. Unfortunately the lightweight and middleweight champions are “injured” and can’t compete. Only they and their managers know for sure whether or not the injuries are legitimate or not but it’s understandable to think these fighters may be stretching out their recovery. This is especially true with Gilbert Melendez as he has been very vocal about wanting to be in the UFC ever since Strikeforce was purchased by Zuffa. They will all be joining the UFC once Strikeforce folds and a loss would considerably hurt their stock. It not only hurts the final card which would have been a nice farewell to the organization but instead it represents how much of a mess Strikeforce has been in the past year or so. It is still a very good card with the two champs, Mousasi, a potential breakout fight for Ryan Couture, and Healy vs Masvidal but it could have been really awesome if it still had all their champions competing. It shows how little value those two are putting on the show but there are still other fighters like Larkin, Masvidal, and Souza who have asked to compete on the final show. At least the show is important to some fighters but I wouldn’t be surprised if a few more fighters backed out before then.
Scott Kuczkowski: FACT In some ways, I can’t blame these guys for not giving a shit about Strikeforce anymore. How many shows have to get cancelled before you realize you’re on a sinking ship? I guess most of these guys are just hoping they can coast into their UFC contract without losing a fight on some meaningless Strikeforce card. If you knew your title was going to be worthless after this card, how amped would you be to fight your ass off? The fact that fighters are getting injured at the rate they are is an entirely different issue that the UFC needs to tackle. But yeah, for two champions to bow out of what could be their last title defenses, it makes it seem like they are just going through the motions at this point.
Todd Vote: FICTION Well, half fact, I suppose. It does severely hurt the Champions show, but I don’t think it says much to the way the fighters feel about the show itself. These guys are fighters. They are fighters under the Zuffa banner. How they carry themselves is an important part of whether or not Zuffa would be willing to bring them into the UFC once Strikeforce does eventually fold. I mean if you are acting like you do not care about an event that is still making your company money, how likely do you think you are to be brought in to the big show? it hurts the event, but injuries happen. I think you may be reading a bit much into it if you think they are injured because they don’t place any value on the show.
Judge Wyatt Beougher’s Scorecard: Occasionally I like to get my statements from some of the more conspiracy theory-minded commenters on the site, and this statement was a perfect example of that. Fortunately for me, it turned out well, because all three guys gave great answers. After being the Negative Nelly earlier, Todd came back with the most positive answer, and while I’d like to reward him for that, Alex also had some positivity while stoking the conspiratorial fires. Scott was likely the realist, but I’m going to give the full points for Alex for looking for a silver lining. 10 – Rella, 9 – Vote, 8 – Kuczkowski
Judge Mark Radulich’s Scorecard: Kuch – 10, Rella – 9, Vote – 8 No FACTIONS and no half-facts around here buster! You lose the round in my automatically if you can’t commit to an answer. Also, in no way is this answer FICTION. Kuch and Rella both got it right by stating FACT but again, Kuch gave a more solid and complete answer. We’re talking degrees here as both of their answers were relatively similar but Kuch stayed more on point where Rella kept trying to sell us on how good the remainder of the card was. I’m inclined to agree but that’s not the point. The point is that Melendez and Rockhold (moreso Melendez) think nothing of Strikeforce and are just stalling until the whole thing is shut down.
Judge Wyatt Beougher scored the bout 47 – Rella, 47 – Kuczkowski, 44 – Vote.
Judge Mark Radulich scored the bout 49 – Kuczkowski, 43 – Rella, 43 – Vote.
So who won? Personally, I think you readers were the winners this week, as all three guys gave great answers for all of the questions. Let me know what you thought and vote!
Bonus) The Walking Dead is consistently the best show on television.
Todd Vote: FICTION The Walking Dead is consistently a great show. I’ve loved all three seasons thus far, and cannot wait for the mid season finale next Sunday night. That being said, Sons of Anarchy and Breaking Bad are the best two shows on TV right now. Most people would put Breaking Bad at the top of the list, but I got to say this season of SoA has been tremendous!!
Alex Rella: FACT The Walking Dead is easily the best show on tv and this third season has been beyond awesome so far. Everything with the prison and Woodbury has not disappointed. It sucks that T-Dog died but at least Lori went with him. Even Carl has become considerably less stupid this season. I can’t wait for the Rick/Governor and Daryl/Merle showdowns.
Scott Kuczkowski: FICTION The problem with this statement is the term “consistently”. The Walking Dead is usually one of the best shows on television, but other shows like Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy have come on strong as of late. Couple that with the introduction of new and oftentimes meaningless characters on The Walking Dead, plus deviations from the comic series, and there are a few weeks when SOA won out (IMO).
Judge Wyatt Beougher’s Scorecard: I had just watched the penultimate episode of the first half of this season of The Walking Dead, and while it’s the only show mentioned that I’ve followed rabidly since the beginning, I’ve recently caught up on Sons of Anarchy and Breaking Bad, and I have to say that all three guys gave great answers here. Draw
Judge Mark Radulich’s Scorecard: Kuch -10, Vote – 9, Rella – 8 Actually the right answer here is FICTION, the best shows on TV are Treme and Boardwalk Empire. SOA is probably good too but I’ve never watched it. TWD I’m sure is a good show and all of that but I’ve also never watched so I’m probably the wrong person to judge this question anyway.
And that’s it for this week! Again, make sure you sign up for the new comments system, so that you can let us know what you thought about this week’s contest! As always, if there’s anything you’d like to see featured in next week’s edition, leave your statement in the comments and I’ll add it in for next week. Let us know what you thought in the comments, on Twitter, or on Google+. We’ll see you next week and remember 411Mania for all of your MMA needs.