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411 MMA Fact or Fiction 3.21.14: Diego’s Excuses, Bellator 112 Fallout, More

March 21, 2014 | Posted by Wyatt Beougher

Welcome back everyone to another edition of 411’s MMA Fact or Fiction, and I’m your host, Wyatt Beougher. It’s our final day of week four and our second quarterfinal match-up. With three weeks of the 2014 MMA Fact or Fiction Tournament in the books, we’ve completed all eight opening round contests (plus our play-in bout), so let’s have a look at the current brackets, which have been updated to reflect the results of all completed bouts:

Voting is now closed on our first three weeks of contests, but if you missed any of them and want to catch up, you can find them here:

Wednesday, 02.26: #4 Evan Zivin vs #5 Jarrod Atkinson, East
Thursday, 02.27: #4 Robert Practor vs #5 Robert Cooper, West
Friday, 02.28: Play-In Contest, Koeddy Laemmle vs Eric Moore
Wednesday, 03.05: #3 Alex Watt vs #6 Robert Winfree, East
Thursday, 03.06: #3 Mark Radulich vs #6 Todd Vote, West
Friday, 03.07: #2 Paul Lapointe vs #7 Dustin James, East
Wednesday, 03.12: #2 Patrick Mullin vs #7 Stewart Lange, West
Thursday, 03.13: #1 Alex Rella vs #8 Koeddy Laemmle, East
Friday, 03.14: #1 Dino Zucconi vs #8 Dan Plunkett,West

And if you missed Wednesday’s edition, you can find it here:

Wednesday, 03.19: #6 Robert Winfree vs #7 Dustin James, East

As I mentioned on Wednesday, we’ll be cutting back to two contests a week, and they’ll run on Wednesdays and Fridays. This will be the schedule for the next three weeks, until we’ve completed our quarterfinals and semifinals, at which point the finals will obviously take place in Fact or Fiction’s normal Wednesday spot, and things will return to normal from there. Just like last year, the voting window for each tournament contest will be approximately 73 hours from the time they go live on the site, so you’ve got until midnight EST on Saturday to vote for Wednesday’s and midnight EST on Monday to vote for today’s. As I mentioned, this is our second quarterfinal bout, which features one of the most active competitors during my Fact or Fiction tenure taking on one of the most dominant. Let’s take a quick look at the Tale of the Tape and then we can get to the action.

Patrick “Star” Mullin, #2 Seed
Todd “Man Without a Zone” Vote, #6 Seed West
Panelist, 411 Ground and Pound Radio Show/Tweeter Contributor, Four Player Co-Op (Games Zone), among others
6-1-1 9-11-3

Was the much-maligned rematch actually the right call?

1.) After Friday night’s main event, Bellator made the right decision in scheduling a rematch between Daniel Straus and Pat Curran.

Patrick Mullin: FACT Pat Curran and Daniel Straus were 1-1 prior to Friday night’s incredible featherweight title bout. Curran had been undefeated as a featherweight at 6-0 reeling off 6 consecutive wins with only Patricio Freire lasting the five round championship distance and was widely regarded second only to Jose Aldo at 145 pounds. Straus clearly beat Curran in a very good fight on a card where Bellator pulled in its largest audience. Whenever you have a situation like that you have to capitalize and try to retain that audience by giving people recognizable names in situations they want to see. Making a rematch happen immediately between these two was the right move as not only did it draw a better than average rating from Bellator according to Bjorn Rebney, but it also produced a front runner for 2014’s fight of the year based on how the fight flowed and its dramatic finish. It completed a trilogy between arguably the two best featherweights outside of Jose Aldo, and it showed people who are dissatisfied with Bellator’s tournament structure that it will make the fights people want to see and that fighters who do what Curran did have earned.

Todd Vote: FICTION I understand that the rules of Bellator have been slightly amended to allow for immediate rematches. But that is supposed to be in the case of a close fight. Straus vs. Curran II was fairly one-sided for Straus, so the immediate rematch was a bit baffling to begin with. The fact that the two put on an exciting fight this time around doesn’t justify the decision to give the former champ an immediate rematch after their last, less-than-stellar effort.

If Bellator was quick to sign a rematch after their second fight, does this mean we will be seeing a fourth fight between these two, with both Khasbulaev & “Pitbull” once again being forced to wait?

Do these guys deserve their shots before Curran/Straus IV happens?

2.) On the other hand, both Patricio Freire and Magomedrasul Khasbulaev deserve their title opportunities before they make a fourth fight between Curran and Straus.

Todd Vote: FACT Curran and Straus have had 3 fights with one another; it’s time to move on. You have two tournament winners waiting in the wings, one of whom won his tournament almost a year ago.

Patrick Mullin: FACT In combat sports it hasn’t been common for rivalries to extend past three bouts for over thirty years. Generally when a fighter wins 2 out of 3 bouts against a rival, he’s seen by the general public and hardcore fight fans as having finished that chapter of his career. I do think there will be an eventual fourth fight between Curran and Straus at some point in the future; however, Freire and Khasbulaev have both earned title shots by virtue of winning tournaments. Straus was good enough to beat Curran, but was not able to make even one successful defense of the title which is generally how to determine if a fighter is a serviceable and deserving champion. Even if Curran was able to handle Freire much more easily than he did Straus and people don’t see Khasbulaev as a big threat, they’ve already been more than accommodating in stepping aside willingly for the Curran-Straus rubber match.

The biggest issue would happen if they jumped immediately into a Curran-Straus IV fight and Straus came out the winner. At that point you’d then have to go to a fifth fight, and by then, you’d have yet another featherweight tournament winner waiting in line. Then, to get through three of them, you’d have a constant backup and never get to each tournament winner in a timely manner, making your tournaments meaningless in the featherweight division.

Tito Ortiz is not impressed with your excuse, Diego.

3.) Diego Sanchez blaming food poisoning for his loss to Myles Jury was a show of poor sportsmanship, even if Sanchez said he wasn’t trying to take anything away from Jury.

Patrick Mullin: FACT I was tempted to say fiction to this as I’m pretty sure Diego has significant brain damage and doesn’t do anything remotely coherently, but this statement is more of a scrambling for a reason to justify losing than it is showing that he needs to take off his shoes in order to count to 11. The fact is Diego got outworked, outhustled, and beaten silly with headstrikes. If he had food poisoning, he wouldn’t have been in the cage because medical personnel wouldn’t allow that to happen, and as anyone who has had food poisoning knows, the severe bouts put you in the hospital, the minor bouts leave you fine the next day.

Todd Vote: FACT I truly hate it when a fighter does this. If you aren’t trying to take anything away from your opponent, why state your problem in the first place? The second the UFC mainstay said he was sick with food poisoning, he put the doubt out there. Whether that was the intention or not, that is what happened. Most people are just going to be all like, “sure, whatever, Tito”, but there are going to be those fans of Sanchez who will now believe that the only reason Diego lost was because he was sick.

By the way, if Mullin wins this week, it was only because I had six concussions, and my back is broken in seven places. I don’t want to take away anything from Patrick, but that’s why I was unable to perform to the best of my abilities.

Is Scoggins hurting his future employment chances?

4.) A UFC preliminary fighter like Justin Scoggins shouldn’t publicly dismiss other organizations as “crap” during a post-event media scrum.

Todd Vote: FACT I don’t think any fighters, preliminary or main card, should do this. What does it prove? If you want to speak about how glad you are to be in the UFC, that is fine, no problem. Where does it say you have to berate the other promotions out there in order to do that?

The fact is, without those other promotions, MMA has nothing to draw from for its future. These promotions offer fighters the one thing training in a gym will not get them: experience in a real fight situation. Always respect where you came from.

Patrick Mullin: FACT There’s an old saying that you should be careful which toes you step on while you’re on your way up because they’ll be attached to the feet you have to kiss on the way back down. Scoggins is 9-0 vs. the toughest cab drivers you can find, but he has yet to face elite level talent. It doesn’t take much to get you cut from the UFC, even as a flyweight. Scoggins looks great beating the Will Campuzanos of the world, but if he doesn’t fare so well when he sees names like McCall, Pickett, and Dodson standing across from him, he may have to work for one of those “crap” organizations and just for making a stupid comment like that, they may not want to hire him. They certainly don’t have to hire him, and let’s not forget how different the pay scale is from a company like the UFC to say RFA or WSOF. Funny thing about words is that you should keep them soft and sweet, because you may have to eat them later. Scoggins would do well to remember that and how quickly you can go from eating like kings and queens to dining on pork and beans.

Have we entered a new welterweight era in the UFC?

5.) With 728 significant strikes attempted and a record 308 significant strikes landed in the title fight alone, it’s safe to say that the UFC’s post-GSP welterweight title landscape is going to be significantly different than when St. Pierre was the reigning champion.

Patrick Mullin FACT Georges St. Pierre was, at his very best, one of the top two or three fighters in all of MMA, and one of the best in its history before injuries, age, and layoffs took their toll on him. Obviously, the landscape will be different, because instead of a dominant champion who is capable and likely to defeat all challengers, we have a group of fighters where no one man is head and shoulders above the rest. All of our current top 10 welterweights have flaws that have been exposed in several fights and while that may result in fun fights, you’ll also see buyrates drop, as without an identifiable long-reigning champion, people tend not to pay as much attention because there isn’t someone to identify and capture the casual viewers.

Say what you want about GSP’s lack of finishes and fights that weren’t all that exciting, but the guy was the UFC’s single best draw excluding Brock Lesnar. People knew GSP, knew how good he was, so they paid for tickets and ordered his fights. There’s also the chance you’ll get guys holding the belt that the audience does not care for in someone like a Tyron Woodley or Rory MacDonald, as opposed to your fan friendly guys like Carlos Condit or Robbie Lawler. Things are wide open and likely to stay that way until someone new enters the fray, because there will only be one Georges St. Pierre.

Todd Vote: FICTION We have to see how Hendricks, a man that is a wrestler at his core, handles the title. For all we know, he could become another guy who starts fighting not to lose, instead of fighting to win. Remember when he thought himself giving “just 70%” to GSP was enough to win? What happens if he starts feeling like that in every fight?

While it is an exciting time in the division, we can’t judge how the title landscape is going to be going forward, without first seeing how Hendricks handles the pressures of being champ.

Which combatant do you think won this bout? Was Todd able to continue knocking off higher-ranked competitors, or did Pat maintain his Fact or Fiction dominance? Voting will be open until midnight EST on Monday, so make sure you vote and make your voice heard! This tournament can’t progress without you!

And that’s it for today, but we’ll be back next Wednesday for our third quarterfinal bout! As always, if there’s anything you’d like to see featured in a future edition, leave your statement in the comments and I’ll add it in. Let us know what you thought in the comments, on Twitter, or on Google+. And please, be sure to vote!

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Wyatt Beougher
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