5 Quick Rounds 11.13.12: Strikeforce’s Demise, Le Stops Franklin, UFC Plans Indonesian Expansion, and More!
Welcome to another edition of Five Quick Rounds, 411’s fastest-finishing weekly opinion column. I’m your host, Wyatt Beougher, and I want to apologize in advance for the somber tone of this column, but I can assure you that it’s out of respect for the dead.
Round 1: Strikeforce Shuffles Off the Mortal Coil
***TOUCH OF THE GLOVES***
I know I’ve traditionally put results first since taking over this column, but there are certain pieces of news that tend to take precedence. The death of a major MMA promotion, even one that’s basically been on death watch for over a year now, fits that category. Last week, TMZ reported that Ronda Rousey had signed a UFC contract, and, based on the quagmire that Strikeforce’s most recent deal with Showtime caused with regards to Strikeforce talent migrating to the UFC, it appeared that the writing was on the wall for the promotion. Later in the week, that speculation was confirmed, as it was announced that Strikeforce’s January 2013 event would be their last.
When the news of its demise came out last week, I doubt that there were many diehard Strikeforce fans left, but if you’re out there, you have my sympathies. I think more people were like myself, MMA fans who watched Strikeforce for their handful of talented fighters but realized that it was only a matter of time before they closed their doors. The silver lining of this story is obviously that fighters like Rousey, Gilbert Melendez, Luke Rockhold, and Daniel Cormier (who was already UFC-bound anyway) will now be headed to the UFC. I’ll admit that the only reason that I wanted Strikeforce to continue operations was to ensure that Rousey would have a stage to continue her dominant run, but with the confirmation that she is now a UFC fighter, I’m perfectly at peace with this closure.
Round 2: Bellator 80 Sets Finals
***TOUCH OF THE GLOVES***
Bellator 80 took place on Friday night, and former featherweight champion Joe Warren got back on the winning track and two fighters advanced to the finals of the tournaments in their respective weight classes. Brett Cooper won a unanimous decision over Darryl Cobb, Rad Martinez advanced to the finals of the featherweight tournament with a unanimous decision win over Wagnney Fabiano, Alexander Volkov moves on to the final of the heavyweight tournament with a TKO win over Vinicius Queiroz, and the aforementioned Warren decisioned Owen Evinger.
Another solid night of fights from Bellator, although it seems impossible for their recent heavyweight tournaments to conclude without controversy. First was last season’s no contest between Thiago Santos and Eric Prindle after a low blow, which was followed by Santos subsequently missing weight. This season’s tournament was already marred by Prindle losing to Santos via disqualification for a low blow and now Queiroz’ manager has filed a grievance because he feels the official for the fight stood the fighters up too quickly which led to the eventual conclusion of the fight. Still though, Queiroz’ manager has said they won’t appeal the result, so Volkov moves on to face Richard Hale in the heavyweight final, while Rad Martinez will face Shahbulat Shamhalaev. Martinez is an interesting story, and you can read more about him in tomorrow’s edition of Fact or Fiction.
Round 3: UFC Makes Chinese Debut
**TOUCH OF THE GLOVES**
On Saturday, the UFC held their first event in Macao, China, and it ended up being an event worth remembering. Takeya Mizugaki defeated Jeff Hougland via unanimous decision, with one judge giving Mizugaki two 10-8 rounds. Jon Tuck picked up a unanimous decision of his own, defeating Tiequan Zhang, and the string of decisions continued with Takanori Gomi winning a unanimous decision over Mac Danzig. Dong Hyun Kim rebounded after his injury loss to Demian Maia with a decision win over Paulo Thiago, and Thiago Silva finally ended the streak of decisions and got back into the win column (assuming his post-fight urine sample was his own), losing two rounds to Stanislav Nedkov before picking up an arm triangle submission 1:45 into round 3. That led to the main event, which saw Cung Le counter a Rich Franklin leg kick with a huge punch to the jaw that ended Franklin’s night (and his hopes for another middleweight title shot).
Franklin made no bones about his hopes for another title shot, be it in the middleweight or light heavyweight division, based on his recent record and his penchant for stepping in on late notice and saving events, but with the loss to Le, it appears as though Franklin’s title aspirations are well and truly dashed. I wouldn’t be surprised if Franklin hangs up his gloves, at least until he’s needed to step in and main event or co main event another floundering show (a la Stephan Bonnar). Unlike Bonnar, though, Franklin is almost assuredly going to be enshrined in the UFC’s Hall of Fame, so his highlight reel knockout isn’t going to tarnish his legacy (especially since he’s already suffered two more spectacular ones at the hands of Anderson Silva), and, in the long run, it helped to make up for what had been an otherwise unremarkable event.
Round 4: UFC Partners With Indonesian Media Firm
**TOUCH OF THE GLOVES**
Hot on the heels of their Chinese debut, and with plans already in the works to expand into India, the UFC announced a partnership with MNC Media, a Jakarta-based firm, that will see the UFC eventually hold live events in Indonesia. MNC Media holds nearly a 40% share of the Indonesian television market, as well as other media. The UFC hopes not only to expand into the Indonesian market, but also to help improve Indonesian fighter development.
Indonesia is the fourth-most populated country in the world, situated between the USA and Brazil, so it only makes sense that the UFC would target expansion there, especially with the success One FC has enjoyed. With their expansion plans into India, China, and a recently announced show for early 2013 in Japan, this seems like a well thought-out move on Zuffa’s part.
Round 5: Frankie Edgar Helps His Hometown
***TOUCH OF THE GLOVES***
Frankie Edgar confirmed last week that he would be joining the cast of the Jersey Shore for the Restore the Shore fundraiser that’s scheduled to take place two days after this column goes live. The event will air live on MTV at 11 pm on Thursday night, with proceeds going to rebuild the boardwalk at Seaside Heights and also to help families and business affected by Hurricane Sandy.
While I’m fortunate that only my work was impacted by Hurricane Sandy, my best friend, his wife, and their two-month-old son were without power for over a week, and the house and neighborhood they moved from just before their son was born was devastated. This is a great way for Edgar to give back to his community, and I have nothing but respect for him for this move, even though I have previously admitted to being fatigued by Edgar around the lightweight division’s title scene.
Thanks for joining me this week, and I hope to see you next week! Remember, if you haven’t signed up for Disqus (411’s new comment system) yet, make sure you do so. We’re sincerely hoping to improve the overall level of discussion here at 411, and we’d love it if you were a part of that! If you have any feedback, leave it in the comments, email me at the link below, or let me know on Twitter: @webeougher or on Google+. I’ll see you back here for more Five Quick Rounds next Tuesday, so until then, remember 411 MMA for all of your mixed martial arts needs!