mma / Columns

411 Fact or Fiction: Will Conor McGregor Box Paulie Malignaggi?

October 18, 2017 | Posted by Lorenzo Vasquez
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 another exciting edition of Fact or Fiction MMA. By the way, thank you, for your votes and comments last week, it is appreciated and encouraged. Last week, Evan Zivin and Alex Rellas locked horns over such topics as Demetrious Johnson’s most legit competition, Tony Ferguson calling out Conor McGregor, and Anthony Johnson returning to the UFC as a heavyweight. Evan pulled out everything and the kitchen sink as he battered Alex from pillar to pillar. Credit to Alex, who would not go down without a fight. Congratulations, Evan, and thank you both for your efforts and contribution.

This week, Kuch returns to battle the crafty veteran, Wyatt Beougher! Expect fireworks as these heavy hitting monsters lock horns over whether or not more weight classes are needed, Conor McGregor boxing again, Mark Hunt booting himself out of a fight, and much more! Grab some grub and sit back because it’s time for another round of, 411 Fact or Fiction MMA! Let get this party going…

TALE OF THE TAPE
RED CORNER
Wyatt Beougher
Host/Reviewer/Columnist, 411 MMA/TV & Movies/Wrestling Zones
2-10-1

VS

BLUE CORNER
Scott “Kuch” Kuczkowski
Contributor, 411 MMA Zone
2-5-1


The addition of more weight classes is not a total solution to preventing fighters from cutting drastic amounts of weight.

Wyatt Beougher: FACT Fighters are still going to fight in whichever weight class they feel like they have the biggest advantage in. If that means cutting a ridiculous amount of weight (or, as is becoming increasingly common, failing to cut a ridiculous amount of weight), then that’s still what they’re going to do. I mentioned this in the comments on a Deadspin article about Kevin Lee’s nearly-failed weight cut, but it bears repeating – when I wrestled in school, we had to get certified by a physician at the beginning of the season to determine the lowest weight that we could wrestle at. What the process entailed was measuring our height, weight, and body fat percentage and then cross-referencing that with our age, and the doctor would then determine how low we could safely go. While this system wouldn’t be foolproof, as a fighter could still have a bad weight cut, I think it would drastically reduce the amount of dangerous ones, especially if the UFC used independent physicians with no ties to any particular fighter or camp. At the rate we’re going, how long until Frankie Edgar starts donating organs in the hopes of capturing gold in the flyweight division?

Scott Kuczkowski: FACT Fighters are going to cut weight in order to have a size advantage when they step in the cage – this is a historical fact and I don’t think there is much that can be done about it. There is an option of having the commissions weigh fighters between fights to see if they are cutting an obscene amount of weight, but this would be fairly manpower intensive for the state commissions. Honestly, I just don’t see that happening.

In the simplest sense, having each weight class separated by 10 pounds could create a system where a fighter doesn’t have to worry about fighting an absolute gorilla who just happens to be good at cutting weight, but I’m pretty sure we all know that guys will cut weight anyways. There’s probably a question about how much the promoters or athletic commissions should be concerned about this; fighters are all adults and should be the ones deciding if they’re going to deplete their bodies and negatively affect their performance by cutting weight. There’s an argument that offering more weight classes will give fighters more options, but something tells me weight cutting will remain an issue.


Nikita Krylov’s success outside the UFC in his last two fights proves the UFC was too quick to release the promising light heavyweight.

Wyatt Beougher: FICTION I went back and forth on this, but I ultimately decided on FICTION for the simple fact that Krylov isn’t exactly beating up on world-class talent outside of the UFC, which doesn’t really do anything to prove that his UFC release was a mistake. Sure, he went 6-1 in the UFC and was on a five-fight win streak prior to the fight with Misha Cirkunov and the guillotine that led to his release, and that release did certainly seem abnormal given the circumstances, but in this instance, Krylov’s still only 25, so this is more than likely just a temporary break from the UFC and I can only imagine it will benefit him in the long run. Ideally, he’ll face (and defeat) some more seasoned talent like Emmanuel Newton so that when he does come back to the UFC, he’ll be ready when they throw him into the Octagon with another ranked fighter.

Scott Kuczkowski: FICTION Nikita has beaten Stjepan Bekavac and Emanuel Newton. Bekavac has a good record of 19 wins and 7 losses, but it doesn’t look like he’s ever fought in a large promotion. Newton is the former Bellator Light Heavyweight Champ, but he’s only had a single win in his last seven fights. So, based on the wording of the statement, I’m saying ‘Fiction’, because I don’t think those wins are overly impressive. Now, having said all that, I think the mere shallowness of the Light Heavyweight Division is enough of a reason that the UFC was probably too quick to release Nikita. But, considering that Krylov asked for his release because he was tired of flying around the world for fights, I don’t know that the UFC could have done much to dissuade him.


Despite Paul Malignaggi claiming his team has been in contact with Dana White about a potential boxing bout with Conor McGregor we should not expect this fight to get anywhere close to done.

Wyatt Beougher: FACT Paulie Malignaggi is desperately trying to cling to relevance here, and while I have a friend who SWEARS this will be Conor’s next fight, I’m chalking this up to nothing but hot air. Don’t get me wrong, though, if Conor DOES want the Diaz trilogy fight and DOESN’T get it, I could see him fighting Malignaggi just to spite Dana, but I still think it’s far more likely that after being thoroughly embarrassed in the boxing ring, McGregor is going to stick to MMA, lest he damage his drawing power.

Scott Kuczkowski: FACT The fight between McGregor and Mayweather was great mostly because of Mayweather’s name and his unbeaten record. Prior to his short stint training with McGregor, I doubt many people who aren’t hardcore boxing fans ever heard of Paul Malignaggi. So for Malignaggi to expect that people will flock to see him fight McGregor much like people flocked to see Mayweather fight McGregor is delusional. I really don’t think it will happen. I think the UFC is focused on getting McGregor back into the octagon and I don’t think they’ll be open to any additional boxing matches that don’t include the name, Mayweather.


SWITCH!

It is shameful that Glory Kickboxing allowed Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva to fight Rico Verhoeven in a professional kickboxing bout.

Scott Kuczkowski: FICTION I’ve gone back and forth a lot about this topic. Look, I know…”Bigfoot” Silva has only won a single fight in his last 10 MMA bouts. In fact, he hasn’t won two fights in a row since 2013. And given those facts, it’s probably best that he starts looking to do something else besides fighting. And at 38 years old with 32 fights under his belt, it’s probably time. But, here’s the thing: Shouldn’t he get to make that decision? I know we all worry about fighters who are too stubborn to realize that time has passed them by and that they should hang up their gloves, but should that decision really get taken from them? What if he really has no other skills to fall back on? Glory Kickboxing offered him money to come and fight and Silva accepted it; why are we getting worked up over this? I’m not saying it’s wrong to be sensitive about the damage he’s done to his body, but if that’s really the case, then we as fans should probably start boycotting MMA as a whole because all of the fighters are damaging their bodies. At the end of the day, Silva needed to provide for his family and Glory paid him; I’m fine with it.

Wyatt Beougher: FICTION If Silva was game for what was essentially an exhibition fight against GLORY’s heavyweight champion, then I don’t think it’s shameful at all. Admittedly, I don’t know how stacked GLORY’s heavyweight division is, and whether or not this fight prevented a more legitimate challenger from stepping into the ring with Verhoeven, but absent that context, I hardly think this is a travesty. Bigfoot even made it out of the first round, so it was at least more competitive than when James Toney fought Randy Couture. Plus, Silva has a KO win over Alistair Overeem (admittedly, in an MMA fight, but still…), who was a pretty decent kickboxer in his own right, so it wasn’t out of the question that he would be able to hold his own. But honestly, with Silva now calling for an MMA rules rematch against Verhoeven, this feels more like a promotional stunt than anything, and while that almost pushes it over into “shameful” territory, I’m still going FICTION on this one.


Santiago Ponzinibbio deserved a higher ranked welterweight in his next bout than Mike Perry.

Scott Kuczkowski: FICTION According to the UFC rankings, Ponzinibbio is #8 and Mike Perry is #15. On the surface, it might seem like Ponzinibbio should have a higher ranked opponent, but I think that line of thinking is dismissive in this case. Ponzinibbio is a good fighter and his win over Gunnar Nelson was impressive, but Mike Perry is on fire right now and Ponzinibbio is smart to take a fight with him. I don’t think Ponzinibbio is as much of a draw as Perry among the casual fans, so I think this fight makes sense for him beyond just an opportunity to climb the rankings.

Wyatt Beougher: FACT I’m definitely looking forward to this fight between two promising welterweights, but Ponzinibbio certainly has a lot more to lose than Perry in this fight. I realize that up-and-comers can’t always fight someone ranked higher than them, but I feel like Neil Magny, currently ranked 10th (in the UFC’s rankings) and coming off of a loss, would’ve been a better opponent for Perry, and then you could’ve matched Ponzinibbio with Carlos Condit, a former championship contender coming off of a loss and also a guy currently ranked two spots higher than Ponzinibbio. If they both win (or lose) and the UFC wants to make the fight then, then you’re looking at a Jon Jones/Ryan Bader-type fight to see which prospect to fast-track towards the title, but at this point, I’m not sure this fight really does either guy any favors.


Mark Hunt only has himself to blame for getting removed from his fight in Sydney.

Scott Kuczkowski: FACT I love Mark Hunt as a fighter (I think most people do) but he’s become kind of a whiner as of late. For those readers that don’t know the background, Hunt did an article in PlayersVoice.com.au titled “If I die fighting, that’s fine,” in which he said he’s begun stuttering and slurring his words. He also said his short-term memory is shot. Now, I’m not a fight promoter or anything like that, but that seems like it might be a red flag for anyone thinking of promoting a fight with Hunt. And while there’s an argument that Dana’s feud with Hunt motivated him to pull him from this fight when the opportunity presented itself, I absolutely agree with the decision.

Let’s look at this another way: Imagine Hunt went through with the fight and was badly injured either during or afterward. Either he or his family would have ample opportunity to sue the UFC and they’d be able to use that interview as evidence that he shouldn’t have been fighting, to begin with. The UFC smartly prevented Hunt from fighting and probably avoided litigation. Of course, Hunt doesn’t like that, but he’s the one that said those words in the interview. He’s since tried to say that those statements were taken out of context, but I don’t know how they could be. Either way, the UFC probably made the right choice to protect themselves. If Hunt wants to leave the UFC and fight elsewhere, then they’d probably release him and I wish him good luck.

Wyatt Beougher: FACT Whether you believe Dana White pulled Hunt because he was interested in the Super Samoan’s safety, or if you’re the conspiracy theorist type who thinks Dana did it out of Spite for Hunt’s submission to the Australian Players Voice basically airing out the darker side of the results of a lengthy MMA career, it all comes back to that article that Hunt wrote. I respect his honesty tremendously, but when he’s admitting that his quality of life has drastically decreased as a result of the wars he’s been through, were I in Dana’s shoes, I would’ve done the same thing, and I’d be doing everything in my power to get Hunt on board as the UFC’s brand ambassador for Australia, New Zealand, Oceania, and the Asian Pacific.


So who won? Did Kuch knock the boots off Wyatt, or did Wyatt send Kuch into unconsciousness? 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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