Seven Fighters in Need of a Promotion
As the boom of mixed martial arts promotions and shows continues, one fact has become more and more apparent: Zuffa and the UFC are the gold standard, both in show production and fighter talent. As a result it can be sometimes painful to watch fighters of superior talent fight in promotions lacking the roster depth to fully test their abilities.
In the wake of the EliteXC show the newly crowned welterweight champion is a staunch reminder of the challenges that face a top ten fighter when fighting outside of the UFC. The talent discrepancy between the top 10 fighters in a weight class and the rest of the division can be daunting when trying to match-make. The 63 second drubbing Jake Shields laid on Nick Thompson is a repercussion of being an elite level fighter outside of the UFC.
Fighters who show elite-level ability can outgrow the competition around them very quickly in some promotions. If they want to take the next step forward as a fighter, both competitively and financially, then they need to make the move to the UFC. It’s a harsh reality of the mixed martial arts landscape for those not in the good graces of Zuffa. The step up in competition that Zuffa can provide brings legitimacy and respectability. Combined with the increased marketing and exposure the UFC can bring to the table, it results in sponsorship money that can far exceed a fighter’s purse.
After watching Shields win on Saturday evening, it got me thinking about who else in mixed martial arts would benefit from a move to the UFC or the WEC. Below is a short list of fighters, one from each major weight class, who are in dire need of a move to Zuffa:
MMA Adversary Removed From NYS Payroll
In a recent New York Post story discussing the firing of Ron-Scott Stevens, who had been the chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission, it was speculated by George Willis, the writer of that piece, that Stevens’ attitude toward MMA, which has not yet been passed in New York but inevitably will be, was a factor in the decision by Governor David Patterson to replace with with Melvina Latham.
Stevens was quoted in Willis’ story as saying, “It’s not my role to say whether I like it or not. My role is, if it’s passed by the legislature, to regulate it properly.”
That’s a tough thing to do when the whole world knows you have a pre-disposition against it. It’s the kind of thing that would leave him open to constant attack, some of it justified, over decisions that may seem controversial or unfair against an MMA operator. And that might be the kind of thing that is expected out of someone who is part of the boxing culture, as a matchmaker for so many years as Stevens was.
Ask the Doc: Dr. Benjamin on scar tissue
Welcome to our initial "Ask the MMA Doc" column here at MMAjunkie.com.
Every other week, I'll answer your questions about current medical issues and general trends within the MMA industry.
My initial column takes a look at some of the big topics currently being discussed within the community, including scar tissue, the ABC's new definition as to what constitutes a strike to the "back of the head," and whether youth MMA is really safe.
If there's a question you have, scroll to the bottom of the page to find out how to contact me. We might use it in a future column.
Here we go...
Front kicks look different these days in MMA
If you watched Amir Sadollah go from a relatively unknown amateur fighter to TUF 7 Champion then you were likely impressed with several things he did. First, by defeating Steve Byrnes, Gerald Harris, Matt Brown, and C.B. Dollaway twice by stoppage on the way to the crown, the sheer difficulty factor he overcame en-route to taking the six- figure contract on the show was high. Second, he was losing almost every one of those matches before coming back to win; thus, Sadollah’s heart could not be questioned. But on top of that there was this stand up technique Sadollah kept going back to; something that proved highly effective for him.
Legislator Pushes for Mass. MMA Regulation
The Boston Globe has apiece up about the efforts to have MMA regulated by the state. There had been a previous effort to include MMA regulation as part of a budget bill, but the item was stricken form the larger bill and made to wait until the next legislative session. This delays Massachusetts from having legal MMA in 2008. This delay caused the UFC to postpone a possible Boston card in November. Several Mass. legislators have taken up legalization as a cause for the next session:
The next opportunity will be in December, when Moran said Timilty will put forth a stand-alone piece of legislation that addresses the sport.
“The senator is going to move on it as one of his first orders of business,” said Moran. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get it made in the budget, but what we have is sort of a great first step with the bill, given that the Senate has already passed it and the Senate Ways and Means has already signed off on the language. So it should move very quickly. With the senator being chairman of public safety and homeland security, the bill would likely come to our committee, which means hearing and favorable release would be pretty easily obtained.”
The Top 5 David vs. Goliath Matchups
While weapons are thankfully banned in rings and cages around the world, Davids have fought Goliaths on numerous occasions throughout the past 15 years in MMA. Sherdog.com has picked five of the most remarkable, bizarre and mind-boggling mismatches for a trip down memory lane.
Kimbo Slice to Co-Star with Hulk Hogan in New Children’s Movie
I still have trouble reading that title without laughing.
According to media sources, Kimbo Slice and Hulk Hogan are set to co-star in a martial arts children’s comedy entitled, “Kung Fu U”. It’s about a group of nerdy kids who are sent to a special school (Kung Fu U, we presume) to learn fighting skills that will help them stand up to bullies.
Tito Ortiz's Options
Recent reports that Tito Ortiz has come to terms with Affliction appear to be premature. He was in Stockton for Elite XC, and I highly doubt he made the trip up to see the fights. At this point, he is by far the hottest free agent in the industry, and all three major companies would benefit from signing him.
Colin Robinson On The Road Back To The UFC
As a successful amateur boxer who had competed at international level, Northern Ireland heavyweight Colin Robinson thought martial arts were ineffectual outside of Hollywood blockbusters and Bruce Lee films. So when a friend invited him to train at his mixed martial arts gym one evening, he was expecting an easy time of it.
“Back in the day boxing was the ultimate combat sport and that is what attracted me to it,” says the genial Ulsterman, “In my opinion, martial arts didn’t work.”
“I came to the gym one day just to show them all how it was done - and the coach tied me in a knot and left me in the corner!
“I can remember thinking ‘My god, what is this all about? He is not supposed to be able to do that!’”
The experience was a Damascus moment for Robinson, who had never previously considered venturing outside the square circle: “I thought, I have got to learn this, this is great.”
A Closer Look at Pay-per-view Distribution
In discussing the most recent bond rating for the UFC, it was mentioned that Zuffa has been able to negotiate favorable terms with their PPV partners and that this has lead to greater profitability even though buys have remained flat. With the structure of PPV being a bit Byzantine, confusion on the topic often runs rampant when discussed online.
In order to shed some light on this often murky end of the business, MMAPayout.com spoke with an insider in the PPV industry who has negotiated many ppv distribution deals. While not privy to the exact terms of Zuffa’s agreements with PPV, he was able to clarify his perception of the revenue split and how UFC may be getting favorable terms:
Shayna Baszler and Cris Cyborg Hammer Dana White on Women's MMA
"He wants to question the depth of the female division, but every female fight that ProElite has put on has been a showcase of women's talent and has been 'fight of the night' type material," Baszler says. "If he wants to question that, then I'd question the talent of his heavyweight division," which recently was challenged by Affliction's heavyweight-loaded card.
Cyborg is more direct.
"I'd love to fight Dana White to show him how tough women are," she says through an interpreter.
It's a Good Time to Be a Free Agent in Mixed Martial Arts
The Vancouver Sun has a piece up discussing Georges St. Pierre's contract negotiations:
"Before it expires, they'll want to negotiate because they won't want me to be a free agent, let the Japanese get their hands on me," St-Pierre said....
Standing in the way of a more lucrative deal, obviously, is Fitch. St-Pierre will be fighting in the U.S., without the home-field advantage that buoyed him against Serra last April.
That could change soon enough; St-Pierre is hearing rumours the UFC will return to Montreal, perhaps next year, and might even try to fill up Olympic Stadium."
It's a good time to be a free agent, and I think St. Pierre will end up getting a very good deal. With the Affliction salaries floating around, the UFC won't risk losing one of their top stars. St. Pierre is already paid well, but most of it is in discretionary bonuses, and it's in his best interest to guarantee himself that money in the future. If he has good management, he is in a strong position to demand money that would make him the top paid fighter in the UFC. He is one guy they definitely won't let go, and his contract will be another example of how fighters benefit from competition.
Catching Up With Travis Lutter
While it seems like an eternity ago, it’s only been three months since the UFC decided to release Travis Lutter following his disappointing loss to former middleweight champion Rich Franklin in Canada back in May. After a pair of short stints inside MMA’s biggest promotion, Lutter has hit a crossroads in his career.
He’s primarily stayed out of the limelight since his departure - spending time with his family and running his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academies in Forth Worth, Texas. However his fans will be happy to hear that Lutter has no intention of hanging up the gloves just yet.