Five Quick Rounds 12.25.12: Rousey, McCall, More
Posted by Wyatt Beougher on 12.25.2012
From Ronda Rousey making Sports Illustrated and Ian McCall being unhappy with his UFC career to Bellator releasing Zach Makovsky and the retirement of Megumi Fujii, 411's Wyatt Beougher looks at these topics and more in this week's Five Quick Rounds!
Welcome to another edition of Five Quick Rounds, 411's fastest-finishing weekly opinion column. I'm your host, Wyatt Beougher, and I hope everyone's enjoyed their holidays thus far.
Round 1: Ronda Rousey In the News
***TOUCH OF THE GLOVES***
As you can see from the video above, new UFC Women's Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey appeared on Good Morning LA this past Wednesday to talk about her upcoming UFC debut. That wasn't her only appearance in the media, though, as Rousey also made her way into Sports Illustrated on their list of Top 100 Most Memorable Sports Moments in 2012. Rousey's rise to popularity came in at #65 on the list.
The UFC has essentially put the entire women's division on Rousey's back and her continued appearances on these lists and on smaller regional news shows both seem to suggest that Rousey's talent and looks, combined with the UFC's promotional machine, are doing what they were intended to do. At the moment, I think Rousey has the potential to be the biggest star in the UFC's employ, and this kind of exposure certainly isn't doing anything to hurt her popularity.
Round 2: Invicta FC Moves to iPPV
***TOUCH OF THE GLOVES***
Invicta's fourth event, which will be headlined by the inaugural strawweight title fight between Carla Esparza and Claudia Gadelha, will mark the company's debut on iPPV. Their previous three events have streamed via a media player on the company website and were then posted to YouTube. Invicta president Shannon Knapp has stated the the cost of the iPPV will be under $10, saying the company isn't looking to gouge anyone.
I think this is a good move for Invicta and shows that they're looking for steady, incremental growth, rather than jumping into a financial model that's not sustainable. If the $10 (or less) means increased production values, then it's certainly worth the price. And the fact that they aren't trying to jump into full-priced PPV leads me to believe that Knapp is grounded in reality when it comes to the current value fans place on her promotion, which is something that other companies (most notably Affliction) haven't always seemed to do.
Megumi Fujii defeated Mei Yamaguchi via unanimous decision at Vale Tudo Japan 2012 yesterday in Tokyo. After the fight, Fujii, long considered to be the top female fighter in the world, stated that she'd like to retire from fighting by the end of the year. Fujii compiled a 26-2 record, with 19 of her wins coming by submission and her only two losses coming via decision in Bellator.
Before Ronda Rousey and Cris Cyborg, there was "Mega Megu", and while I've been critical of Japanese fighters coming to stateside and losing in the past once they faced stiffer competition, Fujii was fighting before there really was a women's scene in the United States, and her loss to Zoila Gurgel wasn't exactly decisive. Against Jessica Aguilar, she looked like just couldn't quite get it going, but it's a shame that a lot of American MMA fans will only know her from those two fights, if at all.
Round 4: Bellator Releases Fun Size
**TOUCH OF THE GLOVES**
On Sunday, former Bellator bantamweight champion Zach Makovsky posted on Twitter that he had been cut by the company, and while there had been no confirmation of this release from the promotion, Makovsky confirmed it to several outlets who attempted to reach him for comment. Makovsky, 30, was the owner of a 14-4 record, with his Bellator record being a respectable 6-2. Makovsky was on the wrong end of a two-fight losing streak, first losing his bantamweight champion via submission to Eduardo Dantas before dropping a split decision earlier this month to Anthony Leone at Bellator 83.
This strikes me as odd, with only a few weeks until their SpikeTV debut, that Bellator would release "Fun Size". While he lost his championship to Dantas earlier this year, he was still the bantamweight champion for nearly 18 months. Plus, with the defection of middleweight champion Hector Lombard to the UFC, the retirement of heavyweight champion Cole Konrad, and the likely departure of former lightweight champion (and free agent) Eddie Alvarez, one would think Bellator would do their best to hold on to recognizable talent. It's not as though their bantamweight division is particularly deep, and all three of the UFC's sub-155 pound divisions tend to be short on viable title contenders at any given point in time.
Round 5: Uncle Creepy Not Happy With His UFC Tenure
***TOUCH OF THE GLOVES***
Ian McCall, formerly the number one flyweight in the world, recently went on record to state his current dissatisfaction with his career, specifically his time in the UFC, where he's compiled an 0-1-1 record with a loss and a draw against current UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson in the semifinals of the UFC's flyweight title tournament. McCall will face Joseph Benavidez, who lost to Johnson in the finals of the same tournament, at UFC 156 in February of 2013.
As a fan of Uncle Creepy, I have to respect his mindset - he not only said that the four-fight win streak that he was on prior to joining the UFC was long gone, but he also said that he didn't believe he deserved a title shot with a win over Joseph Benavidez, since Johnson had also defeated Benavidez soundly. McCall was also smart enough to say that he'd take a title shot whenever one was offered to him, but for a guy to admit that he's realistically one more fight away, especially if he would be coming off of a win and competing in a five- to eight-man division, that's refreshing in a sport where guys like Nick Diaz literally do everything to prove that they don't deserve a title shot, but still get one handed to them anyway.
Thanks for joining me this week, and I hope to see you again 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!