Mark Hunt, Fallon Fox, Nick Diaz, and Dominick Cruz all go through the grinder courtesy of 411's Scott Kuczkowski on this week's Rant.
Welcome to The MMA Rant; as always, I am your host, Scott Kuczkowski.
This week, the headlines have been dominated by the buildup to this weekend's PPV showdown between UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre and undeserving challenger, Nick Diaz. The banter back and forth between the two has been somewhat entertaining to this point, but now borders on tiresome as the rhetoric seems to be wearing thin. The fact is that most casual fans don't need to hear hype for this bout; they just need to see GSP on the poster and know that Diaz is his opponent. The remainder of the hype, at this point, almost seems self-serving.
In other news, Mark Hunt has secured a shot at Junior Dos Santos, there's a transgender fighter that has somehow made a blip on the radar, and Dana White seems to finally recognize that he might have to make a decision regarding the Bantamweight Championship.
How's that for your week in MMA?
Before we get to those things, let's take a look at some reader comments from last week.
DePalmas had this to say about Brian Stann: You want to know why Stann lost against Silva ? To entertain the HELL OF this Pride Nostalgic Japanese crowd and US Fans. How can people complain about a guy who ALWAYS Comes out to fight and entertain seriously ?
First he got subbed by Sonnen who was arguably the best MW not called "Anderson". Then he destroyed Sakara and lost a close fight to Bisping who is a Top 10 MW.
Finally he lost to an absolute legend in Japan by trading with him in what some people are calling an "early contender for FOTY ".
To cut it short : he went there more to give the money back to the peeps who paid for this than to WIN the fight.
If Stann wanted to win it, he would have played it GSP's Style and probably got a late TKO or Decision via Wandy gassing out.
Brian is a class act and will win his next fight in big fashion. Earned single penny of his FOTN Fight.
I agree with your sentiments and won't discredit Stann for trying to entertain the crowd. However, no matter how exciting the fight, wins and losses matter and having 3 losses in 4 fights can put a fighter in a precarious position in a company that has already announced the desire to trim their roster by an estimated 100 fighters. Is Stann in danger of being cut? Probably not, but he's contractually in a more vulnerable position now than he would be if he had won this fight.
Jeff Harris made his regular appearance with: If Hunt could make it to the title and win the title I'd say it would be a bigger comeback than Couture.
A few years ago I thought Hunt was a joke and basically a tomato can. Even though heavyweight isn't the best most crowded division, he's still won four straight in the UFC. Hunt would've battled back from obscurity and a laughable record to getting to the top of the industry. But that's easier said than done. He'd still have to get through the likes of Junior dos Santos or Cain Velasquez who I'd say are a couple classes above his recent opponents.
I'm going to touch on this topic later, but I have to agree with you here; Junior and Cain are in a different league than the opponents Hunt has defeated as of late.
Fellow 411 Mania writer Samer Kadi chimed in with: I don't think anyone is really surprised by MMA judging. Complaining about it doesn't necessarily imply surprise, but frustration, which is understandable.
I guess I can understand the frustration, but I think a dose of reality needs to be added to the anticipation leading up to a judge's decision, and that reality should be that the judges get it wrong almost as much as they get it right.
I understand that not every fight can end with a finish, and therefore decisions are a necessity, but we still hear fans and fighters alike voice their opinion that one fighter "did enough" to win, which is the perfect circumstance for a terrible judge's call.
LRR has this to say about Mark Coleman: You know, of all of the wins that Mark Coleman has, I think that the most impressive is against Bonner. Not that Bonner is anywhere near being an all time great, but this win was an example of one of the "old generation" beating one of the "new generation". If you think about, that hasn't happened very often. Ex: Hughes vs. Gracie, Shamrock vs. Ortiz, Tank Abott vs Anyone
Agreed; his win over Bonnar was somewhat of an anomaly and actually had me thinking ĹThe Hammer' had more time on his clock than he actually had. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
And now for this week's headlines.
Heavyweight Contender: Mark Hunt?
Mark Hunt scored himself a fight with Junior Dos Santos after Alistair Overeem had to bow out because he ran out of steroids of injury. Dana White confirmed Hunt would earn himself a title shot with a knockout victory over Dos Santos.
This is going to be a tough fight for Hunt, as Junior is a tremendous step-up in competition. The fact is that the disparity between Junior and Cain and the rest of the Heavyweight Division appears to be massive, but I think this fight will demonstrate the exact size of that gap. While wins over Kongo and Struve are good, they aren't anywhere near the level of Junior and Cain. The big question will be if Hunt can hold his own.
While a number of people have said Hunt has the proverbial "puncher's chance" in this fight, I think he has more than that. Hunt has shown to be extremely resilient on the feet and on the ground, and while his cardio will always be a question mark, the fact remains that he can put almost anyone to sleep if he finds their chin.
If Junior decides to stand and trade with Hunt, it may end disastrously for him. While Junior's boxing is top shelf, Hunt's skills on the feet will keep him competitive. Junior's foot work and movement will be key to his keeping Hunt at the end of his jab and forcing Hunt to chase him around the octagon. While some fans have opined that this is the perfect opponent for Junior to demonstrate his ground game against, I don't see that happening. I think Junior will use his range and footwork to tire Hunt and force him to fight from the outside.
Hunt on the other hand is going to need to cut off the cage and get inside on Junior much like he did with Struve. Being the shorter fighter puts him at the disadvantage in almost every area with the exception of finding his opponent's chin. If he can find Junior's chin, and there is every indication that he eventually will, we could have a new Heavyweight Contender.
How will it all play out? I'd love to see Hunt get the win.
Another no-show for Diaz.
Nick Diaz no-showed the open workout session on Wednesday leading up to UFC 158, which is somewhat of a pattern for the challenger. It's also the type of thing that really annoys me.
Now, some people have given Diaz a pass, saying that fans should just expect this type of behavior by now. Others think it would be somewhat entertaining to have such a loose cannon wearing the belt. While those opinions are fine, they somewhat miss the point of what really annoys me about this situation.
Who goes to open workouts besides media personnel? Fans; that's who.
The fans are the ones that Diaz lets down when he misses these appearances. While you don't think about them, there were probably parents and kids there that didn't have the cash to go to the show or watch the PPV but were still hoping to catch a glimpse of one of their favorite fighters. Some fans took time out of their busy schedule to try and see Nick Diaz prepare for a fight and hoped to get an autograph or a photo. Others may have just met Diaz in passing at a previous event and were hoping to see him again.
Forget all the money and hype the UFC loses when Nick Diaz flakes out; it's the fans that lose out on their time and money. It's disrespectful to the people that truly pay Diaz's salary. That this guy pulls this type of shit and still has fans is puzzling, because he's thumbing his nose at the only people who really seem to care about him.
That's the part about his bullshit that really annoys me.
What the F@ck.
Of all the things in the fight business that make news on a semi-regular basis, one thing has stayed in the headlines for the past week, and I can't figure out if it is because of the historical significance of it or if it is because of the morbid curiosity it has brought out in so many people.
That thing in the news has been Fallon Fox.
For those of you who have been lucky enough to miss this train wreck of a story, Fallon Fox is a transgender MMA fighter out of Florida. The basic issue behind Fox has been the Florida State Athletic Commission trying to come to terms with a person who was born a man, was surgically transformed into a woman, and now competes against other women in MMA. The basis of the argument is that although Fox is anatomically a woman, she was born with a man's muscle mass and bone density. While hormone replacement therapy will go a long way towards keeping her looking like a woman, the jury is still out as to whether or not her bone density and natural muscle mass is an unfair advantage when she fights.
I guess something like this was bound to happen eventually, but I'm surprised that this is news anywhere outside of tabloids. It creeps me out even more that this made it into my own column.
And the end of the day, I guess Fallon Fox should be allowed to compete in whatever sport or activity she can legally compete in under the State Athletic Commission's rules. Opponents who disagree with her participation always have the option of not fighting her, which may speak louder than any rule the commissions might make.
As fans, we all have the option of voting with our dollars and not watching her fights if we feel strongly enough about it.
Stripping the Champ?
Dana White has finally come to terms with UFC Bantamweight Champ Dominick Cruz's prolonged absence from action and appears to be considering stripping him of his title.
I understand White wanting to show loyalty to one of his champions, but I'm frankly amazed this decision has taken as long as it has. Cruz hasn't competed since October 1, 2011, and his ability to fight anytime soon appears to be in doubt. While I understand the circumstances are out of his control and his knee obviously has its own timetable for being ready for action, the remainder of the division has the right to move forward. Renan Barao has clearly earned the right to be called the Undisputed Champ, so officially anointing him won't be unexpected.
What downside is there to stripping Cruz? None, from where I sit. Cruz's return (and health in general) is still a mystery. Plus, whether he still wears the title upon his return or not, he's destined to face Barao in his first fight (should he want to). It may even prove to be an important precedent that Champions out of action for 18 months will be stripped of their title if there is no reasonable timetable for their return.
What do you guys think?
And that's it for this weekůI hope everyone has a few drinks and gets a little shitty on St. Patrick's Day.