411 MMA Fact or Fiction 3.07.14: Rousey, Bellator on PPV, More
Posted by Wyatt Beougher on 03.07.2014
Will the announcement of Ronda Rousey's next opponent be disappointing no matter who it is? Will Rampage Jackson draw casual MMA fans to Bellator's debut PPV? 411's Paul Lapointe and Dustin James debate these topics and more!
Welcome back everyone to another edition of 411's MMA Fact or Fiction, and I'm your host, Wyatt Beougher. This is the last day of week three of this year's MMA Fact or Fiction tournament, and, if you missed the results from last week's bouts, here again are the updated brackets:
Voting is now closed on last week's contests, but if you missed them and want to catch up, you can find them here:
Just like last year, the voting window for each contest will be approximately 73 hours from the time they go live on the site, so you've got until midnight EST on Saturday to vote for Wednesday's, midnight EST on Sunday to vote for Thursday's, and midnight EST on Monday to vote for today's. Today, we're continuing with opening round match-ups, moving back to the east bracket, where second-seeded Paul Lapointe will take on seventh-seeded Dustin James.
Paul "Get To" Lapointe, #2 Seed East
Dustin "Your Real Dad" James, #7 Seed East
Contributor/Fact or Fiction Competitor (Various Zones)
Are theoretical PPV points from Bellator enough of an incentive to get fighters to leave the UFC?
1.) In spite of Bjorn Rebney's claims, Bellator offering PPV points to fighters isn't really an incentive for a fighter to leave the UFC, at least not at this point.
Paul Lapointe:FACT This is without question a fact. Though I do applaud Bjorn for being optimistic about his future of putting on bigger and better events with more established names he just has not done it...yet. So until Bellator can actually go through with a PPV offering then this argument could hold some weight. Also what kind of numbers would a BMMA event muster to begin with? 100,000 to 200,000 tops on the brightside. Points on this kind of number is sawdust in comparison to potential bonus money that could be earned in the UFC on a good night and Bellator would probably only be putting on two PPV's this year at most anyhow. These numbers would do next to nothing for the big fish on the UFC's current roster. Best bet for Bjorn and company at the moment is to force the UFC to dip into their pockets even deeper and use the savings to pick up international talents and homegrown stars as a more balanced roster is a much more key objective at the moment in my eyes.
Dustin James:FACT I'm dying of laughter inside at the thought of a UFC fighter thinking it's a good idea to leave the UFC and go to Bellator. I don't care if the UFC rips off their fighters financially (and they do, but more on that later), the UFC is a million times more popular than Bellator and the exposure an MMA fighter gets just from the UFC is worth more than anything Bellator can offer them. Go ahead and ask any casual MMA fan what they think of guys like Ben Askren, Eddie Alvarez, and Michael Chandler and they will probably look back at you with a confused look on their face. Being a mid-level fighter in the UFC like Donald Cerrone and Nate Diaz is more valuable than being a top-level fighter in Bellator just because of the exposure they receive.
With apologies to Bellator booker and former 411 writer Sam Caplan (that's right, the guy who books Bellator's fights actually used to write here at this little website years ago), but an MMA fighter would be stupid to pick Bellator over the UFC for any reason. It's just not a wise business decision in the long term, even if Bellator is able to offer you more money in the short-term.
Would an upset for Manuwa be the best scenario for Cormier?
2.) Should Jimi Manuwa upset Alexander Gustafsson at this weekend's UFC Fight Night 37, that would give Daniel Cormier the inside track to challenge the winner of the upcoming Jon Jones/Glover Teixeira fight for the light heavyweight title.
Dustin James:FACT The UFC wants to make the Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones fight as soon as possible, before one of the men suffers an unfortunate loss and ruins yet another "dream fight" in the UFC. A year ago, it looked like "Bones" Jones was running out of competition in the light heavyweight ranks, but now we actually have some legitimate contenders waiting in the wings and it's awesome. If Alexander Gustafsson defeats Jimi Manuwa, than Gustafsson will likely be next in line for a shot at "Bones". Gustafsson has been Jones' toughest test to date and MMA fans everywhere are clamoring for a rematch after the two had a "Fight of the Year" candidate last year. But Gustafsson needs to get by Manuwa first and that's no guarantee. What else isn't a guarantee is that "Bones" defeats Glover Teixeira and remains the UFC light heavyweight champion. Teixeira is a tough matchup for anyone in the UFC and if you think he doesn't stand a chance against "Bones", you are sadly mistaken.
Personally though, I think Gustafsson defeats Manuwa and "Bones" defeats Glover and we all get the rematch we want to see later this year. However, if Gustafsson does end up getting beat by Manuwa and "Bones" is victorious over Glover, then Cormier HAS to be the next guy in line. Cormier could arguably be the toughest test to date for "Bones" as he matches up incredibly well with the UFC light heavyweight champion. There aren't a whole lot of fights the UFC could make these days that would get me excited (I'd still get excited to see GSP vs. Anderson and screw any of you who don't want to see that fight still), but Cormier vs. "Bones" would have me giddy as a schoolgirl.
Paul Lapointe:FICTION Beating Patrick "Barista" Cummings does not make a number one contender. Sure, maybe he can get a couple of free or discounted lattes at Starbucks now, but a LHW title shot, I don't think so. Cormier needs one more win at LHW over a more established name to earn this opportunity, even with the bad luck that lead to his fight against Pat to begin with. Granted, if the Mauler does get powned by the very dangerous, yet cardio-less, Jimi this weekend, I would venture to guess the UFC is looking to see if Phil Davis can step up.
Sure Davis "Beat!" Lyoto Machida last time out, but whether you agree or disagree on the subject, he still has a W on his resume, a submission over Gustafsson, and, if he wins in Baltimore, another over a very dangerous Rumble Johnson. Those credentials are much more buzzworthy to the marketing department then cage-humping Frank Mir who lost 4 in a row, Big Country on a skid, and a coffee maker. Oh and I almost forgot that Dion Staring guy too...oh right, not that important, never mind then. So the dominoes fall as such: Glover, Gusto, Davis, Cormier, get to work fellas.
Can Rampage and Mo help to sell the PPV?
3.) Even though putting "Rampage" Jackson against "King Mo" Lawal on their upcoming PPV debut is the right move for Bellator, it will do little to sell the PPV to casual fans on the fence about purchasing it.
Paul Lapointe:FICTION Rampage is the definition of being able to draw in casual fans to the MMA landscape and to Bellator. He has name value, a gimmick, decent talkability, chains, he knocks out folks and heck, at least he is not facing Tito Ortiz this time around. Jackson Vs Mo is a slobberknocker on paper and it sells itself. Add to it what could be a trilogy that has the potential to stand the test of time (if the previous two are any indication) and it's the beginnings of a great card. The only problem I see after that is given the state of Bellato'rs roster and tourney lineups, what else goes on the PPV? Pitbull is a good bet, as is Barracus Vs Lawal.
Dustin James:FACT "Casual fan" and "Bellator". Three words that are rarely ever spoken together. I want someone to look me in the eye and try to convince me that casual fans watch anything MMA-related that doesn't have the "UFC" initials in front of it. They don't. I know a buttload of casual MMA fans and I don't think a single one of them even knows what a "Bellator" is. Even still, I think most casual fans know that Quinton "Rampage" Jackson isn't the same fighter he once was and he has sucked major donkey balls for the past 3-4 years. This Bellator PPV is going to be interesting, but it's going to be interesting for all the wrong reasons. If Bellator flops on PPV (and they will), what will happen with the company in the future? That's what has me interested in this PPV. "Rampage" vs. "King Mo" though? Meeeeeeeeh.
Is Dana wrong about sponsors not being "his problem"?
4.) For Dana White to say that fighters being unable to attract sponsors is "not his problem" is abjectly wrong, considering the UFC very closely regulates which sponsors are able to appear on their programs.
Dustin James:FACT Anything Dana White says these days is usually wrong, but this one takes the cake. MMA fighters are criminally underpaid when you compare their salaries to that of other sports. Let's take a look at the average MMA fighter's salary. The average wage for a top 15 fighter in the UFC is somewhere around $40,000 per year. How does that compare to other sports? Well, the minimum pay in the WNBA (a league that is ridiculously less popular than MMA) is $37,950. That is just insane when you consider the amount of wear and tear that UFC fighters put on their bodies in an actual combat sport. Speaking of combat sports, Floyd Mayweather himself made four times more in a span of 12 months than the entire UFC roster COMBINED! That's just ludicrous. UFC fighters put their bodies on the line whenever they enter the Octagon and the quality of life once they retire isn't that great because their bodies have been beaten and bruised for over a decade.
With all that said, the UFC needs to let their fighters have any sponsor they are able to attract and if anything, the UFC should be helping guys get sponsors. If they want to continue to be cheapskates though and rip off their employees, then they should do their best to help them get income from other places such as sponsors. The UFC is in a nice position right now because most MMA fighters are willing to sign with the company for lower than what they are actually worth just for the chance to fight in the UFC. How about rewarding these guys' loyalty with a little loyalty of your own, UFC?
Paul Lapointe:FACT Dana White is a promoter so half the stuff he spouts off is psychobabble and BS. Especially lately, he seems to be diarrheaing out da mouth at an exceedingly alarming rate. I cannot say for sure I know all the ins and outs of the sponsor rules and regs the UFC enforces, but with so many media related gripes lately, the fighters may actually have a beef here, especially the prelim and low end fighters not making the big dollars. Lastly, if I do recall, the UFC sometimes asks for a 100,000 dollar retainer from advertisers before they can tramp stamp a logo on a fighter's crotch or butt anyhow, and if you're on Fight Pass, that kind of investment just is not worth the headache.
Would even Gina's return be enough to justify Rogan's hype?
5.) Regardless of what "huge" announcement Joe Rogan is talking about regarding Ronda Rousey's next opponent, it will be a letdown.
Paul Lapointe:FICTION Let us rule out Rogan saying huge for a moment and look at this logically. Where is the money in Ronda fighting when she is new and red-hot in need of attention and the peak of the WMMA movement in the UFC? Miesha's personal beef came and went with Tate being mercifully handled. Check. Though an argued early stoppage came about the Rowdy one faced a formerly undefeated Olympic medalist during the Olympics, the fight sold itself. Check. So who's next that could be huge? Cat Zingano...sorry miss kitty though you have a heartbreaking story to fall back on, it's not bringing in the cash. Cyborg? That is be-all, end-all fight if there ever was one, but Dana still has his dick up his bum about her and Tito being douches and bitches respectively. So lastly, if the rumours are true and the fight is Rousey Vs Carano, the UFC should just get a printing press because that fight brings EVERYBODY to the table! Gina vs Ronda, the battle of the first(s) women of MMA!
But like Highlander though, there can be....ONLY ONE!!! This fight Mr. Rogan, this fight is "Huge".
Dustin James:FACT Who could the UFC announce is fighting Ronda Rousey that would be a huge surprise? The choices are extremely limited. I guess the UFC could have convinced Gina Carano to take the fight by offering her a ridiculous amount of money, but Carano hasn't fought in years and I'm pretty sure she's not interested in putting her movie career on hold to go to the UFC and get her ass kicked by Ronda. The UFC may have also reached a deal with "Cyborg" Justino in order to give us that dream fight, but I highly doubt that happens anytime soon as there are still some question marks surrounding the weight of "Cyborg" and it would be stupid if the UFC offered her a main event spot without having fought at least once in the UFC (same with Carano). So, who's left? Cat Zingano? While I would love to see her face off against Rousey, that fight wouldn't be a "huge announcement" because it's widely expected to happen. I guess it would be a huge surprise for UFC fans if the UFC convinced Georges St. Pierre to return and gave him a fight against Rousey on PPV. I'd be fine with that fight because if anyone can beat Rousey, it's GSP.
All kidding aside, does anyone really expect this announcement by the UFC to actually be "huge" and not a big disappointment? When's the last time Dana White and company actually delivered on a "huge announcement"? Go ahead. I'll wait.
Who do you think won this bout? Did Dustin shake off the ring rust, or was Paul able to put down the former Fact or Fiction host? Voting will be open until midnight EST on Monday, so make sure you vote and make your voice heard! This tournament can't progress without you!
And that's it for today, but we'll be back next week with the last of the opening round action, including both of number one seeds! As always, if there's anything you'd like to see featured in a future edition, leave your statement in the comments and I'll add it in. Let us know what you thought in the comments, on Twitter, or on Google+. And please, be sure to vote!