411 MMA Fact or Fiction 3.12.14: Nate Diaz' Release, Fighters Wasted on Fight Pass, More
Posted by Wyatt Beougher on 03.12.2014
Is it surprising that Dana White didn't grant Nate Diaz his UFC release? Was Alexander Gustafsson wasted by being put on a show that aired on UFC Fight Pass? 411's Patrick Mullin and Stewart Lange 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. We're back for week three of the 2014 MMA Fact or Fiction Tournament, and all three of our contests from last week are complete, so let's look at the updated bracket:
Voting is now closed on our first two weeks of contests, but if you missed them and want to catch up, you can find them here:
Last week was the week of upsets, as all three lower-seeded competitors were able to pull out the win! Will that happen again this week, leaving the tournament without any number one or number two seeds? 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 today's, midnight EST on Sunday to vote for Thursday's, and midnight EST on Monday to vote for Friday's. Today, we're back with our other #2 vs #7 matchup, with Stewart Lange looking to continue the upset trend against the always-dangerous Patrick Mullin.
While it was an impressive win, did it expose another flaw in Dantas?
1.) Eduardo Dantas retaining his championship in impressive fashion after being dominated in the first round makes for a nice story for Bellator; however, it also exposed another hole in Dantas' game.
Patrick Mullin:FICTION I have to classify this as Fiction. Had Dantas been taken down again in round two, or shown that when he was taken down in round one, he didn't know how to defend himself, I'd agree that a hole in his game was exposed. However, Dantas stayed composed when on his back and tried hip escapes and sweeps; he just didn't finish on them because Anthony Leone has extremely good top control. Dantas rebounded in the second round by controlling distance effectively, stopping the takedown attempts of Leone, and also using incredible body control to take Leone's back on a failed takedown attempt and secure a victory out of it. That wasn't exposure to anything other than an ability to adapt and conquer by Dantas.
Stewart Lange:FACT It's a pretty clear fact for sure, but I'm sure that Bellator would also have enjoyed it if Anthony Leone had continued to dominate the fight so they would be able to promote a new champion too. Unfortunately for Leone, every round starts on the feet and we all saw what happened in the second round. Dantas may not have been able to do much to get up off of his back in round one, but a good fighter learns from his mistakes and while another hole may have been exposed, I'm sure he's not stupid enough to not look at plugging it.
If you look at the picture, you can see the scar from where he was stabbed
2.) Blagoi Ivanov winning his third straight fight two years after being stabbed in the heart is an incredible comeback story that Bellator would be wise to capitalize on.
Stewart Lange:FACT Look, I'm saying Fact to this one again, but I'm a little hesitant. Ivanov's recovery is certainly a phenomenal story, but as far as Bellator capitalizing on it? I'm not sure how well that sits with me. I just can't really think of a way it doesn't come across as a little bit - how best to put this - tasteless? I'm not sure what they would do to really promote it, but aside from mentioning it in passing in part of their build up videos, it may run the risk of making him a bit of a sideshow.
Patrick Mullin:FACT I'm calling this fact based more upon Ivanov's weight class than Ivanov himself. The heavyweight division is the most marketable division when you create a star that people want to latch on to. A feel good story such as that for a viable heavyweight contender in Bellator would help them create a new star whom they can headline television cards with and try to expand their brand to people who aren't aware of them. They would also create positive media awareness as opposed to promoting someone with some sort of criminal or less than desirable member of society with a checkered past. This is something that can inspire anyone to overcome adversity in one of the toughest sports known to man and could be a huge jumping on point for people who may not even be fans of mixed martial arts.
Was Gus wasted on Fight Pass?
3.) It seems counterproductive to put popular fighter (and probable next challenger to Jon Jones) Alexander Gustafsson in the main event of a Fight Pass card, considering the subscription service has just left the free phase and reaches far less viewers than a card on a Fox Network would.
Patrick Mullin:FACT Coming off of an incredible effort against arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in MMA, I for the life of me cannot understand why the UFC would chose to limit the exposure of a guy who skyrocketed in terms of popularity and interest level. I understand they want to put fighters onto Fight Pass cards who will motivate people to buy the streaming service, but right now the UFC is still a pay-per-view business and, with the amount of injuries that we see derail cards and kill buyrates, they need every bankable star they can get on pay-per-view. Fight Pass is a hardcore fight fan's attraction at the moment, and it's not the hardcore fans who make or break the UFC financially, it's the casual fans.
People also tend to have short memories in the fight game. Not going with an immediate rematch between Gustafsson and Jones hurt the rematch's potential profit margin. Putting Alexander Gustafsson on a card that wasn't even televised and was seen by a handful of people against an opponent nobody really was excited by was a ridiculously stupid move and almost looks like an attempt to try to make people forget about Gustafsson. I understand the attempts to draw people to Fight Pass, but do you really think those handful of people who ordered Fight Pass for this month to see Gus fight outweighs the buys you lost for his rematch with Jones? I don't.
Stewart Lange:FICTION What's the best way to get people buying Fight Pass? Putting desirable match-ups on it featuring popular stars such as Gustafsson. While guys like Jones, Weidman, and so forth are unlikely to feature on these cards, number one contender-style matches are a perfect way to get people to sign up to get to see these fights. Meaningless fights aren't going to sell the Pass and I know Saturday night was hardly filled with shock and thrills, but the thought of two 205lb prospects going at it may have got people to pick up a subscription. Put it another way - I got the WWE Network and it's not so much the PPV library that made me keep it after the trial period, it was NXT and the fact that I might see something awesome I maybe wouldn't have otherwise. Same rules apply.
Was anyone shocked that Dana said no?
4.) Dana White refusing to grant Nate Diaz his release after Diaz requested it on Twitter is easily the least surprising UFC-related news story thus far this year.
Stewart Lange:FACTWyatt Beougher- Feel free to use as many, or as few words as you would like in your answers. Source - ForF 2014 Tournament Official Rules email. I'll use that waiver here. I hate Nate Diaz and I hate Twitter. I could give a rat's ass what he does for employment.
Patrick Mullin:FICTION This isn't surprising because it's typical childish behavior from both Dana and a Diaz brother. However, what was even less surprising was the cancellation of the Chris Weidman-Vitor Belfort fight when it was scheduled outside of Belfort's native Brazil where he had been allowed to use TRT exemptions. As soon as this fight was announced I proclaimed confidently on the 411 Ground and Pound Radio Show that the fight would not happen because of Nevada's ban on TRT. I said it week after week and when they finally went ahead and announced that Lyoto Machida would replace Belfort due to said circumstances, I didn't find any surprise in that, and no one else should have either.
We here at 411 would like to offer our condolences to Booto Guylain's family and friends
5.) While Booto Guylain's death as a result of injuries sustained during a sanctioned fight in South Africa are a true tragedy, MMA as a whole will not be as affected by it as boxing was in 1982 when Duk-Koo Kim died as a result of complications from injuries sustained during a lightweight title fight against Ray Mancini.
Patrick Mullin:FACT The effects of the Mancini-Kim boxing tragedy are largely overstated by people who aren't aware of surrounding circumstances in the world of boxing at the time(just an FYI this is not why title fights were shortened to a 12 round distance). However, Ray Mancini was a household name due to his stirring story of trying to win a world championship for his father, who was disabled in World War 2, preventing him from being able to fight at his best and earn a title. The fight was also telecast on CBS and available in every household on a Saturday afternoon. Kim's death took place in front of millions of people in a world championship fight in a much bigger forum than the unfortunate death of Booto Guylain. Most casual MMA observers are probably not even aware of this, while Mancini and Kim were on every sportspage in the world. MMA will not see any reforms out of this, second rate commission efforts, the promoter, and undiagnosed pre-existing medical conditions will be blamed and not a single thing will change.
Stewart Lange:FACT MMA isn't currently under the spotlight of scrutiny right now, so chances are, without sounding harsh, this will be swept under the carpet and remain unnoticed by detractors in the media. Guylain was hardly a well-known fighter, and the EFC which he fought out of is hardly a well-known promotion. My heart goes out to his family and those affected, but MMA would only be affected by a fighter's death if it was in the UFC (or Bellator) and the news could jump all over it. Remember, to the masses, UFC and MMA are the same thing, so use the WWE house show rules on this one - if it didn't happen on TV, it didn't happen.
Who do you think won this bout? Did Stewart return to MMA Fact or Fiction after a lengthy layoff and secure the upset, or was Patrick just too much for the Scotsman to overcome? Voting will be open until midnight EST on Saturday, 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 tomorrow with our first number one seed (and returning tournament champion) Alex Rella in action! 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!