411 MMA Fact or Fiction 3.19.14: Rousey/Carano, UFC 171 Fallout, More
Posted by Wyatt Beougher on 03.19.2014
Is Ronda Rousey sincere when she says Gina Carano is the only opponent she'd face at 145? Would we be surprised by an immediate rematch between Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler? 411's Robert Winfree 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. With three weeks of the 2014 MMA Fact or Fiction Tournament in the books, we've completed all eight opening round contests (plus our play-in bout), so let's have a look at the current brackets, which have been updated to reflect the results of all completed bouts:
Voting is now closed on our first three weeks of contests, but if you missed any of them and want to catch up, you can find them here:
With the opening round now in the books, we'll be cutting back to two contests a week, and they'll run on Wednesdays and Fridays. This will be the schedule for the next three weeks, until we've completed our quarterfinals and semifinals, at which point the finals will obviously take place in Fact or Fiction's normal Wednesday spot, and things will return to normal from there. Just like last year, the voting window for each tournament 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 and midnight EST on Monday to vote for Friday's. As I mentioned, this is our first quarterfinal bout, which features a pair of underdogs who managed to pull off the upsets in their opening round match-ups. Let's take a quick look at the Tale of the Tape and then we can get to the action.
Is a rematch the best course of action in the welterweight division?
1.) Between the close decision in the main event and Carlos Condit losing via injury, it wouldn't be surprising to see a rematch between Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler for Hendricks' newly-won welterweight title.
Robert Winfree:FICTION I think it would be a surprise to see an immediate rematch as things stand right now. Yes, the injury ending to the fight between Carlos Condit and Tyron Woodley was unfortunate, but Woodley has still been doing good work in the UFC. His lone loss was a split decision one to Jake Shields, a decision that may or may not have been influenced by a certain chicken judge. Beyond that, Hector Lombard is unbeaten at welterweight, apparently Joe Rogan thinks Rory MacDonald should get a shot, and apparently Nick Diaz thinks he deserves a shot despite being on a two-fight losing streak. Now all of those potential fights have positives and negatives, but they all remain viable options as opposed to an immediate rematch of a fight that wasn't that close. Yes Hendricks only won three rounds, but there was no dispute that he won the fight and certainly no loud clamor for another fight between Hendricks and Lawler. If Gustafsson didn't get an immediate rematch after his fight with Jon Jones then Lawler shouldn't for a fight that was much more decisive.
Dustin James:FICTION I'm not a fan of handing out rematches in title fights just because the fight was close. If Robbie Lawler wanted to walk out of UFC 171 as the UFC welterweight champion, he should have fought better than the guy who beat him. Tyron Woodley should get the next shot at Johny Hendricks because even though he didn't "beat" Carlos Condit, he still has a victory over Condit in the record book which makes him 3-1 in the UFC (the same record as Lawler since he returned to the company) and a win over Condit is more impressive than any victory Lawler has. You can't discredit a guy's win just because the other guy got hurt during the fight. I know that makes me a hypocrite because I still think Anderson Silva's a better fighter than Chris Weidman, but everyone's a hypocrite. If you say you aren't, you're a big stinking liar just like Robert Winfree.
Did Hendricks' near-disastrous weight cut hurt his peformance at UFC 171?
2.) With Mike Dolce suggesting that Hendricks would've easily been able to cut multiple additional pounds if necessary in the hour after he initially missed weight, it's hard to believe that Hendricks' near-40 pound weight cut hurt his performance on Saturday at all.
Dustin James:FICTION For the record, I didn't actually get to see UFC 171 this weekend because I was out of town on a trip. It's the first UFC PPV I've missed in years and it just so happens that I have to answer questions about it. Talk about your bad timing. The good news is that I had the power of Twitter at my hands and I follow some great MMA writers (I also follow Robert Winfree) so I was kind of able to follow the event. As far as the question is concerned, Mike Dolce is just saying that to cover his ass. If Hendricks would have easily been able to cut additional pounds if necessary, why wasn't he able to make weight in the first place? Sometimes fighters have a bad weight cut and it affects their performance during the fight. It happens to the best of them and it happened to Johny Hendricks on Saturday. He'll get over it.
Robert Winfree:FACT This wound up being essentially a non-story by the time we got into the cage. Looking at Hendricks when he got onto the scale the second time he wasn't drawn out, hadn't shaved his head and beard, basically all the hallmarks of a fighter struggling to make weight weren't there. It was an issue of timing and a scale that wasn't properly maintained or calibrated while Hendricks was making the cut. Johny Hendricks performed as he normally does, so if this is an elaborate cover-up for a guy who had to practically kill himself to make weight, it's a shockingly effective one.
If more fighters wore headgear like this while sparring, would it prolong their careers?
3.) More fighters need to follow Johny Hendricks' approach to sparring during training, and wear bulky headgear to protect them from headshots until they're actually in the cage on fight night.
Robert Winfree:FACT Training in the sport of MMA leads to a startlingly high number of injuries. It's become a rarity that a scheduled fight actually comes to fruition. Now some of this is unavoidable - accidents happen - but as a general rule more fighters should take precautions when training to minimize the risk of injury. Now we've seen more knee or back injuries than injuries related to some form of head trauma, but it has happened. The brain isn't something to screw around with, you should be protecting it to the best of your ability and while it might be a relatively small thing, anything that minimizes the risk of a fight being canceled before fight night is a good thing in my book.
Dustin James:FICTION Is this MMA or is this ice skating? Whatever happened to being tough? Back in my day, if I would have kicked a guy and had my shin separate from the rest of my leg, I would have put an ice pack on it and got right back in the fight. We are turning into a bunch of sissies and Johny Hendricks wearing bulky headgear during MMA training is the tip of the iceberg. What's next? Are we going to say that people just can't punch anymore? As funny as a slap fight between Cain Velasquez and Travis Browne would be, that's more up Robert Winfree's alley than my own. Let's go back to the days where people got 3 concussions in one night and kept on fighting. THIS IS AMERICA DAMNIT!
(PS: I thought this question was stupid so I decided not to answer it seriously)
Could Bellator have gotten a better return on their investment if they'd forgone signing the New York Badass?
4.) Whatever money Bellator paid to Phil Baroni (2-7 since 2009, including a current two-fight losing streak) could've been better spent on building a young, unknown talent already in their promotion.
Dustin James:FACT Bellator could have signed Phil Baroni to a contract that paid him $4 per-fight and I would have told you that Bellator was getting ripped off. Baroni hasn't mattered since he made that funny YouTube video a few years back where he was a used cars salesman. Other than that, the guy's been about as important to the MMA world as Robert Winfree is.
Robert Winfree:FICTION This is contingent on the amount of money of course, but really bringing in a somewhat recognizable name isn't the worst idea in the world. Baroni isn't a great fighter, but if his name draws in a few more viewers to see a better fighter beat him, then it's money well spent. Again, that's relevant to how much he's making because there's a perfectly legitimate chance he's being paid too much and this is another boneheaded signing, but if Baroni isn't making too much more than your average Bellator fighter then I think the investment might be worth it.
Is Ronda just being realistic in saying she'd face Gina at 145?
5.) While Ronda Rousey saying Gina Carano is the only fighter she would face at 145 pounds seems like a shot at Cyborg Justino, it actually makes sense because there's no way Gina would ever be able to make 135.
Robert Winfree:FICTION This is less about Gina making weight and more about star power. Realistically Gina has struggled to make 145 in the past so if this were about catering to Carano's ability to make weight, it would more likely be at lightweight, or a catchweight of 150lbs. Gina Carano is a recognizable name, both from her time in MMA and her acting career. Putting the two biggest names in the history of women's MMA together should be a no brainer, and if that means Ronda returns to featherweight for a one-off attraction fight, then that's what will happen. Carano's ability to make 135 is secondary to her star power; Cyborg Justino doesn't merit special treatment because she isn't as well-known. If this were anyone besides Carano, they'd either not be having this particular discussion or they'd have to suck it up and make weight.
Dustin James:I DON'T CARE No, really. I don't care. Is Gina Carano coming to the UFC to fight Ronda Rousey? Because if not, this is just water cooler talk. Even still, does anyone want to see Rousey vs. Carano? That's a huge mismatch. Rousey is a million times better than Carano and that fight would be about as entertaining as Randy Couture vs. James Toney was. Either way, I don't think Carano's coming to the UFC so this question is stupid. C'mon Wyatt. I thought you were a good Fact or Fiction host? I leave and this is what happens? Bring back Jeremy Lambert or Todd Bergman please.
Which of our underdogs do you think won this bout? Did Dustin's old school combination of humor and insulting his opponent (and the host) win you over, or did Robert continue his winning ways? 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 on Friday for our second quarterfinal bout! 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!