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 411mania » MMA » Columns

The Round Horn 4.03.14: A New Beginning
Posted by Koeddy Laemmle on 04.03.2014

The smoke has settled with our second group of panelists, the votes have been counted here at The Round Horn and after three weeks of strenuous competition the final scores are:

Wyatt Beougher: 54
Jeffrey Harris: 63

Congratulations to Jeffrey Harris on winning his contest and advancing into the Championship Rounds along with Group 1 Winner, "The Man Called" O which will kick off in May. Thank you to all the participants who were absolutely fantastic and a pleasure to work with and had their answers in well before the deadlines.

This week we start a fresh competition with four of the finest April fools around giving their take on much of the hoopla surrounding the UFC's most recent Fight Night event from Natal, Brazil and whether or not it is evidence there should be more fights on Sunday nights. Also have we seen the last of Scott Jorgensen in the UFC? And what does the future have in store for Dan Henderson and Shogun Rua after their epic rematch.

You can participate and cast your votes over at The Round Horn Subreddit. Voting is open until Tuesday. The person with the lowest accumulative points for all of their answers will be eliminated and the results will be announced in next week's columns. If you are interested in participating as a panelist in a future edition of The Round Horn or just flat out love talking MMA, shoot me an e-mail at koeddyblaemmle@gmail.com and we will get you signed up to participate as a future panel member on The Round Horn.

Let's get to know our new set of inmates:

Chris Rini: Hi everyone. I'm Chris Rini an artist and author for Fightland I'm an avid MMA fan and chronicle the history of the sport, making iconography in the form of wood engravings about pivotal battles in the careers of fighters as well as major moments in the history of the sport.

Joseph Santos: Hello! I'm Joseph Santos. I'm a future psychologist and amateur competitor in this sport with big hopes of going pro. My aim as a psychologist is to explore perception and learning to promote improved general well being, work performance, sports performance, military performance, education, and mental health recovery. My aim as a competitor is to become a dedicated fan favorite, win or lose.

Paul Lapointe: Well, well it is a brave new world for me here as I take my opinion piece services to new grounds at Round the Horn and let me say, its a breath of fresh air indeed. For those who frequent 411 I am Paul "Get To" Lapointe and I am an every zone contributor and all too infrequent column writer who's focus is primarily in the MMA zone. Outside of all that stimulating jargon above I am a walking database of useless facts and have been known by nicknames such as "Mr. Random" and "Human IMDB". I am Canadian by birth and have completed my schooling stateside receiving a Masters in Theatre History and Performance. I used that training to work in Film/TV crew units as a stunt performer and choreographer until recently taking up my bootstraps to travel and work abroad. That abroad to which I spoke of is that of the land of meatballs and pancakes= Sweden to which I have the pleasure of training/advising/competing in submission wrestling/grappling and MMA on a more full time basis. Lastly, check out "Gargoyles" if you have not had the pleasure, in my opinion the most under-appreciated 90's cartoon...ever!

Robert Practor: Hey everyone, my name is Robert Practor (although I'll be honest with you all and let you know that ‘Practor' is not my real last name. Make sure to score me points for honesty here!) I went to professional wrestling training school while still in high school in 2003, trained for ten months, and went on to work the independent scene for over three years. I got to live out my dream, albeit on a smaller scale, performing in over 25 different cities throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. My wrestling name was Zack Practor Jr, hence the Practor part of my name here. I eventually realized I would not be able to provide for a family at the rate I was going, not attending college, wrestling an average of three shows per week making scraps as payouts, and working retail jobs while doing so just to make ends meet. I made the decision to go back to college and earned my Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and I now work in Child Welfare for a prominent government agency. I married the woman of my dreams last October and I couldn't ask for a better woman. Now that we got that part out of the way we can get to MMA, which is why we are all here, I will discuss that briefly before we get down to business.

I'm a huge fan of MMA, most notably the UFC. I have fond memories of watching the first UFC Pay-Per-Views at home with my family (with a little help from a box that was black, if you know what I mean) and my interest has grown along with my age. Ken Shamrock was a favorite of mine in my younger years, Chuck Liddell (along with the premiere season of The Ultimate Fighter) was responsible for bringing me back to the sport, and my favorite fighters out there right now are Anderson Silva and Frankie Edgar. After every UFC PPV event, I present a feature column titled What's Next where I discuss what direction the combatants on the card appear to be heading, be it a title fight, a number one contender bout, or maybe even a one-way ticket out of the organization. I have a lot of fun working on the feature and feel you would all enjoy it so keep an eye out for it if you haven't checked it out already. Here is the latest edition, which ran after UFC 171. WHAT'S NEXT: UFC 171 AFTERMATH

UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs Henderson 2 generated some favorable numbers despite not airing on UFC's usual Saturday night. Is this a sign UFC should run more events on Sunday or is this just a case of a highly anticipated rematch drawing in a big crowd?

Chris Rini: Between the lack of big names on the rest of the main card as well as the Sunday time slot, I was really pleased to see this event do well. Opening up a Saturday night for socializing is a good idea and and keeping the Saturday nights synonymous with PPV events might eventually become a necessary or wise strategy. One issue the UFC struggles with is its marketing pitch which is only FEVER, must see, this is a battle! And hammering us over the head with it three to four weekends out the month is going to desensitize even the most loyal fan. Spreading the fights out to Sunday gives a more relaxed viewing perspective and lets the casual PPV fan have a more modest but revenue-relevant option. I want more fights, but I don't want to ruin every Saturday night for my girlfriend.

Joseph Santos: All we can say for sure right now is that Sunday cards are occasionally OK if there is an important bout on the card but that's all we can say for sure right now. If it's an important fight then most fans prefer to have the biggest fights on Saturday. I personally welcome more Sunday cards but before they start featuring title fights on days other than Saturday, the UFC needs to feel it out with more matches featuring great main events that don't have clear title implications. This way, more people have a chance to see the event live and avoid getting spoilers from the loud mouth at work on Monday. If the event is spoiled then at least it wasn't a title fight. Additionally, I prefer that future Sunday cards were not in Brazil. Apparently that guy who howls every chance he gets can afford better seats at the end of the week.

Paul Lapointe: I can believe its a factor that is a result of both those reasons being slightly true. By squashing them together I figure its a 1-2 combo that helped more then either one over the other. To be honest I was never all that keen on them rematching in the first place as I believed it would not benefit either fighter to add another chapter to an already brilliant 5 rounds. With the way both guys have been doing in the cage over the past few years I figured it may tarnish more then polish by adding potential rounds 6-10. In hindsight at least it kinda did but nothing was ever really going to compare to the first go round anyhow. But all that being said the marketability for something so revered and on free TV sold itself. On the flipside though the event being on a Sunday and in the afternoon allowed people to not have to book time at the bar or a friends to watch it and with the UFC holding events now at the rate of an almost weekly basis peoples Saturday schedule may not always be open. All and all I believe the UFC would benefit from arranging events at different times and days to bring in more fans to the product and having its 1st Sunday card headlined by something that also brought in the longtime fans it helped. Will this strategy work in the long run? Time will tell.

Robert Practor: Fight Night 38, featuring the Shogun-Henderson rematch, drew 936,000 viewers, making it the third most-watched Fight Night event on Fox Sports 1 and the second highest rated program on a Sunday for the channel. The event went up against the NCAA Basketball tournament, making the numbers even more impressive. One thing I would like to point out though is that the last quarter hour of the event, the main event, peaked with 1.25 million viewers. With the peak being 1.25mil, and the average being 936,000, that means the rest of the show not counting the main event drew an average of 730,000. This shows that almost half of the people who watched the card only saw the Shogun-Hendo fight. All that being said, the answer is a little bit of both. This is certainly a case of a highly anticipated rematch drawing a big crowd but it also shows that they can have success on different nights as long as they present the right fights. While Saturdays would likely draw higher ratings than other days, if circumstances require the UFC to run an event on another day, Shogun-Henderson proved that people will still watch as long as there is a meaningful fight on the card.

Dan Henderson is seemingly set on returning for future fights and is looking to make one last big run before calling it a career after his huge win over Shogun. Are there any enticing match-ups you would like to see with Hendo before he retires?

Joseph Santos: I will watch Dan Henderson fight absolutely anyone. Whether it's a rematch with Michael Bisping or an openweight match with Meisha Tate, I want to see it. If he only fights one more time before calling it a career then I want to see him go up against Mark Hunt. Two durable heavy hitters who dont set up their punches couldn't possibly let me down and Dan doesn't seem like he would mind the weight difference. At 205, if we're talking about a serious title run then matching up Dan with Ryan Jimmo or Jimi Manuwa would be great to see what Dan can still do in this division. With success, Dan can take a stab at the first available potential contender before retirement. Title run or not at 205, Dan vs Teixeira is something I must see before Dan retires. Teixeira won't say no to someone as recognized as Dan and Dan looks forward to going out on his shield. At 185, Dan Henderson vs Chris Weidman would be excellent, title fight or not. Rousimar Palhares couldn't submit Dan, Shogun couldn't knock him out, and Rashad Evans couldn't take him down. A fight with someone as celebrated as Weidman would most likely bring the best out of both men. Dan made a career out of going after the most celebrated fighters in the sport. Why not give him one more, no matter what weight class? Even without a serious title run at middleweight, I'd like to see Dan take on any middleweight that will take the fight to him. Mark Munoz and Jonaldo Souza come to mind immediately.

Robert Practor: To be quite honest, Hendo's fight against Rua was a bit uncomfortable for me to watch as they both have taken an absurd amount of damage throughout their careers and should really consider hanging it up instead of putting their bodies and brains through any more trauma. Hendo got rocked multiple times in the fight and his notorious chin is clearly fading. Still, he managed to pull off a comeback victory in the third round with an absolutely nasty KO punch that shattered Rua's nose. Henderson seems to believe he has another title run in him and that is simply not going to happen at this point in his career. I frankly don't want to continue watching either of them go through more battles and I feel this would have been a good fight for both men to hang it up after. Despite all that, it's clear that Hendo will continue on. The rumored fight against Daniel Cormier makes sense, seeing as the other option for Cormier is Feijao Cavalcante, which just makes no sense whatsoever. Ryan Bader has been mentioned as another option for Hendo and I suppose that's suitable. Those are the best options for Henderson as he hangs around and even those are not really enticing to me.

Chris Rini: Elite athletes are treated most cruel by Father Time. Often they can continue to out perform the majority of their contemporaries but only desire to fight against top 5 level opponents. BJ Penn and Shogun are probably the most recent fighters to suffer this fate, especially after watching Shogun outlast Brandon Vera and destroy James Te Huna while falling to Gustafsson and Sonnen in the same time frame. As for Dan, he has only been able to excel against Shogun himself and looked unconvincing as an elite fighter against Rashad, Lyoto and Vitor.

I don't see him making a run at either 205 or 185, but I understand that the desire to compete is still there and there is one matchup that could be the ultimate barometer of his place in the division: Ryan Bader, another wrestler who often falls in love with his own KO power and who continually flirts with title talk but has never come back from his first loss to Jon Jones where he was outclassed.

Paul Lapointe: At this state in his career and at LHW I believe Hendo's time for enticing matchups that truly mean anything is pretty much over. Outside of facing Fabio Maldonaldo in a bout the UFC would never book I got nada. I mean I am not a happy camper to actually have to say that but with the banning of TRT coming into fruition around the board, his age, current performance factor against top talent and decaying range in skill and gameplanning, not really. I mean since he last fought Rua years back his last 4 fights have shown that he is alot more rickety and lumbering in the cage and is only EVER looking to hit that H-Bomb to cash his checks with, that's it. The UFC even seems to think so as they are booking Dan as just a record padder for other guys who are to be contenders going forward thinking that if he loses enough he may just retire on his own free will. Honestly he is fighting for pride and will as he does not have a conceivable chance of ever getting another crack at UFC gold after the UFC 151 debacle and the UFC seems content at throwing him to the lions anyhow. All that in the back of my mind and his 3 leftover fights on his contract and the rumour that he is now being matched up against Daniel Cormier ( I mean c'mon) Hendo is an attraction/steppingstone more then a fighter at this time. Taking nothing away from his win as well over Shogun but before the H-Bomb hit he was down 2 rounds to none but crazier things have happened in MMA. As for matchups the only one in the UFC I would want to see Dan in is at HW against another crazy old punch and kick guy, Mark Hunt.

Shogun Rua finds himself in a tougher situation; where he went from potentially finding himself in the title picture with a win, to the reality of defeat, and questions regarding whether he can still hang with the always evolving talent of the UFC. Are there any enticing match-ups you would like to see out of Shogun Rua?

Paul Lapointe: In the 7 years he has been in the UFC and the multiple injuries and plethora of surgeries he has had to endure the fans never really got to see PRIDE Shogun and that's too bad. Given what he has done though in the UFC in those 7 years and its current LHW roster I do not really have much hope that any matchups booked really would have that "wow" factor for me anymore. On paper I guess a rematch against Lil' Nog would be cool but again, Shogun is not PRIDE Shogun anymore and Lil' Nog does not seem able to take a shower without injuring himself so I reserve judgement on that fight. All other name fighters I think would either beat him or he has already faced and given that he is set to have ANOTHER surgery to repair his broken nose/face a timetable is unclear. If I am to be pressed to give an answer I would say if Glover Teixera loses to Jonny Bones at UFC 172 I would not be against the two Brazilians clashing for our entertainment.

Chris Rini: In the past three years Shogun has taken a lifetime's worth of punishment and as a fan & fight archivist I would not mind seeing him hang up the gloves. The two Henderson matches along with the Gustafsson and Vera fights could be compiled into a short film called The Shogun Wars and give the Rocky franchise a run in terms of the unrealistic amount of abuse he's taken. I think his body will never outlast his will to compete. And while I'll be sad to see Shogun retire no matter when it happens, I'd rather vote for him to retire than fight top level guys.

Robert Practor: I am going to start off by disagreeing with the statement that he was "potentially finding himself in the title picture with a win" because I don't think that is true at all. He was 4-5 in his last nine heading into the Henderson rematch and only won 1 out of his last 3. His only wins in the past two and a half years have been in a poor performance over someone he was expected to annihilate, Brandon Vera, and a barely top-15 fighter, James Te Huna. Even if he got past Hendo, he was nowhere near a title fight. Now, as far as his future goes, everything I wrote in the previous question applies here. He is clearly past his prime and has endured so much damage throughout his career not to mention numerous surgeries, so I would prefer he hang it up. If he too decides to stick around, I can't even think of a fight that makes sense for him, let alone one that is enticing.

Joseph Santos: Shogun vs Anthony Johnson is the one bout that must happen no matter what. I've been waiting for this one since Johnson's UFC debut. Neither man would go down without a hard fight, nor do they want any lip from the judges. Shogun is leaner now. If he wants to stay at 205 then he needs to fight Johnson or Phil Davis. Someone who would likely take Shogun into later rounds so we can see if his endurance is any better. From there he can decide to go for the 205 belt or go to middleweight, which I prefer he did. If I can't see Shogun vs Johnson then Shogun vs Teixeira would be just as good if not better. Especially now after Shogun was accused of ducking Teixeira. If Shogun moves to middleweight, I would like his middleweight debut to be against Gegard Mousasi. It would be a great way to challenge Shogun's conditioning at middleweight without pitting him against a wrestler. With success, Shogun vs any potential contender at middleweight is the right match-up from there.

Time for "BUY or SELL", this is the segment of the column where the panel members will pick a stance on some of MMA's biggest headlines and explain why. BUY means they agree with the statement, SELL means they disagree.

BUY OR SELL:If Shogun Rua retired today, he has already done enough to earn himself a spot in the UFC Hall of Fame.

Robert Practor: BUY Shogun Rua was the 2005 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix Champion as well as UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and was widely regarded as having the KO of the Year in 2010 (over Lyoto Machida) and Fight of the Year in 2011 (against Dan Henderson). Rua has earned victories over some of the biggest names in MMA including Chuck Liddell, Lyoto Machida, Alistair Overeem, and Rampage Jackson. Sadly, numerous injuries and the battles he was in piled up on him, leading to us arguably never seeing Shogun at his best since coming to the UFC, but the fact remains that his accomplishments would certainly warrant him a spot in the UFC Hall of Fame.

Paul Lapointe: BUY Shogun is a walking, talking, breathing, blah, blah all that other accolade crap people will mention former champion fighter, he's in. I mean no debate to really be given as to why he would not be put in there. His PRIDE accomplishments, former glory as UFC titleholder, his record of who's who fights and Rua/Hendo I is enough. Next question.

Joseph Santos: BUY. It is impossible to discuss greatness in the light heavyweight division without coming across the name Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua. What made the 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix such a huge event in the history of of the sport was the large amount of dominant figures who competed in the tournament. Names such as Kazushi Sakuraba, Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort, Igor Vovchanchyn, Quinton Jackson and Wanderlei Silva. All of these men failed to win the big prize which Shogun claimed, and that failure is a chapter in all of their stories. When Lyoto Machida was undefeated, even some hardcore fans of Fedor Emelianenko and Anderson Silva couldn't think of anyone who would likely beat him. Shogun had very little fan support in two matches with Machida. Shogun outclassed Machida in two consecutive meetings, shocking the world two consecutive times. How many athletes can say they shocked the world with two consecutive performances? Whether you're talking about one weight class or the entire sport, the name Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua belongs on the list of dominating figures.

Chris Rini: BUY 100% yes. I'm including his Pride fights in this assessment as the competition was equal or greater at the time. The Middleweight tournament run saw finishes of a prime Rampage, a Fight of the Year agains a prime Little Nog and then (T)KO Alistair Overeem and Ricardo Arona in the same night to win it all. Then in the UFC he was the first man to stop Lyoto Machida, won the LHW title and he even avenged three of his losses. Oh, he also was in one of the greatest fights ever after doing all that. He could have retired after the first Hendo fight and it might have made his career easier to present as a HOF package, but that's not a fighter's job.

credit: MMAFightingonSBN

BUY OR SELL: Scott Jorgensen needs his loss against Jussier Formiga at UFC Fight Night 38 to be successfully overturned or he will be cut from the UFC.

Chris Rini: BUY Yeesh... 3-5 in the past 3 years. If he were a LW or WW he probably would have been shown the door. I understand the strategy of dropping divisions to essentially buy some time for one's career and Jorgensen is right on the cusp of the athlete's "old age" number, 32. There could be an advantage to being let go by the UFC in that he could probably fight at 135 or 145 in a smaller promotion and be the big fish in a small pond. It's working out just fine for Paul Harris and Yushin Okami at the moment.

Robert Practor: BUY Jorgensen has only won 1 out of his last six fights. He had hoped to find more success upon dropping down to Flyweight but his skills haven't translated well with his drop to 125 lbs, where he saw losses to Zach Makovsky and the aforementioned Jussier Formiga. Like the question posed, I believe Jorgensen is a lock to be released if the loss is not overturned, which I do not believe it will be.

Paul Lapointe:BUY Though the UFC Flyweight roster is thinner then most it still happens to have time to grow and add to its ranks in time for Mighty Mouse to dismantle them. He is next scheduled to grind down Ali the Russian at UFC 174 and we have the underappreciated Zack Makovsky and Brad Pickett on the horizon as potential challengers to have not tempted fate and gone up against the dreaded Mouse in question. Also if Formiga's win is upheld (which it should be) and he gains momentum who knows. Also prospects like Justin Scoggins still exist in its ranks as well as Kyoji Horiguchi and vets like Joseph Benavidez and John Dodson still making noise. All in all with the rate of Jorgensen's losses against who he has beat over the past few years (Jeff Curran, Ken Stone, John Albert) I think its best if he left on good terms re-focused and got some wins under his belt before coming back again. To be fair I just do not want him to be given another chance and have him lose again as it would be even that much harder for him to get the call back up to the big time. Plus his record is inching closer to .500 territory and even against top talent you need to win more then lose to still be considered top talent yourself.

Joseph Santos: BUY I would die inside if Jorgensen were given his walking papers right now but once Tyson Griffin was cut from the UFC, I knew that no one was safe who didn't have a belt or status as a contender. The sport has changed. Keeping fighters on the roster just for being entertaining is not what the UFC wants anymore. Not in bulk, anyway. Some guys become long time fan favorites without ever making a successful title run or even getting top contender status. The UFC wants potential contenders and belt holders and they can't get that if they make room for jobbers on the roster. So a loss is a loss to them now and if losses add up, then you get the boot, even if it's just for the fighter's safety. Scotty must take action if he cares about his future in the UFC.


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