411 MMA Fact or Fiction 4.04.14: Rousey, Palhares, More
Posted by Wyatt Beougher on 04.04.2014
Will Ronda Rousey's arbitration proceedings effect her performance in the cage? Is WSOF in a dangerous position with Rousimar Palhares as one of their champions? 411's Robert Practor and Todd Vote debate these topics and more!
Welcome back to another edition of MMA Fact or Fiction tournament action! With five weeks of the 2014 MMA Fact or Fiction Tournament in the books, we've completed all eight opening round contests, our play-in bout, and all of the quarterfinals, leaving only the semifinals this week and next week's final contest to be decided. 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 five weeks of contests, but if you missed any of them and want to catch up, you can still find them here:
As I mentioned earlier, we're down to our final two weeks of contests, with two this week and only one next week, which puts us back to our regular schedule. 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 Wednesday's and midnight EST on Monday to vote for today's. Today is our last semifinal contest, which pits fourth seed Robert Practor against sixth seed Todd Vote. Just like in the East bracket, both of these guys have pulled off some pretty impressive upsets to get to this point, and now the only question that remains is who will advance to the final?
Is WSOF in a precarious situation with their new champion?
1.) Rousimar Palhares' very decisive win over WSOF welterweight champion Steve Carl on Saturday puts the promotion in a dangerous situation, based on Palhares' past and reputation.
Robert Practor:FACT This is a slight fact because I'm not sure I would call it a ‘dangerous' position for the WSOF, although it certainly has some risks. The company hired him knowing clear well what his reputation is and what he has done, so they're clearly ready and willing to take on whatever repercussions come from any future incidents involving Palhares. Palhares should have let his most recent leg lock over Steve Carl go a bit sooner than he did. Although it wasn't as egregious as some other cases, his reputation and history means he should rightfully be held to a different standard and he should have the wherewithal to release holds as absolutely quickly as possible. All that said, the first time he holds onto a hold as long as he did in the UFC (and prior to his time there as well), and I'm sure it's bound to happen, the commissions are sure to come down hard on him and the WSOF will be left without their Welterweight Champion that should have never been there in the first place.
Todd Vote:FICTION I went back and forth on this one. On the one hand Palhares has shown mental lapses in the past, that is why he was ultimately cut from the UFC. But I got to thinking, WSOF has to be, at least slightly, a less stressful work environment. I'm not saying the mental game to prepare for a fight is ever easy, don't get me wrong. But, I don't think I am wrong in assuming that fighting on smaller shows such as what WSOF put on has to be less stressful than fighting in what many perceive as the best MMA organization in the world, right?
With that in mind, I had to choose fiction. I don't think his past reputation will necessarily put them in a dangerous situation. It certainly has the potential to turn out that way, but I am hoping the lighter stress level helps him tremendously.
Is Marlon Moraes a promoter's dream?
2.) Conversely, Marlon Moraes winning the vacant WSOF bantamweight championship is a dream come true for the promotion, as the young champion how now put together five straight impressive wins for the company.
Todd Vote:FACT I'm sure it is always nice to have a winning champion, but I think the real "dream come true" here is the fact that this kid is pretty much a homegrown talent. He's been with the promotion since WSOF1, he is undefeated inside the promotion, and he is not someone who is considered a UFC has-been, or cast off. That, to me, is a much more important selling point for the kid than the fact that he has won five in a row. You have someone who has been exciting in all of his fights for your promotion, and you don't have to market him as a former UFC fighter.
Robert Practor:FACT Marlon Moraes has won seven straight fights, five of which were in the WSOF, including victories over Tyson Nam and Miguel Torres. Nam and Torres are the most notable names he had defeated and while they are not the world's top bantamweights, they were top 15 fighters at the time Moraes beat them. The Bantamweight division is perhaps the thinnest division in the UFC and Moraes has steadily proven himself to be one of the top 135 lb prospects outside of the company. He now needs to finish out the remaining fights on his contract with WSOF and could find himself in a good spot in the UFC in early 2015 if he continues to win.
Will World Series of Fighting overtake Bellator?
3.) With a nice mix of veteran talent and unheralded youngsters, WSOF will overtake Bellator as the number two American promotion this year.
Robert Practor:FICTION It is great for the MMA world for the World Series of Fighting to continue gaining traction as a viable entity. WSOF has a decent spot on the NBC Sports Network but even more importantly, they are actually slated to air two events on NBC itself, becoming just the fourth MMA company to air on network television, following EliteXC and Strikeforce on CBS and the UFC on Fox. While the WSOF has put on some good fights and gathered some solid names, and will soon reach their largest audience in their short history when they debut on NBC, Bellator has been working for a while on gaining a foothold as the number two MMA company in this country. Bellator has bigger names (Rampage Jackson) and better, more relevant fighters (Eddie Alvarez, Michael Chandler) and will soon be presenting a pay-per-view event and while the WSOF could very well surpass Bellator someday, I just think it's too early for 2014 to be the year they do so.
Todd Vote:FICTION WSOF has a ways to go before they can overtake Bellator as #2. While they do have a great talent pool, they are missing that one key factor. Name recognition. They have put on some decent cards, but what good is that if nobody knows when they are on? The next step for WSOF would be to start marketing the company to a wider audience. How many casual MMA fans would have any clue what WSOF is? Granted, you may be hard pressed to find many that know what Bellator is as well. But, if you asked the casual fan who they knew: Jon Fitch or Rampage Jackson, I'm betting Rampage is the more recognizable name.
This isn't a knock on WSOF at all, but I just don't think they are at the point where you could call them the #2. Especially after only, what, nine events?
Is Edgar right, or is he essentially advocating more head injuries in MMA?
4.) Frankie Edgar is correct in suggesting that a referee should let him "be limp" before stopping a fight.
Todd Vote:FICTION No, no. Hell no! Absolutely not! Come on Frankie! You know that is a bad idea! A referee's job is always to err on the side of caution. We've seen it countless times where a fighter is out on his feet and the ref doesn't stop the fight. Pete Sell vs. Matt Brown immediately comes to mind. The ref essentially stopped the fight, then waved off his stopping because he thought Sell was still in the fight. What happened? Sell took a bunch of unnecessary punishment AND lost the fight anyways.
I would rather a fight gets stopped early with a bad call than to ever see a fight go too long and have someone seriously injured because of it.
Robert Practor:FICTION Frankie Edgar is one of my favorite fighters both in and out of the cage. He is a fantastically entertaining fighter with an uncanny ability to recover quickly when in danger but this line of thinking is simply wrong. Sure, there are cases where fights get stopped too early and the fighter could or should have been able to continue, but waiting for a fighter to "go limp" before stopping the fight is frankly ridiculous. If that was the case, we should just go back to 1993 where there is practically no need for a referee. There are referees, corner men, and doctors for a reason. With what we know and continue to learn regarding the long-term ramifications of repeated brain trauma, fighters sometimes need to be saved from themselves. Just because there are instances here and there where it can be argued that a fight was stopped too early, it does not mean that fighters should be beaten to the point they are unconscious or limp.
Will a management mess hurt Rousey's career?
5.) Ronda Rousey's current arbitration proceedings against her management team will have no effect on her in-cage performance, regardless of how long they go on.
Robert Practor:FACT Ronda Rousey has been a competitor at the highest level for over a decade and has an incredible desire to compete and be challenged. While it's never an ideal situation for a fighter to go through disputes such as this, I don't see it affecting Rousey's training and performances in the cage. The only way I see Rousey taking her eye off the ball or not performing up to the standard she has expected of herself is if she wears down from stretching herself too thin between filming major movies, fights, training camps, and media appearances. But for now, management disputes or no, I wholly expect her to continue performing at the highest level in the Octagon and keep building on her already historic career.
Todd Vote:FACT I don't think they will. Rousey is an emotional person. For better or worse, she wears her emotions on her sleeve. That being said, I don't think this will affect her performance inside the cage. I can't really find anything that puts an issue at the heart of this other than Ronda has outgrown her current management team. So I am inclined to think it won't cause her any sleepless nights.
Who do you think won this bout? Did Robert continue his roll after knocking off the final remaining top seed, or did Todd have yet another upset left in the tank? 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 Friday for our last semifinal 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!