411 MMA Fact or Fiction 4.09.14: Tournament Finals Edition!
Posted by Wyatt Beougher on 04.09.2014
Would a deal with Gina Carano bring a third women's weight class to the UFC? Is Holly Holm UFC bound after her latest win? 411's Todd Vote and Koeddy Laemmle debate these topics and more!
Welcome back to MMA Fact or Fiction, and after six weeks of action, at last we've come to the conclusion of our tournament! If you haven't been keeping up to speed, here are the final brackets for this year's tournament:
And you can find all of the contests that got us to this point at the following locations:
As I mentioned, this is the final week of the 2014 411 MMA Fact or Fiction Tournament, and in the semifinals last week, the overall trend of this year's tournament (and its parallels to the NCAA version) held true, as both underdog competitors came out on the winning end of things. And now, because Koeddy Laemmle had never competed in Fact or Fiction prior to this year's tournament, sixth-seeded Todd Vote, one of the most prolific competitors in my era as host, will face an undefeated eighth seed for the right to call themselves the MMA Fact or Fiction champion (as well as a guaranteed number one seed in next year's tournament). So will Koeddy complete an incredible rookie run and win top honors, or will Todd move over .500 for the first time in over two years with arguably the biggest win of his Fact or Fiction career?
Is "homegrown" Bellator talent toppling former UFC stars good for business?
1.) If Bellator talent can continue to beat former UFC talent (like Vitaly Minakov did against Cheick Kongo on Friday night), that's a huge positive for the promotion of the company going forward.
Todd Vote:FACT But not in the way that I feel Wyatt is trying to intimate. Bellator talent beating former UFC talent is a good thing because these guys are all essentially UFC castaways. These are guys that the UFC didn't want on their roster. Bellator talent should be beating them, or it would make them look really bad. Your top talent should be beating these cast-offs from your rival promotion.
The time that this will start to matter more in the way Wyatt was trying to get across is when we have one of those Gilbert Melendez situations that actually go through. When someone ends up leaving the UFC on their own accord, without being forced out due to losses, THEN beating them will hold a lot more meaning that someone beating a Cheick Kongo or a Kendall Grove.
Koeddy Laemmle:FACT Oh no doubt it's a huge positive for Bellator to have "their" guys beat former talents such as we saw last Friday when Vitaly Minakov beat former UFC Heavyweight prospect, Cheick Kongo. Just look at how much the two wins over King Mo benefited Emanuel Newton's mixed martial arts career, legitimizing him as a fighter to a lot of fans who would have never heard of him otherwise. I would like to think Bellator doesn't go out and sign notable veteran free agents, such as Kongo, because they believe he can be the face of their Heavyweight division, I would like to think they sign them so they can help establish their homegrown fighters as legitimate competition. This fight also benefits Minakov's standing in the rankings, where he already makes an easy case for a Top 10 spot. With the Bellator Heavyweight Champion now standing tall with a 14-0 overall record, much talk begins to circulate on how Minakov would contend against the best the UFC has to offer, especially considering the lack of proper challengers for Heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez at this time. Any time these types of comparisons are being made, Bellator are winners.
With four fights left on her Zuffa-purchased Strikeforce contract, is it worth establishing a third WMMA weight class?
2.) Even if Gina Carano and Dana White do have a successful meeting this week, it's not going to result in the UFC forming a third women's weight class.
Koeddy Laemmle:FACT I'm not sure exactly where the rumor this meeting has anything to do with a UFC Women's Featherweight division comes from, I'm assuming it's just speculation from all the excitement surrounding Carano's return to the MMA headlines and even if Cyborg fights Rousey, she couldn't possibly fight at 135 pounds forever. But the UFC has yet to even launch their second women's weight class, and, as successful as the UFC Women's Bantamweight division has been, there is absolutely no guarantee the Strawweights will see the same kind of success, especially considering they don't have the biggest contributor to the success of the women's 135 weight class, Ronda Rousey.
I think the talks Gina Carano and Dana White will have only revolve around Carano's fighting career, these talks may lead to where she wants to go with her career and that may be where the Featherweight division rumors come from. If she were to come back prematurely and drop a couple fights in a row, a move back to her natural weight class may wind up being necessary, and I think she will probably just want to make sure there is some plan in place for her and a future women's 145 weight class. While it's obviously the route they will be pursuing in the future I think it'll be a little over another year before we see some real consideration for a third women's weight class though.
Todd Vote:FACT No way we see a third women's class added before the second one is even off and running. Gina meeting Dana is more than likely going to lead to a huge female superfight between Carano and Rousey, probably at catchweight. At least that is my guess. I don't think Dana would be looking to start a 145 women's division just yet, or honestly anytime in the near future.
Is Abdelaziz creating future headaches?
3.) Ali Abdelaziz granting Josh Burkman a title fight after Burkman asked for his release from World Series of Fighting sets a bad precedent for the young promotion.
Todd Vote:FACT Sure does. But it is really no different of a precedent than Gilbert Melendez using his negotiations with Bellator to secure himself a UFC title fight. They are slightly different stories, sure, but both fighters used their position in the sport to secure what they wanted.
At the end of the day, MMA is still a business. Promoters and fighters alike have to do what they have to do to get things they need. Whether that be tough negotiations to get a title fight, or asking for your release when you don't get something that you think you may be due.
Koeddy Laemmle:FACT It wouldn't be so bad if it didn't absolutely obliterate Ali Abdelaziz's credibility as World Series of Fighting matchmaker in the process. For those unaware with the situation, Burkman was answering a question about not receiving a fight bonus on Twitter when he mentioned possibly leaving in dissatisfaction. Vinny Magalhaes joined in and started ragging on Abdelaziz for being a "Joe Silva wannabe" and cheap. Abdelaziz responded and it turned into a Twitter-war between himself and Magalhaes. Everything settled down once WSoF President Ray Sefo finally stepped in and told Burkman, "one person's actions don't speak for WSOF as a whole", which I would assume he's referring to Abdelaziz.
It was an extremely unprofessional situation from Abdelaziz and definitely something that should have been handled behind closed doors and not out for the public to witness (allowing apparent Twitter troll Vinny Magalhaes to join in the chaos). I think Burkman realized things got a little out of hand once Sefo got involved, but for Abdelaziz to actually join in all of this makes him look very unqualified for his position, especially considering Magalhaes (who he was mostly arguing with) doesn't even fight for them. Burkman didn't really do a whole lot to trigger the situation and only has one fight left on his contract anyways, so him getting a title shot after expressing his displeasure wouldn't have been so much of a big deal if it was handled behind closed doors, but when the matchmaker goes through a small-minded "Twitter-rant" with an outside talent to get to this end result, we have an issue.
How long before Holm is in the UFC?
4.) With another quick win to capture the inaugural Legacy FC women's bantamweight championship, it's only a matter of time before Holly Holm is fighting in the UFC.
Koeddy Laemmle:FACT While everybody talks about the UFC getting Gina Carano and Cyborg signed so they can have their Super Fights with Ronda Rousey, current boxing champion and fast rising women's MMA star, Holly Holm slowly begins to build her own case for a shot at the crown. Undefeated with 7 professional wins, Holm has finished all but one of her opponents since her career began in 2011 and racked up more than half her wins just last year. Her recent Legacy Bantamweight title win against Juliana Werner was made even more impressive by the fact she fought through most of the fight with a broken arm before finishing her in the 5th round. Holm is exactly the type of talent UFC is looking to get their hands on with so much hype surrounding her. Plus when you take into consideration her highly successful boxing background, she has got to currently be on the UFC's radar for prospects when her commitments with Legacy FC run their course.
Todd Vote:FACT Sure. I mean, I am not exactly in the know about what kind of contracts Legacy offers their fighters. But judging by the way the UFC signed a bunch of Invicta talent to get the women's 125 division going, I can't see Holm staying in Legacy FC if both herself and the UFC want her as part of their roster. Again, I can't begin to act like I know how a fighters contract works, but I think we will see her in the UFC before long.
And now...JON JONES WITH A BUNNY!
5.) In spite of the circumstances, Jon Jones is correct - he is one of the biggest draws in MMA today, and the UFC does do more promotional work for Ronda Rousey's fights than for his own.
Todd Vote:FICTION I wouldn't say in spite of the circumstances. I would say it is because of these circumstances. Jones is one of the biggest draws in the UFC, because who is left? Silva is currently out. GSP is out for who knows how long. Cain isn't drawing like they would like. That leaves Jones and Rousey with the most drawing power at the moment.
I think Rousey gets more of a push from the UFC because hers is the better story. Nothing against Jones, but he is on top of a division that has always been the UFC's bread and butter. The LHW division has always been successful for the UFC. The women's bantamweight division, and Women's MMA in general, is still a fairly new concept. In other words, they needed the push at the time.
Koeddy Laemmle:FACT Of course Jon Jones is one of the biggest draws in MMA today. He might be the legitimate top pound-for-pound fighter in the world and whether you like him or hate him (personally I'm not a big fan), you always want to see the guy fight. He is right when he says UFC puts most of their promotional work into Ronda Rousey, but it's not really a situation where you can blame them, since she has movie roles coming in and her explosion in popularity is nothing short of amazing. What Jones needs to do is shut his mouth because it is constantly causing him more trouble than anything else at this point. The thing that turns people away from Jones is his annoying passive aggressive attitude that quickly turned fans on him. Complaining about the promotional work UFC does for Rousey is just petty and something I wouldn't expect Rousey to even care about, let alone say something about. Cain Velasquez is really the only other consistent name that draws 300,000 PPV buys (which is about the average for a solid show these days). Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva will usually bring in double to triple those buys but they are the only ones capable of doing so (unless Brock Lesnar ever returns) so regardless of whether the other biggest draws are active or not, Jon Jones is one of the top five draws in mixed martial arts today, there's no doubt about it.
So which underdog do you think won this bout? Was Todd's experience too much for Koeddy to handle, or did Laemmle's youthful enthusiasm earn your Vote (yup, that's a groan-worthy pun)? Voting will be open until midnight EST on Saturday, so make sure you vote and make your voice heard! This tournament needs a winner!
And that's it for today, but we'll be back next week with a special treat for you! 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!