411 MMA Fact or Fiction 5.14.14: Matt Brown, GSP, Batista, More
Posted by Wyatt Beougher on 05.14.2014
Should Matt Brown receive a title shot after his seventh straight win this past weekend? Does GSP and Batista being cast in the Kickboxer remake make us want to see it? 411's Evan Zivin and Robert Winfree debate these topics and more!
Welcome to another edition of 411's MMA Fact or Fiction, and I'm your host, Wyatt Beougher. Last week, Jonathan Solomon stepped into the ForF cage against the Music Zone's Robert Cooper, and while voting turnout was low for last week's contest, we did end up with a winner, as Coop narrowly edged out his competitor by a 9-8 margin. Excellent work from both guys last week, and I look forward to seeing them back in competition again in the near future.
This week, we've got another Robert in action, as Robert Winfree looks to take it to Evan Zivin. These guys were on a crash course in the tournament two months ago, but eventual champion Koeddy Laemmle ended up wiping them both out in successive rounds, so the showdown is going down this week instead. It promises to be a good one, so let's get down to business.
TALE OF THE TAPE RED CORNER
Evan "The White Tiger" Zivin
Columnist, 411 MMA Zone
Robert "The Last Rider" Winfree
Columnist/Podcaster/Coverage Guru, 411Mania MMA Zone
Is Brown still a fight away?
1.) In spite of an impressive victory over Erick Silva and a seven-fight winning streak, Matt Brown is still at least one fight away from competing for the UFC welterweight title.
Evan Zivin:FACT If we are basing this off of the potential for a violent, exciting title match, then I say hell yeah give Matt Brown a title shot. If we are basing this off of what Brown has accomplished in the cage and who he has beaten, then he needs another win or two before you can say he deserves a title shot. Brown now has a seven-fight win streak in the UFC, which is tied for second among active UFC fighters. The other fighters with a 7-fight win streak inside the Octagon currently are Renan Barao and Chris Weidman and the only fighter with a longer streak is Jon Jones. That's pretty good company to be in. Despite winning seven in a row, though, those wins have come against fighters such as Mike Swick, Mike Pyle, and Erick Silva. They're all good fighters but none of them are high enough in the rankings to make a case for a title shot. If Brown wants to fight for the gold, he needs to fight and beat someone at or near the Top 5. If he can beat someone like Robbie Lawler or Rory MacDonald or Tyron Woodley, then he can make a legitimate case for a title shot. Either that or piss Johny Hendricks off in a Diaz-like manner to the point that Bigg Rigg demands Dana White make the fight. That might work. Actually, it probably won't but it'd be amusing to see him try.
Robert Winfree:FICTION Matt Brown is probably the most consistently exciting welterweight in the UFC right now, given that Carlos Condit is injured. Brown is on a seven-fight winning streak and has finished six of those seven opponents. Those are both things the UFC likes. More importantly, he wouldn't be leapfrogging a clearly deserving contender. Robbie Lawler had a good fight with Hendricks the first time out, but even if he beats Jake Ellenberger, no one was clamoring for an immediate rematch between the two. Tyron Woodley taking on Rory MacDonald has a very real chance to be a fight so bad that it makes your eyes bleed. Matt Brown and Johny Hendricks would be a fight that gets people watching, it would be an exciting fight given the styles both men use. Hendricks could use an exciting fight now that he's the champion of one of the marquee divisions in the UFC, and Matt Brown would give that to him no matter the outcome. I say make the fight between them.
How many more will the Hulk have to win to get a title shot?
2.) Similarly, Soa Palelei's eleven-fight win streak leaves him two or three fights away from contendership.
Robert Winfree:FACT Soa Palelei has only fought three times in the UFC, and while he's won all three, the only guy with anything approaching name value was Pat Barry, who has left MMA and just got knocked out at a Glory kickboxing event. Heavyweight isn't the deepest division in the world, but the difference between the top two or three guys and everyone else is huge, and any fighter who wants a title shot has to beat someone like Travis Browne, Fabricio Werdum, Junior dos Santos, or, at the very least, someone like Stipe Miocic. Palelei needs a win over a name we at least know before he gets into the cage with anyone near the top of the division, someone like a returning Stefan Struve or Andrei Arlovski, before he takes on a guy closer to the top of the division.
Evan Zivin:FACT 11 fights in a row is very impressive but who has he beaten in that streak? Pat Barry? Sean McCorkle? Bob Sapp? Maybe if this was 2001, when Sapp was actually seen as a threat and before his fight strategy turned into curling up into a ball the second his opponent touches him, then you could say he was worthy of a title shot. Palelei needs to face some real competition before we can start talking about him fighting for a championship, which hopefully won't be for a while. UFC has been slowly building Palelei up, giving him favorable match-ups to see how he performs. So far he's done well so I imagine he'll be getting a step-up in competition for his next fight. Maybe give him a fight with Gabriel Gonzaga or Roy Nelson next to see how he does there and if he wins those fights, THEN you can start talking about him getting a title shot at some point. The benefit of being in the heavyweight division is, with fewer fighters and a bigger gap in skill between the top ranked fighters and everyone else compared to other divisions, a fighter can get to a title shot pretty quickly. Hopefully Palelei doesn't get there too fast. There will be plenty of time for The Hulk to smash.
Is Brock going to have beat Barry into retirement?
3.) Brock Lesnar is correct - Pat Barry should retire.
Evan Zivin:FACT I don't like saying that a fighter should or shouldn't retire. I feel it's not my place to say when a fighter should hang up their gloves and recognize that it's time to say goodbye. That being said, if Pat Barry were to ask me if I think he should retire, I'd say yes. He should have walked away after he left MMA. I can understand why he felt it was a good idea to leave MMA and return to kickboxing, since striking is his forte and he'd rather compete with guys who won't try and take him down (that along with the fact that Dana was likely going to cut him anyway), but it's a very faulty logic. Barry won 3 of his 4 UFC fights by (T)KO but 4 of his 7 losses came by (T)KO as well. At first we thought he just didn't have submission defense but he also has very poor striking defense and a glass jaw. If he was getting violently knocked out by MMA fighters, many of whom possess very little striking technique, why did he think he'd do better against kickboxers, against men who do nothing but train striking technique? Barry looked sloppy in his return to kickboxing last March and he got destroyed a week and a half ago by Zack Mwekassa, a former boxer whose official kickboxing record is 11-1, which is very inexperienced compared to the rest of the division. If Barry lost in under three minutes to Mwekassa, he'll get destroyed by everyone else. If Glory wants to keep him around, they're gonna have to find some amateurs for him to face. Or, if they just want to get their money's worth out of him, have him fight Cro Cop for the hell of it. Or they can do the responsible thing and cut Barry loose before he suffers any permanent brain damage. You have to let go, Pat. It's not worth it. Do it for Thug Rose.
Robert Winfree:FACT Sure, why not. Pat Barry was an entertaining fighter and a fun personality, but it looks like his chin is entering questionable territory and he's now exclusively kickboxing, so his opponents will know how to capitalize on that. Mostly I try not to disagree with Brock Lesnar, partially because I think he'd get Paul Heyman to send me annoying voice mails where in he does nothing but repeat "My client Brock Lesnar conquered the Streak" for three hours at a time.
OR DOES IT?
4.) Bellator should take the loss of Eddie Alvarez for Bellator 120 as a sign, move the card to Spike, and cancel any future PPV plans for at least the immediate future.
Robert Winfree:FACT Bellator entering into the world of PPV was always a questionable move; they don't have a significant market share of MMA fans, they don't have that many legitimate stars on their roster, and while the economy is recovering, people aren't anxious to spend money they don't want to. Those are all strikes against the event, but now they lost the only fight on the card that really mattered. Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler fighting for the third time was probably going to get me to spend the $35 and see what happened, they have produced nothing but great fights in their previous two encounters. I have no interest in seeing Alexander Shlemenko fight above his weight class against a guy who hasn't fought since July of 2012, and is 1-7-1 in his last nine fights. Quinton Jackson taking on King Mo was interesting a couple of years ago, now not so much. Given that Bellator's last PPV attempt ended in the final week with an injury they really should consider abandoning PPV for the time being. It's likely they can't, for legal reasons, but this event will likely draw worse than your average TNA PPV event, and they'll move away from it after the fact.
Evan Zivin:FICTION This will likely be the statement that determines who wins or loses this week. I imagine the general consensus regarding this situation is that Bellator should just give up on the pay-per-view since it was going to sell poorly before Eddie's injury and will do even worse now. The way I see it is Bellator is damned if they do, damned if they don't. They want to get to the next level in the fight game and pay-per-view can help them get there but they're going to get relentlessly mocked along the way because they aren't UFC, the only promotion that apparently should be allowed to broadcast on pay-per-view. Bjorn Rebney has been hearing it from everyone that it wasn't worth trying Payperview again after the first one fell apart but you'll never know for sure until you try. Everything I've read from Bjorn and the Spike TV executives says that they're being fairly realistic with their expectations as far as a buyrate goes. They know the show won't perform that well but they also know you have to start somewhere. This first pay-per-view will be useful in telling them how many people are willing to pay for their product right now so they can determine what needs to be done to get a bigger audience the next time they try a pay-per-view. Who knows. Maybe the show will exceed expectations and then the next pay-per-view will do even better because their main eventers will actually make it to the show in one piece. Is that asking too much? Possibly, but sometimes you have to fail before you can succeed. Sometimes you have to fail a lot before you succeed. It's not like UFC has always done good buyrates. I say do the pay-per-view and go from there. They'll lose some money but, other than that, there's very little reason not to at least give it a try. Who cares what the haters say. They were never going to order the show anyway.
If fighters are seriously that close to retiring, should they even be stepping into the cage?
5.) With Costas Philippou adding his name as the latest in a string of MMA fighters to announce after a win that they'd been considering retirement prior to their most recent bout, it's time MMA fighters got a new talking point.
Evan Zivin:FACT I'm agreeing with this more due to the wording of the statement as I've never really been that bothered by fighters saying how close they came to quitting before a fight. Fighting professionally is a pressure cooker of emotions. I can only imagine the level of stress a fighter deals with in preparing for a fight as well as in the aftermath of a fight, especially if they lose. Costas was doubting himself after losing two fights in a row and had a moment of personal crisis where he considered whether fighting was still worth it, especially knowing that another loss would likely have led to his dismissal from the UFC. I'm sure most fighters have that thought run through their head after a loss. It's perfectly understandable and Costas was just being honest with the MMA media. I see nothing wrong with that. With all that said, I'll go with FACT because Costas could have made better use of his opportunity to speak at the post fight press conference, just like many other fighters can. You can play the sympathy card if you want but it's not going to get you into title contendership. There are definitely better things a fighter can talk about if they want to move up in the sport. Call someone out. Talk about how great you are. Do something that shows us some personality and gives us a reason to care about you and makes us want to watch your next fight. Saying you were close to retirement won't make you more popular. I mean, if you doubted yourself to the point of considering retirement, then why are you still fighting? When you figure out the answer to that, get back to us and maybe pick a fight with Chael Sonnen while you're at it. It couldn't hurt.
Robert Winfree:FICTION For the love of all that's holy, we finally got them a new talking point and now you want to take it away? We spent a couple of years with your average post fight interview going something like "Yeah Joe, he caught me with some good shots, I hit him with some good ones, but I pushed the pace and got the win. I don't want to call anyone out, I'll fight whoever Joe Silva and Dana White want me to. Thanks to my sponsors, I love this city, come check out my after party." Talking about possibly retiring is better than that, talking about healthcare reform would be a welcome change of pace. Plus, MMA as it currently stands has been around long enough that some fighters are going to be thinking about retirement, guys like Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture have stepped away from the cage and there were plenty of guys who got into MMA around that time. If every other fighter starts talking about how close they were to stepping away from the cage it might get old, but for now I'll take variety in my post fight interviews.
So who was this week's winner? Did Robert win you over or did Evan pick up the vote? Voting will be open until midnight EST on Saturday, so make sure you vote and make your voice heard!
LEAVE THE MEMORIES ALONE!
Bonus) Georges St. Pierre and Dave Bautista being cast in the Kickboxer remake does little to make you want to see it.
Robert Winfree:FACT I didn't know they were remaking Kickboxer. Good to know I guess. I have no interest in the remake, the casting wouldn't have changed my feelings one way or the other really. I can only speak for myself, but this doesn't seem like a good movie to remake; however, if GSP and big Dave are the most expensive guys on the cast, you could turn a profit just based on having a low budget.
Evan Zivin:FICTION Well, I had very little reason to want to see the Kickboxer reboot before this news came out because I wasn't aware this was going to be a thing. Does Van Damme know they are doing this? He might not, because if he did, he'd probably demand to star in it, which would be infinitely more entertaining than whichever random martial artist is taking the lead role. I'm sure the movie will suck, but the additions of guys like GSP and Batista may push the film into "so bad it's good" territory. If that's the case, then I'm on board. They should get Kimbo Slice for this. Everyone knows how good of an actor he is. Hell, just make half the movie Nick Diaz yelling about how fat Johny Hendricks is from inside his house that he didn't go to school to learn how to buy. Instant blockbuster right there. He'll surely get that $500,000 payday he thinks he deserves.
And that's it for today, but we'll be back next week with another contest! 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!