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 411mania » MMA » Columns

411 MMA Fact or Fiction 5.21.14: Alvarez/Chandler III, Rampage/Mo II, More
Posted by Wyatt Beougher on 05.20.2014

Welcome back to 411's MMA Fact or Fiction, and, for the last time (this month) I'm your host, Wyatt Beougher. That's right, I'll be taking the next three weeks off of hosting duties in light of my impending nuptials and honeymoon. But don't worry, I'll be leaving you in good hands, as Koeddy Laemmle and Evan Zivin are going to be filling in for me, and based simply on the fact that Evan has done a better job writing Five Quick Rounds than I ever did? I'll be lucky if Larry lets me have this job back. At any rate, last week's outing saw Robert Winfree step into the ForF cage to square off with the aforementioned Evan Zivin. When he sent me his responses last week, Evan basically suggested that he was going to lose, and after Winfree jumped out to a huge early lead, it looked like it was a done deal. And while Winfree still ended up winning the bout, Evan at least made it respectable, rallying to only a three-vote deficit, so kudos to both guys for making it such a close contest.

This week, we've got a rescheduled bout from a few weeks back, when Todd Vote was supposed to take on Paul Lapointe. Paul had some real world complications that forced him to withdraw and I had to step in, but now that he's back in action, I figured I'd book this contest to see what might have been…except for the fact that Paul is MIA, so it looks like it'll once again be Todd and I in a rematch that I don't think anyone really asked for.

Todd "The Man Without a Zone" Vote
Contributor, Four Player Co-Op (Games Zone), among others.


Wyatt "MMA's Merv Griffin" Beougher
Contributor, 411Mania (Various Zones)

Are we still going to see this fight?

1.) In spite of Michael Chandler losing his interim title fight to Will Brooks, Chandler will likely fight Eddie Alvarez before Brooks does, based on Alvarez' contract allowing him to choose the fight with Chandler.

Todd Vote: FICTION First of all, the contract thing is confusing as hell. I'm not a lawyer, so I am not going to pretend to understand what kind of language could be in there that allows Alvarez the right to demand a fight with Michael Chandler... I mean, is that clause just constantly hanging there. Alvarez can come off of 2 losses in a row and just be all like "Hey, you know what? I want to fight Michael Chandler again, that seems like a great idea right now".

Second, I don't see Alvarez wanting to fight Chandler now that he is coming off a loss. Why not face Brooks, unify the belts then ask for the Chandler fight? What if Chandler beats Alvarez to become the champ again? Is Brooks then in a position where, as interim champ, he has to beat the guy he beat for that title, in order to win the real title? Does anyone else see the severe problem Bellator could be facing if Alvarez opts to face Chandler?

I'm going to stick with the answer of fiction for now, as I just don't think it makes sense for anyone involved for Alvarez to pursue the Chandler fight before the Brooks fight.

Wyatt Beougher: FACT Sure, it doesn't make sense, but then again, how often has Bellator shown recently that they're absolutely willing to spit in the face of common sense and do something completely out of the realm of logic? That's almost been their forte when it comes to titles and rematches since they decided that maybe the tournaments weren't the be-all, end-all to decide their challengers. And I'm not even going to get into the Attila Vegh "injury" situation that was apparently just Bjorn trying to book King Mo/Emanuel Newton II. You can't tell me that Alvarez/Chandler III isn't a better fight for Alvarez, Chandler, (eventually) Brooks, and Bellator than half of the fights this past Saturday were.

Seriously, Alvarez/Chandler is way better for Bellator than any outcome of Shlemenko/Ortiz would've been, and Bellator ended up with the worst possible timeline version of that fight.

Anyone interested in a rematch?

2.) With Rampage Jackson's win over King Mo being somewhat controversial, it makes sense to make a rematch between the two.

Wyatt Beougher: FICTION Their fight SUCKED. It was right up with Rampage/Rashad in "grudge fights Rampage says he's going to destroy his opponent only to just kinda hang out for fifteen minutes without ever looking for a finish". I know Rampage "won" a title shot, and I also know that he doesn't want to face Emanuel Newton, but Bjorn needs to strike while the iron is hot. I think I speak for the majority of MMA fans when I say no one wants to see Newton/Mo III.

Newton has two decisive wins against Mo already, so if Mo beats Rampage in a rematch, what is Bellator left with? And if Rampage wins a rematch, is he suddenly going to want to fight Newton? Or do they end up with no challenger for their champion? No matter how you look at it, it's a bad situation, but one that can easily be mitigated by having tournament winner Rampage Jackson fight light heavyweight champion Emanuel Newton. Then if Rampage loses, he can fight Mo again. And if he wins, he can get whoever wins the next light heavyweight tournament.

Todd Vote: FACT Yeah, I suppose it does. But again, we are seeing more problems come as a result of the tournament format Bellator chooses to employ. Rampage won, regardless of the controversy of the decision, Rampage came out on top, thus ensuring him a shot at a title he has no desire to fight for.

Say they go the route of the immediate rematch. I wouldn't fault them for doing so from a business standpoint, there is probably more money in the rematch than there is in either one fighting Newton. But where does that leave Newton? Does he sit on the shelf waiting for this mess to sort itself out? Do you put him in a non-title fight and risk another one of your champions losing in a fight without the title on the line?

I do like the tournament format Bellator uses, but it might be time to revisit the rules and of the whole deal. perhaps open it up a bit so winning a tournament isn't the only way to get a title shot. You need a plan in place for when situations like this arise. How do you get your champion a title defense if the tournament creates a log jam?

Could it have gone any worse for Bellator?

3.) With wins from UFC castoffs Cheick Kongo, Tito Ortiz, and Rampage Jackson, Bellator 120 was a rough night for Bellator talent.

Todd Vote: FACT The one I feel the most sorry for is Schlemenko. He lost a fight to a UFC cast off that has only won one fight in the last 8 years. That has got to sting a bit for the Middleweight champ.

I know that Schlemenko will be back, but the question is how much will that loss affect him. I mean he called out Ortiz, then lost. That is going to eat at him a bit I think, and I hope he is able to rebound.

As for the rest? Its a risk you take when you sign talent that has been released from what many consider to be the #1 organization in your chosen field. You go for the name value, and it can have a negative affect on your business model.

Wyatt Beougher: FACT Bellator 120 was a BRUTAL night for the company. I will say that Kongo beating a guy who was making his Bellator debut AND coming off of a loss was the least damaging of the former UFC fighters' wins. And Rampage's win against King Mo, who is still more of a Strikeforce talent than a Bellator one, wouldn't have been all that bad, if, as I already mentioned, the fight hadn't been utterly awful. That fight did no favors for anyone involved, but it still wasn't the worst setback of the evening for Bellator, as that honor easily goes to the Tito Ortiz/Alexander Shlemenko fight. "The Man of 1004 Excuses" needed just 147 seconds to decisively submit Bellator's middleweight champion, who was clearly undersized for the fight and honestly had no business in the ring with Ortiz, no matter how broken down Bellator's management believed him to be.

I can understand their line of thinking - that Ortiz was so far past his prime that Shlemenko could get an easy win over a former UFC light heavyweight champion at a weight class above his normal weight. I mean, it worked for Anderson Silva against Forrest Griffin, right? Unfortunately, while Ortiz is no Griffin, Shlemenko is no Anderson Silva, and the absolute worst possible outcome happened. And that, sadly, is Bellator 120 in a nutshell - Murphy's Law in a microcosm - anything that could go wrong, did.

Is it time for Wineland to hang them up?

4.) After losing two of his last three fights by (T)KO and admitting that he's considering retirement, that is the best course of action for Eddie Wineland.

Wyatt Beougher: FACT I've always been a proponent of post-career quality of life for fighters, and this is no exception. Having sustained a fair amount of head trauma in my day, I've done a good bit of research about Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, and that's a fear that I struggle with every time I walk into a room and can't remember why I was headed there, or lose my train of thought in the middle of a sentence without a single distraction in the room.

It's also something that I'd never wish on another person, especially a guy who's generally been as likable as Eddie Wineland. But the fact remains that Wineland has suffered some pretty serious abuse in his last few fights, and if he's even considered retirement, he needs to just go ahead and go through with it. If, a year from now, he's put these losses behind him and is rejuvenated and ready to take another stab at fighting, then I wouldn't hold that against him for a minute, because that strategy has worked well for other fighters in the past. But until he gets rid of that niggling doubt, I don't think that stepping back into the cage is in his best interests, either in the short-term or in the long-term.

Todd Vote: FACT When you start doubting yourself, and wondering if retirement is the best course of action for you, it probably is. Retire, step away from the cage. Do it now while you still have a solid head on your shoulders.

Maybe in a year or two you decide the desire to fight is there again. So you make a comeback, and fight some more. I'd much rather see a scenario like this play out than any of the other retirement scenarios we've seen the past two years where fighters are going way past their prime, just clinging to the glory of what they once were. If your heart is not in it, step away.

Seriously, tell me who this fight benefits? It's not this guy.

5.) Alex Caceres vs Urijah Faber is a fight that makes no sense for either fighter.

Todd Vote: FICTION Caceres has won 4 of his last five fights, all five if it wasn't for the NC over a failed drug test. Urijah Faber, for all intents and purposes has become a gate keeper of his division. He's probably going to beat most fighters not named Barao or Cruz.

What better way to find out if Caceres is ready for a bigger fight, than to throw him in there against a bigger name opponent than to throw him in there with a bigger name opponent?

Wyatt Beougher: FACT Urijah Faber wins every fight that isn't a title eliminator, interim title fight, or title fight. Because Alex Caceres is currently ranked 13th in the division (Faber is first), I can't see this being a title eliminator fight for Faber, so it'll likely be an easy win. Sure, Caceres has picked up four wins in his last five (which would be five straight if not for a positive test for marijuana), but none of those fighters provided Caceres with a true step up in competition that would make me believe that he's ready to take on Faber.

I actually read a comment that the UFC is booking this fight to punish "Bruce Leroy" for spoiling lightweight champion Anthony Pettis' baby brother's UFC debut, but I think we can safely take that foil hat off and assume that UFC really had nothing better for Faber to do, and they didn't want him wiping out yet another potential contender, so they gave him Caceres to keep him busy. And from that perspective (saving other title challengers in a division that's not exactly full of them), I can see why this fight makes sense; however, it's still not enough for me to make this one a FICTION.

So who earned your vote this week? Will Todd have more success when he's not taking on the host, or did Paul pick up where I left off? Voting will be open until midnight EST on Saturday, so make sure you vote and make your voice heard!

Are more kaiju coming?

Bonus) Gareth Edwards' Godzilla receiving largely favorable reviews and doing well financially in its opening weekend means that we should see more American-made kaiju movies in the future.

Wyatt Beougher: FACT First off, Godzilla ruled. I loved Pacific Rim, but it's one of those movies where ten minutes after it's over, you've already forgotten everything that wasn't a Jaeger/Kaiju fight, and even those blended together. Godzilla, on the other hand, built and built and built to its climactic fight scene, teasing the Big G's reveal and then tantalizing viewers with second-hand footage of the first real fight between Godzilla and one of the MUTOs. But that made the third act of the film immensely more satisfying for me, and the fact that it made nearly $100 million just domestically all but ensures that we'll be getting a slew of other kaiju films. We already know a Godzilla sequel is coming, and with Hollywood as bankrupt for original ideas as they seem to be, I don't think it's a stretch that we'll get both Pacific Rim 2 and the long-rumored Cloverfield 2. There's also the outside possibility that we'll see Dan Brereton's excellent Giantkiller make the leap to the big screen, as it not only features a human/kaiju hybrid fighting other kaiju, it also happens to be a comic book adaptation, which seem to be doing quite well around Hollywood these days.

Assuming those movies do well (and they should now that Godzilla has gotten a more casual audience to the theaters than Pacific Rim was able to capture), then the floodgates will more than likely open and we'll get a whole new generation of giant monster action. And I'm all for it, as kaiju films are like zombie films - even the bad ones are usually so bad that they're worth watching. So I say bring it on!

Todd Vote: FACT Yes, yes, a million times yes. In fact, here is your Pacific Rim sequel! The Jaegers are all out of commision, who is going to handle the second attack of the kaiju? Godzilla, thats who!

OK, fanboy fantasy booking aside, I see no reason why we wouldn't see more of these movies now. Hell, maybe this will even get Paramount moving on Cloverfield 2.

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!


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