411 MMA Fact or Fiction 6.25.14: Bellator Shake-up, Kimbo Slice, More
Posted by Wyatt Beougher on 06.25.2014
Would offering Kimbo Slice a Bellator contract be a mistake? Will Viacom regret ousting Bjorn Rebney in favor of Scott Coker? 411's Todd Vote and Robert Practor debate these topics and more in this week's MMA Fact or Fiction!
Welcome back to 411's MMA Fact or Fiction, and, settling back into my old routine, I'm your host, Wyatt Beougher. Last week, Robert Winfree, the new pound-for-pound live coverage champ here at 411 MMA, squared off against his mentor and the last man to wear that crown, Mark Radulich. After several lead changes in the voting, it appeared as though the young lion wasn't quite ready to snatch the mantle of Fact or Fiction dominance from the old timer, as Radulich squeaked out a one-vote victory, 10-9. Great effort from both guys and welcome reintroduction to my hosting duties.
This week, we've got Todd Vote returning to action, and I'm sure Todd's glad that it won't be against me, as his last two appearances were supposed to be against another competitor but I was forced to step in at the last minute. Thankfully, Robert Practor was up to the task this week, and I don't have to step back into action. Not only does it make my Tuesday evening significantly less stressful, but it also means Todd has a real chance of winning this contest.
TALE OF THE TAPE RED CORNER
Todd "The Man Without a Zone" Vote
Contributor, 4 Player Co-Op (Games Zone) (as well as various other columns and zones)
Robert "Chiro" Practor
Contributor, 411 MMA Zone
Coker has Dana's endorsement, but is he the best man for the job?
1.) Viacom will regret replacing Bjorn Rebney with Scott Coker as the head of operations for Bellator Fighting Championships.
Todd Vote:FICTION I honestly do not see any reason they would regret this decision. Giving credit where credit is due, Bjorn successfully started the promotion and ran it for over 100 events. That is quite an accomplishment in MMA. As a comparison, Affliction did what, 3 or 4 shows?
That being said, bringing in Coker isn't going to have much of an effect on business as far as drawing attention to the promotion. What Coker can do is start to move them away from being strictly a tournament oriented promotion, and more into a traditional MMA promotion. This may lose the one thing that made Bellator stand out. In the long run, I think it is the best way to go. They don't have to do away with tournaments, hell MMA tournaments are fun. But, I think it is past time where the tournament is viable as the only way to earn a title shot.
Robert Practor:FICTION I don't see Bellator being able to go any lower. They placed such an emphasis on their Pay-Per-View (as well as the original planned one) that we were left with some truly below mediocre events. They simply do not have anywhere close to the roster depth needed to put on weekly cards for as long as they have and despite all this, they still managed to draw an average of around 600,000 viewers per week. Scott Coker stated the intent, which most figured and hoped for, to scale back, eliminate the weekly cards, and focus on bigger cards on a likely monthly basis. With a month or more to hype these events and the fact that these cards are sure to be much deeper in terms of meaningful fights with bigger names, their ratings are almost guaranteed to increase. In retrospect, Bjorn Rebney deserves credit for what he was able to achieve with Bellator but his counterpart was able to achieve similar feats with his home company Strikeforce many years ago. All that being said, I feel that Scott Coker is a much wiser choice to head the number two Mixed Martial Arts company in the country and I don't really see how Bellator could fall any lower to the point that they would feel any regret with this shakeup.
Would it really be wise to sign Kimbo Slice at this point?
2.) Similarly, Bellator potentially signing Kimbo Slice is a move whose risks far outweigh its rewards.
Robert Practor:FICTION As long as they don't main event a card with Kimbo Slice, I don't really see what would be so risky about bringing him in for a fight or two. Slice has an official MMA record of 4-2, so he has a winning record, which is a lot more than can be said for a lot of other fighters Bellator has brought in at one point or another. Kimbo Slice would still draw ratings, the extent to which I do not know, but those ratings and potential new viewers are very important to a relatively unknown MMA organization, not to mention the execs at Viacom. I say bring him in, put him second or third on a five-fight card and let him draw some viewers to an event that features some of their exciting prospects or big names, and utilize that to grow from there.
Todd Vote:FICTION In the long term, Kimbo Slice will not do anything for the promotion. But you don't bring in a cat like Kimbo with long term plans in place for him. You bring in a cat like Kimbo in order to bring eyes to your promotion.
Kimbo is a name, and arguably a better drawing name than anybody on Bellator's roster not named Rampage or Tito. If Kimbo is able to draw eyes to Bellator, that is a good thing. If the new eyes he draws stick around to continue checking out Bellator's top talent, then mission accomplished, right?
Will the Bellator shake-up benefit WSOF?
3.) On the other end of the spectrum, with another solid card under their belt this past weekend, World Series of Fighting stands to benefit the most from Bellator's recent shake-up.
Todd Vote:FICTION I don't think there is really anything to gain as far as another promotion, when it comes to Bellator's "shake-up". They hired a new President of the company. It's not like WSOF is going to be rushing right out to sign Bjorn Rebney to a contract. They are doing fine without him, and they have no reason to change their business practices based on Bjorn's removal. It will be business as usual for all the other MMA promotions. This change is going to be a footnote in the history books as far as other MMA promotions go.
Robert Practor:FICTION While I am excited for the future of the World Series of Fighting, including their debut on NBC network television and also expect them to continue to grow and gain more traction, I don't think Bellator's recent shake-up from Rebney & Co. to Coker & Co. will have much to do with the WSOF's future success or failure. I already mentioned that I see Bellator improving from their shakeup but even if they end up going downhill, I don't really see it affecting the WSOF much at all.
Short-term fix or long-term solution?
4.) Nate Marquardt's move back to middleweight will only extend his current UFC run by a fight or two.
Robert Practor:FACT Nate Marquardt has brutally lost his past three fights, including being knocked out in the first round of both of his fights since returning to the Octagon. His return to Middleweight in his upcoming fight against James Te Huna pits him against a big fighter dropping down from 205lbs, so Marquardt could very well find his chin being tagged by the heavy-handed Te Huna. Even if Marquardt manages to win this fight, I do agree that he would be on the chopping block in his next fight as well. The only thing he can hope for is finding a renewed focus and putting together a strong, consistent run to give him some job security.
Todd Vote:FACT Nate was arguably more successful at Middleweight than he was at Welterweight, even if he did win the Strikeforce title. Once he got back to the UFC, Welterweight didn't treat him well at all. I'm afraid Marquardt has probably reached a point in his career where the sport has passed him by. I wish him all the luck, but he is probably just delaying the inevitable.
Is Mousasi one win away?
5.) Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza is right to believe that he'll receive a title shot should be defeat Gegard Mousasi in his next fight.
Todd Vote:FACT He is absolutely right to believe it. Hell, in a perfect world, he would have gotten the nod ahead of Machida. Jacare has been on an absolute tear since entering the promotion.But, this is the UFC. Thinking you are in line for a title shot and beating everyone in front of you doesn't always guarantee you a shot.
Look no further than the Welterweight title scene for proof of this. How many of the top 5 guys have said they were told they would secure the shot with another victory, only to be put in title eliminators?
When you add in the fact that Machida is next, and probably Belfort after him, Jacare looks to be on the outside looking in. It is reasonable to believe that he will have to fight again before securing the shot that he probably already deserves.
Robert Practor:FACT Absolutely. ‘Jacare' is currently only behind Anderson Silva (out of action), Vitor Belfort (soon to be out of action), and Lyoto Machida (upcoming title challenger). With Vitor Belfort sitting on the sidelines awaiting his suspension for elevated testosterone levels, combined with the strong performances from Souza as of late, ‘Jacare' is without a doubt the most logical choice for earning the #1 Contender spot if he defeats Gegard Mousasi.
So who won? Did Robert return to action with a win, or did Todd continue to beat anyone not named Wyatt Beougher? You've got until midnight eastern on Saturday to vote, so make sure you make your voice heard!
Since Dana thinks the UFC will be bigger than soccer and all...
Bonus) With World Cup fever currently sweeping the globe, MMA (as another truly global sport) would benefit greatly from a similar competition that exists outside of promotions or leagues (no matter how far-fetched that idea might be).
Robert Practor:FICTION Not to mention the fact that it would never happen, I can't overlook how detrimental it would be to the organization's monthly or weekly cards. If there was some sort of World Cup of Fighting, where the UFC's Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, Chris Weidman, Ronda Rousey, Urijah Faber, etc. all train for and compete, they would be left with nothing for their own events. As cool as it is to think about, it would be too damaging to the organization's own business, not to mention the fact that the UFC is sort of a World Cup in and of itself. We see USA vs. Brazil, USA vs. Canada, UK vs. Australia, fights, reality show tournaments, etc. all the time, so no, this idea doesn't really do anything for me. Enjoy your soccer though!
Todd Vote:FICTION Never happen, and I don't really see how it would benefit the fans or the promotions outside of a few potentially exciting match-ups. The fighters are too valuable to their promotion for something like this to ever be considered. You can't be having Jon Fitch come into a World Cup situation and beat top guys from Bellator. Similarly, it wouldn't look good for someone like Doug Marshall to land a lucky shot and beat someone like Jacare.
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!