Will Kurt Angle ever fight a professional MMA bout? Is Minotauro Nogueira vs Cheick Kongo a good #1 contender fight? Is Ricco Rodriguez's stint of VH1's "Celebrity Rehab" good for MMA? Should Babalu have signed with Strikeforce? All of this and more in the latest 411 MMA Fact or Fiction!
I'd like to open by thanking Punishment Athletics. You still have another week to get 10% off of your purchase so get it done now. And guys, I was serious last week, I want a Dean Lister bobblehead available.
Welcome back to another edition of 411 MMA Fact or Fiction. Joining me this week in the discussion is a new writer to 411, Mr. Dustin James. He does an excellent job doing our MMA rankings on a weekly basis and it's good to have him.
1. FightNetwork's reported Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs Cheick Kongo fight at the year end show (note: now early 2008) is the best choice for a #1 contender match for Randy Couture's belt.
James: FICTION. I just don't like this fight one bit. Maybe if the winner wasn't getting a shot at Randy Couture's Heavyweight title I'd like it, but other then that.....just don't like it. Big Nog looked unimpressive in his first fight with Heath Herring, and besides Cro Cop, Kongo hasn't beaten any "big" names in the UFC. Personally, I'd still like to see Brandon Vera get a title shot. He earned one last year, but due to issues with his former manager, he's been out of the UFC for a year now. If Vera dominates Tim Sylvia you'll see a lot of people agree with me on this one. Vera is undefeated in MMA and has looked excellent so far. In his last fight against Frank Mir, he decimated Mir in just a little over a minute in Round 1! Of course, all this #1 contender's stuff becomes null and void if Fedor signs with the UFC. Dana White has already said if they signed Fedor, he would sign Fedor/Couture RIGHT AWAY. That's the fight that everybody truly wants. But since it's not happening yet, I'd prefer Couture vs. Vera as of today. Hell, I'd even prefer Couture vs. Andrei Arlovski. But, woe is me.
Huckaby: FACT. Brandon Vera had his shot at the heavyweight title, it was called March. He and/or his management decided to hold out so Randy Couture was brought back in to fight Tim Sylvia. Who got screwed more; Karo Parisyan having a legit injury and not getting a title shot since, or Brandon Vera having a title shot and simply not taking it over money? He'll get a shot if he beats Sylvia, I'm not worried about him. Does Kongo really deserve a title fight? If he beats Nog, yes. Beating Cro Cop and Nog in back-to-back fights should get a guy a title shot. And I'm tired of hearing about Nog/Herring. It's ridiculous. First of all Nog won the fight handily despite almost getting flash KO'd early on. Secondly he'd already beaten him down twice before, it's not easy to beat the same guy three times. The Indianapolis Colts lost 4 games last year.... 3 were to their division rivals, the Jaguars, the Texans, and the Titans. It's hard to beat people/teams you play all the time. They know your tricks and have the best gameplan of anyone that has ever fought you. Nog is the best non-Fedor fighter in the rankings and Kongo is fighting Cro Cop and Nog back-to-back. May the winner get their title shot.
James: FACT. What else was Babalu going to do? He burned his bridges in the UFC by being a dick, and there really isn't a solid #2 MMA organization behind UFC. He could possibly be a coach and appear on the "Big fight" portion of the IFL. He could've signed with EliteXC, HERO'S, Cage Rage, BodogFight, or any other company....but would it really make a difference? Strikeforce has done a joint card with EliteXC once, so maybe it'll happen again? Plus, I can't see Babalu struggling with any of Strikeforce's title holders......so he could pretty much pick a weight and go after the title in hopes of showing Zuffa that he truly fucked up and he's made himself a better man over it.
Huckaby: FICTION. I'm torn here, I have nothing but good things to say about Strikeforce but I just don't see this as the perfect fit. I mean it is for Strikeforce, it will only get them more notice and another name. But when it comes to Babalu how is Strikeforce better for him than EXC or Hero's? Strikeforce just main evented their last card at the Playboy Mansion with Gilbert Melendez vs Kato with a second main of Joe Riggs. Babalu has fought twice for the UFC Light-Heavyweight Title. You have Akiyama, Sokoudjou, and Arona all still outside of the UFC and last I checked Strikeforce doesn't have any of them. I believe the big announcement was that Kevin Randleman was coming. I like Babalu and if he signed for money and is getting paid then good for him. But as a fan I think there are better fights and better places for him.
James: FICTION. With all the drug failures coming off almost every single MMA PPV, this is in no way shape or form good for MMA. Ricco is a cancer to the sport now. The guy tested positive for marijuana and cocaine and was suspended for 6 months. He once allowed himself to get up to 330 pounds, and I just don't think he can be the great fighter he once was. Why would you want a fighter associated with your sport, who's on a show about people struggling with addictions, when there are fighters getting suspended left and right in MMA for things like marijuana? No, just don't give this guy any publicity. Give it to the people who stay clean.
Huckaby: FACT. This pains me, I certainly see your point of view. Ricco is just good for television, he walks into a room and women get pregnant. I think the only bad publicity for MMA fighters would be drunken brawls on the sidewalk, anyone can develop a substance abuse problem and Ricco by all accounts is a very good guy. This isn't Charles Bennett getting air time and being the face of the sport, this is Ricco. I think MMA was hurt more by the Human Weapon episode that showed Ricco couldn't tap out Bill Duff in their bout, that was just embarrassing. I think with my six years of BJJ that I could tap out Bill Duff.... and by all accounts I'm a pussy.
Score: 0 for 3. Maybe I'm just playing devil's advocate here.
----SWITCH IT UP----
4. The CSAC will reject Sean Sherk's appeal on his steroid charge at the end of the month.
Huckaby: FACT. There just isn't a vast history of the hard knock CSAC overturning suspensions for MMA fighters. Hermes Franca even manned up and admitted what he did and threw himself on the mercy of the court only to get backhanded. Sherk's numbers by and large weren't that high but they were still illegally high. And you're asking the toughest athletic commission in the nation to just give him a pass because he's a huge natural athlete that's more manly than the rest of us. While we can all imagine there is a small chance that this is the case, I seriously doubt the CSAC is going to even risk the possibility of being duped.
James: FACT. No way will Sean Sherk get this overturned. Like Huckaby said, the CSAC is one of the toughest state commissions out there. He should have just taken the manly road and fessed up to what he did like Franca. Sean Sherk just needs to kiss his UFC Lightweight title goodbye for now, and sit back while BJ Penn dominates the division.
Huckaby: FACT. Puder has been labeled rather arrogant by certain people here or there and if he thinks he can beat Bob Sapp I'll jump into that camp. While it's true that if you can outlast Sapp's initial surge that you'll be in good shape, I just can't see Puder being a good enough wrestler or standup fighter to be able to weather it. That's not to say I think this fight will ever happen, not only would Strikeforce not want to pay Sapp as much as he'd request for a midcard bout but they're also getting a reputation for protecting Puder and you have to imagine they know what would happen if the match were to occur.
James: FACT. I would say FACT A hundred times, but there have been a lot of upsets in MMA this year. Puder would get squashed, crushed, decimated, and possibly amputated by Bob Sapp. Bob Sapp is a monster, he's 6'7, 350 pounds with a record of 8-2. Puder is 6'3, 235, with a record of 5-0. He's giving up over 100 pounds to Sapp. Puder is a little arrogant punk, and I would pay to see this fight just so I could see Puder get his ass kicked. This fight is MONEY Strikeforce! Make it happen immediately!
Score: 2 for 5.
6. Kurt Angle will never fight a professional MMA bout.
Huckaby: FACT. I suppose there is always a chance some bankrolled tiny company would throw big money at him to headline an Indian reservation show, I just think the possibility of it happening are less than average. Angle probably wouldn't be cleared by any real athletic commission, not just because of the health problems but if you put him in there with anyone decent he'd get maimed. Lesnar and Angle have both discussed it but Lesnar has went out there and fought, now rumored to be in negotiations with the UFC. Angle on the other hand talks about it and will never put up. If he did things wouldn't go nearly as well as they did/will for Lesnar. Not to say Lesnar will ever wear gold but he has roughly a 5000% better chance than Angle.
James: FACT. Angle has lost his mind. Plain and simple. The guy has gone over the edge the last couple of years. He use to be one of my favorite wrestlers. I had all the Angle shirts, and other merchandise which has now gone into the trash. I can't put up with his bullshit any longer. He sits there and runs his mouth about fighting in MMA just to garner attention, and we give it to him. He's never going to fight in MMA. He's pretty set right now in TNA, and the more he wrestles, the more risk of a serious injury he has. The guy is about 2 bumps away from Christopher Reeving himself. I remember late in his WWE run I would watch his matches thinking I was going to see the bump that ended his career, now to my amazement he's STILL wrestling at a pretty high caliber. Don't try MMA, Kurt. But if you HAVE to, make it in the UFC because it's only going to be a one time thing. Brock vs. Kurt at UFC 85? Hell, I'd pay for that.
Score: 3 for 6. You admitted to owning, "all the Angle shirts." I think I have to win by default.
Next week it is two returning superstars, our MMA editor Caleb Newby and our genius workhorse Mr. Lotfi Sariahmed. I'm sure we'll be in a for a great one.