Welcome to the MMA Roundtable, sorry about last week, unlike the UFC, we were a little busy.
The Crew, as always contains: Joao “Niles” Pedro, Jim “Duke” Jacobs, Collin “Eddie” Caprini and David “Frazier” Snipes
1. Should MMA Have a “year end Showcase night” (Not ness in dec) and if so when?
Joao: I think the UFC would be wise to organize a New Year’s Eve (December 31, to be exact) event in Japan, with all the glitz and glamour. Remove the silliness that some similar Japanese events have had in the past and stick to good matchmaking and fights that the fans want to see, even if they are meaningless from a rankings perspective.
Jim: I kind of think they already have a “year end showcase night.” Last year, on December 30th there was UFC 141, which had Nate Diaz vs Donald Cerrone and Brock Lesnar vs Alistair Overeem. This December 29th, they will hold UFC 155 which currently has scheduled Junior Dos Santos vs Cain Velasquez as the main event, with Chael Sonnen vs Forrest Griffin, Chris Weidman vs Tim Boetsch, Alan Belcher vs Yushin Okami, and Joe Lauzon vs Gray Maynard. MMA as a whole doesn’t need a year end showcase night, the UFC is already doing it for us.
Collin: Absolutely, they should always have that huge NYE type card that everyone wants to buy. Stack it to the top with great talent like they did last year, maybe even add another blockbuster. This years event is looking very promising, has two huge blockbuster fights, has a can’t miss personality in Chael Sonnen and the battle of two of the three best in the world at heavyweight. I like Joao’s idea about doing it always NYE in Japan, but this simply isn’t a viable option for them now. The Japanese didn’t really react well for the Henderson vs Edgar card, the only MMA headlines in Japan following that card were “Gomi won, Kid Yamamoto lost.” Japan just isn’t there right now for that to happen.
David: I would like to see it as a named event, like Ultimate 92 etc, with a couple Title fights and a HOF induction. Yes, I’m going all WWE on it. I would not do it on New Years Eve, part of the reason it did so well in Japan is Free TV, FOX isn’t bumping Seacrest for Brian Stann and Uncle Creepy. I’d do it on the 4th of July weekend.
Joao: While I am not particularly interested in seeing that fight become a reality, fact of the matter is that the buzz is growing again. The window on Anderson Silva’s career is closing due to age, even if he hasn’t lost in the UFC yet.
But my problem is that more people now talk about Bones vs Anderson than GSP vs Anderson. I don’t think Anderson will accept the GSP fight right now, he has little to win by exposing himself to the welterweight champion.
So I don’t think so.
Jim: No. While the UFC and Anderson Silva want the fight to happen, I think GSP is no way wants it. The UFC still needs a few things to break thier way in hopes of making it happen. First, GSP needs to beat Carlos Condit, and second, the UFC needs both GSP and Anderson to be healthy. Even if those things happen, I think GSP will not accept the fight, so I don’t see it happening.
Collin: I think it will happen. Anderson will destroy Bonnar, GSP will comeback and thrash Condit and maybe Diaz, then they will fight each other. Anderson doesn’t seem interested in fighting any of the guys the UFC is fielding at 185 right now, Georges doesn’t have a lot to do at 170 either. It is just too big of a money maker not to happen. Silva vs St Pierre will put 80,000 people in some arena and sell 1.5 million PPVs at least. Look for it either at the Super Bowl weekend card, mid-summer blockbuster or the year end card for 2013.
David: I don’t see it. GSP isn’t that stupid. He’s going down as the GOAT WW of all time, and I’d take anyone’s money on Silva at any weight.
GSP has what? 2-3 years at most left? And he’s not going to blow one going to 185.
3. Will the World Series of Fighting be around in 2 years?
Joao: No. The strategy of getting released UFC fighters will only carry them through some mildly successful events. To be able to stay in the market, alongside the UFC juggernaut, you need to do something different, like what Bellator does. And even that might not work; just ask the IFL.
It is another organization in the long list of “MMA organizations which come and go”.
Jim: I don’t believe so. We’ve seen many MMA promotions fail. MMA is still a niche sport, and most casual fans associate the UFC with MMA, so I don’t think a startup promotion like the World Series of fighting will succeed.
Collin: Probably not. This strategy of signing UFC cast offs and trying to do big shows has proven fiscally disastrous before, expect it to again. Joao and Jim hit the nail on the head, nothing really for me to add here.
David: To last in MMA, you need 3 things, low overhead, dedicated fanbase, and a strong revenue stream(s). The WSOF has one of the three, chances are, they will have 2 shortly, and if they keep costs low, they can stick around. Problem is, to make a splash, they need names, so guys like Torres and other UFC vets might be nice to have, but they are not cheap.
4. UFC 150 had 190K buys, is the Lightweight division lost without BJ Penn as its headliner?
Joao: “Lost” is a strong word. While the division has lost some of its luster, new stars will eventually emerge.
The key for a short to medium term boost to this division is, in my view, Nate Diaz. He is a terrific fighter who also happens to be well known (because of himself, because of his brother, because of TUF) and is also charismatic.
If he becomes champion, the division will see renewed interest.
Jim: I don’t think its lost, they just don’t have a fighter that casuals can get excited about. The last two champions, Frankie Edgar, and now Benson Henderson, just don’t captivate people the way BJ Penn has in the past. I agree a guy like Nate Diaz could be a fighter to get people interested in the Lightweight division, because he is a tremendous personality.
Collin: The best shot in the arm that the division could get would be a trilogy between Ben Henderson and Nick Diaz at this point. It is struggling for sure now, we need that kind of heel/hero relationship if we want PPV buys. Edgar is just too nice and he never really had a proper foil to make interesting story’s with, but Takedown Jesus Ben Henderson vs The Stockton Stoner Nick Diaz could do big business.
David: Benson is a great fighter, who could improve the buyrates with the right opponents. The problem is, getting Pettis and Guida to title shots just isn’t a guarantee. Diaz can and will be a foil for anyone, but a Diaz can go flackey at anytime. I don’t see any 155er having the magnetism of Penn, though.
Joao: Yes, but the Strikeforce Middleweight division is virtually dead. And “virtually” might be a stretch.
While on a normal day Larkin wouldn’t deserve a title shot, on Strikeforce’s paper thin Middleweight division it doesn’t seem so bad. He did beat Robbie Lawler on his Middleweight debut and is still undefeated.
Jim: I don’t think so. Larkin is a guy I have followed for a while and is extremely skilled and talented. I thought he was a bit small at 205, and King Mo pretty much proved that point. His fight against Robbie Lawler displayed he can be a force at 185. He can most definitely hold his own in the standup department against Rockhold, where he’ll have an issue is on the mat. Having said that, his ground game is improving and I think we are in store for a great fight.
Collin: Maybe, but what are Strikeforce’s other options? That division is dying, why not put a guy like Larkin in there and let him either shine on a grand scale or at worst get some extremely valuable experience moving forward? If he keeps that fight standing and doesn’t gas himself out, he could easily win that fight, or any fight for that matter. He is an extremely talented violent striker. My next question is when do we get to see Larkin/Manhoef?
David: In a Razor-thin division, any winning streak will push you too high. So its definitely too soon. Too much? No one knows, unless he gets blasted.
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