MMA Roundtable: May 17

Welcome to the MMA Roundtable! We FINALLY have a card to talk about this week, so don’t forget the MMA Playground group. But for this week, we get Roni, Collin and David debating Carwin, Is Eddie worth all this trouble, Vitor Belfort and the 4 man tourney!

1. Thoughts on Carwin looking back, is there a chance he comes back?Shane Carwin

Roni: As much as I hate to say, it, I don’t think so.

Remember: Carwin’s MMA career was always his second choice, as he has always been a full time Engineer with a full time job.  His injuries and the fact he’s not that young will probably keep him out. it was a great run. And he did a lot while inside the octagon, including beating Lesnar, which should have been the crowning him his career; but the referee refused to stop that fight.

Collin: I’m with Roni on this one, I don’t see a comeback in Carwin’s future.

Carwin never needed an MMA paycheck, he has a really well paying job in engineering.  It’s also important to consider that Shane is no spring chicken; at 38 he is really pushing the age limit for a fighter, especially a heavyweight.  Add in all his horrible injuries, such as serious neck surgeries, back surgeries and knee problems, and it isn’t hard to understand his decision to want to fade into the sunset.  He reached the pinnacle of the sport, he was the UFC Champion (interim or not), and he was involved with one of the most memorable clashes in UFC HW history in the fight with Lesnar.  A fight which I see as an example of the best referee work in MMA history (free Josh Rosenthal).

David: He’s done, and I’m ok with that. He never was really into fighting, he was never happy with his contract, and he did have a take it or leave it attitude with MMA. I was a huge fan of Carwin right up until I was reading about how he refused to do anything to pimp his title fight because he didn’t get a cut of the PPVs. Right there turned me on the fight. When you reach the top, its your JOB to do more to push the fight. Might not move the needle a lot, but it would mean the FOTN bonus gets moved from 60K to 70K, and that could mean a ton to those guys. Turned me on him as a fan.

2. What can the UFC do to add some talent to the Heavyweight division?

Roni: A real simple solution: TUF HW’s.  They did one. And it gave them a few guys. Meathead, the hybrid, etc. Why not keep doing it?

They are doing TUF in 3 different countries. I don’t understand why they don’t do it for the divisions they need people!

Collin:  Heavyweight TUF is a good idea, as they did get three guys from that show who are/were top 10 HW’s (Schaub, Mitrione, and Nelson).  Do they really need a ton more talent in that division anymore though?  We have Roy Nelson, JDS, Mark Hunt, Bigfoot, Werdum in direct hunt for the title, and we have a fun mixture of lower level exciting fighters like Pat Barry, Struve, Mir, Overeem, and Cormier floating around.  They added all the depth in that division they needed with the Strikeforce merger.

David: Its a MAJOR leap forward from where it was, but it is still the second thinnest division in the UFC (third if you count RR’s mountain) I would do a TUF, and make sure they are ALL heavyweights. Ensure that most guys are walking around at 270, not 230. Jardine? We need YOUNG Heavyweight blood, and they have to be out there.

3. Is Eddie worth this much trouble to keep in Bellator?Eddie Alvarez

Roni: Definitely yes. not because of him specifically, but it is a point that now a days, we expect UFC to just come in and take every talented fighter they see at smaller promotions; effectively killing them (or at the very least keeping them small while they grow).

For anyone who claims “But UFC is not a monopoly” well, they sure act like they are.

The smaller promotions have to protect themselves, and retaining their talent is the ONLY option they have. Yield and they lose the talent, which will lose them their sponsors which at the end will kill their promotion.

Collin: I’m not so sure.  Eddie was the face of Bellator for so long and he did play a big role in the development of the company.  But he is kind of being a thorn in Bellator’s side lately.  He talks openly about how much he dislikes the tournament-to-title format, which is the core of Bellator’s model and what makes them different than everyone else.  He won’t go back through the tournament format, but wants Bjorn to make an exception to this format just because he wants another direct shot at the title.

If I were Bjorn, I would seriously consider cutting all those headaches loose and focusing my energies on other ventures.

David: I’m gonna say NO. Bellator is going to have trouble keeping/signing top talent if they act like this with top tier guys. When I interviewed Quentin Henry, he stated he turned down Bellator twice due to they way they do contracts. That should tell you something. I’m not going to go into Eddie in the UFC, I’m talking purely for Bellator. If a fighter wants to leave, they should LET THEM. I bet Hector wishes he was still in Bellator on a 30 fight win streak and having people thinking he could be Anderson Silva, instead of a guy having to cut to 170 to TRY and keep his job. Bellator has to do something if they want to get more top talent.

4. Thoughts on Bellator going to 4 man tourneys for the summer?

Roni: I have high hopes for them. I like their tourneys and the system they use. I just hope it works out!

Collin: I am really looking forward to them, particularly the 205 pound tournament.  Lawal, Babalu, and Petruzelli are all fun fighters to watch.  Not exactly the most relevant fighters, with perhaps the exception of Lawal, but should make for great fights.  Look for a more in depth breakdown of these brackets coming soon…

David: Smart move. They have to keep their champions busier, and this is one way to do it. Plus they can give fighters more time between fights. Smart Smart move. I don’t think this happens if Mo wins however. Now I can put Mo in a bracket with Babalu, Me and Joao Pedro and make dang sure Mo gets a title shot- and 4 legit fighters can fight in the next bracket to bring in guys for a legit “new blood” challenge.

5. Does Belfort get a rematch against Anderson . . .ever?Belfort

Roni: If he beats Luke, I don’t see how not.  He already deserved to be next, ahead of Weidman (If Bisping was to get a title shot by beating Vitor, Vitor should have gotten one by beating Bisping). A fight between Weidman & Vitor was the best option (while Luke would fight Spider for a title unification)  IMO, but alas, too late for that.

I hope for a great fight against Luke. And the winner, whoever it may be, should be next for the Spider (if the Spider beats Weidman that is) 🙂

Collin: Absolutely.

Belfort and Anderson are still the biggest draws in Brazil by a long shot, way bigger than Aldo.  Vitor has just recently produced a brutal KO over a fighter who was guaranteed a title shot if he beat Vitor.  And don’t forget that he earned major Dana-points when he stepped in on short notice to fight Jones at 205; don’t underestimate how much that could influence his ability to get a shot at the belt, even if others may deserve it more.  A win over Luke should put Vitor right in line to fight the winner of Anderson vs Weidman.

Vitor is still the most interesting matchup in the division to beat Anderson in my mind as well.  We forget how versatile and dynamic a fighter Belfort can be: he can blitz you with big punches early, or he can work a wrestling game and punish you from the top and look for subs.  Put that fight in a soccer stadium in Brazil, let Wand fight Sonnen at 205 as the co-main and watch 80,000+ file into that stadium and make for one of the greatest shows in the history of the promotion.

David: I’m not so sure. Anderson punted him to 205 last time, and Anderson is going to be gone for the next year (Weidman and Jones at 205.) He might be gone from 185 forever. How long does MoHawk/TRT Vitor have? He beats Luke, then he almost has to fight Sonnen, then Hendo/Rashad? Collin does make a great point about selling out a soccer stadium. If Anderson does less than 350K in PPV buys, then the Sonnen-Bump is done, and Dana will have to make his money overseas.

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