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MMA Link Club: Fan logic – Cyborg = bad woman, Sonnen = good guy

By Zach Arnold | January 9, 2012

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Josh Gross: Zuffa needs to step up and stomp out cheats

Many will ask: Should it be on Zuffa to do this when the sport it promotes is regulated by state governments, and when it is but one of many promoters?

I’d argue the answer is yes, and for the same reason UFC recently and rightly awarded Duane Ludwig the distinction of owning the 19-year-old organization’s fastest knockout, even though the Nevada Athletic Commission refused to correct an error that “officially” said it wasn’t. Zuffa is more important than any regulator, and has a vested interest in making sure the sport continues forward, which also means that among young fighters it’s considered the place to be. Why do they see it that way now? The spoils. Money, prestige and fame of it all.

Member sites of the MMA Link Club

This week’s MMA Link Club featured stories

Five Ounces of Pain: Dana White guarantees MMA will be sanctioned in New York this year

As long as Sheldon Silver is in power, no legislation will pass the state House.

And I have serious reservations about the lawsuit going forward.

MMA Fighting: Cyborg positive steroid test not surprising, but not all bad, either

White loves to brag that he never gave in to the siren’s song of freak show fights, even when his company was struggling. And while matching Santos up against one undersized opponent after another isn’t exactly a freak show, neither is it indicative of a genuine interest in women’s MMA. It’s a sideshow. It’s the scary lady with the muscles against whichever brave soul would take the fight. Now that that option has been eliminated, at least for the time being, White and his crew would be smart to move the spotlight further down the scale, where there’s an actual division taking shape.

So, everyone on Friday had a good laugh at Cyborg’s misfortune of failing an IQ test (aka a California drug test). There were the prerequisite ’she has balls’ jokes and even Kevin Iole got into the swing of things by saying Cyborg failing a drug test is as unsurprising as Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao not happening.

I get it. People got bored with her and some fans are still upset that she knocked around Gina Carano, The Prettiest Girl In The Gym. Congratulations. But, once again, what does it say about MMA fans (who claim to be very serious about the integrity of drug testing and of the sport) that there is only selective outrage or glee when someone tests positive? So, Convict Chael Sonnen gets rewarded with a big push and a rinky dink TV segment on Fuel (the likes of which we haven’t seen since Andy Kaufman appeared on The Jerry Lawler Show on WMC-TV). He also then gets a continual pass from sycophantic supporters who merely say that he’s a good liar and, hey, this is a business first and sport second so the critics should therefore shut up. And, yet, when some outrageously outrageous clean cut person fails a drug test, time to unload the bombs and commence with the ball-cutting.

If you’re duplicitous about the drug testing issue in MMA, here’s some advice: keep quiet. I get the fact that this is the fight game and that trying to argue stringent drug testing protocols in MMA is a losing battle because fans don’t want to spend any sort of time thinking about serious issues outside of watching two people beat each other up. And if you are argue for better drug testing based on health & safety reasons, people roll their eyes when some pencil-pusher tries to make the case using standard boilerplate e-mail lawyer-approved lingo. The spin’s not going to work.

So, how do you make the case that fans should treat the drug testing issue with equal weight for each fighter? Easy. The same way those fans throw the issue back at your face in the first place. It’s two men or women punching each other or breaking bones with ruthless aggression. Many fighters struggle to control themselves from being consumed by destructive behavior. That’s why referees exist. It’s why fighters get licensed. So, if you agree that those elements need to exist in the first place, why do you slack on fighters getting tested for substances that can physically alter the impact of a fight and lead to serious head trauma or serious damage to the fighter’s own body?

I give the ‘let’s legalize all drugs’ crowd in MMA, as much of a minority as they are, some credit. Sure, it’s like a 20% segment of the fan base and they often come across as enthusiastic, energized, and loud as Ron Paul supporters. I respect that. At least they are willing to stand up to their convictions, say what they mean and mean what they say. I don’t agree with their take, but I respect it. At least there’s clarity to the conviction.

Fair-weather fight fans who laugh at Cyborg, give a pass to Sonnen, and ignore Royce Gracie testing positive? You’re as popular as Jim Rome’s new CBS Sports Network show is going to be. Welcome to the Jungle of irrelevancy.

This is why grown-ups like Dr. Margaret Goodman with the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency should be commended for their efforts to clean up the fight game because there’s too many people who lack the sack to go on the attack against doping.

Memo to the fair-weather, duplicitous fans: When it comes to doping in MMA, you’re entitled to your opinion but don’t expect to have the God given right to turn around and ask why the media in other parts of the sports world don’t take your opinion seriously. Throwing a party and yucking it up when one fighter gets caught doping while you switch into your F. Lee Bailey mode when your favorite fighter gets caught cheating doesn’t make you a winner, it makes you a loser.

Fight Line: Dana White says women’s 145 pound division may be done, Scott Coker says not so fast

Oh, and by the way, if you’re still listening to Scott Coker and think that he has any sort of power over Dana White’s decision making, that makes you a professional loser as well.

Cage Potato: Is Cyborg’s demise good for women’s MMA?

It was with Carano’s departure from the sport that we saw one of the main problems facing women’s MMA, that of our need for a Xena-like champion who is as dominant as she is beautiful. Despite the fact that Cyborg displayed a supremacy unmatched by any female figure in the sport, not one website, magazine, or other publication mentioned her when discussing this whole “face of women’s MMA” nonsense. Even in a sport in which the competitors put their physical appearance on the line with every fight, we simply didn’t want to accept the fact that someone as…let’s say, homely, as Cyborg would be its representative.

What would be good for women’s MMA is if Dana White was serious about actually promoting it the way he promotes male fighters. He doesn’t have a legal responsibility to do so, but women’s MMA right now faces the chicken & egg dilemma. Dana can let the current crop of female fighters wither in the wind and if female fighters go extinct, he couldn’t care less. So, there’s that issue.

The other issue is that Gina Carano decided to take the ‘out’ and get out of the business once she reached a point of no return. That’s her choice and it’s a sound business decision… for her. For women’s MMA? The impact of her leaving women’s MMA on a mainstream level is on par with just how dependent Japanese promoters were on Satoshi Ishii becoming successful and becoming their native hero & savior to take the place of Hidehiko Yoshida for the Japanese MMA scene.

I have great respect and admiration for women’s MMA. However, I’m not the kind of person in the target audience that the sport needs to attract. They need casual MMA fans (the kind that jack up Twitter when Gina is dancing) and only one promoter is left in the business who can bring those fans… and that promoter is not a fan of women’s MMA.

MMA Mania: Card line-up for UFC on Fuel show from Omaha

5th Round: King Mo says Rampage Jackson is done like dinner

I think Mo’s probably annoyed at Zuffa for taking away his ring entrances. I hate UFC’s lack of creativity in this department.

Bleacher Report: Chad Mendes talks Jose Aldo, Urijah Faber, and Kenny Florian

However, with all that big fight experience combined with his up-close knowledge of Mendes, Faber believes his training partner will do well in the fight.

“I think Chad’s unstoppable wrestling is going to really translate in the fight,” Faber said to Bleacher Report’s Gary Herman.

UFC, in their PPV barker ads, is pushing Vitor Belfort/Anthony Johnson for top billing.

Middle Easy: Ronda Rousey says she has no problem fighting Miesha Tate and her boyfriend

I see “Judo” Gene LeBell has taught Ronda some wisdom in marketing. I expect her to fight a bear next.

Low Kick: Jose Aldo training with Marlon Sandro and Gray Maynard in preparation for UFC 142

Those are two excellent training partners to have. Let’s see if Chad can take a punch from such a fast striker like Aldo. If he can, he’ll wear Aldo out relatively quickly and get the decision.

The Fight Nerd: ‘Shaolin’ movie review

Andy Lau does a wonderful job as Hou Jie, undergoing a great character arc and transformation as the film progresses. His wife, played by Bingbing Fan, does not do too much, but when she does appear, she is just as good. While being credited in big letters on the DVD, Jackie Chan does not appear too much in the film and is a supporting role rather than a lead. Nicholas Tse, on the other hand, hams it up a bit too much, perhaps relishing his villainous role more than he should. It doesn’t help matters that when he turns heel, he grows a Van Dyke beard and styles his hair like today’s youth (which makes perfect sense for a turn-of-the-century period piece).

MMA Convert: Alistair Overeem passes NSAC test, Jon Fitch doesn’t take post-fight one because Keith Kizer says ‘he lost’

Mr. Kizer isn’t even trying any more at this point, is he?

Eddie Goldman raised an interesting point about Dr. Goodman’s VADA project. If a fighter subjects themselves to VADA testing and they fail a test, say a blood test… why would anyone think that Keith Kizer is going to care or accept such a test result? He’s going to give the standard boilerplate ‘it wasn’t our test, therefore it doesn’t matter’ response.

MMA Payout: Golden Glory goes for the jugular against Alistair Overeem in Nevada court

Now, this… this is quite the read.

Topics: MMA, Media, StrikeForce, UFC, Zach Arnold | 65 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

65 Responses to “MMA Link Club: Fan logic – Cyborg = bad woman, Sonnen = good guy”

  1. Jonathan says:

    I think that you are WAY off-base here Zach. People are “celebrating” because someone who EVERYONE THOUGHT WAS ON ROIDS got busted. The caps I just used are meant to emphasize the almost fact-level amount of suspicion that people had regarding Cyborg and doping…say the way they did when Sherk got busted, or Overeem. And from what I remember, Sonnen got blasted for being a) busted for taking steroids and b) for being some sort of “punk”….and I mean he got blasted a lot. You make it sound like he got a free pass.

    • Zach Arnold says:

      I think that you are WAY off-base here Zach. People are “celebrating” because someone who EVERYONE THOUGHT WAS ON ROIDS got busted.

      And that’s my point — people celebrated her getting busted in a ‘gotcha’ mentality rather than ‘drug abuse is dangerous in this sport mentality.’ And then proceeded to make sexist remarks about her.

      Meanwhile, Sonnen post-suspension basically is getting rewarded for his behavior by everyone.

      • The Gaijin says:

        True enough. She got the same reaction I imagine Overeem would get if he “got got”.

        • Not true enough, people are acting as if fans have control over interest of Dana White and Zuffa boys. If you wanna blame someone for liking Chael, blame the media for interviewing him and sucking up to him. Its obvious at this point that Zuffa sees this attention as gold.

      • Megatherium says:

        Well said Zach. The difference of course is Sonnens’ popularity and his ability to sell a fight. They’re still commision shopping Sonnen last I checked.

      • Jonathan says:

        I think that this sport, just by itself, is inherently dangerous, and the fighters themselves are choosing to juice, and some, but not all, get caught.

        What would you have happen Zach? What Josh Gross wrote about it in his ESPN column?

        http://espn.go.com/blog/mma/post/_/id/7582/zuffa-needs-to-step-up-and-stomp-out-cheats

        If so, then stop living in a dream world.

        Also, I find it odd that you are so against steroids and the perception of Chael Sonnen when a) he has been the lead in of many of your stories, and b) you write so much and are so passionate about the JMMA scene.

        • Chuck says:

          Just because someone is a fan of the Japanese scene (as I have been for a long time now.) that doesn’t mean that person endorses PED usage. I am vehemently against PEDs, and yes I would like to see that shit go away. They will never go away completely, but there can be better steps taken to ween them out at a significant amount.

      • Mark says:

        I don’t think Sonnen is being celebrated. I don’t like the guy, he annoys the hell out of me, but he did his time and now he’s getting his job back. Any sports or entertainment field would take him back. If he was in baseball and did what he did, they’d take him back after his suspension, or if he was an actor Hollywood would take him back after he served his punishment. As long as he makes money, anybody would take him back.

        He’s only celebrated by his shrill fanboys (and fangirl) online. But who cares about them.

  2. Chuck says:

    Overeem had to pay 30% of his fight earnings to Golden Glory? Man, that sounds a bit steep. Don’t managers usually take 10-15%? And I wonder if that 30% included training fees as well.

  3. Jason Harris says:

    I expect this level of inaccuracy from random forum posters but c’mon, you’re better than this. There has been a weird amount of “Why don’t you all hate Sonnen more?!!?” threads, and there are 100 reasons to dislike the dude, but let’s be real here:

    Sonnen using TRT like half a dozen or more fighters in UFC and getting dinged for not handling the paperwork right in one fight is slightly different than the normal positive tests. You could come out saying you don’t like TRT, but I don’t see this website writing hit pieces about Dan Henderson every other day.

    For as much as this article is complaining about fans not holding everyone accountable, this website sure seems to be playing favorites on which drug test failers are villains or not. Did I miss the article(s) complaining after every reference to Josh Barnett? I never see complaining talking about the Japan scene despite their lack of any public testing and reputation for being a “wild west” for PEDs….if this is such a big issue, why is it only a big issue for certain guys? Be consistent.

    “What would be good for women’s MMA is if Dana White was serious about actually promoting it the way he promotes male fighters.”

    That isn’t possible when you’ve got around half a dozen contenders in one division and that’s it. Women’s MMA has a massive lack of talent and needs time to actually develop. Shoving it out the door and pretending it’s on the level of men’s MMA won’t fool anyone, look at the WNBA.

    I don’t mind watching the women fight, but they just aren’t on the level of the men. It’s going to be a long while before they’re close.

    • EJ says:

      Nice to know that someone else here is calling out Zach on his obvious biases when it comes to steroids and who he calls out. Watch out though The Sonnen hate is strong here and you’re bound to be labeled something for daring to call him out for it.

      As far as actually talking about the fights go, i’m really curious to see how the American mma fighters fare this time around. I was disgusted by pretty much all the American fighters like Forrest who just seemed to show up to cash a check and not fight. It’s one thing to lose it’s another to put on a pathetic and embarrasing performace and look like you don’t even want to be there.

      I hope for his sake that Mendes at least shows up to fight smart and not show up like Okami did to be a lamb to slaughter. Like I said it’s one thing to lose it’s another to give up in the first round and want a way out of a title fight.

      Even if he loses at the very least I want to see him try and use his wrestling to beat Aldo. Whatever happens after that is fine but I don’t think I can see another Brock like performance from a top wrestler against a striker it drives me nuts.

      • Zach Arnold says:

        Nice to know that someone else here is calling out Zach on his obvious biases when it comes to steroids and who he calls out. Watch out though The Sonnen hate is strong here and you’re bound to be labeled something for daring to call him out for it.

        I call out all usage of HGH, TRT, and testosterone drugs. If we’re being honest with ourselves in a sport that’s a hurt game (as Victor Conte phrases it), how can one person doping be bad and another person doping be celebrated?

        • EJ says:

          Please your going way past calling people who test positive out, with Sonnen it’s become an obssession to take a cheap shot at him at every turn. I don’t see the same thing going on with other guys several of which have failed multiple test.

    • Zach Arnold says:

      I expect this level of inaccuracy from random forum posters but c’mon, you’re better than this. There has been a weird amount of “Why don’t you all hate Sonnen more?!!?” threads, and there are 100 reasons to dislike the dude, but let’s be real here:

      There’s zero factual inaccuracies about the statements I’ve made here.

      You can disagree with opinions, but facts are different.

      Sonnen using TRT like half a dozen or more fighters in UFC and getting dinged for not handling the paperwork right in one fight is slightly different than the normal positive tests. You could come out saying you don’t like TRT, but I don’t see this website writing hit pieces about Dan Henderson every other day.

      I’ve come out against the usage of TRT in the sport. My position on it is one step further than Dr. Goodman, who thinks the commissions should allow TUEs. I don’t buy into that for a second.

      Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s necessarily right for the sport, IMO. Kevin Trudeau may still be selling “investigating free money” books on TV but it doesn’t mean that I think what he’s preaching is great.

      For as much as this article is complaining about fans not holding everyone accountable, this website sure seems to be playing favorites on which drug test failers are villains or not. Did I miss the article(s) complaining after every reference to Josh Barnett? I never see complaining talking about the Japan scene despite their lack of any public testing and reputation for being a “wild west” for PEDs….if this is such a big issue, why is it only a big issue for certain guys? Be consistent.

      I’ve gone after everyone on the issue. In fact, I went after the usage of pain killers and toothless drug testing in the Japanese scene during the PRIDE days when I wrote an article for CBS Sports on the topic and interviewed agents who had clients fighting for the promotion.

      That isn’t possible when you’ve got around half a dozen contenders in one division and that’s it. Women’s MMA has a massive lack of talent and needs time to actually develop. Shoving it out the door and pretending it’s on the level of men’s MMA won’t fool anyone, look at the WNBA.

      And that’s why I said that in order for women’s MMA to grow, the one promoter who can do it is Dana White. He doesn’t particularly care about women’s MMA, so that sector of the sport will always be in limbo because of the half-hearted nature of wanting to book those fights.

      • Steve4192 says:

        “And that’s why I said that in order for women’s MMA to grow, the one promoter who can do it is Dana White. He doesn’t particularly care about women’s MMA, so that sector of the sport will always be in limbo because of the half-hearted nature of wanting to book those fights.”

        So what?

        Dana doesn’t seem very interested in midget MMA either. Does that mean he is ‘holding back’ midgets too? Why should he be obligated to promote women’s MMA if he doesn’t want to be in that business?

        • 45 Huddle says:

          For Female MMA to grow, there would need to be a cultural worldwide shift in culture.

          Lorenzo Fertitta is sort of right that fighting is universal across basically all cultures. The UFC might not appeal to all countries, but it’s easy to get.

          Females fighting is hard to push in America. It would be much worse in many other parts of the world.

    • The Gaijin says:

      “Sonnen using TRT like half a dozen or more fighters in UFC and getting dinged for not handling the paperwork right in one fight is slightly different than the normal positive tests. You could come out saying you don’t like TRT, but I don’t see this website writing hit pieces about Dan Henderson every other day.”

      LMFAO at someone trying to play this card in Sonnen’s defence.

      A. Henderson and “the other fighters” properly applied for and were given approval to use TRT, they went through the proper process and used a qualified doctor AND have always remained within the acceptable testosterone ratios.

      B. Sonnen pissed 16:1 and then claimed he was using TRT even though he never made a proper application and NEVER RECEIVED approval for use of TRT. His claim of TRT was an outright cover-up for getting caught pissing hot. Let’s not forget the quack “doctor” he also used and the claims that he had testosterone production problems his whole life even though he was an elite level amateur wrestler.

      So basically you have the A group that went through the process and were vetted out as actually needed TRT and then they actually stay within their acceptable testosterone ratios – b/c TRT isn’t a license to juice. And then you have the B group that didn’t go through the proper process to determine if they actually needed it, but shot up anyways (while not even complying with the paramaters of acceptable TRT) and then got caught for being juiced to the gills.

      Yeah, what a double-standard!

  4. Megatherium says:

    Dana White mentioned on ESPN radio that TUF Brazil is going to air on Fuel. The level of fighter competing on this show is going to be impressive judging by the number of top Brazilian fighters who have recently disappeared, the list of names at the tryouts was indeed impressive.

  5. 45 Huddle says:

    In terms of steroid use with Cyborg vs. Sonnen.

    1) There is a HUGE difference between a man and a woman taking steroids. A woman who takes them becomes more like a man, which is a huge competitive advantage compared to the natural female. There isn’t half as much of a difference when males take it.

    2) Cyborg’s entire game was the power game. It’s like the home run hitter who are taking steroids. It is their game. So when it’s in your face that their biggest weapon was greatly helped by a needle, there is going to be big fan backlach. The same would happen to Overeem if he pissed hot…. Heck, if he didn’t skip that test….

  6. 45 Huddle says:

    As for Overeem’s contract…. I’m not sure how this will legally go, but a few things are interesting:

    1) The UFC certainly pays a lot more then is being released by the commissions both in signing bonuses and in PPV bonuses.

    2) Overeem was never paid for the K-1 fights. Was Golden Glory still responsible for paying him the 70% from that money? If that’s the case, then they likely breached the contract first. But I’m no lawyer, so I could be full of it….

  7. wilby1 says:

    There is always the excuse.There is never a straight out agreement to guilt.It is always because of another reason,other then then the one in which they are found guilty of.As role models to fans and especially the younger kids,it shows it’s OK to cheat ,use steroids, and winning by any means is acceptable.Whether this is Santo’s ,Sonnen ,Leben,or any of the rest,it leaves the former admirer of the sport,disenfranchised and perfectly disgusted in what may have been a former idol.

    • Megatherium says:

      Well people like Thiago Silva have tried the the straight contrition angle and it always leads to a much tougher suspension. The tried and true method is to feign innocence and offer up some exotic excuse that will sustain deniability. This works like a charm with all the major commissions and it’s not uncommon to see suspensions halved or even overturned using this approach.

      • The Gaijin says:

        Case-in-point:

        Hermes Franca outright admitted that he’d used steroids to help recover from a knee injury for his title match against Sherk b/c he didn’t want to pass up a once in a lifetime opportunity. He apologized and was contrite and received a 1 year ban.

        Sean RoidShark Sherk claimed every fanciful, bullshit story under the sun, including tainted supplements (right after videos of him talking about he is a Nazi about monitoring each and every crumb of food that goes into his body), tainted tests and technical loopholes. For all his bullshit lying to cover his ass Sherk received a 6-month ban IIRC, then went on a campaign about how it wasn’t fair he was stripped of his title and then received an immediate title shot.

  8. david m says:

    At the end of the day, nobody cares about women’s mma, and everyone assumes all male fighters are roiding or on HGH or on legally prescriped testosterone (which are all cheating in my book). I watch mma to see great fighters and be entertained. Women’s mma isn’t entertaining, and the fighters are all terrible when compared with men.

    By contrast, Chael Sonnen is a great fighter and incredibly entertaining. I think Zach’s biggest gripe with Chael is that he isn’t doing puroresu.

    Everyone on here condones steroid use in one way or another; when you purchase a card with people who have previously tested positive, you are endorsing steroid use. The only way to get UFC to do more stringent testing is to boycott the organization until they do so. Until then, this is all stupid and worthless lip service and a circle jerk of people pretending to give a fuck about the safety of fighters while continuing to support the company that doesn’t care enough to do Olympic-style testing.

  9. 45 Huddle says:

    ESPN is running a piece on the UFC’s pay.

    The problem with this are obvious.

    1) ESPN has sour grapes about not getting the UFC contract.

    2) They are using Ken Shamrock as an anti-UFC opinion. The same Ken Shamrock who lost in court to the UFC.

    3) They are comparing the pay to boxing, which is a sport with a payscale that is completely out of wack compared to other sports.

    4) Nobody actually has a clue what the fighters are REALLY paid. We get glimpses sometimes with lawsuits like Randy Couture or Alistair Overeem…. But we really don’t know. We have fighters saying all guys on the PPV get an extra bonus in the long run for the show. But those are small pieces of information that don’t really add up to the entire story.

    5) They are also throwing around the term monopoly, which anybody with a business degree from a community college could tell you is just incorrect.

    Would ESPN be running this story if the UFC was on ESPN right now? I doubt it….

    • The Gaijin says:

      1) E60 has run “negative” stories on EVERY sport – so this is a bit of a strawman argument. They run shows based on sports and stories that are timely and people are interested in.

      2) What current or former fighter that wants to have any type of relationship with the only major league mma promotion is going to give any negative/counterpoint on the record? Give your head a shake, he’s from a very limited pool of people they can speak with (or who would even be willing to speak), who is recognizable to anyone and who has actually dealt with the UFC on contract issues.

      3) Your argument re. boxing is very vague and ambiguous. What are you trying to say? And I hope it’s not “only 5 guys make any money in boxing” or “no one makes any money on undercards/mid-cards”, because that’s completely and utterly false.

      4) If the UFC wanted to clear up any misunderstandings or discrepancies, they could quickly and easily do it. They choose not to in order to tilt the informational balance and power, particularly for contract negotiation purposes, heavily in their favour.

      5) True. They have monopsony power with respect to the labour market. There’s a solid argument that they have and continue to operate using a number of predatory and anti-competitive practices, but they are not getting their terminology right here…so that’s a knock to their analysis.

      They’ve run lots of stories that could be considered negative about NHL, NCAA, NBA and NFL – so that remains to be seen whether they’d run it or not if they had the UFC on their airwaves. They’re still on ESPN in Europe aren’t they?

      • 45 Huddle says:

        1) Strawman? Hardly. Tell me this. If ESPN has successfully gotten the rights to the UFC, would this story be running in January 2012? You are right. ESPN does tackle every sport with some tough topics. But there is absolutely no way they would have invested in a new sports property and then put out a negative news feature on them in the same month. This story would have been buried. It is not being buried because the UFC didn’t sign with them. It’s sour grapes.

        2) Ken Shamrock just happens to be the worst one. They could talk to Jens Pulver. He doesn’t have a future left in the UFC. Shamrock has an ax to grind is a horrible guy to interview. He has motivation to give a one sided interview.

        3) Concerning boxing pay…. Tiger Woods doesn’t get 50% of the revenues from each golfing event he enters. He probably brings in most of the revenues, but doesn’t get most of the money. By boxing’s pay model, he would. Derek Jeter doesn’t get 50% of the revenues from each game he plays in. He attracts most of the fans, so by boxing’s model he should. Boxing is the only sport where the pay is so out of wack in favor of the athletes that it is the worst comparison to make. MMA fighters making Mayweather level money would kill the sport as we know it and we would get the Floyd/Manny drama you are seeing right now…. Instead of the Jones vs. Evans/Henderson drama which is just who will get the next title shot.

        4) Why do they have to clear up anything? They aren’t publicly traded and the main fighters are happy. Heck, Lesnar got paid so much that he will not be able to retire on a huge mountain of cash. And we know that they pay fighters above contracted amounts. Not to mention that they have a history of looking out for fighters. Alistair Overeem is the latest example. They showed him how Golden Glory was screwing him over, and he broke away from them and now once the court issues are done, will be getting a higher percentage of his pay. That’s a good track record.

        After seeing the disclosed amounts of what guys like Alistair Overeem are getting… And what Lesnar was rumored to get. And what GSP has gone on record to getting. And from the report that Diaz lost out on a huge payday by not fighting in the main event, which means the UFC is tiering their contracts… I have zero concern for the higher level fighters in the UFC. And from the reported payout amounts, the lower level guys aren’t doing bad either. The only issue I see if that there needs to be a minimum pay implemented. $10,000 for a loss should be the minimum. Besides that, pay isn’t an issue…..

        • 45 Huddle says:

          I should also add….

          I am in favor of fighter pay rising. But it needs to happen organicly. And so far, nothing has shown that fighter pay isn’t increasing over time.

          The UFC is still investing into the sport. Sweden will have their first event ever. Brazil will only be the 3rd ever. If they lose money on the Sweden event, will the fighters take a paycut? Highly unlikely. But if fighter pay should go up for bigger cards, shouldn’t it go down for bad ones? It’s a way street…. One that is being ignored many times.

          Not to mention that the smaller weight classes are just being established to the broader audiences and it will take time and money before they can really churn out major profits cards headlined by those fighters. The bottom 4 weight divisions are not big money makers for Zuffa right now. That’s a lot of dead weight for a company that people are claiming isn’t paying their fighters properly….

        • The Gaijin says:

          1) They are writing an investigative newspiece. Maybe they don’t run it in Q1 ‘12 if they have an investment in it, but they don’t and they don’t owe anyone anything in terms of not running stories that might put someone in a negative light. You want to be one of the big boy sports and get all types of coverage, then you take the good and the bad.

          2) So we’ve got two guys and they picked one who is going to provide the counter to what Lorenzo is saying – you notice they gave “both sides” the opportunity to talk, so other than jumping to conclusions based on a 1 min promo maybe you should wait to see how they present it. Frankly if they leave it with Lorenzo’s word vs. Ken Shamrock’s don’t you think most rational people will be able to make a rational conclusion for themselves? Pulver was pushing for a color commentary gig with UFC before he went back to regional mma barnstorming so I’m sure he would tow the line if they asked him on the record.

          3) Golf and team sports are not exactly the best comparison here my friend, so you cannot in any rational way apply the boxing model to baseball or football or hockey. Derek Jeter doesn’t draw $1 more than the New York Yankees name does…if he wasn’t there they wouldn’t miss a beat in terms of fan $ b/c the Yankee machine would replace him with a new “Mr. Yankee” like they always have – why do you think he resigned with NYY rather than the Mets or the Reds? He’s worth more in a NYY uniform. Tiger Woods is an outlier here – and don’t forget that he is/was paid MASSIVE “appearance” fees by tournaments and golf courses to show up before he even gets into the purse winnings.

          Boxing and mma are two of the very few “promoter driven” sports which sell on the strength of Fighter X vs. Fighter Y. Fighters can’t make PBF/Paq money because (a) the sport isn’t big enough or popular enough to justify it and (b) their promoter holds way more power so they are taking 85-90% of the profits and leaving fighters with 10-15%.

          And Floyd-Manny issue are irrelevant as they have next to nothing to do with fighter pay and everything to do with promotional finangling – but under the UFC system that wouldn’t be the big problem – there’s no issues getting Top Rank guys to fight Top Rank guys and same for Golden Boy Promotions.

          4) I never said they had to or were obligated to clear up anything. I said there is a very simple way for them to clear up any misconceptions about how much and how fairly fighters are paid because you said “Nobody knows what fighters are REALLY paid” – simple solution, if they choose to disclose, which they won’t for extremely obvious reasons.

          We saw Reem and Lesnar’s salaries and we saw the estimates on PPV sales and gate receipts – I’m sure they were happy to get paid (particularly Overeem), but to pretend like they’re getting a sniff at a fair share of the pie is another thing. And what are you talking about pay on “bigger cards” vs. “bad cards” – there is a very real correlation between the payrolls on cards that perform well and payroll on cards that do not. Guess what the payroll is going to look like for the Swedish card? There is a simple solution to avoiding “bad cards” – having the better/more popular fighters (that by and large get paid better than nobodies you saw on TUF, etc.) and stacking the cards.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          1) So you admit the story would not be running right now if the UFC signed with ESPN. You prove my point.

          2) I don’t mind a second side…. But that side shouldn’t have such a grudge like Shamrock does against them. That’s like saying: “Well, there is CNN, so FOX News makes sense.” Both examples are a more middle of the road opinion for an extreme opinion.

          3) Not the best examples? Find me any major American sport where the payouts are like in boxing? There is none. The stars in most sports get paid very well, but don’t completely remove all of the money from the sport like what happens in boxing. Boxing is not a sport that should be emulated no matter if they have promoters or not. Boxing is a bunch of random promoters trying to find a big draw. MMA is one big time promoter who has a large percentage of the top fighters.

          4) That’s not the solution at all. There are many untestetd markets that make no sense to stack the cards. It makes more sense to put the type of card they are in Sweden, seeing if there is interest, and going from there. Perhaps it will turn out to be an Australia. But it could also turn out to be a Germany.

        • The Gaijin says:

          “4) That’s not the solution at all. There are many untested markets that make no sense to stack the cards. It makes more sense to put the type of card they are in Sweden, seeing if there is interest, and going from there. Perhaps it will turn out to be an Australia. But it could also turn out to be a Germany.”

          This isn’t the 70s or 80s where people don’t have the internet, digital satellite/cable tv or streaming/torrents. They are trying to play “WWF world tour” and sell out arenas based on their brand name alone while offering B/C level shows because they think people will clamour to show up with anything that has the “UFC” on it. Problem is these people have seen all the fighters on ppv/tv/internet and know who’s good and who is not – they aren’t going to line-up to buy tickets to UFC featuring Diego Sanchez, but they will show up to watch title fights and elite fighters they’ve heard of.

          UFC is trying to have their cake and eat it with these shows – they show up in Europe and elsehwere and for the most part put on subpar-PPV/SPIKE cards b/c they don’t want to burn up big PPVs on overseas shows but think they’ll be garnering huge interest b/c “ZMOG! It’s the UFC!”. It’s been a failed endeavour 75% of the time because of this…there’s a way for them to become very successful in overseas markets, but they’re too beholden to PPV buys.

    • Alan Conceicao says:

      There’s a lot of bullet points there about a piece of journalism that hasn’t even been publically shown yet.

      “They are comparing the pay to boxing, which is a sport with a payscale that is completely out of wack compared to other sports.”

      What is an adequate percentage of revenue for the fighters to rake in? Unless the UFC is paying 10-15X the accounted for pay, its not even close to 50%.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        10 to 15 times? That’s insane and idiotic. This isn’t a fully established sport yet. There are still a lot of risks involved.

        1) Many markets are still not tested.

        2) For the markets that are tested, they don’t even know how strong they will be on the 2nd, 3rd, and so on shows that come to those markets.

        3) Money is being spent in NY to get the sport legalized.

        4) Weight classes are not fully developed and will not be big money makers for some time.

        5) Popularity has already taken a dip. It could go back up, but there is no long history to show what the future holds.

        6) FUEL TV is being used expand into more houses for more exposure, but right now it’s a 20,000 viewers for UFC Tonight sort of station.

        Those are HUGE risks. And yet people like you wants them to pay out more money? You have to be kidding me!!

        Based on current market conditions, pay is exactly what it should be at.

        50% of the revenues is a great goal. I love that idea. But in 2012 it’s stupid. Let the international markets be fleshed out. The lower weight classes be fully established. The popularity of the sport leveled out. And then the 50% goal should be more obtainable.

      • Alan Conceicao says:

        10 to 15 times? That’s insane and idiotic. This isn’t a fully established sport yet. There are still a lot of risks involved.

        10 X 1.4 million (the announced pay for UFC 141) = 14 million. That’s a lot less than half the PPV take from that even, should the numbers given be correct.

        Lots and lots of words talking about the “risk” that have nothing to do with the current streams of income that already exist. Yawn.

        • Zheroen says:

          Ridiculous. That would cut into the Fertittas’ multi-million dollar bonuses, and inevitably entice more top-level American athletes into choosing MMA over the traditional big-money US sports. Obviously this would be “bad for the sport”.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          You said 10 to 15 times….

          So $14 Million to $21 Million payroll.

          800,000 PPV’s. $22.50 they get per each one. $18 Million. $3 Million gate. Let’s say they get all of that. $21 Million.

          You are suggesting they pay out 66% to 100% of the events revenues to the fighters. That was your suggestion.

          This is why your opinion continues to fall short time and time again.

          And some of the profits from these mega cards are being used to fund the NY State efforts. Being used to make inroads internationally.

          And there is a lot of risk. Japan, Sweden, Brazil, and other markets could lose them money. These mega shows provide a buffer for the expansion process.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          But by all means, enjoy your 80%+ of the money going to the athletes in boxing. It worked out great for Manny vs. Floyd!!

          I’d rather Overeem get $2 Million and get to see him fight Lesnar and then Dos Santos with no drama in the matchmaking. As a fan, we win.

          Fighters aren’t poor. Fans get the best match-ups. Yet “fans” like Alan will still complain….

        • The Gaijin says:

          “It worked out great for Manny vs. Floyd!!”

          Why do you continue to repeat this false line of thinking. The % of money Manny and PBF make of the profits has NOTHING to do with it. If anything it is a very good argument about why cross-promotion can be a very bad idea and why it’s great to have all the fighters under one roof…but it doesn’t have anything to do with fighter pay.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Money has everything to do with it. Neither of them (including their promoters) want to lose the golden egg with a loss to the other.

        • The Gaijin says:

          “Money has everything to do with it. Neither of them (including their promoters) want to lose the golden egg with a loss to the other.”

          So nothing at all to do with the percentage of money the fighter makes off the profits? Right, thanks.

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          You could likely use the 15X number for gobs of prior events. Where is this figure that they’re getting only 30-40% of each PPV buy that you’re pulling out? I’ve never heard any less than 50%. Assuming $27 per buy (since HD PPVs are more in pretty much every system), you have $21 million dollars right there, plus site fee (live gate is irrelevant in Vegas), plus international TV, plus advertising money, plus DVD sales post event. If that doesn’t more than double a $14 million dollar payroll, I’ll quit the internet.

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          Also, the expansion process is a risk for the promoters to take to open up markets to make more money for themselves. It has nothing to do with what fighters deserve to make for events that are big ticket sellers. What nonsense.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Yeah, because expansion has not benefited the fighters salaries…..

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          How has it? If the fighters need to accept lower pay in order to allow the UFC to expend money for expansion into international markets, it doesn’t sound to me like its helping them out in any way, shape, or form.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Long term it has paid off. The expansion into Canada paid off huge in the long run. So is the expansion into Brazil. But for every Canada or Brazil, there is a Germany which loses money. But they won’t know until they try each market.

          These new markets opening up means more UFC cards which expands the amount of money being paid to fighters.

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          Long term for who? The fighters? You’re the one arguing that one of the reasons that they can’t or shouldn’t be paid more is because of the UFC’s never ending international expansion. I’m just telling you that those promotional risks should belong to the promoter, not the fighters competing in developed and money making markets.

      • Mark says:

        Money has everything to do with it. Neither of them (including their promoters) want to lose the golden egg with a loss to the other.

        The goose will lay so many golden eggs for this fight that nobody in the camp is ever going to have to worry about money again. It is going to do 3 million buys at probably a jacked up price of 65 bucks. Do the math and tell me that Pacquiao’s people would care he can’t fight Ortiz or somebody that would do less than half of the PPV business.

        They might want to stretch out some other fights in case they lose so they can get those paydays plus the Holy Grail PPV money, but this fight is absolutely going to happen. And it is going to dwarf anything UFC could ever do on PPV to an embarrassing level. But then boxing doesn’t have anything this major for the foreseeable future, that is true. But that is what happens to building your company around a superstar. After GSP fights Diaz, what is next for him? Fighting rematches and teasing fans with the mythical Silva fight that we all know he doesn’t really want? What’s next for Anderson Silva after the Sonnen rematch? Him begging to be moved to 205? What’s next for Jon Jones after his fight with Rashad? They equally have problems because once you’ve got a guy who is a superstar and beats everybody, then when he moves on you’re left with a bunch of fighters people view as second rate. Like if GSP leaves 170 and Fitch or Condit gets the belt, do they have a chance in hell of being as big of a star as GSP? Or if Silva leaves 185 and Munoz gets the belt, does he have a chance in hell of being as big of a star as Anderson? We’ve already seen the answer with BJ Penn being replaced by Frankie Edgar. Nobody gives a crap about Edgar and nobody ever will. Even if he breaks the record of most title defenses, he’ll never be seen close to Penn’s level of stardom. We’ll just have Rogan out there doing his “I don’t understand why nobody likes this guy, he has beaten so many top fighters” rap. So, yes, UFC forces fighters to have more fights the fans want to see. But their burnout rate is also bigger than boxing’s. And we got a preview of it with Edgar, and you’ve got 3 guys about to clean out their division or move on from their divisions that are going to possibly give you more worthless-as-a-draw champions people are going to say “He needs to be on FOX, not PPV.”

        So in a nutshell, UFC can’t throw stones about buyrates and stars in this post-Brock world.

  10. The Gaijin says:

    I guess I’ll just never understand the “bubble MMA fans” who cry for mainstream exposure and coverage and immediately get all defensive and b*tchy the second the coverage is not just 1-hr SPIKE advertisements and Yahoo! puff pieces.

    • Zheroen says:

      45 Huddle’s apparent ideal definition of “mainstream” is more like North Korea’s state-run media, produced by Zuffa and only featuring Zuffa in a positive light. What a ridiculous sycophant.

  11. Zach Arnold says:

    If anyone can spotlight a Youtube version of the E:60 segment on fighter pay, point me towards it. Thanks.

  12. 45 Huddle says:

    http://www.mma-manifesto.com/ufc-fighter-salary-database/salary-main/2011-year-in-review-ufc-fighter-salaries.html

    This is not including PPV Bonuses, which we know are paid out to basically all fighters on PPV cards.

    The 100th guy on the pay list is Tyson Griffin at $93,500.

    I think it’s safe to assume that the UFC is paying at least 100 guys over $100,000 a year…. Not to mention they can get sponsor pay to cover training costs….

    Oh, the poor fighters!!

    • 45 Huddle says:

      http://www.f4wonline.com/more/more-top-stories/3-news/23735-wed-update-light-heavy-title-update-hogan-surgery-espn-piece-on-ufc-ratings-tna-tv-tapings

      “–For those wondering, UFC has 29 fighters who have built in percentages of PPV revenue worked into their contract.”

      More stories about poor fighters….

      • 45 Huddle says:

        And concerning that story above about the fighter pay…. In 2010, the 100th highest paid fighter was Rodney Wallace at $77,000. In 2011 it was Tyson Griffin at $93,500. That’s a $16,500 difference.

        Not to mention that the numbered of paid fighters increased from 265 to 337.

        Wow, look at that….. No real competition and fighter pay is still organicly increasing. Amazing!!

        I’m do not have the gift of foresight, but something tells me when they 2012 numbers come out…. We will see more then 337 fighters and the 100th paid fighter over the $100,000 reported amount…. Just a hunch….

    • The Gaijin says:

      You forgot to include an important note that all of those figures (a) are based on estimated salaries (which it clearly says for 95% of the fighters), (b) include their show + win bonus (not guaranteed) and (c) include fight of the night, knockout of the night and submission of the night bonuses (again not guaranteed).

      (c) is very important to note because it is not at all guaranteed and is highly, highly discretionary.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        Show me where the estimates are off base?

        The fact of the matter is that the UFC was paying CHAMPIONS under $100,000 10 years ago. Now they are paying over 100 guys $100,000 a year. More if you include Strikeforce.

        I’m not saying the fighters don’t deserve more. They do. But it needs to happen over time. Not a snap of the fingers and BAM it’s at 50% of the income. It’s a slow process that needs to mature along with the business itself.

        As for right now, the pay seems more then fair based on where the sport has been the last 5 years. If anything it’s generous.

        • nottheface says:

          If they are being so fiscally responsible then why are the owners paying out $100 mil a year in dividends? Shouldn’t that money be put aside for a rainy day or is it only the fighters that should sacrifice for the long term stability of the sport?

        • 45 Huddle says:

          You really need that explained to you? Owners of private companies always raid the bank. It protects the assets in case of bankruptcy. And the money can always be re-invested if needed.

          It’s a simple business practice that is almost always done.

          The $40 Million risk was taken by the Fertitta’s. They are entited to not only recoup their initial investment but to make profits from it.

          The fighters are doing more then fine.

        • edub says:

          45 you keep running around your own opinion.

          You yourself made this comment- “I am in favor of fighter pay rising. But it needs to happen organicly. And so far, nothing has shown that fighter pay isn’t increasing over time.”

          So all I’ll ask is this: When does the time period begin for fighters to start making more than 25-40% of the profits. When the UFC is worth 2 billion dollars? 3 billion?

          These guys don’t have long lasting careers.

      • Alan Conceicao says:

        They aren’t even paying 100 guys over $100K per year yet yet you’re excited enough about the possibility to use that as a talking point, huh?

  13. Jason Harris says:

    Did you look at it? Your post couldn’t be more wrong.

    a) It’s the disclosed figures from the athletic commissions only. No extra PPV money, backroom bonuses, etc. etc.
    b) It includes the win bonus that they were awarded per the athletic commission
    c) Pay doesn’t count that wasn’t guaranteed? Why not?

    It seems the general jist of your post is “They shouldn’t pay these guys bonuses, just flat fees!”

    Do you want guys to make more or not?

  14. Stel says:

    steroid supporters are like Paul supporters? that’s a real stretch of the (I was going to say imagination) just to denigrate Ron Paul.

    • Zach Arnold says:

      The context for that remark is that Paul’s support in the GOP is at around 20%, so he has a high floor but a low ceiling. However, his supporters are very passionate and committed. Their will is iron.

      That is what I am suggesting about those who support steroid use being allowed in MMA. They are a minority, a solid one, and while I disagree with the argument I respect their consistency.

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