By Zach Arnold | January 9, 2012
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.
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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.
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.
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
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.
I see “Judo” Gene LeBell has taught Ronda some wisdom in marketing. I expect her to fight a bear next.
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).
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.
Now, this… this is quite the read.