By Zach Arnold | July 16, 2015
You can’t trump star power in combat sports, even with ugly Reebok uniforms.
Ronda Rousey was making waves at the ESPY awards in Los Angeles with another remark about Floyd Mayweather. Her troll game is supercharged. Fedor was making names because he’s coming out of retirement. The Russians want his next fight. Nobuyuki Sakakibara and those desperate to stay relevant in Japan would be interested in Fedor’s services.
However, the real money for Fedor is in UFC. He knows it. UFC knows it. They may have struck out on Fedor/Brock Lesnar and Lesnar/Mir bouts… but Fedor vs. Frank Mir is still a real possibility and would be a fight that makes sense for all parties involved.
First, keeping Fedor away from the Japanese would be a good thing. Who’s he going to fight in Japan this time around? Satoshi Ishii’s star is dead. Kazuyuki Fujita?
Second, keep Fedor away from Viacom. Fedor vs. Kimbo Slice is the fight they would want to promote and it would sell on PPV. The casual American fight fan would want to watch it. It would give Bellator a big image boost if they could pull off signing that fight.
Third, UFC needs some exciting fights for the Heavyweight division. Todd Duffee got hammered by Frank Mir in San Diego on Wednesday night. Nobody is sure how many fights are left for Cain Velasquez. Fabricio Werdum is the Heavyweight champion. If Fedor could find a way to beat Frank Mir, you could immediately book Fedor vs. Werdum in a revenge match.
The dawn of a new era in California
While Nevada is busy holding workshops to hash out the new rules & regulations on beefing up their drug suspension policies, California is ramping up the penalties. Assembly Bill 469, which would jack up monetary penalties up to 40% purse fine for a positive drug test, is in Appropriations. It’s only a matter of time before it gets passed.
Which means that minimum suspensions of at least two years for fighters who test positive is here to stay. Physiques and fight performances for some veteran fighters will undoubtedly be altered. The question is whether or not the new drug testing policies will impact UFC the same way MLB’s clamp down attempts on steroids has impacted their sport in the last few years.
The San Diego card was B-level, at best, on paper but turned out to be a wildly violent affair. Jessica Andrade. Tony Ferguson. Frank Mir. My goodness.
A part of me felt bad watching Josh Thomson struggle in what may be his last UFC fight. He’s 1-3 in his last 4 UFC fights and has lost 5 out of his last 7. The scorecard loss to Ben Henderson in January of 2014 derailed his career. It’s cute for Dana White to yell at fighters to not leave it in the hands of the judges but you can’t control what you can’t control when you’re in a three or five round fight. One bad decision by a judge can cost a fighter millions of dollars.
Speaking of judges, referee/judge Mike Beltran had a curious night in San Diego. Holly Holm had a one-sided fight and won every round but Beltran gave a round to her opponent. In the Ferguson/Thomson fight, neither Beltran nor judge Derek Cleary gave Ferguson a 10-8 round despite Andy Foster pushing for more 10-8 rounds.