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Wednesday media wrath: MMA’s mainstream growing pains

By Zach Arnold | May 30, 2007

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MMA California’s not-official image character, Yoda, cheerleads for Fedor

Tim Dahlberg, who is a top boxing writer for the Associated Press, rips into UFC with a new column titled UFC could have used a good fight to back up the hype. He rips into the fans who paid to watch UFC 71 as “not-so-rich-and-famous” (someone alert Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf) and said that the Rampage-Liddell fight could contribute to UFC having a ‘bad reputation’ like boxing for not delivering the goods. Also, on Tuesday’s Around the Horn program on ESPN, ‘Ultimate Fighting’ (not MMA) got ripped apart for the shortness of the UFC 71 main event (only LA Times columnist J.A. Adande defended UFC).

I bring up the AP article because it has officially hit the newswires and will be all over morning newspapers today. Expect it to be a topic of conversation.

K-1 is still promoting Brock Lesnar vs. Choi Hong-Man and Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Royce Gracie in the Japanese media for the Dynamite show on Saturday.

Medical suspensions coming out of the UFC 71 event. Those who will spend some time on the shelf: Ivan Salaverry, Karo Parisyan, and James Irvin.

Mark Coleman and Kevin Randleman vs. TAJIRI, “Monster K” Kohei Sato, and Giant Vabo has been booked for Hustle’s 6/10 Aomori event.

Gryphon notes that both Fabio and Asseurio Silva won at today’s Pancrase show in Tokyo at Korakuen Hall. Yoshiki Takahashi and Yuki Kondo are tentatively scheduled to fight at the BodogFight 7/14 Sovereign Bank show in New Jersey.

IFL TV ratingsnot so good. The ratings news reads like a carbon copy of ratings news for the TNA pro-wrestling promotion.

The latest postings from casual sports blogs on the Internet about UFC and UFC 71:

  1. This is your future: Ultimate Fighting Championship
  2. Frankly Franky: First recap – UFC 71 review
  3. UFC Countdown: MMAGirls Post UFC 71 Thoughts
  4. Fun-Food and Fighting: Fight Night (and bring the kids)
  5. Negative Forty: Right hook of doom (UFC 71 = great athletes, boring action)

I bring up this story because, while it isn’t necessarily fight-related, it could be useful to you. I know some colleagues who have actually incorporated their web sites and newsletters into businesses (using the Limited Liability Company business model). If you own an LLC, some bad news just arrived in regards to payroll taxes.

Onto today’s media headlines.

  1. Fight Report: Karo explains his bizarre song
  2. UFC Mania: UFC clowns Yahoo, hockey, and NBA playoffs
  3. Fox Sports: On upsets and title changes
  4. The Houston Chronicle (Steve Sievert): UFC swings, misses in staging Sims-Thomas fight
  5. Fightlinker: Sims vs. Thomas reeks of hypocrisy (plus a new edition of their radio show)
  6. The Hamilton Spectator (Canada): Ultimate bad luck for Jeff Joslin
  7. MMA Weekly: MMA Weekly World MMA rankings updated (Cro Cop #3 heavyweight, Liddell #3 light heavyweight, Lindland #1 185-pounder, Penn #6 170-pounder, Shaolin Ribiero #6 160-and-under)
  8. Fight Talk Online: UFC buys PRIDE, excitement and confusion
  9. The Fightworks Podcast: The myth of fewer MMA submission victories
  10. Lay and Pray: UFC 71 payroll: Where’s the bread?
  11. Jake Rossen: The MMA education of Brock Lesnar
  12. CTV Video: Martial arts – Judo versus BJJ
  13. Hall of Fame Magazine: Will “Rampage” reign in UFC?
  14. UFC Junkie: Sean Salmon discusses UFC 71 loss
  15. The Baltimore Sun: Was Quinton Jackson properly marketed before UFC 71?

Topics: Boxing, HERO's, IFL, Japan, K-1, Media, MMA, Pancrase, Pro-Wrestling, UFC, Zach Arnold | 26 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

26 Responses to “Wednesday media wrath: MMA’s mainstream growing pains”

  1. De Kiwi says:

    Couldn’t someone sue K-1 for misleading the public? I know not everything is set in stone yet, but as it stands, it’s highly unlikely that Hong Man Choi and Sakuraba will be fighting? Yet K-1 is continuing its promotion as if those events are going ahead. That must surely be misleading and deceptive conduct? Or is it just that no one really cares?

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    The IFL Rating of a .7 is really bad for network TV. In fact, they have typically been lower then that over the last few weeks. Not good signs for the promotion at all.

    The MMA World Rankings….

    HEAVYWEIGHT – Good rankings, except Gonzaga should be #3. He beat Cro Cop, and deserves to be ranked above him. What good are rankings if the actual fights don’t matter? Besides that, I agree with the rankings.

    LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT – They really got it right with Mauricio Rua being #1 in the world. I agree with the Top 7. After that, I would have Ortiz, Nogueira, & Evans. Nakamura has so many losses in Pride, and hasn’t beaten one top fighter to earn that spot.

    MIDDLEWEIGHT – Matt Lindland as the #1 Middleweight is a joke. Since 2004, he has faced exactly one borderline Top 10 Middleweight fighter, and that was Jeremy Horn. How a fighter can be ranked #1 from that is beyond me. I know there is no true #1 in that division, but it should really be given to Anderson Silva or Pride’s linear champion, Paulo Filho. The bottom of the ranking is a mess too. And where is Yushin Okami?

    WELTERWEIGHT – Fitch is ranked way too low. Talk about buying into the Parisyan hype. Fitch has continued to dominate top competition without losing like Parisyan has.

    LIGHTWEIGHT – Don’t even need to comment on this ranking. It is that bad.

  3. liger05 says:

    Do short fights in huge main events hurt the UFC when it comes to impressing the casual fan?

  4. John Griffin says:

    I couldn’t help but laugh at that Dahlberg column. While the fight was short at no point did I feel ripped off or unhappy over the result, probably due to good undercard. I thought they had a better reputation after this show! I guess these dinosaurs are scraping for anything these days. I really shouldn’t justify him with a response but that crap rubs me the wrong way.

  5. liger05 says:

    The UFC fan will not feel ripped off. I love boxing and if PBF V Oscar would of last 2 mins I wouldnt of felt let down.

    However the casual fan is pissed to pay $50 to see a supposed huge fight end early.

  6. Stu says:

    Wow Charles David Liddelll and Karapat Parysian, you learn something new everyday.

  7. […] to for the Press News Share and Enjoy:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover […]

  8. KennyP says:

    Just thinking aloud here….

    Could the Sims-Thomas fight be designed to be a dark match that will never air anywhere? This would answer any curiosity fans might have to see an in-ring matchup, and would prevent any other promoters from being able to sell the fight somewhere else. And afterwards, Dana could release both of the fighters, win or lose. For $15,000 (salaries + win bonus), UFC helps kill a fight that might make someone else more money. And helps remove the greatest marketing tool either fighter currently has.

  9. Will says:

    I wonder if any of these journalists that are criticizing UFC 71 for a short main event ever paid for a Mike Tyson PPV back in the ’90s. At least We got 5 pretty good fights leading up to Liddell vs. Jackson. It’s a sport, and therefore unpredictable. If you want a main event guaranteed to last a while, watch WWE.

  10. I have a theory that Spike pushed the UFC to do it when they saw the ratings pop.

  11. Euthyphro says:

    I can’t wait to see Randleman job to the green mist.

  12. Jeff says:

    Thanks for linking to my story!

  13. Euthyphro says:

    Just thinking aloud here….

    Could the Sims-Thomas fight be designed to be a dark match that will never air anywhere? This would answer any curiosity fans might have to see an in-ring matchup, and would prevent any other promoters from being able to sell the fight somewhere else. And afterwards, Dana could release both of the fighters, win or lose. For $15,000 (salaries + win bonus), UFC helps kill a fight that might make someone else more money. And helps remove the greatest marketing tool either fighter currently has.

    Nope. From

    Spike TV released a statement announcing that Thomas and Sims are scheduled to return, on the series finale no less. The two will be the opening bout of the June 23rd live telecast set to feature coaches Jens Pulver and BJ Penn facing each other in the main event.

  14. Zack says:

    Here is the Rampage interview link that Zach was referring to the other day:

    Amazing clip.

  15. Zack says:

    Actually, I think that’s the wrong one. I’m still looking for the one where Rampage says MMA is going to get bigger than water polo.

  16. Franky says:

    Thanks for the link to my blog. I want everyone to check out my blog about the betting game. I am trying to get it to catch on.

    I have mixed feelings about MMA going mainstream. I am going to write about it soon, but I definitely see pros and cons to both sides.

  17. Erin says:

    Awww, my boy made the main page of FightOpinion! I always knew he’d be something someday.

  18. Jason Bennett says:

    The MMA Weekly rankings have been so bad for so long time that I never even look at them anymore. I’ve been a very loyal diehard fan of mma for many years and I’m astounded at how inaccurate their rankings continue to be. While many can argue it’s a matter of opinion and the MMA Weekly writers can argue their ‘method’ for rankings, many of their selections are laughable.

    Gomi at #1 after two big losses while Sherk barely makes it at #10 is a joke. Nakamura is an awesome fighter that I always look forward to watching, but I also enjoy Wes Sims (a good friend to MMA Weekly), should we rank him too.

    The big one – Matt Serra at #1; he shocked us all with an incredible win over GSP, but again with the facts – he’s had one other win in 3 years, Chris Lytle.

    So by this standard if a 16 seed team beats a 1 seed in NCAA, then they’re automatically #1; or if Transient State blows out Florida in football – I guess they’d be #1 as well. Meanwhile Trigg dominates Misaki and is still ranked below him; if they’re going with the Fighter A beats Fighter B mentality (MMA math) then there should at least be consistency.

    BTW, someone should let them know BJ Penn hasn’t beat a notable top 30 contender in 3 1/2 years (since Matt Hughes). This is a fact much of the MMA world needs to come to grips with. I assume the same people are waiting for the ‘old’ Vitor Belfort to ‘show up’.

    While much more can be said, I’ll stop there.

    For the record, this type of unprofessionalism (i.e. radio show) has caused me to cancel my 4 1/2 year subscription to MMA Weekly; that truly hurts a lot.

    R.I.P. – Ryan Bennett.

  19. Jeff says:

    Showtime is doing the same thing over here with the Countdown to Dynamite USA shows. I just watched the latest one 2 days ago and they are still promoting Choi vs. Lesnar, and Sakuraba vs. Gracie (although there has been no definate ruling on that yet, so I guess that is ok).

  20. JThue says:

    – Final WEC Versus Debut-card.

    Hopefully the final Showtime-hype show will have the up-to-date card.

  21. says:

    I think the fight being criticized is to be expected but so De La Hoya-Mayweather and that went the distance. the traditional media needs something to criticize or stories would be so boring. ESPN could have shown other fights too but they showed the short main event and critiqued it.

  22. Euthyphro says:

    Does anyone speak Russian?

    Look like Fedor’s people are saying he’s close to an agreement with PRIDE Worldwide.

    “Feodor subscribes on a course all таки again with Прайд (PRIDE), for today almost have come to the arrangement.”

  23. JThue says:

    — Sakuraba vs. Gracie is ON! Good for K-1 🙂

  24. Jim Murphy says:

    The mainstream sports media doesn’t understand or care about boxing, and now they don’t understand or care about MMA. Blowhards like Tony Kornheiser and other old school sports hacks just want something to bitch about. Basically, their “take” is that MMA sucks and no matter what had happened in the main event they would have bitched about it. If it had gone the distance, the mainstream media would have griped that the main event was long, boring and didn’t end decisively. One of the biggest reasons that the mainstream media hates MMA IMO is that their utterly irrelevant in how serious fans stay informed about the sport. That’s one of the things I despise about the mainstream sports media in general and ESPN in general–just bitching about something is an acceptable substitute for insight and opinion.

  25. JThue says:

    Ehm, correction… SAKURABA is on, Gracie is yet to be fully cleared sayeth Meltzer.

  26. 45 Huddle says:

    Go to They have a link to SI, with the “biggest superstars of the UFC”. That is great coverage, even if it is only pictures.


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