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Quote of the day – Dan Wetzel

By Zach Arnold | July 25, 2007

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From his Yahoo Sports column today. Go to full-page mode to see it.

I am less interested in seeing how David Stern, Roger Goodell and Bud Selig deal with their assorted controversies as I am in how Dana White of the UFC deals with his.

The July 7 UFC 73 special was probably the best card in its history but was marred by the fact that both fighters in the lightweight championship bout – Shane Sherk and Hermes Franca – failed drug tests. Yes, both. If Franca had just gotten beaten up clean, he could claim the title. Instead he cheated and got manhandled anyway.

White needs to lower the hammer on these two and anyone else who violates steroid rules. The sport still is in too tenuous a position to do a Selig soft-step.

Sherk’s offense is particularly egregious because almost his whole game is based on superior strength on the mat and hyper-endurance that wears opponents into a pulp.

Sherk even had the audacity to film a half-hour Spike TV special leading up to the fight, in which he worked out like a maniac, ate horrible-tasting food and popped about 500 pills right on camera. Sherk was a personal favorite because he reminded me of me, if only I were in incredible physical condition and actually were tough. That said, he needs to be hit hard here. The UFC has to be as vigilant as possible.

I have faith in White. He’s too shrewd not to realize his sport’s credibility is at stake. And he’s way too tough to care about any backlash. He also has been open to significant oversight of the sport. Rather than lash out at Sen. John McCain’s famed assessment that MMA was “human cockfighting,” he embraced it and worked to create the regulation that made it legit.

But this will be a big test for a guy who has pushed his league to immense popularity and as a result has a lot more people watching his actions.

Ignore the fact that Dan said that Franca could have gotten the belt if he had stayed clean (match decisions are not currently overturned in California based on drug suspensions). Dave Doyle needs to straighten Dan out on The Zuffa Myth. See, I have my priorities straightened out. You can write to Dan Wetzel using this form.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 18 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

18 Responses to “Quote of the day – Dan Wetzel”

  1. Jordan Breen says:

    Shane Sherk. Awesome.

  2. Tomer Chen says:

    Franca wouldn’t have ‘won’ the title even if Sherk was the only one found with steroids in his system, it would have been a ‘No Contest’ (assuming the rule was in place) and Franca would have to fight the #2 contender for the vacant belt. The Joey Giardello vs. Billy Graham 12/19/52 fight where the NYSAC tried to change the Split Decision from Giardello to Graham, were sued by Giardello and lost before the State Supreme Court set that precedent that the actual decision can’t be changed, just be made into a ‘No Contest’.

  3. Liger05 says:

    “The July 7 UFC 73 special was probably the best card in its history”


  4. “Zuffa Myth” comment – the article says “he…worked to create the regulation that made it legit.”

    Isn’t that exactly what he’s doing? Zuffa and Dana White hired Marc Ratner to work with states to regulate MMA, which sounds an awful lot like creating the regulation that made it legit. Rules do not equal regulation.

    The over-discussed “Zuffa Myth” has more to do with the idea that things turned around for MMA once Zuffa came up with a new set of rules. This isn’t true, because the rules were created by the Jersey athletic commission and SEG-era UFC promoted under them. Nevertheless, the rules are not what’s in play in that quote — it’s regulation by state athletic commissions.

  5. Tomer Chen says:

    Saying “worked to create the regulation that made it legit.” is a pretty poor way of stating that he was embracing the regulation and trying to spread it. After all, it was TKO in Quebec and the SEG-run UFC with the NJSACB (as well as the CSAC) that helped begin the modern regulation and acceptance of the unified rules, so Zuffa did not create said rules and regulations since they existed before White & the Fertittas were pushing for it in NSAC and other states. Zuffa expanded the ‘gospel’ of regulations and unified rules to other states, but they didn’t create said rules and regulations as the passage states.

    The proper wording would have been “worked to expand the rules and regulations that eventually made the once outlaw sport more accepted by the mainstream media.” or something to that effect. I think it’s really an issue of semantics and grammar than an honest “Dana White created the sport!!111” type ignorance that has been seen in the past, but it’s still a valid point to contest the sentence, as worded.

  6. Tomer Chen says:

    As an addendum, there were regulated events in Quebec (especially) and New Jersey before Zuffa took over, so it’s not like Zuffa saw a set of rules that were never enforced and said “Gee, let’s run and get it enforced!”. They endorses the rules and enforcement of the commissions, but did not create said enforcement.

  7. Zack says:

    LOL great find. That article was hilarious.

    Mainstream media baby!!!

  8. Grape Knee High says:

    Funny how times change re: the Zuffa Myth.

    The UFC has done such a great job indoctrinating the media with the Myth that naysayers spend their time concentrating on the fact that the Myth is inaccurate.

    What is even more insidious, in my opinion, is Lorenzo Fertitta’s hand in denying SEG’s bid for regulation in Nevada and then turning around and buying the UFC for chump change.

  9. Jonathan says:

    Is Shane Sherk the brother of Sean Sherk…kind of like Mark and Matt Hughes?

  10. Pierre-Luc Allie says:

    For the record, the first event in Quebec did not allowed closed fist striking.

    But, this was a start in the right direction and I’m pround that my province was in the forefront of regulating this sport.

    Eddie Goldman, on his radio show, often reffer to the event in Quebec that lead to regulation.

  11. Preach says:

    Moreni tests positive and gets arrested, Team Cofidis withdraws from the Tour de Farce…

    I somehow doubt there’ll be many teams, cyclists or sponsors and tv-networks left for next years Tour…

  12. Kev says:

    Zuffa expanded the ‘gospel’ of regulations and unified rules to other states, but they didn’t create said rules and regulations as the passage states.

    So… just to throw out something completely inappropriate,

    SEG = Jesus
    Zuffa = Paul

    If there is any justice in the world, this will also be the last time Bob Meyerwitz is compared to Jesus.

  13. Zack says:

    The article has been edited now and says “Sean Sherk.”

  14. Jeremy says:

    Moreni tests positive and gets arrested, Team Cofidis withdraws from the Tour de Farce…

    I somehow doubt there’ll be many teams, cyclists or sponsors and tv-networks left for next years Tour…”

    – Well Preach, with Rasmussen the yellow jersey leader now kicked out of the tour as well(happened today) for lying about where he was when he missed over two months of mandatory drug testing. It will certainly test the limits of whether a sport can be destroyed over a doping scandal. Certainly the fans have still come out to see the race, which was my original point that the fans don’t care as much as the media about this. Even after Vinokourov and his team(Astana) were kicked out and Moreni and his team(Cofidis) were kicked out the streets were packed with fans. But they definitely did boo and heckle Rasmussen throughout the stage. If there is a next year for the Tour, which is definitely in doubt I would think, it will be interesting to see how it turns out, sponsor wise, tv coverage wise and fans wise. Should be an interesting thing for me to watch to see if I should be more concerned with doping in sports that’s for sure.

  15. chis says:

    Bring back the 1990’s as we had i think the best Combat sport era ever.Boxing was still big time alongside the WWF. K-1 and UFC both started in 1993,we also had the more real Shoots of Pro-Japanese Wrestling and then 1997 Pride.Also not forgotten Muay Thai in Thailand and Holland plus Vale Tudo in Brazil.
    Better then the 1970’s.

  16. Preach says:

    Jeremy: Firing Rasmussen was the best thing Rabobank could do, they just couldn’t let a suspected cheater continue the tour. But it’s a shame that his team and sponsor had to do it, that neither the UCI or it’s danish counterpart suspended him the second it came out that he didn’t do the blood-tests in the first place. The tour’s continuing for 4 more days… wanna take a bet how many cyclists will get busted for doping? 😉

    chis: Hey, no dig on the 70s! I saw Inoki vs Mildenberger back then!

  17. klown says:

    What else happened in the 70s?

  18. Jeremy says:

    Preach: I am sure that more will come, if not in this tour during the rest of the year or future tours. It doesn’t seem like some athletes will forgo cheating no matter what. I guess they feel that they can always get around the tests.

    I am actually more interested in the fans reaction in coming days and up to and during next years tour, if they in fact have one.


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