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Thursday trash talk: Questionable business decisions

By Zach Arnold | October 10, 2007

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Kimbo Slice has reportedly signed a deal with Elite XC.

Xyience will remain a main sponsor of UFC for at least the next three years. (Hat tip: Mikeinformer.)

In a statement just released by Tito Ortiz, he says the following: I’m currently working very closely with the UFC to plan my next fight, which you can be sure will not disappoint my fans. It looks like I will fight again in early 2008, and when I do I will be 100% prepared to crush my opponent.

Daisuke Naito beat Daiki Kameda today in Tokyo at Ariake Colosseum. Here was the backstory going into the boxing match.

Here is an interview with young M-1 prospect Kiril Sidelnikov.

Some great information from Shu Hirata on the latest Japanese happenings.

Charles Jay has two must-read articles (here and here) about the sale of The Ring magazine to Golden Boy Promotions.

The future of Fedor seems resolved. Frank Trigg talks about the move. Is Dana White to blame? Luke Thomas is not happy. The MMA Analyst is a little bit excited. Personally, I’m happy if Fedor can continue to make a high salary in such a fickle MMA industry. Good for him. As Jeff Thaler and I debated on the latest edition of Fight Opinion Radio, MMA is at constant conflict between being a business first or a sport first.

Check out the letter the IFL sent to Jay Larkin when they hired him to become IFL President.

The MMA California web site is looking for new contributors.

Why was the great Takanori Gomi interview deleted from Sherdog’s main page? I thought it was a tremendous write-up and one of the best articles that site’s ever produced.

Sam Caplan talked to Monte Cox about the IFL’s latest business tactics.

Interviews with Josh Barnett and Houston Alexander. Steve Cofield has an interview with Blake Bowman from The Ultimate Fighter. Matt Hughes has further thoughts on the latest edition of TUF.

A brand new edition (right here) of Total MMA is now online.

Binky Jones is headed to Russia for the November 30th Bodog Fight event.

Nick Diaz is staying with Elite XC long-term.

Herb Dean is coming to Winnipeg.

Comparing pro-wrestling to MMA. Also, analyzing drama in MMA.

The Stockton Record (CA): MMA at Stockton Arena this Friday night

Sprawl ‘n Brawl: The Middleweight Muddle

The Decatur Daily (Alabama): Local cage fighters insist regulations ensure there’s method to the mayhem

Jeff Monson booked for Super Challenge Grappling

From the event promoter

The show will invite seven more foreign fighters for their Absolute tournament this December.

Former ADCC champion and PRIDE, UFC, & Cage Rage competitor Jeff “The Snowman” Monson is coming to Brazil this December to compete in the biggest Absolute submission tournament in Brazil. The Super Challenge Grappling tournament organizers announced that Monson was one of the eight foreign fighters that will battle eight Brazilian fighters for prize money totalling $15,000 USD in Sao Paulo. West Promotions has already announced the participation of three ADCC champions: Fabricio Werdum, Demian Maia, and Robert Drysdale.

Topics: Boxing, IFL, Japan, Media, MMA, PRIDE, Pro Elite, UFC, Zach Arnold | 57 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

57 Responses to “Thursday trash talk: Questionable business decisions”

  1. David says:

    I thought I was the only one who noticed the Gomi feature disappear?

  2. white ninja says:

    Well, Shu Hirata certainly knows who he blames for PRIDE’s death:-

    So did anyone profited from this entire deal? Yes there is one person out there enjoying life because of this. This person successfully camouflaged the unavoidable fate of PRIDE – the death – and from late 2006 to early 2007, made it look like there is still a possibility for survival, basically choreographing the dance by the corpse.
    When he announced the acquisition of PRIDE by the Fertitta’s he stated at the press conference, “It’s like sending out my daughter to get married.” Well his “daughter’s married life” is now in deep trouble but he lives at the one of the most famous luxury condominiums right by where this press conference took place and driving around a new Lamborghini.
    Yes it is a former head of DSE Nobuyuki Sakakibara.
    The rumor is circulating now that Sakakibara, by utilizing profits he made from this deal, and is penetrating other sports business – professional soccer.
    Yes he has already began his second life while his “daughter” is going through a tremendous mess in her “married life” arranged by none other than the father – Mr. Nobuyuki Sakakibara.

  3. Zack says:

    Luke Thomas saying Fedor vs Couture would be the greatest fight in MMA history is a little off base. Cmon man…if Couture beats Nog or Barnett, then we’ll talk. Until then, consider yourself another sucker for the UFC hype wagon and the current mentality which gives no credence to historical context.

  4. spacedog says:

    Come on don’t hate, Fedor vs Couture would be frickin great. Sure historically it would not be the greatest match ever but from a purely fanboy prospective Captain America vs The Russian Experiment is jsut pure gold.

  5. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    How would people feel if the American promotion that purchased a significant share of M-1 was UFC?

    I’m not saying, I’m just asking here. It’s not Bodog, it’s not Cuban. It’s either ProElite or UFC.

  6. LR says:

    Why are you ruling out Cuban?

    It could potentially be a company that he owns. It also plays into much of what he has said in that he wanted to make a huge mark in MMA very quickly, and it also locks him in with two organizations, one national and one international that he can play matchups off of and co-promote both together.

  7. It’s gotta be Bodog.

  8. Also, it’s somehow unsurprising to see that Gomi thread on Sherdog turn into a PRIDE vs. UFC flamewar.

  9. Canson says:

    I would think it would have to be ProElite. It is similar to many other moves they have made lately, and seems like a very different direction than the UFC has been going. I don’t see Zuffa buying anything less than complete control of anything these days, whether it be orgs or fighters.

  10. Zach Arnold says:

    Your crazy rumor of the day (on Sherdog forums) – Shane McMahon and WWE are the money men.

  11. LR says:

    To be fairly technical, Bodog isn’t an American entertainment company. They are located in Antigua.

  12. Zach Arnold says:

    Bodog’s likely the last party to think of for involvement in backing this type of deal, given how much money they’ve lost on the domain name situation and with the budget of BodogFight supposedly being reduced.

  13. Iain Liddle says:

    How do you know it’s one of those two that have purchased it?

  14. LR says:

    Also, I don’t think M-1 wants to deal with Bodog since Finkelstein mentioned the problems they had before with the Clash of Nations event.

  15. mdhan says:

    According to Frank Trigg, this new owner is NOT Mark Cuban or Ed Fishman. He says he’s pretty sure who it is but chooses not to say who since he’s not 100% positive. Check out the 1:30 mark for the part about the new owner.

    So I guess it’s either the guys at ProElite or someone out of nowhere (maybe that’s why some people are speculating McMahon.)

  16. LR says:

    Ugh, please not WWE. ProElite seems more likely now, but who knows, maybe Zuffa snuck in a quick one.

  17. Matt says:

    Will you report on Kameda vs. Naito fight, Zach? That was freakin AWESOME.

  18. lynchman says:

    It is unlikely to be Pro-Elite, thier finances simply make that impossible.

    It would not shock me if it was Vince, since all of the comments have refered to the backers as being an “entertainment” company.

  19. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    Bodog and M-1 also had that nasty disagreement over recognition on their Russian event a while back.

    Cuban isn’t putting the kind of money into MMA that would be involved in propping up M-1. He’s going to be interested in local Texas/Oklahoma/New Mexico/Louisiana type promotions, and might bring in a 2nd tier ex-UFC name or two to prop up the top of the card.

    I know that there are people here who disagree with me on Cuban, but seriously, he’s just not going to invest UFC or ProElite type money into MMA, it is not his style. He likes to make small highly forward-looking investments that will play out over a five to ten year period that he will ultimately be able to take public. The exception to that is the Mavs, which is his personal obsession, NOT a business (except in the aspect that he doesn’t like to lose money on his hobbies).

    I’ve seen people get excited over and over about Cuban getting “involved” in XYZ sport, and the level of involvement is always less than what it appears to be. He’s a great guy, very charismatic, interesting, smart, but his is not the messiah for your favorite sport.

    My private speculation has been that UFC intends to take a different approach to their European expansion plans. Their current strategy is costing a lot of money. The better approach would be a strategic investment in one or more European promotions, then bringing over your marquee names to boost the top of the card. Cage Rage is no longer available, MAX just hooked up with G4, so it’s unlikely that they’re going to sell out immediately, so you’re left with not too many viable European promotions at that point. M-1 is one of them.

    UFC has also expressed some interest in developing Eastern European talent to add to some of their weight classes. Some of the fighters mentioned in the past have come out of that German/Russian/Polish northern Bloc. Right now, there is no clear path for UFC to identify and sign those guys into UFC.

    On the flip side:

    UFC hasn’t made an announcement yet. They love to make announcements, so the fact that they haven’t might point to it being someone else.

    However, after the Pride debacle, it’s entirely possible that they would be willing to let a foreign promotion do it’s own thing, within the context of the bigger UFC plan. There are a lot of problems organizing foreign shows, doing foreign TV deals, etc. UFC has already penetrated the Euro PPV market, so it might be a match made in heaven.

    It’s all speculation until someone confirms the truth.

  20. Ultimo Santa says:

    I would imagine that in UFC, Fedor vs. Couture would have brought in 900,000 PPV buys, minimum. Along with live gate, merchandise, DVD sales…we’re talking about $30M+ for the UFC, and that’s after paying salaries, advertising, etc.

    All Dana would have to do is offer $1M-$2M of the $30M profit to Fedor – because I’m sure M-1 isn’t paying him more than that – but since this is Dana White we’re talking about, I’m sure he wasn’t willing to go more than $500k.

    And then he probably ended the negotiation with “Take it or leave it! We don’t need motherfucking Fedor! We don’t need ANYBODY! We’re the UF fucking C! We could sell PPVs with an empty fucking octagon!”

  21. Luke Thomas says:

    “Luke Thomas saying Fedor vs Couture would be the greatest fight in MMA history is a little off base. Cmon man…if Couture beats Nog or Barnett, then we’ll talk. Until then, consider yourself another sucker for the UFC hype wagon and the current mentality which gives no credence to historical context.”

    Saying Fedor vs. Couture would be the biggest fight in MMA history isn’t the slightest bit off base. You have the second biggest North American star in Randy Couture taking on the seemingly number one heavyweight fighter. The problem? 2007 revealed American MMA is actually much better than we thought. Couple that with the fact that Fedor’s former opponents aren’t nearly as indestructible as we thought. Add to that fact Fedor’s comparatively weak takedown defense and you’ve got an interesting fight. What makes it the biggest isn’t just the fight itself, but the a) settling of who is #1 at heavyweight (traditionally the most important or coveted weightclass), b) a changing of the guard if Fedor were to lose, c) a clash of arguably two of the biggest stars in MMA. This is a promoter’s dream as well as a fighter’s dream. It’s an interesting fight with huge stars that carries an enormously meaningful impact no matter the outcome. Don’t forget both men also hold belts even if PRIDE’s no longer relevant. Now, name ONE fight that’s even close to that size in terms of carrying both importance and entertainment value? Rickson vs. Sakuraba? Not a chance. Liddell vs. Silva? Please. The fact is a fight between Couture and Fedor to settle who is number one would be BY FAR the biggest fight in MMA history.

    A sucker? To who? I don’t even watch UFC programming other than the fights themselves. I’m the one who warns others of buying into the narratives the UFC likes to push. And more importantly, what storyline am I a sucker for? Since when has Dana EVER said Fedor vs. Couture is the biggest fight in MMA history? Not once. He wants Fedor and Couture himself has also called out Fedor, but Dana has been quite mum about the fight itself. It’s my own decision to endorse the fight as such.

  22. The Gaijin says:

    You’re absolutely kidding yourselves if you think for a second that Zuffa bought M-1 and is just sitting around on that type of information.

    I’m sorry but Dana is WAAAAY too fucking egotistical to not be gloating and mugging all over the place about something as big as that (were it there plan for international expansion). One would have to think that Dana would be grinning like a cheshire cat with another “we got him!” presser. And this is besides the fact that they seem to refuse to run internationally under any other banner than UFC (see PRIDE) as they’re attempting to brand mma = UFC worldwide.

    Sadly, it’s far more believable that Shane McMahon and associates are behind this than Zuffa.

  23. Rollo the Cat says:

    I don’t know why the WWE rumor would be crazy. I actually wouldn’t mind seeing it. It is possibly the only company that could immediately compete with the UFC on equal footing. Most everything needed to run in the fight game is already in place, and the new MMA group would have instant name recognition and exposure by virtue of cross promotions and advertising. They wouldn’t have to fight their way into the public consciousness, they would be right there from the start.

    Assuming the goal is to promote in the US, if some upstart company, Pro-Elite, Strikeforce or someone totally new, tried to use Fedor to break into the big time, they would fail just as Pride and Bodog did. The talent can only take you as far as the promotion can carry the talent. All the other MMA groups outside of UFC are featherweights, incapable of carrying the big name talent.

  24. AS says:

    Ed Fishman is the leading candidate in my mind.

  25. Zack says:

    A sucker in thinking that Randy is top 3. A decision win over Sylvia (who has never been ranked in the top 5) and a cut stoppage win over a relatively inexperienced Gonzaga (he only had 9 fights at the time of the fight) don’t make a guy #2 in the world.

    If you’re talking money fights, then you may have a case if they build Fedor up properly. But if you’re talking about the legit #1 guy vs the legit #2 guy, there are very few fights where that’s happened:

    1) Fedor vs Nog 2 & 3

    2) Fedor vs Cro Cop (could be debated that Cro Cop was #3 at the time)

    3) Quinton vs Wanderlei 2

    4) Hughes vs St Pierre 2

    Trigg vs Hughes 2 is pretty close as well.

  26. cyphron says:

    I have a feeling that Fedor is now part owner of M-1. Otherwise, there is absolutely no way that any organization other than the UFC would be willing to pay Fedor $10 mill. Who would pay to watch Fedor beat up a meat puppet? This is not an indictment at his choice of organization nor at Dana White for not signing him. Business is business.

    Fedor and company should just take a snapshot of the #1 ranking for prosperity purposes. At this time next year, he will not be #1, not because he isn’t good, but because he won’t fight anyone good. His unanimous #1 ranking has already started to crack based on the number of Yahoo voters (MMA writers) not putting him there at #1.

    The old adage that you are only as good as your training partner applies here as well. You are as only as good as the level of opponents you fight. He may be shocked at the level of competition when, if ever, he comes back to the UFC.

  27. The Gaijin says:

    ^ cyphron, while I agree that there are cracks in his #1 ranking, I wouldnt put much weight behind the voting results on yahoo.

    The site is primarily a north american site is it not? Thus Fedor’s exposure to most of the people voting, outside of the core hardcore fanbase, is based on the TUF generation who has probably only heard of Fedor (maybe checked out some fights on youtube etc.) and is likely heavily slanted to the group of fighters they’re seeing in the UFC.

  28. Zack says:

    Barnett is a better test for Fedor than anyone in the UFC.

  29. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    The Gaijin,

    Including WEC of course, they wiped that brand off the face of the earth at the earliest possible convenience.

    Oh, wait.

  30. Kev says:

    Fight Network: Couture quits UFC because they couldn’t land Fedor.

  31. The Gaijin says:

    Jeremy (no not that one, the other one),

    I’ll try not to roll my eyes as you use the example of a regional feeder league, who was purchased to eat up other organization’s TV exposure and then made up of primarily lower weight classes to dispel the argument that they don’t want to promote under anything but the UFC banner on a worldwide basis.

  32. Zack says:

    Here’s the red meat:

    Couture: “However, I’m tired of swimming upstream at this stage with the management of the UFC.”

  33. The Gaijin says:

    “Fight Network: Couture quits UFC because they couldn’t land Fedor.”

    WOW. That’s absolutely mind-blowing!!

  34. Luke Thomas says:

    So a fight with Emelianenko was so not a big deal that Randy quit the UFC – as a fighter and commentator AND champion.

    Anyone care to tell me how little of a deal a Fedor vs. Couture fight is now?

  35. The Gaijin says:

    Luke – remember pride comes before the fall. j/k Clearly this fight was quite a big deal and it’s nice that someone (who has the power to make a difference) put Dana and the boys in place for their ignorant and bullish ways.

    On a side note, 45 Huddle’s going to have a massive f#ckin’ stroke when he sees this!

  36. Ultimo Santa says:

    HOLY SHIT – is that for real???

    With Sherk on suspension (most likely) and Rampage out with an injury – that would leave Silva and Serra as 2 of 5 champions they have left for now???

  37. Zack says:

    I never said it was a “little deal.” Given Shogun, Cro Cop, and Liddell’s recent losses, and Tito’s loss of steam in recent years, it was probably the biggest fight the UFC could present right now. However, I don’t think it would be the “biggest MMA fight of all time” by any stretch. I’m very disappointed we won’t be getting to see Randy vs Nog.

  38. D.Capitated says:

    [quote]Barnett is a better test for Fedor than anyone in the UFC.[/quote]

    I don’t consider him much tougher than Arlovski, Sylvia, or Gonzaga, but then again, none of them wrestle for Inoki, which I’m sure is part of the criteria.

  39. The Gaijin says:

    ^ PLEASE.

  40. Blocker says:

    Shane Mcmahon and WWE are looking at getting into MMA, its just a matter of the right opportunity. BUT… it has to UFC, noone else has the cash, who’s to say this isnt a deal so that Fedor can fight in Russia and UFC?

  41. D.Capitated says:

    What part about Barnett establishes that he’s significantly better than any of those three fighters? Are we going to play MMAth here with Gonzaga (beat a guy who beat Barnett 3 times, 2 without any doubt), Sylvia (insanely tall, Fedor is not a Greco master), or Arlovski (beat multiple capable fighters, fast hands, solid ground skills)? Oh, that’s right, Barnett fought for PRIDE, and he landed a bunch of german suplexes on a middleweight in Pancrase. Amazing credentials that surely blow away anyone else in the UFC.

  42. Zack says:

    “I don’t consider him much tougher than Arlovski, Sylvia, or Gonzaga, but then again, none of them wrestle for Inoki, which I’m sure is part of the criteria.”

    Or it could be that he’s the only guy who has ever beat Nog, other than Fedor and Hendo (Hendo fight was a bs decision anyway and he avenged that loss.)

  43. Zack says:

    LOL @ resorting to MMAth to make a point.

  44. Dru Down says:

    So now what? Nog faces Kongo, and the winner fights the winner of Sylvia/Vera for the belt?

    Man, the heavyweight division has been like a rollercoaster since the PRIDe acquisition. It seems almost like musical chairs- whoever is in the org at the right time is going to end up with the strap.

  45. D.Capitated says:

    [quote]Or it could be that he’s the only guy who has ever beat Nog, other than Fedor and Hendo (Hendo fight was a bs decision anyway and he avenged that loss.)[/quote]

    And Noguiera beat him in the rematch, giving him one win out of his last 3 fights, with that sole victory being against a guy with a pretty mediocre record (to say the least). This also doesn’t establish why he’s really a better test than Gonzaga (better wrestler), Arlovski (better hands), or Sylvia (height/reach advantage).

  46. Zack says:

    “This also doesn’t establish why he’s really a better test than Gonzaga (better wrestler), Arlovski (better hands), or Sylvia (height/reach advantage).”

    Because he’s a better combination of all three…and he beat Nog. AA’s biggest win was over Sylvia. Sylvia’s biggest win was over Ricco years ago (huge win at that point though – I give him lots of credit for that.) Gonzaga’s biggest win was over Cro Cop. Time will tell if that was a Randleman-esque fluke or if Gonz is legit. If he’s legit I wish he would’ve shown up in the Couture fight so I wouldn’t have lost $250 betting on him lol.

  47. D.Capitated says:

    Because he’s a better combination of all three…and he beat Nog.

    I don’t see him being as big as Sylvia, having anything approaching Arlovski’s hands, and I don’t see him having Gonzaga’s kills at literally anything. I see him being a guy who has some hyped wins over guys he has advantages over and who really aren’t nearly as good as advertised (Aleksander, anyone?) and who beat Nog in controversial fashion only to lose the rematch. Wow.

    AA’s biggest win was over Sylvia.

    He also just beat that Fabrico Werdum guy. What, doesn’t count for anything? We only count biggest wins and never failings?

    Sylvia’s biggest win was over Ricco years ago (huge win at that point though – I give him lots of credit for that.)

    …and Monson, and 2x against Arlovski…

    Gonzaga’s biggest win was over Cro Cop.

    …and since we’re playing the “who beat who” game, Cro Cop beat Barnett. 3 times!

  48. Zack says:

    “He also just beat that Fabrico Werdum guy. What, doesn’t count for anything? We only count biggest wins and never failings?”

    I was figuring you wouldn’t care about this since Werdum lost to Sergei…you know, one of those guys who was never really as good as advertised. Much like Arlovski eh? I remember a couple years back when people would argue how he was better than Fedor.

    In my opinion Sergei/Aleksander/Werdum/Cro Cop/Hunt/AA are all pretty much in the same league. Any could beat the other on any given night.

  49. The Gaijin says:

    Oh, if only I could be so witty to say “german suplex” and “real pro wrestling” to belittle someone’s argument and act like that was the end of the story.

    Gonzaga’s wrestling is better than Barnett’s? The same Barnett that outwrestled Couture – that’s impressive.

    You act like Barnett has zero legit wins on his resume which is about as hilarious and trying to say Sylvia (based on reach) or Mr. “Glass Jaw/Nancy Boy” Arlovski (better hands) make them better challengers when Barnett combines the whole collective of skills required for “mixed martial arts” better than any of the guys you’ve mentioned.

    You might remember Barnett held the UFC HW belt at one point (steroid issue aside – he’s actually had one less positive test than Slim Tim)? And in the recent past he’s put away Hunt, Nog and Aleks, two of them quite handily…no slouch in my mind but I guess that’s nowhere near as awe-inspiring as getting manhandled by Couture or pathetically mind numbing wins against Werdum or Monson!!

    “But – GERMAN SUPLEX!”
    – “Oh right…clearly I was wrong.”


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