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« | Home | »

Friday fight notes: What the media thinks of UFC

By Zach Arnold | November 9, 2007

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MMA HQ has a preview for this weekend’s EXC event.

An update on Josh Koscheck.

Eddie Goldman analyzes the latest sanctioning body attempt in MMA.

Evan Tanner in UFC.

An about-face about the CSAC from UFC.

A British take on the UFC. Doogan says that the current sports editor at the Sunday Times refuses to carry any coverage of ‘ultimate fighting’ because “it’s not quite legitimate.” Doogan said that he was severely disappointed in Chuck Liddell (in relation to Liddell vs. Jackson), stating that Liddell looked like a guy who didn’t train for the fight. He also stated that “when a guy is done,” he doesn’t like seeing the guy get beat upon.

An update on the Andrei Arlovski/Dana White situation in the Chicago Sun-Times. Note the opinion of the paper’s MMA writer, who says that he likes UFC but not MMA in general. The author’s e-mail is here.

Local MMA action in Shreveport, Louisiana tonight.

Topics: Media, MMA, Pro Elite, UFC, UK, Zach Arnold | 32 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

32 Responses to “Friday fight notes: What the media thinks of UFC”

  1. karat3 says:

    ” I don’t love mixed-martial arts, but I do love the UFC product.”

    This is some sad stuff.

  2. klown says:

    UFC’s disgraceful treatment of Andrei Arlovski would never fly in a union industry.

    A fair employment contract would compel the promotion to set up fights by certain deadlines, or void the contract.

  3. Andrej says:

    gotta give prop’s to the UFC for there Middleweight division. Having Evan Tanner Comeback, Dan Henderson moving Down, and Nate Marquardt fighting at UFC 81. The division seems to be improving despite the fact Yushin Okami is gone.

  4. lynchman says:

    klown Says:

    November 9th, 2007 at 5:29 am
    UFC’s disgraceful treatment of Andrei Arlovski would never fly in a union industry.

    A fair employment contract would compel the promotion to set up fights by certain deadlines, or void the contract.
    —————

    Is that not why there is a length of contract? The contract is for X # of fights or a certain period of time.

    Pride had an insanely long “no compete” clause in Jackson’s deal. He had to reject an offer from the UFC because he could not sign with anyone, despite actually no longer being under contract with Pride. He ended up fighting an extra bout with them so he could make some money.

  5. D.Capitated says:

    UFC’s disgraceful treatment of Andrei Arlovski would never fly in a union industry.

    A fair employment contract would compel the promotion to set up fights by certain deadlines, or void the contract.

    1) Fighting is not a union industry, has never been a union industry, and never will be.

    2) Don’t dare compare it to pro wrestling. Dynamics are entirely different.

    3) Andrei had the choice of signing with them or someone else. All organizations have clauses similar to this.

  6. Well, at the least there would probably be more consistent treatment between fighters in terms of contract clauses, and most of the existing fighters would have to ratify those standard terms, and they would most likely get better legal representation to help them make a decision.

    However, claiming it would “never fly” is kind of hard to say. NFL players are basically at will employees, which is why so much of their salary typically comes in the form of signing bonuses. Baseball players on the other hand generally have guaranteed contracts and the highest profile players have the ability to opt out of their own option years instead of the options being at the organization’s discretion.

    However, in pretty much all sports leagues there are arbitration clauses, exclusive negotiation periods, and new players are often subject to limitations on where they can work and who really is in charge of their contracts. That’s the nature of free agency.

    Right now, all the fighters are free agents. They have fewer protections, but they have unlimited options. The problem is that they don’t all have equivalent power to bargain individually that higher profile players in other sports have. The only guys who can pull stuff like that off are people like Fedor and perhaps Couture (who clearly had more leverage than he actually used when he negotiated his UFC contract, if he really had better offers, and now he is going to be bound by the contract that he signed, and the bounds of that contract are almost certain to be determined by a court, possibly with effects that might rival the Bosman ruling in Europe in terms of advancing free movement of fighters between organizations, if the limits are defined in the fighter’s favor).

    Has Arlovski actually been healthy and available to fight for most of this year? He had that unreported leg injury a few fights ago, and continued fighting on a relatively aggressive schedule after that. It’s not impossible that he might have had some sort of longer term impact that required him to sit for a while to recover to his full capabilities.

    UFC will certainly schedule him to fight at the end of his contract term. It’s unreasonable to expect them to do anything but live up to the letter of the contract signed, even though we’d like to see him fight more often, and he’d probably like the money.

  7. Body_Shots says:

    [An about-face about the CSAC from UFC.]

    LMFAO, seriously… that has to be a record for them.

  8. JThue says:

    “An about-face about the CSAC from UFC.”

    Only in your head, Zach. You’re often spot on about their contradictory statements, but there is no such thing here. You read too much into White’s statement last week, and now you think there’s a contradiction here, when there’s really none whatsoever. They still say Sherk now keeps the title regardless because of the delays and because White trusts his boy(the excact same reasons White cited last week), and they still do NOT say they will go against a CSAC-ruling. Where’s the supposed turn-around?

  9. Not quite legitimate? Why because it is on on FOX sports saturday nights? or Sunday afternoons? These men are professional athletes and should be recognized as such. The time and energy they put into preparation is as much as any sport and MMA should be recognized as such. Boxing is seen as legitimate no? Makes no sense the way people think. Its not the UFC of the 90’s with no holds barred or a circus freakshow. Again these are TALENTED people. Thanks Frank – http://houston-alexander.com

  10. Tomer Chen says:

    Where’s the supposed turn-around?

    I think I can answer that. Dana White first said:

    “The way this whole thing has been handled has been a mess,” White said.

    When justifying why he wouldn’t strip Sean Sherk, essentially flipping the bird at the CSAC at their (alleged) incompetence. Then, he says in the new article:

    “I’ve said since the beginning that I believe in Sean Sherk, but we have to support the Athletic Commission in whatever decision they make. As soon as Sean Sherk can put all of this behind him, he can get right back into the Octagon, and he will be given an immediate shot at the lightweight championship.”

    So one week ago Dana White basically trash talks the CSAC, saying they are ‘a mess’, which led to his refusal to strip Sherk no matter how things go with the proceedings and then he says that while he supports Sherks’ side, he respects the suspension if it’s upheld (although, realistically, he couldn’t ignore it without paying severe consequences in any case). So, one day he basically discredits the CSAC, the next he grudgingly respects it (or at least doesn’t openly discredit it). That’s (as far as I can tell) what Zach is pointing out.

  11. Maybe it’s because I’m a liberal north-eastern educated Yankee, but I frankly don’t see anything strange or flip-floppish about any of those statements.

    A lot of how you are going to be quoted depends on exactly how the question is asked, and tone doesn’t translate at all to quotes.

    CSAC does not have the ability to strip the title, and there’s nothing illegitimate about Dana not doing it, given that by the time they finally do hear the appeal the sentence will probably be half served.

    There shouldn’t be any debate about whether the CSAC fucked this up, because I think it’s clear that they did. The endless continuances are evidence enough of that.

  12. Tomer Chen says:

    CSAC does not have the ability to strip the title, and there’s nothing illegitimate about Dana not doing it, given that by the time they finally do hear the appeal the sentence will probably be half served.

    I don’t think anyone thinks that the CSAC controls the UFC titles (although they do sanction the 5 round limit for title fights), but there is an unwritten rule that if you test positive, you won’t get to keep your belt. Tim Sylvia voluntary gave up the UFC HW belt after testing positive rather than having it stripped (which would have happened). What is the difference between someone who tests positive and keeps his belt and a champion who loses in a title fight but the sanctioning body/company that owns the belt says “You know what? The belt wasn’t actually on the line. Haha!”? It devalues the belt either way.

  13. The Gaijin says:

    “There shouldn’t be any debate about whether the CSAC fucked this up, because I think it’s clear that they did. The endless continuances are evidence enough of that.”

    Unless I’m missing something and they tainted his test – Sherk is the one who fucked up and the onus is on HIM to prove it.

    The guy pissed hot, he cheated and now he’s trying to exploit technicalities so that he doesn’t have to face the music. My heart bleeds purple piss for cheaters like Sherk.

  14. Grape Knee High says:

    Where’s the supposed turn-around?”I don’t love mixed-martial arts, but I do love the UFC product.”

    This is some sad stuff.

    I don’t see what’s so sad about it. So the guy like the UFC but isn’t crazy about all the numerous REDNECK EXXXTREME CAGE GLADIATORS promotions. I don’t blame him. Most of them suck.

    It’s about as sad as an NFL fan only watching the NFL and not college ball, or his local high school team. Which is to say, it’s not sad at all.

  15. Grape Knee High says:

    Boy, did I mess up that quote up there.

  16. Smoogy says:

    It seems to me that Arlovski wants to determine his value on the free agent market and the UFC simply refuses to oblige.

    Its kind of like if Vince Carter was in the final year of his NBA contract and the Nets said “listen Vince, either you sign a multi-year extension with us or you’re going to be riding the bench all year.”

    The fact that the UFC has the power to shelf Arlovski for a full year really sucks.

  17. Rollo the Cat says:

    “Not quite legitimate? Why because it is on on FOX sports saturday nights? or Sunday afternoons? These men are professional athletes and should be recognized as such. The time and energy they put into preparation is as much as any sport and MMA should be recognized as such. Boxing is seen as legitimate no? Makes no sense the way people think. Its not the UFC of the 90’s with no holds barred or a circus freakshow. Again these are TALENTED people. Thanks

    1. At this point, what a few old crusty sportswriters think of MMA doesn’t interest me. The sport, UFC or MMA, has enough popularity with the younger crowd and enough momentum to carry it through any troubles. The dinosaurs will die off.

    2. I never quite understand why people put down the old UFC as a circus a freak-show or even implying that it was significantly more dangerous than the current model.

    I knew many of the old NHB fighters and they were serious martial artists who dedicated themselves to the fighting arts. Yes, there were as few exceptions, but they were exceptions made for the sake of “color”, not totally unlike today where you can still see lesser skilled fighters pushed into the limelight because of their charisma, looks or some other agenda.

    How many people were seriously hurt in the old NHB fights? How many hurt now? No stand ups, no protection on the fists, no breaking up the clinch, all added up to perhaps a safer environment than today.

  18. dice says:

    GKH

    I don’t think “REDNECK EXXXTREME CAGE GLADIATORS” is what he is talking about. I think he is talking about higher level orgs. that have some top ten fighters. In other words he is talking about MMA orgs that have a similar level of talent (take for example tom. elitexc card, which is not that much different than UFC 78 in terms of talent on the card), not about some regional show with a bunch of unknowns.

    Also your NFL analogy gave me a good laugh. I would say though a more correct way of saying it would be “I don’t love football, but I do love the NFL product”. See how funny that sounds when you put in the correct context. Saying you like to watch the best compete is fine, saying that you don’t like anything else because it doesn’t have a certain brand on it is another.

    Once again you misinterpret something.

  19. Jim Allcorn says:

    Yep, i have to agree with dice on this one. That’s how I interpreted the SUN TIMES guys comments as well. Which, I think we all agree, make him look like the moron he obviously is.

    I won’t haul the football analogy again, as I think a boxing analogy works better in this case.
    IMO, what this individual said was along the same lines as if he said he doesn’t like boxing, but he DOES enjoy those fights that are shown as part of HBO’s WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING & it’s BAD show. Or, if you want to go with a particular promoter angle, he might as well have said that he likes all Don King promoted cards, but dislikes anything promoted by Bob Arum, Golden Boy, Main Events, Duva, the Goossens etc. or anyone else, regardless of who the fighters involved in said promotions are or what the match ups might be …

    Either way, it just makes no sense & clearly shows just what a no knowledge, pandering idiot he is.

  20. Grape Knee High says:

    “I don’t love football, but I do love the NFL product”. See how funny that sounds when you put in the correct context.

    First, that doesn’t sound very silly. I’ve heard casual fans of the NFL (other sports) say similar things. One thing is obvious: the writer is a casual fan and I don’t see anything wrong with that.

    Regarding the football analogy, there is always talk of the best college football team being able to beat the worst NFL teams. And players like Adrian Peterson come right out of college and become one of the best at their positions — proving that some of the best “football” players aren’t necessarily playing in the NFL. And yet, there are many fans of the NFL who don’t follow college ball and many fans of college ball that don’t follow the NFL. They all like football. But then why wouldn’t they follow the other?

    People have their own personal preferences (and their own reasons for liking a certain brand). If you want to be infantile enough to say they’re silly for that, well, feel free.

  21. Unless I’m missing something and they tainted his test – Sherk is the one who fucked up and the onus is on HIM to prove it.

    If Sherk’s test is positive, there’s no reason to drag it out. If it’s negative then there’s no reason to drag it out. I’m opposed to the extra time that’s involved in these ridiculous procedural games. It’s not required, and I can’t figure out why they would do it.

    Some commissions do have the ability to strip titles. California doesn’t. If they did, then more power to them, they should still be able to deal with this stuff in a timely manner.

  22. My opinion is that Sherk is guilty of submitting a test that came up positive, and that’s enough in my mind.

    My expectation is that Sherk has already and will continue spending a lot of money on his lawyer, and that in the end, California is just going to split the difference with the guy, and he’ll get one extra fight in next year.

  23. JThue says:

    Tomer: I know that’s what Zach Arnold is thinking – and that’s why I’ve reacted since this was blown up here last week. Dana said a lot of stuff that could sound like he had HAD it with the CSAC, but when you look at what he actually said, he did not once threaten to disobey the CSAC’s ruling. Yet it was sensationalized here like Dana was on the verge of burning the bridge or something. On top of that we all know he can be a bit bombastic with his grammar in his immediate reaction to something. It all boiled down to him still believing Sherk’s word and that he’s now no longer considering stripping Sherk(and he’s never said he WOULD strip Sherk, just that it would be dealt with as things went on) because of the delays/mess in the appeals process. Aaaand whaddya know, that’s excactly what he’s saying again now.

  24. klown says:

    >> Is that not why there is a length of contract? The contract is for X # of
    >> fights or a certain period of time.

    lynchman,

    As far as I understand, the fighter signs a contract with UFC where the UFC exchanges its promotional abilities for his performances with a set number of fights and set length of time. If the fighter withdraws his performance (retires, is injured or refuses to fight) before the end of the contract, the UFC has indefinite control over him and he can never work anywhere else again. But if the UFC withdraws its promotion (not offering a fight) the fighter can do nothing and is a prisoner of the UFC by contract.

    That this is accepted by fighters is only testament to their relative powerlessness. If fighters could bargain collectively, act collectively if need be, and openly share contract information/pay among themselves, they would immediately set their sights on this blatant injustice, and would defeat it easily.

    A fair contract would force the promotion to relinquish all control over a fighter it refuses to promote. The promotion reserves the right to terminate the contract, or else promote the fighter. It does not have the right to hold a fighter hostage without promoting him. We are talking about a human being deprived of his only source of income. No promoter would retain that power over a fighter if fighters had any say at all.

    >> Pride had an insanely long “no compete” clause in Jackson’s deal. He
    >> had to reject an offer from the UFC because he could not sign with
    >> anyone, despite actually no longer being under contract with Pride. He
    >> ended up fighting an extra bout with them so he could make some
    >> money.

    I think you agree with me that it’s abhorrent. And like me, you probably don’t hold up yakuza-PRIDE as the torch-bearer of ethics in the MMA industry.

    For the record, I think the union should be industry-wide, not UFC specific. I have a feeling that, if the idea takes off and fighters begin organizing, the smaller promotions will come out as pro-union. They’ll feel they have nothing to lose by doing so and they’ll take the opportunity to present the UFC as the bad guy once again. They only stand to benefit from being able to poach UFC fighters. And why shouldn’t fighters gravitate to the promoters who respect their rights and pay them more?

    I mean, ask me if I support fighters’ ability to leave promotions that deprive them of rights and pay badly or arbitrarily, to join promotions that respect their rights, disclose contracts/pay transparently, give them more freedom over their own careers, and pay them better. It’s a no-brainer.

    Weigh that right against a promotion’s right to punish a fighter for whatever reason, be it merit-based or petty and personal, by placing him “on the bench”; a promotion’s right to put a fighter’s career on hold, and literally deprive him and his family of their only income; to hold a fighter hostage to coerce him into signing a deal at a time of especial vulnerabity.

    I side with the fighter, the actual human in there, over the promotion any day of the week. 45 Huddle, D.Capitated, other anti-fighter people, come out and tell us how you side with the promotion, because it is “better for the sport”. I suppose you’re right, in the sense that a slave make a better servant than someone with rights. Shit, I bet what would be “best for the sport” is to completely strip them of their rights and have them fight to the death! Gotta keep’em hungry!

    >> 2) Don’t dare compare it to pro wrestling. Dynamics are entirely
    >>different.

    I never did. I don’t give a shit about pro-wrestling, but since you bring it up, I believe those guys are severely exploited workers, and they need to unite and fight for their rights.

    >> 1) Fighting is not a union industry, has never been a union industry,
    >> and never will be.

    It will be. But only if a leadership emerges and begins organizing the fighters. The demand is there, the topic is on the table. All it needs is leadership and collaboration.

    The coalition needs to include retired veterans as well as current fighters. Some egos need to be set aside and some big-name people have to take a public stand. Petty disputes and money matters should be buried and the focus should be squarely on fighter exploitation, especially for the guys on the lower end of the food chain.

    I’m gonna throw out some names: Randy Couture, Kem Shamrock, Frank Shamrock, Tito Ortiz, Nick Diaz, Josh Barnett, Bas Rutten, Andrei Arolovski, Brandon Vera, Renato Sobral, Pat Miletich, Matt Lindland, Dan Henderson, Fedor Emilianenko.

    How many former and current fighters have been burned by the UFC but we haven’t heard yet, because they are under contract or afraid of retaliation? How many would come out of the woodwork if some big name guys used their power and leverage, set the example of speaking up and fighting back, and joined forces with them?

    A handful of these people working togther could easily change the sport. The small promotions and the media would side with the fighters, except for propaganda outlets like Yahoo. Resources could be pooled to challenge the UFC contract in court. Legislators could be lobbied to influence regulation of the sport with fighter input. Possibilities are endless.

    The MMA online community has a role to play. I’d hope the community would throw its weight behind the fighters, but the Couture-UFC reaction isn’t reassuring.

  25. lynchman says:

    Regarding the CSAC: There is missing paperwork regarding the chain of custody. If they don’t find it, Sherk will likely go free since they are required to document each step of the process. Bascially, there is a lack of proof that it went from one person to another person.

    Personally, I am of the opinion that the latest delay is so they can have more time to find the documents.

    They have screwed up.

  26. cyphron says:

    “Boy, did I mess up that quote up there.”

    How do you quote like that anyway? The system eats my HTML every time I try it.

  27. The Gaijin says:

    “Regarding the CSAC: There is missing paperwork regarding the chain of custody. If they don’t find it, Sherk will likely go free since they are required to document each step of the process. Bascially, there is a lack of proof that it went from one person to another person.

    Personally, I am of the opinion that the latest delay is so they can have more time to find the documents.

    They have screwed up.”

    Well if that is the case – they certainly f’d up in fine fashion. I was under the impression the delays were b/c paper work filed by Sherk had yet to be disseminated to members of the CSAC.

    But they’re royally screwed if they lost the chain of custody docs – that throws all credibility of the testing right out the window. What an inept bunch of boobs (not a huge surprise).

  28. Fan Futbol says:

    Lynchman — they lost chain of custody docs? Really? Like Gaijin, I thought they just lost Sherk’s hearing brief. Let me also agree with Gaijin that if the CSAC lost chain of custody docs for Sherk’s sample, Sherk’s in great shape to get this whole thing thrown out.

    FF

  29. Zach Arnold says:

    For those wondering how to do quotes or italicize text in comments, use standard HTML coding (you can easily find a resource guide online that tells you the HTML for blockquote, i, etc.)

  30. lynchman says:

    Sherk’s lawyer sent copies of his brief to Garcia, the deputy AG Karen Chappelle handling the case and CSAC associate governmental program analyst Bill Douglas. Interestingly enough, it is Douglas that is in the middle of the missing documents.

    The brief got to the AG (the person presenting against Sherk) just fine but neither of the other two bothered to do their job and get the papers to the commisioners.

    As a result, they could not proceed. Part of the brief was pointing out that documents were missing from the chain of custody. Interestingly enough, some of the missing documents ended up in the hands of the prosecution while not being given to Sherk’s lawyer (as they were supposed to).

    But there is still missing documents. The CSAC can’t account for the sample each step of the way. They can account for the transfer of the sample from inspector Mike Figueroa to Bill Douglas.

    So that led to the postponment until Mid Novemeber.

    Now there that has been pushed back another few weeks because they can’t all make it in November. Apparently the deputy AG made a new commitment, after the Nov 13th date was announced. So now it is postponed again because she agreed to something after the Nov 13 date was mentioned.

    So Sherk and his lawyer had everything prepared on their end, but now have to wait more a month.

    As I said, I can’t help but question the timing of the delays. Part of the defense is going to be going after the missing elements in the chain of Custody. Does it not seem strange that now there has been two separate issues on the SAC side to delay this?

    I am simply wondering if the briefs were withheld to buy time. If they had moved forward that day, the defense would have had a very legit argument towards dismissal. The CSAC is required to account for the security of the sample every step of the way and they cannot.

    So we have one of the guys (Douglas)that is involved in the undocumented transfer getting the brief that was never passed on. Is it not unbelievable for Garcia and Douglas to have had a discussion about this some time between getting the doc on Friday October 26th and the hearing on Wed the 31st? They sat on the brief for five days. And in that five day period, the other missing docs turned up in the hands of the one other person that had the brief…deputy AG Karen Chappelle

    As I said, some of the docs did appear at the last minute in the hands of Karen Chappelle, but the others have not been found yet. The missing docs are for the transfer from one CSAC employee to another. So if they are nto found, it will pretty much be a screw-up within the CSAC that leads to Sherk being acquited.

    I am not a conspiracy nut, but I could not help but notice that these delays allow them quite a bit of time to look for these documents.

  31. lynchman says:

    Sherk’s lawyer sent copies of his brief to Garcia, the deputy AG Karen Chappelle handling the case and CSAC associate governmental program analyst Bill Douglas. Interestingly enough, it is Douglas that is in the middle of the missing documents.

    The brief got to the AG (the person presenting against Sherk) just fine but neither of the other two bothered to do their job and get the papers to the commisioners.

    As a result, they could not proceed. Part of the brief was pointing out that documents were missing from the chain of custody. Interestingly enough, some of the missing documents ended up in the hands of the prosecution while not being given to Sherk’s lawyer (as they were supposed to).

    But there is still missing documents. The CSAC can’t account for the sample each step of the way. They can account for the transfer of the sample from inspector Mike Figueroa to Bill Douglas.

    So that led to the postponment until Mid Novemeber.

    Now there that has been pushed back another few weeks because they can’t all make it in November. Apparently the deputy AG made a new commitment, after the Nov 13th date was announced. So now it is postponed again because she agreed to something after the Nov 13 date was mentioned.

    So Sherk and his lawyer had everything prepared on their end, but now have to wait more a month.

    As I said, I can’t help but question the timing of the delays. Part of the defense is going to be going after the missing elements in the chain of Custody. Does it not seem strange that now there has been two separate issues on the SAC side to delay this?

    I am simply wondering if the briefs were withheld to buy time. If they had moved forward that day, the defense would have had a very legit argument towards dismissal. The CSAC is required to account for the security of the sample every step of the way and they cannot.

    So we have one of the guys (Douglas)that is involved in the undocumented transfer getting the brief that was never passed on. Is it not unbelievable for Garcia and Douglas to have had a discussion about this some time between getting the doc on Friday October 26th and the hearing on Wed the 31st? They sat on the brief for five days. And in that five day period, the other missing docs turned up in the hands of the one other person that had the brief…deputy AG Karen Chappelle

    As I said, some of the docs did appear at the last minute in the hands of Karen Chappelle, but the others have not been found yet. The missing docs are for the transfer from one CSAC employee to another. So if they are nto found, it will pretty much be a screw-up within the CSAC that leads to Sherk being acquited.

  32. […] -A few days ago, Zach Arnold was tut-tutting the UFC’s 180 regarding stripping Sherk of the belt. Of course, it wasn’t a 180 then, but it certainly is now: If the CSAC upholds the decision, Sherk will be stripped. And that makes UFC80 for the real honest to gosh belt. Sqweeee! […]

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