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Five observations I know to be true about UFC and K-1

By Zach Arnold | December 2, 2010

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Will the outcome of Chael Sonnen’s hearing impact the way we view fighters and PEDs?

Follow Josh Gross, as he will in attendance today in Sacramento. (And feel free to add your own comments here to this post.) I’m still baffled by the fact that a fighter would allegedly take a testosterone shot a day before a fight and that the idea of TRT being allowed by an athletic commission even exists. If acceptance of TRT becomes a norm amongst major athletic commissions, they may as well do away with drug testing.

Whether the suspension gets reduced to six months or twelve months, the bottom line is that there is no deterrent whatsoever for Dana White to not book an immediate rematch between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen. The fan demand for a rematch continues to grow and people want to see if Sonnen’s first performance was a fluke or if it was real, regardless as to whether or not he was doping.

The collapse of K-1 will end up being the year’s biggest story

I get it. If you took 100 fans and asked them what’s more important, the Chael Sonnen hearing or K-1’s collapse, 99 would pick the Sonnen hearing. Talking and reading about K-1’s impending collapse at this point for most people is like watching paint dry. And yet, this story will deeply impact the business not only in Japan but around the world.

The door will be slammed for anyone to get back onto network television in Japan. There may be occasional one-off specials on a minor network like TV Tokyo, but that’s about it. MMA will not be major league for a long time to come. The most lucrative kickboxing promotion will also shut down. This means a lot of fighters and a lot of agents are going to be out of work. None of this is good for the business. It may be a win short-term for Scott Coker (since it will pressure guys like Overeem to focus only on Strikeforce), but part of the allure of some of the fighters under the Strikeforce banner was the ability to fight for K-1/DREAM. With the Japanese option likely off the table, expect more disgruntled fighters under the Strikeforce banner.

TUF 12 was a wretched season to watch.

Consistently brutal television in terms of the quality of MMA fights. We’ve discussed the point over and over again that the show is nothing more than a vehicle to promote a fight at the end of the series between two coaches, but it would be nice if the show made finding real prospects a top priority instead of a television executive deciding who has the best ‘TV look’ or who will get drunk on camera. There have been some mediocre seasons of The Ultimate Fighter, but this season takes the cake in totality for worst overall fight quality. UFC should be embarrassed that they aired these fights on television.

The audiences that watch the TUF 12 finale and Strikeforce St. Louis events are different audiences

Amongst all the talk about whether or not UFC will hurt Strikeforce head-to-head, my gut feeling says that the people who watch Strikeforce are inclined to do so in the first place no matter what. Whether it’s because they view it as a protest vote against watching the UFC product or if it’s due to in part to Strikeforce having a different demographic make-up for audience (older fans), I largely do not see the two audiences for Saturday’s events crossing over with each other.

As far as fight quality is concerned, the TUF 12 finale main card will likely produce better results than the Strikeforce show. There’s zero momentum for Strikeforce and the focus seems preoccupied on their upcoming 1/29 San Jose event and 2011 being “the year of the Heavyweights.” Wasn’t 2010 supposed to be the year of the Heavyweights for Strikeforce?

The best prospect fighting this weekend is…

Jussier “Formiga” Da Silva. Profile article here. Flyweights, here we come.

Topics: K-1, Media, MMA, StrikeForce, UFC, Zach Arnold | 25 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

25 Responses to “Five observations I know to be true about UFC and K-1”

  1. Fightlinker says:

    It wasn’t as bad as the heayweights season, but yeah this season’s crop of fighters were pretty weak

  2. Brad Wharton says:

    Nothing beats TUF 10 for quality of fights. Nothing.

  3. what says:

    what the hell is Zach talking about? there have been tons of entertaining fights this season with interesting characters.

    Johnson/Wilkinson, Phan/Paige, Brookins/Armenians, MacKenzie/Stevens, Watson/Wilkinson and Johnson/Phan were all great fights by TUF standards. In fact, only Sako/Dane and Brookins/Watson could really be considered boring or exceptionally sloppy.

    • Steve4192 says:

      I have to agree.

      There have been a lot of seasons of TUF that were just plain awful to watch. This was not one of them. This was probably my favorite season since TUF 5.

  4. Steve4192 says:

    I’d argue TUF 9 was worse. At least TUF 10 had a quality veteran in Nelson and a few solid prospects in Schaub, Madsen, Mitrione & Wren. TUF 9 had no one as good as Nelson and IMO even the few prospects it did produce (Pearson, Wilks, Winner, Osipczak) aren’t as good as the group from TUF 10.

    TUF 9 was just a truly awful season, especially when you consider they passed on Tyron Woodley in order to increase the chances of one of their precious Brits winning the competition.

  5. Steve4192 says:

    “If acceptance of TRT becomes a norm amongst major athletic commissions, they may as well do away with drug testing. “

    I don’t it that way.

    As I understand it, the objective of TRT therapy is to take men with low a T-count and bring them back up to baseline levels. If a guy claims he is receiving TRT and tests at QUADRUPLE the baseline, it’s pretty damn obvious that is not due to TRT.

    • BOb says:

      I agree with Steve,

      there is a difference between Testosterone levels being 4x higher and the ratio of Testosterone to Epitestosterone being 4x off. There could be an elevated ratio while Testosterone levels remained the same (EpiT being suppressed).

      For those wondering the difference between T and EpiT, it boils down to the 17-hydroxyl being in beta position (T) and alpha (EpiT).

      The other I thing I will be interested in is whether they mention how and which foods you consume can alter the isotope mass spec test (certain plants differ in their selective incorporation of 13C and this can alter the isotope ratios in T and other compounds).

  6. Tyler Treese says:

    1. I am expecting Chael’s suspension to be reduced to six months and I think we’ll see him against Anderson Silva next whether he wins or loses against Vitor Belfort (sorry Okami but your title shot is in serious jeopardy if Chael’s suspension gets shortened).

    2. Totally agree. I just want to thank you for the great coverage of this. This site and have really had the best coverage and it’s a shame that most MMA “fans” don’t seem to care about it.

    3. I totally agree. Not only the fights but just everything about it. Was it really necessary to show Nam Phan in the shower? Everything was just boring, GSP really didn’t show a new side to us and the thing I liked best was the few instances of Koscheck being 100% real (which was pretty much only in the online bonus clips since the show was edited to just play up his “bad guy” heel persona). I think Brookins will win the final in a one-sided match-up, I think Brookins/Phan would’ve been a much more intriguing match-up.

    4. I’ll be watching Strikeforce live then watching the replay of the TUF Finale. I’m very excited for both events and can’t wait to see how each plays out.

    5.I am so excited to watch Formiga tonight. Big props to for streaming the Tachi Palace Fights event live. It has a lot of good fights and TPF is probably one of the few regional MMA events that do it right. They have a good core group of fans, let their fighters go to bigger orgs if they want to (like the UFC, Strikeforce, etc). Glad to see not every small organization doesn’t try to get their champs into championship clauses that delay them going into bigger organizations.

  7. 45 Huddle says:

    Zach, I think you are completely understating the impact this will have on Strikeforce. Without CBS, Strikeforce has a lot of high priced contracts they really can’t afford. This is why we are seeing such wait times for fighters.

    DREAM was one way Strikeforce resolved this situation. Instead of giving Gegard Mousasi or Alistair Overeem a fight, they easily allowed them to fight overseas.

    Without DREAM, they have to fulfill their contracts. And that will mean they will have to stack their cards more in order to fit all of those fighters into the line-up. I don’t think they make enough from the live gates and Showtime combined in order to do so.

    As for TUF…. I watched last nights episode. The first episode I watched all season. I just wanted to see who would be fighting in the finals. The show is still garbage.

  8. David M says:

    I liked this TUF season, and I think there were some good, exciting fights too. I have no idea who Zach expected to see competing; Shinya Aoki and Tyson Griffin? This is a show to hype the match at the end between the coaches and that was successfully accomplished; I think GSP-Kos will do 1 million buys.

  9. Six says:

    The collapse of K-1 is fascinating to me.

    Six months ago I was watching through all the old K-1 MAX Finals. They were amazing – fantastic production, super hot crowds, and soaring in ring action.

    I just watched this year’s final and it’s incredible what a few years difference makes. Basic production, and a stale crowd which I don’t think was particularly large. It even sounded like they were pumping in fake crowd noise during fighter entrances.

  10. edub says:

    1. Sadly, I don’t think much will come from this trial. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said the UFC has no reason to not make the rematch happen.

    2. To us hardcores yes it will be. To the US combat sports audience it will barely be a blip on the radar. Something like: “That kickboxing place where Bob Sapp used to beat people up is getting shut down, oh well.” Hopefully It’s Showtime will take the rains and become the next great kickboxing promotion!

    3. It was pretty shitty, but I’m with Steve and “What” in I don’t think it was that bad. Sure most of the prospects will never be that good, but I think Brookins could be a diamond in the rough. It also seemed like they stayed away from the drunken drama in the house a lot this year. They never aired what appeared to be a fight in the back yard (eventhough they teased with previews). The only two things that were really bad that I saw were the napkin throwing crap, and Nam’s me time. Also it got to show that Koscheck might be the biggest a-hole in MMA.

    4. I really think you are reaching here. TUF will have a bigger audience, but most fight fans will watch both if possible. It’s all MMA in the end, and a lot of casual fans don’t get pulled into the UFC vs. SF stuff. Good MMA is good MMA. I will be DVRing TUF most of the time, but switching back and forth as fights finish. I did the same thing last week with both boxing cards.

    5. I’m anxious to see if the hypoe behind this guy was valid, or if he is a product of lower competition in Japan/Brazil. Hopefully it’ll get posted online somewhere.

    6. Anyone else see the MMA awards. They’re pretty much a popularity contest with Anderson-Chael getting FOTY and Wand fight team winning best gym, but I thought it was alright.

    Zach I voted for you as media person of the year. Maybe next year you can get some hype and get in the final nominees. Ariel I thought deserved the win from the cast though.

  11. Jonathan says:

    Barnett, who has been caught juicing three times, is amazed when he gets blind-sided at the CSAC hearing.

    According to Josh Gross’s twitter, he did not have counsel present and did not know of the circumstances surrounding the hearing.

    What did he think would happen?

    • Jonathan says:

      Chael Sonnen has “male menopause”….hypogonadism.

      That must be either very embarrassing or one heck of an excuse.

      • The Gaijin says:

        What an absolute crock of sh*t.

        We’re supposed to actually buy the fact that he suddenly came down with hypogonadism before a championship fight? Odd that he never said anything about this in prior pre-fight clearances, nor to my knowledge previously tested with these ultra-low testosterone levels. Funny that his “therapy” provided him 4x the acceptable level of testosterone, I’m sure he can say he was unaware of the testosterone in his testosterone as these alternative therapies are so underregulated that who knows what’s being put in them!?!

        Americans with Disabilities Act! All other arguments are now invalid.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Comic gold for Sonnen.

      Barnett not bringing legal representation just shows how non-serious he is about fighting.

  12. Jonathan says:

    The vote was 2-2 in favor of the fine with no deduction of suspension, so it failed. They reduced the time to 6 months and retained the $2500 fine.

    It is a joke. It was clear he juiced and there should have been no reduction in the time of the sentence.

    • edub says:

      Wait a tic, they split down the middle and still reduced it?

    • 45 Huddle says:

      He can fight on the Australia show in late February. He is only missing being able to fight on the Super Bowl weekend show by a few days.

      The suspension is a complete joke indeed. Suspensions should be in line with how often the athlete competes. For example, a pitcher should get longer then a shortstop because he only pitches every 5 days. 6 months is basically no penalty.

      I have zero faith that they will keep Barnett out of MMA now. But it could be a while before he fights.

  13. MMA Tycoon says:

    Completely disagree about TUF – this season was above average in terms of entertainment value of the fights.

  14. Bryan says:

    At this point, does the Japanese public even care about FEG’s problems? Is it big news in the papers and what not there? Or have they moved on to the next fad, whatever that maybe.

    • Zach Arnold says:

      There’s an underlying sense that something’s wrong (amongst the fans), but the media has been dead silent in Japan about any troubles. The foreign media has nothing to lose but the Japanese media certainly does (in terms of safety and job security).

  15. Chromium says:

    With Okami getting the title shot after next (and I don’t think they’ll welch on that, since the only reason they welched on the Jon Fitch title shot was because they signed Jake Shields and probably guaranteed him that he’d get a title shot after a single win as a condition of signing him), I think Sonnen will have to fight someone else before getting a second fight. It would also be better for Sonnen’s credibility if he fought someone else before he fought Silva again.


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