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A largely quiet week of hype heading into #UFC 131 in Vancouver

By Zach Arnold | June 8, 2011

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So, with that as the premise, let’s take a look at a few different news stories here.

Mystery of the Day: Why Gina Carano isn’t fighting. The early media reports yesterday noted that Scott Coker that she had trouble with her medicals in Texas (of all states), but Loretta Hunt put that to rest with this report. So, once again, Coker got caught in yet another contradiction (just like he did in relation to the Fedor/Henderson negotiations).

The news of Carano’s bout cancellation with Sarah D’Alelio drew a lot of reaction online. (A lot of it was typical male fodder, such as “she must be pregnant!” or “she’s doing another movie?!”) At least it shows that there is a healthy portion of online MMA fans that do still care about her. It’s both good and bad. It’s mostly bad, however, because without her in an aggressive role as a fighter, there’s really little reason for Dana White and the Zuffa crew to care about having women’s MMA at all.

Mystery of the Month: That Strikeforce was still having their Dallas event on June 18th. You want to talk about getting zero play, this would be it. Remember the feeling last February for the Heavyweight tournament? It’s four months later and nobody even discusses it or thinks about it. There’s talk of having the finals on PPV just so the tournament can be financially paid for and not be a money loser.

Alistair Overeem is in a position now where he may as well just jump ship to UFC. K-1 is all but dead and outside of It’s Showtime it’s not as if he’s going to get many kickboxing dates now. Jump into the Heavyweight waters in the UFC and make it happen.

Tweet of the Day: From Mike McLeish:

Just heard several STRIKEFORCE fighters lost sponsors and a few all their sponsors. Sucks for those guys.

With the Full Tilt Poker situation the way it is (Phil Ivey recently sued them in Las Vegas court for $150M USD), that sponsorship is cooked. Combine that with UFC treating Strikeforce the way WWE treated WCW when they bought them out a decade ago and you have the situation you have. A lot of the readers here love the fact that there’s one league, one major promoter in this sport. I’ve never counted myself in that camp and this is a reason why — lack of competition means less outside money coming in and less opportunities for fighters to get booked. Plus, with one company having 200+ fighters on their roster, a lot of guys underneath simply aren’t going to get a chance to be promoted as a big star like they would in another organization. Fighters can get lost in the shuffle, even when they do win.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. pisses off fans even more… By not fighting Manny Pacquiao. However, you should cheer the fact that he’s going to be fighting “Vicious” Victor Ortiz. That fight along with Pacquiao/JMM & Margarito/Cotto is not bad for the 2011 calendar year. Kevin Iole thinks Mayweather/Pacquiao will happen in 2012.

A story I can’t figure out how important or not important it really is: UFC coming to XBox starting this fall. I tend to think it’s an important development.

Comment of the week: Vagner Rocha on his upcoming UFC 131 fight with Donald Cerrone“It’s a lose-lose fight for him. If he beats me, so what? If I win, then he looks like [expletive].” That’s the spirit.

Over/under PPV buys for UFC 131… 450,000? In favor of a good buy rate number is the fact that Game 6 of the NBA Finals won’t take place until Sunday. G5 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals will happen in Vancouver but UFC’s event will not be moved from Rogers Arena.

The biggest scandal in Japan in the last two weeks: This (and it’s getting uglier by the day).

Topics: Media, MMA, StrikeForce, UFC, Zach Arnold | 36 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

36 Responses to “A largely quiet week of hype heading into #UFC 131 in Vancouver”

  1. Boco_T says:

    I’m also not sure what to make of the UFC on Xbox situation. With the number of people the UFC claims get together in a group to watch a UFC event, would there really be a group of that size (say, 10 people) where not one person would have access to cable?

    The only group I can possibly think of that it might have a small impact on would be college students in a dorm that doesn’t have PPV ability, but, again, if they knew just one person off-campus then they wouldn’t need the service.

    I’ve always been curious about how many buys the UFC is selling on Yahoo, and I’m sure this, like that, will remain a mystery.

    • mr. roadblock says:

      Xbox is the start of a big deal.

      Zuffa realized early on that TV is going to move to the internet. Dana has been talking about this since at least 2007.

      More and more people will begin watching HD video streamed through their computer or gaming system on their HD monitor. As internet speeds increase the practice will become common place.

      At that point look for UFC to change its business model. Look for them to pick one broadcast partner to maintain a TV presence and for UFC to set up its own premium channel. The same content on the premium channel will be available online for a fee.

      It will then lower the price of PPV events and do more events. Some $15-$20 and some $30-$40. But they’ll also offer a yearly subscription. The way the major sports do on cable and online.

      Right now UFC splits money with the PPV companies. They can give the fans back half of the money the PPV companies get and keep the rest.

    • Dave says:

      I haven’t had cable in a long time, it’s hilariously expensive especially when you figure in how many stations I simply don’t and never would watch. I have a Roku box on one of my TVs and UFC sells PPVs through that which works just fine.

  2. fd says:

    I think that the general way that fandom and the mma media treat female fighters tends to be disgraceful, but I don’t think speculating that Gina may be pregnant is “typical male fodder”. The fact is she apparently passed all her medicals for Texas and then on the conference call they were reporting that she’d had her clearance revoked by her doctor. Taking that at face value, for that to happen she’d either have to have gotten some kind of injury after doing the medicals, or her doctor found something the medicals didn’t pick up – and pregnancy would be a very reasonable scenario for the latter.

  3. The Gaijin says:

    Zach – how about adding this nice one to your list:

    Josh Barnett still does not have a license from the Texas AC for his fight with Rogers on June 18th.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Barnett just posted on the UG that the source is BS….

      “You are either a liar or have a terrible source of information.”

      • The Gaijin says:

        Oh Josh – you want people to have a reliable source, like say…the Public Info Officer for Texas?

        “According to Susan Stanford, Public Information Officer for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, Barnett has until 72 hours before fight time to complete his application, but has not yet done so.

        Earlier today Stanford told Bloody Elbow that “Mr Barnett’s application is incomplete.””

        • The Gaijin says:

          Further, it looks like there are still 7 other fighters who have incomplete licenses for next Saturday’s card. So I’ll refrain from lighting the torch for Barnett for a little while longer, but dammit man, you should have been the first guy in line given your past issues!

        • Steve4192 says:

          Much as I would LOVE to skewer Barnett for this, given the sheer number of fighters who have yet to be cleared, I am going to assume this glitch is the fault of the incompetent boobs running the Texas commission.

  4. 45 Huddle says:

    1) Every single female MMA fighter has to be really disappointed in Gina Carano right now. She really is the only person who can force Zuffa’s hand to keep it around. If she goes away, they have zero star power and it’s an extremely easy decision to axe WMMA. That is unless the UFC stays on Showtime in some capacity and Showtime wants WMMA as an exclusive to them. That will be the only thing that saves it besides Carano. But even then, will Showtime want it without a star?

    2) It makes sense for the winner of the Strikeforce HW Grand Prix to get a UFC title shot. I’m not sure if that winner would realistically be the #1 contender, but it’s enough of a field to go through to have it make sense.

    3) The XBOX thing isn’t a huge deal alone…. But it’s a small deal that along with Yahoo, Roku, Facebook, iphone/ipad app,, & YouTube all add up to one big deal story. And that big story is that the UFC is finding as many ways for fans to see their product as possible. They get “new media” like the major sports do not.

    4) Under 450,000. It will end up between 375,000 and 400,000 buys. Still reasonable considering the card. They are not going up against the NHL or NBA and that will help.

    5) The Gaijin got to the story first…. But Barnett still not being licensed is a big deal. At least they have a few guys who are worthy on stand-by who are on the card. So it won’t hurt things too bad if he doesn’t. But what a complete joke Barnett is turned into. The guy is so unreliable.

    • The Gaijin says:

      “5) The Gaijin got to the story first….”

      Should point out I don’t want to take any credit for this story, just read it (tweet from Matt Roth @HKL which I believe referenced a BE/SbN scoop.) and fired it up for some more SF/Barnett/Coker gongshow/read meat item.

      Barnett is a superior grade A a-hole if this is true and it’s not just a situation of the ink waiting to dry. He knew he needed a license and still hasn’t gotten off his ass to get one with 10 days to go?!? This could be a big break for someone like Daniel Cormier or, dare I say, Chad Griggs(!!). The dude was saying all the right things and mending fences with Zuffa to enter their good graces and the first chance he gets he effs up like that.

  5. cutch says:

    As far as Showtime wanting Women’s MMA, I think they would and it would probably just be run like the Strikeforce challenger series with a similar budget.

    If Overeem loses in this tournament he should vacate his title but obviously if he gets injured he should’nt

  6. 45 Huddle says:

    As I was reading the comments UFC UK President, I was thinking, wow… This does not show a good sign of the working relationship between the UFC and SpikeTV. And then I continue to read and Kid Nate basically points out the same thing.

    Vince McMahon always regretted moving RAW over to SpikeTV. They were difficult to work with and always clashed over the shows content. ECW basically got used and abused by SpikeTV as well (TNN as the time). It’s not a shock that Zuffa is basically running into issues with this same channel.

    While it’s nice that SpikeTV gives a lot of airtime to the UFC, this type of working relationship can’t go on forever. Something is going to break…..

    • The Gaijin says:

      On the plus-side, no more #’d UFC events with Dan Hardy or Michael Bisping (or Diego Sanchez) in the main/co-main event with a bunch of UK plugs + Marcus THE CELTIC WARRIOR(C) Davis clogging up the main card!

    • cutch says:

      If they can get Bisping into a title shot next year I think they will have it in the UK probably at the o2 in London. As Gareth A Davies was saying Boxing fights held in the UK have started late at night to fit in with Showtime or HBO.

    • Steve4192 says:

      I don’t think this is indicative of any systemic problems with SpikeTV. Spike has historically been very accommodating towards the UFC.

      What I do think this is indicative of is that their current negotiations have gotten ugly. If/when the UFC re-signs with Spike, I would expect their working relationship will revert to normal.

  7. Jaosn Harris says:

    The lack of hype leading up to the events seems to oddly coincide with the MMA blogdom’s obsession with all of these “scandals” Instead of the 4 straight weeks of solid fights that have been happening.

  8. mr. roadblock says:

    Remember way back when, in early 2011, when there were Strikeforce marks that hated UFC?

    I pointed out how little sense Coker’s booking of the HW tourney made. That there would be virtually no chance of completing the tourney in 2011 with the opening round matches set so far apart. I got flamed.

    There’s one surefire way to know that Scott Coker is lying. His lips move. I’m not saying he’s malicious. He’s just an incompetent boob.

  9. cutch says:

    In a blockbuster development, the UFC is in talks to buy an ownership stake in the G4 cable channel, according to published reports.

    That’s a risky move if true

    • 45 Huddle says:

      As White has mentioned in the past, starting a new station is now next to impossible. Even Oprah Winfrey, with all of her power and money, basically took over Discovery Health and turned it into OWN. So if Oprah had to go that route, it’s really the only avenue for the UFC.

      So this is their only way to do it if they either want their own channel or at least a channel that they can push some of their content on.

      G4 has an very interesting history. I think it started as ZDTV. Then turned in TechTV. Then it became G4. Most of the old TechTV guys are now on the internet at either TWIT or Revision3. I used to watch TechTV all of the time. I almost never touch the channel with it’s current programming.

      One important thing to mention is that G4 is in HD on most cable companies and is a first tier station for most of them.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        It’s also ANOTHER sign that the UFC is going to be switching stations in 2012.

        G4 is owned by none other then Comcast/NBC. And I wouldn’t be shocked if Zuffa purchased MAJORITY ownership in the channel but not not 100%, with Comcast/NBC staying around for the remaining ownership.

        This all works if the UFC can get on NBC…. If they can’t, I think it’s a backwards deal.

  10. Shane says:

    Looks like Zuffa is trying to buy some goodwill from NBCU in the hope that it might lead to a deal where UFC programming will appear all over the NBCU network (USA, Sci-Fi, Versus, NBC, G4 etc.) which will be a definate improvement from Spike TV.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      And according to MMAFighting, Bellator will go to SpikeTV once this happens.

      So SpikeTV will have the reject companies in TNA and Bellator. And NBC will have the WWE and UFC….

      • cutch says:

        People seem to think that this would be a MMA channel, I really don’t think that’s what this is and I think it would be stupid at this point to try it.

        They should sign someone who knows what they are doing (running a TV channel that is) and bring over loads of other shows and try and reboot the channel.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          I agree. MMA should be a component of the channel. 4 to 6 hours maximum of MMA footage a day.

          But shows like Attack of the Show and some of their video game shows should stay.

          What it could allow them to do is put the prelim show on their own channel instead of Facebook. Put the post fight press conferences on it. Basically, everything they are already producing online anyways, just add a few lights and nicer set, and put in on cable instead.

        • cutch says:

          I seen this on Sherdog forums but I think it’s on the UFC website as well. That the former Dream fighters (and Takaya who has never fought in the UFC) who fight in the UFC now have their Dream fight history on the website and that is usually reserved for a company that the UFC owns like Strikeforce & Pride.

  11. PL Allie says:

    G4 is a tv channel for people who don’t watch tv to start with…

    The UFC should try to make it a better version of Spike. Keep ATOS and some show but move away from the geek audience as much as possible.

  12. Chuck says:

    Just saw over at Bloody Elbow, and UFC 131 isn’t pushing tickets too well. BE (Tim Burke to be exact) reports that there are still about 1200 tickets left……via StubHub. How many more are there in general? Yeah the Stanley Cup in Vancouver isn’t helping any, and no local fighters, but still. Canadians are usually big fight/pro wrestling fans, and will usually go regardless (total stereotype, I know, but still).

    Well, we can all agree that Montreal is still king when it comes to the combat sports. Them and Germany.

    And the All Japan Pro Wrestling story……holy shit!! And it was only a matter of time until Great Muta would step down as AJPW president. I’m surprised he didn’t do it, like, four years ago.

    • Alexandre Mogue says:

      Nobody comment on that AJPW story. But like your response chuck, its a wow type of thing. I like Taru, but thats ridiculous. All the japanese workers have to be fired if they all watched it happened. AJPW will operate on a foreigner only bases or just collapse. Nobody should get away easy.

  13. Mike Fagan says:


    As much as I love pointing out Coker’s contradictions, I’m not sure what you’re point at here. From Loretta’s piece:

    “Coker said during a conference call that Carano (7-1) hadn’t received medical clearance from her own physician to participate at Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum.”

    So where does this come from?

    “The early media reports yesterday noted that Scott Coker that she had trouble with her medicals in Texas.”

    • Chuck says:

      Read the Loretta Hunt piece again. It clearly said that she was completely cleared by the Texas State Athletic Commission. Here is the quote;

      “”Susan Stanford, the public information officer for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, confirmed to that Carano’s contestant application, which included a physician’s examination, an ophthalmologic exam and requisite blood test results, had been processed and approved.

      “Gina Carano had met all of the state of Texas’ requirements and the agency received notice today that she was off the card,” said Stanford.


      Carano pulled out herself it seems.

    • Zach Arnold says:

      What happened is after what Scott said, the early reports online yesterday ran with “the commission didn’t clear her!” rather than “her doctor didn’t clear her.”

      In hindsight, you are right, Mike. However, it was muddled confusion. (I was going back through my tweet timeline yesterday and going through it all.)

      Oh well.

  14. Jonathan says:

    Zach, I sent you an e-mail.

    Ed. — Didn’t receive an e-mail. Send me a message through FB instead. Will respond.

  15. jack says:

    Write NY State Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver a note expressing your displeasure with his refusal to let the MMA Bill go to a vote in the NY Assembly:

  16. David M says:

    I read a Meltzer said UFC 130 was trending btwn 300k and 350k buys. Good. Serves the UFC right for trying to make people pay 50 dollars for a show without a main event.

    I am also glad to see that the UFC is going to 5 round main events for non title fights. I have been calling for this for years; I bet the UFC ‘huggers who were against in before will all of a sudden change their tune now that their hero has acquiesced to common sense.


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