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Conor McGregor saved Dana White’s Great White Hype Express from total derailment

By Zach Arnold | December 9, 2015

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There were high expectations about Nobuyuki Sakakibara’s return to MMA but for those of us cynical about his financial backing, he produced a card that is the proverbial dog’s breakfast. Which means that UFC’s back-to-back-to-back fight cards on Thursday through Saturday is the real highlight to close out this fight calendar, even though there is an Orlando show a week later.

Thursday’s Fight Night 80 event at The Chelsea/Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas (internet):

Namajunas came into the fight as even money or a slight underdog, which goes to show how much people still buy into the UFC hype machine. She beat down PVZ as badly as GSP beat up Jon Fitch in Minneapolis. There is a long ways to go for Paige to develop into a top fighter…

Friday’s Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale event in Las Vegas (Fox Sports 1):

Frankie had zero trouble with Mendes and the troubles for Alpha Male in Sacramento continue. Zero surprise that Tony Ferguson would be involved in another ultraviolent fight. That’s all he does. The haves rose up and the have nots sunk further.

Saturday’s UFC 194 event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas (Fox Sports 1/PPV):

Faber challenged TJ Dillashaw (or Dominic Cruz) for a title match. Been there, done that. The only intrigue is whether or not Dillashaw would humiliate Faber and hurt business for Alpha Male.

The officiating in the Romero/Jacare fight was a mess. Classic example of a fight that Jordan Breen begs 5 rounds out of instead of the standard 3.

Gunnar Nelson went into the fight against Demian Maia as a favorite. Yes, a favorite. And Maia did what you expected him to do, which was stop the winning streak of an up-and-coming star.

Luke Rockhold looked great against Chris Weidman. Chris Weidman did not look great. He took a beating. Poor guy. His title fight was barely advertised heading into the show.

With PVZ, Weidman, and Ronda all in the losing column, Conor McGregor was the last chance to save Dana’s weekend from turning completely sour. All the noise heading into the fight, from the humiliating press conference tour series where Conor stole Aldo’s belt to Aldo having problems with the proposed USADA IV ban to Aldo’s wife claiming Dana made him fight injured, there was acrimony everywhere to be found. McGregor wiped everything away with a 13 second KO.

“THIS IS GREAT FOR BUSINESS!” screamed Jonathan Coachman on ESPN.

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

36 Responses to “Conor McGregor saved Dana White’s Great White Hype Express from total derailment”

  1. klown says:

    I’m excited about at least 5 of these upcoming fights.

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    Imagine this PPV….

    MW Title Fight: Chris Weidman vs. Luke Rockhold
    FW Title Fight: Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor
    Frank Edgar vs. Chad Mendes
    Jacare Souza vs. Yoel Romero

    5th Fight Doesn’t matter….

    The UFC has lost almost all interest for me outside of the Top 20 or so fighters. Even then it is touch and go. This is only the 3rd or 4th PPV I will be purchasing all year.

    • Tradition Rules says:

      I agree, buy rates would be much higher…

      They are over concerned with income via # of events as opposed to to overall interest in events. As has been said by many in the past, not enough nave recognition for all the fight cards they are promoting for casual fans to have interest in.

      Someone like ME,…I try catch as many fights as possible, but I know I’M the exception…

    • klown says:

      45, I always love your condensed, stacked hypothetical cards. If only…

  3. jim allcorn says:

    While weekends like this offer the fighters involved the opportunity to stay active, which is great for their ability to make a living & boost their careers, I can’t help but notice how the glut has really watered down what now passes for a “UFC fight”.
    Not that I mind being exposed to new faces or seeing fighters earlier on in their careers than we used to, but still – there’s only so much time that even we die hard MMA fans can spend watching the sport. And I can’t help but wonder if the UFC is spreading itself too thin.
    I realize that they need to provide programming for their web channel, but really, was it necessary for them to stage two separate events last night & tonight?

    • 45 Huddle says:

      There is a true viewer fatigue that takes place. 34 fights in 3 days is overboard. It also shows how low level some of these fighters are.

  4. rst says:

    “…Sterling claiming that he barely makes a living salary…”

    He might have a point, and I heard that the reebok deal doesn’t help at all. But some of these characters do have a habit of expecting more then they’ve earned sometimes.
    I know he’s undefeated, but there’s no names on his record, its a short one and he’s on the lower bottom of a fight night card. Like the minimum wage, every slot on the UFC roster migt not be meant as a career.
    And its nobody elses fault that he lives in the most “inexplicably” expensive place on earth.

    But he was on a card on this power new years eve weekend and this could have been an opportunity to earn some popularity and crowd awareness and move up the ladder.
    He may have gotten some awareness by being the face of complaining, but more important fighters then sterling have been cut for pissing on the bosses shoes.
    And UFC aint no gubment job, its a free market were you can come or you can go.

  5. 45 Huddle says:

    I thought Weidman/Rockhold was a 55/45 fight in favor of Weidman. I thought Weidman looked like crap during the fight. He was slow, flat foot, and had absolutely no explosiveness.

    His body also looked a LOT different.

    With that said…. A lot of fighters have been looking a lot different these last 4 or so months.


    So far all frattatas and Danas favs got the beat down, monkey face, money, craptain(get on board now)america, aka master of wheel kick.( the japanese ufc stream has Kohsaka critiquing weidmans blunder)
    c’mon aldo give Cmac the beatdown! Put a dent in daddy whites pocketbook.

  7. rst says:

    We finally get rid of rousy and now we’re saddled with mcgregor and rockhold for another year. But thats what makes MMA a analogue for life. Nothing is guarenteed and you play the cards that your dealt.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Rousey and McGregor are two completely different types of people in there.

      Rousey has a bad attitude, might be a homewrecker, and is just typically a rotten person.

      McGregor is highly animated, but when it comes down to it he is educated and a very sincere person.

      I can handle McGregor. Rousey? Not so much.

  8. David m says:

    Conor is the biggest star in mma history. What a great moment.

  9. Chael's Roided Left Nut says:

    Pretty shitty article by Zach. Think he hates Dana?

    • Zach Arnold says:

      Dana doesn’t control the lousy officiating. He can’t control who is and who isn’t doping, at least not now with testosterone passes no longer being issued.

      But he does control matchmaking, especially the volume and who is given what. It’s one thing to do what’s good for business, but entirely another to basically build upon a crony system:

      Perhaps you would be interested in reading the voluminous amount of Twitter mentions on Dana regarding Conor and having Rogan bury Aldo’s prospects of getting a re-match?

      You say I hate Dana. I don’t hate him on a personal level. I just see through the business tactics. I can either call out the BS or be apathetic to it, and apathy helps his cause.

      To me, the most interesting item coming out of this weekend was UFC’s public backing of Donald Trump:

      There is some interesting 2D political maneuvering here. There’s a lot of Trump in Dana’s bombastic shtick but Trump was the original. He’s been a fight fan *forever*. He’s also had his issues with unions in Vegas, just like the Fertittas, and obviously he is a natural ally for UFC’s business interests should Trump become President. Primarily, Trump is the very last guy who would ever amend the Ali Act to cover MMA under that piece of Federal legislation.

      There’s not too many cash cows left who can pull in $10 million dollar gates. Let’s see how long the Bromance between Dana and Conor lasts.

      • Mark says:

        The bromance is already over. I expected Dana to be giddy like a little school girl when he strapped the belt on McGregor, but he looked almost like he did putting the belt on Holm. He knows McGregor is going to be difficult in contract negotiations, because he’s the first fighter in years who can write his own ticket. We’ll get a replay of “Tito is stupid being lead around by the wrong people” and “If Randy thinks he can make it outside of the UFC, he’s dumber than I thought.” And he had a bromance with both of them at one point, too.

      • Chael's Roided Left Nut says:

        I’m not following your point Zach.

        From my end? The UFC delivered three straight days of entertaining product. I had fun (with friends) watching all the events. Please note the key word there, ‘fun’. The events were solid, entertaining and featured many top athletes. When was the last time you have fun Zach? Writing about Pride a decade ago?

        I then came onto your site after the event. What do I see? I see the headline of “Dana White’s Great White Hype Express from total derailment”. Seriously? WTF? Who writes garbage like that, after a great weekend? Oh, that’s right. Zach Arnold does. MMA’s 2nd most bitter writer. And now you try to back up that bs header with a link to the Deadspin article by that retard Greg Howard? Please. Like that proves any point you have? Give me a break.

        Look, I know your angle is being the emo-ridden writer who is constantly searching to replicate what you did with Pride years ago. Check. I get it. But you are forcing it way to much now. It was a fun weekend, and an equally fun event. There’s plenty of time to hate, but for now, enjoy this monster event for what it was. Fun. And as much as you and other emo-kids wanted to bash Connor for being all ‘hype’ and getting a conspiracy laden ride to the top, the truth proved you all wrong.

        Yeah Zach, read that again. You and that douche Howard were wrong. Connor was and now is legit. He wasn’t gifted any free ride to the top either. Seriously, how can you say Connor’s ride to the top was a gift, when Jose Aldo was given the UFC 145lb belt without any tournament? Could you have your tongue up Jose’s bunghole anymore? Additionally, Connor’s now beaten not one, not two, but three guys in the top ten. What more do you want from him?

        The whole Howard link is just dumb. People complained for years about how the little guys weren’t promoted. Now the UFC promotes it heavily (Connor/Jose) and people complain it was to much, that other fighters were ignored. There’s no pleasing haters.

        And why wouldn’t the UFC ride this brash, shit-talking Irishman straight to the top? It’s a business. For the UFC to survive, and pay it’s 400+ athletes on the roster, it needs to sell a product. So anyone faulting Dana White and Company for being a bit excited about one of their best ticket sellers winning, …you are all nuts.

        As far as Dana endorsing Trump? Who cares. Who gives a crap. I come to this site for MMA, not to here you whine about political leanings of people.

        • Zach Arnold says:

          The UFC delivered three straight days of entertaining product.

          It’s exhausting enough when UFC runs weekly cards full of fights that end up largely meaningless in the grand scheme of things. It’s even worse when you run these triple-decker events in Vegas — I’m sure it’s enjoyable for people going to the site location but for the masses watching on TV or Internet, it’s really hard to get fans jump-started that what they’re watching is important.

          It is interesting how UFC has consolidated more of their activity back to Vegas rather than spreading themselves so thin geographically.

          As for the three days in question, you could have taken the good fights and put them onto one show & one card. Hate to parrot 45 here but he’s been on the money for a while.

          Look, I know your angle is being the emo-ridden writer who is constantly searching to replicate what you did with Pride years ago. Check. I get it. But you are forcing it way to much now.

          I’m as largely apathetic about the business as I can ever recall. Emotional? If by “emo” you mean somebody who actually cares about the law, business practices, or health & safety issues… sure.

          Yeah Zach, read that again. You and that douche Howard were wrong. Connor was and now is legit.

          Conor was legitimate in the first place. I never questioned his heart or technique as a fighter. But he was pushed, like many top UFC fighters, as the next Great White superstar to rally behind. And the manner in which they completely diminished Jose Aldo after proclaiming he was the best pound-for-pound fighter was quite curious, yes?

          I am very interested to see how UFC approaches their marketing of future Brazilian fighters given that their footprint is changing there and the days of Anderson Silva being relevant are fading away.

          As far as Dana endorsing Trump? Who cares. Who gives a crap. I come to this site for MMA, not to here you whine about political leanings of people.

          Oh, UFC’s public endorsement of Trump has everything to do with business and could turn out to be a very important item to note should Trump get out of the primary process.

          Outside of the anti-trust lawsuit right now in Vegas Federal court, there is no outside force that can or will get the Ali Act amended to cover MMA. With Harry Reid leaving the Senate, Trump as President would be UFC’s wet dream for protecting their bottom line.

        • Zheroen, says:

          So, who exactly is forcing you to read Zach’s website? If you want puff pieces on your favorites, just stick to Kevin Iole on Yahoo.

  10. jim allcorn says:

    Personally, I’ve never hated Dana myself.
    Sure, I’ve called him out on being a prick & an asshole when he’s behaved as such.
    But honestly, against my better nature, I’ve actually leaned toward liking the dude for the most part. But, over the course of the past several days he’s gone a LONG way toward making me see why Zach feels so damned negatively toward him. Especially now that the fuck has gone ALL IN on his support for his “good buddy” Trump.

  11. Tradition Rules says:

    Well here is a question: how many fights does Connor still have on his contract? As long as he has fights still Dana is going to be happy to put him over. Come close to contract negotiations he will still put him over…but also his opponent to make them look like the potential “next big thing”. If they win then “a new star is born ” because ( like Holmes beating Rousey) they just beat the greatest thing since sliced bread.

    Now the UFC has pretty much done this for a while but in the last few years due to a few different things ( the retirement of GSP and Lesnar and the rise of Rousey) they have taken the build up and promotion of new stars to greater levels.

    I was actually looking more to the co-main event. For me personally…that was the big drawing card. I was pulling for Aldo but had a strong feeling with both all the time Aldo was out and all the emotion Connor was riding that McGregor would win. After seeing their body language during the walkouts I was pretty sure what the outcome would be.

    I really enjoyed the Weidman-Rockhold fight. I mainly just wanted to see a highly competative contest. I felt that Weidman SHOULD be the favorite but started pulling for Rockhold at the beginning of the fight.

    • Zach Arnold says:

      As long as Conor has some form of a belt, he’s stuck like glue to UFC due to that champion’s clause. That said, the fighter has a lot of leverage here right now given Rousey, Weidman, and Cain losing this year.

      • Tradition Rules says:

        I agree, it’s not like Conor is going to WANT to leave, but he might ask for a larger slice of the pie when his contract ends. But as long as he is an attraction, Dana won’t minds paying him more,….as long as McGregor’s camp doesn’t ask for a ridiculous new contract.

        • Mark says:

          Here’s what I’m wondering: can he even afford to co-promote a show? Sure, they could slap his name on something, but can he afford to go in 50-50 on fighter salary, crew salary, satellite time, venue rental, travel expenses, ect? He just got his first big pay day in July, and by his own admission he doesn’t save money. So is he expecting UFC to just give him co-promoter money without putting in for it? And if he got a financial backer, wouldn’t they just give them the old “I don’t want somebody not in the industry to have a say in our show”? If that’s really what he’s going to hold out on, I really doubt it happens.

  12. 45 Huddle says:

    McGregor vs. Edgar needs to happen next. And then if he wants to try out Lightweight that is fine with me. At that point he would have beaten Aldo, Mendes, & Edgar in 3 straight. The division would have to rebuild from there.

    But Edgar needs to be next. He has won 5 straight, it a former champion, and just dominated Mendes.

  13. klown says:

    Is anyone else horrified by Herb Dean’s failure to stop the Weidman fight and spare Weidman from 4-5 minutes of unnecessary damage to health and well-being? That was very hard to watch. It’s a shame, because the early rounds contained excellent back-and-forth striking and grappling that would have been fun to show to someone new to MMA. But I wouldn’t, because of the one-sided violence of the last 5.

    Also:I can’t believe Weidman’s camp never threw in the towel and worse, that they let Weidman return to the fight after the third break. It’s irresponsible.

    • Chael's Roided Left Nut says:

      I was cringing a bit, but the key aspect of it was that Weidman was holding his hands up and protecting himself. It wasn’t like a very active defense (moving, posturing, trying to escape, etc..) but he was holding his hands up, and trying to block.

      I won’t profess to know the rules on how that is handled. It does seem though, that this situation was a bit different from those repeated strike situations, when the fighter is on his stomach. In those, it often seems difficult to gauge the mental state of the fighter, as their hands will already tend to lie on the mat. Weidman again, had to hold his hands up (while defending)

      • Zheroen, says:

        Think his concussed brain will give him a pass on the fact that “he held his hands up”? His skull was still absorbing a ton of kinetic energy from those “blocked” shots.

  14. 45 Huddle says:

    Anybody remember Pride 13? Pride changed the rules and allowed knees on the ground. Previously, knees on the ground had only been allowed for the Grand Prix finals between Mark Coleman vs. Igor Vovchanchin.

    Overnight, everything seemed to change. Pride 13 was a shocking event. Wanderlei Silva decimated Kazushi Sakuraba with those knees. Mark Coleman wrecked Alan Goes. It took a year or so for things to adjust to the “new” normal.

    It was the biggest shift in outcomes in any MMA organization in the history of the sport…. Until now.

    The combination of the IV Ban and the increased steroid testing… And it isn’t shocking that we have seen SIX UFC Titles change hands this year. Not only that, the champions have not looked themselves.

    Both Cain Velasquez and Chris Weidman were flat and exhausted after a round. Aldo lost his chin and looked deflated according to Joe Rogan. Ronda came in chubbier then before.

    This is the adjustment period. And it shows how bad of a drug problem the UFC had….

    • Chael's Roided Left Nut says:

      Some interesting ideas up there, but don’t you think there might be some extenuating circumstances with each of the above?

      Cain – Coming off a long layoff, and fighting in high elevation.

      Ronda – If she was ‘chubbier’, could it be due to her ridiculous non-training schedule (appearances, movies, etc..)

      Jose Aldo – Perhaps the ‘nine-year’ rule is in effect with him? Jose is in his 10th year of fighting pro, maybe, just perhaps, he’s starting to wear down? (and Connor is just that good?)

      Weidman – I’ll give you that one. He appeared a bit more winded than his prior fights. Weight cut issues? Did the IV ban hurt him?

  15. DIAZ'S PACKED BOWL says:

    anyone else notice ufc has stopped releasing dvds? not even a x-mas box set for hubby

  16. David m says:

    Does anyone know yet who Fedor will fight? This is the most ridiculously bad job of promoting I’ve ever seen.

    • DIAZ'S PACKED BOWL says:

      From what I hear, at the nightclub where some old pride fighters like to hang at, Fedor will be fighting Rampage.
      You heard it here first.

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