In a recent article in The Clitheroe Advertiser and Times — a United Kingdom-based publication — UFC President Dana White talks about UFC 70 and the promotion's return to England on April 21.
Of course, White discussed the popularity and success of British light heavyweight and The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season three champ, Michael Bisping. He's the main attraction on the card, receiving top billing over proven superstars and mixed martial arts veterans Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic and Andrei Arlovski.
There's a reason for this craziness, apparently, and it has to do with White's serious man crush on "The Count."
Here's a snip from White:
"Without a doubt the most talented guy we saw [for TUF cast] was Michael Bisping. He's a talented fighter who's got a great personality. Some people have got it, others don't, Bisping's got it. Mike is one of the most popular fighters in the UFC, and it is incredible just how much people over there love him and I'm sure people over here will too."
"He's in the mix and I want to take my time with him, but he could end up fighting them all [top 205-pound contenders]. He is undefeated after 13 fights, which is incredibly hard to do, it's hard to go two, even the best champion fighters have lost four or five, so he could become the best."
Two telling statements in this interview:
- ‘... I want to take my time with him;' and
- ‘... he could become the best'
Is it possible that White is choosing dollars over seeing his newly minted golden boy get beat?
I'll let you decide ... I think you know where I stand.
Sure, I can understand it on a certain level. He's got a guy who fans like and want to see do well. And, the better Bisping does and the better he looks the more cash it brings and the more marketable he becomes.
But, I think that putting him in the cage with a crafty veteran like Elvis Sinosic — a man who owns a losing professional record despite the stiff competition in those fights — is not the smartest move.
He was clearly brought into lose. And, I'm rather confident that Bisping knows he is expected to win and put a smile on Daddy's face at the end of the night.
That's a ton of pressure.
And let's say he loses ... what does that say? Was Jason Lambert really supposed to knockout out Babalu at UFC 68? Or, was Joe Lauzon supposed to shock the world with an upset over former and returning lightweight champion Jens Pulver?
I don't like the careful matchmaking because it doesn't always work. Not to mention, most fans can always see right through it. Did anyone really want to see Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic thrash Eddie Sanchez?
It's a waste — win or lose — for the fans and the fighters.
There's actually a fight on that card that shows some balls: Andrei Arlovski vs. Fabricio Werdum.
Werdum is an unknown fighter here in the states but one of the top heavyweights in the world. His first fight in the Octagon will be against the former champ Andrei Arlovski — a well-known and popular attraction.
The UFC could have easily given Werdum a can to whoop on and showoff his skills. But, they didn't.
That's because if Werdum loses, he loses to "The Pitbull." And if he wins, he's instantly regarded among casual fans as a serious threat to the title.
It's a win-win situation.
The same can't be said for the UFC's new poster boy, Bisping -- let him protect himself.