So as everyone knows Fedor made the following comments during a pre-fight conference. Before you go any further I will say that I am a fan of Fedor as a fighter,
"I'm not a UFC fan,"
"What I meant to say was, I'm not a fan of watching their fights," he said. "Compared to the commercials, the promotion and anticipation of their fights and the shows I've seen, there seems to be a negativity in a lot of their shows, so I'm just not a fan of watching their programs."
So Fedor makes his comments and it is shortly followed by comments like the one below. WTF?
"Fedor is right.. UFC is a joke.. the way they promote their fights and the way the ufc fighters are encouraged to act is a disgrace to the sport.. Fedor is a very wise man he sees UFC for what it really is and he reads between the lines.. i think Fedor is smarter then most people think."
Part 1, My take on Fedor
Now I am thinking that we all pretty much know that there is quite a bit of back and forth between Fedor, M1 and the UFC. As much as I like Fedor as a fighter it doesnt change my opinion about how I despise this whole cross promotion BS. I think that as much as some people hate to see an individual organization dominating the sport much like the UFC does, it has actually helped the sport grow tremendously. No, the fighters are not getting millions of dollars like a lot of todays Pro Athletes. I am against turning MMA into some cross-promotional sport with individual fighters saying they will only fight the other organizations fighters based on shared promotional opportunities. It all seems to much like the problems that Pro Boxing suffers from. All of the following are professional boxing organizations that have title holders- ABC,BBBoC, CBF, EBU, GBU, IBA, IBF-USBA, IBO,I FBA, NABA, NABC, NABF, NBA II, WBA.... This is not what we want MMA to turn into.
The UFC is the Superbowl of MMA, I say one organization that represents the top is cool with me. Does it put money in the pockets of Zuffa, well of course it does and so do a lot of things in this capitalistic society that we live in. I am not saying the fighters should just roll over and play puppy to Zuffa but lets be real here, fighters will not get paid if everyone is screaming about which organization they wiill fight for because honestly I will lose interest. We reach a point where there is no way to distinguish who the top talent is.
Fedor is a greatt fighter but money is the number one thing on his mind. From what limited information is available, I believe Fedor was offered somewhere around 2mil per fight plus incentives but refused because co-promotion could make him closer to 15 million per fight. Fedor is good but if I was running a business then I sure wouldn't pay out that kind of money for a fighter when most of the others fight for considerably less and live quite comfortably. I am here in Iraq ffighting a war for 60,000 a year and listening to how politicians do not want to give me a 2% raise. So a fighter wanting that kind of money does not earn any sympathy points from me. The UFC has a monoply and fighters salaries are on the rise but it makes me sick to hear about boxers who negotiate for years to get paid millions of dollars for one fight that by that point has lost any credibility. You end up with the Don Kings that negotiate fights based on money not talent.
My take on Strikeforce
I will start by saying that I will be the first one in front of the TV when Strikeforce has an event. I am after all a fan of the sport, You should see me get hyped when I attend my sons events and he is only ten. I have started to hear many say that Strikeforce is a better organization then the UFC and that to me just seems like an odd thing to say. I watch for the fights and there is some decent talent. iIn my humble opinion the announcers are annoying and the production seems at times cheesy(fireworks). I will say that they should show their ring girls more often because....well because who doesn't enjoy a little eye candy.
All this does not mean that Zuffa doesn't suffer from its share of problems. But if you're an MMA fan, then you know regardless of the reasons why, the UFC maintains a deep roster that consists of mostly the top talent. The people running Zuffa, while businessmen first, nonetheless love the sport, and seek to make it grow. They do an outstanding job of promoting the sport , the fighters and pushing MMA into the global mainstream. The UFC is why organizations such as Strikeforce exist. But I do wish that the UFC would stop their counter programming everytime Strikeforce has a event planned.
Oddly enough it is the UFC that provides a considerable amount of promotion for the sport and Strikeforce wisely uses it to their advantage. Strikeforce consistently uses the draw of former UFC fighters to headline their cards and their talent pool is very limited. I see Strikeforce as a place where good fighters can go and try to work their way back to the UFC or stay and headline fights and act as sort of gatekeepers for up and coming talent. This obviously makes more business sense for a fighter to be headlining main events instead of middle of the pack in the UFC. This also provides them with more visibility and sponsorship opportunities. I know many will say that a fighter wants to be challenged by the best but honestly I am sure that earning a living also plays into their decisions. Lets just look at this upcoming Strikeforce/M1 Global event on 26 Jun.
* Fedor Emelianenko vs. Fabricio Werdum -- Ok, Fedor is a very talented fighter and there is not a lot someone could say to convince me otherwise. I really would like to see him match up with some of the UFCs new breed of HWs instead of up and comers or former UFC heavyweights that were unable to perform consistently. I hear Arlosvki or Tim Sylvia and I tune out.
This leads me to Werdum who was 2-2 in the UFC and actually has a win over Alistair Overeem in Pride. Probably his biggest win was over Gabriel Gonzaga in the UFC (who he had already beat once before). Other then that he has a victory over an undersized HW Brandon Vera, horrible fight against Arlovski(snooozefest). Werdum was defeated in the UFC by Dos Santos and Nogeria, so that does not seem to really even put him as a top ten HW- But he is former UFC fighter so his appearance will draw the money.
* Champion Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos vs. Jan Finney --- This is a no brainer, Strikeforce is the premier organization for womens MMA, unfortunately their is not a lot of mainstream female fights. The last womens MMA match that I personally watched also involved Christiane Cyborg. It would be nice if they could put on at least one womens match per event, but the lack of fighters in weight classes that match-up probably makes that easier said then done.
* Cung Le vs. Scott Smith - I enjoy a Scott Smith fight but there is no denying that his talent as a fighter is based on his ability to block punches with his face and end the fight with one punch. His claim to popularity started with his comeback KO of Pete Sell at The Ultimate Fighter 4 Finale. Unfortunately that was his only win out of his 4 appearances in the UFC and he moved on to a series of inconsistent performances in EliteXC and Strikeforce. His only wins since his departure from the UFC have been Kyle Noke (yea , the guy that who didnt make the finals on TUF11), Terry Martin(UFC has been), Benji Radic (UFC 37,37.5, 39, and then defeated post UFC appearances by Pre-Ultimate fighter Chris Leben). Scott Smiths biggest win was over Cung Lee in a match that had him getting pounded until the last round where he pulled off the knockout. So in no uncertain terms does Scott Smith provide a viable threat to the UFCs MW div.
* Pat Healy vs. Josh Thomson--- In this last matchup both fighters have formerly fought in the UFC and have both faced decent competition. Healey has wins over Paul Daley and Carlos Condit but generallly has fallen short when facing upper level competition. He has fought in the WEC, UFC, and probably most well known for his time in the IFL.
Josh Thompson after losses to Yves Edwards and Clay Guida went on an eight fight winning streak that started in June 2006 and led him to his victory over Gilbert Melndez for the Strikeforce Lightweight Championship . He finally tasted defeat in Dec 09 in a rematch against Melendez for the belt. Josh Thompson has an outstanding MMA record at 16-3, of all the fighters on this card (minus Fedor) he would probably have the best chance of slight success in the UFC mix, but most likely not UFC championship contender.
Out of the six fighters (not counting female fighters) on this card four of them are former UFC dropouts. Do not get me wrong, I do not think there is not room for Strikeforce. My Problem is that somehow a growing number of people are starting to say things like "Strikeforce has better quality" WOW?!??!
I would say Strikeforce is nice to have but I see it as a gateway to the UFC, provides decent fighters to serve as gatekeepers to up and coming talent and provides us with some MMA sports entertainment, nothing more.
Ok, so if you actually took the time to read all that. What do you think?