Occupy The Throne – Edition #22

In this edition of Occupy The Throne, Samer Kadi & I once again answer fake emails from real fighters and personalities.

“Don’t we deserve to get our money back?” — MMA fans

Jeremy Lambert: For what, UFC 149? Of course not. Everyone knows the risks when it comes to buying a sporting event. Even if the card was great, which this one wasn’t, there’s always a chance that it ends up sucking. You want to stick it to the UFC and Dana White for a disappointing card? Don’t buy the next one. If people aren’t buying these mediocre cards, maybe it’ll send a message to the company to stop putting on mediocre cards. Granted UFC 149 was an awesome card before the MMA Gods decided that no arena that houses the Calgary Flames deserves anything great, but still.

Also, you guys got the return of Logan Stanton along with an appearance by Rachelle Leah and Brittney Palmer. If that isn’t the hottest ring card girl line-up ever, then I dare you to try and tell me different. Plus Miesha Tate was there in her gym pants, which drew the attention of more than one MMA media member.

Samer Kadi: I’m surprised that 19 years into the sport, and people are still struggling to grasp the simple concept of “not every card is going to deliver.” What is more surprising is seeing people outraged because a card that looked horrible on paper (bar the main event) ended up being, well, horrible. I’d like to ask a simple question: When you looked at the lineup for this card, what did you expect? Matt Riddle was fighting on the main card, which tells the entire story. Ironically, he ended up being the highlight of said main card.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with calling a spade a spade. UFC 149 was the worst UFC PPV of the year, and one of their worst outings in years. People have every right to label it as such. However, asking for a refund, or at the very least, complaining about the dollars spent to order it on PPV is ridiculous. There are no guarantees in this sport, and people should know the risks when they order a PPV.

“Do you think Dana White will listen to me and give us Strikeforce fighters Fight Night bonuses?” — Lornez Larkin

Jeremy Lambert: I don’t think Dana White knows who you are.

I hope he does listen to you Lorenz, but chances are you won’t have another fight in Strikeforce in order to find out. Not because you’ll be fired or anything, but because you only get a fight in Strikeforce every six months or so, meaning you probably won’t get another fight this year and the company will be dead in January 2013. It’s a shame that the Strikeforce guys aren’t given Fight Night bonuses. Even before Zuffa owned the company, these bonuses are something that should’ve been handed out to fighters as extra incentive. There are plenty of things wrong with Strikeforce right now and I’m sure a number of fighters are unhappy, so paying them a bit more for performing well would sure put a band aid on things.

I respect your efforts Lorenz, but Dana White has 99 problems and Strikeforce ain’t one that he cares about.

Samer Kadi: What do you mean “Dana White”? We all know that Scott Coker runs Strikeforce!

Ok, with that joke out of the way, I think there are days where Dana White forgets Strikeforce even exists. There is no doubt that you guys deserve Fight Night bonuses and I’m sure you do get something under the table after each show. However, an official “of the night” bonus wouldn’t really hurt. Unfortunately, Zuffa is already losing money on meaningless Strikeforce cards and I don’t think they’re really prepared to lose more, nor do they really care about the entire promotion to begin with. Your efforts are admirable, but will ultimately prove fruitless.

“How will ring girls who pose nude explain it to their children?” — Ronda Rousey

Samer Kadi: How will fighters who pose nude for ESPN The Magazine’s “body issue” explain it to their future children? The answer to either question Ronda, is “I don’t care.” They, like you, can do whatever they want and get paid for it. If one day this serves as a source of embarrassment, then everyone is held accountable for their decision. Now please don’t rip my arm off.

Jeremy Lambert: They will simply say, “You know that EZ Bake oven and Fisher Price car you love so much? These pictures paid for both of them and will pay for your ‘walking while holding cardboard above your head’ lessons so you can follow in Mommy’s footsteps.”

Also, lets be honest, by the time these chicks have a kid, they’re no longer going to be famous so their kid probably won’t care enough to google them because no one googles the name of a stay at home mom.

“TRT is killing the sport. I can’t even get a proper last fight without my opponent cheating and then ruining my interview because he’s pumped with so much testosterone. I fight my heart out.” — Tito Ortiz

Jeremy Lambert: I totally agree with you Tito. It’s a travesty that Forrest Griffin needed TRT to beat you and that he couldn’t fight you like a man. You’re a true champion and you should never go out like that. Your fans won’t let you go out like that. ONE MORE FIGHT TITO! ONE MORE FIGHT!

You’ve never cheated in your life and now all these guys feel the need to use to TRT in order to achieve half of what you achieved in your career. It’s a shame. TRT doesn’t even seem to be helping these guys. Forrest used it and nearly lost to you, which there is no shame in doing because you’re still one of the greatest fighters in the sport today. ONE MORE FIGHT! Chael Sonnen used it, looked like an idiot, and lost. Frank Mir used it and lost. Dan Henderson will be using it in a couple of months, and he’ll probably lose. If you can’t produce enough testosterone to get into a fight, maybe you shouldn’t be fighting.

Samer Kadi:Sorry Tito, I just got done watching this video and it’s hard to take anything you say seriously after that.

“How bad should the state of my knees be for Vera to beat me?” — Mauricio Rua.

Jeremy Lambert: They’d have to be so bad that Greg Oden is calling you up and asking if he could borrow your knees. Listen “Shogun,” we know that you’re not the fighter that you used to be because you haven’t been to Germany to get your knees magically repaired like Kobe Bryant, but you’re not as bad as Brandon Vera. In fact, if you lose to Vera, you should retire. That’s right, just call it a career at the ripe ol’ age of 30 immediately after the fight as Joe Rogan asks you what went wrong in his somber voice.

I honestly can’t fathom seeing you lose to Vera next weekend. I’m not even a huge fan of yours like my partner is, but come on, Brandon Vera? You just took part in one of the greatest MMA fights of all-time, and won in the eyes of a lot of people, and now you’re fighting Brandon Vera. This guy has lost every big fight he’s been in. He hasn’t finished anyone since 2009. He nearly lost to Eliot Marshall in his last bout. Take away his win over a pre-Lesnar victory Frank Mir, and his biggest victory is against Krzysztof Soszynski.

I’m less worried about your future as a fighter if you lose to Vera and more worried about Samer’s immediate future. I might be doing this column alone in two weeks if you lose to Brandon Vera.

Samer Kadi: You’d have to look at the very least, as poor as you did in the Mark Coleman rematch. Despite my immense admiration of you, I believe your best days are behind you, as you’ve had one knee surgery too many. Despite making short work of Forrest Griffin, and engaging in the greatest fight I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing against Dan Henderson, your movement looked extremely worrying in both those fights. Your power saw you through against Griffin and your otherworldly chin and inhuman ability to withstand punishment made the Henderson fight as competitive as it was. But when comparing those two fights (and you can add your bout with Jon Jones for good measure) to your performances against Liddell and Machida, the difference in your fluidity, speed and footwork is staggering. That being said, you should be able to absolutely decimate Brandon Vera. If you don’t, then your days as an elite light heavyweight division are numbered at best.

“If you didn’t enjoy Faber and Barao, you’re not a true fan of MMA. You want to see lions in the cage, and people fighting dragons.” — Dana White

Samer Kadi: Yeah Dana, you’ve said as much (word for word) in the press conference. In reality, it is either that, or the fact that we’ve had to sit through two hours of garbage before a main event which, while undeniably decent, was a disappointment nonetheless. That is not to say that it was your or the UFC’s fault. While you have certainly oversaturated the product and are forced to come up with some occasional less-than-stellar match-making as a result, UFC 149 was originally a very good card that unfortunately was hampered by injuries.

Your honesty regarding the underwhelming nature of the show is admirable, and you certainly didn’t pull any punches. Therefore, there really is no need for being defensive and directing your frustration towards fans. Nobody is in a position to qualify what constitutes a “real” MMA fan, nor is it reasonable to suggest that frustrated fans who sat through a string of horrendous bouts have unrealistic bloodthirsty expectations (they are often guilty of doing that, just not in this particular case) because they couldn’t enjoy a disappointing main event.

Keep in mind Dana, that some people might consider someone who takes it to twitter to express his frustration with referees who don’t stand fighters up after two seconds of inactivity to be an inauthentic MMA fan…even if that someone is the head of the UFC.

Jeremy Lambert: Did you watch the main event, Dana? I know you stormed out after Lombard vs. Boetsch and you were back in time to strap the title around Renan Barao’s waist with a disappointed look on your face, but you were noticeably absent from cage side during the main event.

You raise some interesting points though. Maybe we should put lions and dragons in the cage. Lets make MMA like Game of Thrones. How sweet would that be?

“I don’t want to drop to 125, but Kenny Florian thinks it’s a good idea and Dana White loves it when guys drop weight after losses. What should I do?” — Urijah Faber

Samer Kadi: You should stay put. You’re a very good fighter still, and you will likely beat anyone not holding bantamweight gold (both real and interim). Obviously, you’d have to saw off a leg – or a chin – to make flyweight, which leaves you with two options: either you continue competing at bantamweight, or you move back up. However, given that a potential change in weight class will likely be the result of your inability to capture the title, does a move back up to featherweight really make sense when the man holding the belt is the same fighter who painted your thighs in colors few of us knew existed?

Keep on fighting at bantamweight, keep on making good money, and keep putting on good fights. If you never win a title again, so be it. You’ve had a pretty good career regardless.

Jeremy Lambert: Move to 155. You’re not winning the title at 135 or 145, but you’ve faced almost all the top guys at 135 and do you really want to be at 145, knowing that winning only gets you another fight with Jose Aldo?

Would you be undersized at 155? Sure, but Frankie Edgar is undersized at 155 and he’s done pretty well for himself. You’ve always been a fighter who relies a lot on his speed and scrambling ability, but both of those things get a bit nullified at 135, where everyone is extremely quick. Look at the lightweight division right now, it’s full of great fighters, none of whom have really established themselves and none of whom are big draws. You’re still an extremely popular fighter and a couple of high profile wins at 155 could get you a title shot. You’re telling me that you couldn’t beat Melvin Guillard, who is in the co-main event of the next PPV, or Joe Lauzon or Jamie Varner, who are on FOX next weekend?

Maybe you don’t win a title at 155 either, but at least it gives you a new lease on your career for at least two years.

“Admit it. I’m a genius.” — Bjorn Rebney

Samer Kadi: A genius is a bit of a stretch, Bjorn. After all, you did make a deal with MTV 2 and called it “magical.” However, in the case of Hector Lombard, you have made the right choice. At this point, Bellator can ill-afford to enter in a bidding war with the UFC in an effort to keep some of its top fighters, especially since if you were to retain their services, they would be vastly overpaid. Bellator is not founded on the star power of its fighters, and not a single person under its roster is really a draw (unless you want to really stretch the meaning of the word and label Eddie Alvarez as such). Overpaying someone like Hector Lombard, whose presence in the organization, while valuable, is hardly essential, would have been a bad business decision. As a result, you decided to cut your losses and move on. Your promotion is hardly in dire straits as a result, and your “competitor” has hardly dealt you a knockout blow in their latest acquisition. It worked out well for you in the end.

Jeremy Lambert: I say you’re a genius based on the new Bellator game alone. That’s a revolutionary MMA game that everyone should play.

Ok, so maybe you’re not a genius Bjorn, but you definitely don’t get enough credit for what you’ve done. Granted you’ve done some dumb things, like the stupid non-title “super fights” but the tournament format allows you to survive without a major star and you’ve taken the company from ESPN Deports to SpikeTV starting next year. Now that you’re associated with Spike, you can afford to keep your champions around because I’d be shocked if they didn’t help you foot a bill or two. Letting Hector Lombard walk away was no big deal (especially given the egg he laid in his UFC debut) and if you let Eddie Alvarez walk away, that won’t be a big deal either, although I’d worry about creating a “second rate” atmosphere where you just let everyone leave.

Bellator will never be on the level of the UFC, but they’ve come a long way in a short period of time, and you’ve been the mastermind behind it all.

“Which of these scrubs should fight me next?” — Anderson Silva

Jeremy Lambert: The only one that isn’t a scrub (no offense Chris Weidman): Rashad Evans.

I don’t care what Rashad’s camp says, he’d be a fool to turn down an immediate shot at you. Now he may have to win one fighter at 185 before he gets that title shot, but given that you like to take 8-10 months off before competing again, he’d have plenty of time to beat any of the top middleweights in the division. How about Rashad vs. Vitor Belfort for the right to face you in Brazil? That’s two big PPV main events, something the UFC desperately needs right now.

No matter who you fight next, you’re going to be waiting awhile. With Hector Lombard’s recent loss, everyone else in the division needs at least one more win before they’re ready to take on the greatest fighter of all-time.

Samer Kadi: Despite the fact that you’re supernatural, you are getting up there in age. And while it is impossible to tell that based on your breathtaking performances, there is a chance you might not be performing at your vintage best 2-3 years from now. Therefore, while no one would fault the UFC for throwing some middleweight contender at you – after all, you are the champion and taking on contenders is part of the job description – I would personally like to see you take part in mega fights.

As terrific as he is, what does a win over Chris Wiedman really do for you at this point in your career? The UFC should get the money bouts out of you while they still can, and though not exactly fair, I would like to see Rashad Evans get the next crack at your belt. Hopefully, Rashad’s camp will notice that both my partner and I are in agreement about this and take it as irrefutable evidence that it is a good idea for the fight to happen. And why not? It is guaranteed to make money for all parties involved, both of you are stars, he is a former champion, and most importantly, the fight is stylistically very interesting.

“Can anyone defeat me?” — UFC Jitters

Samer Kadi: Anderson Silva. Miraculously, he was able to overcome the notorious UFC jitters to knockout Chris Leben in less than one minute. However, almost everyone else has fallen victim to them. God forbid the reason they happen to lose their UFC debut is a superior opponent on the day, a bad game plan, poor execution, or the fact that they’re simply not as good as previously advertised. If the UFC commentary crew is to be believed however, “Octagon Jitters” is the only reasonable justification for any loss suffered by a previously highly touted fighter on his UFC debut.

The latest victim was Hector Lombard, who turned in a pedestrian performance that shocked anyone who hasn’t paid close attention to his previous fights. When Lombard fails to finish his opponent early, that is usually how his fights turn out. And yet there was a sense of near disbelief that everyone’s favorite can-crusher looked less than stellar against Tim Boetsch, and once again, the tired narrative of “UFC jitters” was brought up.

Just for fun, two highly touted fighters should be matched up against each other on their UFC debut. Since neither of them can possibly overcome Octagon jitters, we might have a double knockout on our hands.

Jeremy Lambert: That Junior dos Santos guy did pretty well in his UFC debut as well, but I forgot that he doesn’t exist.

“UFC jitters” is one of my least favorite excuses ever as to why a guy loses. Is there a difference between fighting elsewhere and fighting in the UFC? Of course, but to say that’s the reason why some fighters underperform in their debut is a cop out. This isn’t even the narrative when a highly touted fighter makes his UFC debut, this is the narrative when EVERYONE makes their UFC debut. A mediocre fighter who won a couple of fights on the local scene making his UFC debut on 3 weeks notice doesn’t perform well? UFC JITTERS!

You know Joe Rogan was pretty upset when Ryan Jimmo knocked out Anthony Perosh in 7 seconds in his UFC debut.


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