I know, I know — I show up around here sporadically and unannounced (just like your father while you were growing up). The truth is that I don’t love you (also similar to your father) and I enter and exit your life on my own personal whims, which is usually when I have nothing better to do and ran out of beer money (again, just like Daddy).
But I’m here today to touch on a topic that is equally prevalent in both the mixed martial arts world and in the sexual encounters of my past: bad decisions. I’m hoping to make this post a semi-regular occurrence here at Fightlinker, but I’m not all that great at making promises (yet another trait I share with your old man, as evidenced by the time he told you he’d take you to a ball game for your birthday and then no-showed). Point is, I may be a lot of things, but reliable is not one of them.
Anyway, the gist of this is simple: I’ll pick a few things currently gong on in the MMA world and explain why they’re piss poor decisions. Then you can use the comment section to toss out ideas for things I might have missed, to verbally berate me for my choices, and/or throw homoerotic insults at one another.
Follow me after the jump for the current bad decisions being made in the sport of MMA.
1. Dana White’s reluctance to book Wanderlei Silva vs. Chris Leben is a BAD DECISION.
This fight is a no-brainer. Akiyama was supposed to fight Wand, but then Wand got injured and Leben replaced him. Leben actually pulled off the upset and it just makes sense that he should now take Akiyama’s spot against Wand.
On top of that, the fight is a stylistic dream. Both of these guys have made their careers out of throwing caution to the wind and slugging it out with whoever was standing in front of them. This fight would no doubt turn out to be a slugfest for the ages which is more than enough reason to book it.
From a rankings standpoint, Leben v. Wand almost makes too much sense. After dropping two in a row and putting his spot on the UFC roster in question, Leben has reestablished himself as a legit contender in the MW division and, especially after finishing two very tough opponents in the span of two weeks, deserves a high-profile fight with a name fighter. Enter Wanderlei Silva.
Similarly, Wand lost two in a row and, while his job security might have been stronger than Leben’s, he was fighting for relevancy against Michael Bisping in his last fight. Wand came out on top and now needs a tough challenge against a high-level opponent to change his status from “still relevant” to “legitimate contender.” Since practically every other 185-pound contender is tied up at the moment, Leben makes perfect sense.
When asked about booking this obvious fight, Dana shrugged it off because Silva still needs some more time to recover from his most recent injury and Dana wants to get Leben back in there as quickly as possibly. I call bullshit. Leben has already fought three times this year. Getting him back in the cage is not of the utmost importance. What is of the utmost importance is putting on the most exciting, most logical fights that the fans want to see. This fight is guaranteed to be exciting, it makes sense from a sporting perspective, and, most importantly, the fans want it. Get it done.
2. Strikeforce’s complete failure to get their proposed middleweight tournament done was a BAD DECISION.
If somebody had suggested to Scott Coker that he plan a tournament to establish a new champion due to Jake Shields’ departure and he had said that it “sounds like a good idea,” we wouldn’t be talking about this. But that’s not what happened. Coker brought it up in multiple public forums, got the fanbase excited at the prospect, and then failed to deliver.
Jake Shields’ departure was a big blow to Strikeforce yet it seemed to be mitigated by the announcement of a tournament. It was a win-win for the fans; everybody has wanted to see Shields in the UFC for a few years now, and who doesn’t love a tournament? With the idea of putting on a tournament with a mixture of established fighters (Lindland, Lawler, Le) and young up-and-comers (Jacare, Kennedy), the Strikeforce middleweight division actually became more exciting than it would have been with Shields simply defending his belt.
And then, after weeks of talking up a potential tourney, Strikeforce announces Jacare Souza vs. Tim Kennedy for the vacant middleweight strap. I’m going to guess I wasn’t the only one who responded by exclaiming “The Fuck?” to no one in particular. Sure, Kennedy and Souza are two of the top prospects at 185, but I’d be lying if I said I couldn’t wait to see the two of them go at it. If that wasn’t enough, the reasons given varied from certain fighters being reluctant to participate to the relevant athletic commission refusing to give a license for a one-night, four-man tournament. Once again, I call bullshit.
Cung Le and Dan Henderson were both pretty vocal about not wanting in on the tournament. Doesn’t matter. I’m sure Jacare, Kennedy, Smith, Lawler, Rockhold, Miller, Lindland, and Diaz all would’ve jumped on board. And if any of them weren’t for it, guys like Radach, Villasenor, Prangley, or the winner of the upcoming Misaki-Santiago bout all would have been adequate replacements.
Anybody who didn’t want to participate could just sit it out. Simple. And as for the failure to get a license from the athletic commission, so what? Do it over the course of multiple events so you don’t have to worry about getting a license for a guy to fight twice in a night. This shit isn’t rocket science. Strikeforce, you dropped the ball here big time.
3. The UFC booking Mir vs. Nogueira II was a BAD DECISION.
This one is simple. Like the announced Franklin vs. Henderson rematch a year or so ago, nobody was really salivating for a rematch here. A rematch is reserved for cases where there was a questionable decision or stoppage, or both men have worked themselves back up the rankings to the point where a rematch simply makes sense for each man. Neither is the case here. The ending to the first fight was pretty clear cut, and Nogueira has only gone 1-1 since the first meeting, meaning a revenge win over Mir isn’t going to be putting him in a title fight. As for Mir, he’s already the first man to stop Nog in an MMA bout so an additional win over the guy doesn’t do much for him.
Stronger than any of the aforementioned reasons is that there is a more highly demanded rematch out there that could have been booked: Nogueira vs. Cro Cop. The people want it, the fighters want it, and it makes more sense for the two former PRIDE vets than Nog fighting Mir again. And after having just been destroyed by Shane Carwin, Mir should be matched up with somebody in the middle of the pack like Gonzaga or Russow in order to reestablish himself before his next big fight.
This will no doubt be one of the UFC’s lowest selling pay-per-views of the year and rightfully so. Dana, there’s still time to drop this fight and book Cro Cop v. Nog, just like you replaced Franklin v. Hendo with Franklin v. Belfort. Do it.