Today is ‘shit on fighters’ day, apparently. This post’s victim is EliteXC welterweight (or whatever his stupid weight is) contender KJ Noons. I’m not a big fan of Noons’ … he’s had some success in boxing and kickboxing but his only significant win so far in MMA was against Edson Berto, who is respectable but nowhere near top quality MMA.

Gary Shaw has been working his ass off trying to build Noons up as a star in a similar fashion to Gina Carano. Except now I guess Gary’s decided to throw Noons into the deep end against Nick Diaz to see what happens. I don’t know exactly what Noons has done to earn this fight / title shot … once again, I think this shows a lack of depth in EliteXC’s roster.

I don’t really mind that much because I’ll enjoy watching Nick punk this bitch. But I do feel bad for Diaz. To come off a win against one of the top lightweights in the world and now be stuck fighting scrubs must be pretty damned frustrating. Not only does Nick not get any props for beating these guys, he’s putting his rep on the line every time he steps into the cage to fight. If he gets caught and knocked out by one of these upstart challengers, that would do hella damage to his rep. These fights are all risk and no gain for him.

On the surface, putting Brock Lesnar up against Frank Mir in his first UFC bout may seem like a pretty ballsy move. Of course, that’s only because everyone keeps forgetting Frank Mir sucks cheesy balls. And no, I don’t think that statement only applies to post-accident Mir. Honestly, I don’t think Frank Mir has ever been half as good as everyone has always made him out to be.

Like Vitor Belfort, fans never know ‘which guy’ is gonna show up when Frank Mir fights: The fatty fat fat lazy fucker, or the relatively in shape lazy fucker? Either way, it’s gonna take a pretty big fluke for Brock Lesnar to lose to Frank Mir.

So hey … congrats to the UFC! You guys picked the perfect dude to set Brock Lesnar up with. Beating a former UFC champ gives you instant cred, even if Mir’s tenure as title holder was spent in a hospital half dead. And hey, beat Mir and people are going to say “Wow, Lesnar has the ability to beat guys with a solid ground game.”

Bullshit. The only reason Frank Mir hasn’t washed out of the UFC already is because he’s balls deep with UFC brass. I’m sure he’s not thrilled at the idea of having to fight Brock Lesnar, but hey … Zuffa did him a favor by hooking him up as a WEC commentator, so one good turn deserves another, right? Mir already did a pretty good job of validating Brandon Vera’s overhyped reputation. So why not Lesnar too?

More gay IFL news … they just ‘fired’ Don Frye as coach because his team sucks. Of course, no one really cares about that, but I do want to point out what this means on a larger scale.

New IFL president and general MMA virgin Jay Larkin stated in a conference call last week that the IFL was planning on moving away from their schlocky animal related team affiliations to concentrate more on actual fight camps. This, as I said at the time, was a good idea. And I also said they’d probably still fuck it up, which it looks like they’re doing.

The fact that they’re still slowly firing coaches probably means they’re planning on keeping the ‘coaching’ position existent in their league. While it seems like a good idea at first glance to keep ‘celebrity’ coaches in place, it’s *the* main reason the IFL is so cut off from the rest of the MMA world.

In case you didn’t know it, Dana White fucking hates the IFL. He sued them several times when they first came into existence and burned many a bridge with people like Pat Miletich and Ken Shamrock over their participation in the IFL. So long as Dana White is running the show, you’ll never see one of the fighters in his organization fielding an IFL team.

And hey … that makes sense. The UFC spends a lot of money developing guys like Rich Franklin, Matt Hughes, and Randy Couture. You can’t have them signing on to be employees of a rival promotion. But while individual fighters are prevented from entering a business relationship with the competition, it’s understood that their fight camps are not tied to any one promotion and are free to do whatever they want.

Get rid of the ‘coach’ as an employee of the IFL and you get rid of the technicality that keeps camps like Xtreme Couture, H.I.T. Squad, Team Punishment, and Team Quest from participating.

In fact, the IFL should completely ditch the concept of teams being ‘a part of their league’ and instead position themselves as an organization that books teams against eachother, no major strings attached. Again, the less strings, the less ability the UFC has to be pissed when training camps that are generally known to be associated with them participate.

Sam Caplan pointed out something kinda odd … tucked in at the bottom of Steve Sievert’s Brawl Sports article on Nate Marquardt is this interesting paragraph:

In the meantime, Marquardt waits for his next opportunity to get in the cage. He has one fight left on his current UFC deal, and, according to his agent, the promotion has yet to contact Marquardt to make that fight or initiate discussions on a contract extension.

Okay, we’re the first people to admit that Nate Marquard has less personality than most people in a persistent vegetative state. His fights aren’t exactly setting the world on fire … the only interesting bout I’ve seen him in was was only great because Anderson Silva beat the shit out of him in it.

That being said, beggars can’t be choosers and right now the UFC is hitting urine-stained beggar status with their shitty middleweight division. Their TUF prospects keep dropping the ball and their grizzled veterans are either recovering alcoholics or in a permanent state of injury. If the best they can field is a couple snorefest fighters like Okami and Marquardt, then so be it.

If the UFC lets Marquardt go, that’ll be yet another mistake they’ve made in babysitting their middleweight division back to health. The UFC needs guy like him and Yushin Okami to be legitimate middle of the pack threats to bounce their marketable contenders off of. Never mind the fact that these guys are boring! At least keeping them around as token fighters keeps your Middleweight top five from being laughably littered with Ultimate Fighter washups.

Sam Caplan is reporting that the IFL live show drew a .4 rating on Saturday night:

It’s believed that the company considers the show a success because the numbers were a 20% increase from the previous week’s taped broadcast. MyNetworkTV was also able to sell out the ad inventory for the hour and there was additional press coverage of the IFL leading up to the first live telecast.

Right now a plan is being put in place to secure a two-hour live telecast on MyNetworkTV for the World Grand Prix finals on Dec. 29. that would start at 8 p.m. ET. The lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, and heavyweight titles would be decided with the idea of the show serving as an unofficial lead-in for the UFC 79 pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET.

MyNetworkTV might consider 0.4 a success, but to put things in context, the first three weeks of IFL Battleground drew a 0.7, 0.6, and 0.8 rating. To me, the current ratings they’re getting are pretty dismal because instead of representing the 0.4 that watched, it really shows how many viewers they’ve lost and can’t get back even with the promise of live shows.

This just confirms that there’s no quick fix that will make things better for the IFL … a lot of people have already made their minds up regarding the quality of their product and are sick of wasting their time on it.

I hope new head honcho Jay Larkin pushes his ideas through and makes a very clear distinction between this season and the next one, because if I didn’t have to cover the IFL on account of running this site, I wouldn’t bother coming back unless there were major obvious changes.

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