Like a kid finding his Christmas presents in his parent’s closet a week before Christmas, we kind of ruined the whole Mark Cuban MMA thing. While other kids danced with visions of sugarplums and Fedor vs Barnett dancing in their heads, we already knew last night that the ‘main event’ for Cuban’s first show was Paulson vs Ford.
Overall, we did pretty damned good at predicting everything with Cuban. He’s basically throwing shows in the arena he owns for the TV channel he owns. He’s not going overboard financially … he’s starting small and seeing where that goes. And hey, in a lot of ways that’s a good idea. After Fedor vs Barnett, there’s really nowhere to go but down. And considering the lineup for their first show, there’s really nowhere to go but up.
But let’s get to the point: No matter how tame the first offering, Cuban’s foray into MMA is good for the sport. Past his own show on October 14th, he’s planning on featuring 24 full fledged MMA events on his HDNet Fight Night program through 2008. Some of the names he mentioned were the IFO (Steele Cage), Art of War, and even the IFL.
24 shows is pretty significant, and that’s a lot of money and exposure for other promotion companies and fighters that they wouldn’t otherwise get. So while Cuban’s events may not set the world on fire, the framework that Cuban is building is going to help other MMA companies get off the ground and out of the Pay-Per-View trap they’ve been stuck in for years and years. It will also give non-UFC fighters an avenue to gain some real exposure and earn some decent cash.
Overall, Cuban’s deal is great for the sport, even if it makes us hardcore fans yawn.
Who knows why Justin McCully is off UFC 76, but honestly … who fucking cares? No one had any idea why the hell Justin McCully was fighting for the UFC in the first place. I guess dropping off the face of the earth for 6 years and then winning two matches against weak competition is enough to get you into the UFC nowadays. That’s how McCully did it … Or maybe it was Tito Ortiz pulling some strings.
Regardless, the guy sucked balls in his debut match against Antoni Hardonk. As a UFC fighter there are three crimes you can commit to gain my ire:
- You can coast into the UFC without earning a spot
- You can look like a washed up overweight Billy Ray Cyrus impersonator
- You can have a really terrible boring match
Since Justin McCully has pulled off the hat trick, I officially hate him and am glad he’s off the UFC76 card. But what’s really great is who’s replacing him: Scott Junk. Junk is some new hotness coming out Hawaii … I heard about his MFC fights and how brutal his striking is. Plus his last name is Junk. How cool is that? All in all this just turned a boring fight I was going to avoid into a match I really want to see.
**Update** McCully is out because of an injured elbow
“We’ve been in discussions with the WWE, Vince and Linda McMahon and Shane about doing some cross promotions under the HDNet Fights banner,” said Cuban. “Since they do a great job of putting together events, within some of the restraints that I talked about, the no ring girls and obviously the events have to be straight up, there’s no scripted anything, but they want to get into that side of the business. They realize that if they just brand it as WWE, that people aren’t going to believe that it’s not scripted, but if they work with Mark Cuban and HDNet Fights and the Dallas Mavericks approach, then people will trust it.”
I’m always conflicted when I hear rumors that the WWE wants to move into MMA. The responsible adult in me thinks it’s a horrific idea that will result in the end of civilization as we know it. But the kid in me would kill to see the crazy shit that would happen as a result.
Michael Bisping being the world’s largest douche at the post-UFC75 press conference certainly takes on a new angle with the news that just minutes before he hit the stage his dad was being attacked by hooligans in the 02 parking lot:
“Nobody knows what happened before the press conference” he told us, “Just before I walked in, I got a phone call saying that my dad had been attacked in the car park by several people.” Bisping tried to come to his father’s aid, but was unable to find him. “A security guard came down on a moped and I jumped on the back of the moped and we were flying around looking for him and we hit a road block.” Not the ideal situation to meet the press after a controversial decision. So when reporters suggested he lost the fight, Bisping lost control a little bit. “It wasn’t the right thing to say, but there was things that went on beforehand.” he explains, “The guys that asked the questions, I apologize to them but I had just been in a spin for the last 10 minutes.”
You can read Bisping’s full account on his site. It’s too bad that no one is really picking up or running with this story … it certainly makes Bisping’s behavior a bit more understandable. I’m actually amazed that he went to the press conference at all. If it was a choice between a press conference and my dad’s safety, I’d choose the press conference too. But that’s because I fucking hate my dad and hope he dies of AIDS or whatever painful disease is ravaging Africa right now. But I would have to assume the average person wouldn’t ditch their dad for a press conference.
There’s not a lot of details on that, or why Bisping’s dad was targeted. If Bisping Sr. was talking smack out there like Bisping Jr. was in the octagon, perhaps that explains a few things. Even though Bisping was the ‘hometown boy’, a lot of people at the event were seriously pissed at the results. Plus I hear that since the Bispings aren’t from London but Surrey, that could have had something to do with it too. Fucking British … seems like if you live in an area with a different soccer club, they’re liable to lynch you.
Joe Riggs (26-9) has no problem fighting for any promotion, as long as he gets a little respect. The seven-time UFC veteran says he recently asked promoters Zuffa LLC. to release him from a four-fight co-promotional contract with its sister organization World Extreme Cagefighting to pursue more lucrative offers that would entail less fights.
Earlier that year, Riggs says the WEC had unceremoniously stripped him of his middleweight title with little reason other than the promotion had too many title bouts scheduled for a card Riggs ended dropping off from.
“They didn’t strip [featherweight champion] Urijah Faber or [light heavyweight champion] Doug Marshall, whoever he is, and then they let a fighter I already beat fight for my title,” says Riggs.
I can’t really comment on Joe’s specific gripes because I don’t know enough about them. But from an outsider’s point of view, Zuffa seems to have treated Joe Riggs pretty well. They allowed him to bounce back and forth between the UFC and WEC so he could defend his WEC title (remember, this was before the UFC owned WEC). When Karo Parisyan was injured and lost his title shot, the UFC tapped Joe Riggs to replace him. After a devastating loss to Mike Swick, they gave him a soft rebound fight with Jason Von Flue on national television. Then they gave him a headlining fight on an Ultimate Fight Night against Diego Sanchez!
Honestly, I really don’t know what else Zuffa could have done for Joe Riggs other than massage his balls while deep throating his cock. So while I can understand why he would leave the WEC fold to fight easier opponents for similar cash, I can’t agree with Rigg’s assessment that he ‘got no respect’ from Zuffa.