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Here’s a bit of a mindblowing quote from Lorenzo Fertitta in an interview with Kevin Iole*:

One of the greatest successes that we’ve had, for instance, is the last show we did in New Jersey (UFC 78 on Nov. 17). We had a fight being headlined by two guys who had never fought for a championship and, relatively, had never been proven to be pay-per-view draws. But we basically sold out the arena in New Jersey and we did very strong, above average, pay-per-view. So to me, while it wasn’t Liddell-Ortiz, that said more to me than one of what you might call one of our bigger fights did. It showed that our UFC brand can carry a whole show.

Correction: the UFC brand SOLD the show, it didn’t carry it. Lorenzo is basically bragging that they had a shitty show and it sold like hotcakes. Maybe if 78 had been a sleeper event like past Ultimate Fight Nights have been, it would be okay to be proud that the New Jersey show did well. As it stands, the kind of exposure garnered by 78 probably resulted in a lot of people saying the same thing they said after De La Hoya / Mayweather : “Well, that was fucking awful. I’m not gonna buy another one of these things again.”

*WARNING: Kevin Iole is at best an irresponsible source with clear conflict of interest issues, and at worse an incompetent no fact checking douche. Take whatever he covers with the world’s largest grain of salt.

I’m low on creative juices today so I thought I’d take a look at Steve Seivert’s list of predictions for 2008 and give my thoughts on them:

Henderson ends Silva’s title reign : While I agree that this is probably the most competitive opponent Silva has faced, I just don’t see Henderson going in with the firepower to defeat Anderson Silva. A judge’s decision is a possibility, but I’d say it’s more likely that Hendo is dumb enough to try and trade with Silva like he did with Wanderlei. From there it’ll be interesting to see how his wrestling holds up with his brain-egg scrambled.

Couture remains sidelined : Yeah, I laugh at anyone who thinks Couture is getting out of his contract easy. The UFC is gearing up to go to war in the courts and while it’s 50/50 on who’ll win, I don’t see anything being resolved until 2009 at the earliest. Of course, there’s a small chance Couture will work things out with the UFC … if Fedor somehow drops a win against Pedro Rizzo in the spring, perhaps a bout with Big Nog would sound like a better way for Randy to cement his legacy.

HDNet Fights becomes No. 2 : Maybe in 2009 or 2010, but not any time soon. The channel simply doesn’t have the exposure and HDNet Fights is still in a major development phase of it’s existance. EliteXC is already throwing bigger and better shows, and considering the cross promotion that went on in Japan over New Years, who knows how HERO’s will do in 2008.

Hughes shuts it down : Steve says he thinks Matt Hughes has one more fight in him, most likely against Matt Serra. I think that the drive to compete will keep Matt Hughes in the UFC for at least a few more slow-paced years against specific hand-picked opponents. It would be really nice if Hughes moved up a class and went after the middleweight strap, but I don’t think he’s delusional enough to think he could pull it off.

WEC takes show on the road : Yeah, they’ve already said they’re going to do this. Too bad they have no plans of straying far from the west coast. Fuck you, California!

Penn makes history : Steve thinks Penn’s going to win the LW strap, defend against Sherk, and then take on GSP at WW. I speculated in the past that BJ Penn only agreed to coach TUF and return to lightweight if he was promised a shot at the welterweight belt too, but now I think that Zuffa would be INSANE to agree to that. Besides, by the time Penn is done with Sherk, the LW division will have another 2 or 3 contenders waiting for their turn.

Griffin upsets Jackson to win UFC LHW title : Will Rampage suffer the same fate as Chuck Liddell? Fame is a fucked up thing, and it’s hard to stay motivated and hungry when you’re already at the top. Would people doubt Rampage’s determination if he wasn’t always joking around? Probably not as much … but things are what they are. Rampage has a rep as a joker and a party animal. Forrest has a reputation for living in the gym. I’m not gonna say it’s a shoe in, but there’s definately a good chance this could happen.

Fedor loses: Steve thinks that a case of skill rust contracted from fighting cans will cause Fedor to drop the first fight against top tier talent, namely Josh Barnett. I’d say M-1 Global doesn’t seem to be in any rush to book that particular fight, and past Josh there’s no one else in free agency that’ll put up a real fight. Look for Fedor to fight Pedro Rizzo, Ben Rothwell, and another Japanese freakshow for December 31st 2008. And then in 2009, no one will bother to put him in their list of predictions because no one will give a shit about him any more.

The latest news regarding Matt Lindland that’s not false is the following update on his status with the UFC, as per Dana White:

“I’ve had some issues with Lindland in the past. I have talked to him, and they want to continue to talk,” he said. “I am still on the fence with Lindland. I want someone that wants to be a team player. I don’t need a promotion full of Titos (Ortiz).”

So basically in order to fight in the UFC, you have to drink the Kool-Aid. If you’re not willing to drink the Kool-Aid, then get the fuck outta Jonestown. Great.

I also love how Dana White “doesn’t want a promotion full of Titos”. Yeah, because Tito Ortiz didn’t carry the UFC through the dark ages of MMA and isn’t still one of the biggest stars in the promotion. Why would you ever want more guys like him? Because he expects to be paid what he’s worth? Because he’s got a spine and doesn’t just take it up the ass?

The real question is “Who’s really the one that’s hard to work with?” Are Matt Lindland, Tito Ortiz, Josh Barnett, Fedor, Randy, Ken and Frank Shamrock really hard to work with, or is it Dana White that’s a fucking dope?

To me, the situation is obvious. When upper management talks about being a ‘team player’, that just means they want you to ‘take one for the team’. If that means fighting injured or fighting for a lot less money than you should or being sacrificed as a rebound, then hey … that’s what being a team player is all about! But just remember that when you’re all used up, Team UFC will toss you aside and move on to find more ‘team players’. Because there’s no “I” in “Team”, and that means “U” are not important.

Looks like Ricco Rodriguez’ UFC Heavyweight Championship belt has made it’s way onto Ebay, minimum bid 29k. The official line is that the money raised by this will be spent on a ‘new school’, but the truth is probably a lot more like “We’re going to spend this money on several keys of cocaine which will then be split and distributed across California. The money made from this may or may not be funneled into a new school or might just go up our noses. We love sniffing big shovels of coke! We’re fucking cokeheads!”

Oh, in case you didn’t know, the backstory to all this is that Ricco tested positive for coke and weed back in November of 2006, and was recently on some trainwreck of a VH1 show called “Celebrity Rehab”.

For those of you who just need more Fightlinker radio content, Jake and I were on the BetUS ‘MMA roundtable’ and we talked about eating penises and so forth. You can check it out here.

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