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It’s a few days before UFC 77 and as usual there’s the calm before the storm where there’s no news and very little to talk about. No one’s even really bothering to do predictions because Silva vs Franklin = Obvious and Sylvia vs Vera = Hey did you hear Randy Couture quit the UFC? In other words, the news going on lately has overshadowed the sport, and I can’t think this is a good thing.

While I love spraying shit all over MMA (thank you Xyience), I also happen to love watching fights. If there was a Nirvana out there, it would consist of me, a bottomless beer cooler, Loretta Hunt, and just fights. No politics. No machinations. No retardo blogs discussing the latest intrigue. Just fights.

Why in god’s name I’m reduced to covering Evander Holyfield boxing matches at this point in MMA’s development is beyond me. I’m not doing it because it’s fun. There’s just not enough high-calibre events going on right now. Why we have to go a month between events also outside the realm of my comprehension. When the UFC bought PRIDE and the WEC I was hoping this would mean 3 times the amount of MMA. Now they’ve disposed of PRIDE like a transient hooker and the WEC isn’t back for another two cocksucking months.

Mark Cuban is apparently pawning his wristwatch to finance his MMA department, ProElite can’t seem to figure out how to schedule an event that’s not within 10 days of the UFC, and I’d rather watch puppy dog snuff films than expose myself to more IFL. Yesterday out of desperation I turned on Inside MMA and even that had gone to shit. Where last week they had Josh Barnett, Ken Pavia, and Dan Henderson, this week they had some amateur lame-o, Kevin Iole, and some guy from ‘Bionic Woman’. What the fuck? WHAT THE FUCK???

I don’t know if things are always this gay or I’m just becoming jaded, but I am not a happy MMA fan right now. Before I used to put up with all the shit going on because of the promise that all the politics going on would mean a better product for fans down the road. But now that I’ve been closely following stuff for a while I’ve come to the realization that this is bullshit. Perhaps everything is so close to happening now that when Wand vs Chuck falls apart for the 15th time or Fedor vs Couture evaporates it’s like getting robbed on Christmas Eve. Or maybe all the politics just gets in the way of good fights happening.

Anyways, thank God we’re going to UFC 77 and getting absolutely fucked. We’re gonna go on such a tear through Cincinnati that it’ll be legendary. Las Vegas ain’t gonna hold shit on us. I’ll be amazed if the city is left standing by the time we’re done with it.

From the usually reliable and typically speculation-free Gracie Mag:

it could be that the much awaited fight between Wanderlei Silva and Chuck Liddell, if inked, might not take place in December (as the Brazilian forecast) and be pushed forward to February. This is because Dana White reserved a date to carry out the event on the eve of the Super Bowl (the popular American Football final), the event with the greatest audience on American TV.

I’m starting to feel like Charlie Brown trying to kick that fucking football when it comes to the Wanderlei Silva vs Chuck Liddell fight. We’ve already talked about the UFC trying to spread it’s talent across the cards, but now it’s gone from being a good idea to showing how few really marketable fights the UFC’s got up it’s ass over the next six months.

Showing the awesome good sense that led him to take an unmaskable steroid weeks before his title bout with Sean Sherk, Hermes Franca has decided to leave The Armory. Who else is in the Armory? Kurt Pelligrino and Rich Crunkilton, plus a bunch of Brazilian guys who are probably pretty good at jiu-jitsu.

Leaving your team to start your own school is all well and good, but here’s why its stupid:

1) You just got suspended for using steroids. There is no better time to strike off on your own. Not.

2) You’re starting a team called Team Hermes Franca. That’s fucking lame. Why not just call it TEAM ME. And while there’s no ‘I’ in ‘TEAM’, there’s ‘HERMES FRANCA’ so everyone else can eat shit. Plus with a name like that, good luck finding high profile guys to stick around. As well, see point 1: trying to market a new school using the name of a busted steroid user … not all publicity is good publicity.

Looks like Jason Mayhem Miller might be the latest victim of Zuffa’s cut throat business tactics. He went from being the posterboy of WEC 27 to a ghost pretty quickly. I originally thought there was no news simply because the WEC doesn’t have another show coming up until December 12th (that’s fucking retarded in it’s own right), and that show is already big enough. But now there’s loads of whisperings and wonderings left and right that contract negotiations with Zuffa are going poorly and Mayhem is looking to jump ship to ProElite.

Not helping these rumors are the fact that Mayhem practically works for ProElite as some kind of correspondent. This is all really surprising to me considering the push the WEC gave Mayhem when he fought Hiromitsu Miura back in May. Does this continue the trend of fighters feeling under appreciated by Zuffa when in fact they’re just expecting too much? From an outsider’s point of view, things don’t look too shabby for Jason past the long layover which is affecting all WEC fighters. What am I missing here? Is Zuffa trying to pay Jason less or something? Or is this just a case where he thinks he can get more out of ProElite?

One of the biggest issues with the way the UFC is doing business now is how they let go of so many promising fighters who end up floating their competitor’s boats. Nick Diaz, Robbie Lawler, Joe Riggs, Jeff Monson, Ken Shamrock, Shonie Carter, the list goes on and on and on and on … and on! Half the time, when you see some recognizable names on a non-UFC card, that name came from the UFC.

Sure, you can definitely argue that the UFC is the premiere league and as such it should only have premiere fighters. But every time the UFC lets go of an established fighter who is underperforming, they’re giving ammunition to their competition.

So what to do with all these guys? You do what ProElite is doing and shuffling them around the different organizations it owns. Look at Ninja Rua … after losing to Robbie Lawler at the last EliteXC show, there wasn’t much left for him to do in that organization. But rather than drop him, ProElite has moved him over to Cage Rage where he can rebuild some momentum and be available to EliteXC when a smart matchup presents itself.

The UFC needs the same thing. And no, they don’t have the same thing in the WEC. They could, but Zuffa brass is too proud to call the WEC their feeder system and are trying to establish it as something else. What, I don’t really know. Maybe it’s true that they’re just blocking another promotion from landing on Versus, and Versus wouldn’t bite if the WEC really became a minor league for the UFC.

The UFC has proven over and over again that they’re willing to spend tens of millions on marketing but aren’t interested in investing in fighters who may just need a bit more time and experience to become stars. Or fighters who may never be able to hold the belt but are still hard working, skilled, and exciting fighters.

There’s already 1001 examples of guys being let go by the UFC who are now the crown jewel in their respective promotions. It’s only going to get worse down the road if the UFC doesn’t figure out some way to keep these guys under contract for themselves.

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