UFC drops the ball on a fight announcement for the second time in a week

You would think after the whole Alexander Gustafsson v. Antonio Noguiera snafu, the UFC would find a way to ensure what they’re announcing is, you know, correct.

Turns out they just like making mistakes in pairs. For the second time in a week the UFC has scrapped a high-profile bout, this time being Jon Jones v. Glover Teixera.

Speaking to the media following Thursday’s press conference for UFC 167, President Dana White told reporters the fight would no longer be headlining UFC 170. He said Jones had to pull out due to injury – specially, as reported by Yahoo! Sports’, Kevin Lole, Jones foot which was injured in his recent bout with Gustafsson over a month and a half ago. Somehow in a 24-hour period, that injury forced Jones out.

While the UFC and White have yet to comment on a second embarrassing fight cancellation, the anticipation for comment can not be higher. Historically they have a tendency to throw blame around in places it often seems inappropriate. Even worse, the manner in which they cast blame peels back layers for the public to understand just how the UFC does business. Too often, the UFC uses corporate clout to pit itself as against a two or three individuals at a time – hardly a fair fight even in public relations terms.

Yet many of these issues are the fault of the UFC as any series of things. For example, way back at UFC 151 originally to have taken place on September 1, 2012 White went on a public barrage of Jones when he turned down a replacement bout thus scrapping the card. The UFC failed to highlight how if there were no other high-profile fights elsewhere on the card worthy of promotion to headliner status. The card depth was so weak – a trend the UFC also does no justice to by pitting their most mainstream worthy fighter in Jones to offset poor cards on paper – no other fight could justifiably be promoted. Whose fault is that?

You know the situation last week with Noguiera, in which White admitted only partial blame for booking a fight without asking one its contestants – whom he gave the large majority of the blame.The UFC is a powerful entity. Other than a few select fighters, the promotion will always win out in public tiffs because they hire everyone. If White is pissed – even if he misleads the public – his opinion is the only one that matters. It’s a shame, of course, because that same power is the reason MMA fans get to see the best fighters fight each other unlike boxing. The MMA game is like all sports leagues, a capitalist one. Those with the most influence – the very best and talented fighters, the executives, the matchmakers – control the resources.

In the case of UFC 170 and Jones’ foot, White hasn’t pointed the finger on this one…yet. It will be interesting to see how the UFC politicize this one.

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Noguiera never agreed to fight Gustafsson so Dana White just said, ‘F–k it.’

No wonder it all seemed so confused.

The recent snafu that saw  Antonio Nogueira booked to fight Alexander Gustafsson, only for that fight to disappear days later because Noguiera was injured was pretty baffling and disconnected. Turns out it’s because it was.

MMAJunkie.com reports from last evening’s Fight Night press conference Dana White’s explanation.

“What happened was that night we decided to make the fight. Gustafsson said yes, and they couldn’t get hold of him, so I said, ‘F–k it,’ and just went with it and announced the fight, and of course, he’s hurt.”

In other words, Dana White pulled an executive decision which blew up in the UFC’s face. Had it been a screw-up by anyone else in the organization would probably result in a dismissal. But of course, you can’t fire the boss. White undoubtedly feels like the situation isn’t entirely his fault, as MMAJunkie reports White admits he is partially to blame.

How is White only partially to blame? He booked a fight without the knowledge of one of the participants. Just because that particularly felt he was not physically able to compete – and Nogueira’s tendency to be hurt and stay hurt is concerning – it does not forgive that this entire situation would not have occurred if the UFC had waited a day to get in touch. It is convenient for the UFC and White to push the public attention on the fighter and not the failure in the process.


Even with win, Tim Kennedy feels he does not deserve a top contender – so he asks for Michael Bisping

Nothing stings more than a nice backhand.

Following his victory on Wednesday over Rafael Natal, Tim Kennedy was not entirely impressed with his performance. He felt strongly enough that via Twitter, he sent out this message:

I don’t think I have earned a shot at any of the top guys. I think the @UFC should give me someone like @bisping

It appears Kennedy is saying this in jest. The FD believes Kennedy, like any competitor, wants to the toughest competition he can get – he simply wanted to find a nifty, biting way of asking for a specific fight i.e. Bisping.

Bisping responded to the dig (he must have sore fingers from all the times he has had to do that) by tweeting:

@TimKennedyMMa well it’s simple. Call the UFC and say u wanna fight me in April. Put your money where your mouth is big shot.

This appears a match worth making and the timeline works out. If Dana White has his say, this fight surely will happen. When asked about Kennedy’s next fight, the CEO replied in the affirmative.

“…yeah, his next fight will be a very important fight.”

 

 


MMMA – Mainstream Mixed Martial Arts? Not so, says UFC boss

Through the cultural fabric of western society, MMA is still an oddity.

Consider this scenario: Jon Jones and Snookie arrive at a VIP lounge door at the same time. Who gets in? With Jones, the doorman would have to check if he’s on the list. Snookie just has to show up. Unless the doorman fits the profile (know what I mean?), it’s Jersey Shore over the NY kid. It’s dirty bars before armbars.

It may be unfortunate but it is true.

Dana White knows as much. As the CEO of the largest MMA promotion on the planet, its his job. His job is also to promote so it’s rare for anything to come out of his mouth to be straight truth, no spin; all honesty, no hype. That is why his recent comments point to a reality most fans know but few admit: MMA is has still not sailed into the mainstream.

As reported by Marc Raimondi of Fox Sports, White recounted a story about attending the New England Partriots against the Pittsburgh Steelers. A casual conversation with a nearby fan – a 30-something male (cough, fits the profile) – who had no idea what the UFC, no idea who Jon Jones was or that Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones was related to the champ. The man even queried White if the promotion was regional.

There you have it. The average sports fan doesn’t know about MMA. Quite (hardly) a surprise. This is why the move to Fox was a massive arrangement.

The issue is that the partnership hardly won enough respect by most mainstream media. When it happened, I spoke to a local sports radio host who said, ‘The UFC is the ugly girl at the party – it’s gone mainstream.’ Even in saying this, the host couldn’t name three fighters.

Mainstream sports media is a top-heavy sector, run by baby boomers who adhere to the philosopher Thomas Hobbes and think MMA is, ‘…solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.’ Most of these individuals understand the monetary power of the sport and realize it continues to grow but are scared to accept it. They hide behind how it doesn’t whet their tastes. They choose not to talk about.

It is a condescending ignorance. The sport will continue to grow because it’s fan-base is young and diverse. Like most things, eventually there will be an audience size too large to ignore. The question of whether it reaches mainstream acceptance will be if an educated segment grows within the media, so that those speaking to fans about the sport are educated and enthusiastic.

When that happens, Dana White won’t be able to go to a football game – he’ll be too recognized.


Hear that sound? Vitor Belfort getting title shot with win over Dan Henderson

I’m getting tired about talking about Vitor Belfort.

The man has tested positive for performance enhancers and now takes a performance enhancer for his ‘health’. He can’t fight in the US because of his history. Yet the man is insistent he’s a noble fighter who deserves a title shot after losing two.

Chris Hall of Bloody Elbow reports that during a conference call yesterday Dana White said Belfort is ‘definitely’ in line for the winner of the Anderson Silva v. Chris Weidman fight in December.

Great. Cheaters and jerks prosper as long as they knock people out.

Thankfully, with a loss, White says Belfort is out of contention.

“If [Belfort] loses to Dan Henderson, could he still fight for the title? No, I don’t think so.”

Count me as one who hopes for a certain outcome during UFC Fight Night 32 this Saturday.


FIGHT!!! Dana White and Bjorn Rebney go at it

Isn’t it great when art reflects life? Or in this case, when mixed martial arts reflect life. Without throwing punches, the CEO’s of the two most prominent North American MMA promotions are landing significant strikes.

It all began when Eddie Alvarez defeated Michael Chandler. The very public, litigious battle between Alvarez and Bellator has been one of the bigger storylines in MMA this year. Which made Alvarez’s victory two-fold for the fighter – he scores a title, makes big money, and indirectly shoves it in the face of the promotion.  Dana White, apparently, found it more philosophical when he tweeted:

I’m hearing Djork oops Bjork got served a big fat plate of Karma tonight 🙂 Congrats Eddie!!

The direct shot at Rebney is vintage White. Whether you like it or not, his aggressive tactics are very effective in the PR sense but not in the professional sense. The two are competitors but White often brings it down to petty levels. He often chooses to not be the bigger man – though perhaps the more political one.

The meat on the bones then got tastier when video surfaced wherein Rebney is seen shaking his head behind Alvarez during the victors post-fight interview. Some have interpreted it as a slight, that Rebney was not impressed by the decision.

White made light of the situation during a press conference yesterday, when asked by a reporter (Canada’s ‘Showdown’ Joe Ferraro) to define the term ‘karma’ in reference to his original tweet. White’s response was, again, classic White. FIrst, he says he has ‘no comment on that’ then proceeds to comment in detail:

“When I sent that karma text, everybody knows what I was talking about. He tried to f–k this kid, and then he loses. What was he shaking his head about if he was so f–king pumped about his evening? If his evening was that wonderful and he was so pumped about it, why was he back there shaking his head and looked like he wanted to f–king kill himself?”

Once again, White uses his effective PR move by bringing up the head shake video. When coming from the president of the UFC, the average fan is inclined to agree – despite the fact the video is far from an indictment of Alvarez by Rebney. In the video, the fans can be heard booing the decision during the interview to which Rebney shakes his head. Either he is agreeing with their vocal displeasure by shaking his head or he disagrees by shaking his head.

Simultaneously as White’s press conference, Rebney finally fired back. In a nice piece of tact, Rebney shot back using the ratings from the Bellator card as his shield – in which the promotion scored a major solid with 1.1 million viewers.

@danawhite If Fight of the Year & 10 times better ratings than you did on your last televised show is Karma, bring me another plate.

Boom. Shots fired.


Machida v. Mousasi booked

Looks like Lyota Machida won’t get his wish – but Gegard Mousasi will. The two will meet on February 8 in Brazil.

After lobbying for a fight with Vitor Belfort, a fight that Dana White expressed interest in making happen, Machida won’t see it happen.

The FD weighed in a few days ago, predicting we wouldn’t know about Machida or Belfort until after the Anderson Silva v. Chris Weidman rematch. Well, that’s embarrassing.

This was the other logical scenario. As we weighed in today, Belfort would likely wait until until after that title fight to make his move. Clearly, he has his sights set on a title shot with the least resistance possible – even saying he would go off TRT to get it. Machida, it seems, wouldn’t get that luxury and he is left with the only other option: a fight with Mousasi.

This a great matchup. The two are former champions and have balanced games. It will be fun to see if Mousasi can drag the evasive, counter-striking Machida into deep waters.