Second only to the requisite Monday morning steroid scandal, there
is no better way to fill precious Sherdog.com real estate than with
a smattering of your letters, comments and invectives.
October's mailbag takes the bulk of its inspiration from September
editorials, which included thoughts on "The Ultimate Fighter"
headaches, UFC 76 and the unbearable lightness of being a PRIDE
In no particular order:
I think many cynical fans view all TUF contestants as B-level
fighters (if that). Of course, every season has had its duds, but
I'm fairly certain this is intentional. There is simply no way the
producers of the show could expect the fighters to fight multiple
times in just a few weeks without receiving injuries if every
contestant was extremely dangerous. It seems to me that the UFC
probably has a handful of guys selected for their marketability and
skill that compose the small group of likely winners for the
season. All the others are there to make for showcase fights and
drama in the house.
By the way, I typically dislike reality shows, but TUF seems
different. Sure, I have to ignore about 45 minutes of blatantly
manufactured drama and various homo-erotica, but the fights are
real. So I suppose a reality show is as good a place as any to put
the sport in the mainstream's attention. -- Richard Spencer
There is undoubtedly a contingent of TUF castaways that were
groomed to be chattering little pests with the fight IQ of a
limbless newborn. The show gets its reputation in part from that,
but it's unfair to make the blanket statement that all contestants
are useless. Forrest
Griffin (Pictures) settled that issue once and for
all on Sept. 22.
I am curious about the fighter that was denied a Bible. I am a
minister and it makes me curious to hear that, especially
considering that during season 2, the coaches were seen having a
Bible study with some of the fighters. Thanks for the info. -- Mike
Even more inflammatory is the recent footage of a Matt Hughes (Pictures) Bible study during practice. Talk
about uncomfortable for the Scientologists of the group.
The athlete (who will remain unnamed, to protect his privacy) was
denied the text on the grounds that no books were to be allowed
whatsoever, and if producers had granted him his request, they
would've had to do it for everyone.
It's a bizarre little corner of the world to be in. I even feel a
twinge of sympathy for Joe
Scarola, who succumbed to his cabin fever on a recent
Just a twinge, though.
I liked your article about TUF. Sherdog owes some of its success
and its content-sharing agreement with ESPN to TUF. Anytime
something grows, the new people have no sense of history and
instead of trying to be teachers and custodians of the past,
pre-TUF fans get indignant and pissy with new people. I would have
like to see some stats from your site regarding the number of posts
pre and post-TUF. The number of members pre and post would be a
great number to know.
The marketing plan of Dana White has been magnificent. Putting
fights on free TV to draw people to the PPVs was a great move. Not
to mention all the advertising space TV now sells thanks to White.
While the format of TUF has grown tiresome, the basic concept still
works: give fans someone to care about and the fans will turn that
person into a star. -- Bill Wagner
"The Ultimate Fighter" has been a tremendous boost for MMA content
of any size, shape or amount of Web traffic, and Sherdog.com has
been no exception. Television remains the most influential medium
in the world. You know you're reaching people when an audience in
the 3 million to 4 million range is considered a "failure" on the
I would hesitate to grant the sport's recent surge of success
solely to White, though. Putting fights on free TV is pretty much a
no-brainer; I'd give equal respect to Spike executives who decided
to take a chance with a bastard sport that was all but dead. That
was the call that shook everything up.
The matchmaking by Joe Silva is good for fans of MMA but bad
when it comes to getting that one or even two big money fights. At
this point even you need a Grand Prix in the LHW division to figure
out who the real No. 1 contender is. Griffin-Silva would be "fine"
but Jardine theoretically took Liddell's spot in the title picture
seeing as how he needed two straight wins to get another title
shot. So Jardine has a legitimate beef about getting his shot, then
so does Houston
Alexander (Pictures) who even at his age I think is
the "next big thing" who KO'd Jardine not too long ago. Then again
Jardine KO'd Forrest not to long ago so how does Forrest get his
shot before Jardine does? See what I'm saying? -- Luis Cruz
UFC 76 scrambled the contender picture at 205 to spectacular
effect. The rightful No. 1 contender for Jackson's belt is Wanderlei Silva (Pictures), who owns two wins over him and a
storied record as a light heavyweight -- even if closer scrutiny
reveals a reliance on undersized middleweight challengers.
Alexander needs one more quality win to be propelled up to
contention, preferably against a tenured opponent like Tito Ortiz (Pictures) or Chuck Liddell (Pictures). Griffin and Jardine should meet
once more to decide who keeps climbing.
Why the hate on Lyoto Machida? That guy's the future of the
light heavyweight division, although he'd be great at 185. It'd be
interesting to see him fight Rich Franklin (Pictures) again or Dan Henderson (Pictures) at that weight. Or the champ.
It's not often you see a guy come along with the natural talent and
defense that Ryoto has. A little respect, please. -- Joe
I have respect for Machida's record and fighting acumen, but he is
the Lunesta of MMA. Put a belt on that guy and watch the arenas
evacuate like the Rapture just hit.
"PRIDE and Prejudice" was a very fitting title for your recent
article, albeit for reasons beyond your original intention. While
it is clear that several PRIDE super stars have disappointed their
fans with horrific performances in the Octagon, one cannot yet
dismiss PRIDE. Why is this? By the simple fact that two PRIDE
Jackson (Pictures) and Anderson Silva both gained the
UFC's middleweight and light heavyweight titles without skipping a
beat. Several MMA writers have made this perplexing error. The
explanation seems likely to be disingenuous journalism by a biased
journalist. -- Andrew Roberts
When a journalist composes an opinion-editorial -- which is
virtually my reason for being a loyal Sherdog.com typebot -- his
very existence depends on being "biased." That is, to have a point
of view and do his or her best to defend that perspective.
I get the feeling that many people confuse my blather for actual
news content, which should obviously remain objective. I do plenty
of that, too, but not in this space. Maybe a return to "This
editorial does not necessarily reflect the views of, etc." is in
Obviously an anti-PRIDE, pro-UFC diatribe article that tries to
portray rumors as facts.
Can you please link the viewers ONE source with any of your claims
that PRIDE encouraged its fighters stage endings, accusations of
steroid uses, threats of burn notices? -- Phil Leung
Dan Henderson (Pictures) has gone on the record with me
about it, stating that PRIDE officials told him he would have some
serious problems with renewing his contract unless he took the
rematch with Murilo
Bustamante (Pictures) on short notice. He was hunting
and drinking beer at the time the call came in, and was only four
months removed from ACL surgery.
I enjoyed the pageantry and stylized violence of PRIDE as much as
the next guy, but the chairs there conducted some very shady
business. And now that the organization is defunct, you're likely
to start hearing more about it.
Making the statement that famous fighters who made their mark in
MMA through PRIDE were given squash matches such as Wanderlei Silva (Pictures) has to be the most unintelligent
statement ever made about MMA ever. Wanderlei Silva (Pictures)'s did not continue to rain [sic]
as the Middleweight Champ by beating low class cream puffs, his
record speaks for itself. The best examples are his double
victories over Quinton Rampage Jackson, not only did he beat him
both times, he knocked him out in both matches.
Now if Wanderlei was given weak fighter after weak fighter to fight
for those six years, then he wouldn't have been able to handle the
current 205 champ of UFC, but none of those matches ever went past
the second round. -- Alex Andrade
Silva's level of opposition has annoyed me for years. He had two
absolutely dynamite performances against Jackson that made me
believe in the myth of the Axe Murderer … but the majority of his
career in PRIDE came against a parade of national heroes who were
the proverbial lambs to slaughter.
This is a guy who fought a karate practitioner with a 0-0 MMA
record in front of a record crowd in Japan, fer crying out loud.
It's not Silva's fault -- the guy would fight a rabid grizzly --
but PRIDE kept his aura of invincibility very well protected.
I suppose I could really have put myself in the category of
PRIDE fans who thought that the ranks of UFC fighters would get
decimated once matched up. And what you say about us was all true.
I'd also written Griffin obituary and thought that Shogun was set
to rip through the LHW division. The last 12 months or so have
definitely made me re-think my standpoint on Fedor. He's really the
last of an almost extinct breed of fighter who can hold that
unbeatable aura about them. So many people have been made to look
'only human' (except Couture who clearly isn't human) -- Fedor may
be next in line to be humbled by the UFC cage.
One small thing you didn't mention though: Odds-makers still favor
PRIDE often and are getting it wrong. Perhaps we still have a
window of opportunity to make a little money! Just a thought. --
I was absolutely of the mind Griffin was going to get a helping of
knuckles al dente against Rua and make no claim to believing
otherwise, but I've long said that a Fedor run in the UFC would not
end with him being undefeated.
Now that rumors are circulating he's signed with Russia's M-1
promotion to go on a freak show tour, I'm apparently not the only
one doubting his abilities.
Oddsmakers, incidentally, create lines based on whom they think the
public will support, not on whom they think stands the best chance
of actually winning.
With UFC fighters upsetting most of the PRIDE fighters, could
this be a clear indication that the Pride fighters can't compete
without the use of steroids? Japan never tested for anabolics and
obviously, the U.S. does. Do you think this will cause all of the
PRIDE's greats that we know today, to be near extinction? --
Perhaps some PRIDE athletes panic at the idea of steroid testing,
but it's common practice in the States to time consumption and beat
the pee cup. Give the imported fighters time to learn how to work
the (extremely flawed) system.
Chuck did real well in PRIDE, right? Hmm how about the man who
beat Couture, Josh Barnett
(Pictures)? KTFO by Cro Cop? Wait what
about Rampage was he not in PRIDE?
Anderson Silva, I
clearly remember someone tapping him in PRIDE.
Truth is that when fighters crossed over, both UFC and PRIDE guys
did not do as well on average in the opposing promotion.
Can you imagine Couture in the ring? Where he cannot press people
against the cage? He would get KTFO or tapped until he adjusted. --
To your point, Couture had a spotty record in RINGS, losing by
submission three times in six efforts. The cage is undoubtedly
affecting some athletes coming from overseas. No argument
Liddell's 2-1 record in PRIDE is pretty good, a mirror image of Cro
Cop's mark in the UFC. (An inverted 1-2, for you fact checkers
already composing e-mails.)
Jackson and Anderson
Silva have done a lot to dispel notions that PRIDE talent was
universally flawed, but as previously stated: It's the fighter who
does the fighting, not the brand name.
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