Week in MMA & Boxing #5 - August 27, 2015
MMA & Boxing News From the week of
August 21 - August 27, 2015
Rousey vs Holm, Not Tate
In a major surprise, Ronda Rousey announced on Good Morning America on 8/21 that she would be defending her title on Jan. 2 in Las Vegas against Holly Holm.
It had been announced previously by Dana White at the press conference after Miesha Tate had beaten Jessica Eye on 7/25 on FOX from Chicago in a match where the winner was to get the next title shot, that even though Tate had lost twice to Rousey, she earned it. She was already preparing for it when she found out with no warning after the news came out.
The decision making is a surprise because usually the heavily criticized decisions are when UFC makes a fight with a contender who hasn't earned a title shot, but gets it because of the belief they are going to draw more attention and money to fight. In this case, Tate had won four in a row, including beating top contenders Eye and Sara McMann. Tate was also the second biggest star behind Rousey, and had a proven track record of being able to move numbers, which Holm didn't have.
Dana White said everyone has seen the Miesha fight already. A third fight in a rivalry usually comes after the stuff we'd seen in Gatti-Ward. With Miesha, the result has been the same twice. Everybody's already seen that fight.
One UFC source said it was the fact Tate had lost to Rousey twice, while Holm who is 9-0, is unbeaten. Tate was the No. 1 contender and Holm was the No. 9 contender. While Rousey has beaten most of the top ten contenders, both Amanda Nunes and Eye were ranked higher than Holm and hadn't faced Rousey, and Nunes looked far more impressive in her win over Sara McMann than Holm did in either of her UFC wins.
When Rousey beat Tate for the first time on March 3, 2012, the vast majority of Rousey's current fan base had never even heard of her. The fight was in Strikeforce and UFC didn't even have women fighters. While many were aware of their second fight, on December 28, 2013, coming off them as opposite coaches on The Ultimate Fighter, the new 2015 Rousey fan base would barely be aware. This would be two years after the fight and Tate had won four in a row. So the usual dynamic in the eyes of the fans about someone already winning twice is different in this unique situation. Plus, Rousey and Tate have a natural rivalry that brings out the best in both when it comes to promoting a fight.
With Holm, they can promote the fight around the idea that Rousey will be facing a multi-time world boxing champion who is undefeated. If the fight goes to the ground, Holm is less experienced than most of Rousey's opponents, and Rousey finishes most of them immediately. Holm has shown good takedown defense in her prior fights, but she's never faced anyone remotely close to Rousey, given Reneau is the toughest fighter she's gone against.
Either way, the draw is still Rousey, and based on the last two shows, it should draw very well either way.
There has at least been talk of Tate vs. Nunes in a No. 1 contenders fight, as Nunes said that she had been asked about that bout. Given that Cris Cyborg told UFC officials that she could make 135 by December, it would make the most sense for Cyborg to face Nunes or Tate on the same show. If Cyborg was to win impressively, the new Rousey fan base that may not know her will be ready for her as the ultimate opponent. It will organically create interest in the winners of both fights to face each other as a build to a huge show a few months down the line.
UFC's 8/23 Fight Night
While weak in star power, the UFC's 8/23 debut in Saskatoon, promised an action-filled main event between ranked featherweights Max Holloway and Charles Oliveira, with the winner expected to end up ranked right below the division's big four of Jose Aldo, Conor McGregor, Frankie Edgar and Chad Mendes.
But for all real purposes, there was barely a glimpse of that fight, as Oliveira, who had suffered a neck injury in training, suffered a micro-tear of the esophagus when hitting the cage, an injury that caused the fight to be stopped at just 1:39. Oliveira was taken from the cage on a stretcher and remained hospitalized until being released two days later. Oliveira was going for a takedown, ended up on his back, and Holloway got up wanting to keep the fight standing. Oliveira got up, then grabbed his shoulder, turned away and the fight was stopped.
At 23, Holloway became the youngest fighter in history ever to score ten wins inside the UFC.
UFC announced that preliminary test results came back negative for any major chest, neck or throat injuries.
Given that all four of the big four have upcoming fights with Aldo vs. McGregor and Edgar vs. Mendes, a Holloway vs. Oliveira rematch would seem to make sense if Oliveira is healthy.
They are going to theme the period from 9/26 to Jan. 2 as "Go Big," and kick it off with a press conference on 9/4, the day before the UFC 191 PPV.
They'll be pushing Roy Nelson vs. Josh Barnett (9/26 U.S. in Saitama, Japan on FS 1), Daniel Cormier vs. Alexander Gustafsson (10/3 in Houston), Dan Henderson vs. Vitor Belfort (11/7 in Sao Paulo), Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit (11/14 U.S. from Melbourne), Matt Brown vs. Kelvin Gastelum (11/21 in Monterrey, Mexico), Benson Henderson vs. Thiago Alves (11/28 in Seoul, South Korea), Frankie Edgar vs. Chad Mendes (12/11 in Las Vegas), Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor and Chris Weidman vs. Luke Rockhold (12/12 in Las Vegas), Rafael dos Anjos vs. Donald Cerrone (12/19 in Orlando), Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm and Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. TBA (Jan. 2 in Las Vegas).
Cleaning Up the Sport
Jeff Novitzky is doing everything in his power to get rid of PEDs, even though it's a battle you can't win. One of the things Novitzky said is that all samples are going to be kept, and if and when new tests are developed that are better, they could retest samples down the road. He also said that the "smell" test would be utilized when it comes to the number of tests, in the sense that if a guy suddenly balloons up and changes, they will probably be tested more frequently.
All fighters have to keep the UFC informed of their whereabouts at all times. Every three months, the fighters will have to fill out a questionnaire listing where they will be living and staying, and where they will be during the day. If that is to change, they have to download their whereabouts on a mobile app. He said that USADA expects to know where they will be every night. I guess giving the indication they'll do late night testing, although until I hear about it, I don't believe it. That's usually the loophole because athletes who use some fast acting testosterones and GH can take it at night and be cool to pass a test by the next morning.
He said it only takes 20 to 30 seconds to update on ones whereabouts. If a fighter is not where they are supposed to be, they can face sanctions. Three times not being where one is supposed to be is supposed to result in disciplinary action. Novitzy said that the first time a fighter is not where he is supposed to be, he'll call them up. He said the second time, he's flying out and trailing them for one or two days to make sure they always fill out where they are. In October, a public web site will be launched and updated every three months where the public will be able to find out who had been tested and all test results.
Edgar vs. Mendes
The Edgar vs. Mendes main event of the 12/11 show is noteworthy. What happens is most likely the winner will face the McGregor vs. Aldo winner, so they'll already know the guy the day before and he'll be in town for the fight. The problem is this is a winnable fight for Mendes, and if he does win, are we now looking at a third Aldo vs. Mendes fight, after Aldo had won both. Essentially, Aldo will be out of challengers if he wins.
If McGregor wins, yes, you've got the idea that Mendes with a full camp could have won and it is a viable story, but I'm not sure people are ready for it. If you don't do that, the next contender down is Max Holloway, and Aldo beat him while fighting the entire fight with a torn ACL, even though Holloway is a better fighter now. Actually if Mendes wins and McGregor wins, they'll probably go Aldo vs. McGregor again and Mendes vs. Holloway.
Anthony "Rumble" Johnson went on a Facebook rant against a girl at the gym, with liens like, "ugly girl in the gym," "you need more than stretching to help that beat up body" and "stop wearing sports bras when your tummy looks like an old country red clay dirt road," and threatened to throw her yoga mat across the gym again if she was stretching near where he was lifting weights.
When he came across criticism, he responded by saying that nobody fell down or got hurt by him throwing the yoga mat. He also said when he told the story, "I only told the short version. I skip the part where she was talking shit." Johnson has a past with different women and domestic violence claims, including pleading no contest to a domestic violence charge in 2009. He was sued over another claim last year, which led to his being suspended by UFC. When the suit was thrown out of court, he was reinstated.
UFC issued a statement saying, "UFC is aware of the situation involving Anthony Johnson. We take these matters seriously and have commenced a formal investigation by a third-party law firm. We will act accordingly once we gather more information."
Then, on 8/24, the UFC released a new statement, saying, "Following a thorough investigation by a third-party law firm, UFC is extremely disappointed with Anthony Johnson's recent actions, as the organization does not tolerate behavior of this nature from any athletes under contract to UFC. Johnson personally apologized to the woman he verbally offended at a Florida gym last week and for the insensitive comments he made on social media afterwards. The woman accepted Johnson's apology and indicated a desire to put this unfortunate matter behind them. In order to ensure these situations do not happen in the future, Johnson has agreed to participate in counseling and UFC will support him through this process. Johnson has also agreed to make a donation to a Florida-based woman's charity."
Mosley vs Mayorga II
This Saturday night from The Forum in Inglewood, California, "Sugar" Shane Mosley meets Ricardo "El Matador" Mayorga in a rematch of a 2008 bout that is memorable only for its final few seconds.
With both fighters over 40 years old, the quality of the bout may be much less than what we last remembered from the former boxing greats.
Even if their talent has diminished over the years, Mosley and Mayoraga are smart enough to use controversy to make this fight interesting.
In a tape released by TMZ on Tuesday, Mayorga gropes Mosley’s girlfriend as she is bending down. As any good boyfriend would do, Mosley moved to defend her honor.
For whatever reason, the security crews of both boxers seem rather lax and lethargic but perhaps they knew the boxers wouldn’t touch each other until fight night.