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5 Oz. of Pain Presents: The DUEL

Sorry for the delayed posting and perhaps outdated questions but we had some communication problems. Joining me this week is special guest and professional superstar Luke Thomas from BloodyElbow and battling him is a cohort in their blogging scheme, also from BE, Mr. Michael Rome.

Let us duel:

1. EliteXC’s network debut was a success.

Rome: TRUE. The only way to really define success is to look at the ratings. They did well enough to continue on CBS, they will get more shows, and they will go on to be a legitimate number two promotion in the United States. Even though the main event was controversial, Kimbo still won, and I think there may be even more intrigue around him now since some fans will want to see him lose. Further, Gina Carano looked fantastic in her demolition of Kaitlin Young, who is no pushover. Their top stars won, and they have a rematch on the horizon following a controversial stoppage. Things didn’t go perfectly, but it certainly qualifies as a success. Finally, the strong ratings opened the floodgates for MMA on broadcast television. I suspect that by late 2009, Strikeforce, Elite XC, and UFC will all be airing major events on networks, which can only be good for the sport. A result like that is definitely worth sitting through shows like the one on Saturday night.

Thomas: TRUE. As Michael articulates, the ratings are really what matter. Whether or not they can keep these ratings high over the long run is another matter. Anyone who remembers the XFL recalls a powerful start and whimpering finish. Let’s also not forget another key element: mixed martial arts, both the sport and the sporting world, is complicated. Dana White isn’t lying when he says there’s an education process involved when it comes to understanding the sport. What EliteXC’s broadcast allows, if nothing else, is the beginning of that discussion and education process for millions of new people. Even the detractors are doing us favors because they are forcing the issue of the debate and we know, over time, it’s a debate they can’t win. With all the facts, they can’t say these aren’t talented athletes or that the sport is more dangerous than boxing or football. So, let the chips fall where they may. All this does is get the ball rolling for our ultimate goal of making MMA one of North America’s major sports.

My Five Cents: It was indeed a success and got ratings at some points nearly twice as high as the goal. Though I am seeing alot of XFL comparisons when it comes to high debut ratings and I can’t follow that. The XFL was a league with a game each week with teams from different cities. This is fist fighting in a cage every few months. The only comparison is that they’re both technically sports.

2. The NJSAC properly handled the Lawler/Smith stoppage.

Rome: TRUE. I should qualify this response by saying that I am taking everything that Nick Lembo said to Sam Caplan was 100% true. Imagine being in a doctor’s position, working on a fighter with a broken foot, and then being told repeatedly by the fighter that he absolutely could not see, and could be knocked out. The only responsible thing to do was to stop the fight. We also now know he was still seeing double and triple well after the five minutes many fans have clamored for, so I think the stoppage is for the best. Next time we see these guys fight, they’ll both be 100%, and hopefully we’ll get a decisive finish. Of all the things to complain about, I think this complaint is the least justified.

Thomas: TRUE. If they got any of the stoppages correct, it’s probably this one. The Carano-Young stoppage was questionable and the Kimbo-Thompson stoppage was downright atrocious. But with Smith, he did, in fact, admit to continued vision problems not only in the cage but even in the locker room long after the fight had ended. Look, the fact is this: Scott Smith is tough to an unreal degree. And while we admire his heart and tenacity, sometimes fighters as tough as Scott can be their own worst enemy. Competent ringside physicians need to be acknowledged when their medical expertise and judgment are relevant. And clearly, a fighter having prolonged vision problems is a serious medical issue. Maybe the fight could’ve continued, but with preventative maintenance, Smith and Lawler will live to fight another day and will do so with their health much more intact.

My Five Cents: I was actually ready to argue with both of you but you flipped me. I’m soft like that. If he was complaining in the locker room then it should have been stopped. Actually it gives us another great bout between two guys that are 100% instead of Smith getting knocked out two minutes after this happened by an unseen hook and dropping down the rankings.

3. Thiago Alves will defeat Matt Hughes to begin a new guard in the WW division. (again, meant to be posted before Saturday)

Rome: FALSE. I suspect this match will look very similar to Thiago’s fight with John Fitch. His standup is very good, and he has strong submission skills, but I think Hughes will simply overpower him with wrestling and break him down. He’s never shown particularly good takedown defense, and I think Hughes will take a 29-28 decision on his way to the showdown with Matt Serra. I suspect Thiago Alves is the next Gabriel Gonzaga, a guy we’re all going to overrate for a while because he stopped Karo, but won’t make it up to the top of the division.

Thomas: FALSE. I want to say Alves will come on blazing and put on a Thai boxing clinic, but I just don’t see it. First, it’s not as if everyone has their way with Hughes on the feet. Hughes’ striking isn’t anything to write home about, but it provides just enough cushion for him to implement his gameplan against all but the very best. Second, if there is one knock on the fighters of American Top Team, it’s their wrestling. Yes, they are all good wrestlers there, but none are great. Alves was able to avoid the takedowns of Karo Parisyan, but those hip blocking and trip takedowns from judo. And ATT actually has really good judokas, most notably, Olympian Rhadi Ferguson (Kimbo Slice’s cousin). Matt Hughes, by contrast, has freestyle leg attacks: singles, doubles, ankle picks and high crotch lifts. I don’t think Alves has anyone to train with who can mimic Hughes’ style. And then once the fight his the floor, we all know that Hughes also has serious submission skills. So while Alves will do damage on the feet and there is peril involved in getting Alves to the floor, I don’t think that’s going to be enough to stop Hughes.

My Five Cents: Didn’t mean to embarrass you two fellas here. To be fair I picked Hughes too. We bloggers are experts, EXPERTS I SAY! Let’s blame it on the weight thing and feel better about ourselves.

SWITCHING TIME

4. I’ve said it before, Faber would defeat Kid Yamamoto in a battle for #1 among FWs.

Thomas: TRUE. Yamamoto is very talented and an extraordinarily mean fighter when competing, but Faber is too much to handle. Yamamoto isn’t big enough or strong enough to muscle Faber around and while Kid certainly has striking prowess, Faber’s overall conditioning and recent history of fighting much tougher competition make him much more prepared for the tough fights. Yamamoto has been distracted with wrestling endeavors and generally fighting less than stellar competition. A few years ago this fight could have gone Kid’s way, but not anymore. Faber is the top featherweight dog and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

Rome: TRUE. Urijah Faber showed me enough against Pulver to believe he would handle Yamamoto. I don’t think Kid’s mean-spirited fighting would have much effect on the always-calm Faber, and I think he’s just too talented everywhere for Kid.

My Five Cents: I think this is the first question I’ve ever asked twice in my years of doing this. And you’re both right. Both pre and post Pulver fight.

5. UFC 85’s Vera/Werdum winner deserves the next title shot at the Nog/Mir winner.

Thomas: TRUE. Look, the UFC’s heavyweight roster is notoriously thin and while Vera hasn’t been as active as either he or the UFC would like due to legal issues, he is clearly the favorite son. He’s young, likable, a gifted striker, excellent wrestler and international BJJ champion. He has all the tools they and he needs to go places. The UFC heavyweight division, stacked just a year ago, is fractured and crumbling: Gonzaga fizzled, Arlovski is gone, Couture is gone, Sylvia is gone, Monson is gone and the list goes on from there. Werdum rebounded nicely and as aforementioned, Vera has serious star potential. Both are also legitimate heavyweight talent, something in short supply in the UFC heavyweight ranks. Lesnar could be a star down the road, but he’s not ready yet. Vera and Werdum are.

Rome: FALSE. The winner may be on his way to a title shot, but there’s no reason the winner should wait 9 months to find out the winner of Nog/Mir and then finally fight in March or April of next year. Whoever wins here needs to win one more time to get a shot. The winner could fight the winner of Herring/Brock for example, I don’t really care, but having the winner of such an inconsequential fight sit around for 9 months for a title shot is ridiculous.

My Five Cents: Luke is right in his answer and Rome is right in his reasoning. I’ve said this before, I started picking fights based on my “who does Joe Silva want to win?” formula. After Werdum/Vera that is 0-1. But I still think I’m right, they thought Vera would beat him. Crazy idea, no one wants to see Nog/Werdum II but with Werdum’s new strong standup skills could he take out Nog? I mean Nog has a chin of granite so maybe not but with the better standup and just slightly less ground game could he get a decision? I don’t know anyone that would argue that fight wouldn’t be a five round decision, exactly why Joe Silva wanted Vera to win.

6. Stopping a Kimbo/Rogers fight is protecting Rogers more than Kimbo.

Thomas: FALSE. Protecting Rogers from what exactly, a better payday and a win? While Kimbo possess clean boxing and vicious punching power, it’s clear the rest of his game is as green and rudimentary and his coach Bas Rutten admits it is. When Tim Sylvia has better and more technical escapes from side control than you, you need to seriously work on your wrestling and jiu-jitsu. Sylvia was choked by Nogueira when he hit the hip bump and rollover to attempt the escape, but ask anyone who has been training at all: at least it was the technical. Kimbo’s escapes relied on powering out of bad spots, which partly explains his fatigue at the end of the fight. But back to Rogers, he has devastating punching power as well and arguably better wrestling. He could feasibly finish the job Thompson started and do so with a lot less effort. I’m not upset with Kimbo for being where he is in the game, but when we start talking about matching him up with legitimate fighters, we have to be honest and provide sober analysis: Kimbo isn’t ready for real fighters.

Rome: FALSE. This is a joke, right? I suppose it’s possible Rogers will stand with Kimbo and make it interesting, but he can easily use his wrestling ability to take Kimbo down and pound him out. I’m shocked they are dumb enough to be considering this fight. Why? Because hardcore fans demand it? Who cares what messageboard fans think, Kimbo’s fight did over 6 million viewers, what in the world is the point of killing him? If Elite XC kills its golden goose to appease dorks online, they really deserve to go out of business.

My Five Cents: What? Brett Rogers with his zero submission wins? He has one but it was via strikes so we all know that’s a TKO despite the titling. The same way Kimbo “submitted” Cantrell. I think Kimbo will kill Rogers. Kimbo didn’t look good at all vs Thompson, I give you that, but Thompson came out as I said he would shooting for the takedown. Thompson is a better wrestler and finisher than Rogers. Rogers is a young buck and putting him in with Kimbo will only set him back. Slice, TKO, round one. Book. It.

I thank my BE brothers for participating in this DUEL. We will have another later in the week regarding the last UFC event and future events and we apologize for the delay.

36 COMMENTS
  • Michaelthebox says:

    I disagree that the NJSAC properly handled the Lawler/Smith stoppage. The stoppage was probably justified, but Smith had every right to those five minutes to recover, and its clear he didn’t want it stopped when it was. Give the man his five minutes and if he still can’t see straight, then stop it. Then it would have been properly handled.

  • Socleanclean says:

    where’d the carano article go?

  • Evan says:

    What happened to the Carano talking about Kaitlin Young write up?

  • Nick says:

    This wasn’t much of a duel. This is the second week in a row now that this has been a love-fest instead of a duel. You guys should change the logo from a 5oz glove to a Care-Bear. When you guys are done spooning each other, try a real debate next time.

  • Jackyl says:

    Has anyone gone back and watched the tape again? Smith clearly says “I’m fine” right before they stop it. He also immediately starts protesting. These are not the actions of fighter who was afraid to be knocked out and wanted to quit.

    What about the Young/Carano stoppage? Young has now made several statements that she said she knew exactly where she was and her vision was not effected by the swelling. It is in direct contrast to the doctor’s statements that her responses were garbled. She deserved that third round. How many times has a fighter been losing, only to dig down and pull out a KO at the end?

    About MMA on network TV. I enjoyed the fact that it was on but let’s face a reality. The sport, just like boxing, is a little too brutal for network. Boxing is not even on network anymore. Hell, I can’t even think of the last fight to be on network. Anyone? In this day and age just about everyone has cable. If you are blogging on here then you at least have computer and PPV access. So it’s not much of a stretch to think you have cable too. Sure there are some that go to Hooters and watch the fights but that is a minority. Face it, mainstream audiences just don’t like seeing swollen eyes and bleeding cuts. Boxing does fine on cable. EliteXC was doing ok on Showtime. It will be interesting to see how the next broadcast goes. I think it will depend on the marketing, and correcting some of the mistakes from the last show. Kimbo vs Rogers, Smith vs Lawler, Carano vs Larosa, …….admit it, you’re already waiting to see it.

  • darkmetal says:

    The Kimbo/Rogers matchup, if it never comes to fruition, will surely not be a case of Rogers being protected from Kimbo, but the more obvious case (considering the corruption of Elitexc) of Kimbo being protected from Rogers.

    Sure the Elitexc show was a success, as many fans watched to see if it was the joke they thought it would be. Of course it turned out to be just that.

    I predict the next show will likely have much lower ratings, unless they have Kimbo/Rogers on the card. Gary Shaw knows that once Kimbo loses his big ratings days are surely done.

  • Luke says:

    “This wasn’t much of a duel. This is the second week in a row now that this has been a love-fest instead of a duel. You guys should change the logo from a 5oz glove to a Care-Bear. When you guys are done spooning each other, try a real debate next time.”

    Nick,

    You are an asshole and no one likes you.

    Sincerely,

    Everyone

  • Nick says:

    Luke,
    Just in case you have no sense of humor, I was just breaking balls.
    Regardless, thanks for the laugh, I laughed outloud when I read your response!

  • Evan says:

    Luke…brilliant…hahahahaa

  • OCD says:

    Ratings alone DO NOT show that something was successful. Success is measured over time and if they harmed MMA, and the public conception thereof, the long term effect may be detrimental to MMA on a whole.

    I have asked non-MMA fans who watched the EliteXC free night on CBS what they thought about it. MOST thought it was a joke, especially Baroni and inconsistent reffing. It doesn’t take a fight fan to see the spectacle and its lack of credibility.

  • HexRei says:

    Wow, is it just me or did someone (Sam?) completely remove the Carano-Larosa article, comments and all? no explanation or anything?

  • Mike Wolfe says:

    #11

    Yep, the whole thing is gone. Pressure from Elite, perhaps?

  • j-rock says:

    The Elite-XC show was a success. Do you really think a UFC card on prime time using the “lay and pray”, system would have done any better. I am a UFC fan and MMA fan. But be realistic. Listen to the crowds at the UFC shows, there are alot of new fans that dont know true MMA! Remember, just cause you wear a TAPOUT shirt, it doesnt make you a MMA expert or a Tough guy period……

  • JacRabbit says:

    I give Luke the slight edge on this Duel

  • Jackyl says:

    You can spot a poser in a second. Ask them who their favorite fighter is and they’ll say “Chuck Liddell” ask who else they like and they’ll say ” Uh, that black guy, Rampage, yeah him” they might know GSP or Matt Hughes. That’s about it.

  • “Ratings alone DO NOT show that something was successful.”

    I’m afraid that’s not true. If me licking a wall drew a 14.0 they’d give me a 13 episode guarantee.

  • Simco says:

    With the news (to me) that Scott still had vision problems in the locker room I can’t see how anyone can contest the stoppage anymore.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    To Mike Wolfe:

    You’re usually a very good contributor to this site, which makes the assertion you made during comment #12 so disappointing. I’ve been complaining about people on the Internet who make up conspiracies and run with baseless accusations that impugn the integrity of others and now you’ve fallen into that category.

    First off, I no longer write for ProElite.com. I haven’t in months. I think that’s fairly obvious considering I haven’t posted there in months. But there, I’ve publicly stated that I no longer write for ProElite.com.

    Second, even when I did write for ProElite.com, I had nothing to do with EliteXC. Both EliteXC and ProElite.com are owned by ProElite, Inc. but operated as two separate companies. I NEVER in my time with ProElite.com EVER had to answer to anyone at EliteXC.

    Furthermore, NONE of my posts or articles were subject to approval or censor by ProElite.com. In fact, I didn’t even have an editor to report to. The fact that I was very critical of EliteXC during my tenure at ProElite.com supports my statement.

    NO ONE pressures me into saying anything. Everything you see are my views and my views only. They are influenced by no one. I’m sure a few smart asses will respond with some pot shots, but this is the truth whether people want to acknowledge it or not. IT’S THE GOD’S HONEST TRUTH. I’ve put up with too many angry phone calls and e-mails from people in the industry and stood my ground each time to allow someone to even hint that somehow my opinion might have been influenced.

    So to insinuate that EliteXC had a part in my decision to take the Carano post down is reckless and irresponsible on your part. I took it down because after reviewing it, I realized it was a post written out of pure emotion — something I try my best to avoid. I wasn’t pleased with how it turned out and decided to take it down. It’s as simple as that.

    So Mike, even though you tried to phrase it as a question as opposed to a statement, it was still irresponsible and you still stand corrected.

  • Rich S. says:

    owned.

  • Rich S. says:

    i think they need to avoid Kimbo/Rogers.. for now.. and def. avoid Kimbo/Big Foot.. because there’s a pretty good chance he could lose to rogers [although, i think he would KO Rogers].. and there’s no way he can beat Big Foot.. at least, not right now.. or in the near future..

    they’re just going to keep feeding him guys that are coming off of losses.. like Jon Murphy.. or maybe even a complete no-name.. who knows..

  • Mike Wolfe says:

    #18

    Sam:

    Fair enough. For whatever it’s worth, my post was not intended as a personal attack or an attempt to start a conspiracy discussion. I’ll admit to being a smart aleck from time to time, but I don’t attack in a mean spirited way, and the conspiracy stuff is tiresome, at least to me.

    All that having been said, why was the piece taken down?

  • Mike Wolfe says:

    Never mind. Read it again more thoroughly. On to other subjects.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    Mike, if no harm was intended, then I apologize for coming on as strong as I did. But my integrity is all I have, so I hope you can understand why I would come off so defensive.

    As for why it came down, if you re-read my post, it explains why. But basically, I wrote it out of emotion and wasn’t happy with how it read. It read like something an emotional teenager would write — bad spelling and grammar and all.

    Regardless, I still believe it was unprofessional of Carano to take such a shot at Tara LaRosa. LaRosa has done so much for female MMA and she’s a big reason why Gina is where she is today, whether she cares to acknowledge or not. Because of the way LaRosa has carried herself, she convinced a lot of promoters who otherwise had no interest in female MMA to start booking female fights on their cards. Tara has a lot of credibility with industry insiders and without someone as credible as her representing the female MMA movement, there likely would be no female MMA movement. And look, other female fighters have made an impact as well such as Roxanne Modaferri, Shayna Baszler, and Amanda Buckner, but Tara is the matriarch of female MMA in my opinion. She wasn’t the first, but she helped elevate it to a new level of respectability and kept it viable for the Bodogs and EliteXCs of the world to pick up on it.

  • Nick says:

    Sam, I agree with your post here and I am glad you stood up for yourself. Being in the same biz, I know how you feel. As for the taking down of the article, I agree with that too. It was unlike you and I am glad you corrected it.

  • bjjdenver says:

    Luke by a hair!

    I had to base it off the Vera/Wedum question and Rome lost me in the whole waiting around thing. I don’t think they should be inactive for that period, but Werdum is the obvious choice for next shot (now that he won). I don’t mind him fighting again before that time, in fact, I would expect him to. Maybe you don’t have him fight a top guy, but at least something to keep him active. Should he lose, then he was obviously not the contender we thought, so no big deal.

    Considering that some of the views are becoming to obvious, how about forcing each guy to argue a side in each question, whether they believe in it or not, much like a debate question? You can still do the switch and we can vote on who was the most convincing. just a thought.

  • D says:

    Sam, I like you and love the site, but I was wondering why you never stated earlier that you were no longer writing for Proelite.com. You are always upfront about everything else and so that omission was kind of odd (especially because we never really knew until now).
    If it wasn’t mutual or you can’t talk about it, then I understand. Your freelance career and this site go hand-in-hand, so we’re always interested in any developments in the former (regardless of good or bad).

  • HexRei says:

    #
    # # 23 Sam Caplan Says:

    Regardless, I still believe it was unprofessional of Carano to take such a shot at Tara LaRosa.

    Ok, but that didn’t stop you from gleefully recording Tara’s various shots at Gina in this thread:

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=gina+carano+tara+larosa&btnG=Google+Search (i’d use a direct link but for some reason this site seems to block comments made with actual links back to articles on this site… weird)

  • Sam Caplan says:

    D, it’s a situation I am not able yet to talk about publicly. Sorry if I let anyone down because I am not being forthcoming, but I have a family to feed and my family will always come first. When I am able to disclose the situation to the public, I will. But right now, I cannot. But to make a long story short, I turned in my resignation in early-April in order to pursue other opportunities.

    The reason why I treated it with silence was because I did not have much detail to offer and my concern is that people are going to allow their imaginations run wild with crazy scenarios that I do not have the time or energy to respond to. So to those who might follow up my statement with comment or question, please understand that this is all I am able to say in regard to this situation at the present time.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    #27, Tara has questioned Carano’s professionalism. To my knowledge, she has never taken a personal shot at Carano. Carano has every right to refute LaRosa’s statements, but why did she need to take a cheap shot? I mean, if she’s going to respond to Tara, why can’t she respond to LaRosa’s comments that Carano can’t make weight? What’s her answer to that?

  • Michaelthebox says:

    Sam, I think when you take things down and don’t state that it was taken down and why, you’re asking for trouble. You can’t just erase your mistakes and not expect people to ask questions or suspect things.

  • HexRei says:

    @#30: Because that was the question that the interviewer asked her. It didn’t look like she was anxiously awaiting an opportunity to call LaRosa manly to me, someone asked her what her opinion was, she had an honest answer that she obviously felt was not a nice thing to say but since Tara has never held back her opinion about Gina, Gina went ahead and said it.

    Also “just by her physical appearance, she doesn’t seem to have the physical physique of someone that is in the gym doing cardio” isn’t exactly a nice thing to say about a woman either and seems about as person to me as calling someone manly.

  • HexRei says:

    er, person = personal.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    Michael, your point has been noted and will be taken into consideration in the future.

  • D says:

    Sam,
    Understood, thanks for responding.

  • RenEDarE says:

    I believe the same with the Kimbo/Rogers fight. James came out with a different game plan and he looked damm good in his fight. Its nice to see him fade away from the bullrush because it really does nothing for you…just lateral and counter. Rogers might have better wrestling no doubt but can he use it effectively like James….I dont think James looks to be the stronger fighter. I would say that Rogers would try for the TD but he wouldnt get it…..wouldnt have the quickness. The only way I can see the TD happen is if Rogers presses the action and gets a single or double against the cage. But I really cant see him pushing the action unless he stuns Kimbo and he has to retreat. Stand up war and I give it to Kimbo with his lethal hands and good body shots.

  • Echolocating says:

    Sam, thanks for the clarification on why you pulled down the Carano article and also informing us that you no longer write for ProElite. I don’t know why you didn’t just let everyone know about your decision stop writing for ProElite and that you can’t speak about the details, but whatever.

    I would have preferred that you left the Carano article up, actually, and just updated it with an additional comment explaining your changed view on the situation. People take the time and effort to comment on this site and expect their replies (constructive or not) to stay for others to read and now it’s all gone simply because you were too embarrassed by what you wrote.

    Anyway, I’m just offering what I think is a better alternative to removing articles and pretending they never existed.

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