Welcome back to another edition of The Duel. I’d love to cover Fight for the Troops but being it was the middle of the week we had already assigned questions. Our two competitors this week are mortal enemies in the form of 5 Oz. senior writer Adam Morgan and 5 Oz. writer, Caleb Newby. Try to keep it clean.
1. A future champion will arise from this season of The Ultimate Fighter.
Morgan: FALSE. For now. It’s extremely hard to predict that a fighter from this season may win a championship someday. You’re asking me to predict the future and I’m no Nostradamus. Do I think some of the guys have championship potential? Sure. Vinny Magalhaes has some of the best jiu jitsu at light heavyweight that we’ve seen in some time. Phillipe Nover looks to be the complete package. Ryan Bader has a dominant wrestling game and as long as he continues to improve he could be a contender. Same thing with Efrain Escudero. But for me to go so far as to say that one of these guys will one day win a title? That’s pushing it. If you’d have asked me in 2005 if I thought that Forrest Griffin would one day hold the light heavyweight title, I’d have told you that you’re dreaming. It’s impossible to say true or false definitively to this statement. The current season of TUF has potential. Let’s leave it at that.
Newby: TRUE. I’ve stopped watching TUF entirely as of this year and my life is better for it. Unfortunately for Morgan, he has to recap that show, something I don’t envy. As I can’t answer this question accurately, I am going to instead make the switch Killer Bees style to Sherdog’s own Lotfi Sariahmed. Take it away Lotfi! Lotfi Sariahmed: Thank you Caleb. Obviously a champion arising from this season will take a while to come to fruition but you can go one of two ways here. For a relatively new mixed martial artist the hardest part of the game to pick up is the jiu-jitsu….Vinny already has that and its world class. Now mind you his striking stinks but every one of these fighters on this card has some glaring problem. You could also make the argument Phillipe has some title worthy potential if you buy into his striking game and his ground game being good enough. I do not but a case could be made. As for Bader he has some nice wrestling but it’s going to take a while for him to develop. So cases can be made about a lot of guys. I feel best about pinning the future title holder tag on Vinny but there are enough solid guys on this season to where I can say true and feel good about it.
2. The Ultimate Fighter reality show will last more than 12 seasons.
Morgan: TRUE. You bet it will. It’s already through its eighth season and the ninth season is already in the works with Michael Bisping and Rich Franklin or Dan Henderson as the coaches. It’s a show that draws strong enough ratings to stay on television no matter what kind of BS ends up on television. It has hardcore fans interested because of the fights and it draws in casual viewers because of the drama. It’s a great vehicle for people to get involved with the fighters on the show long enough for them to want to see what happens. Twelve seasons is an absolute lock for this awful, awful show. The least they could do would be to mix the show up a little bit, but even without a total shakeup, this thing makes it to twelve seasons with no problems.
Newby: TRUE. You’re right Morgan, except you forgot a major issue. The show has been renewed up to season twelve. That said, yes, The Ultimate Fighter is a terrible show, as evidenced by my quiting it this year. It seems I picked the right time too, with the number of bodily fluids consumed and tantrums witnessed. Still, it’s not going to be taken off the air anytime soon. Spike and the UFC need to keep their relationship strong and this show helps both parties. Neither side is going to pull the plug on this unless it is doing REALLY poorly. Due to the nature of the program, it is about impossible to do plummet down the Nielsens by season twelve. Inevitably, TUF will be renewed for another few seasons past season twelve. With a continual stream of new, young talent ready to get famous and the cheap ratings the show produces along with filler talent for any fight card (Hello Fight for the Troops!), this show isn’t going anywhere. Let’s just pray that it gets a major overhaul along the way. Or they bring BJ Penn back to coach again and screw with Dana. I’d watch that, no question.
3. The loser of Jason MacDonald vs. Wilson Gouveia will find himself unemployed.
Morgan: FALSE. This is Gouveia’s second time at 185 and it’s unlikely that with another loss he’ll be out of the UFC. Yes, he lost to Goran Reljic and has only defeated Ryan Jensen, but Gouveia is an up and comer with a lot of upside. Not to mention that losing to Jason MacDonald is not something to laugh at. MacDonald may not have the best UFC record but he is absolutely a dangerous fighter with a lot of heart and he has put on some very entertaining fights recently. He’s the perfect gatekeeper for 185 lbs. and it’s unlikely that the UFC gets rid of him. He’s the Chris Lytle of the middleweight division. Not to mention the fact that he just recently signed a contract extension. Win or lose, neither of these guys are going anywhere.
Newby: FALSE. Morgan, you’re a dummy. Except not on this point. There is no way Jason MacDonald ends up unemployed. He’s got charisma, wins over talented fighters and is a nice addition to shore up a Canadian UFC event. In fact, both MacDonald and Gouveia have won their last fights. This doesn’t smell of a loser-leaves-the-UFC event. This is more of a winner moving on to get a fight against another quasi-name to open a PPV broadcast while the loser goes to the undercard. Oh, and lest young Morgan forgets, the UFC can end their contracts whenever they want — extension or not. Guess it’s good to be boss. It’s the nature of their previous performances that will keep both around, not their contract status.
—-SWITCH IT UP—-
4. The UFC’s treatment of AKA fighters over licensing rights is ridiculous.
Newby: TRUE. TRUE. TRUE. TRUE. True a thousand times over. For those that don’t know, here’s the short version of the UFC licensing contract. For video games, the UFC gets the fighters likeness for life, with 100% exclusivity, i.e. no other game can contain the fighter’s likeness, even after they quit the UFC for another organization. For every other type of merchandise, the UFC has non-exclusive rights, meaning they can produce as much as they want after the fighter leaves/retires although the fighter can also put out his own merchandise as well. It is absolutely asinine the amount of control the UFC lords over their roster of fighters. The counter argument of “without the UFC, these guys wouldn’t be where they are” holds very little weight as Zuffa is hardly hurting. Take reports that UFC 91 came in with over 1 million buys, and compare that to the payout for the event. It should be obvious that the UFC is doing this to further their monopoly on the sport over the long term by sabotaging current and future organizations from competing with any fighter that’s entered the Octagon. This sort of thing doesn’t fly in any major sports organizations with player’s unions and doesn’t even work in professional wrestling. I hope that more fighters take a stand against this sort of contract and until Zuffa is forced to go to a reasonable licensing agreement.
Morgan: TRUE. As Newbs clearly outlined during his dissertation above, the way the UFC handles its licensing rights with all of its fighters, not just AKA fighters, is absolutely ridiculous. Why can’t these guys sign short term deals? Why does it have to be all or nothing. It doesn’t make any sense and the cutting of Jon Fitch was simply a message to the other fighters in the UFC that they don’t care how good you are, if you don’t play nice and tow the company line then you’re gone. Period. Fitch is a guy who wants to test himself against the best fighters in the world and realizes he can only do that in the UFC. For other guys, like Josh Koscheck, it’s not that cut and dry. We may have seen Josh Koscheck in his last UFC bout this past Wednesday and that’s a shame. The UFC will be losing some good fighters from its roster due to simply being inflexible. It hurts the company’s reputation and it will end up hurting their roster. In the end, what they’re doing is allowing the competition to nab up quality fighters to bolster their roster. The UFC needs to be flexible with these types of things and unfortunately that’s not the way it’s going to go down.
5. Anthony Johnson will avenge the “eye poke fight” and knock out Kevin Burns.
Newby: TRUE. While Burns was more impressive in their previous encounter than I’d anticipated, you can’t ignore the toll the eye pokes took on Johnson. The fight should have been a no contest, but so it goes. This time around, I find it difficult to believe Johnson will lose. He is too athletic, fast and has no lack of motivation going in. With Johnson’s striking and Burns’ affinity for striking, it should end in a KO, and I’m fine with giving it to Johnson. Let’s all hope that Burns’ hand injury has healed by now. No more open punches from that man.
Morgan: FALSE. Knock him out? I doubt that will happen as Burns was hanging tough in the last fight until the 100th eye poke. Will Johnson win? Yes, I believe that he will but I think it’s unlikely that he’ll knock him out. Let’s not forget that the exact same thing could happen this time around with the way Burns punches. He’s broken his hand multiple times and punches really loose with his fingers extended. The first time Johnson gets poked in the eye in this fight, fans will be screaming bloody murder. I figure Johnson endures a couple eye pokes and grinds out a decision victory. Burns is a gamer and I doubt that he gets finished.
6. Gilbert Yvel should be allowed to fight in California.
Newby: FALSE. Yvel shouldn’t be allowed to fight anywhere that has an athletic commission, at least not until he’s proven he regrets his actions and has control of his anger. That being said, I don’t really care personally. This fight is so pointless. Yvel is fighting Josh Barnett who will win this as soon as he decides to take it to the ground. And if Yvel is denied, Barnett just waits longer to fight the winner of Arlovski and Fedor. I’d rather watch Miguel Torres vs. Butterbean.
Morgan: TRUE. Why the hell not? This is the same commission that allowed Vitor Belfort to fight again in the US after fighting overseas following a steroid infraction. And the same commission that allowed Mike Kyle to return to the cage in the same state he was reprimanded in after his vicious attack on fighter Brian Olsen in 2006. Nothing that Yvel has done is more notorious than Kyle’s attack so why not let him fight? He’s going to get tooled by Barnett anyways so no harm, no foul.
And that does it for The Duel. Next week join us when two other MMA writers will discuss breaking news, rumors and some of the newly made matches for these NYE shows.