UFC 199 Fight Flying Under The Radar Pits Max Holloway Vs. Ricardo Lamas (Editorial)

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDbSE8fdE98[/embed]

Lost in the hype centering around Saturday night’s UFC 199 main event and co-main event is an intriguing featherweight contest.

Yes, Luke Rockhold-Michael Bisping for the middleweight bel…

Max Holloway

Lost in the hype centering around Saturday night’s UFC 199 main event and co-main event is an intriguing featherweight contest.

Yes, Luke Rockhold-Michael Bisping for the middleweight belt and Dominick Cruz-Urijah Faber for the bantamweight strap are excellent fights and deserve the attention they are getting.

But Max Holloway and Ricardo Lamas just might steal the spotlight.

With the division on a bit of a stand-still at the moment, Holloway (15-3) comes in one of the sports hottest fighters. The 24-year-old has won eight straight since taking Conor McGregor – the UFC featherweight champion – to the scorecards back in 2013.

Included in his run are victories over Jeremy Stephens, Charles Oliveira, Cub Swanson and Cole Miller. Holloway has finished six of those eight opponents, including a third round submission of Swanson and a first round knockout of Akira Corassani.

It is likely that a ninth consecutive win will position him nicely behind McGregor and the UFC 200 winner of Jose Aldo-Frankie Edgar for the interim title.

Lamas, 10 years the elder of Holloway, is 16-4 and fought for the UFC belt vs. Aldo back in 2014. He took the Brazilian to the 25-minute mark, falling via decision.

Since that contest, Lamas has gone 3-1, losing only to perennial top contender Chad Mendes. He earned a recent decision over Diego Sanchez, submitted Dennis Bermudez two years ago and topped Hacran Dias after his defeat to Aldo.

Along with Holloway-Lamas, Dustin Poirier-Bobby Green, Beneil Dariush-James Vick and Jessica Penne-Jessica Andrade are all potential “Fight of the Night” candidates outside of the championship matches.

The Cris Cyborg Problem

cris-cyborg-ufc-debut

Cris Cyborg has finally debuted in the UFC. That much should be celebrated. The path forward; however, gets complicated for Cyborg, the UFC, and women’s MMA in general.

Cyborg has long been hailed as one of the greatest women fighters ever, and her dominance certainly establishes her as a leading figure in the sport. Before Holly Holm’s headkick, a Cyborg-Rousey bout would have been the fight of the century.

The biggest roadblock to that fight happening was Cyborg’s size. She drops down to 145 for her Invicta FC bouts, but she is said to walk around at 170. Cutting to 135 might not have been possible or safe for Cyborg to do, and because Rousey was the MMA queen she was dictating terms and did not want to move up in weight.

Fighting at the 140 catch weight at UFC 198 was probably a trial run of sorts to see if she could get down to 135. Cyborg was terrific, looked healthy (during the fight, weigh-ins not so much) and still retained her striking power and accuracy. After the fight she mentioned she felt a little quicker, which is a terrifying prospect. But she didn’t mention going down to 135 but instead expressed a desire to defend her Invicta FC title and fight at catch weights.

And here’s where things get sticky.

First, the UFC has no 145 lb women’s division. Creating one would not solve any of the problems Cyborg faces with Invicta. She simply has no one of her caliber to fight. Adding a division and signing fighters would just move the issue from one promotion to the other.

In the long run though, adding a division would encourage women to fight at 145, and possibly cultivate more talent. But, potential talent will not help Cyborg legitimize her abilities in the present.

Second, superfights make money and sell tickets, but do not provide sustainable growth to women’s MMA, which Cyborg (and the UFC presumably) want. Holly Holm fueled women’s MMA (and Rousey before her) because her victory was legitimate (she won a belt), and because she is still fighting in that same division as the current/now former champion. Holm’s fight was not a one off.

If Cyborg continues to purse catch weight superfights, like her recent calling out of Rousey, the lack of a UFC title will undermine the long term growth that could happen. But the UFC would be interested in the short game revenue that would be generated.

The best way forward, it would seem, for the UFC and women’s MMA, would be for Cyborg to join the other female Bantamweights.

However, Cyborg seems uninterested in moving to 135, and there are the aforementioned health concerns. She simply wants to continue defending her Invicta strap and pursue superfights.

So what should the UFC do with Cyborg? Should she be persuaded to go down to 135? Be given her own UFC weight class? Or just let the superfights roll?

 

cris-cyborg-ufc-debut

Cris Cyborg has finally debuted in the UFC. That much should be celebrated. The path forward; however, gets complicated for Cyborg, the UFC, and women’s MMA in general.

Cyborg has long been hailed as one of the greatest women fighters ever, and her dominance certainly establishes her as a leading figure in the sport. Before Holly Holm’s headkick, a Cyborg-Rousey bout would have been the fight of the century.

The biggest roadblock to that fight happening was Cyborg’s size. She drops down to 145 for her Invicta FC bouts, but she is said to walk around at 170. Cutting to 135 might not have been possible or safe for Cyborg to do, and because Rousey was the MMA queen she was dictating terms and did not want to move up in weight.

Fighting at the 140 catch weight at UFC 198 was probably a trial run of sorts to see if she could get down to 135. Cyborg was terrific, looked healthy (during the fight, weigh-ins not so much) and still retained her striking power and accuracy. After the fight she mentioned she felt a little quicker, which is a terrifying prospect. But she didn’t mention going down to 135 but instead expressed a desire to defend her Invicta FC title and fight at catch weights.

And here’s where things get sticky.

First, the UFC has no 145 lb women’s division. Creating one would not solve any of the problems Cyborg faces with Invicta. She simply has no one of her caliber to fight. Adding a division and signing fighters would just move the issue from one promotion to the other.

In the long run though, adding a division would encourage women to fight at 145, and possibly cultivate more talent. But, potential talent will not help Cyborg legitimize her abilities in the present.

Second, superfights make money and sell tickets, but do not provide sustainable growth to women’s MMA, which Cyborg (and the UFC presumably) want. Holly Holm fueled women’s MMA (and Rousey before her) because her victory was legitimate (she won a belt), and because she is still fighting in that same division as the current/now former champion. Holm’s fight was not a one off.

If Cyborg continues to purse catch weight superfights, like her recent calling out of Rousey, the lack of a UFC title will undermine the long term growth that could happen. But the UFC would be interested in the short game revenue that would be generated.

The best way forward, it would seem, for the UFC and women’s MMA, would be for Cyborg to join the other female Bantamweights.

However, Cyborg seems uninterested in moving to 135, and there are the aforementioned health concerns. She simply wants to continue defending her Invicta strap and pursue superfights.

So what should the UFC do with Cyborg? Should she be persuaded to go down to 135? Be given her own UFC weight class? Or just let the superfights roll?

 

Dana White Assures The MMA World That He Is In Charge

hi-res-2a86e3a69cf90ba531bbe402813adb70_crop_north

Conor McGregor was surprisingly pulled from UFC 200 due to his refusal to commit to do any promotions for his rematch against Nate Diaz. UFC boss Dana White announced the news on ESPN’s SportsCenter. White made the announcement after the superstar had this bizarre tweet earlier in the day announcing his unexpected retirement.

https://twitter.com/TheNotoriousMMA/status/722492455732584448

“Conor did not want to come to Las Vegas and film the commercial and be part of any of the marketing we have,” Dana White said to SportsCenter. “He is in Iceland training right now and its not possible.”

In the past, Dana White pulled Nick Diaz out of UFC 137 for failing to show up to a press conference in his title bout with Georges St. Pierre. McGregor was slated to go on another world tour, like the one he did with Jose Aldo leading up to UFC 189, but “Mystic Mac” wanted to stay put in Iceland to train in preparation for his rematch. White, however, was not so enthusiastic with the Irishman’s approach.

“Guys didn’t want to do press conference,” White went on to say. “You have to do the press conference so Conor put out that tweet.”

There have been reports in the past that there might be a power struggle between the UFC and Conor McGregor. McGregor’s quick rise to stardom has had many fans and pundits question who is really in control since the Dublin native has single-handedly broken numerous gate records and has had multiple one million-plus pay-per-view events.

McGregor has stated in multiple interviews and social media posts that he is the company. With the move that Dana White made to pull McGregor, it reassures fans that the UFC executive are in full control of their company and not obliged to play favorites to a single fighter.

Many fans in the MMA community in the past have said that Dana White likes to play favorites with Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor because of the revenue and attention that they have brought to the UFC. McGregor was even more of a superstar breaking gate records at UFC 189 and subsequently at UFC 194. His bout with Nate Diaz at UFC 196 is said to have had roughly 1.5 million pay-per-view buys too, which is the 2nd most in UFC history.

White simply made a protocol move by pulling McGregor out of UFC 200. No fighter should be able to get out of media appearances without any consequences. It is not only standard in the UFC but standard in every other major sport to give media obligations. At the end of the day, UFC fighters are employees of Zuffa and work for the company. Conor McGregor is an employee and Dana White/Fertitta brothers are the employers.

White was firm in his decision to remove McGregor out of UFC 200 when he gave interviews on “SportsCenter” and “The Herd”.

“He (McGreogr) said, ‘I don’t want to do it, I don’t want to come (Las Vegas)’,” White said to Colin Cowherd. “I basically said you have to come.”

That is what a promoter and ultimately company president should be like. If fans were still thinking if Dana White is playing favorites or “cuddling” to McGregor, they should stop right there. White removed his superstar from the most hyped-up and historic UFC card yet to date.

The buck stops with Dana White and ultimately, in an unprecedented move, no fighter is going to have the final say over the UFC brass.

hi-res-2a86e3a69cf90ba531bbe402813adb70_crop_north

Conor McGregor was surprisingly pulled from UFC 200 due to his refusal to commit to do any promotions for his rematch against Nate Diaz. UFC boss Dana White announced the news on ESPN’s SportsCenter. White made the announcement after the superstar had this bizarre tweet earlier in the day announcing his unexpected retirement.

“Conor did not want to come to Las Vegas and film the commercial and be part of any of the marketing we have,” Dana White said to SportsCenter. “He is in Iceland training right now and its not possible.”

In the past, Dana White pulled Nick Diaz out of UFC 137 for failing to show up to a press conference in his title bout with Georges St. Pierre. McGregor was slated to go on another world tour, like the one he did with Jose Aldo leading up to UFC 189, but “Mystic Mac” wanted to stay put in Iceland to train in preparation for his rematch. White, however, was not so enthusiastic with the Irishman’s approach.

“Guys didn’t want to do press conference,” White went on to say. “You have to do the press conference so Conor put out that tweet.”

There have been reports in the past that there might be a power struggle between the UFC and Conor McGregor. McGregor’s quick rise to stardom has had many fans and pundits question who is really in control since the Dublin native has single-handedly broken numerous gate records and has had multiple one million-plus pay-per-view events.

McGregor has stated in multiple interviews and social media posts that he is the company. With the move that Dana White made to pull McGregor, it reassures fans that the UFC executive are in full control of their company and not obliged to play favorites to a single fighter.

Many fans in the MMA community in the past have said that Dana White likes to play favorites with Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor because of the revenue and attention that they have brought to the UFC. McGregor was even more of a superstar breaking gate records at UFC 189 and subsequently at UFC 194. His bout with Nate Diaz at UFC 196 is said to have had roughly 1.5 million pay-per-view buys too, which is the 2nd most in UFC history.

White simply made a protocol move by pulling McGregor out of UFC 200. No fighter should be able to get out of media appearances without any consequences. It is not only standard in the UFC but standard in every other major sport to give media obligations. At the end of the day, UFC fighters are employees of Zuffa and work for the company. Conor McGregor is an employee and Dana White/Fertitta brothers are the employers.

White was firm in his decision to remove McGregor out of UFC 200 when he gave interviews on “SportsCenter” and “The Herd”.

“He (McGreogr) said, ‘I don’t want to do it, I don’t want to come (Las Vegas)’,” White said to Colin Cowherd. “I basically said you have to come.”

That is what a promoter and ultimately company president should be like. If fans were still thinking if Dana White is playing favorites or “cuddling” to McGregor, they should stop right there. White removed his superstar from the most hyped-up and historic UFC card yet to date.

The buck stops with Dana White and ultimately, in an unprecedented move, no fighter is going to have the final say over the UFC brass.

4 Reasons why a Diaz vs. McGregor rematch is the WRONG fight

Of all the story lines to emerge from the aftermath of UFC 196, the unlikeliest is perhaps an immediate rematch between Connor McGregor and Nate Diaz. Here are four reasons against a rematch.

1. McGregor must defend his 145 pound belt

It’s fine f…

nate-diaz-4

Of all the story lines to emerge from the aftermath of UFC 196, the unlikeliest is perhaps an immediate rematch between Connor McGregor and Nate Diaz. Here are four reasons against a rematch.

1. McGregor must defend his 145 pound belt

It’s fine for McGregor to have other aspirations outside the Bantamweight division, even other belts and titles. However, the last Bantamweight title bout was in December 2015, which was of course McGregor’s own stunning and devastating 13 second KO of defending champ Jose Aldo. If McGregor fights at UFC 200 slated for July, it’s probable that he won’t be available for a title fight until December again. 12 months between title fights is far too long for a division unless a serious lack of talent exists. But clear options are in play for McGregor to chose from. He cannot hold the division hostage, especially when he has yet to even successfully defend his title, which is a vital aspect to being a true champion.

2. A rematch does not advance either fighter’s career

While this fight was amazing the first time around, especially for Diaz who gained some much needed attention for his fighting skills, a rematch would not improve either fighters career in terms of future title chances. McGregor skipped over the whole lightweight division to originally fight Dos Anjos before Diaz stepped in when the former broke his foot in training. So if McGregor defeats Diaz at 155 pounds, is the Irishman now settled on working through top contenders to get to Dos Anjos and fight for the title? Or does he just skip straight to another title fight with Dos Anjos? And since he’ll need to defend his 145 title, he would be juggling fights between weight classes to pursue both goals.

If Diaz wins, the situation isn’t much clearer. His excellent victory against an emerging contender Michael Johnson at UFC Fight Night in December 2015 showcased an improved and much more dangerous Diaz, putting him back into contention for a potential title shot. Defeating an opponent that is fighting out of normal weight class (even twice) won’t edge him closer to a title shot than he already is now. McGregor hasn’t fought a single lightweight before (a Diaz rematch at lightweight would be his first), so a win for Diaz might just prove that McGregor should stick to 145, not that Diaz deserves a title chance.

3. Diaz with a full camp makes a rematch a puzzling decision at best

Diaz stepped into the Octagon and defeated a much hyped opponent on ten days notice. Ten days. The fact that Diaz was training for a triathlon makes for a good soundbyte to justify allowing the fight, but that level of training doesn’t compensate in the slightest for a full fight camp. Ten days full of the circus of pressers and pre-fight conferences. Ten days of helter-skelter training at best. And yet Diaz walked in, took McGregor’s best punch(es), and landed a punishing left that eventually drove McGregor to go for a takedown, before performing a jiu-jitsu masterclass and sinking into a tight rear naked choke that saw McGregor quickly tap. All on ten days.

Imagine Diaz with a full camp. McGregor also gained much needed experience and would fight any opponent much smarter now than he did with Diaz the first time. But Diaz with a full camp is a frightening prospect. He probably wouldn’t be “flawless” like he predicted he would be with a full camp, but he wouldn’t be far from it.

4. Frankie Edgar deserves a title shot

The Answer has rightly been calling for a chance at the title for some time, and Dana White and the UFC simply must give him an opportunity. Now is the time for that title fight. Edgar has won the necessary fights to prove himself worthy. Edgar’s wrestling ability makes him a dangerous opponent for McGregor, similar to Chad Mendes. But unlike Mendes, Edgar would have a full camp. McGregor vs. Edgar is an easy headlining event at UFC 200.

The UFC, A Well-Oiled Circus

ufc-logo-2

As the largest Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) promotion company in the world, you’d expect the UFC to be a well-oiled machine. After all, they have the best fighters, the largest financial backers and the biggest fan base. However, if you peel back the layers, you’ll find a dysfunctional company with an outspoken (and often crude) president.

Does the UFC’s controversial and unorthodox approach to MMA hinder or help make it into the multi-billion dollar company it is today?

To give you some background, the UFC was acquired by the two Fertitta brothers (Frank and Lorenzo) and current UFC president Dana White back in 2001. At the time, the company was on the verge of extinction. The three of them injected a significant amount of money into the company while securing lucrative televisions deals, setting up multiple revenue streams and eventually creating a monopoly in the MMA landscape by buying and absorbing rival promotions.

The UFC is not the governing body of MMA, it’s a business; and as a business, the goal is to create a product that is both appealing and profitable. While the UFC are bound by a strict set of rules set by the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation, they run their own show while giving the fans what they want.

Throughout the life of the UFC, we’ve witnessed a number of these “business” decisions which have been made to appeal to the fans rather than following a traditional formula. If you’ve watched enough UFC events, you’ll know what I’m talking about. I’ve picked a few examples recently to emphasize my point.

Cast your mind back to last year before the announcement of the Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm fight. Miesha Tate was the clear number one contender to face Rousey. Instead, Dana White stated that if they gave Tate a shot and she lost, her career would be over. This forced Tate to consider retirement as she felt worthless in the UFC. In hindsight, it was a good decision although Dana White doesn’t have those kinds of powers. The fight between Rousey and Holm had to happen from a business perspective as the fans had already seen Rousey vs Tate (twice) before with Rousey winning both bouts convincingly. Rousey had also beaten all the other contenders in front of Holm. The idea to throw Holm in the deep end to face Rousey was a gamble, although she had a few selling points which excited the fans. Holm was (is) a former boxing world champion and at the time was undefeated in her MMA career. Stylistically, she was a good match up for Rousey, although, in many people’s eyes, she hadn’t done enough in the UFC to warrant a shot at the title.

Recently, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson came out and questioned the UFC’s decision to give Henry Cejudo a title fight against him. Cejudo has only fought four times in the UFC. The reason he’s been given the fight is because no other opponent in the division has even come close to dethroning “Mighty Mouse”. Cejudo – on paper – is potentially the most dangerous opponent to face him. Cejudo is a gold medalist in Olympic wrestling and he’s undefeated in MMA. From a business perspective, he’s the most attractive opponent and will no doubt help sell more pay-per-views than anyone else.

Another one of these unusual “business” decisions was the acquisition of Phil Brooks.

For anyone who isn’t aware, Phil Brooks (or “CM Punk”) is best known for his time in the World Wrestling Entertainment or WWE. Brooks is a wrestler by trade although he’s NEVER had a professional MMA fight in his life.

Brooks has been undergoing a rigorous training regime under the tutelage of Duke Roufus (the coach of former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis) to condition himself to fight inside the octagon. It’s no secret why the UFC signed him. Brooks is a superstar (over 2.5 million Twitter followers!) with a lot of pulling power. When he steps inside that octagon, he will attract interest from everywhere, especially fans of the WWE. Brooks will need to be prepared because the octagon is an unforgiving place to be, especially for a rookie. Win or lose, it’s a smart business decision by the UFC.

You might think the UFC has done this before in the form of Brock Lesnar. While Lesnar entered the octagon as a relative novice, he had a few fights in lower MMA promotions and actually had a professional record before signing with the company. Lesnar also had the advantage of being a physical specimen. His sheer size and athletic ability were enough to get him so far.

While Brooks’ inclusion into the UFC is strange, it’s no less unusual then former world champion boxer James Toney signing a one-off fight to face UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture in the octagon. Toney had been criticizing the UFC and Dana White offered him a fight. It ended in predictable fashion with Couture taking him down with ease and submitting him.

At times, the UFC does represent a circus more than a professional MMA promotion. You might question the comments and decisions of the president. You may (like me) seem surprised when certain fights materialize. What you can’t deny though is the exposure the UFC has given to MMA. The UFC is exciting and fun to watch. The chaos and general shenanigans we’ve seen over the years just add to the charm. While the company goes against the norm and make their own rules up, they do a good job of giving the fans what they want.

ufc-logo-2

As the largest Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) promotion company in the world, you’d expect the UFC to be a well-oiled machine. After all, they have the best fighters, the largest financial backers and the biggest fan base. However, if you peel back the layers, you’ll find a dysfunctional company with an outspoken (and often crude) president.

Does the UFC’s controversial and unorthodox approach to MMA hinder or help make it into the multi-billion dollar company it is today?

To give you some background, the UFC was acquired by the two Fertitta brothers (Frank and Lorenzo) and current UFC president Dana White back in 2001. At the time, the company was on the verge of extinction. The three of them injected a significant amount of money into the company while securing lucrative televisions deals, setting up multiple revenue streams and eventually creating a monopoly in the MMA landscape by buying and absorbing rival promotions.

The UFC is not the governing body of MMA, it’s a business; and as a business, the goal is to create a product that is both appealing and profitable. While the UFC are bound by a strict set of rules set by the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation, they run their own show while giving the fans what they want.

Throughout the life of the UFC, we’ve witnessed a number of these “business” decisions which have been made to appeal to the fans rather than following a traditional formula. If you’ve watched enough UFC events, you’ll know what I’m talking about. I’ve picked a few examples recently to emphasize my point.

Cast your mind back to last year before the announcement of the Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm fight. Miesha Tate was the clear number one contender to face Rousey. Instead, Dana White stated that if they gave Tate a shot and she lost, her career would be over. This forced Tate to consider retirement as she felt worthless in the UFC. In hindsight, it was a good decision although Dana White doesn’t have those kinds of powers. The fight between Rousey and Holm had to happen from a business perspective as the fans had already seen Rousey vs Tate (twice) before with Rousey winning both bouts convincingly. Rousey had also beaten all the other contenders in front of Holm. The idea to throw Holm in the deep end to face Rousey was a gamble, although she had a few selling points which excited the fans. Holm was (is) a former boxing world champion and at the time was undefeated in her MMA career. Stylistically, she was a good match up for Rousey, although, in many people’s eyes, she hadn’t done enough in the UFC to warrant a shot at the title.

Recently, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson came out and questioned the UFC’s decision to give Henry Cejudo a title fight against him. Cejudo has only fought four times in the UFC. The reason he’s been given the fight is because no other opponent in the division has even come close to dethroning “Mighty Mouse”. Cejudo – on paper – is potentially the most dangerous opponent to face him. Cejudo is a gold medalist in Olympic wrestling and he’s undefeated in MMA. From a business perspective, he’s the most attractive opponent and will no doubt help sell more pay-per-views than anyone else.

Another one of these unusual “business” decisions was the acquisition of Phil Brooks.

For anyone who isn’t aware, Phil Brooks (or “CM Punk”) is best known for his time in the World Wrestling Entertainment or WWE. Brooks is a wrestler by trade although he’s NEVER had a professional MMA fight in his life.

Brooks has been undergoing a rigorous training regime under the tutelage of Duke Roufus (the coach of former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis) to condition himself to fight inside the octagon. It’s no secret why the UFC signed him. Brooks is a superstar (over 2.5 million Twitter followers!) with a lot of pulling power. When he steps inside that octagon, he will attract interest from everywhere, especially fans of the WWE. Brooks will need to be prepared because the octagon is an unforgiving place to be, especially for a rookie. Win or lose, it’s a smart business decision by the UFC.

You might think the UFC has done this before in the form of Brock Lesnar. While Lesnar entered the octagon as a relative novice, he had a few fights in lower MMA promotions and actually had a professional record before signing with the company. Lesnar also had the advantage of being a physical specimen. His sheer size and athletic ability were enough to get him so far.

While Brooks’ inclusion into the UFC is strange, it’s no less unusual then former world champion boxer James Toney signing a one-off fight to face UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture in the octagon. Toney had been criticizing the UFC and Dana White offered him a fight. It ended in predictable fashion with Couture taking him down with ease and submitting him.

At times, the UFC does represent a circus more than a professional MMA promotion. You might question the comments and decisions of the president. You may (like me) seem surprised when certain fights materialize. What you can’t deny though is the exposure the UFC has given to MMA. The UFC is exciting and fun to watch. The chaos and general shenanigans we’ve seen over the years just add to the charm. While the company goes against the norm and make their own rules up, they do a good job of giving the fans what they want.

UFC 200 Should Make History, Not An Additional Footnote On History That Has Already Been Made

UFC 200 should make history.

While it has yet to be officially announced, the latest word going around is that UFC is expected to soon confirm Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz II as the main event for their landmark UFC 200 event in July.

McGrego…

ufc-200

UFC 200 should make history.

While it has yet to be officially announced, the latest word going around is that UFC is expected to soon confirm Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz II as the main event for their landmark UFC 200 event in July.

McGregor and Diaz first met in a welterweight bout at UFC 196 in early March, where Diaz submitted McGregor via second round choke, giving “The Notorious” one his first official loss inside the Octagon. The event is rumored to have drawn in the neighborhood of $1.5 million buys on pay-per-view, and drew the third largest gate in UFC history.

No doubt, the results of the business side of the first McGregor-Diaz bout makes a rematch a no-brainer in terms of a guaranteed money-fight that the promotion could book at some point down the line. But why UFC 200?

It appears inevitable that UFC 200 will be a business success regardless of the fight selected to serve as the headline attraction for the show, so why book an immediate rematch just months after the initial showdown on an event that is 15-years in the making?

Forget that fact that Diaz won in dominant, definitive fashion and that one could argue that McGregor, the current 145-pound champion of the UFC who is now 0-1 in his career at 170 pounds, isn’t even worthy of a second shot against the Stockton bad boy.

Toss that factor out the window.

Forget the fact that if McGregor-Diaz II is booked for the July 9th event, that the entire UFC Featherweight division remains on hold with the title essentially frozen while McGregor has his “fun fights” and arguably unwarranted immediate rematches of said-fights.

Throw that factor out the window as well.

Look at this from a fan perspective. McGregor-Diaz II, for those who enjoyed the hoopla surrounding the first fight, will be just as exciting at UFC 206 or UFC 211. It’d be just as exciting at UFC On FOX 24 or UFC Fight Night 98. The show doesn’t matter. It’s irrelevant.

UFC 200 should be special. UFC 200 should have a fresh main event that fans won’t have seen just four months prior.

Regardless of whether or not Ronda Rousey will be back in time for a July fight, or if UFC can convince Georges St-Pierre to come out of retirement, with the current state of the UFC landscape — which is as wide open and fun as it has been in quite a while — there are a plethora of big fights and/or fun fights that could serve as a main event for such a historic show without going back to the well so soon for a goofy immediate rematch.

Sure, UFC tied up a lot of the top stars in events leading directly up to UFC 200, where injuries could happen in training camps — or the fights themselves — that would then make a lot of your biggest draws unavailable for your landmark event. That simplly can’t be avoided. You can’t “save” all of your top stars and biggest matches for one special event, or you’re stuck booking lackluster events in the meantime.

With UFC on one of their hottest streaks in company history right now, you don’t want to do anything that cools off the momentum you have built.

Having said that, the solution to this issue seems pretty simple …

(Continued on page two …)