Posted 08/12/2013 by admin in Untethered MMA

UFC on Fox Sports 1: Shogun vs Sonnen Preview

By Mike Fagan, August 12th, 2013

The UFC makes its long-awaited debut on Fox Sports 1 this week. Long-awaited in the sense that Fox announced this whole Fox Sports 1 business a long time ago, and we’ve been waiting for Speed and Fuel TV to switch over to Fox Sports 1 and 2 respectively. That’s why I used “long-awaited” and not something like “so-long-clamored-for-fans-are-literally-frothing-at-the-mouth-and-no-the-fans-aren’t-actually-dogs.”

What does this mean for the UFC? Well, the Louie/UFC cross-marketing dream is dead. So, that sucks. They’re also rescued from Fuel TV, which answered any questions about how well an all-UFC channel would go over. Instead, they move to an all-sports network with ambitions to compete with ESPN, and more likely to compete with NBC Sports Network.

It also adds to a laundry list of the UFC’s TV partners during the Zuffa Era. We’re talking OG Fox Sports Net, Spike TV, Versus, and ION, plus FX, Fuel TV, and Fox Deportes (you thought I’d forget you Fox Deportes, didn’t you?). This means little for the sort of UFC fan who uses the internet to read about MMA. That UFC fan will follow the UFC up and down the dial. It’s the casual fan, the fan with too much going on in his or her life to argue Fedor Emelianenko’s all-time merits with a bunch of half-brained 12 year olds, the UFC and Fox need to keep informed.

*    *    *

-Chael Sonnen faced another licensing issue for this fight, this time as a result of a complaint filed to the Massachusetts commission by labor union UNITE HERE. Under the guise of concern about Sonnen’s past felony conviction, UNITE HERE wants to fuck with the UFC because of Station Casinos practice of hiring non-union labor. It failed, Massachusetts granting Sonnen a license late last week, and all UNITE HERE accomplished was drawing bad press among a bunch of people who just want to see dudes fight in a cage.

-You can make a good case that Shogun Rua’s 5-5 UFC record should read 7-3. You can also make a good case that that same 5-5 record is indicative of his overall performance in the UFC. Yeah, all five of those wins came by stoppage, but he struggled with paycheck-collecting Mark Coleman and the ninth reincarnation of Brandon Vera. Back in 2005, Shogun was 24 years old and the number one light heavyweight in the world. Now he’s an 31 – an old 31 – with two knees held together by tendon grafts and Elmer’s glue.

-With no obvious path to a title, it sounded like Chael Sonnen would give retirement serious thought following his loss to Jon Jones at UFC 159, and yet, here he is, headlining another important UFC card. He signed a new five-fight deal with the UFC in the interim, and has already announced a return to middleweight “…after beating Shogun.” Chael could be fighting as a favor to the UFC and Fox or for the paycheck or maybe he wants to angle for one last fight against Wanderlei Silva. Maybe he has cast aside his title aspirations and just wants to compete. In any case, it adds an additional wrinkle to the main event.

-And it’s a fun main event, despite what a bunch of losers on the internet will tell you. The style matchup plays well: smothering wrestling vs. potatoing Muay Thai; pressure top control vs. rock-and-rollin’ deep half guard. Sonnen has yet to control someone for 25 minutes. Shogun is halfway to Frankenstein. Sonnen might retire. Shogun might crumble like a Jenga tower. It’s your classic career vs. crumbling Jenga tower matchup.

-The Nevada commission tested Alistair Overeem following his loss to Antonio Silva at UFC 156. His testosterone levels came back at 179 nanograms per deciliter, which, apparently, is consistent with tests taken during his nine-month suspension. That’s dangerously low for a man his age, which I’m guessing is a totally natural thing and not the result of long-term drug use fighting in Japan.

-Overeem fights Travis Browne, who’s ranked as the UFC’s eighth best heavyweight on the basis of stanky-legging Stefan Struve and running over Gabriel Gonzaga’s hairy corpse.

-Urijah Faber’s MMA clothing brand Torque was featured on this week. That’s a great sign of things to come. Congrats, Urijah!

-Apparently, Bloody Elbow readers voted Matt Brown as 2012′s fighter of the year. Matt Brown went 4-0 against Chris Cope, Stephen Thompson, Luis Ramos, and Mike Swick. But hey, smartest MMA fan community on the internet!

-Uriah Hall fights John Howard in a WWF Superstars squash match. Hopefully, Fox Sports 1 will interrupt the bout mid-action with commercials.

-Joe Lauzon spoke up in support of the UFC on the fighter pay issue:

“We’re paid fighters, so getting in to the UFC doesn’t mean you’re gonna have this cushy job. You get paid based on how your performance goes. I’ve been very fortunate where I have had some great fights and I’ve been rewarded with some bonuses. I couldn’t be happier with the pay structure. It all comes down to people wanting to see you fight.”

Hey, I wouldn’t complain about the pay structure when Dana White hands me $6,000 for embarrassing his goofy friend, either.


Mike Fagan is a weekly contributor to MMA Owl. He also hosts Untethered MMA every Thursday at 7 p.m. ET at, also available as a podcast via iTunes.