Posted 02/26/2014 by Mike Fagan in Untethered MMA

Untethered Mail Bag for February 2014

Dana White is injected with a volatile truth serum, you can ask him 1 question and it will be answered truthfully, what is it? – @NYid07

Here’s how I imagine this scenario:

Dana sits on an old wooden chair. His hands are tied behind his back with a long length of thick rope. A single incandescent light bulb illuminates a dank concrete room. Dana hangs his head. Sweat drips from the top of his bald head down his forehead, and falls from his nose onto his soaked t-shirt. He’s babbling in some vain attempt at mercy, but the doctor enters through the rusty door, his virgin white lab coat contrasting sharply with the surroundings. He stabs Dana’s forearm with the needle and plunges the serum into the bloodstream. He says, “Ask him anything, but hurry,” and exits.

Holy shit, what pressure! Part of me wants to play journalist and ask about fighter pay or TRT or the Fedor negotiations. The other part of me wants to find something weird: Has Dana ever had homosexual thoughts about a fighter? Is he banging Ronda Rousey? What kind of porn does he like? Can I hold his penis in my hand?

The question has to be perfect, and the question’s wording even more so. You don’t want to be that guy who asks, “Can you tell me about the time Randy Couture left the UFC,” and then look like a dolt when Dana says, “Yes,” and snaps out of his truth haze.

After struggling with this for hours, I decided the most interesting truth from Dana would be something revealing about his personal life. Something along the lines of “What happened the last time your heart was broken?” or “What was the last thing that made you cry?” And then I’d hold his penis in my hand because he’s tied up on a chair.

Now that the dust is settled … is Ronda Rousey the biggest star in the UFC’s history of everything? – @ScottSawitz

I’d like to know what metrics the UFC is using to measure this thing. UFC 170 brought in the worst gate for a major event at Mandalay Bay in nearly a decade; she’s in some movies, but not in any sort of starring role (like Quinton Jackson or Gina Carano); and unless 170 hits some insane number, she hasn’t headlined a PPV that would put her anywhere near the UFC’s top 20.

That she’s a bigger star than Brock Lesnar or Georges St-Pierre or Anderson Silva (who, you know, is still technically an active fighter under UFC contract) were is laughable. That she’s a bigger star than Jon Jones right now is laughable. The whole thing smells like the UFC trying to force a narrative: Ronda Rousey is a huge star because the UFC says Ronda Rousey is a huge star.

The UFC has rarely, if ever, pushed an individual fighter above the brand, and I think there are two possibilities at play here. 1) The UFC has no idea how to create a huge star after resisting a fighter ever becoming bigger than the promotion. 2) The UFC knows Ronda has non-fighting options, and they want to maximize whatever star power she has before she leaves in a few years.

The worst part is that Ronda is a star. She could become, with the right mix of opponents and promotion, one of the biggest stars in the company’s history. But they have egg on their face declaring her when they declare that as fact the week before she has trouble selling out a 10,000-seat arena.

How many UFC heavyweights could Undertaker beat up right now? – @rianscalia

Zero. Here’s a non-promotional, recent picture of the Undertaker, courtesy of @Massive2355. Taker looks like that sort of aging metalhead that shows up to shows and everyone loves ironically, but in reality it’s just sad and depressing and he’s going to die alone. Wikipedia lists him as 48, but I would have guessed 58 by the picture.

In his prime, though, Taker could have made an interesting fighter. He’s billed at 6’10”, though that might be pro-wrestling-inflated, and he’s athletic enough to do things like dive over the top rope and walk along the ropes and all that without looking like an awkward goof.

Who makes more $$ on average per event, UFC fighters or octagon girls? – @rianscalia

Even the curtain jerkers making $8k/$8k likely make many times more than Arianny and co. for fight night work. NFL cheerleaders make something in the neighborhood of $100-200 per game. The Octagon girls can’t be making much more than that. Maybe Arianny is making low four figures or something, but the UFC has shown that they are completely expendable. You sort of expect that when the job description is “hot and make left turns while holding a card above head.”

Why are so many members of the MMA media so fucking awful? Secondary: why are their bosses even more awful? – @JadedMMAFan

The short answer is money. There’s very little of it to be made covering MMA.

The longer answer involves a lot of things that should be obvious: the UFC is the only game in town, they will cut you off if they don’t like you, guys don’t want to lose their jobs, sports media is generally awful to begin with, MMA is a niche sport, etc

These things combine to form a situation that doesn’t attract smart people. Jordan Breen is the smartest guy I’ve read or listened to in the MMA media universe, and I’m not sure who would be next on that list. That’s not to say that MMA media people are dumb, but there aren’t many bright individuals with interesting and unique ways of thinking about things.


Mike Fagan is a weekly contributor to MMA Owl. He also hosts Untethered MMA every Thursday at 7 p.m. ET. Follow him on Twitter


Mike Fagan