Posted 08/05/2014 by Mike Fagan in Untethered MMA

Untethered Mail Bag for August 2014

A lot of MMA journalists answer reader questions about the current events in the sport. I just want to talk about weird shit. This is the Untethered Mail Bag.

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I firmly believe that the UFC didn’t know what to do to get excitement back in the lightweight division once it was clear that BJ Penn wasn’t going to beat Frankie Edgar. Edgar was a nice enough kid. A family man and all that. He had well-rounded skills and he fought hard. But, the UFC didn’t have any high hopes that he could supplant Penn as “the man” at 155. So they decided to do a four-man tournament. Surely that would help kick-start the division again. They would do Henderson-Pettis and Edgar-Maynard and we’d all have a pretty darn good fight out of all that. Well, Edgar’s gonna Edgar and he pulls a draw out of the judges at UFC 125, forcing an immediate rematch and tying up the division. Meanwhile, Pettis waits in the wings after a thrilling win over Henderson. Edgar keeps getting caught up in more rematches while an injured Pettis, the fighter I truly believe the UFC has wanted as its champion all along, gets passed over until Edgar is out of the picture. Pettis later has both a featherweight title shot and a lightweight title defense both cancelled due to injuries. So, the question: who do you think the UFC kind of hates more: Pettis for his unreliability or Edgar for getting in the way for so long?” – @MJCflipdascript

First off, thanks for the concise question, reader. It’s always appreciated.

The UFC hates Pettis more. Sure, Edgar proved himself a nuisance with his I-won-but-I-didn’t-and-I-lost-but-I-didn’t act all while dragging down pay-per-view numbers. They should have expected that, though; BJ Penn is a unique individual.

You can’t blame Pettis for taking a fight instead of waiting for Edgar/Maynard 3, because Dana White still lambasts fighters who decide to sit out. You can question UFC matchmaking for throwing him in there with a spoiler like Clay Guida, but that’s a fight Pettis should have won going away. Pettis improved his UFC record to 2-1 on the same night Edgar dropped the title to Henderson, and then took care of injuries for a year before returning with a KO victory over Donald Cerrone.

Then he beats Henderson for the title last August, which is great because the UFC finally gets a young, exciting fighter with a flashy personality to boot. He hurts himself leading up to a fight with Josh Thomson, and he’ll have been on the shelf for close to 16 months by the time he and Gilbert Melendez meet post-The Ultimate Fighter 20. That’s six months fewer than Edgar’s entire reign, and while that reign was full of poor buyrates, they got a good number out of the Penn rematch and an OK number for the first Henderson fight in Japan.

Basically, Edgar really only got in the way with the draw in the second Maynard fight. Everything else – including this extended break – is on Pettis.

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Helwani, Stupp, and Morgan are the only MMA journos with a Wiki page. Who will be the 4th?” – @MookieAlexander

First off, let’s talk about this lead from Morgan’s entry (emphasis mine):

“John Morgan is an award-winning American mixed martial arts writer, radio host and television commentator.”

If your typical award show is a glorified circle jerk, the World MMA Awards – the only award Morgan has received, courtesy of said Wiki page – is a bukkake video where the players take turns as both ejaculators and ejaculate-receivers. Helwani’s page also references his World MMA Awards (though, thankfully, does not refer to him as “award-winning”), and it makes you wonder just what you’d point to as either man’s seminal work.

I’m not being flippant, either. Helwani broke the Strikeforce acquisition story, I suppose, though that has as much to do with the UFC wanting to get ahead of Josh Gross. Otherwise, what? His #longform interviews with Quinton Jackson and Conor McGregor? His courageous stand against Bob Sapp?

Morgan’s a beat writer, and while beat writers have their place, it’s not typically a position that produces groundbreaking work. Outside of seeing his Neptune polo cageside and during UFC pressers, I’m not sure I’ve ever actually encountered his work.

There’s actually four MMA journalists with Wiki pages if you want to count Dave Meltzer, who, according to his Wiki page, “has been called ‘the most accomplished reporter in sports journalism’ by Frank Deford of Sports Illustrated.”

In the spirit of the question, though, I’m a little surprised Kevin Iole doesn’t have a page. Not that I think he (or any other MMA-focused journalists) deserves it or anything.

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What’s an accurate way to describe Ronda Rousey’s drawing power right now?” – @ScottSawitz

Unknown. She drew a good number against Carmouche in her debut, and a middle-of-the-road number against McMann in February. I have no clue how to credit her for UFC 168 or 175. Pay-per-view asside, it’s also worth noting that she drew pedestrian gates in her solo headlining efforts: $1.35M against Carmouche and $1.56M against McMann.

I don’t doubt that she’s a star in the sense that she attracts mainstream attention, but I don’t see the evidence that that translates into big business in the cage. As I’ve noted before, I think a lot of that has to do with her opposition: There’s only so many times you can feeds sheep to lions and sell people on giving you $50 to see it. It’s also possible that the demographic she pulls in (“soccer moms” and the like) aren’t the type to spend $50 on combat sports.

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Don’t think it’s forbidden in unified rules to lick, but not bite, an opponent’s nipples. Thoughts on that strategy?” – @pdlmma

Ineffective. I get a lot out of having my nipples licked/touched, but you’re not in any state of arousal during a fight. It would be more weird than anything.

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no legged fighter vs a no armed fighter. Who wins in an MMA fight?” – @thebigbluegold

Seems like this is a classic striker versus grappler matchup. The legged fighter has the advantage standing, even though the Unified Rules would prevent any kicks or knees to the head. But once the armed fighter take the fight to the floor, he or she can pass the guard with ease, and it’s hard to imagine the legged fighter having much ability to get out of side control (which is the most dominant position for the armed fighter).

It probably sounds more interesting in theory, because I imagine this ends up as a pretty boring 30-27 decision for the armed fighter.

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