And welcome back to The Duel. This week I am joined by TKO Xtreme‘s Scott White and for half of the Duel by MMAJunkie‘s Dann Stupp. Dann was unable to be part of the second half as he had to fly out to the Playboy Mansion for an event. If you have a chance please pray for him as he has a very difficult life. FUN FACT: Dann did not get the nickname “Junkie” because it was fun for MMA, he’s actually deep into the world of heroin.
So with Dann out for the second half I will fill in for him. Consider me half a Junkie. Let us Duel:
1. An Affliction/Golden Boy tandem MMA and boxing card would work.
Junkie: FALSE. I believe Affliction and Golden Boy are trying to fill a niche where there is no desire for one. I know both are “combat sports,” but in terms of their audiences and even the media that covers each, MMA and boxing belong together no more than NASCAR and the PGA do. Everyone keeps pointing to the successful MMA/boxing show that took place earlier this year in Las Vegas (which featured John Alessio vs. Pete Spratt and Kim Couture vs. Kim Rose). Yes, that show was a success of sorts, but it didn’t really have anything to do with the novelty of MMA and boxing on the same card. That event drew well because all tickets were free and many Xtreme Couture fighters were signing free autographs throughout the night. The crowd was splintered, and the place didn’t really start filling up until the MMA portion of the event anyway. There may be some value in Affliction and Golden Boy teaming up, but the potential of MMA/boxing cards isn’t the reason why.
White: FALSE. The only way I see the Affliction/Golden Boy tandem working is if Golden Boy is able to use it’s connections to secure a TV deal with HBO. As of right now, HBO isn’t currently in discussions with any mixed martial arts organization and they have no intentions of doing so in the near future. As we saw with Affliction’s premier event, even with a stacked card it failed to garner a substantial amount of pay-per-view buys. We’re talking about two distinct fan bases and sports. Unless Golden Boy headlines the card with Oscar De la Hoya, which won’t happen, this move doesn’t seem extremely significant.
My Five Cents: I like Junkie’s Nascar and PGA joke. My main concern is a boxing match can last 50 minutes and your average MMA bout lasts about 5 minutes. How does that work exactly? It’s like a game of “HORSE” on the basketball court and then watching a 5-set tennis match.
2. Despite his improvements, Alistair Overeem will still be no match for Mirko Cro Cop at DREAM.6.
Junkie: FALSE. In the past 19 months, Cro Cop has defeated one fighter: Tatsuya Mizuno, who owns a lifetime 4-4 record. I don’t think Cro Cop is a shell of his former self, nor do I feel he’s suffering from some sort of PRIDE curse after the losses to Gabe Gonzaga and Cheick Kongo. But until he beats a solid heavyweight opponent and strikes fear in the heart of his opponent (remember the Eddie Sanchez fight?), the jury’s still out. Overeem has been on a tear since an absolute destruction of Paul Buentello for the Strikeforce world heavyweight title. He’s looked good against another striker (Mark Hunt) and a wrestler (Lee Tae-Hyun). Plus, Overeem is going to enter this fight with an abundance of confidence. You just don’t call out a fighter such as Cro Cop, which Overeem repeatedly did, unless you have a big swingin’ brass set. I still give Cro Cop the edge, but saying Overeem will be “no match” is just silly — especially considering Cro Cop’s past three fights.
White: FALSE. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic is still regarded as a top-ten heavyweight but according to what we’ve seen recently, Cro Cop is a mirror of his former self. After securing numerous dominant wins in PRIDE, Cro Cop came to the UFC and ended up being one of the biggest busts in the organizations history after dropping bouts to heavyweights Cheick Kongo and Gabriel Gonzaga. Alistair Overeem on the other hand has been on a tear since his victory over Paul Buentello. This fight should be very interesting and will be no cake walk for Mr. Cro Cop.
My Five Cents: Man, you guys are beating on me today. I think it will be a bit of a cakewalk as Overeem can’t strike with Cro Cop, he can’t take him down and he still has no endurance. Fedor hadn’t “fought anyone” recently either but he didn’t turn stupid in his fight with Tim Sylvia and laid down the notice. Cro Cop first round strikes.
3. The NSAC should have overturned the Anthony Johnson vs. Kevin Burns bout to a no contest.
Junkie: FALSE*. Yup, that’s an asterisk — and for good reason. As we know, Burns was repeatedly warned about his open-hand strikes and the potential for eye pokes — and it appeared to be an eye poke that put Johnson out for good. Unfortunately, the referee didn’t see it, so Burns was issued a TKO victory. Was it fair? Absolutely not. (Nor, do I believe was it intentional on Burns’ part.) However, given the NSAC’s current rules, a fight can be overturned for one of only three reasons: collusion (fixing a fight), errors when tabulating judges’ scoring decisions and the referee’s misinterpretation of a rule. And while some people have pointed to that last caveat, keep in mind the referee didn’t misinterpret anything — he just didn’t see the eye poke. So, to answer the question, I don’t believe the decision should have been overturned simply because there’s no way for the NSAC to do it without running afoul of its own guidelines. However, I’m optimistic the commission now sees a need to expand upon the provisions and provide some wiggle room in future situations such as this.
White: TRUE. During the fight Kevin Burns was warned numerous times for catching Anthony Johnson with a finger while tossing his jab. The referee was aware it was happening unfortunately at the time he made the wrong call and gave the victory to Burns. It was clear he made a mistake and even the referee admitted it. The commission should take all of the facts into consideration and at the very least switch the bout to a no contest when it should really be a disqualification victory for Johnson.
My Five Cents: I have to go with White here. Junkie is correct with his “facts” and whatnot but I’m not going to let bureaucratic crap get between me and what should be the right decision.
—-SWITCH IT UP—-
4. EliteXC will still be on CBS one year from today.
White: FALSE. I think the better question is will EliteXC, the promotion, still be around one year from today. Lately there has been a great deal of talk regarding EliteXC’s relationship with CBS and a lot of it has been negative. EliteXC doesn’t have the stable of fighters that can continuously draw the mainstream audience. Their two main draws are Gina Carano and Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson and as we saw with EliteXC’s Saturday Night Fights II, if their services are unavailable the product fails to draw ratings. Aside Carano and Ferguson, we’ve seen them put together different variations with middleweights Joey Villasenor, Robbie Lawler, Scott Smith, Murilo Rua and Phil Baroni. With all of their financial woes and low ratings, I see CBS parting ways with the promotion following the end of their current agreement. CBS has seen the ratings mixed martial arts can garner and they’ll likely look to pursue the Ultimate Fighting Championship, an organization who has the assets to consistently produce an innovative product.
Huckaby: FALSE. First of all don’t tell me what the better question is and second of all it’s not a question, sir, it’s a STATEMENT! This really pains me to say because I want them to be successful but I really can’t see EXC on CBS in September 2009. Hopefully I’m wrong but after this event with Slice and Carano, as White mentioned, they have nothing until they can fight again. I’m not really sure why people will only tune in to watch a couple of people — that’s like not watching the NBA and not liking basketball because Kobe Bryant isn’t playing that day. Sadly I have to go false here.
5. Kazuo Misaki will defeat Joe Riggs in Round 1 at Strikeforce at the Mansion II on Saturday.
White: FALSE. Joe Riggs is an experienced veteran who possesses the skill and intelligence to make it through the first round with Kazuo Misaki. While Riggs has had a recent run of negative luck with injuries, one has to remember that Misaki is known as a striker, a facet of the game that Riggs’ thrives in. Misaki’s record includes 8 submissions and 9 decisions but he usually sets his submission skills aside and engages in a brawl with opponent. Riggs has courted the help of kickboxer Duke Roufus and UFC veteran Frank Trigg so come Saturday night, Riggs should be more than ready to go three rounds with the former PRIDE welterweight grand prix champion.
Huckaby: FALSE. I have to agree here simply because Misaki isn’t the best finisher in the world and he doesn’t come out with that blood lust that gets you two minute KOs. That said, maybe Misaki’s best chance is to win by TKO via injury since Joe Riggs apparently gets hurt when you smell him. I look for Misaki to win this fight fairly easily but I won’t put money down that he will do it in the first five minutes. In a 10-minute Japanese ring, maybe, but not here. He’ll need a couple of rounds to finish the job.
6. DREAM.6 is the best major Japanese card (on paper) since the fall of PRIDE.
White: FALSE. This was a tough call but ultimately I felt DREAM.5 was the best major Japanese card (on paper) since the fall of PRIDE. Both cards are extremely similar in their makeup but I felt DREAM.5’s lightweight grand prix finals put it over the top. The DREAM.5 grand prix offered intriguing match-ups between Joachim Hansen, Eddie Alvarez, Tatsuya Kawajiri and Shinya Aoki – four of the world’s best lightweights. DREAM.6’s tournament only offers one top ten fighter, Gegard Mousasi. When looking at the main cards, both feature Yoshihiro Akiyama, Alistair Overeem and Kuniyoshi Hironaka. DREAM.6 offers some added star power with Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, Sergei Kharitonov, and Hayato Sakurai but with that being said, I still feel DREAM.5 takes the cake offering top quality fights throughout their grand prix, the center point of the card.
Huckaby: TRUE. You make a solid argument and I suppose this is just up to the individual mind and what you like to see. I’m really amped for this card and I feel it’s the best (on paper) we’ve seen from Japan in a year or two. You have another GP (though I agree not as good as DREAM.5) but I get to see Minowa vs. Funaki, Cro Cop vs. Overeem, Kharitonov vs. Mighty Mo and on top of that I get Aoki, Mach, my boy Dong and my mancrush Melvin Manhoef (FUN FACT: my spell check says his name should be “manhole”). Again, I suppose this is an opinion question but I solidly feel like this is the best Japanese card we’ve seen in a while.
And that is our Duel. Join us next week when two other MMA writers battle it out on breaking news and upcoming fights. Again, if you’re not busy, please pray for Junkie at the Playboy Mansion. If you send him $10 it will feed a supermodel for a whole month. I could have been there with him but I’m an idiot…. next year, next year.