Burning questions about the issues of the day, or controversies of yesteryear that are still a bone of contention - the Monday Mailbag is home to them all. Every week, readers can send their questions in to the Fighters Only team. We ponder them over the weekend then reply on Monday. Sometimes we might even have a bit of insider knowledge we can share to shed light on a situation…
And so to this week’s batch of queries. Your panellists are Nick Peet, Fighters Only Magazine editor, John Joe O’Regan, Fighters Only website editor, Aundre Jacobs, associate editor, and Paul Quigley, our in-house social media guru.
@MANURE1 - With SF's impending doom, and the new buzz around Ronda Rousey & WMMA, what will become of the women's divisions?
NP - "At this point there has been no announcement regarding Strikeforce folding any time soon, and so I don't envisage much change as regards to women's MMA under the Zuffa umbrella. Ronda Rousey is the new face of the women's sport on a global stage and Strikeforce will continue to stage events with her as headliner.
What I believe has changed the landscape of the women's game is the launch of Invicta FC, who had their debut show recently, that featured a handful of the planet's leading female fighters. Not only that, but Invicta have also teamed up with Japanese all-female promotion Jewels with the promise of fighters from both organisations featuring on opposite fight cards.
You could argue that women's MMA has never looked so strong - and yet one thing is missing... How about a girls only series of TUF? I think that would be insane."
@nannerbs - How would you rank the following in terms of what needs the most improvement: the refs, the judges, or MMA scoring?
NP - "Definitely the scoring needs improving. The referees and officials on the big stage at least are doing a terrific job, and long may that continue. Poor decisions are few and far between in my opinion, which is testament to the abilities of those currently involved on the big stage.
However, the scoring system needs a complete overhaul. Adopting boxing's 10-point rule has served its purpose in taking the sport into the homes of the masses, but now it's time a group is put together to investigate and implement a whole new scoring system more suitable for mixed martial arts."
@AJK_Dublin - Will UFC risk booking Alistair Overeem for the New Year show? (I hope they do btw)
JJ - I would be extremely surprised if they did book him. That would be the UFC telling the world that the Nevada State Athletic Commission is basically guaranteed to license Overeem to fight.
There’s a very small window of time between Overeem’s suspension expiring and the event taking place; he could theoretically obtain a license in that time but that wouldn’t leave the UFC time to promote the event with him on it so, probably January 2013 before we see the Demolition Man back in the Octagon.
I actually went and asked NSAC executive Keith Kizer about this, especially for you, and he said that Overeem cannot apply for a license under any circumstances until December 27th when his suspension has expired. If he had been able to do the preliminary application process prior to the suspension expiring maybe he could have got on the card but under these circumstances, no chance.
Marcel Dorff - Should we get rid of the judges? 3 round fight and no winner = Draw. Or fighting till KO or Sub to prevent Lay ‘n’ Pray and poor judging.
JJ - Sounds like a great idea, horrible in practice. I went to a show in China a few years ago - Art of War - where they had this rule in effect but it doesn’t work. You get fights where guys get their arse kicked for fifteen, twenty minutes and then its ruled a draw. In effect it saves the loser from having an L on their record and you get fighters coming off mad 7-draw streaks. “With a record of 9-1 with 15 draws…” doesn’t sound that magnificent in your PR material.
For me, there should be a finish bonus for every fight and there should be a yellow card system. Not with a financial penalty like Pride FC did, that’s too open to abuse, but to show the fighter that he is one step from having a point taken away. And yes the ref can verbally warn him about that but its not the same as being publicly issued with a yellow card.
Dan Branley - If a fight goes to a draw should an extra round be called for or should there be an instant rematch?
AJ - It truly depends on how many rounds have been fought. I don't think Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar could've fought an extra five minutes after they drew at UFC 125.
However, if it's a three round fight and it's an important bout (such as a No.1 Contender bout) then I think an extra round should be permitted. We could've seen something like this come into play if it wasn't for those pesky judges.
(JJ - An extra round would be nice if properly implemented and not arbitrarily ordered like K-1 judges used to do to (I) give losing Japanese fighters a final chance to claw a win back or (ii) because it was a really good fight and the producers wanted another round of it to air on television.)
Sam McFarlane - Why wasn't the Wanderlei/Franklin fight stopped in the second round ? Wand won the fight in that round. Any other ref would have stopped it.
JJ - Well, as the referee was Brazil’s own Mario Yamasaki we can safely say that he wasn’t filled with national bias and trying to end the fight early in Wanderlei’s favour.
I’ve seen some ludicrous allegations that he was in fact trying hard to show himself as unbiased towards his fellow Brazilian by refusing to stop the fight at that point but that is just ridiculous. Yamasaki isn’t a man who takes fears or ego into consideration like that.
Actually we spoke to Mario’s brother Fernando - also a UFC referee - last week and he said “Referees don't have nationality. They got to have character, personality and a good interpretation of the rules… The supporters opinions are always made in the heat of the moment and some times they are tendentious.
“Due the face that a Brazilian is performing, they don't analyze it technically. It is like in soccer, every supporter is a player, coach and referee and they assume to have more knowledge than the crew specialized to accomplish the respective functions!”
Arguments for and against a stoppage at that point are purely subjective. But Franklin came back and won the fight so, obviously he wasn’t truly finished. Close though, and a good performance from Wanderlei even if his disappointing overall run in the UFC continues.
Daniel Lee - Is the UK being short-changed by the UFC regarding events? I feel UK fans deserve to see a high profile title fight on these shores. Are we being forgotten?
NP - "This is a point that many UK fans have been making Daniel, but you have to entertain the notion that the UK market simply isn't lucrative enough for the UFC to commit a title fight. The time difference from the UK to the US simply doesn't allow for a pay-per-view event, which are more often than not title fights.
The American market must come first to the powerhouse promotion, and European fans - while desperate for cards - simply have to accept that.
Perhaps things may change when the UFC's new UK television deal is announced later this summer (and perhaps it won't) but make no mistake, the UFC are committed to the UK market and that is why they are returning with this Nottingham card - despite the fact that European events currently make little or no sense financially to Zuffa."
Ross Bambridge - Who would be a good matchup for Joe Rogan?
AJ - I'm pretty sure that Joe isn't interested in competing anymore as he's had two knee surgeries and a back problem as of late. One would assume from listening to his podcasts that his does BJJ to keep himself sane as he is still a lifelong martial artist.
However, if I had to pick someone for Rogan to compete against, I think he'd have a fun roll with Matt Serra. If I had to pick someone that Rogan wouldn't mind choking out, then it would be Carlos Mencia.
(Watch the Rogan/Mencia beef http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gVYfDCgYxk )
Andrew Greenspan - If Anderson Silva were to lose against Sonnen and moved to light heavyweight, would he get a title shot right away?
AJ - I don't see why not. He's been incredibly dominate in the middleweight division for a number of years, defeated whoever the ZUFFA brass have put in front of him and he's done it convincingly (albeit a few awkward performances in between). Plus, that's a money fight that the UFC would be salivating at. With the right build-up it could hit 1 million PPV buys
Would it be a good idea for him? Probably not. He has more chance of beating Sonnen in a re-match, than defeating Jones for the light-heavyweight title.
Liadain O'Driscoll - Why is Josh Koscheck? Just why?
PQ: Why not?
Tom Neville - If you could see any two fighters from MMA past or present go head to head, in each weight class, who would they be?
PQ: I could honestly write a series of novels about fantasy matchups that I would love to see take place in the real world of MMA. Unfortunately there's no time for that now, so I'll keep my answers as short and as sweet as possible. Also, because the 135lb and 145lb divisions have only gained notoriety in recent years, I'll only answer lightweight through to heavyweight. Firstly, the 155-pounders:
Lightweight: Eddie Alvarez vs Gilbert Melendez
This one might shift from fantasy to reality very soon. With Alvarez now a free agent and Melendez hungry for fresh challengers to his Strikeforce 155lb title, this fight makes all the sense in the world. Skill-wise these two men match-up intriguingly, they both fight at a ferocious pace and, if Scott Coker could make this one happen, it could generate some welcome hype for the Strikeforce brand.
Welterweight: Nick Diaz vs Georges St Pierre
Okay, so I know this isn't exactly making the most of the endless possibilities allowed by this question, but I really want to see this fight happen. It's still a possibility (assuming Nick decides to give his middle fingers a rest and come back to MMA once his suspension is up). The bad boy attitude and reckless fighting style of Diaz versus the poster boy image and clean technique of GSP would make this one of the biggest fights in MMA history.
Middleweight: Rickson Gracie vs Anderson Silva
I've chosen this fight for two reasons: one; the prospect of a legend of yesterday versus a legend of today is always appealing, and two; I think this contest might actually allow us to witness the great Rickson Gracie lose a fight. Not that I have anything against Rickson or the Gracie's. I've nothing but admiration and respect for the 11-0 BJJ master, but I must confess I'm curious to see how the once untouchable Pride tournament champion would handle a defeat, and if I had to put my money on anyone to topple the legend, I'd bet on 'The Spider'.
Light Heavyweight: Chuck Liddell vs Jon Jones
This one's a classic 'old-school' vs 'new-school' matchup. Liddell's chin sadly let him down towards the end of his career, but a prime 'Iceman' against the seemingly unstoppable Jones is a fight that promises for a spectacular showcase of MMA action. The old Liddell could take any man's best shots and keep on coming, so if he could put his aggression to work against the reigning 205lb UFC champ, who knows what the outcome would be?
Heavyweight: Fedor Emelianenko vs Randy Couture
A fight that should've happened many years ago in the UFC, before negotiations between Dana White and Fedor's management broke down. Now both retired, these two men were arguably the best heavyweight competitors of their time. We could argue endlessly about which man was the better fighter, but a contest between the two would be the only way to find out for sure.