This week’s mailbag largely consists of concerns around the incredible pull-out and injury rate we are seeing recently. How should the UFC combat it? Is it their worst run of luck ever? Is Anderson vs. Bonnar really a fight we want to see?
This week’s postmaster is Fighters Only staff writer and hi-tech Twitter monkey Paul Quigley
John Chapman - Q: Is there really any point in seeing Anderson beat Bonnar? Surely a better opponent could have been found on 8 weeks notice?
First of all, let’s not jump to any conclusions. Although Anderson Silva may be a historic favourite over Stephan Bonnar, this is MMA and anything can happen. Although Bonnar may not be particularly high in the 205lb rankings, he is on a 3-0 run and has a decent name, so a dominant win over him could help make the case for a super-fight between Silva and Jon Jones (assuming Jones gets passed Vitor Belfort at UFC 152).
As for Bonnar, what does he have to lose? He’s hinted at retiring in the near future and, win or lose, a showdown with the world’s greatest MMA fighter would be the perfect finale to his career.
There may be one or two guys higher up who could have taken the fight; then again maybe not considering the amount of injuries in the UFC of late. But ask yourself this: if you were a top light heavyweight contender, would you risk getting knocked down the ladder by a guy who fights one weight class below you? My guess is most men on the brink of a title shot wouldn’t take that chance.
The Anderson/Bonnar fight might not make a whole lot of sense rankings-wise and I think Dana and the UFC know that. If we can accept this fight for what it is; crazy and fun, then UFC 153 should be a very entertaining experience.
David Etheridge - Q: Is 2012 the worst year events wise in UFC history?
That depends on how you look at it. So far this year, the UFC have had 78 fights cancelled or rescheduled due to injury. When you consider that there were only 80 UFC fights in total throughout the whole of 2005, you realize just what a staggering number of injuries there have been thus far in 2012.
However, we must also consider the fact that there has been a massive (albeit watered-down) increase in the number of events this year, and so the increase in injuries has thankfully not had as much of an impact as it would have done in previous years. You could even argue that the all-around increases have balanced each other out, resulting in an average-ish year for Zuffa’s top dog (although that might be pushing it a bit, if you ask me).
Whatever way you look at it, the UFC has had an undeniably difficult and, at times, frustrating year. It’s a real shame; with this being their first full year as a member of the FOX family, 2012 should have been full of joy and celebration, yet I fear we may always remember 2012 as the year of injuries. That is unless things get even worse in 2013. Heaven help us.
Robert Johnson - Q: Coming off a loss after his lightweight title rematch vs Benson Henderson, and Jose Aldo pulling out of the featherweight bout @ UFC 153, what's next for Frankie Edgar? And how will this affect his psyche for future bouts?
With Aldo injured, I think we’ll most likely see Frankie take on another top 145lb contender in his next outing, with the winner guaranteed a shot at the championship. Unless of course Edgar chooses to wait for the reigning champion to heal, but I think ‘The Korean Zombie’ might have something to say about that.
As for how it will affect his psyche, for me the answer is simple; it won’t. In case you haven’t noticed, the former lightweight champ doesn’t tend to let the results of previous fights bother him. He approaches every situation with a fresh outlook and I expect his next fight will be no different, regardless of who his opponent may be.
Benny Kirkland - Q: I reckon the UFC should have stand-by fighters training for the same fight and in the likelihood of any fighter getting injured he's prepared for either. What do you think?
In an ideal world, where every guy is a ‘company guy’, this would be the perfect solution to the UFC injury epidemic. However, considering the mental and physical strain that training for a bout puts on them, I can’t imagine many fighters putting themselves through a full camp on the off-chance that they get called up to fight.
The UFC could always offer replacement fighters a basic wage to train, then add on the remainder of their usual pay should they end up competing. But then it becomes a matter of how much money, if any, the UFC are willing to invest in these replacement fighters and if the extra expense is really worth it.
When you consider the fact that the only fights worth insuring in this manner would be the big ones like the co-main and main events, then the real cost of paying these replacement fighters becomes apparent. The kind of world-class athletes the UFC employ don’t come cheap and getting them to train full-on for a fight that might never happen is a risky expense I just can’t see Zuffa being willing to pay.
And even if they were willing to fork out the extra cash, why bother when they’ve got Chael freaking Sonnen at their disposal?