The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Listen Up, All You Primitive Screwheads

Been sick; might be the swine flu, might be the plague, but it’s sucked. Throw in studying for tests, and posts have been sparse. I aim to rectify.

All of you out there who are talking about Roy Jones vs. Anderson Silva: shut up. Shut up, shut up, shut up. It’s the dumbest idea in history, for the following reasons:

– Roy Jones is not an MMA fighter.

– Anderson Silva is not a boxer.

– Roy Jones may not be a boxer either at this point.

– Seriously folks, I know it’s hard to watch part of your childhood die and all, but embrace the facts: Roy’s older than dirt and can’t fight a lick anymore. He’s reduced to fighting has-been palookas on regional shows in Florida using MMA guys on his undercard to draw, because that’s his level now. Expecting him to come back as a reasonable fighter is like expecting Tito Trinidad to come out of retirement and whoop some ass or Mike Tyson to return and take the heavyweight division by storm: it’s not happening. Age beats everyone in time, and it’s beaten Roy as badly as anyone- he’s a shadow of the fighter who clowned James Toney. The well is dry, strike tents and move on.

– What rules would you use for this bout? MMA rules? Silva destroys him in seconds. Boxing rules? Might be vaguely competitive, but it would only be so because you’re watching one guy who’s so deteriorated he can’t even beat someone from another sport vs. another guy who’s completely out of his element. As a sporting contest, it’s closer to Hong Man Choi vs. Jose Canseco than it is to serious athletics.

– “Ah” you say, “but what about the money it would draw?” A good question and maybe that’s enough to justify the fight, but it’s a questionable assumption that this fight draws anything serious. Roy promotes himself now, and does a mediocre job of it: two fights ago, his contest with Joe Calzaghe produced disappointing PPV numbers (less than most Silva-helmed UFCs, I believe) partly because he and the Welshman barely got the word out; his last fight was a micro-PPV drawing micro-numbers, a solid chunk of which can probably be attributed to Bobby Lashley and his WWE fame. Roy means very little in mainstream boxing circles right now, and even the dedicated RoyBoy cultists aren’t turning out much anymore. Silva, meanwhile, despite being one of the greatest fighters in the world is a negligible PPV draw- there’s a reason half of Dana White’s public comments seem to be geared towards promoting him and why his fights often have a major draw on the undercard (as with Chuck Liddel last time out). If you think Roy/Silva does big numbers, you’re basically saying that two fighters of middling or worse interest in their own sports can generate major revenue off of the freak show aspect of mixing them. It’s untested; I’m unconvinced.

The hidden aspect of this, of course, is twofold: Roy wants this fight because boxing has moved on and enough people have realized he’s done that there’s no real next big fight for him without the MMA crossover; the only other option on his plate is another regional-interest fight against the semi-shot Jeff Lacy. Silva, meanwhile, could draw fewer overall buys on PPV and still walk away with a bigger check because of the way UFC PPV splits are calculated. For Roy, this makes sense, so long as he’s willing to basically sell his dignity. For Silva though… why? Let’s say he gets a check 50% bigger than his standard UFC check for this fight. What next? It’s not going to be a $10 million set-for-life payday if the show does, say, 250,000 buys at $50 per (a ballpark guesstimate), so where does Silva’s next check come from? To take this fight, he’ll have to leave UFC, which means breaking his contract; if he rides it out all the way, Roy will mean less than nothing by then- out of sight is out of mind, and he might get waxed by a nobody if he tries to stay busy. Strikeforce is a real promotion, but they can’t pay him what he wants, and wouldn’t anyway since they didn’t become a real promotion by overpaying for non-draws. Japan is going belly up and there’s little money there even now. Affliction is one show from dead. Silva might get a bigger check for this fight, but he’s almost certain to make more in the long run by staying with UFC.

– Meanwhile, for all the obvious reasons, UFC will never sanction this. If it’s boxing, Silva will be a first timer and is not a great puncher by boxing standards, and even late-stage lock-legged walking-dead Roy might tool him which would leave UFC with a devalued champion best known in the mainstream for getting clowned by a has-been. Good luck promoting Silva vs. Maia or Marquardt after that. Even if Silva wins, what has he proved? He beat a has-been, a relic of the 90’s whose best career win came in the first Clinton administration and whose most recent memorable performances were getting destroyed by Antonio Tarver, back-boarded by Glen Johnson and pulped by Joe Calzaghe. UFC doesn’t do freak shows for the most part, especially not when they can derive at least as much revenue from Silva vs. Forrest Griffin- you know, a serious competitive sporting contest.

The point is, this is a pipe dream of a fight which almost certainly can’t happen, and which might well be a damp squib even if it did. The fact that it’s even being discussed shows you how desperate Roy is and how little people in MMA- apparently including Silva and his management- think through the business side sometimes. I’m not convinced that boxing vs. MMA is inherently undoable (Wladimir Klitschko vs. Brock Lesnar under something like San Shou rules might do 1.5+ million buys), but I am convinced that if it’s ever done seriously it won’t involve a contracted UFC fighter, and it won’t involve two guys worth no buys, if you’ll forgive a slight exaggeration.

More later on Manny Pacquiao, and something on this last NBA season/LeBron “MVP” James if I can get around to it.


May 6, 2009 - Posted by | Boxing, MMA

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