The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Goofy, Goofy Stuff

Hey, still feeling ornery post-LSAT!

Ever read that Sunday Junkie feature at MMA Junkie? The one where they take letters from readers? Ever noticed how much it sucks? I sure do! I read this stuff to try and keep an eye on what the hardcore MMA fanbase thinks (or stimulus-responses…) the same way as I read several of the wackier Arsenal blogs, but goodgodalmighty is it a chore sometimes. Feel free to read along as I go through these:

Letter #1: Has it occurred to you that there’s a difference between putting all your promotional eggs in the Kimbo basket such that him losing was a major contributor to your company dying, and using Kimbo as a ratings lure for a non-essential portion of business? Seriously, if Kimbo goes out there on Wednesday and gets KO’d in 14 seconds again that doesn’t hurt UFC in the LEAST. He’s not a key to their business model, he’s not being promoted as a serious fighter, he’s just another guy in a house albeit one with a major name. When UFC is using Kimbo to headline PPV’s and they have no other stars, then it’s a comparable situation.

Letter #2: Completely reasonable letter. Well done.

Letter #3: Why argue about what the “biggest fight” is without defining the term? Kimbo vs. Roy Nelson is extremely likely to be the highest rated fight in TUF history, so that’s one standard. Griffin vs. Bonner was the most historically important and probably the best action fight, and those are two other standards. Pick one before you argue.

Letter #4: Another reasonable and solid letter. Batting .500!

Letter #5: Gee, they set their all time best rating in week 1, did an extremely good rating in week 2 and are likely to set yet another all time high rating in week 3. Total bust, yeppers. It’s a shame we can’t go back to the wonderful days of last season, when…wait, who won last season again?

Letter #6: Very good letter. Back to .500!

Letter #7: I’ll never understand why people take disputes between UFC and (whoever Dana’s pissed at) so personally. Also we’re already reaching the point where no one can write anything about Rampage without making a Mr. T reference, and it’s already driving me insane. If this keeps up all the way to the movie’s opening I’m going to set fire to my copy of Rocky 3 by mid-November.

Letter #8: Telepathy- apparently a common skill among MMA fans, or at least Rampage’s fans. Can you tell what I think about this letter? That’s right, with a capital “ULLSHIT.” Seriously, part of the reason I try to write about these kinds of situations from a what-makes-sense-for-business perspective is because that’s a relatively knowable, quantifiable concern. Personal or emotional motivations are basically unknowable for sure; we can guess why Rampage made his “retirement announcement” or guess what it’ll take to bring him back, but that’s not really ascertainable to people outside his circle and maybe not even to those within it. There’s no point in trying to read his mind from a distance, especially when you’re aiming your brainreading at England and he lives in Irvine, California.

(Yes, I know he trains with Wolfslair.)

Letter #9: “I has vague concern. Vague concern, I has it.”

Letter #10: The great thing about this one is that like 4 comments down people provided a link to Dana’s public comments on the Rampage retirement, at the intensely obscure location of… Yahoo’s MMA blog. That’s some quality research. Also I cannot believe this letter was originally written in English; it reads like it was mistakenly translated out of Esperanto, or possibly Akkadian Cuneiform. Maybe the restless spirit of Ashurbanipal loves him some UFC.

Letter #11: Concern troll is very concerned. I mean, seriously: UFC’s business has been trending upwards at a fantastic rate for 3 years and change, and shows no obvious signs of stopping. IF it levels off and IF that’s at a level below what seems potentially attainable and IF you can demonstrate that Dana White being Dana White is a major part of that, THEN you can make this argument- but you’ll still have to define mainstream, or I’m going to continue making fun of you. Until there’s something more to go on this stuff is basically doom-mongering, and most of it comes from people who hate Dana White so much that they can’t help but keep tabs on every tiny little thing he does. A huge amount of the stuff which bugs hardcores just never gets play beyond that level- the obsession with it is a creation of the niche-sport bubble.

Letter #12: Mostly a good letter, with the exception that actually there’s quite a lot of experience with the UFC’s current business model in North America- the trouble is that it’s basically the same as the pro wrestling business model, and since MMA fans run screaming at the mention of those two little words there’s almost no one with the experience and knowledge to gain insight from 100 years of the operation of the one to make predictions about the future of the other. Go read Dave Meltzer, kids.

Letter #13: You want to know why people at first think MMA is a brutal and violent sport? Because it bloody well IS. This is something which really ought to be drawn to the attention of letter writer #11 above, because the reality is that MMA’s product has a certain self-limiting aspect to it- it’s two half-naked men beating the shit out of each other in a cage, and some people aren’t interested in watching that. There may be a few who are convinced by finding out that the fighters aren’t animals, but let’s be serious- most people aren’t really on the fence about the inherent appeal of cage fighting.

Letter #14: It’s just you, Frank. Er, “Anthony.” Seriously, dude took a giant knee to the face and still completed his takedown, then KO’d his opponent shortly thereafter and this proves he has a weak chin? You might as well say that because Carwin was hurt against Gonzaga and Lesnar KO’d his last two opponents brutally that Carwin has no chance. Or, you could be reasonable and recognize that when 240+ pound men smash each other with big knees and punches with little to no padding, that people are going to get hurt all the time. Fuck’s sake. It’s not boxing, these aren’t big gloves; anyone can be hurt and anyone can be KO’d. Not understanding this is like the striking equivalent of “tapping is for pussies.”

Letter #15: “Found these numbers in my ass and pulled them out. How do they look to you?” Seriously, Mayweather did a million, the UFC is in the 350-400 range. Multiple sources of high repute are reporting this.

Letter #16: You always get one of these letters, and the problems with them are always the same: all of the fighters named still aren’t much of a challenge to GSP in a sporting sense, and from a business stance you’re talking about a pack of complete and total unknowns. It would take a year minimum to build any of the guys listed up to where them vs. GSP would do anything above what GSP vs. anyone would do on PPV, and that’s assuming the new guys don’t get waxed by the guys GSP’s already beaten in the meantime AND that some of the new guys show a personality AND hopefully win in spectacular fashion. Not to mention, most or all of these guys are under binding contract elsewhere.

Letter #17: …seriously, this is a real concern?

I’m certainly not going to do this every week with these Junkie pieces, but for the sake of reference- this was an above average batch of letters and there were maybe 4 or 5 out of 17 which weren’t fatally flawed, oddly targeted, woefully obtuse or just crushingly stupid. And keep in mind, these are in theory the most interested of the most interested, the hardest of the hardcores, the people reading MMA Junkie in the first place who bothered to write up submissions to them- and they’re also the people making up random buyrate numbers and claiming TUF10 is a failure after 2 weeks and a new all-time ratings record for the show. It wouldn’t be such a deal except that by all accounts UFC matchmaking is partially influenced by people like this and their counterparts on Sherdog, the Underground, etc. Obviously not everyone who read or comments on those sites is a doofus, but as in most walks of life the dumbest people are the loudest people and they appear to be driving a lot of the opinions on those sites. This is not really a healthy development.

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September 28, 2009 - Posted by | MMA

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