MARKETABILITY OVER MERIT GOING TOO FAR?
Demian Maia’s manager is joining the ranks of those who are upset with UFC’s matchmaking these days.
The welterweight’s manager, Eduardo Alonso, feels that his client deserves the next title shot after champion Tyron Woodley fights Stephen Thompson next month, but doesn’t sound convinced that he’ll get it. Alonso was critical of how UFC determines title contenders and called for a more structured system at the championship level.
“We know that deserving is something relative in the sport today, but we have to find a balance between spectacle and sport,” he told MMA Fighting. “You have to aim for long-term credibility as any other sports league, and you need to use meritocracy as one of your criteria. You don’t change the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, or the Champions League final simply because one team is more popular or less popular. You set objective criteria. After ‘Wonderboy’ vs. Tyron Woodley, Demian is the next in line no matter what happens in future fights. I believe he will have this opportunity. He deserves it.”
Alonso also added that Maia will be willing to step in on short notice should Thompson get injured before his UFC 205 title fight. Alonso cited Bisping’s recent stroke of luck in taking a short notice championship fight with Luke Rockhold that worked out very much in his favor, knocking Rockhold out inside one round.
Maia might have to wait a bit for his title shot, but he’ll probably have to wait even longer for the UFC to change how number one contenders are determined.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: I think this is the wrong time to be critical of UFC’s matchmaking at the championship level in the Welterweight Division. Since GSP retired three years ago, title shots have only been given to the top contenders, with maybe only one exception. In 2014, Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler was the right fight to make from a sporting perspective, and they did that fight twice. Rory MacDonald was very deserving of his title shot at UFC 189 and Tyron Woodley passed over several more attractive options when he fought for the title at UFC 201. Stephen Thompson is in a very similar situation Woodley was and he’s getting the shot. The only questionable call from a sporting perspective was when Carlos Condit was given a title shot at UFC 195 after being inactive for much of the past two years and having losses to Hendricks and Woodley. But even then, it was as much of a timing thing as anything and it turned out to be a classic fight. Maia is certainly deserving of a title shot, but I can’t say that it’s a travesty that he’s been looked over thus far.
As for the NBA and Super Bowl analogies, they just don’t apply to MMA, and they likely never will. It’s been proven time and again that people will pay to see fights between people they care about, and they aren’t concerned about rankings or some sort of structured format. Bellator proved that too much structure hurts the overall product and prevents you from making the best fights that people want to see. Maia will probably get his shot, and he should be ready for 205 just in case, but he shouldn’t sit out too long waiting for the call. He’d be better off taking more fights and giving UFC no choice but to grant him a title shot by beating anyone they put in front of him.
MONDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-Sergei Kharitonov vs. Javy Ayala is booked for Bellator 163 on Nov. 4 from Uncasville, Connecticut.
-Former Invicta fighter, Jessica-Rose Clark wrote a Facebook post detailing the domestic violence she experienced in a relationship with Australian MMA fighter Julian Wallace. Clark alleges that Wallace kicked her in the head while wearing boots and elbowed her in the face after she brought him home the wrong dinner. Wallace is the subject of a video that had gone viral where the tattooed Wallace tried to intimidate future UFC fighter Ben Nguyen at a weigh-in only to be knocked out in seconds at the fight the next day. He is set to be sentenced on the abuse charges on Dec. 7.
NOW CATCH UP ON YESTERDAY’S NEWS: SUNDAY NEWS DIGEST 10/2: UFC Middleweight Josh Samman found unresponsive alongside roommate, who was pronounced dead
(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)