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MMA Roundup: Sara McMann, Chris Weidman, World Series of Fighting

By on September 7, 2012

About that column I wrote saying that nobody can challenge Ronda Rousey…

The thing is, there’s one woman out there who might stand a chance. And now, she’s a member of Strikeforce’s roster. That woman is Sara McMann, who can boast similar athleticism (and Olympic credentials, as well) to Rousey and may be the only woman competing in a major MMA organization right now who can physically match up with her.

McMann is 6-0 so far, with her latest win coming against Shayna Baszler, who may also represent her toughest opponent to date (with apologies to Hitomi Akano). She hasn’t showed the otherworldly finishing skills of Rousey, but then again, who has? You don’t have to finish within a couple of minutes each time to be a good matchup for Rousey, though, and I think she’s still a compelling challenge for the reigning queen of women’s MMA.

McMann will face Liz Carmouche, who has won two in a row after back-to-back losses against Marloes Coenen and Sarah Kaufman got her bounced from Strikeforce’s tiny roster of female combatants. If Strikeforce is smart, they will put the fight on the main card and have Rousey ready to talk some smack no matter how impressively McMann wins. If McMann doesn’t win, well…let’s just say Strikeforce doesn’t want to consider that possibility.

Chris Weidman: Title Shot Denied

With one Jon Jones coming under fire recently for saying who he will and will not fight, you have to wonder why Anderson Silva always gets a pass. Sure, Silva has not had to make a decision on whether to take an opponent on eight days’ notice, with an entire event hanging in the balance, but he has used his influence many times to delay title shots for fighters he didn’t feel were deserving enough. The ranks of those who were not deemed worthy include Chael Sonnen (after he got his license reinstated following their first bout) and now Chris Weidman, as well.

Silva is not going to fight again until 2013, so Weidman is being thrust into a bout with the surging Tim Boetsch on December 26th that he can ill afford to lose. There’s still no word on whether Weidman will get a title shot if he does beat Boetsch, probably because we’ll have to wait and see what Silva and Ed Soares say after the fight.

Seriously, the idea that Silva is just sitting out and not facing Weidman right now makes no sense to me. For one, Silva’s not getting any younger. If he’s healthy, why take time off? For another, Weidman has earned a title shot more than anyone else at middleweight, and certainly more so than a number of the fighters that Silva faced in the past (Patrick Cote? Thales Leites?).

Prepare to Be Underwhelmed By The World Series of Fighting

If you hadn’t yet guessed (or heard about it), that horribly wretched name belongs to the latest upstart fighting organization that swears to God it’s going to revolutionize mixed martial arts. How’s “The World Series of Fighting” going to do it? With:

-Miguel Torres headlining the first event!

-Superstars and household names such as Bobby Lashley, Gerald Harris, and Josh Burkman (remember him?) on the card!

Kurt Angle in the broadcast booth!

-A one-event deal with NBC Sports Network! No, I didn’t realize Versus changed their name, either!

-And of course, with the ridiculous and unconvincing name “The World Series of Fighting”!

MMA fans will certainly tune in to see Bobby Lashley fall asleep in someone’s guard, while casual fans will be tricked by the extremely clever name into thinking that this is the biggest MMA promotion in the world!

But seriously, folks. I like Torres as much as anyone, but he wasn’t exactly entertaining or successful in his UFC tenure. Meanwhile, the other names might provide for some decent scraps, but only the most hardcore fans are going to care. The name is complete weaksauce and sounds generic and cheap when it was likely meant to sound important and impressive. Bas Rutten and Michael Schiavello in the booth is okay, but throwing Kurt Angle in there has the potential to make the whole night entertaining for all the wrong reasons.

Why does anybody think this is going to turn out any better than the other couple dozen promotions who started out thinking they were going to take over the world when they couldn’t even keep their doors open for a couple of years? Already, we had Ray Sefo claim that the promotion’s TV deal was for “eight to ten events” in the next year, only to come back and say it was a one-event deal with negotiations to follow.

I mean, somebody somewhere with a lot of money really picked up the phone and told another person with too much extra cash, “You know what the world really needs? Another upstart MMA promotion!”? Really? Hey, good for the fighters and broadcasters (even you, Kurt…it’s true, it’s damn true) for getting a payday or two out of this, but I’ll print out and eat this column if the alleged “World Series of Fighting” is still in business when we flip our calendars to January, 2014.

Quick Shots

-So, Rousimar Palhares is headlining UFC on FX 6 against former Bellator Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard. Great fight, right? I was thinking about all the matchups I’d like to see Palhares in, though, and then I realized that I’d love to see Palhares fight against anybody. It literally makes no difference to me who he fights. How many fighters can you say that about?

-Ratings guru Dave Meltzer has estimated the UFC’s losses for canceling UFC 151 at over $40 million. Blame Jon Jones all you want, but let me ask you this: wouldn’t it have been worth it to pay a couple of big-name fighters a combined $200,000-$300,000 to face off in the co-main event as insurance, instead? Jones has been scapegoated, but if he and Dan Henderson had both been injured (not an entirely unlikely scenario with the high prevalence of training injuries for UFC fighters these days), the UFC would have been in the same boat.

-And then, some good news. Dan Miller’s 2 1/2 year old son has faced a >well-known uphill battle against polycystic kidney disease for a couple of years now, but has received a transplant and has finally showed restored kidney function. As a father myself, it’s easy to be happy for Danny Jr., his dad, his mom, and of course, his Uncle Jim, who posted excitedly on Twitter, “Pee! My 2 1/2 yr old nephew has kidney function for the first time in over 2 years. 1 hurdle cleared, many more ahead.”

For anyone unfamiliar with the battle little Danny and his family faced, check out this feature about it from several months ago. It’s a great read.

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