I had the opportunity last night to sit down with Sherdog's Administrative Editor Jordan Breen for this week's edition of Press Row. What resulted from the conversation was forty minutes of conversation that started out about the Brian Green saga and morphed into the larger world of fighters incriminating themselves and then blaming the media for costing them fights before finishing up with some really odd realizations about EliteXC's place in MMA history and the oddest UFC card of all time.
Here's a transcript of the last 5-ish minutes of the conversation:
Breen: I feel like, and I don't know how many people will appreciate this..and I don't even know if you'll appreciate this, I feel like when you look at the importance and influence they've had, it overrides, even in ways you don't suspect. In spite of blathering incompetence otherwise, it's kind of impressive. To me it's like, in the hip hop game and the mix tape game, Lil B. Who's clearly...who doesn't talk about being based? And on this 'do you' tip now? And yet, his music is mostly terrible. What's great about it is the mentality about it and the sort of "be yourself" and "get swagged out however you want" and reinventing mix tape culture.
But his actual music is basically indefensibly terrible and never gets any better. It's just a mish-mash of confused, terrible hip hop. And yet, there's some very important inspirational elements in there that have led other people to prosper to greatness.
The history book, so many of its pages owe something to the ashes of Pro Elite. And yet, no part of you could ever feel like the Shaws or Doug DeLuca or anybody who had anything to do with it actually intended it that way.
Brookhouse: Yeah, let's be honest. Right now, what has more of an influence on current MMA? Is it EliteXC? Or is it PRIDE?
Breen: How sad is that? That's the craziest...that's literally one of the craziest things that anyone has ever said about MMA. And yet, if you're obviously drawing sightlines...again, there's no question that the influence of PRIDE is widespread. But, when you're talking about the direct elements, the direct pieces that were pulled from it, what is impacting the game more.
I mean, Ronda Rousey's existence alone and the idea that women can sell, all created through the ProElite firesale to Strikeforce, that alone might be more than PRIDE has to offer at this time. Unless you think that Alexander Gustafsson diggin' graves is important.
More after the jump including a few more thoughts on EliteXC and Jordan offers up a case for The Ultimate Fighter Heavyweights Finale from 2009 as the strangest card in UFC history.
Continuing the conversation:
Brookhouse: And it's really weird, I know some people would get really mad at me for saying this. But I feel like there was almost a better job of capturing a "big fight feel" for smaller fights there than we get with the UFC on Fox a lot of times.
I mean, even for a weird Kimbo fight, it FELT like they did such a good job of building it up as really, really big. Moreso than you got with Diaz and Miller or any other Fox stuff...well, the first show, the title fight...that felt like a big fight.
They deserve some credit for...look, a lot of that goes to Shaw's understanding the value of THE BIG FIgHT because that's what boxing revolves around. It's not "the card" it's "the fight." So, you know, a lot of it goes to that. It's just...it's easy to sweep any EliteXC memories to the back and act like there was no value there, but they did some things right and they actually matter in a really weird way.
Breen: I wanna bring some of these ends together in a bow here. We're discussing some of the strange and fantastic things that have gone on and really strange incidents. I want to offer you some Twilight Zone stuff.
It seems like just another card at this point in time because so many cards do. But I was thinking about it when you brought up Kimbo Slice fighting Houston Alexander. Just what a strange card that was. And I want to point out to you that on this card you had Mark Bocek fight Joe Brammer, who was embroiled in the Hoelzer Reich sponsorship scandal...
Brookhouse: Another group of people who have told me how much money I have cost them.
Breen: That might be for the best. First fight on the card you have questionable white power drama going on. Second fight of the night, John Howard/Dennis Hallman. Dennis Hallman wins EVERY part of the fight until the last ten seconds when Josh Rosenthal stands them up and lets him get knocked out. John Madsen against Justin Wren, not only does Wren lose a split decision he should have won, his loss basically sends him on a tailspin that turns him into a Christian Evangelist who's roaming all over the world doing Christian missions instead of being a borderline top-10 MMA fighter.
James McSweeney knocks out a guy who got a UFC fight despite the only thing anyone will ever remember about him is that he was a fat guy with a scary clown tattoo that Quinton Jackson called "titties." Two NFL players fought each other. Frank Edgar fought Matt Veach which got him into a title fight against B.J. Penn. Kimbo Slice suplexed Houston Alexander. Matt Hamill became the only dude in the history of time to beat Jon Jones and Roy Nelson won The Ultimate Fighter against Brendan Schaub who turned out to be worthless as a heavyweight prospect.
What a strange card!
Before you get too mad at me for the EXC over PRIDE in terms of current influence, really think about the prominent role that they gave women's MMA, the advancement of MMA to network TV and some of the other lingering effects of their existence. And then ask yourself what, aside from fighters, is really something that worked its way into the fight game at the highest levels in the "Fox era."
And then go listen to the rest of the conversation as it's a lot of interesting stuff. Especially when it gets down to talking about fighters blaming guys like Jordan and myself for their own personal failures.