It's not very often that Bloody Elbow's managing editor Brent Brookhouse does interviews. He likes to remain an elusive figure, darting in and out of the spotlight as he sees fit, never staying in one place for too long. Well, his excellent work on stuff like the Lloyd Irvin saga has focused more attention on BE's resident investigate reporter, and MMA Sentinel was able to pin him down for long enough to get his opinion on a few things.
Here's the link to the audio of the interview, and a transcription of some of the highlights are below.
No, actually I thought that Jones did a better job down the final few days than Chael, who was, you know, kind of giving the same material out and it was so over the top that… You know, it’s always hard to use anecdotal evidence about "people i know, who aren’t hardcore fans" but I did have a lot of people coming to me and saying "why is he still saying this? Why is he saying he’s the best in the world? it’s so ridiculous." People just weren’t buying into that. At least with Jones you had him doing the steroid angle with Sonnen which was somewhat interesting.
I don’t think Sonnen has the ability to move the needle anymore because he lost both of the Silva fights and yeah, the first was really close (but) he was on Fox and nearly lost to Bisping. I just don’t think people care enough about Chael at this point for him to move the needle the way that people are expecting.
On the future of boxing:
The biggest fight out there now is probably Mayweather against Canelo Alvarez, just because Canelo has that huge built-in Mexican fanbase that will buy his fights, and there’s still a big audience that buys Floyd’s fights. There’s no way that Mayweather Pacquiao is going to happen, Mayweather-Alvarez is possible and that’s a huge fight, but I don’t think that’ll happen either.
Boxing in general is being forced to change because of all these network-promoter allegiances which is providing a lot better fights and eventually everything will sort itself out, with people realizing that to make as much money as they can, they have to work together, so… it’ll come, until then we’re going to get better cards, but not necessarily the best possible fights. It’s never going to go back to Lewis-Klitschko doing 7 million viewers on HBO. HBO does about 1-1.5 million for each fight, they can crack 1.7million every now and then, but they’re never going to go back to 7 million area. It’s healthy, like you said moving away from the casinos is a big part of it, trying to put fighters in local arenas where they can draw crowds that are personally invested is a big step, and getting away form the passionless Vegas crowds that are mostly comped tickets. They’re learning and trying to adjust, but there’s always going to be a lot of stupid people in boxing that hold it back a little bit.
It seems like they’re trying to handle it in a decent way. They fined Mitrione for his statements, they won’t say how much they fined Mitrione for his statements on Fallon fox, but the Silva fine I think was more for show. A lot of times you hear guys complain that the stars don’t ever suffer any punishment when they break the rules, or when they do anything wrong, and I think the UFC saw an opportunity to show a decent looking fine that isn’t really going to hurt Silva much, just to kinda go ‘hey, everybody is on the same level, you’re expected to show up and promote your fight, and if you don’t, we’re going to fine you.’ So, they just kind of made a statement with it, I think.
On the whole Bellator vs. Eddie Alvarez situation, and his opinion on whether Bellator should let Alvarez go:
I can understand both sides of the situation. Bellator doesn’t want to seem like a feeder league, Viacom didn’t get into the Bellator business to lose important mainstay fighters from the promotion, but there’s a degree to which they need to understand that you can look really bad in trying to keep a fighter around who clearly does not want to be there. They may have every contractual right, and that’ll be all ironed out in court in the end, but when Alvarez was out there basically begging to fight anywhere else, it doesn’t look particularly good to say ‘no, you’re with us’. Eddie out there talking about selling off property that was part of his retirement plan and they just start looking like bullies who will do whatever they have to, to keep a guy around who has no interest in being there. It borders on creepy, even if they have the legal right to do it.
I think that’s probably the smartest thing for them to do (letting Alvarez leave). That or come to some sort of agreement where instead of a long term deal, you give us one more fight and you’re free to go. You know, meet him somewhere in the middle. He’s not even their champion, is it worth dumping all of this bad press into keeping him? I don’t have the numbers in front me of, but when I looked at the ratings they pulled on MTV2, the ratings fluctuated a lot anyway but Alvarez’ ratings were all over the place. He wasn’t some top draw that they can’t afford to lose. They can lose Alvarez and go on just fine.
Brent also talks about the PPV numbers for Floyd Mayweather vs. Robert Guerrero, how he thinks the UFC 159 buyrate will end up higher than originally reported, Oscar De La Hoya's role with Golden Boy, eye-pokes in MMA, how the MMA media sometimes has to tiptoe around fighters and promotions, the Lloyd Irvin story, and a whole lot more. You can check out the full transcription here, or the audio here.