Hello folks, and welcome to the debut edition of the Bloody Elbow
Ballbag Mailbag. My name is Tim Burke, and I set up a fanpost a few days ago so the community could pose questions to the BE staff. There were a lot of good questions in the first one, and only room to answer a few of them here, so I will be saving some from there until next week.
In this week's mailbag, we answer some inquiries about rule changes in MMA, the idea of a fighter's union, who a certain Russian guy might be fighting on New Year's Eve, and also give you a bit of an inside look at how BE works. So here we go.
If you could legalize any rule under the Unified Rules of MMA, which one would it be?
Tim Burke: It would absolutely be knees to the head of a grounded opponent. I don't understand why they're still illegal. Yes they can cause major damage, but so can a lot of other legal strikes in MMA. Letting fighters put down a hand or stay on one knee to avoid head strikes is ridiculous. Knees to the head would also add a new element of excitement to ground fighting.
In addition to that, the lack of knees to the head is one of the hardest things to explain to new fans. "Why can't he hit him?" "Uh, because has has three points on the ground." "So?" "......"
Is the Fighter's Union concept dead? If this Reebok thing didn't push them over the edge, I can't see anything that will make it happen.
Zane Simon: Speaking as a non-labor law expert... No, it shouldn't be dead. But I think a lot of it honestly might hinge on just how the class action lawsuit Zuffa is fighting and the FTC investigation goes. Essentially, while UFC contracts exist the way they do, there's not a ton fighters can make happen. But, we've already seen some teamster involvement and these big legal challenges that the UFC is fighting off could have a huge impact on the ability of fighters to start some sort of collective bargaining down the line. The idea of a fighters' union has always been a pipe dream, but I'd say it's less of a pipe dream now than it ever has been, even if it hasn't gained any momentum yet.
Is BE doing OK financially? I was a lurker when the site transitioned into the standard SBNation format and first became aware that their was a parent company to answer to. I remember other sites being cut from the lineup, I suppose for underperforming.
Kid Nate: BE is doing great. NBC just invested $200 million in our parent company, Vox Media, raising the value of Vox to $1 Billion. BE is one of the largest and most profitable sites on the network.
What metric is used to determine BE's success? Is it important to have logged-in members commenting, or getting likes on YouTube, or clicks on ads? I don't want you guys going anywhere so I'm willing to help if I know what works best.
Kid Nate: Web traffic, ad views and video views. Comments are great but not a key money metric.
If BE is doing fine, why does it seem like Eugene is always owed money? Or is this just a personal defect on his part?
Kid Nate: Eugene just likes to grouse about money. It's part of his schtick. We pay him every month on the 15th.
Is MMA in Canada dead? Winnipeg has had zero events this year, with nothing planned for the near future. Plus, the amount of Canadian fighters in the UFC have steadily declined over the last few years. Do we need another savior like GSP to get Canadians interested, or has that MMA wave come and gone?
Tim Burke: It's definitely trending downward. Losing Georges St-Pierre has been the biggest blow to the popularity of the sport in Canada for sure. But a lack of competent commissions has done major damage as well, which isn't something that gets reported a lot. For instance, the UFC had to deal with so many headaches trying to run Vancouver. The Ontario commission is completely inept (look at the recent Vitor Belfort articles for proof of that). And the Nova Scotia commission is issuing bizarre drug suspensions without telling anyone.
When you factor in the lack of ticket sales for the last few big events in Canada, the declining dollar, and the lack of draws other than Rory MacDonald, it's not surprising that the UFC stopped coming. Yes, another stellar Canadian draw that enters the mainstream is probably going to get some of that back if it ever happens. But it won't make the UFC go out of their way to come here any more than they have to. They've moved on, and I don't blame them.
Tim Burke: Yes sir. I have a full-time day job as an investigator. Basically I locate people for insurance companies, lawyers, and credit providers. I also do some travel writing in addition to covering MMA.
Zane Simon: I'm also a Space Ranger.
Karim Zidan: I'm still basically a writer. I cover other sports including tennis and golf.
If you were stuck on a deserted island and could only watch one UFC PPV on a loop forever and never shut off, which would it be and why?
Tim Burke: I'd probably just drown myself if I had to watch any MMA event on a loop forever. But I'm going to cheat and pick a non-UFC event. Pride Bushido 9 is my favorite MMA show of all time, so that's what I'd go with. The start of two tournaments, fourteen fights, nine finishes, and most of my favorite all-time fighters. The two best P4P fighters in the history of the sport, Takanori Gomi and Tatsuya Kawajiri, faced off in one of the most underrated bouts ever.
After writing all that out, I want to watch it again right now.
Who is Fedor Emelianenko fighting?
Tim Burke: There are two lines of thought for me on this. One is that he's the draw, and I don't think they want to put him in a competitive fight because they want to build on it. A guy like Derrick Mehmen would make sense there. The other is that they really want to sell tickets and put on a huge show. That could involve partnering with Antonio Inoki, so Fedor could possibly rematch Judo Olympic gold medalist Satoshi Ishii on the show.