When the big question coming out of an event has to do with a fighter’s coach, there’s a good chance that coach did something wrong. UFC Vegas 40 closed out on Saturday night with a fair share of people wondering what was up with Aspen Ladd’s head coach Jim West.
Ladd lost a decision to Norma Dumont in a five-round featherweight scrap, which was most notable for White asking his fighter what she was doing and then offering her little to no assistance in how to improve on her performance. Saturday night was not a good one for team Ladd.
Ladd’s coach is just one topic in this column. Read on for the unanswered questions stemming from UFC Vegas 40, which took place at UFC Apex in Las Vegas and streamed on ESPN+.
Should Aspen Ladd get a new coach?
I understand different people are motivated in different ways. Some people need to be screamed at to find motivation. Others need a more serene approach. I’m not in the gym with Ladd and West, so I can’t say how Ladd finds motivation. What I do know is that West offered little to no technical advice to Ladd between rounds.
He wanted her to answer his “What are you doing?” question and “throw more than one punch” and “fight to win,” and that’s all well and good, but how did that basic advice do anything to move Ladd toward winning the fight? It didn’t. It was all just bluster and bloviating.
West didn’t lose the Norma Dumont fight for Ladd, but he didn’t help her toward victory.
If you want to see how a coach can correct, motivate and inspire a fighter who is losing, watch how Jason Parillo worked with — that’s an important word here, with — Mackenzie Dern at UFC Vegas 39.
Ladd needs to ask herself if she would be better off with a different team. From the outside looking in, I think the answer is yes.
Will Jim Miller fight at UFC 300?
Jim Miller is one of two fighters who competed at both UFC 100 and UFC 200. The other fighter who fought on the 2009 card and the 2016 card was Brock Lesnar. Miller, who at 38, picked up his 13th fight night bonus award (sixth all-time) in his record setting 38th UFC fight, wants to compete on the UFC 300 card.
The New Jersey based fighter, after knocking out Erick Gonzalez at UFC Vegas 40, told UFC commentator Michael Bisping, one of his early goals was to rack up 40 UFC fights. Barring some type of weirdness, Miller, who is 2-3 in his past five fights, should be able to reach that goal in 2022.
With that, one has to wonder if Miller will compete at UFC 300, which should take place in 2024. It’s not out of the question.
Will fans — and more importantly ESPN — tire of UFC cards that feel like content?
UFC Vegas 40 felt like it was nothing more than a card designed to fill a spot on ESPN’s content calendar. The name recognition was low and few wondered what the outcome of the main event would bring. The entire event felt as if it was on ESPN+ simply because ESPN had “UFC event” listed on its content plan for Saturday, October 17.
In the early days of the pandemic, a UFC fight card on a Saturday might have been enough to get fans to tune into an ESPN+ fight night. That’s no longer the case. UFC Vegas 40 had a lot of competition on Saturday night and judging from social media, the event did not fare that well against all that competition.
This brings up the question, if the UFC on ESPN+ cards don’t consistently increase subscriptions or at least retain those subscriptions, will the UFC feel heat from ESPN to deliver better cards?
What is Manon Fiorot’s upside?
The 31-year-old Manon Fiorot moved to 3-0 in the UFC and extended her overall wining streak to eight straight with a unanimous decision win over Mary Bueno Silva at UFC Vegas 40. The fight was a good one and Fiorot showed signs that she could have a decent upside in the women’s flyweight division, but it also left some questions about the French fighter.
Fiorot had a high output offensive attack against Silva. She attempted 267 significant strikes and showed a penchant for throwing combinations. The downside for Fiorot was that her combinations were repetitive and predictable. A skilled opponent with an astute team behind her will pick up on Fiorot’s patterns and timing and use effective countering techniques.
Fiorot’s next fight will be an important one. I’m assuming she is going to get a step up in competition. She needs to add more wrinkles to her game if she wants to break into the women’s flyweight rankings.
Is this okay with anyone but the UFC?
Jim Miller, who fought in his UFC record 38th fight, pulled in $21,000. Miller’s opponent, Erick Gonzalez, like six other fighters, earned $4,000. The total payout for the event was $132,000.
The “UFC Promotional Guidelines Compliance pay” might not be something the fighters and fans can change right now, but that doesn’t mean the low pay has to be accepted or ignored. Fans, fighters and media need to be loud and visible in their dissatisfaction with how the “UFC Promotional Guidelines Compliance pay” hurts the UFC fighters.