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If the UFC won't help, there's always Tyson

Since the UFC has called off the Wanderlei Silva vs. Chuck Liddell fight, and thereby embarrassed itself a little now rather than risk the big embarrassment of having Silva bring its title to Pride, Pride had to come up with something big to attract U.S. fans for its push into the States.

Meanwhile Mike Tyson, even though he is way past washed up, is still one of the biggest names in boxing. Plus, there are consistent reports that he is cash strapped.

So, it was not all that surprising that Pride would make a deal for Tyson to fight an exhibition match at an upcoming show. My first reaction was that it is too bad Tyson will not be trying his hand at MMA. My second reaction was that it would have been terribly sad if Tyson had decided to try his hand at MMA.

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6 Responses

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  1. Anonymous said

    See, if you’re wondering why people think you have an anti-UFC bias, you ought to reread your opening paragraph. With the lack of information we have over what happened behind the scenes at UFC, you can baselessly argue either side negotiated in bad faith, or equally baselessly that either side got timid. Your assumption that it was the UFC’s cowardice/stupidity that got them into this just confirms that this blog’s UFC coverage is best served with a grain of salt.

  2. Well, it sure wasn’t the UFC’s genius that let Dana White to announce the fight before it was signed.

    -whaledog

  3. Jason Bennett said

    I have grown increasingly disgusted with the complete and total negative opinion the online MMA community gives the UFC lately. While it is healthy and necessary to criticize those in power and responsible for monopolizing the sport in the US, it is wrong and untruthful to blame the UFC and Dana White for everything that happens in MMA.

    When the Liddell/Silva match was first announced many fans and myself were in a state of bliss over the possibility of not only this match but future cross promotions as well. Discussing with my friends the positive effect this could have on the sport, I didn’t see how the cranky MMA internet media could spin this into a negative mark for he UFC. Boy, was I ever wrong. The cynical, bitter and thankless response that was almost unanimous amongst the MMA media was stunning. The UFC put its neck out by setting up a potential historic match that would never be forgotten, even if it meant their top star possibly losing, to help the sport set a large footprint as a ‘TRUE’ international, multi-promotional phenomenon that could not be denied by the mainstream press. And yet all I see are comments like: why the UFC would do this, its not necessary, why now, Chuck will be owned by Silva, Pride is just too weak financially and Dana is strongarming them, and a plethora of arguments AGAINST such a monumental event.

    And now I see your comment of how the UFC won’t help with the cross-promotional matches – that’s a lie and you know it. Numerous times the UFC has had fighters under their contract go to Pride to compete, Pride has never had the faith and guts to return the gesture – NEVER. The Silva match was obviously the tip of the iceberg; I firmly believe that Fedor vs. Tim Sylvia would have happened at the Real Deal show if Pride would have stepped up with the Silva match. Regardless of anyone’s opinion of the Sylvia/Fedor match, it’s happening would have been a spectacular moment for the sport. Dana White’s comments that he can no longer continue to be faked out with Pride’s claims of exchanging fighters is wholly understandable and I agree completely with that decision. Why let Sylvia fight Fedor in Pride, when Pride refuses to step up and let Silva fight Chuck; what’s the problem, Chuck’s getting hammered anyway, right?

    Mike Tyson’s involvement with Pride is an embarassment to MMA, his numerous past antics should keep him barred from a ring permanently. But now, the MMA holy grail (to the MMA media at least), Pride, has become associated with one of the most reviled figures in combat history. Tyson ranks right up there with Gilbert Yvel and Mike Kyle in terms of sportsmanship and honor but I have yet to see a negative article about anything to do with Pride’s US show.

    No wonder the UFC has the MMA media ban still in effect, the childish and extremely biased reporting that has become expected from such media does question their legitimacy. I write these comments not out of hate or because I’m a UFC lover, I am a MMA lover and see both the good and bad amongst all of the promotions. I just wish I could read more non-biased articles that constantly bash the UFC, seemingly because they just can’t get a press pass. If Zuffa hadn’t saved the UFC, I firmly believed that not only would the sport possibly never recover to become as popular as it is today or even someday truly become mainstream but maybe have disappeared as an tiny sport that no one followed much anymore. Not because Zuffa is the savior but someone had to help bring the sport more mainstream to get more coverage and they have successfully done that.

    I do love reading your blog along with many others (Eddie Goldman, Fight Opinion, etc) and I do not intend to question your authority and expertise to cover this great sport, I just dream that you could use your skills to help the sport grow, not divide and devour the new fans that do come along. I’ve watched MMA fanatically since Dec. 1995 and don’t expect to ever be interested in any other sport again. I consume fights from UFC, Pride, K-1, King of the Cage, ZST, WFA and any organization I can find fights to watch. So I am not a newbie TUF fan (although I do love the show, but that’s another rant) that isn’t aware of the sport’s short history in the US, and I love any good MMA match.

    Sincerely,
    Jason Bennett

  4. Jason, Dana White announced the Silva-Liddell fight live on a national pay-per-view. Promoters are not supposed to announce fights unless and until there is a signed contract for it. Nowhere has White claimed that Silva and/or Pride signed a contract and then backed out of it. That means that he tried a fake pro “wrestling”-style hotshot angle with the announcement. This rarely happens even in boxing, and almost never with a major title fight.

    As for Tyson, he has no grappling background, none. He is 40 years old and not training regularly. MMA is not a good fit for him.

    But I do not think he warrants a lifetime ban. That is way too harsh. He was suspended for biting Holyfield’s ears and had his fight with Lewis tossed out of Vegas after the NY press conference riot. But he was a sportsman during and after that fight, and with his fights with Williams and McBride, which he also lost. Yes, he is shot, but has a right to earn a living. Boxing exhibitions will be fine. Fighting Cro Cop in MMA would be at best a fiasco.

  5. Anonymous said

    Apparently, Sakakibara claimed that the UFC wanted DSE to pay Silva’s salary. It makes sense based on past statements by Sakakibara and some Pride fighters who were negotiating with the UFC like Ninja.

    I don’t care to see a Mike Tyson fight whether it’s an exhibition boxing match or not. Although using big names with no remaining talent seems to be popular in MMA these days.

  6. Mr. X said

    In the olden days, exhibition fights were actually fairly common, even among reigning champions. While a year or two might pass between title defenses, the champ would be out doing exhibition fights.

    Exhibition fights might also be nice for MMA fan favorites who are over the hill, like Royce Gracie or Dan Severn.