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Fightweets: Was Ronda Rousey’s success a surprise?

After a hiatus in order to fully follow the madness that was UFC 157 fight week in Southern California, Fightweets is back. You guys and gals have plenty on your mind, from UFC 157 to the 100 UFC cuts to superfights to the World Series of Fighting. Among other topics. So let’s not waste any more time. On to the questions. Okay, first I’ll remind you to tweet me (@davedoylemma) if you want to be included in a future editions. Now, on to the questions for real. Success of UFC 157 a surprise? @ryan211: 157 PPV buys blew a lot of expectations out of water. Really? You could tell it was going to be a huge success a week before! It depends on whether you primarily live in the MMA bubble or the real world. As last week progressed, from watching Ronda Rousey on HBO’s Real Sports to simply feeling the palpable buzz at Wednesday’s open workouts — which had a bigger crowd and louder reactions than any open workout I’ve attended in seven years covering this sport — to the electricity in the air at the Honda Center from the moment you arrived, you could tell this was going to be one of those occasions that only come down the pike every once in awhile, where a fight transcends the MMA bubble and becomes consequential in the mainstream. While all this was going on, the MMA bubble continued on in its own little parallel universe, where about five percent of the people make about 50 percent of the noise, but they’re wrong about things they’re yelling about roughly 90 percent of the time. If you stuck to Twitter last week and heard a million and one reasons why Ronda Rousey was going to be a failure as a pay-per-view headliner, then yes, you were probably blown away by the response to the fight. But if you actually got out in the real world, UFC 157’s success shouldn’t be a surprise in the slightest. How will fighters respond to UFC cuts? @CrazedfishUK: Does the UFC’s latest cut policy mean we may see an increase in Schaub-Johnson fights? Can’t get cut if u win! I’ve seen this line of logic used a lot over the past week, but I haven’t often seen it thought through to the next step. OK, let’s say a fighter plays it safe in order to win and keep his job. Then what? The UFC’s actions have made it pretty clear they’re not going to go too far out of their way to push you if you go that route. Sure, you might buy yourself another fight and payday. But the chances you’re going to be featured on pay-per-view, or a Fox main card, or really anywhere except Facebook or Fuel from that point on are slim. Decreased visibility doesn’t help you land bigger-money sponsors. And it probably goes without saying you won’t see many of the infamous locker-room bonuses, either. The Yuhsin Okamis who grind their way to the main event are few and far between. Jacob Volkmann was 6-2 in the UFC when he was cut after a loss. So yeah, playing it safe might keep your job today, but will it help down the road? As for how this will play out in the Octagon, I think UFC 157 shows it’s probably going to be a 50/50 proposition. Yes, there was Schaub-Johnson, but there was also Dennis Bermudez vs. Matt Grice. There was also the Nah-Shon Burrell-Yuri Villerfort slugfest followed immediately by the Jon Manley-Neil Magny snoozer. Who do you think is going to get positioned better on the card next time, Grice, who lost, or Magny, who won? World Series of Fighting @Elcujorino: What kind of future do you see for WSOF? Ray Sefo has a lot of MMA connections and UFC is downsizing. World Series of Fighting 1 in Las Vegas on Nov. 3 brought in a gate of $82,000 while paying the fighters $352,000. I didn’t pay as much attention as I should have in Economics 101, but I did absorb enough to know that paying out more than four times as much money as you’re taking in isn’t a sound long-term business plan. It comes down to the terms of NBC’s deal with WSOF, for which both parties have been pretty tight-lipped. WSOF paid for the air time on the cable network the first time around. Unless NBCSN is paying WSOF enough of a rights fee to keep the company afloat over the course of the three-year deal, then WSOF is in for an uphill struggle. In the short-term, the threat of mass UFC roster cuts helps WSOF somewhat. A flooded market means WSOF can scoop up some quality fighters for shorter pay than they’d have to offer otherwise. True, it’s not like picking up Volkmann is going to put WSOF over the top in and of itself, but simply adding fighters of Volkmann’s caliber is a big improvement over the Travis Bartlett-type characters who appeared on the first card. Fedor vs. Sonnen @jpm9: Who wins out of @sonnench and Fedor? In Fedor Emelianenko’s prime? Fedor, easily. In fact, Fedor wins that one so easily, I wouldn’t be surprised if you told me Sonnen was Vadim Finkelstein’s backup plan if Matt Lindland turned down their 2007 fight. In 2013? With Fedor two years removed from any serious competition and retired for nearly a year? With Emelianenko’s last big challenge being a loss to Dan H…

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