Postal Connections: Arrested Development

By Greg Savage Apr 2, 2016

Another week, another Jon Jones traffic incident to address in the Postal Connections mailbag. UFC 200 is also taking shape, and it doesn’t sound like too many of you are very happy about how things are looking. There was also Fox’s firing of Ariel Helwani, and it seems some of you are wondering how it will affect his credential status with MMAFighting.com.

Without further ado, away we go:

Hello, Mr. Savage. Remember me? You probably don’t since you didn’t reply to my email. Sad story. Take a look at [this Jones story]. Now you see where I’m coming from? Stop painting these fighters as such great people for what they do in the cage when outside of the cage, they’re the furthest thing from a role model, good example or model citizen. -- Mike P.

Thanks for writing, Mike. I try to respond to as many emails as possible, but some do slip through the cracks. As for Jones and your assertion that I paint him -- or any other malcontent fighter for that matter -- as a great person, I have to disagree. I’m guessing the story you referenced in your first email was my column where I pointed out that losses by Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey had left a potential vacuum at the top of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

I noted that Jones, should he manage to keep his life together and rehab his image, could author the kind of redemption story that both fans and media alike eat up. So far, that hasn’t been the case. Two separate driving incidents have tarnished him once again and put him back in the slammer with less than a month to go before his scheduled fight at UFC 197 with an unknown partner now that Daniel Cormier is injured and out.

Luckily for Jones, a New Mexico judge has sprung him from the hoosegow so he can finish his camp should an opponent be scheduled. He will still have to answer the five citations he was dealt for his engine revving performance last Friday. We’ll see if he racks up more frequent flier miles at the Bernalillo County lockup after he gets done with whomever at UFC 197.

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Why run back the Conor McGregor-Nate Diaz rematch? This is still a bad matchup in the wrong weight class for Conor. Why not have him face Rafael dos Anjos for lightweight belt? -- John Hayes ‏‪@purplehayes3‬ ‬‬‬‬‬

I have seen quite a bit of anger about rebooking McGregor-Diaz for UFC 200, and I have to say I can’t get onboard with the sentiment. While it might not be the most attractive fight with RDA and Georges St. Pierre as potential opponents, we all have to understand that the first fight was one of the biggest -- if not the biggest -- selling fights the UFC has ever done.

Add in the fact that McGregor has a ton of say, and rightfully so, in what his bookings look like, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why they’re going in this direction. Tons of money, revenge for Conor, unreal hype between these two fighters and the christening of a brand new arena will make this fight a can’t-miss box-office hit.

The only thing I would really worry about is tarnishing McGregor’s brand beyond salvation, but, as I’ve written before, the shelf life of a combat sports athlete has a half-life akin to nuclear waste. Once the masses decide someone is a star, they’re likely to still tune in to watch no matter what kind of trajectory his or her career arc has taken. Exhibits one, two and three: Ken Shamrock, Royce Gracie and “Kimbo Slice,” Your Honor.

I know it doesn’t tickle a lot of people’s fancy but this is a business first, and this fight is going to make the UFC a ton of loot; and when all is said and done, the UFC is going to have a mammoth star in Diaz or a reborn superstar in McGregor.

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I’m not impressed by the @ufc’s performance with the #UFC200 card. --NeryCastilloMcIntyre ‏‪@AMMenEspanol‬‬‬‬‬‬

Well, Mr. GSP, I can’t say I’m overwhelmed by the card, either, but I do expect another big fight to be added and the undercard will undoubtedly be populated with some pretty entertaining scraps for the big International Fight Week offering. I was hoping to see a Robbie Lawler showdown with St. Pierre, but that doesn’t look like it is going to happen at this point. It sounds as if GSP was game to throw with either McGregor or Diaz, but we all know where they’ll be on July 9.

Honestly, the Diaz upset over McGregor at UFC 196 threw a bunch of monkey wrenches into the mix. Originally, I expected McGregor-Lawler, a potential GSP return and maybe even a women’s title fight on the UFC 200 marquee. Now that would have been a heck of a card.

What we have so far is pretty good, though. I know most people think Frankie Edgar should get his crack at “Mystic Mac,” but I just don’t see him going back to 145 pounds, unless he loses to Diaz again. Jose Aldo-Edgar 2 is a pretty nice consolation prize. I expect a very competitive affair, and if Edgar can avenge his previous loss, he will have cleared every hurdle between him and McGregor.

I fully expect UFC 200 to break every pay-per-view record the Ultimate Fighting Championship has on the books. I also think it will push for the top MMA gate in Nevada history. The opening of T-Mobile Arena will give the UFC even more seats to sell to the must-see card. All in all, it’s a good card that will probably get even better in the coming weeks.

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How does the UFC handle the Cristiane Justino situation following UFC 198? Here fight is at a 140-pound catchweight. Do they make a new division or more catchweights?‬ -- Jay Pettry ‏‪@jaypettry‬‬‬‬‬‬

It is a curious situation, to say the least. We’ve heard time and time again that “Cyborg” wasn’t going to get her UFC shot until she proved she could make 135 pounds. Now, with Rousey out of the throne and her tormentor Holly Holm also on the outs, we see “Cyborg” brought in to fight on a Brazilian card that has the home country feeling something it hasn’t felt in a long time.

Upwards of 32,000 tickets were sold in just 90 minutes for UFC 198. It is chock full of Brazilian talent, and “Cyborg” is part of that contingent. Her fight with Leslie Smith will be contested at a catchweight of 140 pounds. Whether that will be a common occurrence going forward for Justino’s fights remains to be seen.

I spoke with people close to the situation when the fight was announced and was told that 140 pounds is about as low as she can comfortably go. When you take into account the recent scrutiny paid to unsafe weight cutting, it makes you wonder what the end game is.

I would have to guess “Cyborg” will continue to fight at a catchweight until she either hangs up her bloodstained gloves or works her way into a title shot. If the latter occurs, she’s going to have to make a decision about how far she can drop in a safe manner. Only she and her trainers know the answer to that.

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Do you think continuing to break news before official announcements will get @arielhelwani’s media credentials revoked? -- Bryce Dayton ‏‪@myawfulreviews‬‬‬‬‬

I sure hope not. I have to say I was pretty disappointed with Fox when I heard about Helwani being let go. The man has carved out a pretty big position in the sport through hard work and dedication. I know Fox hasn’t publicly commented on the situation and I’m really only left with what I’ve heard behind the scenes to supplement what Helwani has said himself, but it’s hard to come to any other conclusion than he got fired for doing his job.

When you add in the fact that Kenny Florian, a Fox broadcaster who was caught plagiarizing another journalist’s work, is still employed, one has to wonder what kind of integrity the people on the bridge of that ship are working with.

As for the question about credentials, it’s not out of the realm of possibility for the UFC to pull anyone’s papers. Sherdog was on the outs for quite a few years, and our former editor Josh Gross is still banned from covering events cageside.

I would hope that every qualified journalist who works for a reputable outlet would be granted credentials. Helwani more than qualifies, and I would hope the fractured relationship doesn’t lead to his being blackballed.

Sherdog.com Executive Editor Greg Savage can be reached by email or Twitter @TheSavageTruth. If you would like to have your question or comment answered in the weekly Postal Connections mailbag, please submit them by Wednesday evening each week.

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