Mailbag: Readers frown on boorish TUF behavior

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The mailbag was overflowing with reaction to UFC president Dana White's decision to oust Jesse Taylor from "The Ultimate Fighter," to UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta's decision to step down as president of Station Casinos to work full-time with the UFC and to Saturday's TUF finale between Amir Sadollah and C.B. Dollaway.

Let's get to what you have to say. My responses are in italics.

BAD PRECEDENT

You hit several issues dead on in your column on Jesse Taylor. I have watched every season of "The Ultimate Fighter" and I buy almost every pay-per-view. I've never understood why the UFC allow fighters to get drunk and trash a mansion. It might make for good television in theory but goes against everything that keeps MMA above board in the eyes of non-fans – respect, dignity, and self control. Obviously, Taylor has a personal drinking issue, but the fully stocked bar and license to tear up the house does not help. The precedent that it sets for young potential MMA fighters is not good for the sport either. Jesse Taylor basically won a semifinal match with a hangover. Personally, I hope he can make it back to the UFC. He's deserving of another chance.

Scott Simms
Millersport, Ohio

I agree he's deserving of another chance. Having said that, both Spike TV and the UFC need to reevaluate the way they produce the show.

KEY DEMOGRAPHIC

I am 32-year-old male and a huge fan of the sport. I have many training partners and friends who are within the 18-34 age group and none of us thought that Jesse's actions were anything but stupid. You are entitled to your opinion, but comparing drunken fools goofing off in a house to DUI deaths is yellow journalism and is irresponsible. You are way off-base. It isn't the UFC's job to regulate the personal responsibility of its fighters. Every person makes their own choices and blaming the UFC is simply wrong.

Chris
Indianapolis

Chris, the fighters are locked in a house for six to eight weeks. They're not allowed to leave it except to go to and from the training center. They have no television, no newspapers, no Internet access, no magazines, no video games, etc. What they do have, though, is alcohol, supplied by those who are producing the show. And the fighters are encouraged to trash the house in the name of "good television." And while I agree that it's up to each man to make his own choices, they're being led down this path. Amir Sadollah stayed out of the foolishness and deserves to be congratulated. And Jesse received an appropriate penalty. But the situation in that house is a setup for a tragedy. And Spike and UFC are contributing to it by plying the athletes with alcohol. Also, is it good, considering the guys may have to fight as often as four times in six weeks to have them break training to drink?

PERSONALLY OFFENDED

I read your column every day, along with those of several other MMA writers and bloggers. Sometimes I agree with you, sometimes I do not. This is the beauty of debating sports and its players. Today was the first time I was offended by your article. Your first line "I suppose if I was between the ages of 18 and 34,?I'd find Jesse Taylor's antics hilarious." Let me tell you, sir, there is no age in class and decorum. Being young or old has nothing to do with acts of stupidity. The fact you believe you might have found these actions to be "hilarious" at that age says something of the person you once were. Perhaps this says something of the man Jesse could be. I, too, was appalled by Jesse's actions and in no way found them to be hilarious. Did some people find these actions funny? Sure. People will always?act like idiots, stare at train wrecks, and laugh at farts. I find Dana White, Spike and the UFC at fault for providing the court for these jesters to play. I am surprised something like this has not happened earlier Thank you for your coverage of the sport that I love, but please do not think we are all here to watch a train wreck and drunken buffoons.

Chris Schultz
Key West, Fla.

I agree with most of what you say, Chris, but you've misinterpreted my opening line. What I was getting at was that since this happens so frequently, the UFC and Spike, which have done considerable research on its audience's taste, must think the men in that age group would like it. I can't believe the large reaction to this column and I am proud to report that more than 90 percent found Taylor's actions reprehensible and were appalled that the UFC and Spike encouraged it.

LIGHTEN UP

Lighten up, man. It's television. I put on regular local channels yesterday and quickly lost count how many times the 'F' word was used. Movies are made every day where people do the stupidest and craziest things. The majority of the people watching that thought Jesse's actions were repulsive. I thought he was an idiot the first time he urinated in the pool and on himself. The people who watch that show are?99.9 percent MMA fans anyway. And if they didn't think that guy was an ass then they probably are, too.

Oliver Vickers
New Kensington, Pa.

Can you imagine the outcry if the NFL gave its players unlimited amounts of alcohol during training camp and then a television network showed the players acting as Jesse Taylor did?

RIGHT ON

Thank you for writing the column about fighter conduct. I am a huge fan of the UFC. I am even in their target demographic, male 24 years old. I was appalled by the behavior of Jesse Taylor throughout the course of the season. If Dana White and the UFC truly want to become mainstream, they need to stop glorifying the stereotype of the "drunken street brawler." This causes many people to disrespect the sport. The spotlight should be on fighters who have class and respect for themselves?and their opportunity.

Jason Coley
Pittsburgh

These drunken rampages do nothing to create new fans for the sport, that's for sure.

DOUBLE STANDARD

Why is the UFC holding a double standard for Jesse Taylor? While I agree that he should have gotten the boot, why does he get it when Jon Koppenhaver choked a man out and punched him in the face and kept fighting? It seems like the UFC just didn't want Jesse in the finals and were just lucky to get a reason to keep him out.

Kevin S.
Bridgewater, N.J.

Good question about Koppenhaver and one the UFC hasn't given a clear answer to yet. I'm cynical enough to believe that part of the reason that Taylor got punished the way he did was because it would allow the show to be marketed as "the most shocking episode ever."

DISSERVICE

I agree with your views on TUF, but I think you do a disservice to most MMA fans when you say you believe they enjoyed watching the childish acts of several members of the house. I think most fans find these actions reprehensible. I know most of the fans of the show are under 35, but I think they deserve more credit.

Darby Green
Phoenix

I sure hope the people who matter at Spike and the UFC are listening.

INTRIGUING

The "huge" announcement by Dana White that Lorenzo Fertitta quit his casino business to work full-time with the UFC is intriguing. It's clear Lorenzo is a great businessman, and with the UFC expanding globally, having Lorenzo will help the business aspect. But what will his role entail? How much of it will be dealing with fighters and contracts?

Les
Beaverton, Ore.

Fertitta will work on big-picture items and I doubt he'll be dealing with fighters and contracts unless it's a very significant one. I think he'll spend most of his time trying to expand the UFC's international business.

NO BIG DEAL

Dude your seriously an idiot … this is not new's and your biast material and?journalism is about stupid. Oh this is news um no its not a?guy quits his other job which um he can go back too to run a?company that he already owns yeah thats news um not really?another dana white anouncement that sucks.

Wes Hensley
Mississippi

This is how you express yourself and I'm the idiot?

TOO MUCH CREDIT

You are giving Fertitta/White too much credit by grossly under representing what the UFC had already accomplished when the Fertitas bought it. Your statement that the UFC "staged its bouts in small hotel ballrooms" is inaccurate. I've watched every UFC event and I'm certain they've drawn at least 1,000?people for every event, based on my observations. So, the ballrooms weren't that small, and there were very few events in a hotel ballroom. I attended every UFC in Atlantic City prior to the Fertittas, and they packed the house.

Jack
Newark, N.J.

Jack, they had many fights in hotel ballrooms where they drew 5,000 or less. That's small when you consider they're fighting in places like the Bell Centre in Montreal, the O2 in London and the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas and selling 15,000 or more tickets at each.

GREAT MOVE

This is a great move for the Fertitta brothers. My opinion: I think that UFC is going to grow worldwide. This is something the MMA and UFC needs. Lorenzo Fertitta is thinking about how much more talent is overseas and itching?to get a shot to fight in the UFC. He's going in the right direction by expanding the UFC internationally.

Colby Hackett
Lufkin, Texas

It's only going to be good for the sport if by expanding to other countries it stirs interest in MMA and quality fighters are developed.

DID HE TAP?

Do you actually believe that C.B. Dollaway tapped out in that match against Amir Sadollah Saturday in the TUF finale even though they said he did? If someone taps out, they do it in a painful frantic motion. When someone taps, have you seen anyone complain and say they didn't? I don't know if I'm the only one who saw this, but this clearly looked like C.B.'s?hand slipped off Amir's glove he was trying to grip.

Cory Williams
Alpharetta, Ga.
C.B. said afterward that he did tap once, but just as he did, he all of a sudden felt he could escape and didn't tap again. But referee Herb Dean saw the first slap and ruled it a submission. It's a judgment call on the official's part, like a ball or a strike, but you're correct in that fighters who tap generally do it several times quickly.

NO MORE HYPE

Will they stop hyping up C.B. Dollaway now? He doesn't have the knockout power needed to compete in the UFC and obviously his submission defense is crap. How many chances can a guy get? The next thing you know, we will see him fighting Kimbo Slice on some lame CBS fight night. I will be anywhere but in front of the TV when that happens.

Wayne Fricke
Michigan City, Ind.

I don't think C.B. is anywhere near a great fighter now. But he's new to MMA and I have to disagree with you, Wayne. I think he's going to develop into a quality fighter down the line. He needs more development, but I think the pieces for success are all there.