Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. dropped a bombshell last week when he said he was considering becoming a mixed martial arts fighter.
One of the world's finest MMA fighters said Mayweather wouldn't be good for the sport and said he's deluding himself if he thinks he can become an elite fighter in a short period of time.
Joe "Daddy" Stevenson, who will fight B.J. Penn for the vacant lightweight title at UFC 80 on Jan. 19 in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, said Mayweather "wouldn't be good for our sport."
"He represents himself in a different manner and it's not the way I think is correct for our athletes," Stevenson said. "You don't brag about how much money you make. That's totally disrespectful. I've seen him in clubs and I've seen the way he treats people and I can tell you, that's not the kind of a guy we want representing this sport."
And though Stevenson praised Mayweather's boxing skills and his athleticism, he said becoming a world-class MMA fighter takes years of training. He sounded skeptical of the nearly 31-year-old Mayweather's ability to make the transition.
Clearly, Stevenson said, Mayweather would be a dangerous striker, but he would struggle in the other aspects.
"It's moronic for him to think he can cross over and do this at 31," Stevenson said. "It's like me saying I could be the best in golf. It looks easy, but I'd sound retarded to say I could go out there after a couple of months and win. The pressure, the coordination, the ability to play the greens, there are so many things involved.
"Boxing and MMA are different sports. He's a great boxer. He's the best. I was rooting for Ricky Hatton and I have to give Floyd credit for doing what he did. But he'd be in an entirely different sport. And yeah, his strikes would be intimidating, but I'd take him down. He'd have to be able to defend a takedown and that sounds a lot easier than it is." Mayweather hasn't spoken publicly on his plans yet. Stevenson said he'd bring attention to MMA, which is good, but said the sport is growing on its own.
"I don't think we need that kind of attention," Stevenson said. "We have a great sport and a lot of people are beginning to realize that, more every day. We don't have to bring in the best boxers just to get people to pay attention to us, because they're realizing what a great sport we have already."
With that, it's on to the final 2007 edition of the reader mailbag:
SHOULD SILVA BE NO. 1?
I agree that Fedor Emelianenko shouldn't be voted the No. 1 on your pound-for-pound list, even if he is better than Anderson Silva. But considering that Silva has a very weak ground game, would you still vote him your No. 1 MMA fighter? He is a great striker, but he almost lost his belt to Travis Lutter, the winner of The Ultimate Fighter, Season 4. As for Rich Franklin, well if he didn't have that macho mentality of "I will knock you out", and applied some grappling when he fought Silva, I'm sure he would have won. Silva is good, but not great, and definitely not the best fighter in MMA.
I disagree with a number of your premises, Paul. I will vote Silva No. 1 when the next Yahoo! Sports top 10 poll is taken early in January. Emelianenko is facing Hong Mon Choi on New Year's Eve and the guy's only had one fight. Since he won't face top competition and hasn't for a while, I'm dropping Emelianenko on my list. I don't recall Silva nearly losing to Lutter (by the way, it was a non-title fight since Lutter failed to make weight) and was impressed by the fact that Silva submitted Lutter. Silva has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He's better as a striker, but he can handle himself just fine on the ground. He fought two of the best ground fighters in the business in 2007 in Nate Marquardt and Lutter and he defeated both. That and destroying Franklin a second time, is pretty impressive.
Why doesn't the UFC come out with an offical ranking list for each individual weight class, or at least a top 10? This would give the fans a better sense of where their favorite fighter is in relation to a possible title shot.
San Jose, Calif.
UFC president Dana White has railed on the rankings of many publications and Web sites, including Yahoo! Sports. So, perhaps he'll do this, though I don't expect it to happen.
I heard rumors that the UFC was going to start a 145-pound weight class. Is there any truth to that? I watch more UFC than WEC, but the 145-pound class in the WEC is one of the most exciting in all of MMA. I assume that Urijah Faber next fights Jens Pulver for the WEC featherweighttitle. That fight has me more excited than anything the UFC has scheduled in 2008 so far.
The UFC has no plans to start a featherweight division. The Faber-Pulver fight will get a lot of attention, but I make Faber a heavy favorite to retain the belt.
UFC AND WEC
What is the connection, if any, of the UFC to the WEC? Are they affiliated in any way? I see some of the UFC officials and referees calling the WEC bouts, so does that mean the two leagues are connected?
West Linn, Ore.
Zuffa is the parent company of both the UFC and the WEC. I want to clear up one mistaken perception, though, Steve. There is no such thing as a "UFC referee," or a "WEC referee." The officials are assigned by the athletic commission in the venue where the fight is being held. The fact that you see a lot of the same faces is because there isn't a deep pool of officials yet, but it is expanding.
It was great to hear that Matt Lindland wants to come back to the UFC, although Dana's comment about not thinking about it is pretty frustrating. I have a lot of respect for Dana and think he has done a lot for the sport, but I think his ego is starting to get in the way. The last 6 months have been pretty harsh on the UFC between top fighters losing, leaving the organization, or testing positive for steroids. In light of this, the fact that he has "not thought about" his conversation with Lindland either shows him to be very stupid (which I know he is not) or incredibly arrogant by taking the first opportunity available to belittle Lindland. Dana needs to get over himself and bring back one of the top fighters in the world.
My guess is that Lindland will return to the UFC sometime in 2008. Lindland was banished after wearing a t-shirt advertising an online sports book to a weigh-in at the Mandalay Bay casino in Las Vegas. That doesn't make the hotel executives happy and they undoubtedly made that point to Zuffa officials. The Zuffa officials are sensitive to this since primary owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta also own their own chain of casinos.
If Lindland returns to the UFC, the division would suddenly have several more intriguing matches available. Maybe this will be the day Dana White's heart grows three sizes and he finds it in himself to allow Lindland back. I'd love to see Lindland vs. Evan Tanner, Yushin Okami, Michael Bisping or Rich Franklin prior to a shot at Anderson Silva. How do you see him matching of against some of the other top contenders?
Lindland would be a strong favorite over Tanner, Okami and Bisping and a slight favorite over Franklin.
TITO TO HEAVYWEIGHT?
I just read your recent letters column and the one about Tito Oritz moving to another weight class got me thinking. Instead of moving down to middleweight, which will never happen because Tito would never be able to cut that much weight, how about Tito moving up to heavyweight? The heavyweight division is pretty bad right now and Tito could actually use his quickness against some of the bigger guys like a Tim Sylvia. I think he would have a pretty good chance of being a top fighter at that weight class while at light heavyweight he's not even in the top 10.
I asked Tito about potentially moving to heavyweight earlier in the year and he dismissed it out of hand. He said he's not nearly big enough. Given that, I don't expect to see him moving up.
I am sure this has been asked before, but I will ask again: When is Andrei Arlovski fighting and against whom?? My man is being stepped on by the UFC. This is ridiculous.
I have never understood why Arlovski has been sidelined, though White was unhappy with what he perceived to be a lack of action in several of his recent bouts. Judging from the amount of mail I receive on Arlovski, though, he clearly remains a fan favorite. The UFC is talking with his management and I expect him to fight in the first quarter of next year. There is no specific opponent yet who I'm aware of.
What has Diego Sanchez been up to since his last loss? I haven't heard or seen anything anywhere indicating that he'll be fighting soon. Diego is one of the most exciting, talented fighters in the UFC, even if he has lost his last two fights. I'd love to see him come back soon.
Oklahoma City, Okla.
He's mulling a move to lightweight. He remains in the good graces of UFC management and once he decides whether he's a lightweight or a welterweight, the UFC will schedule him promptly.
IRISH HAND GRENADE
Marcus Davis has put a big streak together of wins. Where do you think he ranks in the welterweights, and do you see him ever catching the break and taking on a big name? I'm talking about an opponent like either Jon Fitch or Karo Parisyan. I have seen many of his fights, and I think it's time for him to take on a heavy hitter. Beating the likes of Shonie Carter and Paul Taylor were good wins for him. But what do you think happens if he gets in with a bigger name? I say throw him in with the loser of the Georges St. Pierre-Matt Hughes fight.
I really like Davis as a fighter and think he's establishing himself as one of the division's elite. He fights Jess Liaudin at UFC 80 next month. If he wins that, as I expect, I would imagine he'll take on someone along the lines of Parisyan or Josh Koscheck. Davis is an interesting guy, as well, and I plan to do a column on him prior to UFC 80.
Who do you predict to win the Chuck Liddell-Wanderlei Silva fight? Would Randy Couture have a chance against Emelianenko? And lastly, Anderson Silva and Dan Henderson will battle in March. Who do you think will come out on top and why?
Tough call on Liddell-Silva. I hate to cop out, but it's a fight that could go either way. But I think the styles slightly favor Liddell, so I'm go with him. Of course I would give Couture a shot against Emelianenko. Couture is one of the greatest fighters ever and is proven against superior competition. I favor Silva against Henderson, but that's going to be a great fight.
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