I’m sure you’re all shocked that the latest Postal Connections mailbag is focused on the Mystic One from the Emerald Isle. It really does seem that this is Conor McGregor’s world and we’re all just living in it. Despite the fact that the Ultimate Fighting Championship has tried to rein in its top-earner by booting him off the historic UFC 200 card, “The Notorious” has been as unrepentant as you would expect.
The debates continues to rage on regarding the health of the card for UFC 200 and whether or not McGregor would have been the bigger draw over the new main event: an epic rematch between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. We’ll tackle those questions and more. Without further ado, away we go.
Is Jones vs. “DC” the best option to salvage UFC 200, and has the promotion learned from its UFC 33 mistakes? Three title fights? Phew. -- Jay Pettry @jaypettry
I do believe that the Jones-Cormier rematch is a tremendous backup plan, but let’s not forget there’s a reason this is the backup plan and not the first choice for what should be one of the biggest fight cards the company has ever promoted; and make no mistake, this card will still be one of the top-10 bills, talent-wise, the Zuffa-era UFC has ever done, even with McGregor off the marquee.
The reason I like this fight so much is that it is one of the most anticipated rematches I’ve seen in the history of the sport. Jordan Breen and I discussed this on “Cheap Seats” earlier this week, and I still don’t think I can come up with another rematch that has been as anticipated. These are clearly the two best light heavyweights in the world, and though I think Jones wins this one handily once again, I think “DC” is one of the few fighters in the game that actually poses a real threat to him.
As for the three title fights, I don’t think we’ll have to worry about the UFC going over its timeslot allowance. If there is any doubt about getting the entire card in the broadcast window, my guess is the company will make sure to extend that window, perhaps to a four-hour show. It wouldn’t be the first time.
They can do more sales overall with UFC 200 and McGregor headlining a separate card, IMO. -- @pwnitat0r
Perhaps, but that is assuming McGregor comes slinking back to the Octagon with his tail between his legs and just accepts his censure. I don’t know about you, but I’d assume that’s not going to happen. I wholeheartedly expect him to hold out until the big New York card in November.
The UFC can say over and over that he will fight on UFC 201, 202 or even 203, but if he decides he isn’t going to be ready until Nov. 12, then what is it left with? Is it really going to hold him out again? If it does, I think it’s safe to say the UFC will have made its point about as forcefully as it could. However, in doing so, I’d bet the relationship that has made both parties very rich over the last couple of years would be close to irreconcilable.
The smart money is on McGregor fighting at UFC 205 on the 23rd anniversary of the first UFC event; and I wouldn’t bet against his name being atop the Madison Square Garden card as the main event, no matter who he is fighting.
What are your predictions on the fights still to be added to UFC 200? How many games will it take the Caps to dispose of Pens in the NHL playoffs? -- John Whitelock @JohnBert07
Well, UFC 200 looks pretty stacked from top to bottom, so I wouldn’t expect any more fights to be added unless injuries force matchmakers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby into action. Besides, I’m not sure what else people want short of McGregor or Ronda Rousey, and those two aren’t going to be on the card from the looks of things right now.
There are three title fights and a slew of talent from the curtain jerker all the way to the main card. This slate of fights, on paper, should make for quite a night of MMA action.
As for the Caps, hopefully Justin Williams and Mike Richards will get to hoist another Stanley Cup. I’m rooting for the two ex-Kings and their Caps teammates to get it done, but Pittsburgh has had their number in the playoffs before. I don’t think it’s an easy series by any stretch, but I think the Caps get it done in seven and move on to the conference finals to play the Islanders.
The real test will be when they come up against the Western Conference finalist. I’m thinking it will be the Blues’ year in the West, but I’m sure the Sharks and Stars will have something to say before it’s all said and done. With that said, I favor the Caps to lift the Cup come June.
How many more pay-per-view buys would McGregor add to UFC 200? -- Jay aka Daytona @yaleufc
I do believe that McGregor is a huge difference maker when it comes to gates and pay-per-view receipts. All you have to do is look at his last three fights and you can see the upward trend he has brought to each event.
I think it’s safe to say that adding McGregor to a card will guarantee that you hit the one-million-buy plateau; and with a historic event like UFC 200 and the broader-than-normal media coverage it Will Garner, I think you could expect even greater rates than we’ve seen to date. His last performance at UFC 196 reportedly did about 1.5 million units in sales, and I would expect a McGregor-led UFC 200 to beat that number. My conservative estimate would be McGregor adds about 250,000-500,000 buys to any card he’s on, and UFC 200 isn’t an exception.
I will lay the early under/over for the July 9 bicentennial card at 1.2 million buys. I think if McGregor was on it, 1.7 million would be a good starting point for PPV estimates. A half-a-million buys equates to a whole lot of loot being left on the table, but such is life when you’re trying to put your highest-earning property in his place.
Why did “Crazy” Bob Cook retire after his win over Tiki Ghosn -- injuries, lack of money in the sport at the time? -- Mystic Marty @Iverbure
I don’t know how a non-McGregor question slipped in here, but it was a good one, so I thought I’d answer it. Bob left the Octagon a little over 16 years ago after submitting Ghosn with a rear-naked choke in his only UFC appearance. He never strapped on the gloves again, retiring from the sport to become one of the preeminent trainers in MMA. Like you mentioned, injuries were a major factor in his decision to hang up the mitts, but he never really lost the desire to compete and learn.
When Zuffa was gearing up for Season 4 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” Cook was one of the guys that thought it might be a good time to make a comeback. It had been more than six years since his last fight, but he entertained the option enough to put together a trial training camp to see if his body could hold up to the stresses of fight preparedness. He lasted just one day before deciding against the comeback.
All the years of logging and the time he spent in the gym in the early days of the sport when training might not have been at its most scientific had left his body in relative shambles. I still think back and wonder what could have been if he came back. Early training partners to present-day American Kickboxing Academy fighters all talk about how good he still is and how knowledgeable he is about the game.
It’s no wonder some of the smartest people in the sport count Bob as one of the brightest minds when it comes to mixed martial arts. From Greg Jackson and Mike Winklejohn to Ricardo Liborio and Renzo Gracie, so many coaches and trainers have expressed their admiration for Bob. That says much more than I could ever say about him.
Great piece, but listen, we in Ireland have a bigger interest in this beyond samurai save face business strategy. To us, this is genuinely a Zeitgeist movement. Conor represents something to us that’s so timely and important right now as we reach the hundred-year anniversary of our Rising against the English. This whole year here revolves around standing up as a nation and taking our identity back by force. This year could be a real political and cultural shift moment here, as we drag ourselves out of the rubble of the financial crisis and as our government tries to form out of a fire of discontent and protests. Conor’s rise in MMA has given us all somebody and something to get behind more than anything since our soccer team in Italy in 1990. He annoys and insults on many levels, but more importantly, he inspires and shakes up a nation caught in a class struggle and national-identity crisis in the year that represents how strong we can be when we unite behind something. He is our dreams and our repressed unrealized potential, a flaming torch showing kids and adults alike here what it looks like to fight literally out of poverty and earn your way into opportunity and success. At the UFC in Dublin, the [Diego] Brandao fight was a moment of Irish unity that UFC President Dana himself said was another level up from any atmosphere he ever experienced at a UFC. Why mess with so much momentum, so much goodwill, an inspiration, a national hero, somebody we will follow to Vegas in droves, something we need here desperately to cheer for? You’re right. It’s a massive mistake to leave him off UFC 200, but it also does a nation a disservice. We want this guy to lead the UFC 200 charge for us, for Ireland, for a peak moment in a story that inspired so many. Why wouldn’t you want to replicate that Dublin atmosphere in Vegas? We come like a tribe, all in good spirits, to shout the roof off the place for our man McGregor. He doesn’t belong to the UFC; he belongs to us, and we will follow him into war again. More than furthering egos and business strategy, this is war to us and it comes at exactly the right time -- 100 years since we first rose. -- Phil, on a Dublin bus headed to work as Croke Park beckons on the horizon
Now I doubt this is the prevailing sentiment in Ireland, but I found this email to be interesting enough to leave here for your reading pleasure.
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.