Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Silva's no-show; Alvarez still a no-go
By Josh Gross
So let's get this straight.
Anderson Silva no-shows UFC media obligations in Los Angeles on Tuesday and gets fined $50,000 by the UFC. After returning to Brazil, the middleweight champion tells the press he was unaware of being on the hook for a media day.
I'm not alone here, right? This is a really strange sequence of events.
How could Silva, the top pound-for-pound fighter in MMA, be in the dark about a full day's worth of media events designed to get the word out about ticket sales for UFC 162? Can you imagine? I can't, but maybe I'm not trying hard enough.
Say what you will about the "Spider" lacking as a promoter and showman, the man does not have a reputation for skipping out on the media. It's true as years have past he's become less accessible, but that can just as easily be a result of the natural course of things. Silva is a star in Brazil. He has major sponsorship endorsements. The strain on his time must be severe. And hey, he never enjoyed doing interviews to begin with. How many times can he say he wants to fight his clone? He wasn't the kind of fighter who made much noise, preferring, always, to do his talking in the cage. And aren’t we thankful for that?
Still, consider his numerous achievements over the years, his time spent atop the highest peak in this sport. It shouldn't be so shocking, then, if success got to his head. Hey, I'm not saying that was the cause of what happened in L.A. I don't know what was, and Silva's management isn't talking.
Well, the fighter himself claimed no knowledge, which needs to be respected for now. But I will say I've heard more than once, even from people who know him very well, that Silva isn't above acting like a diva. He can be impossible to handle if that's where his mind's at.
Alvarez not going anywhere anytime soon
When it comes to fighting, Eddie Alvarez is likely to be on the outside looking in for some time.
Not so long ago I wrote about a conversation between Eddie Alvarez and Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney in a production truck during an event in Atlantic City, N.J. Rebney thought it was positive, though he never suggested that any of the issues between the two were close to being resolved. A legal battle over the fate of the lightweight's career was ongoing and pleasantries probably weren't going to change that. Turns out, it didn't mean a thing. If Rebney had an inkling of hope that Alvarez would come back into the fold without a fuss, he can forget it. Alvarez went off over the weekend on his Twitter page, criticizing Bellator's majority owner, Viacom, for not playing fair.
It should be that Alvarez doesn't want to remain with Bellator. He has his reasons, and they're basically all that matter at this stage. Lawyers will determine whether Viacom and Bellator legally matched terms laid out by UFC, but that issue sounds settled to Alvarez. He doesn't think so, and probably never will based on where things stand today.
This raises a question: Why would Bellator battle over a guy like Alvarez if he has no desire to be there? If Viacom/Bellator feel the need to scratch and claw like this to keep Alvarez (who, remember, is not a champion in the organization), is this a preview of how other future UFC crossovers will be treated?
Bellator wants to promote a pay-per-view. Internally it's making moves in this direction, but there's no doubt that the pay model is tricky territory. And there isn't anyone who's watched MMA over the last few years who believes a promoter outside of the UFC can sell major numbers on pay-per-view. There's just no track record to suggest otherwise. It's no wonder why Alvarez would want to be tied to UFC when it comes to selling fights this way.
Unfortunately, this has all the earmarks of a protracted legal fight. Don't expect Alvarez to fight in the ring for a while.
On Carwin's retirement
One injury after another took a toll on Shane Carwin.
Heavyweight Shane Carwin announced his retirement from MMA on Tuesday night, closing the book on an entertaining and fruitful journey that sputtered to a halt because of injuries.
On the "entertaining" and "fruitful" fronts, I couldn't have been more wrong about the guy. In late 2007 a talent scout/fight booker asked for my take on Carwin. The powerhouse had destroyed everyone in front of him to that point, but based on the level of opposition, that's what he should have done. So despite covering his pro debut in 2005 and seeing firsthand how destructive he could be, I found a way not to be impressed with Carwin. Because he shared a similar build and friendship with Ron Waterman, I made the mistake of conflating the two.
Turns out Carwin was nothing like Waterman, whose slow, safe style made him one of the least enjoyable heavyweights to watch in MMA.
In reality, Carwin's power turned out to be a defining trait of the heavyweight division during a period in which bigger was better. Carwin was in the class of monsters who dominated the UFC for a stretch, especially because when he laid his hands on someone, they went down, regardless if the shot was clean or not. Such was the force of Carwin's concussive power that he didn't need more than four minutes to stop any of his first 12 opponents, including Frank Mir for a UFC interim title. Then he ran into a defiant Brock Lesnar -- prompting one of the best heavyweight fights in the UFC -- and young soon-to-be-champion Junior dos Santos. Carwin hadn't returned since losing a decision to dos Santos in June 2011, enduring neck and back surgeries, as well as a knee injury along the way.
It should be noted that in 2010 a U.S. Attorney in Mobile, Ala., connected Carwin to an illegal anabolic steroid ring, a situation he has not fully addressed.