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Thread: The hard sell: Renan Barao is the world's best fighter

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    Default The hard sell: Renan Barao is the world's best fighter

    The hard sell: Renan Barao is the world's best fighter
    http://mmajunkie.com/2014/05/the-har...s-best-fighter
    “Right now Renan Barao lands 3.7 significant strikes per minute,” White booms. “The UFC average is 2.61; Barao lands 3.7.”

    Riveting stuff, if you’re a spreadsheet. If you’re a fight fan, maybe not so much.

    First Barao was a “monster.” Then he was a “killer.” Now he’s “the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world,” according to White, and just in case you aren’t buying that, he’ll go ahead and bury you with stats. Because nothing gets fans fired up for a title fight quite like math.

    It’s hard to blame the UFC too much. On paper, Barao should be a superstar. His unbeaten streak is legitimately impressive, even if the first few years of it came against regional nobodies, and even if White apparently felt the need to fudge some of those numbers when touting Barao’s stats (“The kid hasn’t lost a fight in 35 fights,” said White, which isn’t exactly true, since Barao is 32-1 according to Sherdog and 28-1 according to MMA.tv).

    But if Barao’s struggle to go big time tells us anything, it might be that skill doesn’t sell as much as we’d like to pretend it does. Not by itself, anyway. Not if it comes wrapped up in the package of a 135-pound fighter who doesn’t speak much English, doesn’t have much in the way of an identifiable personality, and – let’s just be real here – looks a little bit goofy.

    Not that you’d want to tell him that to his face, of course, because he’s pretty terrifying just in terms of his actual, physical skills. But then, that’s the whole point.

    No one doubts that Barao can fight. Just look at the long odds in his fight against T.J. Dillashaw in the UFC 173 main event. Barao is currently an 8-1 favorite to retain the UFC bantamweight title, probably via a stoppage inside the distance. The UFC keeps telling us how great Barao is, but the problem isn’t that people don’t believe it – it’s that they don’t seem to care quite as much as the UFC wants them to.

    Something tells me that finishing percentages and striking stats aren’t going to be what changes all that, either. If fans failed to jump on the bandwagon after seeing him kick Eddie Wineland in the face or knock Urijah Faber to the floor, they probably won’t freak out once you tell them about his perfect record on takedown defense. Barao doesn’t need stats so much as he needs a good rival, someone who can put his skill in perspective and do for him what he can’t do for himself.

    That’s where Dillashaw comes in, at least in theory. The trouble is, he’s a 5-1 underdog who’s coming into his big title shot with a winning streak that’s holding steady at one. That’s not to say he’s no good. Like Barao, he’s a very good bantamweight, but a) probably not quite as good, and b) we’ve already established that that doesn’t necessarily move the public interest needle all by itself.

    The UFC president’s attempt to get us pumped for this showdown by hyping Dillashaw’s superiority in the significant strikes per minute category (SSPM, if you want to sound like a jerk) feels like proof that this fight doesn’t have a whole lot of pop. Instead it has two very good fighters, one UFC title, and no clear selling point.

    In a different world, all you’d have to do is convince us that Barao is something special as a fighter. In the real world, there’s a reason no one knows or cares what Chael Sonnen’s SSPM number is, yet they still want to see the guy fight.


    White goes off on MMA journalist's article on Twitter
    http://mmajunkie.com/2014/05/the-har...s-best-fighter

    @danawhite: @benfowlkesMMA if you don't know how good Renan is u should cover another sport

    @luckybestwash: @danawhite @benfowlkesMMA I don't think that's at all what he's saying, Dana.

    @danawhite: to tell us" pretty stupid statement. He is ranked number 3 P4P and hasn't lost in 9 years.

    @M_Morgunoff: @danawhite @benfowlkesMMA Dana, he isn't questioning Barao's skills inside the cage. He is questioning if his skills are marketable.

    @danawhite: @M_Morgunoff @benfowlkesMMA what does "marketable" mean? He's a BAD ASS who fishes people. If ur a fight fan he's what u are looking for.

    @ltw0303: @danawhite these people that cover your sport love it, they aren't here to make your life miserable, don't be a bully be better then that

    @danawhite: @ltw0303 bully, these idiots say stupid shit to get hits. No more journalists

    @LenBarson: @danawhite You can just admit you didn't read the article. Its OK.

    @danawhite: @LenBarson I don't read any of them
    And if you want beef, then bring the ruckus

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    He's a BAD ASS who fishes people
    You ever notice how Bud Selig and Roger Goodell aren't on twitter? I wonder if there is a reason for that...
    Quote Originally Posted by Sick_Lunatic View Post
    I've always liked strudel.



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    Quote Originally Posted by KevoOnTheRadio View Post
    You ever notice how Bud Selig and Roger Goodell aren't on twitter? I wonder if there is a reason for that...
    Kevo, fuck whatever you said. I didn't read your post, but Dana White is a bad ass.

    Seriously though, Goodell is the one person on the planet that is for sure worse than Dana. I will tolerate all of Dana's childish bull shit forever, and long as he doesn't try to fundamentally change what MMA is like Goodell does to football. Thank God that baseball is a beautiful game that both has very little authoritarian temper tantrums, or terrible rule/structure meddling.
    Last edited by The Donosaur; 05-21-2014 at 10:41 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Donosaur View Post
    Kevo, fuck whatever you said. I didn't read your post, but Dana White is a bad ass.

    Seriously though, Goodell is the one person on the planet that is for sure worse than Dana. I will tolerate all of Dana's childish bull shit forever, and long as he doesn't try to fundamentally change what MMA is like Goodell does to football. Thank God that baseball is a beautiful game that both has very little authoritarian temper tantrums, or terrible rule/structure meddling.
    I don't know much about what Goodell has done to football but to me, David Stern was the most despicable, money-hungry scum for what he did to NBA. To me he is worse than Dana White by many levels.

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    Agreed on both your points. But Selig, Stern, Goodell, or Bettman don't get into middle school level twitter bitch fests with fans of their respective leagues either.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sick_Lunatic View Post
    I've always liked strudel.



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    Quote Originally Posted by KevoOnTheRadio View Post
    Agreed on both your points. But Selig, Stern, Goodell, or Bettman don't get into middle school level twitter bitch fests with fans of their respective leagues either.
    Dana blocked me for tweeting "Long Live Bellator!" when the UFC released Fitch.
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    I think Dana does his best to push his brand, which is about right considering, but you cannot really argue with the fact that the UFC is basically synonymous with MMA for most people in the US and maybe the world. Just as when one thinks of basketball they generally think NBA, football NFL etc.

    On topic, Barao is a monster in his division and by 2015, if he keeps his current track, you could see him move divisions.
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    Barao's low level of fan support is EXACTLY what you get when you cater to "casual fans". WWE's numbers are dwindling, and the UFC has a boom in the popular fighters with more quotes then wins. Coincidence? Instead of selling skill, they keep sticking microphones in front of Diaz. The fact that the more talented, less quotable fighters arent "marketable" should come as a suprise to no one.

    Also, its as much the fault of the media as it is the Zuffa marketing juggernaut. How many Diaz articles have their been since he took his ball and went home? Sonnen, who is a mediocre fighter, has reporters lining up to do an interview, and nobody even recognizes Jose Aldo... Probably an over-statement, but not drastically.

    Selling fights kills the sport, in my opinion.


    For the record, I still hold Aldo above Barao in weight-free rankings.

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    Couple of things:

    Dana sounds foolish on twitter.
    Aldo/Barao would be one hell of a fight.


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