Friday, March 4, 2011

ROUNDTABLE: Do the losses by Fedor and Andrei Arlovski hurt the draw for the Heavyweight Grand Prix moving forward? MMATorch staff and contributors weigh in

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Do the losses by Fedor and Andrei Arlovski hurt the draw for the Heavyweight Grand Prix at all?

RICH HANSEN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST

Well, it hurts Strikeforce's ability to market to the casuals, for sure.� But the beauty of the tournament structure is that the best fighter moves forward, and the matchups only get better as you move forward.� So the tournament will be just fine without Arlovski and Fedor.

ALEX WILLIAMS, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Considering that Strikeforce's highest rating ever came for this show, and considering that Fedor probably significantly contributed to that rating, I think it does.� Arlovski, not so much.

FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Fedor's loss hurts the tournament, but Arlovski's doesn't at all. I like Arlovski, but he's not a big name draw anymore. The way Fedor lost, though, makes his absence in the tournament less of a bad thing. If Fedor had been narrowly edged out, or lost in a flukey way, that would have been bad. However, Fedor being dominated by Bigfoot Silva the way he was sends a big message to fans that Bigfoot is for real. It's like when the Jets beat the Patriots in the NFL playoffs this year. The Patriots not being in the next round of the playoffs wasn't as bad because of how they lost to the Jets. I think Bigfoot loses in the next round, much like the Jets did, but his performance over Fedor has upped his profile quite a bit.

ANWAR PEREZ, MMATORCH COLUMNIST

I don't believe the losses of Fedor and Andrei Arlovski hurt the tournament.� In a weird way, it actually helps it.� It almost seems like the Pride tournament from 2005, when both Rampage Jackson and Dan Henderson, heavy favorites, lost in the opening round, and opens it up for someone new to take it to the top similar to Shogun Rua in that Pride tournament.� I really think this will shine the light on fighters that are highly regarded, but rarely seen, such as Antonio Silva and Alistair Overeem.� For Overeem, this is a chance to solidify his claim as the best heavyweight not in the UFC, and depending how well he does in the tournament, that may not last for long.����

ERIC HOBAUGH, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Say what you will about Andrei Arlovski, he is a former UFC Heavyweight Champ.� He is a big name and losing him from this Heavyweight Grand Prix is a huge loss.� Losing Fedor is the largest blow that the Heavyweight Grand Prix could suffer.� The biggest fight left is Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum and that is a first round fight.� I am again left asking what was Scott Coker thinking setting up the brackets this way? The simple fact of the matter is that one of the top fighters (Fabricio Werdum) left in this Grand Prix was released in November 2008 from the UFC. I am not saying there are not exciting fights left.� There are great fights left, but the tournament is losing the casual MMA fan and will now be mostly watched by diehard fans.

ALVIN CARTER, MMATORCH SPECIALIST

Not really.� Arlovski does not make or break the draw.� Fedor a bit, but there is talk of him getting a spot as an alternate to keep buzz alive.� If anything the tournament might receive more hype because the field was shaken up by his loss and it appears that anyone (hypothetically) can really win this tournament. If Overeem losses in the first round, then we might see pretty awkward draw for the rest of the tournament.

JAMIE PENICK, MMATORCH EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

I think Fedor's loss certainly hurts the draw for future rounds. Alistair Overeem is a tremendous talent, but he doesn't have a major presence in the U.S. yet because of a lack of activity outside of Japan. Fabricio Werdum hasn't fought since beating Fedor last June, and with zero follow-up to that huge win, there's no telling whether or not he'll be a draw. The same goes for Bigfoot right now. Already his win has been downplayed, even within Strikeforce, with talk of "what if it had gone to the third round" and also of bringing Fedor back as a tournament alternate despite being thoroughly handled by Bigfoot. So his semifinal fight may not necessarily draw if they don't give him a much harder sell. With Fedor's return in this Grand Prix bringing a record number of viewers for MMA to Showtime, there's no doubt that losing him for future rounds is going to hurt. It's up to Strikeforce to better sell the rest of their field, and to make sure that they leave themselves openings if the favorites lose. That's been one thing that has left a lot to be desired with their match-making, as they have left themselves in bad spots far too often by only pushing one side of a fight, and being left searching what to do if they don't get the desired result. Hopefully they can avoid that and sell the fact that this tournament field is now wide open, and that any man can win.

Source: http://www.mmatorch.com/artman2/publish/roundtables/article_8537.shtml

Gary Goodridge Gerard Gordeau Jonathan Goulet Wilson Gouveia Jason Grace

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