By Seth Falvo
With yet another year coming to an end, CagePotato.com is reviving an old holiday tradition: MMA predictions for the upcoming year that are so wild and outrageous that some of them might actually come to fruition. If you’re looking to read statements along the lines of “JOSE ALDO REMAINS DOMINANT AT FEATHERWEIGHT YOU GUYZZZ,” kindly move along; there are plenty of other two-bit MMA writers “brave” enough to state such obvious things for you. Still here? Then let’s grab some eggnog and see what 2015 has in store for us.
Look, the last thing that I want to do is get all high and mighty about the UFC’s decision to sign CM Punk; the UFC is a sports entertainment company, so why wouldn’t they sign the hottest free agent in sports entertainment? But at the same time, Punk’s qualifications to fight in the major leagues are non-existent. We’re dealing with a guy who, up to this point, has dabbled in jiu-jitsu and sparred a few times. Forget a UFC-caliber fighter — most people can’t even beat an experienced amateur fighter after less than a year of serious training. So let’s not even joke about whether or not CM Punk’s first UFC opponent will have his own Wikipedia page, because he obviously won’t. If the UFC expects any sane athletic commission to sanction a bout featuring Punk, they’re going to have to find somebody so obscure that not even the folks at Sherdog will know who he is.
2. A Member of the Official UFC Rankings Committee Is Accused of Partaking in a “Pay for Rankings” Scandal.
You know what really warms my heart? When people say things like “The UFC Rankings wouldn’t be so awful if the UFC got REAL JOURNALISTS” and “There’s no REAL JOURNALISM in MMA.” Completely lost on these people is that sports journalism is inherently fanboy writing designed to tell people what they want to believe and avoid hard-hitting topics, and that real journalists tend to cover real topics where they can make (comparatively) real money and not have to work second jobs. What, you didn’t think that the overwhelming majority of MMA writers cover this sport as their only sources of income, did you? Oh man, aren’t you just precious!
This is all to say that the moment the UFC announced how the official rankings will directly affect fighter pay, there likely was a manager who sent every member of the rankings panel an envelope full of cash and a convenient list of every fighter he manages. If that hasn’t already happened, it almost assuredly will once the new system actually kicks in next year.
3. A UFC Champion Sells The Right to Select His/Her Walkout Music.
We’ve seen independent music labels sponsor fighters before, sometimes with hilarious results. But I’m not necessarily talking about that: I’m saying that with even champions starting to wonder how their money is going to be affected by the UFC/Reebok deal, don’t be surprised to see one of them offer up the right to select his or her walkout music to the highest bidder in 2015. If you’re the person who ends up paying for the right to select a fighter’s entrance theme, I have one request: More “Badstreet, USA,” please.
…I mean, it’s not like ONE FC has an overabundance of competition for him.
“But Seth,” you may be thinking, “Dana White says that Askren will never fight in the UFC!” To which I reply, well, great point. Women will never fight in the Octagon, Kimbo Slice will get killed in the UFC [Ed. Note: *sigh* Damn it, Houston...], and Phillipe Nover is GSP 2.0.
6.) A Fight-Fixing Scandal Rocks a Major MMA Organization.
So, Bellator is serious about bringing in professional wrestlers to act out dramatic storylines before what they assure us will be totally legitimate fights? Yeeeaaahhh…this may end poorly. For further reading — and as to not take the obvious route and single out Bellator — please refer to “Why I Fixed Fights” by and “You Have Probably Watched a Fixed Fight in the UFC” by Mike Fagan.
Or perhaps more accurately, Rampage Jackson will go full “Mitch ‘Blood’ Green against Bruce Johnson.” Rampage has apparently re-signed with the UFC — despite the fact that he did nothing but whine about how awful the UFC was when he was last with the promotion — although Bellator seems prepared to battle the UFC in court for the right to keep booking him. There is no winner here. If Bellator actually thinks they’re getting one more legitimate fight out of ‘Page, they’re hopelessly delusional. And if the UFC actually thinks that a guy with Jackson’s persecution complex isn’t going to cause trouble this time around, well, I’m not sue that the English language has a word for that. I can see Rampage — frustrated by his position with the only two MMA companies who can afford to bring him in — allowing his next fight devolve into a certified catastrophe.
8.) Tito Ortiz: Bellator Light-Heavyweight Champion.
TITO IS BACK, BABY! Okay, so that’s a gigantic stretch. But seeing how easily the aforementioned Rampage Jackson effortlessly dispose of former Bellator champion Christian M’Pumbu, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to watch Tito Ortiz take home the second-most valuable Light-Heavyweight Championship in MMA.
9.) Matt Riddle: Professional Wrestling Champion.
You remember Matt Riddle, right? TUF castmember, UFC welterweight, likeable stoner? The one with the longish hair and the mushroom tattoo? Yeah, he’s training to be a professional wrestler now. I see no reason why an indie wrestling organization won’t put a title around his waist in 2015.
And now, let’s bring everything full-circle and end with another Phil Brooks prediction:
10.) CM Punk Walks Out on the UFC.
The guy who walked out on the WWE over mistreatment from both the WWE and the professional wrestling fans who’ve never wrestled a day in their lives, yet think they know everything about being a wrestler. He then signs with the UFC, seemingly convinced that the UFC isn’t exploitative at all whatsoever and that MMA fans are the most respectful people alive. Well, Mr. Brooks, to borrow a quote from one of your former colleagues, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news…