(You see, kids, this is why we don’t break the fourth rule of Project Mayhem. Photo via Complex)
By Jason Moles
As is customary, nay tradition, around these parts, we’re hitting the eggnog early and often this week — thus, the obligatory Top 10 list to close out another year in the world of mixed martial arts. It’s not all fluff, though: Last year we predicted a champion would test positive for a banned substance and Brock Lesnar would retire. Not bad, huh? So grab a seat while we break out the crystal ball and see what 2013 has in store for us.
1.) Showtime stays in the MMA biz, will announce deal with Invicta FC and others.
MMA is just too popular to completely wash your hands of. Showtime may finally be done with Strikeforce, but that only means they’re now free to partner up with the likes of all-female Invicta FC or the World Series of Fighting, both of which could be looking for more permanent homes after their early success in 2012. Don’t let the Invicta PPV news fool you; they can’t win that battle. No matter who inks the deal, expect Showtime to counter-program at least one UFC event.
2.) A Ronda Rousey loss brings about the swift execution of women’s MMA in the UFC.
After amputating what’s her name in February, Rowdy will move on to calling out every woman possible who she knows cannot make 135 — especially Cyborg. In what comes as a major surprise to fight fans around the globe, Gina Carano accepts her open challenge (perfect timing to publicize her upcoming role in Fast 6) in late spring/early summer. “Conviction” TKO’s her way to victory then ships off to work on the chick version of The Expendables never to return to the cage. Dana White will be inconsolable but manages to release the handful of remaining women under Zuffa contract that don’t parade around in shorty shorts and a push-up bra.
Hear me out on this one. Just like you, the Injury Bug desperately wants to see this fight, either to see that
fake-ass white boy Sonnen get savaged or to watch Jonny Bones get knocked down a peg or two. That’s right, neither Jones nor Sonnen will become injured prior to their bout on April 27th. How can I guarantee something so outlandish? Suffice it to say we have our ways of getting things done.
4.) Dana White announces his retirement*.
A man can only go so hard for so long before his body tosses in the towel. Dana White’s battle with Meniere’s Disease combined with international travel will have finally caught up with MMA’s Moses. You’ll all kick yourself for not seeing this coming sooner. First it was a missed event, then it was two. Next thing you knew, DFW was running the broadcasts from his bunker in Vegas. During the breaking interview, Ariel Helwani will shower White with tremendous praise and wish him the best in his future endeavors while trying to keep a straight face on The MMA Hour because he was briefed on the regime change months ago. Helwani nose.
5.) An A-list celebrity tries his hand at MMA.
My sources cannot confirm, but the word on the street is that both CM Punk and Justin Bieber are looking to cash in on the MMA craze before the bubble bursts in 2014. ($%&@! I’ve said too much already.) You already know that Punk is a Gracie trained white belt, but did you know that the annoying little Bieber kid could throw down? Me either, at least not until I saw this. One guy is always one pipe bomb away from the unemployment line and the other, well… has the testosterone of Alistair Overeem at a random drug test, which means he’s constantly in a state of “Come at me, bro!” These two savvy businessmen are too smart to leave money on the table so they nut up and get in the cage. But you can bet your last dollar “Biebs” won’t be fighting when the Octagon comes rolling into the Philippines.
6.) Roy Nelson‘s penchant for VADA testing comes back to bite him in the butt.
We feel as if we should clarify this particular prediction by saying we do not believe Roy Nelson will test positive for a banned substance or anything of that sort — at least not until the athletic commissions place a cap on fighter’s triglyceride levels. What lies at the heart of #6 is “Big Country”‘s diatribe against the use of PED’s in his sport and his insistence that anyone who wants to fight one of the best heavyweights in the UFC should subjugate themselves to VADA testing. That is, of course, if they don’t have anything to hide. As if guys didn’t have enough on their plate leading up to the fight, he wants them to undergo even more invasive testing, taking away more time from hitting the mitts or rolling with their sparring partner. That’s asking a lot of an opponent, and much of the UFC heavyweight roster will wonder if fighting Roy is worth the aggravation. Don’t be surprised if Nelson only fights once next year.
7.) Bellator surges past all expectations with Spike TV partnership.
What can we say? Bellator is finally coming home. Spike TV reaches a much wider audience because it’s in more homes and occupies a more favorable spot in the channel lineup than Bellator previously enjoyed with MTV 2. Airing right after the popular TNA Impact! will undoubtedly draw in new fans, as will the forthcoming reality show. CEO Bjorn Rebney will also look to add a hot free agent or two to spice things up for his super fights, which will only fuel their ascent as legitimate competition to the juggernaut that is UFC.
8.) Ariel Helwani finally gets slapped for “gotcha” questions.
What do the following fighters have in common besides the obvious: “Rampage” Jackson, Nick Diaz, Josh Koscheck, Hector Lombard, and Tito Ortiz? These are all men who’ve had beef with the Canadian video reporter for one reason or another. Diaz is the one who infamously said that people like Helwani get slapped where he’s from. It’s one thing to throw a few softballs for every hardball you send sailing, but throwing a spitball when the clear understanding is that there will be no spitballs is just bound to get you cold-cocked. Here’s hoping we’re wrong.
9.) Declining PPV numbers force Zuffa to reduce the number of shows in 2014.
The numbers are in and they’re not exactly promising. Many of you have debated whether or not the UFC is over-saturating the market. Others still haven’t recovered from witnessing Ryan Bader upset Quinton Jackson at UFC 144 back in February, and haven’t really noticed much of anything other than their old PRIDE tapes. It’s funny how watching old fights can take us back to a time when everything made sense, you know, like not having back-to-back fight cards or double-booking a Saturday in two different countries. Money talks, so when average Joe hits up @DanaWhite on Twitter to say he’d spend more money buying a bunch of stacked PPVs as opposed to waiting for a really good one every now and then, the Zuffa brass will listen.
Listen to any episode and you’ll not need any further evidence that we’re right on the money with this prediction.
Honorable Mention: 2013 will be the first time in years that CagePotato.com doesn’t do, say, publish, or imply anything that will evoke the wrath of Dana White putting us higher atop his black list.
*Announcement scheduled for 04/01/13.
(This article was originally published on CagePotato.com)