Will Dana White and Adam Sandler make magic?

The Roundtable assembles to talk about a rough UFC weekend and Dana White's blame game. Also,, Mamed Khalidov and... Adam Sandler?

By: Victor Rodriguez | 4 months ago
Will Dana White and Adam Sandler make magic?
UFC President Dana White. IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

The Roundtable convenes again this week, discussing some bits of the fallout from the weekend. We’ve also got some odd items that may not have gotten much shine during the week, all in the hopes of adding a bit of perspective.

This week, it’s the marvellous Evan Zivin, the electrifying Dallas Winston, and kind of alright Victor Rodriguez doing the honors. There’s a fair bit of mess to untangle with the recent UFC offering, so we’ll make sure to dig our spoons into that first.

Wait, why is Dana White putting the heat on Jared Gordon?

While the biggest story on fight night was the decision for Kai Kara-France vs Albazi, the larger controversy here is having Jared Gordon pulled from the card after admitting he suffered a concussion last month. What are we to make of the way that the UFC – and in particular Dana White – handled this?

Evan Zivin: Seems like Dana White doing damage control and a pretty piss-poor job of it. I mean, he had to have been aware that Jared suffered a concussion, right? That’s the kind of thing the UFC’s doctors would have checked him for after the headbutt occurred. Are we supposed to believe that Gordon didn’t suffer a concussion then? Are we supposed to believe he suffered it later doing something else, like ramming his head into a wall after learning Paddy Pimblett was getting married?

There’s two possibilities for what happened here, either 1) Jared was checked for a concussion, was later deemed recovered (whether that was by a UFC doctor or Jared himself, we don’t know) and took the fight, only getting pulled when he talked to reporters and indicated he might not be fully recovered, or 2) Jared got a concussion and UFC matchmakers completely forgot about it when they offered him the Jim Miller fight (Jared, of course, wouldn’t be upfront in admitting he’d been concussed because he wanted to fight again and/or assumed UFC was aware of what happened).

My money is on the first scenario being the correct one. Either way, UFC looks bad for booking the fight without making sure Jared was 100% healthy and Dana looks really bad for trying to put the blame on Jared for not telling the promotion he was concussed when it’s their job to know, especially since the concussion happened during a UFC event. Check with your own medical team, ya dummies.

Dallas Winston: Among the bevy of injuries Dana White, the UFC roster and medical staff are forced to wade through and weave into a sensible schedule, concussions should never be associated with miscommunication or misunderstanding in any way. And even though it wasn’t according to plan or policy, the big-picture takeaway – fighter safety, human life – is that the concern was identified and prevented. Yes, it absolutely could’ve been handled in a more timely and professional manner.

And, devil’s advocate: we don’t know the UFC’s policy or policies on medicals/records – is it possible there’s verbiage holding the fighter responsible for accurate, up-to-date medical records and to divulge them? I’m not insinuating there is, either. As a great man in a great film once said, “Well, dude … we just don’t know.” Should Gordon also bear some of the blame? I can’t see how he wouldn’t – he’s the other part of the equation. And no offense to anyone but I still think the main-event scoring was far more controversial than this. 

Victor Rodriguez: The one thing that stood out to me from Trent Reinsmith’s look at this was that Jared was already scheduled to fight sooner than this. And it’s ultimately more evidence of putting guys in the thresher. They need more content and as Nate said: they’re putting the money-suck on overdrive. This is what it inevitably leads to. And as usual, the fighters pay the price. 

Now Jared’s out of a payday and he gets dogged out and blamed for it as if we all didn’t see that headbutt that caused this problem a while ago. While Dana was right that he can’t self-diagnose and that they had to nix the fight because of Jared’s statements, this could have been prevented. And management chose not to. 

Does Albazi get next?

As mentioned above, Albazi came away as the winner of the main event. Given the current divisional standings and the manner in which he won, does this grant him the opportunity to be next in line for a title?

Evan Zivin: It’s definitely not an enviable position for Albazi to be in right now but I don’t believe in penalizing a fighter for an outcome that is due to judging incompetence. It’s unfortunate that Kara-France’s future is negatively impacted by this decision but Albazi fought well and deserves some praise for his performance. I didn’t have him winning the fight but I’m not as upset with the decision as many others seem to be.

Should Albazi be next in line? I’ll say yes. The options for the next challenger after Brandon Moreno and Alexandre Pantoja fight at UFC 290 are either Albazi or Brandon Royval. Between them, I give Albazi the nod for three reasons, 1) he’s on a 5-fight win streak, 2) he beat a higher ranked opponent than Royval (disagree with the win all you want but it’s still a win), and 3) Royval has lost to both Moreno and Pantoja in the past, whereas Albazi has yet to lose in the UFC (officially).

I do think a fight between Royval and the UFC 290 co-main event winner would be a bigger sell on Pay-Per-View but, if we want to pretend that the promotion is still a meritocracy in some form or fashion, it should be Albazi next.

It’s not like being the backup for a title fight automatically grants you the next shot, right? Right, Colby?

Dallas Winston: Sure, put him in line. If I were him, I would definitely ask if not push for it. I don’t get angry at questionable or downright bad decisions any more, just increasingly baffled. When fighters earn a win or a title shot that’s considered a gift or comes with a viable “potentially undeserved” disclaimer, unless your name is Aljamain Sterling, the phenomena doesn’t repeat and the perceived “fluke” is either justified or shattered a fight or two later.

Victor Rodriguez: Had to rewatch that fight to see if I missed something.  While I kind of see why Albazi got the nod, I disagree. But he won on paper. If these guys were ranked in the 6-10 range, they could either run it back or book their next opponents as if the right person had won. 

That would mean Kai gets a bump up and Albazi gets less of a push up the ladder. But you can’t really do that when both guys are in the top 5. So Albazi gets the win, he did the work, and you might as well give him the next spot in line. It’s not like he’s not a big talent and potential threat. 

Undeniably legendary?

Mamed Khalidov pulled off another spectacular finish this past weekend. With such a body of work, is there any validity to any argument that his legacy isn’t complete as he never fought for the UFC or any major U.S.- based promotion?

Evan Zivin: There is but I don’t think it matters much. We can wonder all day what might have happened if Khalidov had signed with the UFC in 2011 when World Victory Road/Sengoku folded (a fight with Anderson Silva certainly seemed intriguing at the time) but he chose to stay in Poland.

There was a chance he could have been successful fighting in the US but there was always the chance it wouldn’t work out. KSW chose to make him a focal point of their promotion and he’s spent the last decade plus being treated as one of the biggest athletes in the country by beating mostly UFC and Bellator rejects. If I was offered that path to stardom, I might take it too.

Khalidov has never needed the UFC and he seems better off because of it. None of those middleweights will ever know what it’s like to face the might of Mariusz Pudzianowski anyway.

Dallas Winston: As a former PrideFC nerd and champion of the concept of looking beyond the UFC for true global MMA enlightenment … I will begrudgingly say yes, there is absolutely validity to that statement. I don’t agree with it and I definitely don’t like or support it, but it must be acknowledged. The convenient argument that the UFC has most or many of the world’s best fighters and therefore a heavy or the heaviest influence on world MMA rankings is undeniable.

Believe me, I’ve fought this battle tirelessly when someone foolishly or mistakenly appointed me to the MMA Fighting World MMA Rankings panel. There is undeniable subjectivity when comparing dissimilar competition and that’s just enough to make this perspective a valid one. 

Victor: No validity whatsoever. He was practically Mr KSW, and has one of the most bonkers highlight reels ever. Middleweight may be an iffish division, especially outside the UFC. But he did fight very legit talent and even moved up to heavyweight to fight Pudzianowski. That he’s still performing the way he is at this age and after all this time in the game is amazing already, but in terms of pure skill, he’s undeniable. If anyone doesn’t respect his ability, that’s their loss. 

Please don’t make this like the Zohan

Last week we heard that Adam Sandler is making a movie in collaboration with the UFC. What are you expecting from this? Are we getting MMA Uncut Gems or should they really go hard and expand the Here Comes The Boom universe?

Evan Zivin: Oh the possibilities…the headlines said it was going to be a comedy, so I can only assume the resulting film is going to be an atrocity that I will probably watch at least twice.

Maybe it’ll be a sequel to The Waterboy where Bobby gets drummed out of the NFL after a domestic violence accusation (but it’s okay because the victim fails to appear in court to testify *cue laugh track*) and tries to make a go at an MMA career as a means for rejuvenating his career and trying to make people forget about what a horrible person he is. The film ends with him getting knocked out in a boxing fight and working at a Walmart. Hopefully the film rights to this story are available.

Actually, wait a second. Doesn’t Sandler make movies as an excuse to go on vacation? Could this whole thing just be a ploy so he can go to Fight Island? Or The Apex? That cheeky bastard…maybe Tim Elliott should try that next time.

Dallas Winston: Obviously some face-punching version of this.

Victor Rodriguez: Just work on the Boom franchise and expand it. Make Rob Schneider the commissioner lucky enough to have some rich casino-owning friends, buy an org, make enough money to fix his teeth, buy some fake abs and have some fake snow delivered for Christmas to his house. You know, gaudy rich people shit that is actually trite and dumb. 

Then Rob can draw on his real-life views of pandemic denialism and bad political takes to make every bad decision possible during a global health crisis as a subplot and get hilariously thwarted by a slick-haired governor of California that’s painted in the media as the future of politics but – plot twist – he’s also a buffoon with shitty morals. 

Either that or Jonah Hill plays an American tourist in Japan that unwittingly ends up in a one-night tournament and has to deal with the rowdy and gruff Brazilians, a Swedish dude that walks around naked a lot, and Terry Crews as a pastiche of Bob Sapp.

Oh, god… it’s gonna be this, isn’t it?

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About the author
Victor Rodriguez
Victor Rodriguez

Victor Rodriguez has been a writer and podcaster for Bloody Elbow since 2015. He started his way as a lowly commenter and moderator to become the miscreant he is now. He often does weekly bits on fringe martial arts items across the globe, oddball street combat pieces, previews, analysis, and some behind-the-scenes support. He has trained in wrestling, Karate, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and the occasional Muay Thai and Judo lesson here and there. Victor has also been involved with acting and audio editing projects. He lives in Pennsylvania where he plays way too many video games and is an S-rank dad.

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