Bellator Casts Stephan Bonnar in American Psycho 2

 

Bonner

American Psycho 2: Electric Bugaloo

In 2000, Lions Gate Films released a theatrical version of the Bret Easton Ellis novel American Psycho. Its modest $7 million dollar budget pulled in over $30 million dollars, and Lion’s Gate saw this success as reason enough to release a direct-to-video sequel American Psycho 2 starring a then unknown box office starlet named Mila Kunis.  Fans of the original film and the book saw the release of the sequel as odd (if not confusing), but Lions Gate simply saw an opportunity to make a quick buck off the surprise success of the original film.  In fact, a script for an American Psycho sequel didn’t even exist.  The production company found a script in its archives with a serial killer and worked in a scene with the main character from the original film (someone not named Christian Bale), and attempted to tie it together to the original by throwing the title “American Psycho” on it.  American Psycho 2 currently holds an 18% audience approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, proving it’s difficult to follow up an original with a half-baked sequel, especially if it’s only released to be an ATM machine.

So when word broke this morning that UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar had signed a new contract to fight in Bellator, many MMA fans also cocked their heads sideways. No one outside of Forrest Griffin or Chuck Liddell has been as much of a UFC company man historically as Stephan Bonnar. In addition to fighting for the UFC, Bonnarwas a familiar voice to WEC broadcasts, calling the action cageside.  So to see him emerge from retirement and jump ship to rival promotion Bellator is as odd, at least as odd as seeing a sequel to a movie with a cult following and modest reviews.

The fact that Bonnar took his nickname The American Psycho from the title of the book & film of the same name is quaint, but when you consider the parallels in the movie’s sequel and Bonnar’s own follow-up to a post-UFC career, the nickname is suddenly more than apropos.  It’s uncanny.

Bonnar will always be linked to his showdown with Forrest Griffin, and that fight will outlive everyone involved in putting it together. Despite your feelings on the way they fought, there is no doubt it was a watershed moment in MMA. There is a pre-TUF/post-TUF demarcation in the history of MMA thanks in part to Stephan Bonnar.  Whatever your feelings are as to the rest of his in-cage bona fides, Bonnar can hang his hat on that, an accomplishment to which few can lay claim.

In the last fight of his UFC career, Bonnar lost to then-middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva in violent fashion.  To add insult to injury, Bonnar later tested positive for the anabolic steroid Drostanolone in said match with Silva.  Bonnar, quietly, retired shortly after the loss.  Still, Bonnar’s fight with Griffin in 2005 gave the UFC its identity and a huge audience, and Dana White announced that he was inducting both Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2013, a huge feather in the cap for someone who never fought in a championship fight let alone won a belt for the promotion.

No one asked for a Stephan Bonnar sequel.  I’m not even sure Scott Coker sought out Bonnar specifically. This seems more of a move by Spike TV who remembers what Bonnar did for the channel back in 2005 when he and Griffin put on the fight that put the UFC (and Spike TV) on the map.  If Bellator plans to build its brand using former UFC fighters as the basis for its future, I doubt it has a long-term strategy in mind.  Having Ortiz, Rampage, Kongo, Couture, and now Bonnar as part of its smells more like a tactical solution than a strategic one. However, what most people may fail to realize is a tactical solution was exactly what the first season of The Ultimate Fighter was.  Tactical solutions can put a plateaued product on the right track as long as there is follow through, as long as there is an evolution into something more strategic. If nothing else, Bonnar’s signing begs the question what will Bellator’s follow through be?  That’s what makes his signing intriguing.

Sure, bemoan the matchups of Bonnar/Ortiz, Bonnar/Rampage, or Bonnar/King-Mo all you’d like. Bonnar himself has already started the promotion digs Tito’s direction in a Bellator press release.  Ready yourself for Tito bringing up Bonnar’s past steroid abuse and for Bonnar lambasting Ortiz’s chronic injury-prone body.  Much like American Psycho 2, Bonnar/Ortiz, Bonnar/Lawal, and BonnarRampage aren’t matchups anyone is clamoring for.  However, sometimes, those things that have the least demand end up delivering the most.  I’m not saying a potential Bonnar/Ortiz matchup will deliver more than a rematch between Will Brooks and Michael Chandler.  I don’t know if Bonnar has enough left to make a run at Bellator’s 205-pound title.  Bellator’s light-heavyweight roster is thin enough that a couple of wins may just find him on the path to title contention.

Bonnar should use Huey Lewis as walkout music.

What I am saying is that I’ve seen American Psycho 2, and it’s not bad.  If you watch it as a movie onto itself outside of the shadow of the first film, it’s a fun flick. If MMA fans can get out from under the shadow Bonnar cast in his UFC run, if they can make room for the possibility that Bonnar is at the very least an entertaining fighter, maybe they can make room for the possibility that Bonnar has a fun fight or two he can contribute under the Bellator banner.  Bonnar/Griffin 1 & The Ultimate Fighter was the avenue by which a whole generation of MMA fans entered the sport.  Stephan Bonnar’s follow-up to his UFC run may not garner the same attention, but it definitely will not go unnoticed. There are many reasons to produce a sequel. Here’s hoping that Stephan Bonnar and Bellator find the right audience.

Game of Thrones – Bjorn Rebney Out As Bellator CEO

 

The scuttlebutt around the MMA landscape for the last few months was that Viacom was unhappy with Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney.  Today, it becomes official.  Rebney is out as CEO of Bellator.  Rebney, Bellator’s founder and CEO, helped to make the Bellator the number 2 MMA promotion in the states in a deal with Viacom in 2011, but after a tumultuous three year period under his watch, he is out.

In a press release, Rebney said:

“This has been a wonderful eight plus years of creation, development and success. I will miss the courageous, strong and dedicated fighters I have had the pleasure of promoting, and equally, I will miss the incredibly hard working, remarkable team that has become a family for me over the years. Viacom and Tim and I differed in our views of the right strategic direction for Bellator, but Tim and I both wish them well.”

Don’t expect anything other than this kind of PR boilerplate language.  Viacom is likely sending Rebney on his way with a plum severance deal, which in addition to having a non-compete clause likely contains language that prevents him from lambasting the company on the way out.  At least, don’t expect him to get vocal until the terms of that deal have expired.   After all, Rebney isn’t shy about the airing of grievances.

Bellator certainly isn’t underperforming, but it also isn’t firing on all cylinders either.  And nothing gets corporations nervy like a plateauing product.  So what or who could be to blame?  Rebney’s public comments about former welterweight champion Ben Askren, his feud and litigious conflict with lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez, and his perceived bias toward Rampage Jackson did him few favors in the court of public perception. Further, he did himself no favors from the fans and fighters alike by altering the tournament “win to get in” format and allowing Pat Curran to avoid the tournament route and challenge Daniel Straus for the featherweight title instead of tournament winner Patricio Pitbull Freire.  It may have been a culmination of these things.  It could have been that the heir apparent Scott Coker was finally available after riding out his own Zuffa-imposed non-compete clause.  It’s all speculative.  And since I’m no journalist, let’s continue to speculate.

Every time an MMA promotion tried to take the UFC on directly, it folded because it couldn’t keep up pace.  Or Zuffa simply bought them out.  The Zuffa mountain is a tough one to scale.  Bellator distinguished itself from the UFC brand with its tournament approach to title fights and a crop of blue chip MMA prospects like Ben Askren, Eddie Alvarez, Daniel Straus, Joe Warren, the brothers Pitbull, and Michael Chandler. They were even able to hang their hats on some quality matches including the first two Alvarez/Chandler matches.  The company was carving out a niche and finding an audience.

Two things continued to hamstring Bellator though. The first was the injury bug.  The injury bug forced them to scrap their first foray into PPV, which featured a main event of former UFC champions Tito Ortiz and Rampage Jackson.  From a tactical standpoint, having two known names headline the company’s first PPV may have seemed like a no-brainer, but from a strategic standpoint, how you could throw all of your marketing budget behind a man notorious for injuries is baffling. Sure enough, when Tito pulled out, the PPV had to be postponed.   When Alvarez/Chandler III was booked for the second swing at a first PPV event, an injured Eddie Alvarez almost caused a second delay as well.  Ultimately, the inaugural Bellator PPV went down as a success, but not before it showed some significant cracks behind the scenes, and the majority of those fissures sprung from promoter Bjorn Rebney. In fact, King Mo Lawal, clearly unhappy with the way Rebney promoted the main event for the PPV, vented as much during the actual PPV broadcast when he called Rebney a “d*ck rider” for Lawal’s perceived bias that Rebney had toward Rampage Jackson.

In short, Rebeny couldn’t get out of the way.  Much in the way other MMA promotions tried to go head-to-head with Zuffa with aping the company’s efforts, Rebney did his best at every turn to emulate the most well-known MMA promoter on the planet, Dana White, right down to the blustering bravado and bald head.

Rebney would deride his champions, as he did with Bellator’s unstoppable welterweight champion Ben Askren, offering a backhanded compliment regarding Askren’s style of fighting and his release from Bellator when he said, “I’ve said it many times, Ben’s a completely one-dimensional fighter who is utterly dominant in that dimension… he presents a weird conundrum from the MMA promoter’s perspective.  I hope he makes a fortune wrestling people to death.”

Rebney would also constantly reference the UFC in an attempt to deride Zuffa’s efforts, as he did when Dana White and the UFC responded to Georges St-Pierre’s sabbatical from the cage. Rebney just had to chime in saying, “The UFC has set the bar pretty high in terms of tasteless comments. The recent comments on Georges St-Pierre are some of the most tasteless comments they’ve made in some time.”

And much like the man he desperately tried to imitate, Rebney would trip over his own hypocrisy.  As recently as May of 2014, Rebney went on record with MMA Junkie saying, “I used to watch the UFC years ago, and I used to buy pay-per-views when they were significant and every pay-per-view had big fights on it, but that’s not the case anymore…  They do one every three weeks, and some of them, I’m like, ‘I wouldn’t watch that if it was on (FOX Sports 1).’” Of course that stands in contrast to when in April of 2014, Rebney was quick to vocalize his displeasure at the UFC’s marketing of Ronda Rousey as the biggest star in MMA. “…to characterize [Rousey] as the biggest star is a bit disingenuous. I think there are a lot of huge stars in MMA.”  Could it be that in the end, Rebney was answering more questions about the UFC than he was his own product?  Was he was talking more about the competition than he was his own stable of fighters?

I don’t know Bjorn Rebney from a ham sandwich, and from the outpouring of goodwill and tidings of comfort and joy tweeted by the fighters in Bellator, he seems to have done right by many of them, which is what makes the news of his ousting challenging (though rumor of a Scott Coker takeover comes as a most welcome salve given Coker’s reputation and history with MMA) for Bellator’s future.

In the end, perhaps Rebney should have taken his own advice; advice he issued in an interview to mmafighting.com in February of this year. Said Rebney at the time, “The fighters are the ones fueling pay-per-view buys or fueling cable television ratings. You’re not fueling ratings by promoting Bjorn or Bellator. Promoting the fighters should be first and foremost.”

And that is how Bjorn Rebney should be judged.  Did any of his bombast of rival promotions or needling of fighters in the public result in a wider public knowledge of the names Ben Askren, Eddie Alvarez, Daniel Straus, Joe Warren, the brothers Pitbull, and Michael Chandler? If so, then, he should ride off into the sunset with the knowledge that he left the company better than when he found it. If not, I’m uncertain whether it will keep him up at night, but he’ll, at the very least, be left shaking his head.

What is the Value of Bellator’s Belts?

The urban legend for years in MMA’s silver age was that Frank Shamrock had carved his initials into the back of the UFC’s middleweight championship belt. Shamrock was so dominant in the then 205-pound middleweight division that he felt confident enough to claim it with his own initials so that as the belt passed from champion to champion each new champion would know that the alpha point of that belt began with FJS—Frank Juarez Shamrock.

Whether or not it’s true, it instantly gives an already heavy UFC belt a nice shot of mystique to add to its prestige.

The UFC belts are of course the more well-known, but it doesn’t mean they are the best even if they represent the best. From an aesthetic point of view, the grand prix tournament belts from Pride FC are pretty much the gold standard for most MMA fans. However, whatever the strap from whatever the promotion, the belt itself symbolizes, at least it should symbolize, the zenith.  So, what does it say that two of Bellator’s most well-known fighters seem a little disenfranchised with Bellator’s titles?

 

While appearing on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Hour on Monday, Eddie Alvarez, who had to withdraw from Bellator’s inaugural PPV due to a concussion said of his opponent Michael Chandler, “He’s angry because I beat him and I’m the champion, and he has to fight for a sh—y belt that adds up to nothing. He can say whatever he wants to say.” The shifty belt Alvarez is referring to is the interim title that Bellator is creating while Alvarez recovers from his injury. However, out of context, one could read that as an indictment on Bellator’s belts in general.

Of course, the backstory involving Alvarez, his free agency status, and this being his last fight on his Bellator contract makes it less surprising that there is some bitterness on Alvarez’s part.  Still, to go public about his feelings on the eve of his promotion’s first outing into the PPV model seems like bad timing.  In fact, Alvarez came out today and apologized for the comments.

Of course, Alvarez isn’t the only fighter on the Bellator roster who seems to have an aversion to Bellator’s belts.  Rampage Jackson, who now headlines Bellator’s inaugural PPV card with King Mo Lawal, went on record recently as saying he, too, isn’t looking forward to fighting for a Bellator belt. “I really don’t care for the belt,” Rampage said.  Granted, his disinterest may be guided by the fact that he is training partners with the Emanuel Newton, Bellator’s light-heavyweight champion, but it’s still odd that a top name like Rampage isn’t keen on fighting for the championship.

It seems to me that the amount of work a fighter puts in, regardless of promotion, should be rewarded, but what does it say about Bellator if the fighters themselves don’t find any value in the ultimate reward—the belt?

It’s been widely speculated that Bellator pays its fighters well, and considering the deep pockets from its Viacom umbrella, it’s a wonder why more fighters aren’t flocking to Bellator or even considering it once they part ways with the UFC.  However, if the issues Zoila Frausto Gurgel or Patricio Freire have with Bellator are any indication, perhaps it’s no surprise that the very fighters under the Bellator banner would rather stay away from belts they feel stand for very little.

IN THIS CORNER: A PROFILE OF GLOVER TEIXEIRA

Glover Teixeira before his fight with Ryan Bader.

With Jon Jones focusing on Chuck Liddell, Phil Davis, Alexander Gustafsson, himself, and everybody but his opponent Glover Teixeira, it seems like now would be a good time to revisit just how Teixeira got to where he is, co-headlining a main event at UFC 172 and what Teixeira can expect from the champ.

ON PAPER

  • Teixeira started his MMA career in 2002 with a loss, believe it or not, in the WEC.
  • In fact, Teixeira fought 4 times under the WEC banner.
  • Since his MMA debut, Teixeira has only lost one other fight in the 24 matches under his belt.
  • In the 2+ years Teixeira built up his undefeated record in Brazil, only 1 of his fights went to decision.
  • In his 5 fights with the UFC, only 1 win has been by decision.
  • Teixeira has more wins on his record than Jon Jones has total fights.
  • Teixeira has never fought past the 3rd round.

BETWEEN THE NUMBERS

Teixeira is a quiet guy.  He doesn’t smack talk.  He doesn’t try to sell himself.  He doesn’t belittle his opponents. He’s a marketing firm’s worst nightmare.  Despite his affiliations with former champ Chuck Liddell, Teixeira’s climb to the contender’s position, while a quiet one, has been earned of his own merits, most of the time by decimating his opponents.

Much like Jones, Teixeira is a finisher with 12 wins via KO/TKO and 7 coming by way of submission. The quality of competition, however, is where both Jones and Teixeira diverge.  Jones has notable wins against Lyoto Machida, Shogun Rua, Rampage Jackson, and Rashad Evans. For Teixeira, notable wins over Rampage Jackson, Ricco Rodriguez, and Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou strengthen his resume.  The two share similar wins against Ryan Bader and Rampage Jackson with Teixeira getting the slighter edge on the quickest time to finish their shared competition.

From 2007 through 2010, the UFC Light-Heavyweight Championship title became a hot potato among Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida, and Shogun Rua, with few of the title holders able to hold on to the belt for more than one defense.   Meanwhile, Teixeira was building his reputation in Brazil as a finisher. Often, viewers to UFC events would hear Joe Rogan opine about Glover Teixeira and the visa issues that prevented him from competing in the UFC and adding depth to its light heavyweight division.

When Teixeira was finally able to debut in the UFC, he was quick to impress, submitting Kyle Kingsbury less than 2 minutes into the first round. Since then Teixeira has shown has shown he is an intelligent and consistent fighter, for the most part.

THE BAD

Take his ridiculous fight against Fabio Maldonado in Brazil. Maldonado lured Teixeira into a brawl after Teixeira had dominated him on the feet early.  It was enough to get Teixeira’s attention, but the fact that Maldonado put him in a bad spot in the first place raises a red flag. Maldonado has one speed: zombie.  He moves forward. Much like a zombie apocalypse, it’s easy enough to plan for. To see Teixeira get lured into Maldonado’s kind of game is troubling even though Teixeira was able to get out of it ultimately.  It doesn’t fall into pattern though, until you look at his fight against Ryan Bader.

In the Bader fight, Teixeira was dominating on the ground until, as he did in the Maldonado fight, Teixeira got suckered, this time, into chasing his opponent. Bader lit him up, briefly, before being floored by a Teixeira bomb.  The question remains though: does being baited twice prove a pattern?

THE GOOD

In his fight with Rampage Jackson, Teixeira pressed the action and stood his ground.  When Rampage attempted to get close, Teixeira took him down at will.  With Rampage’s reputation as a hard hitter, Teixeira took no chances allowing him to find a range.  It showed his intelligence and dominance.  Using both in a fight is a hard rope to walk, and in his fight against Rampage, Teixeira made it look effortless. His controlling performance against Rampage aside, Teixeira has shown two things that happen when he does get into trouble on his feet:

  • It’s temporary.
  • He KOs/TKOs the guy who put him in trouble.

Maldonado was so crushed by Teixeira’s power, the doctor didn’t allow Maldonado to continue his fight against Teixeira. Ryan Bader pushed Teixeira against the fence and unleashed a barrage until Teixeira saw enough of an opening to touch Bader just once, forcing him to turtle up on the canvas.  That’s the power Teixeira wields.  It’s atomic.

THE UGLY

Of course, none of the people on Teixeira’s ledger have the physical gifts of Jon Jones. For Teixeira to get inside and touch Jones’s chin, he has to pass the miles of highway that is the Jones reach.  And that’s a long ride to reach the destination. He has to avoid the “oblique” kicks that Jones throws to keep his opponents out of range. He also has to be ready for the creative way Jones implements attacks.  They come from odd angles and at odd times.

In short, the things that Glover gets criticized for in his performances will likely be a non-factor in the championship fight with Jon Jones. Glover won’t get suckered into a brawl with Jones because that’s not what Jones does. Knowing that, does it give Teixeira carte blanche to make the fight ugly?  Does Teixeira attempt to bait Jones into thinking that Teixeira can be baited into a brawl, allowing Jones to get close enough to unload?  Probably not.  Jones scares the bejesus out of most people not named Alexander Gustafsson, and Jones’s opponents respect his abilities too much to allow him to get that close; however, that’s exactly the kind of blueprint that Teixeira’s mentor followed so well.  Chuck Liddell was a counter striker that used his wrestling to keep the fight standing, made his opponents wade into his range, and then uncorked on them with power counter shots.  Liddell’s success with that blueprint is one that might justify Teixeira going retro in his fight on Saturday and taking a page out of the past in order to beat Jones.  Jones, in his countless distractions leading up to the fight, has even been vocal about Chuck Liddell this week, going so far as to challenge the retired former lightweight champion, further endearing himself to MMA fans everywhere. Does Jones see something about Teixeira that gives him pause so much so that he’s sniping at Teixeira’s camp? Maybe Liddell, John Hackleman, and Glover Teixeira know something the Vegas oddsmakers don’t.

If Gustaffson represented Jones’s test against a physical threat, Machida represented Jones’s test against a technical threat, Belfort and Sonnen represented Jones’s test from the outside threat of smaller opponents, surely Teixeira represents Jones’s biggest test against the threat of raw power. The more Jones keeps talking about Chuck Liddell, Phil Davis, Alexander Gustafsson, and social media snafus, the more you have to wonder if he’s had adequate time to cram for the kind of assessment that is Glover Teixeira.  If not, here’s hoping he at least has planned an excuse.

Sorry Excuse for MMA: When the Alibis Outnumber the Fans

Do not trust this man with with monster trucks or Monster energy drinks.

Things have been pretty quiet leading up to this weekend’s Jon Jones’s showdown with Glover Teixeira at UFC 172.

There was a bit of media flurry regarding the random drug testing that both Teixeira and Jones had to undergo (both passed); however, Glover himself has been a pretty quiet opponent.  Jones, however, can’t seem to go very long without the spotlight of the public and the media falling on him like the eye of Mordoor.

Last week, Jones lost his exotic cat Mufasa, hardly qualifying as anything worth disrupting his camp or reporting on; however, just days later, Jones was involved in an Internet brouhaha when accusations of homophobic comments left under his Instagram account were lobbed his way.

Jones’s response was that his phone had been hacked and that the comments, while posted under his account and using his name, did not come from him.  The timeline for when the comments appeared and his own activity seem to absolve him from any violations against the UFC’s code of conduct for fighters. However, it was later revealed by Dana White that his login information and password was shared among 11 other people in his camp.

That’s not a hack as much as it’s just stupidity.  Why someone in his position would hand out his login information to 11 other people seems pretty absurd, though not nearly as absurd as the “I was hacked” talking point.  Perhaps the “I was stupid” talking point doesn’t seem to roll off the tongue.  The issue is really a non-issue, ultimately, but the excuse, “hacking”, makes things seem more mountain than molehill.

Fighters and excuses aren’t exactly anything new.  However, MMA fighters raise the level of excuses to high art.  Recently, when Diego Sanchez was outclassed and wrecked by a more than game Myles Jury at UFC 171, Sanchez put the blame for his loss not on the superior fighting acumen of Myles Jury, but on the fact he had food poisoning the night before his fight.  A steak tartare and raw quail eggs were the culprit for his being outclassed in the cage.   The dinner choice, of course, begs the question, why did a fighter who cuts weight to get to 155 pounds decide to try out something new and off the menu the night before a fight when he should likely be re-hydrating?

Sometimes, the excuse comes about as a result of the fighters handlers and hangers on.  When Antonio Bigfoot Silva tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone after his December 2013 war of attrition with Mark Hunt at UFC Fight Night 33, Silva was issued a ninth month suspension before the excuses and talking points muffled the initial praise for the fight.  Despite the fact that this was not Silva’s first banned substance violation, his manager ran to the front lines to bear the brunt of backlash from an MMA community calling Silva a cheat.  Unfortunately for Bigfoot, the excuse his manager gave didn’t do him any favors.  His manager Alex Davis went on record as saying Silva’s testosterone was so low, he was lactating at one point.  If you’ve seen Bigfoot Silva, you have to imagine that’s a whole lot of milk.

Outside of the cage, MMA fighters are also pretty adept at making excuses.  In 2008, after losing the UFC light heavyweight belt to Forrest Griffin, Quinton Rampage Jackson was arrested for evading arrest and reckless hit-and-run driving after he plowed into a car and sent pedestrians fleeing in panic.  According to Rampage and Dana White, the root of Rampage’s running amok fell to energy drinks, fasting, and a lack of sleep. It couldn’t have just been a bad choice that led him to evade the police, right?  It’s not like Rampage doesn’t have a history of bad choices, like signing on to endorse Monster energy drinks knowing that he has a terrible reaction to imbibing too many energy drinks.

Of course MMA fans give the best excuses of all.  When the numbers for this past weekend’s UFC on Fox Browne/Werdum card were announced to an abysmal 1.98 million viewers, the excuses were in bloom.  Easter was to blame. The lack of star power was to blame. The NBA playoffs were to blame. The fact that Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg had to wear suits was to blame. Somehow ABC’s annual replay of The Ten Commandments came away blame-free.

You know those rating systems are flawed. They don't take in account houses that have... uh... more than two television sets... and other things of that nature.

You know those rating systems are flawed. They don’t take in account houses that have… uh… more than two television sets… and other things of that nature.

Lost in the finger pointing is that the average, casual MMA doesn’t consider the Fox cards to be event television, especially if a title isn’t on the line. That’s the issue though: with so many cards this year, which intriguing matchups does the UFC give its partners like Fox, which does it keep for itself for Fight Pass, and which does it issue a PPV price tag? That’s a hard question to answer.  It’s a hard question just to ask.  And in that way—inside of the cage, outside of the cage, behind the cage—the lack of accountability is systemic.  It’s easier to give an excuse, especially when an excuse is served with a side of mea culpa.  That kind of dish goes down smoother than steak tartare with raw quail eggs.