If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, does it still make noise? This age-old riddle has been asked numerous times and provides the perfect analogy to the scheduled bout between Dave Herman and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
The two men are scheduled to meet this Saturday on the main card of UFC 153. Now, at first glance that seems about right—Herman is a guy who has had a ton of hype around him while Nogueira is nothing short of a legend in MMA.
Well, to borrow a phrase from an ESPN show, “numbers never lie.”
What I’m referring to is the fact that this meaningless bout is on a pay-per-view main card. Let’s examine a number of factors as to why this bout isn’t worthy of a main card slot.
The first obviously is Herman. Despite receiving praise and hype for his devastating rise in MMA (undefeated through his first 15 fights), the hype train has crashed off the tracks in the Octagon. Herman’s only win came against Jon Olav-Einemo while he’s looked dreadful against Stefan Struve and Roy Nelson.
It’s not that Herman isn’t a decent fighter. Clearly, he has the skills to be a fighter, but at the same time he’s not a pay-per-view main card quality of fighter at this point in his career. Herman’s place on the main card of UFC 153 is due in large part to his Brazilian opponent.
That opponent, Pride veteran Nogueira, is just 2-3 in his last five fights with all three losses being of the devastating variety. He resembled a human punching bag the first time around against Frank Mir, was violently dropped by Cain Velasquez, and had his arm snapped by Mir in the rematch. Nogueira’s name will always draw fans to tune in and that’s the main reason this bout is on a pay-per-view main card.
The other reason being that this card takes place in Brazil, Nogueira’s homeland. He’s a superstar in his home country and Brazilians would likely pay for a show that had Nogueira as the headliner regardless of who he was facing.
Yet it’s the same mistake the UFC has made before in England and Canada. The promotion stacks the card with big names for the hometown crowd, but fans don’t want just the big names, they want the big match-ups. And this fight isn’t a big match-up.
Neither man will be challenging for the UFC title anytime soon. A win for either is likely to prolong their stay in the promotion. Does that sound like the kind of fight you should be spending your hard-earned dollars on?
I don’t think so.
Photo: Dave Herman (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)