Josh Gross
Monday June 9th, 2008

Today's mailbag offers a sample of reaction from Ultimate Fighting Championship 85 in London. From Matt Hughes and Thiago Alves, to some residual discussion about CBS and EliteXC -- here's what some readers had to say.

Matt Hughes should fight Matt Serra next. I watched his fight against Thiago Alves and he has plenty of fight left in him yet. Hughes just needs the right opponent and some time to train. What do you make of calls for his retirement? -- Richard S. (New York City)

Hughes shouldn't call it quits, and I don't think he will. He's hasn't shown any signs that he's defenseless or that he's taken too much abuse. Sure, better fighters are pounding him right now, but that always happens. Young guys always rise up to defeat established veterans. While 170 pounds is a deep division, Matt Serra is the kind of opponent Hughes should fight -- and one he could defeat.

Where does Thiago Alves get off asking for a title shot when he can't even make weight in his fights? -- Anonymous

Four pounds is a pretty big misstep. When referring to Gina Carano's weight problems -- the latest of which occurred at EliteXC on May 31 -- Evan Tanner talked about the importance of fighters stepping on the scale at the right weight. He said making weight was primarily about respect for your opponent and the sport. First the issue of Alves and diuretics, now his weight. He needs to show he can consistently make the welterweight limit -- for reasons of respect and simply because it's a rule of the game.

I know the card had lots of injuries and "The Iceman" was supposed to fight, but I have mixed emotions after UFC 85. I'm not sure the card was worth $55. I'm wondering if you thought the card was worth the money? Why can't the UFC and Spike TV put it on television like the Rampage Jackson-Dan Henderson fight? -- Mark King (Stillwater, Okla.)

The fights were solid, but if a card with ranked competitors isn't enough to grab you, then I can see how the price tag was a bit stiff. But the end result wasn't a card UFC matchmaker Joe Silva built because he thought it would sell. The absence of Liddell-Mauricio Rua didn't help, nor did the nixed bout between Chris Leben and Michael Bisping. I can't imagine a lot of people stepped up and bought that card.

I just finished watching Inside MMA and wanted to say great job on asserting yourself with the Robbie Lawler-Scott Smith [doctor-stoppage] issue at EliteXC. As much as I wanted to see that fight continue, you can't let a fighter tell the doctor what he wants. Even if Smith argues that he can see the entire time, if the doctor can tell that he can't, the fight can't continue. Otherwise, why are the doctors even there? -- Andrew Mshar

MMA is dead without the regulation that insulates it against so much of the criticism. During the Inside MMA talk, both Tanner and Brett Rogers said Smith should have been allowed to fight. Sure, a finger in the eye wasn't a big deal, and, considering the importance of the fight, it probably should have continued. And Bas Rutten agreed. But none of us heard the discussion between the doctors and Smith. If there was even the slightest hesitation from the Californian, or if his pupil reacted abnormally to the light, whatever, then the medical team was well within its right to stop the fight.

Josh, did you catch the TV broadcast of the CBS/EliteXC card? I'm curious as to what you thought of the announce team (since you always seem to have an opinion on the commentary), and the general look of the production. What worked and what didn't work? -- Andy Hayes (El Paso, TX)

For a first effort, it was good. But the spacing and timing of the production was off because the first two fights ended in a minute and CBS took time to give a brief introduction to MMA and its rules for spectators new to the sport.

But, according to Senior Executive Vice President of Programming Operations at CBS Kelly Kahl, the network plans on tightening up the broadcast and making several adjustments for the second attempt.

Such changes include: less hype, less time between fights, less focus on the ancillary entertainment (dancers, rappers, fireworks), and, probably, no Kimbo in the main event. Per Kahl's words: "I'd put the best fight there."

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.