Is Sports Illustrated’s Ben Fowlkes even qualified to write about MMA?

By Nicholas Bailey (

I take great exception to some parts of this piece by Ben Fowlkes, who apparently gets to write about MMA for despite not even being an MMA fan.

To wit:

The two other televised bouts for UFC 91 aren’t likely to be on anyone’s list of must-sees…
Tamdan McCrory takes on Dustin Hazelett

WHAT!? Sure, neither of these guys has the appeal to casuals that Lesnar does, but this is obviously a treat for the hardcore fans. All but the most casual MMA fans are excited about Hazelett after his ridiculous whizzer to armbar, and even more so with his engaging interviews and amusing personal style, and those who saw Tamdan McCrory dismantle Luke Cummo know that the guy has real potential and will certainly make this an exciting fight. The Sherdog forums were nearly unanimous in their celebration of the fight being televised.

I just have trouble believing that anyone who isn’t at least a little interested in this fight has no business writing about MMA, especially if they can’t even recognize that tons of people are very glad this fight is now being televised.

His criticism of Dana’s claim of 1.2million expected PPV sales may prove to be extremely premature, as well. I certainly think that the UFC’s tactic of blowing up one blockbuster fight has sold very well for them in the past-and Couture vs. Lesnar is one of the biggest blockbusters the UFC has put together. Lesnar generated buzz before he ever fought in the UFC, and now that he’s demonstrated his enormous potential AND made many fans hate him so much they will buy Pay-Per-Views to watch him lose, his drawing power is probably much increased. Furthermore, any matchup with Randy Couture is sure to motivate another sizable chunk of fans.

Lastly, breaking out the old (and untrue) chestnut that Boxing cards have nothing of value aside from the main event speaks of unfamiliarity with that sport as well. Maybe Ben should stick to writing about whatever he does instead of watching MMA.

What Do You Think of This Fight/Event?