A few years ago, when MMA started to explode onto the mainstream scene with the UFC at the forefront, the UFC was learning how to market their future stars. Two of the young guns they were counting on for marketing and to carry the sport into the future were charismatic lightweight Roger Huerta and contending welterweight Karo Parisyan. Well both men are under 30 at this time, and both have compiled 1 win in their last dozen or so fights in the smaller fight circuit. Let this blog be a cautionary tale to just how fleeting being at the top can be, as both men continue to toil in MMA, reaching for something they are unlikely to ever reach again.
Huerta especially had star potential written all over him. In May of 2007, he made the cover of Sports Illustrated that gave him crossover exposure that no other UFC fighter had ever gotten.
Shortly afterwards, a tough contract negotiations and back to back losses to studs Gray Maynard and Kenny Florian saw Huerta jettisoned from his UFC contract. He moved to Bellator, where he went 1-2 losing to Pat Curran and Eddie Alvarez, the organization’s top lightweights.
Huerta, due to his name recognition and probably his financial needs, is forced to continue to try and compete against the top guys and he is not there anymore. What he needs more than anything is a back to the basics approach where he fights often, puts together a winning streak to the point where possibly in a few years he can return to the UFC.
Parisyan is a different case scenario, but possible substance abuse stemming from an anxiety disorder earned him a suspension and a cut from the UFC.
Parisyan is 1-3 now since his UFC departure, and it is unclear whether he has been able to put his personal problems behind him.
SO let this be a caution to the bettors out there especially now that many of the sports books out there are starting to take action on fights t the second tier. Just because you see former top shelf UFC names on some of these cards, does not mean that the recognizable names are the guys to bet on.
Lat weekend Parisyan tapped out to UFC vet journeyman John Gunderson, the first time he tapped out in his career. In a couple of days, Huerta will fight at the ONE FC event against unheralded Brazilian Zorobabel Moreira. I will go on record stating that Huerta will lose that fight.
The sad part is that these are just two of the biggest examples of fallen stars. There are many more, and there will be many more, so bettor beware.