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UFC 238

UFC 238 was something. We saw Valentina knock out Jessica Eye, Cowboy pulled the nose blow trick (the one that didn’t work for Anthony Smith, remember?), and Henry Cejudo became not just the double champ, but the triple champ – Triple C!

What a night.

I used to think the double champ thing was exciting, but now the thrill is gone. Once guys win two belts things get a little wonky. They start asking for circus fights against people long retired or big name guys on the decline. They no longer want to move forward and face the next challenger, they always go backwards. Back in the record books to the OGs, hoping one of them will need money enough to stop whatever they’re doing to fight a newcomer.

Then the Twitter fights get started. Maybe if they get a dude good and mad on social media that will get the guy to sign the contract.

Oh well. Like the man said, it is what it is. Good luck to Triple C. He looked great against Marlon Moraes.

M

 

Moving on up

There’s no weekly outrage simmering in UFC world right now. Well, unless you mean the ongoing saga of Megan Anderson and Kevin Lee.  Megan is formerly the Invicta featherweight champ who is having a rough go in the UFC. Kevin is a former lightweight having a rough go of his own. Megan’s issues are more straightforward: Try to use her length and reach more effectively and please spend some time on the mats. She was champ in Invicta, so she knows how to fight. She just has to level up.

Oh Kevin. I like Kevin Lee. I’m a fan. The way he acts annoys people; it doesn’t bother me. The way he responds to losses breaks my heart a little bit. He takes it very seriously, very personally, and I don’t know if that’s the right way to think about losing. If he were my little brother, I’d tell him to use these losses as motivation. Heal up, get back to training, and don’t be so hard so yourself. Also, you lost to RDA, not some scrub, and he was a lot stronger than you tonight, bro.

But he’s not my little brother and here’s the deal: He’s having a hard time making 155 and always talking about a 165lb weight class. As that is not happening, he decided to move up to 170 and promptly ran into RDA. There were obvious problems, and examples are right in front of your face regarding these types of matchups. Remember RDA and Colby? Colby had been fighting at WW for some time and he was able to control Rafa with ease. Or Dustin and Max? It doesn’t always work.

Sometimes it does work. DC beat Stipe, right? Why/how did that happen? DC is a natural heavyweight and has a skill advantage over Stipe. And maybe just a little, Stipe underestimated the threat.

GSP went up and beat Bisping. He gained so much weight he messed up his gut, but he also had a skill advantage. Bisping was a weak champion and GSP called him out to exploit that weakness.

Amanda beat Cyborg. Cyborg did a lot of trash talk about Amanda needing time to prepare. If you call out Cyborg you better be ready! Well, she took the time to gain weight and get ready and got the KO in the first round. Amanda is younger, faster, and had no fear. Cyborg was champ for quite a long time, and everyone hits the wall at some point. And maybe just a little, she underestimated the threat.

Lee has a lot to think about moving forward. He should stay at welterweight if he believes his wrestling is strong enough to compete with Usman, Colby and Woodley. He’s young. Hopefully Dana gives him time to develop. At lightweight.

Fans should remember that UFC is a fighting and entertainment company. If they don’t see any value add in Kevin Lee, welp …

M

 

Champ life isn’t for everyone

I was rooting for Rose last weekend. I thought perhaps she studied some film and followed JJ’s blueprint for beating Andrade. And that’s what it looked like too, during the first round. But we all know what happened after that: She turned into the new Rory, with the revelation that fight life ain’t for her.

Cage fighting is not a long term career plan for everyone. Some enjoy the rush of competition and want to win (Nunes, Shevchenko), some enjoy the lifestyle of fitness and martial arts training and teaching, then take the occasional fight (Kron). Some get into it for other reasons, and maybe Rose is in this group. She’s not happy fighting for a living and wants to do something else with her life.

I wish her all the best with whatever she plans to do in the future. Hopefully Dana will allow her some time off and a step down in competition if she ever returns. The cage is not the place for a reluctant fighter – this Champ stuff is too much for her.

M

TJ the snake

It’s a thing. He really is a snake. Was on EPO this whole time, was even trying to take Cejudo’s belt while under the influence.

The nerve of this guy.

So he lost, right? Got knocked down and TKO’d by Cejudo, then tried to argue that it was an early stoppage and it’s a shame that the ref would stop the fight and take this opportunity away from him. He worked so hard to make weight.

The gall.

Then there’s the testing fiasco. UFC has a testing czar, Jeff Novitzky, who knows all about cheating and the cheating cheaters who try to get a step ahead of the competition. In fact, he has experience with this very substance, EPO, from his days of messing around with Armstrong’s gang of cheaters. And with all that experience, and all the remarks from TJ’s ex, Cody, they don’t step up their testing protocols for a strongly suspicious individual. Cody even tweeted a statement to TJ and named EPO specifically as the substance TJ was using.

Nothing happened. Crickets from Dana and Jeff.

Cody said TJ taught all of TAM how to use PEDs. The crickets got louder. Mendes got suspended for HGH.

EPO is at the top of the list of bad intentions, so why are they not testing everyone for everything? Too expensive, they say. Well, the PR hit is worse for business. The implication is that they don’t care about testing or the integrity of the sport. (LOL, of course not, they are still pursuing Brock Lesnar).

Internet folks are saying (not me this time) take away his money, his bonuses. Nope.  That money is spent and gone. Sunk. Dana needs to come out and say something. Turn the contests into NCs and let’s move on. He already turned in the belt.

And about all that snitching going on. Why do people think it’s Jon Jones? There’s a rumor that he cut some type of deal with USADA and/or Novitzky for a lesser suspension. He would have to inform on others. But how would Jon know what TJ is doing? Do fighters all communicate on group text, confiding in others about their PED use? I doubt it. Cody has been publicly sounding the alarm for a while, maybe somebody else from TAM had a conversation with Novitzky. Maybe the twitterers have inside info on Jones and TJ and their close relationship with each other. I don’t.

M

 

 

 

 

Bare Knuckle Fighting

There was No UFC event this weekend so I purchased the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship main card tonight. The main event was a banger. Artem Lobov v Jason Knight didn’t seem so great on paper, but once they started throwing it was lit in Mississippi.

Well, for about 3.5 rounds. They were both exhausted by the end, but Artem looked completely gassed. Hick Diaz was all busted up but kept coming forward trying to finish Artem, as he had just a little bit more left in the tank.

Unfortunately for the hometown boy, it was Artem via decision.

This sets up a bare knuckle fight between Artem and Paulie Malignaggi in June, and to hear it from Artem, he’s ready to take on everyone. He said before the fight he wanted to bang out a bunch of dudes.

Okay.

But now that he’s done it, he’s got this experience in his back pocket now, does he really want to do this again? He’s Conor’s best friend and training partner. He could be traveling and enjoying shots of the Proper 12, visiting clubs, then the occasional touch butt session in the park. That’s nice. Why let a man beat your face into a pulp when you don’t have to? I’m sure he will post pics on social media tomorrow of his broken hands and black/blue face and call out Malignaggi again. Alright.

Jason Knight, I hope, is facing a nice long stint in the hospital. Half of his face looked broken and he was talking about celebrating later. Please. He will be knocked out from painkillers tonight. That is, if the docs are merciful.

Bare knuckle fighting is not for everyone. I admit, I only watched for Artem and Jason Knight, and I didn’t expect the sheer carnage of it all. It was something.

And if Artem fights Paulie in June, I will be watching.

M

Great night in Philadelphia

Good fights tonight. Very happy for Waterson and Gaethje. Should also mention Paul Craig for pulling off the sub again at the end of the fight. Good stuff.

Very fitting for Barboza to walkout to the theme from Rocky in Philadelphia. JDS likes to use the same song, but I don’t get triggered when JDS does it. The song has to be played in Philly and it has to be for the Main Event of the Evening. Great touch.

So Edson lost via KO and I’m not gutted for him. He’ll be back. He always comes back. However, I did tag him and Kevin Lee as gatekeepers after their last fight. Edson beat the NZ Zombie, and Lee lost to Iaquinta. The two of them win some and lose some, which is why Lee decided to move up to 170. Will we see Barboza move up too? I sure hope not. We finally got some new blood and new life at WW and these disgruntled LWs are turning it into rematch and rerun city. They all need to check in at the PI, get a hold of themselves and their diets, and go back to LW. All of them. RDA too. And I’m sorry, but yes, Pettis too.

But for now, the welterweight division, it shall, it shall endure.

Waterson should get the next title shot. She’s got some nice heat around her at the moment: her little girl, aka the cookie boss, was looking super cute, she’s got a nice little family, training at one of the top gyms, former atom weight champ. I believe ESPN put together a short film about her fighting and motherhood.

She’s getting the push.

Amanda is on Twitter lobbying for Nina or Tatiana, but I am rooting for Michelle.

M

UFC Philadelphia

Another fight night is upon us. Last few have been decent.

Let me get right to my picks:

Barzola v Aguilar –  Barzola decision.

Holland v Meerschaert – Holland decision.

Yusuff v Moraes – Yusuff KO.

KK v Hottie – Oh no. Here we go again with a fight between two good people that I don’t want to see lose. In any event, Waterson via Sub.

Emmett v MJ – MJ decision.

Barboza v Gaethje – We know Edson will kick the life out of his opponent and we also know that Gaethje, at times, likes to act like a zombie. If he plays zombie with Edson, the result will be much like what happened to that NZ Zombie before him: He will be kicked until he be ded.

For Gaethje’s sake, I hope he has had his fill of alcoholic beverages for the short term. Because if he gets killed in the cage via liver death, a sip of drank might disable that boy for good.

If Gaethje wants to win he will show off some of this wrestling I keep hearing about.

Barboza can’t beat a wrestler. Gaethje via wrestlemania.

M

 

 

Impact

Maybe it’s just me, but the Wonderboy fight last Saturday didn’t have a huge marketing impact. Not nearly as big as the Masvidal-Till fight. Mas scared the crap out of folks: Crowd was silent, Ben Askren snuck out of town. Ben was so dialed in to the idea that Till was going to win, that monstrous KO shut him down for several hours. He didn’t start his twitter talk until he was safely back at home. He’s talking now, but when Mas and Ali said he was quiet after the fight, he was.

Pettis? Well, as I said before, that was the chaos pick, and a win by Wonderboy really wouldn’t make a difference at all. Not in the rankings or with fans. No impact. But Pettis won and he is now ranked in the WW division. But does anyone think he won’t hit the wall sooner rather than later? I’m glad he won, but let’s just see.

Matchups matter. Wonderboy is a well liked character. So is Pettis. Till is somewhat of a villain. That’s why it was so satisfying seeing him lose. Fans watch to see favorites win, but also to see heels lose.

Two good guys went to battle and a good guy won. That’s nice. Not OMG, but nice. Very nice.

UFC needs to stop with these kinds of fights.

M

 

Ownership

That’s what Conor wants, but is that a good idea? What happens if he is part owner of UFC and gets into another one of his scrapes with the law? Then what? That damages the brand. It’s one thing for fighters to be gangster, but not an owner. That would be a real cause for concern. And he will be a minority owner for sure, but his character is so outsized, he will insist on being the face of the organization. And they will let him.

Liability? What is at risk if he throws another dolly at a window? Whose deep pockets will get sued? What happens if he hurls racial and ethnic slurs at someone to hype his next fight? That is unseemly for an owner. When we watched the slurs against Khabib, Dana stood by laughing. Conor is a contractor, his words are his own. But as owner – welp.

What about the appearance of corruption? An owner is now stepping into the cage to fight? Who do you think wins that fight? I’ve heard of situations where fighters receive other bonuses after the fight (undisclosed). Will those bonuses be made available to those who lose to Conor to advance a storyline?

Dana needs to put on some Reebok gear and get in the game. He can fight as a HW. I would love to see him “KO” Ngannou, and then Overeem. Let him win a title then vacate like GSP did. I can foresee a lot of shenanigans like this if Conor is part owner and allowed to fight.

I don’t want to watch fake fights.

I don’t care if he’s made a part owner – he should not fight if he has a financial stake in the company.

M

Nashville

And Pettis brought the chaos. In case you missed it, Wonderboy got KTFO’d via Superman punch, and went down almost exactly like Till did last week. He also looked twice as big as Pettis, but we learned from last week that size doesn’t matter when you’re a good striker.

It started out a little boring. So boring, DC and his dude made a remark about the 3 piece with a soda. Because that was the most entertaining thing we’ve seen in quite some time, and it would take a lot for this fight night to live up to that.

Then came the punch and Wonderboy went flying.

Welterweight is officially back in business. Who’s next? Lots of good matchups in this division.

Usman v Colby

Askren v Ponz

Tyron v RDA

Masvidal gets next title shot

Edwards v Pettis

People are saying Pettis is back. The last time they said that, he choked out Chiesa and everybody celebrated like he just knocked off a top dude. Then he got Ferguson.

He’s got a lot of miles but I still want to see him fighting and winning. He can beat Edwards easily. Book it.

M

 

 

 

Highs and lows

After last weekend, this fight night might be a letdown. How can you beat that KO and that 3 piece?

Life goes on.

Woodley wants McG. That doesn’t sound like a fair fight, does it? Why would Conor fight Woodley? What’s the point? Conor is a former lightweight champ and fights at 170 for fun. He doesn’t cut down to 170. Come on Tyron. Maybe he should focus on being a rapper. From what I’ve seen, they make a lot of money and don’t have to get hit in the face. He was in movies too. Why not focus on that? There has to be a life after fighting and at a certain age that has to be considered.

Darren Till said he’s going to come back stronger. Hmm. If you recall, Woodley elbowed him several times in the head before he gave up and d’arced him. Woodley said he couldn’t crack that hard head, but we know now that he did. Then Jorge went One Punch on him and sent him flying to the canvas.

Do you come back stronger from that? I don’t know.

Aldo is in the hospital. He better not have a hernia.

Chaos and Mayhem at 135. Is Dom Cruz going to slide in there and get a title shot? I hope so, but most likely it’s Moraes. And I kinda don’t care. Boo TJ.

UFC Nashville tomorrow and I haven’t gotten over the 3 piece with a soda. I hope Pettis or Wonderboy create another iconic moment and I feel sorry for all of them if they don’t. If nothing good happens, fans (I) will be so disappointed. God forbid another Wonderboy decision, or Pettis suffers another premature hand break.

Who am I fooling  –  Masvidal had the KO and quote of the year. It will take a lot to beat that.

M

 

 

No fight

TJ pops and gives up. No fight, just some passive language about how something happened and here’s the belt. Just handed it over without a fight. Contaminated substance maybe? No one is really saying much beyond that. UFC isn’t either. I guess I’ll just find some GS cookies and forget all about TJ. Unfollowed.

My man Luke is finally coming back, matched up with Blachowicz. It’s hard being a Rockhold fan these days. Some of these dudes fight so infrequently, and I know there are injuries to deal with among many other things, but really, it’s difficult. The less you see of a guy, the less you care. They fade from memory. And time out of the cage can’t be a good thing. So come back Luke. And Nate. And Yoel. And Shoeface. And Chris. And Jacare. Boo TJ. Where is Ponz? Li Jing Liang, with his dirty self? Super Boy? Bring back Moussasi.

Last comments about Masvidal: No, he shouldn’t have thrown up that 3 piece, but you know what? It’s those moments, those organic moments that are so much fun in UFC. Unscripted and real. Add to that the satisfaction of seeing someone get a 3 piece for talking unnecessary trash at the wrong time. The soda was a bonus.

M

 

UFC London post mortem

These were my picks: Teco, Volkan, Edwards, Masvidal. Considering Volkan’s robbery, it was all good for me.

I already told y’all that the best nights for UFC are when fans are left shook. Shook! The OMG moments we can’t stop talking about. I don’t think I have ever seen/heard a venue go silent like it did at the O2. Amazing work by Masvidal.

Do you want to be a fighter? That’s what Dana used to say. Well, if you do, you better recognize some natural law, recalling a useful example laid down by the Skrap Pack back in the day. To the victor go the spoils.

To the victor go the spoils, something like that. So let the man enjoy his spoils, whether that’s an in-cage interview, a live feed with ESPN, or a lion feasting on a gorilla he just killed, let him have that moment. Adrenaline is high.

Why not be respectful? Why couldn’t Edwards walk up and shake Jorge’s hand? Hey man, good fight. What’s wrong with that? He can talk trash all night on Insta and Twitter if he likes. Or on the drive home with his 35 friends who were walking with him. Let the man have his moment.

But that didn’t happen. He pulled a Mayhem and started talking trash to Jorge when he was being interviewed by ESPN. In hindsight, this was a bad idea.

A recap: Mas is being interviewed, telling Laura Sanko about his passion for the fight game, for his family, when Edwards rolled up with an entourage. Told Jorge he was going to get his @ss kicked in July, then tried to roll out with said entourage. Jorge, not hearing or understanding everything that was said, innocently strolled over to Edwards and his team and asked that the statements be repeated. There were words. Edwards put his hands up to strike, but was served a hot 3 piece with a soda.

I am biased, but that’s what I saw on the video.

Dana may choose to fine him, but I hope not. This was a security violation; a breach. Masvidal should get his show and win purse, his $100K in bonuses, and an additional $50K for having to take two fights in one night. Then sort out the security lapses that allowed this to happen in the first place.

As for Jorge Masvidal, the KO made him a contender. The 3 piece made him a star. Title shot please.

UFC needs to capitalize on this ASAP.

Sorry Colby. Sorry Ben.

M

 

Crime scene

Answering my own question, exciting things do happen in London. This fight night ended like an episode of Law & Order. Daren Till got brutally knocked out and was laid out on the mat like a crime scene sketch. Out cold.

I need to follow Askren on Twitter to find out what happened. Didn’t he say he went to London to call out the winner of this fight? I was expecting him to enter the cage and for somebody to do something.

Exciting things do indeed happen in London. Apparently, Askren don’t want no part of Masvidal. Till was handpicked for a reason. He’s probably on a plane right now. Remember, Demian Maia beat Jorge but said he had really good wrestling and was well prepared.

From what I just heard, there was another fight backstage –  the after party, I think. Mas just pieced up Leon Edwards. I don’t have any knowledge about the jurisdictional issues, and neither does the UFC official who is at the press conference. Hopefully he’s not arrested. Fine him, sure, but don’t keep his paycheck. Fans on Twitter are loving it, by the way. They (we) are saying Masvidal gets 2 victories tonight. Fantastic.

I had to check Twitter again to see if Askren calls out Masvidal, but I can’t see or hear past these crickets.

M

 

UFC London tonight

So I lied.

I said I wouldn’t care, or more appropriately for the pedants, I could not care less if Ben Askren gets shipped back to ONE. I said I would sleep very well (like a baby!) if I never saw him fight again. Upon reconsideration, I have had a change of heart. Ben was killing it in London this week. In his interviews, UFC promo work, and he saved some of his best for the Q&A.

By staying so silent, JoJo missed out on an opportunity. The crowd was taking the piss out of Ben and he rolled with it like a boss. But there were some remarks made by fans that Ben didn’t understand. JoJo is a Brit, she understands the slang, the local dialect. Why didn’t she start translating? She wasn’t getting many questions so the opportunity was there to steal the show. She could have jumped in with some Scottish slang, or some naughty commentary, which would have been funny, because she’s so soft spoken. Her voice, as a fan reminded us, is like an angel.

London itself seems like a boring place. Other than the Queen and Charles & Co., what else is there? Does anything interesting happen out there? The Spice Girls. The Baking Show. Brexit. That’s all I got.

Oh yeah, Bisping. He was undefeated in England. Several robberies on the way to that winning streak, but let’s pretend.

Speaking of Bisping, Till said people are calling him out because he’s the one to beat.

People call him out because they think he’s an easy fight. He can be beaten easily via wrestlemania, as Woodley has given the blueprint.

Nobody is calling out Yoel Romero. Luke Rockhold. Nobody is calling out Usman except for Askren, and that’s just a personal beef, simmering for the moment. Usman had to get his intestines untied recently so is unavailable.

Looks like a duck, quacks like a duck? If one more dude gets a hernia I’m going to start making wild assumptions. I am now suspicious when people have strange illnesses. Who will be the next with the mystery hernia?

UFC London: Teco, Oezdemir, Edwards, Masvidal.

M