UFC 239 part II

Before tonight’s fights (around 45mins from now, lol), I want to finish my thoughts about last weekend.

What’s going to happen with Luke Rockhold? My dude is vulnerable to the knockout and his problems only seem to be getting worse. His run to the middleweight title was so impressive, I thought he was unstoppable. Then along came you-know-who and that was that. If at all possible, he should take care of his body and face and pursue modeling full time. He is way too pretty to let people punch him in the face for money.

What can I say about Jorge? He deserves everything coming his way. It feels good when a veteran fighter is getting some serious shine. This is very similar to when Nate choked out Conor.

People hate bullies. Worse, people hate condescending bullies, and that’s how Conor and Ben Askren come across. Remarks like someone is backward, can’t speak English, is dumb, are offensive. I know the remarks are said to hype a fight, but when a white man is on tv saying to someone who is not white – you are dumb and backward and don’t understand English – people are going to dance on your face when you get slept.

But I digress.

Congrats to Jorge Masvidal. What a fight! This is the third time he has given us something to talk about after the fight, which is really the ultimate fighter’s goal. You cannot buy this kind of publicity. It brings in new fans and he deserves several bonuses. The flying knee overshadowed the main and co-main in my opinion, as I didn’t care at all about the activities of Jon and Amanda. In the landscape of fighting and entertainment, I much prefer the Masvidal kind of chaotic entertainment.

Something else happened at the press conference. Dana was dragging a guy, a journalist (Revello?) who said Amanda Nunes is not marketable. Dana was quite hot. Some twitter folks interpreted the journalist’s remarks as a woman is only marketable if white and blond, such as Rousey and PVZ. I disagree.

Ronda Rousey was marketable because she was the first. She was a decorated judoka and the competition had not caught up to her yet. She was a true one trick pony with a bad attitude. You can market that until the pony gets caught.

Paige Van Zandt is young and cute and bubbly. The best things she did for herself was to go on the cooking show, Chopped, and take part in Dancing With the Stars. People who knew nothing about UFC were asking me about her. It allowed people outside of the fighting world to see her, hear her voice, connect with her. I recommend Waterson, Herig, Hill, Esparza, and especially, Valentina, to put themselves out there. Not just taking pictures in makeup and booty shots for Instagram. Go on one of these shows. Big Brother, Survivor, the Bachelorette (okay, a few are married). Do something to build yourself an audience and Dana will not be able to deny your star power.

The same goes for Amanda. However, I don’t think she cares about all this. I think she’s happy out here winning awards and cashing checks.

And now it’s 10mins to the fights.

M

UFC 239

UFC 239 was an incredible night of fights and the GOATs were in the building. To be honest, I only purchased the PPV because of Luke Rockhold and Jorge Masvidal. The dominance of Amanda Nunes and Jon Jones did not make their fights must see for me.

I was rooting for Thiago Santos, but as he busted his knee in the first round he was unlikely to win. He was unlikely to win even before the knee injury, but he was a game opponent. Subjectively, he could have had the points to win, but in title fights a challenger really has to impress to win the belt.

I was not rooting for Holly Holm – she’s lost all the title fights she’s been in except one, and she’s had around 5 after the Rousey fight. There was no reason to believe that all of a sudden she was going to either wrestle Amanda or beat her on the feet. And she’s 38 years old. No upset was in the cards.

I like Jones and Nunes, but had no desire to see those fights. I think Jon can be beaten; he’s sloppy at times and I think some of his recent wins are due to intimidation. Anthony Smith said no one can beat Jones in one attempt. Yes, because of the overwhelming emotions of being in a title fight, and then having to face a legendary fighter on the big stage. Your first shot is probably paralyzing. And you’re somewhat star struck.

But for now we have dominant champs and sometimes, watching dominant champs over and over again can get boring. And dominant champs who are not exciting are like watching a team run up the score. Champ who’s not a draw? Face the Pain.

Jon is not boring. He’s a colorful villain in this space. And he’s mean. One day a fighter will come along to beat him, but that day is not today. His mean streak and unpredictability make him a draw.

Amanda is not mean and unpredictable. She seems to be a perfectly nice person. I cheered with everyone else when she beat Ronda and Miesha. Ronda had already been beaten, but I kind of thought Miesha had a better chance of keeping the belt. Nope. She got her face busted up pretty good and handed it over. Her second fight with Valentina was competitive, then she went up to 145 and beat Cyborg. The women’s ranks are thin as it is, and Dana allowed half the women’s belts and weight classes to be tied up by one person. She has literally fought everyone.

What’s next for Amanda? I said before that this double champ thing is a bad idea, and that goes double for the women. She has wiped out the competition in two weight classes and I don’t care to see anymore of her fights. She has no competition. Fights are exciting when you think there’s a chance of an upset, but now that we’ve seen Amanda knock out Cyborg, the jig is up. For her next fight they’ll try to create some fake drama, fake beef, fake fire, hype a storyline, but I’m not buying it.

M

Deserves have nothing to do with it

Let me just get right to it: Colby got a bad deal and Jorge better get ready. Yes, I know they had the face offs, yet Masvidal was not there. Why? We’ll find out soon enough. I will be shocked (shocked!) if his fight against Askren actually happens.

Cejudo wants to box Loma. This annoys me even though it shouldn’t. I know it’s a rerun of a show we’ve seen before: MMA champ seeks bigger payday and clout by calling out star boxer. Conor did it with Mayweather, JDS wants Wilder, and Ngannou wants Fury. This is the new normal, and it’s a bit disappointing because it admits a failure in the current system. It’s not enough to be a successful MMA fighter. You have to cross over and make a circus fight with a professional boxer because that’s where the money is.

As fans, we want to see the best fight the best. We want the guy with the win streak to be rewarded with a title shot. The powers that be want a show. They want wild personalities at the top of the card. It brings eyes and dollars.

These stunts aren’t victimless crimes. There are real contenders coming up who deserve their shot at the belt too. Don’t they?

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, but 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 lost and 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 Lance 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 the 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