Hunt Pulled from Fight and Rips UFC President Dana White

After a recent interview in which Mark Hunt had said, “you can hear me starting to stutter and slur my words” Dana White and the UFC has decided to pull Mark Hunt out of his upcoming scheduled fight November 19th in Sydney.  Fabricio Werdum, who just fought this past Saturday has been chosen to step in against Marcin Tybura. In the interview, Hunt went on to say, “My memory is not that good anymore. I’ll forget something I did yesterday but I can remember the shit I did years and years ago. That’s just the price I’ve paid—the price of being a fighter.”

In Mark Hunt’s opinion, them pulling him off the card is a result of a current lawsuit that Hunt and his legal team had filed on the UFC after his contest at UFC 200 against Brock Lesnar. This interview happened back a few weeks ago so it is odd for the UFC to decide to pull Hunt off the card three weeks after the interview. Hunt also explained in his response to the news that he had passed all medicals done by the UFC in the lead up to this fight. The “Super Samoan” then went on a social media tirade with these three posts attacking UFC President Dana White along with the UFC.

 

I feel both Hunt and White/UFC have arguments where you can at least see where they are coming from. It must be frustrating to go through most a fight camp and not be able to fight. On the other hand, fighters especially old school fighters like Mark Hunt are never going to want to stop fighting, so when he mentions he is slurring his words that should throw up a red flag for the UFC because the safety of the fighters is important. Both sides have compelling arguments, where do you sit on this feud?

Will Weight Cutting ever be Regulated?

With the ongoing problems of weight cutting in MMA the question remains if we can limit, regulate, or end it completely. On Friday, we saw a brutal weight cut on the biggest stage as Kevin Lee told the media he weighed 19 pounds over 155-pound weight limit less than 24 hours before weigh-ins. We also saw this weekend in Japan, where a fighter had to be assisted while walking to the scale to weigh in and was allowed to compete the next day.

In the past, we have seen weight issues result in fights being removed from cards. From a business sense, weight cutting is hurting the business when fighters are missing weight, or when they are making weight are depleted from the weight cut, resulting in not their best possible performance. Also, the UFC in particular, has been doing so many interim title fights to market that there is a title fight on the marquee. With the addition of more weight classes, there would be more champions to put on top of the pay-per-view and they would not have to use interim titles unless it was completely necessary. From a fighter’s health standpoint, it is definitely not healthy to be draining ten plus pounds of water out of your body. It is definitely not healthy to lose ten plus pounds of water a day before taking blows to the brain.

The next obvious question is, so what is the solution? Well, there is no simple answer to solving this epidemic in MMA. The problem is you are not going to be able to just tell the fighters to stop weight cutting because fighters are always going to do anything possible that they think will give them an advantage over their opponent. The first step to possibly help is adopting the new weight classes mentioned in the California State Athletic Commissions 10 point plan. This would move welterweight to 175 pounds and would add a 165-pound class. In addition, there would be a 195-pound weight class added in between the 20-pound gap of 185 and 205 pounds.

DC Jones

Other than the added weight classes, another solution is to periodically do weight checks throughout the training camp leading up to the fight. Boxing tends to do this for big fights and in boxing weight cutting does not seem to be as prevalent as it is in MMA. Throughout the Daniel Cormier vs Jon Jones fight back in July they checked the fighters weights and had stricter weight and drug testing regulations than most fights and things seemed to go smooth.

One last possible solution that I think would help limit the weight cutting issue in MMA is a bigger punishment for missing weight. Currently, the punishment is 20 percent of your purse taken away. With a harsher punishment, this could help limit the large weight cuts because it would be a huge risk to lose something even more significant than 20 percent, like half your purse.

Ultimately, weight cutting is going to be involved in MMA regardless, it is just inevitable. Fighters will always try to get what they think is a competitive advantage over their opponents. I feel like something has to be done or else one day soon someone’s going to have major health effects from making or trying to make a weight. Unfortunately, as in everything in life, usually, changes don’t come until after something bad happens. Hopefully, changes come soon in regards to weight cutting because not only is it the safer option, but it makes sense business wise.

 

 

 

Pound for Pound Debate

After Saturday night and probably once the news broke about Jon Jones failed USADA test everyone had Demetrious Johnson a top of their pound for pound list. The real debate is who is in the two through five slots of the pound for pound. There are many different ways you could lean depending on each individual win, but I will give ya my pound for pound top five. (Note: I did not include Jon Jones because of his current status, GSP because he has not actually returned yet, and it was only males)

Demetrious Johnson

DJ Final

There is absolutely no denying that Demetrious Johnson is the pound for pound king. The strength of his wins have not been as strong as some of the rest of this list, but his continued title reign has been remarkable. He has not only had 11 straight title defenses (most in UFC history) but has also been utterly dominant in most of those 11 title defenses. The scary part, he only seems to get better and better everytime in the octagon.

Daniel Cormier

DC Final

With only one loss in his career and to probably the most talented gifted athlete to ever grace the octagon, as well as all the speculation that surrounds Jon’s career right now, I have Daniel Cormier #2 on my pound for pound list. Cormier has two wins over Anthony Johnson and wins over Alexander Gustafsson, Anderson Silva, Dan Henderson, Roy Nelson, Frank Mir, and Josh Barnett. With a Light Heavyweight title, currently being the Light Heavyweight champ and winning a Strikeforce Heavyweight title Cormier sits at #2 on my pound for pound list.

Conor McGregor

Double Champ final

Sometimes his flashy bravo persona happens to overshadow his fighting skills, but make no mistake about it McGregor is amongst the best in UFC in all weight divisions. McGregor has wins over Max Holloway early in his career, Dustin Poirer, Chad Mendes, Jose Aldo, and Eddie Alvarez. His only loss in the UFC is against Nate Diaz in which he was able to avenge five months later. He was also able to become the first fighter in UFC history to hold two belts simultaneously. Conor has brought new eyes to the sport and has done things that no one could have predicted. I believe if the title is to be unified a win over Tony Ferguson could propel him over Daniel Cormier on my pound for pound list.

Stipe Miocic

Stipe Final

In Stipe’s career, he has beaten some of the best heavyweights of all time. Stipe may come as a surprise to some here at #4, but his wins speak for themselves. Miocic has first-round knockouts over Fabricio Werdum, Andrei Arlovski, and Alistair Overeem. His only blemishes are two losses, one of them to Stefan Struve early in his career, and the other to Junior Dos Santos, in which he just got redemption via first round KO/TKO back in May 2017. Another huge fight will be next for Stipe whether it is the Francis Ngannou vs Alistair Overeem winner or even a Cain Velasquez title fight that could help propel him even higher on this list.

Max Holloway

Max Holloway Final

The featherweight champion of the world Max Holloway sits at #5 on my pound for pound list. On his way to the top of the featherweight division, Holloway is currently riding an 11 fight winning streak. Running a rampage through the featherweight division Holloway has defeated Cole Miller, Cub Swanson, Charles Oliveira, Jeremy Stephens, Ricardo Lamas, Anthony Pettis, and Jose Aldo. Holloway has defeated all of the title contenders in this division besides Frankie Edgar; he will get the chance to do that come December. The scary part about Holloway is that he is just entering the prime of his career as he turns 26 right before his fight with Edgar. The potential for Holloway’s career is through the roof as I would expect him to be a mainstay on these pound for pound lists for years to come.

Honorable Mention: Cody Garbrandt, Tony Ferguson, Tyron Woodley

 

 

 

 

Aftermath of UFC 216

As fight fans almost immediately after an event we wonder what is next for everyone involved in last nights contests. Due to obvious variables in the fight game, it is often unpredictable on where each fighter will go next in their career. Here we will take a look at the notable names and who they will fight next!

Fabricio Werdum

werdum

Fabricio Werdum is in a tough spot in the heavyweight division. The #2 ranked heavyweight was scheduled to fight Derrick Lewis, but Lewis was forced to pull out due to continued back issues. Walt Harris stepped up to the plate to take on Werdum and Werdum was able to secure a takedown early in the first round and ended up securing the submission to end it in round one. After the fight, Werdum called for a rematch with heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic. I have to say I personally do not think this is a fight he will get because Francis Ngannou is facing Alistair Overeem come UFC 218 in Detroit. With Overeem holding a very recent win over Werdum I believe the UFC is waiting to see what happens in Detroit and the winner of that fight will get the next crack at UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic. Looking at the rankings there is really not too many fights for Werdum, which leads me to believe he will end up taking on up and coming heavyweight Alexander Volkov.

Prediction: Fabricio Werdum vs Alexander Volkov

Ray Borg

Ray-Borg

The “Tazmexican Devil” put up a valiant effort against arguably the pound for pound best to ever fight Demetrious Johnson. Ultimately, Borg lost via an incredible submission from Demetrious in the fifth round. Looking at the landscape of the flyweight division currently the fighters one above (Henry Cejudo) and one below (Sergio Pettis) Borg in the rankings are scheduled to fight each other. With Joseph Benavidez, who is currently ranked #1 contender in the Flyweight division, being sidelined by injury, I expect Borg to take on Wilson Reis next.

Prediction: Ray Borg vs Wilson Reis

Demetrious Johnson

demetrious-johnson

First things first hats off to Demetrious who accomplished something we will most likely never see again in the UFC. Regardless of the flyweight division being considered one of the thinner weight classes in the UFC, his 11 straight title defenses are truly remarkable. Many people, me included would love to see Demetrious go up and contend for the Bantamweight Title after Cody Garbrandt and TJ Dillashaw’s showdown in Madison Square Garden. Ultimately, I believe that Demetrious will continue to build on the record that he has already set in the flyweight division and take on the winner of Henry Cejudo vs Sergio Pettis.

Prediction: Demetrious Johnson vs Henry Cejudo/Sergio Pettis winner

Kevin Lee

kevin lee

Despite the loss, I personally thought that the first round against Tony Ferguson showed the true talent this young man has. At only 25 years of age, you can see that plenty of growth is there for Kevin Lee. After the fight, Lee had mentioned how the weight cut had taken a lot out of him in addition to a staph infection that he had been dealing for this fight week. Lee had hinted at possibly making the move up to welterweight but was really pushing for the UFC to adopt the 165-pound weight class and to move welterweight to 175 pounds. This was something that was put in the California State Athletic Commissions ten-point plan back in May, but UFC president Dana White has been reluctant to the idea of adopting the new weight class. Despite all this, I think after taking some much needed time off as Lee has fought four times in the last 11 months I believe Lee will return to the lightweight division. With Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje currently being booked for December, Nate Diaz holding out until he gets his trilogy fight with Conor McGregor, and the unknown status of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s health, I feel Lee will fight #4 ranked Edson Barboza come spring of 2018.

Prediction: Kevin Lee vs Edson Barboza

Tony Ferguson

tony-ferguson-696x495

Last but definitely not least, is the new Interim Lightweight champ, Tony Ferguson. Ferguson now on a 10 fight win streak after his victory over Kevin Lee is now next in line to challenge for the Lightweight title against Conor McGregor. I know there is the threat that McGregor could always look for the “money fight” with a Nate Diaz trilogy, but I feel Conor is finally feeling the heat to, in the words of Ferguson, “defend or vacate”.  Throughout Conor’s career, he has always seemed to give the fans the fight that they wanted next. After UFC 216, I believe the fans are really starting to sway towards wanting him and Tony Ferguson to scrap next. Also, I do not think the want for a trilogy with Diaz goes away even with a loss against Ferguson. Knowing the amazing lead up to the last two fights between Diaz and McGregor, the third fight between them could happen at any time and still do great business. No one in the lightweight division is more deserving of, in Conor’s words “red panty night” more than Ferguson. Ferguson is on a four-year climb through the lightweight division in which he has gone through some of the best the division has to offer. Tony Ferguson vs Conor McGregor to unify the belts has to happen and I believe it will.

Prediction: Tony Ferguson vs Conor McGregor

UFC 216: Is Lee the next UFC Superstar

The main story going into UFC 216 has to be the main event Interim Lightweight title bout between Kevin Lee and Tony Ferguson. Despite Demetrious Johnson attempting to break the record for most consecutive title defenses tonight against Ray Borg the trash talking of the lightweights has stole the attention of everyone at home. The two Grand Valley State University wrestlers have had an ongoing beef with each other stemming from an interview done after Kevin Lee defeated Michael Chiesa.

Since then there have been multiple confrontations between both fighters in the lead up to UFC 216. After a roller coaster of a ride during the weigh-ins yesterday both guys are hours away from scrapping it out in the main event.

Many people have went on record saying Lee is biting off more than he can chew with proven lightweight Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson who is has ran through just about the whole entire lightweight division. Ferguson has rattled off nine straight wins in the lightweight division including defeating former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos and top 5 contender Edson Barbosa on his climb up the division.

The implications of this fight are huge! Many would call it possibly the lottery ticket to an eventual massive fight with current Lightweight champion Conor McGregor. In his recent press conference  “An Evening with The Notorious Conor McGregor” Conor mentioned how he was waiting to see what happened in tonights UFC 216 main event before making a decision on what is next in his career. With a win for either guy it could put them in the limelight that comes with a Conor McGregor fight.

Think deeper though when has fighting Tony Ferguson ever really been a discussion for the next possible fight for Conor. Ever since Conor captured the Lightweight title at UFC 205 against Eddie Alvarez, Tony Ferguson has been one of the top guys in the lightweight division. Does Conor see the possible drawing power or flashy stardom that Kevin Lee brings to the table? A dramatic win for either guy could cement their case for a fight with Conor McGregor come early 2018, but only time will tell.