UFC 232 In Review: The Outer Limits
By: Jesse Donathan
They say where there is smoke, there is fire. The oddities surrounding former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones’s UFC 232 to rematch against Alexander Gustafsson has left me with the distinct feeling we have entered The Twilight Zone. If money is the root of all evil, then the absolutely bizarre circumstances leading up to the UFC 232 rematch between Jones and Gustafsson must mean the devil is laughing all the way to the bank. While the circus like exhibition didn’t just start in the lead up to UFC 232, but it has certainly manifested itself on full display for the public at large to observe and revel in its glorious insanity.
Searching for a good place to start, we look no further than Bad Guy Inc. CEO, former UFC middleweight title contender Chael Sonnen’s September 5, 2018 YouTube podcast excerpt titled, “Tainted Supplements, USUDA, Jon Jones and Madison Square Garden” where Sonnen elaborates on his personal experience in violating these same rules Jon Jones is accused of and his opinion on Jon Jones’s ultimate fate under the regulatory body’s disciplinary guidelines.
To tie this back in with Jon Jones, if he had a tainted supplement, they would be able within precedent to allow him to fight earlier than the two-year ban which would bring you which would be the four would be the minimum ban for a repeat offender which would bring you the summer of 2019. I don’t know of any other way that they could possibly find a way around it. I just don’t know. I will be learning something when and if they do it and I am predicting they will do it.
According to a September 20, 2018 cbssports.com article by Jake Crosby titled, “Jon Jones receives retroactive 15-month USADA suspension, eligible for UFC return in 2018” Jones was ultimately cleared to compete after it was ruled his positive test was the result of a tainted substance through no fault of his own.
The arbitrator found that Jones never intentionally or knowingly took steroids, and the result of the positive test was the result of a contaminated substance,” White said. “The science completely supports that finding. The science doesn’t lie, so I look forward to getting him back early next year.
Bloodyelbow.com mixed martial arts journalist Mookie Alexander remarked of the sentence, “absolute madness that this case has taken such a wacky turn,” in his September 19, 2018 piece titled, “Jon Jones gets 15-month USADA ban for Turinabol, eligible to return as early as UFC 230.” While getting his Jheri curls trimmed up down at the barbershop, “The Gangster from West Linn” Chael Sonnen remarked that he found the entire episode surrounding Jones’s sentence confusing according to his September 28, 2018 video “Was Jon Jones actually found innocent?”
There’s a three-strike rule with USADA and Jon already had a strike so this will be strike two. If he was in fact found innocent then it means he does not have a strike. And nowhere in that do I interpret that he was found innocent, but he used that word and it was a very confusing and surprising deliberation to start with.
Sonnen would later go on to say via YouTube on September 28, 2018 in his podcast video excerpt titled “Did Jones receive a reduced sentence then refuse to fight at MSG?” that Jones’s reduced sentence was just in time for the UFC’s main event at the Madison Square Garden card against Alexander Gustafsson but Jones refused the fight. They were trying to rush Jones right in against a very serious opponent in Gustafsson and the Jones camp was having no part of it.
They tried to make Gustafsson vs Jones. They tried to do that fight. Jon Jones got cleared, everybody went through the hoops, everybody did everything that they were supposed to do. Jon Jones didn’t want to do the fight that fast. Jon Jones did not want to go in and do the fight that fast.
Fast forward to UFC 232, Jones was finally set to rematch Alexander Gustafsson after leaving the UFC holding the ball at UFC 230 at Madison Square Gardens. This after receiving a reduced sentence after violating USADA anti-doping rules and then the unthinkable happened, again. According to a Washington Post article by Des Bieler titled, “UFC 232 hastily moved to Los Angeles after a Jon Jones drug test gets flagged in Nevada” Jon Jones has once again tested positive for the steroid Turinabol” and utter chaos ensued as a result. The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) refused to license Jones and the entire event had to be relocated to an area just outside of Los Angeles, California where Jones could be licensed by the California State Athletic Commission despite the NSAC’s better judgement.
The catch is that Jones won’t be able to compete in Nevada, where UFC 232 was set to take place on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Instead, the entire event — comprising 13 fights in all, including a titanic battle between Cris Cyborg and Amanda Nunes — will be hastily moved to the Los Angeles-area Forum.
As if things couldn’t get any weirder, news breaks that referee Herb Dean has suffered an unspecified injury and is out of the UFC 232 circus act. According to Sherdog.com’s Tristen Critchfield’s December 26, 2018 article, “Mike Beltran Replaces Injured Herb Dean to Referee UFC 232 Main Event” that Dean, the NSAC’s originally assigned referee has went down and is out for the count.
According to a report from MMAFighting.com, Mike Beltran will replace Herb Dean as the official for the light heavyweight championship clash between Jones and Alexander Gustafsson. Dean, who was appointed by the Nevada Athletic Commission, suffered an injury and will not be able to work on Saturday night at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif. UFC 232 was moved from Las Vegas to California when the NAC declined to license Jones.
Just when you think things couldn’t get any more bizarre, enter the UFC press conference leading up to the December 29 fight where the side show between the UFC and the MMA press corps was on full display. According to a December 27, 2018 bloodyelbow.com article written by Tim Burke titled, “UFC 232: Jon Jones rips female reporter for asking about positive tests: ‘Better journalism, you suck’” we find the bizarre nature surrounding UFC 232 simply knows no end.
When Izabelle Kostic of Swedish MMA outlet Kimura.se asked “How come this is the third time we’re actually taking focus from the fighters and the fights and talking about what you have in your body? Whether it’s a picogram or a pictogram, why have you tested now positive?”, Jones brushed it off and just said “next question” with a smile.
While watching the press conference video from the safety of my computer, if I didn’t know any better, I would have thought there were professional agent provocateurs mingled amongst the crowd whose job it was to heckle and intimidate members of the press corps who may have been bold enough to ask legitimate questions concerning the completely bizarre events in the lead up to UFC 232. Swiss journalist Izabelle Kostic unfortunately received a first-hand lesson in how big-league sports politics are practiced and the extent in which the sports entertainment industry will go to deflect criticism and attempt to turn the tables on those questioning the perception of impropriety.
“Jones closed it out by saying “Better journalism, you suck,” writes Burke of the Swiss journalist Kostic’s experiences at the UFC 232 press conference with Jon Jones as Dana White lead the circus in undermining the veracity of the questions and the seriousness of the situation from the podium. Interestingly, news broke on December 27, 2018 that, “In the wake of a controversial drug test prior to UFC 232 involving Jon Jones, the UFC has renewed their contract with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency,” writes Nicole Bosco in her article titled “UFC, USADA contract extended, drug tests to increase” for fansided.com.
With Jones allegedly receiving a reduced sentence under the USADA regulatory guidelines only to leave the UFC out in the cold at UFC 230 in Madison Square Garden it is fascinating to explore the UFC’s renewed contract with USADA after Jones tests positive again for residual amounts of the same substance he was previously sanctioned for. The resulting penalty little more than the NSAC’s refusal to license Jones in the state of Nevada, forcing the UFC to relocate to California just outside Los Angeles and burdening many of those who had made previous plans to attend UFC 232 in Vegas. And in a bizarre twist of fate, with a new venue change in comes a new referee change as well.
Even the appearance of impropriety should be staunchly avoided, especially when your job is to add credibility to a sport whose reputation is that of one saturated in illegal performance enhancing drug use. According to a December 28, 2018 mymmanews.com article by Mike Pendleton, the “California State Athletic Commission was not informed of Jon Jones’s test findings before the license hearing in December” in a convenient all too transparent excuse as to why a fight with millions of dollars on the line is still being allowed to continue as scheduled despite a positive test for performance enhancing drugs as the regulatory bodies apparently look on and attempt to justify and excuse it. Pendleton would go on to write, “when asked why CSAC was not informed of the findings before their December 11th hearing with Jones”, the UFC Vice President of Athlete Health and Development Jeff Novitzky replied:
Nevada knew at that time, but California didn’t. I mean, in hindsight, maybe USADA should have told CSAC. I’m definitely a proponent in as much transparency as possible. Unfortunately, how do you think of every scenario? I think in USADA’s mind, they had no obligation to let Nevada know about this at all. It wasn’t within their jurisdiction. I think out of an abundance of caution, they did it. Could they have given it to CSAC as well? I think potentially.
In a December 28, 2018 mmafighting.com article by Marc Raimondi titled, “CSAC was not given Jon Jones adverse finding information before December hearing” Raimondi followed up on Novitzky’s hindsight being 20/20, stating, “Foster confirmed with MMA Fighting on Friday that CSAC had no knowledge of the adverse findings until last week. He declined to comment further.”
Figuratively speaking, the circus has rolled into town. UFC 232 has been reduced to a side show attraction where even the regulatory bodies tasked with protecting the fighters are ridiculously inept to the point of suspicion. While this event may resemble an outer limits plot, in my opinion what it actually represents are the wheels of the machine being set in motion in order to funnel the direction of the winds into a particular path and direction. What is easily explained away by buffoonery and a genuine lack of class are in fact the shroud masking the men behind the curtain dutifully at work to set the stage for the events finale.
With Jon Jones’s immediate future in prize fighting very much in doubt, he managed to pull a rabbit out of a hat and miraculously his initial positive test for steroids in 2017 was ruled the result of a tainted supplement. With his eligibility to compete reinstated just in time for UFC 230, Jones leaves the UFC high and dry at Madison Square Garden’s forcing a last second main event fight between Daniel Cormier and Derrick Lewis after Jones declined to headline the card against Gustafsson in the rematch. To the amazement of nearly everyone, Jones once again test positive for the same steroid he was previously sanctioned for in 2017 and the UFC, USADA and even the athletic commissions themselves in two states are complicit in licensing and sanctioning a bout with a fighter who has absolutely, positively tested positive for a banned substance. Instead of a zero-tolerance policy, there appears to be room for performance enhancing drugs in the sport of mixed martial arts after all.
In keeping with UFC 232’s theme, ESPN mixed martial arts reporter Brett Okamoto described the Cat Zingano fight with Megan Anderson via twitter as an, “extremely bizarre finish.” Noting that it, “looks like Megan Anderson’s toe went into Cat Zingano’s eye in a head kick attempt and she stopped fighting. That’s not like an eye poke. Zingano turned around and stopped, fight is over. First round TKO.” UFC Hall of famer BJ Penn was made short work of by Brazilian Jiujitsu phenom Ryan Hall who caught Penn in a highlight reel Imanari style heel hook submission to seal the deal early in the first round. A passing of the guard occurred Saturday night at UFC 232 as well as bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes torched feared perennial powerhouse Cris Cyborg to capture the women’s featherweight title and become the first two division women’s champion in UFC history. The main event, to absolutely no one’s surprise saw Jon Jones convincingly out work Alexander Gustafsson in route to a third-round technical knockout victory to recapture the UFC light heavyweight title and bring to close this circus side show attraction of an event that will surely continue to smolder long after the lights go out.
A Closer Look at Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports
By: Jesse Donathan
“He tested positive again!” Those were the words I was greeted with upon logging on to twitter Sunday, December 23 and seeing the first message of the day from UFC two division champion Daniel Cormier. Unfortunately, Cormier didn’t even need to elaborate any further. Those four short words said it all. Subconsciously, we all knew who Daniel was talking about without needing any further explanation. He of course was talking about Jon “Bones” Jones. Widely considered the best fighter in the sport, according to a December 23, 2018 Jack Crosby article from cbssports.com titled, “UFC 232 moved to Los Angeles after Jon Jones drug test includes miniscule amount of banned substance” Jones has tested positive for performance enhancing drugs once again though he has not been suspended and his title fight against Alexander Gustafsson remains as previously scheduled.
An abnormality in a pre-fight drug test taken by former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has forced UFC to move Saturday’s UFC 232 pay-per-view from Las Vegas to just outside of Los Angeles. Jones’s drug test showed a trace amount of Turinabol, the banned substance that saw him suspended 15 months by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, remained in his system. The USADA referred to it as “an extremely low level,” concluding that it is a residual amount “from his prior exposure for which he was previously sanctioned.
In an espn.com article from Brett Okamato, “Jon Jones subject to drug testing from USADA, VADA” published on December 24, 2018 Okamato reports that as a result of the “atypical” anti-doping test results Jones will be enrolling into VADA testing, testing Jones had initially elected not to participate in, drawing widespread criticism before this latest flagged test result. Okamato would go on to write:
Jon Jones, as of Monday afternoon, is subject to drug testing from both the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA).
According to California State Athletic Commission executive director Andy Foster, Jones, 31, enrolled in the VADA program on Monday. As a UFC athlete, he is still enrolled in the promotion’s mandatory USADA program as well, making him the first MMA fighter to be enrolled to both programs at the same time.
Jones is no stranger to banned substances, as described above this latest positive test for miniscule amounts of Turinabol are alleged to be trace deposits from the last positive test which Jones failed over a year ago. According to a September 13, 2017 article, “Jon Jones’ B sample confirms failed drug test from UFC 214” written by the BBC, “USADA confirmed that Jones had tested positive for an anabolic steroid called Turinabol, just one day before he defeated Daniel Cormier in Anaheim to reclaim the UFC’s light-heavyweight title.
Jones has denied knowingly taking the banned substance, and requested the test of his B sample, but this has now confirmed presence of Turinabol.” This latest December 2018 “atypical” result is alleged to be from this previous 2017 offense. Mixed martial arts journalist Dave Meltzer of The Wresting Observer isn’t so sure, stating via twitter social media on December 24, 2018 that, “when the same expert says a substance can only be detected for 6 weeks in 2017 and then tells you it was detected 17 months later in 2018, that tells me the “expert” may be smart, but also may be a con.”
Originally reported by Aaron Bronsteter, UFC content editor for The Sports News (TSN) via twitter, Jones tested at 60 picograms per milliliter on December 9, 2018. Interestingly enough, according to Bronsteter Jones originally tested positive back in 2017 for the same banned substance of between 20-80 picograms per milliliter. In other words, Jones’s most recent “atypical” flagged test is within the same range of his 2017 failed urinalysis for which he was originally sanctioned. Yet, Jones’s fight with Gustaffson remains as previously scheduled despite the NSAC’s refusal to license Jones. Rather questionably, the California State Athletic Commission is signing off on this fight when the Nevada State Athletic Commission would not, as the UFC bends over backwards to make sure the fight continues as scheduled.
According to a NCBI.gov article titled, “The pharmacokinetics of Oral-Turinabol in humans” originally published in September of 1991 by Schumann, W. oral-Turinabol has a terminal half-life of 16 hours. For those who may not be familiar with the term half-life, it is defined by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary as, “the time required for half the amount of a substance (such as a drug, radioactive tracer, or pesticide) in or introduced into a living system or ecosystem to be eliminated or disintegrated by natural processes.” Note, it’s been over a year since Jones’s original positive test.
In a July 7, 2016 Associated Press report at the nydailynews titled, “Tearful Jon Jones denies taking PEDs after positive test blows up UFC 200’s main event” Jones was reportedly adamant that, “he (had) no idea why his June 16 test would yield a violation after he passed seven other doping tests this year.” It was later revealed that Jones had tested positive for the anti-estrogen blocker clomiphene and the aromatase inhibitor Letrozole according to Marc Raimondi of mmafighting.com in his July 23, 2016 article titled, “Brock Lesnar tested positive for anti-estrogen; Lesnar, Jon Jones won’t face UFC fine.”
In a January 8, 2015 Ariel Helwani article for mmafighting.com, “Nevada Athletic Commission head: Jon Jones’ testosterone clean prior to UFC 182; carbon isotope ratio test conducted” we find some invaluable information in understanding the parallel world of doping in combat sports. In explaining testosterone to the reader, Helwani heads to WebMD to define testosterone as “the “male” hormone accounting for strength and endurance.” The WebMD definition goes on to state “for every molecule of testosterone produced by the body, another molecule of a substance called epitestosterone, which does not enhance performance, is made.” In examining some of the criteria set forth by regulatory bodies in mixed martial arts, the Helwani article would go on to explain that:
In a normal male body, the ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone, the T/E ratio, is about 1:1. But variation can occur in individuals, and the World Anti-Doping Code has deemed 4:1 as the threshold for a positive test.”
Note: Nevada’s threshold is 6:1.
This is some information worth sitting on and examining closer, because these ratios are incredible in comparison to the data we previously broke down barney style. Though I admittedly only had a C average when I graduated with a Bro-Science degree in English, the fact “the World Anti-Doping Code has deemed 4:1 as the threshold for a positive test,” seems to me to be a piece of information too incredible to skip over. There is nothing to see here people… move along!
If 1:1 is our baseline for normal, athletes could potentially have a 3:1 ratio of testosterone molecules made to every molecule of epitestosterone and still be well within the acceptable range of the World Anti-Doping Code and therefor passing the test with flying colors. That is literally three times what is considered normal and the scary part is that only a 4:1 ratio is considered a positive test. Understanding this information alone puts the performance enhancing drug question in combat sports in an entirely different light. If you are normal male athlete with a 1:1 T/E ratio you may think twice about stepping in there with another normal athlete who has a T/E ratio of 3:1 or even greater. Suddenly, the question of performance enhancing drugs in sports moves from the lens and perspective of cheating to an entirely new premise of leveling out the playing field.
According to Dr. Johnny Benjamin of mmajunkie.com, a noted medical combat-sports specialist, in his April 5, 2012 article titled, “Medical Beat: What are T:E ratios? And why do cut off limits vary?” ethnicity and other variables can play a role in T:E ratios.
Most men have a ratio of T to E of 1:1, which means normal men have equal amounts of T and E in their blood. There is some normal ethnic and time of day variation in the normal T/E ratio (as low as 0.7:1 and as high as 1.3:1).
Statistics reveal that a ratio of up to 3.7:1 will capture 95 percent of all normal men, and a ratio of up to 5:1 will capture greater than 99 percent of all men. That’s why the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) allows up to 4:1 (so its test is at least 95 percent accurate) and the Nevada State Athletic Commission, the NCAA and some others allow up to 6:1 (for 99 percent accuracy).
Flashing back to Helwani’s January 2015 article, he would go on write about Jon Jones’s flagged urinalysis sample:
So on Dec. 4, Jones’ T/E ratios came up as .29 and .35. Jones actually took two drug tests that day because, according to Nevada Athletic Commission executive director Bob Bennett, his first urine sample was “watery.” On Dec. 18, his T/E ratio came up as .19. Clearly, all three ratios were below that of the average male.
When our baseline is a 1:1 ratio, punching that information into the calculator still returns a result of one when you attempt to divide 1 by itself. Notice where Jon Jones’s decimal point is, we aren’t talking about 2.9 here. We are talking about 0.29, followed by 0.35 and incredibly on December 18 he tested out at 0.19. Jones was on his way to ruling the women’s UFC light heavyweight division until his dying day with those kinds of results. Helwani later writes, “by contrast, Daniel Cormier, Jones’ opponent at UFC 182, had a T/E ratio of .4 on Dec. 2 and .48 on Dec. 17. Cormier passed both those tests.” Even Daniel Cormier’s numbers are well below the 1:1 ratio considered as the baseline for normal testosterone to epitestosterone molecule production according to the WebMD synopsis originally provided by Helwani. While Jones’s test was the more suspicious between the two, there is no question Cormier is testing well below the normal threshold by regulatory body standards.
The World Anti-Doping code provides leeway up to a 4:1 ratio, the Nevada State Athletic Commission 6:1 according to Helwani and both Jones and Cormier are testing out with their decimal points on the wrong side of the calculations. Instead of testing for a high testosterone to low ratio epitestosterone, their decimal points are on the wrong side of the dotted line. In my opinion, both athletes have curiously low T/E ratios, however with Jones being the more questionable between the two he seemed to get the vast majority of negative publicity surrounding the testing results. In a seemingly real-life Jedi Mind trick, Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Bob Bennet was quoted by Helwani as stating that, “there’s no problem with Daniel, trust me.”
Putting things into perspective here, according to an April 5, 2012 article by Jesse Holland of mmamania.com titled, “Report: Alistair Overeem T/E ratio comes back a whopping 14:1 following failed drug test” manipulating an athlete’s testosterone to epitestosterone ratio is a known performance enhancement technique in competitive sports and one which is exploited by athletes in combat sports.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight number one contender Alistair Overeem, who flunked a surprise drug test in advance of his UFC 146 title fight opposite Junior dos Santos on May 26 in Las Vegas, has returned a staggering testosterone-to-epitestosterone (T/E) ratio of 14:1 in his failed urine test, according to Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) Executive Director Keith Kizer.
Holland would go to write, “by comparison, Chael Sonnen’s T/E ratio following his failed urine test in the wake of his middleweight title fight in the UFC 117 main event back in October 2010, was 16.9:1.” Let that sink in for a second, 16.9 molecules of testosterone per one molecule of epitestosterone. In a universe where 1:1 is considered the baseline normal ratio, that’s simply unfathomable. Those are the kinds of numbers that would make Lance Armstrong blush. And according to Nevada State Athletic Director Bob Bennett Daniel Cormier competing at .40:1 and .48:1 isn’t a problem? “These are not the droids you’re looking for,” echo’s Obi Wan Kenobi in a galaxy, far, far away.
Yet, Jon Jones’s .29:1 and .35:1 ratio is a problem? With a third test ordered for Jon Jones and Jones only on December 18th with an astonishingly low .19:1 T/E ratio result obviously raising red flags on top of red flags. These are the T/E ratios I would expect from an adolescent child, yet they are the results of performance enhancing drug tests for two of the world’s leading mixed martial arts champions?
Astonishingly, in a July 1997 report by Werner W. Franke and Brigette Berondonk, “Hormonal doping and androgenization of athletes: a secret program of the German Democratic Republic government” published at Clinical Chemistry we find a wonderfully insightful and behind the scenes look at the world of pharmaceutical based athletic performance enhancing drug use. Describing the East German Democratic Republics (GDR) state sponsored doping program, Franke and Berondonk wrote of one of the GDR symposium’s goals to evade increased scrutiny by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by administering, “testosterone as well as dihydrotestosterone by nasal spray, especially in those events in which the psychotropic effects of testosterone, such as increased aggressiveness, are considered important, as well as to evade the doping tests.”
In a fascinating and insightful look at the corruption within the regulatory bodies, Werner and Berondonk describe how situations deemed embarrassing or too damaging for some nations, regulatory bodies, promotions or athletes were simply covered up.
Finally, however, even when an athlete of the GDR, or another socialist country, was tested at a risky moment, i.e., when her or his urine was expected to still contain metabolites of synthetic steroids or an above-normal T:E ratio, there was no reason to panic. From the written records, it appears that, usually, one of the members of the international doping control committee was able to clear away the sample. For example, the Stasi reports from Höppner, who served many years on control committees, describe when and how he covered up certain drug-positive cases and arranged falsely negative findings, often after consultation with a ZK member; if worst came to worst, he acted directly by carrying out a urine exchange.
It’s unreal that Jon Jones has tested positive, again, yet reportedly for residual amounts from a previously failed test which he has already been sanctioned for. Contributing to the madness is the fact Jones is reportedly unable to be sanctioned by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, so the UFC has moved the entire show to just outside Los Angeles, California where Jones can be sanctioned by the California State Athletic Commission. The logistics involved for this kind of move, the money lost, and tremendous burden put on nearly everyone who had planned on attending the event in Las Vegas, with flights and hotels booked etc. is simply mind blowing.
There is plenty of blame to go around here. While Jones is the obvious target, how is it just days before the fight with Gustafsson this trace amount of Turinabol was only now discovered? If anything, this latest embarrassment for Jones only shines the light on the ineptitude of regulatory bodies and their administrative policies which ultimately lead to public relations nightmares just like this latest positive test by Jones for a performance enhancing drug he had been previously sanctioned on over a year ago now. Its time for additional oversight and reform in the combat sports entertainment industry.
Is This A Real Fight Or Just A Money Grab?
By: Hans Themistode
For the 5,000th time Floyd Mayweather (50-0, 27 KOs) will once again come out of retirement to step back in to the world of combat. This time however will be a bit different as Floyd will be taking on kickboxing sensation Tenshin Nasukawa in a three round exhibition matchup on New Years Eve in Japan.
Are we supposed to believe this is a true fight like Floyd’s 49 victories? Or is it more along the lines of his 50th?
You remember the 50th fight of Floyd’s career don’t you?
It was against none other than UFC star fighter Conor McGregor. The matchup was built up to be a real fight and the toughest of his career. Fans all around the world soaked it in. After all Floyd was at the time 40 years of age and two years removed from his last professional fight. Conor on the other hand was not only much younger but he was also the significantly bigger man as well.
With that being said, those that knew boxing understood that Connor had no chance of winning that bout.
Floyd proceeded to do what many knew he would do. Punish Connor. Sure there were a few tough moments for Floyd but he still managed to bully and ultimately stop Connor in the 10th round. There was no doubt as to who would win that matchup.
Does his contest against Tenshin Nasukawa fall into the category of more farce than fight? Not quite.
So am I saying that this will be more along the lines of Floyd’s first 49 fights of his career? His resume is one of the very best ever. He has defeated a who’s who of all-time great boxers such as Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto to name a few. Should you place this bout amongst those?
No. This contest won’t be in the same stratosphere as those contest were.
So where does that leave us?
It seems as though we are right in the middle.
To many this is viewed as a money grab and rightfully so. It is after all a three round exhibition match that win, lose or draw won’t count on either mans record.
Now I really know what you’re thinking. This is absolutely a money grab right? Listen, with Floyd everything boils down to money. However, his opponent Tenshin Nasukawa is a real fighter. By the age of 18 he had already accumulated a kickboxing record of 99-5. His kickboxing record is 26-0. He has also managed to win many titles along the way. The word phenom is thrown around loosely but that would best describe Tenshin Nasukawa.
The details of exactly how much Floyd is expected to pocket from this contest remains a mystery. The money man has stated on numerous occasions over the years that it would take a nine figure payday to get him to fight again so we can assume that he will possibly receive about the same for this bout.
So once again is this a money grab? Yes and no?
For Floyd “Money” Mayweather it absolutely is. He lives a lavish lifestyle. Owns numerous expensive properties and some of the most exotic cars you can think of. With that being said, that kind of lifestyle is a hard one to keep up with. If Floyd viewed this as something more than just a cash grab then he wouldn’t care if this fight showed up on his record. It is perceived as an easy win, right?
The one thing Floyd cares about more than money is that shiny 0 in his loss column. To risk that against a complete unknown is something he will never place a price tag on. Knowing that record won’t be affected regardless of the outcome is a win-win situation for Floyd.
Who cares what happens.
Tenshin Nasukawa cares.
This is the biggest contest of his career and he will be looking to put on an absolute show. A win for him (albeit not counting record wise) will change his life forever. Floyd will still walk around with a spotless record but the taste of defeat will still be there.
For one man this is just an easy way to make nine figures once again. For the other it is his chance to make history.
Khabib vs. McGregor in Boxing?
By: Michael Kane
Conor McGregor fought UFC Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in October, and was convincingly defeated. McGregor would like a rematch and so it seems would Khabib Nurmagomedov’s father.
Only next time in a boxing ring.
After the Dagestani’s win, he called out Floyd Mayweather, Mayweather said the fight may happen and that he could make more money fighting Khabib than he did when he beat McGregor in the 10th round last year.
The rumours on this potential match up have gone quiet and now it seems Khabib and his team still fancy a boxing bout against his old foe, McGregor.
Whether this would hold much appeal to boxing aficionados around the world is debatable however, could it launch the much talked about entrance to the boxing world of Zuffa Boxing?
Speaking to Russian newspaper, Izvestia, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov said, “As for the fight against Conor under boxing rules, this is a fight we are interested in. Khabib showed that he is able to beat the best strikers of mixed martial arts.
“He said this before, but few believed it. However, after strong victories over Michael Johnson, Edson Barboza and Conor, people begin to believe.”
Nurmagomedov knocked McGregor to the canvas in the second round of their bout at UFC 229 and may have taken some confidence that He could out strike the Irishman.
“Nurmagomedov is able to do it in the boxing ring. Khabib has all the skills to win by the rules of boxing. One of the key skills can be called endurance.
“I remember his five round fight with (Al) Iaquinta, in which Khabib showed his willingness to fight in absolutely any area, using everything from a left jab to control on the ground. I want to note that the fight against Iaquinta was of great importance to us, there was a belt at stake and it was important to keep the bout calm and take the win. Which we did!”
Combatant in Chief: The Story of Donald Trump and Combat Sports Debuts on UFC Fight Pass on Wednesday, November 14th
UFC®, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, continues its celebration of the company’s silver anniversary with the ongoing release of a 25-part documentary series entitled UFC 25 Years in Short. The compilation of short films represents 25 captivating UFC stories, one for each year of the promotion’s existence, that examine UFC’s amazing evolution, fascinating characters, and lasting influence. UFC 25 Years in Short streams on UFC FIGHT PASS®, the promotion’s digital subscription streaming service.
“COMBATANT IN CHIEF: The Story of Donald Trump and Combat Sports”
When Donald Trump opened his Atlantic City casino to the struggling UFC, it was the start of an unlikely friendship between the current POTUS and UFC president Dana White.
Directed by Adam Condal and Michael Hayden.
Premiere Date: Wednesday, November 14 at 12 a.m. PT / 3 a.m. ET
The history of UFC and President Donald Trump are intertwined, as President Trump played a pivotal role in legitimizing UFC and the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. Trump Taj Mahal hosted UFC 30 in Atlantic City in February 2001, making it the first UFC event held by new owners Zuffa, LLC, which purchased the promotion in January that year. UFC 30 was also the first state-sanctioned UFC event held in New Jersey. UFC returned to Trump Taj Mahal in May 2001 with UFC 31, the first UFC event held under the new Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, which the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board had adopted a month earlier.
Crisis Aborted for Floyd Mayweather
By: Kirk Jackson
It appears the highly publicized bout between Floyd Mayweather and Tenshin Nasukawa will not manifest after all.
Mayweather shocked the world earlier this week, revealing he signed with Japanese mixed martial arts promotions company RIZIN Fighting Federation, to fight 20-year-old Japanese kick boxer Tenshin Nasukawa on New Year’s Eve in Japan.
But the fight, Mayweather now claims, is void. He has called it off. In an Instagram statement now deleted, after he had left Japan and flown back to the US, Mayweather claimed he had been duped and that the fight was meant to be an exhibition for “a small group of wealthy spectators.”
Obviously there’s much to dissect and digest as there is a bit of confusion as to the original terms and conditions of the proposed bout, and what resulted in cancellation.
Fortunately for us terms of the contract leaked out.
The original rules of combat were never released to the public – being as it seemed they weren’t agreed to upon completion of the contract, or at the very least there was a lack of transparency from one side of the negotiating table. This lack of transparency was hinted on Mayweather’s Instagram page.
“Ultimately, I was asked to participate in a 9 minute exhibition of 3 rounds with an opponent selected by the ‘Rizen Fighting Federation,” Mayweather’s Instagram stated.
“What I was originally informed of by Brent Johnson of ‘One Entertainment’ was that this was to be an exhibition put on for a small group of wealthy spectators for a very large fee. This exhibition was previously arranged as a ‘Special Bout’ purely for entertainment purposes with no intentions of being represented as an official fight card nor televised worldwide.”
According to Mayweather, the press conference he and Nasukawa held earlier in the week to discuss the fight caught him and his team off-guard because of the details discussed. Mayweather claims they did not speak up at the press conference because they didn’t want to create a disturbance.
For his part Mayweather has since apologized to his fans again via Instagram.
“I can assure you that I too was completely blindsided by the arrangements that were being made without my consent nor approval. For the sake of the several fans and attendees that flew in from all parts of the world to attend this past press conference, I was hesitant to create a huge disturbance by combating what was being said and for that I am truly sorry.”
Now that the dust settled, even though this is an opportunity lost, it’s also an opportunity gained. In spite of the criticism from fellow boxing promoters, jealous mixed martial arts fighters, writers and even some boxers, this is a win for Mayweather and illustrates his command in the combat world.
Again for a moment in time, he illustrates the ability to command attention and command the big bucks in case there were those doubting.
He is doing the things that Conor McGregor and Canelo Alvarez want to do. He sets trends and breaks ground, but because of who he is, he doesn’t warrant the positive attention that comes with it.
Any publicity negative or positive is still publicity and keeps your name in the news cycle. People in the United States and worldwide now know of Nasukawa and RIZIN.
Mayweather has the attention he seeks.
Not to count another person’s pockets, as it’s uncertain if Mayweather needs the money, but this is more so a testament to the attention and potential amount of money that can be earned. The cherry on top is if he can make this amount of money with the minimal amount of risk.
Which is something Mayweather has been accused from by his critics regardless in spite of the weight classes climbed, the challenges he overcame, the twenty-plus world champions and multiple Hall of Famers he defeated.
But let this be a lesson learned to fully read through the terms and conditions of a contract before signing off and agreeing.
As mentioned earlier, all eyes again re on Mayweather, so what’s next?
Who is Tenshin Nasukawa, Floyd Mayweather’s Next Opponent?
By: Oliver McManus
Floyd Mayweather is set to return to the ring on December 31st, in Tokyo, against an MMA superstar… no, it’s not Khabib Nurmagomedov but rather Tenshin Nasukawa – the 20 year old Japanese kickboxer.
The question on many fight fans lips is “just who is Tenshin Nasukawa?” and it’s a very valid point because few outside of Japan will have heard of the diminutive figure – standing 5ft5in – but let’s try and establish some facts about him.
photo Credit: Nobuyuki Sakakibara Twitter Account
A two weight champion within RISE, Nasukawa has held belts at flyweight and featherweight with that particular organisation and was the 2017 RIZIN kickboxing featherweight champion so he has pedigree.
Enrolled by his father into a karate class aged five, Nasukawa soon turned his attention to kickboxing – where he honed a natural aggression and power. Having dedicated himself to the sport, the youngster accrued 111 amateur contests with a mere five losses before turning professional.
That power I talked about is evidenced by his 22 knockouts as a professional with a particularly pleasing flying knee against Yamato Fujita – funnily enough on New Years Eve last year – but he’s well-rounded enough to be able to finish opponents via punches and submissions.
Of course we don’t know the rule set or the weight category being stipulated for December 31st but if, as many believe, it will be a cross-over of both MMA and boxing then you’d expect this to play into the favour of Nasukawa who, despite his age, is one of the most experienced and mature fighters around.
He is no stranger to mixing it with professional boxers, nor with coming out on top, owing to a contest he had in February last year with, former IBF champion, Amnat Ruenroeng. As part of KNOCK OUT Vol. 1, Nasukawa emerged victorious with a sumptuous left hook to the body in the fourth round.
Fighting is in his blood and his sister – Riri – is already making waves in the professional ranks despite being just 16 years of age. She made her debut in June, a winning start, and will next compete on November 11th, having racked up 33 fights as an amateur with a 90% win rate.
A surprise to many in the MMA / boxing community who, largely, were expecting either MayPac 2 or Mayweather-Nurmagomedov to take place, Tenshin admitted he was caught a little off guard by the offer – “It was a surprise offer but I accepted without hesitation, It’s the biggest moment in my life and I want to be the man who changes history. I’ll do that with these fists, with one punch – just watch.”
And watch we will, whether you think it’s a freak show or a miss-match you won’t be able to not watch. December 31st, Tokyo, you can feel the Tenshin Rizin.
Mayweather Out of Retirement to Fight on Rizin in Japan
By: Michael Kane
It seems Floyd Mayweather is out of retirement once more.
Mayweather (50-0) appeared in Japan last night with Japanese MMA promotion Rizin Fighting Federation. In the press conference it was announced Mayweather would face Tenshin Nasukawa, a 27-0 kickboxer and 4-0 MMA fighter.
Photo Credit: Nobuyuki Sakakibara Twitter Account
As yet it’s not known what format the fight will take place, all that was said was it would be under ‘special rules’.
Mayweather last competed last year against MMA superstar Conor McGregor, stopping McGregor in the 10th round under boxing rules. Lately Mayweather has suggested he would face UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov however Dana White, the UFC president said this would not happen under boxing rules.
The Mayweather v McGregor PPV was one of the biggest PPV events in history.
Rizin promoter Nobuyuki Sakakibara gave an explanation on the deal, “I think my shortest answer to that is the fact that now we are aligned to achieve something together and that is hitting a new challenge, taking a step forward to whatever wonderful thing that we can create together,” Sakakibara said via a Japanese translator.
Mayweather is looking forward to spending more time in Japan and also the prospect of promoting his fighters there.
“Rizin has done a remarkable job with the fighters,” Mayweather said. “I look forward to giving you guys entertainment come December 31, but my relationship with Rizin, it doesn’t stop just here. I look forward to taking this worldwide.”
Nasukawa, is looking forward to facing the undefeated boxer.
“I would probably say that this is my biggest event in life, so far,” Nasukawa said, via a Japanese translator. “And I’m very happy that this is going to materialize.”
“Nobody has defeated my opponent in the past,” he continued, referring to Mayweather’s 50-0 pro boxing record. “And I would like to be the man who makes history. My punch can change the history and I will show that to you, so please stay tuned.”
The event will take place on Rizin’s New Years Eve show a big date in Japanese combat shows, since the days of Pride and K-1.
The full press conference can be watched here:
Mayweather Says He’ll Rematch McGregor : “I’m Helping Keep Combat Sports Alive!”
By: Sean Crose
Give this to Floyd Mayweather – the man knows how to keep himself in the spotlight. After it looked like his pay per view numbers might be starting to decline a while back, he finally agreed to meet Manny Pacquiao in what many observers felt was the money grab to end all money grabs. How wrong those observers were. For just over two years later, Mayweather got in the ring with the MMAs biggest star, the one man knee jerk reaction to every anti-bullying campaign known to man, Conor McGregor. Mayweather essentially made easy work of his Irish foe…only to just recently declare he would rematch Pacquiao in the near future.
Since then, Mayweather’s focus has apparently switched to Khabib Nomagomedov, the UFC star who recently came close to choking McGregor into oblivion. “Oh, we fighting!” Mayweather recently said of the Russian terror. “He called me out, so he gotta come to my world.” Naturally. One simply can’t expect a world class wrestler to wrestle. There’s simply too much money to be made leaving the cage for the ring and getting punched out by an aging boxing great. Or is there? If Khabib was only kidding when he called out Mayweather (which he did last week) this might all be nonsense.
Then again, who knows? At any rate, Mayweather is back in the news today, via TMZ, claiming he’s ready to give McGregor a rematch after fighting Khabib (one has to wonder how many beatings McGregor has left in him at this point). “After me and Khabib lock up,” he’s quoted as saying, “me and McGregor we gonna lock up again.” Mayweather, grandiose as ever, is also quoted as saying: “I’m helping keep combat sports alive!”” Perhaps Mayweather hasn’t heard of the massive 300 million plus deal former foe Canelo Alvarez has made with DAZN streaming service, or of the huge pay per view numbers such fights as Canelo-Golovkin and McGregor-Nurmogomadov have recently done. One suspects, however, that Mayweather has been kept well abreast of such news, hence the splashy headlines he’s taken to dishing out as of late.
Canelo, boxing’s new king (though many feel he lost his recent bout to Gennady Golovkin, only to be saved by the judges), is patently unimpressed with Mayweather’s latest round of media proclamations. “He wants to continue hurting boxing,” says the Mexican star of Mayweather, “by making fights that don’t make sense … and not giving boxing the credibility it deserves.” A younger, less able version of Canelo lost by decision to Mayweather in a massive 2013 bout. Now the Mexican himself wants a second chance.
“If he wants to return,” Canelo says of Mayweather, “I ask him to look my way to give a great fight to the fans.”
Khabib’s Explosion: Was it Unexpected and Justified?
By: William Holmes
“This is respect sport….This is not trash-talking sport…I don’t want people talk shit about opponents, talk shit about his father, religion. You cannot talk about religion. You cannot talk about nation. Guys, you cannot talk about this stuff.”-Khabib Nurmagomedov
The talk of the combat sporting world this weekend was the Khabib vs. Conor McGregor UFC fight, which featured Khabib picking McGregor apart before submitting him in the fourth round, then suddenly jumping out of the octagon cage and into the crowd to attack Dillon Danis, a member of McGregor’s team who was sitting cage side and allegedly taunting Khabib.
Chaos ensued afterwards and members of Khabib’s team jumped in the cage to attack McGregor. Suspensions will likely be given out, loss of purse and titles are also a possibility.
The sports world was divided. Were Khabib’s actions justified? Were his actions unexpected?
In order to attempt to understand Khabib, one first has to understand his background and where he is from, something that he was evidently trying to explain in his post fight explanation.
Khabib is from Dagestan, a Russian republic. It has been the forefront of Islamic Insurgency and ethnic tension since the 1990s. It borders Chechnya, the location of a severe conflict with Russia that often featured Chechen fighters infiltrating Dagestan to call for Jihad.
Khabib is a devout Sunni Muslim and well educated. He speaks several languages and is very proud of his culture and heritage.
Insults aimed at his religion or nation are not taken likely. I’m not arguing that Khabib is a terrorist or that he supports armed violent jihad, but pointing out that disrespect against his religion is taken very seriously.
So should we have been surprised by Khabib’s actions? Well, if you had some general knowledge about the region he is from, probably not. McGregor is notorious for his trash talking, but when he insulted Khabib he questioned the support Khabib has in his nation, mocked Khabib by offering him alcohol even though he’s a Muslim who does not drink, and called his manager a terrorist rat.
Khabib has been exposed to religious warfare and terrorism, and to lump him and his team with real terrorists was undoubtedly an insult that he could not ignore.
Khabib claims Dillon Danis hurled Muslim insults at him after the fight and that’s why he jumped over the fence, a claim Danis denies. But nobody should have been surprised that Khabib was still fired up after his fight with McGregor was over.
“I know my father’s gonna smash me when I go home because…I know he’s gonna smash me.”-Khabib Nurmagomedov
“I think that for Khabib, the most severe sanctions would be my regard. I am going to regard this severely. I warned him. For me, the most important thing is discipline. You can do whatever you want in the octagon, but beyond its barrier-this is the border separating civilians, there are children, women, bystanders.
This fight took place within the octagon. That’s the spectacle But I am categorically against fighting outsid the octagon. Outside of the octagon, you need to exist peacefully. Fight in the octagon.”
Now for the million dollar, or two million dollar question. Were his actions justified?
Pre-fight trash talk has been a part of combat sports for years. McGregor and Mayweather’s trash talk was probably more entertaining than the actual fight itself.
But even though Mayweather and McGregor insulted each other greatly leading up to the fight, they were able to be cordial in the post fight interviews.
It’s difficult to find too many situations where a fighter leaped into the crowd immediately after a fight to engage someone in the crowd.
But there has been several situations where members of a boxer’s team jumped in a cage to start a brawl, and they were usually dealt with by the commission harshly.
Roger Mayweather jumped in the ring when Floyd fought Zab Judah and was hit with a low blow and a punch behind the head. An all out melee ensued when members from both camps entered the ring and brawled. Afterwards, Yoel Judah was fined $100,000 and had his license revoked for a year. Roger Mayweather was fined $200,000 and had his license revoked for one year. Leonard Ellerbe was fined $50,000 and had his license revoked for four months. Even Zab Judah received a fine of $350,000 and had his license revoked for a year.
Another example of a brawl happening in boxing was during the riot during the first Riddick Bowe/Andrew Golota fight. The fight was stopped after Golota landed several low blows on Bowe after repeated warnings. Members of Bowe’s security team jumped in the ring and went after Golota.
Rock Newman, Bowe’s manager and promoter, was suspended for a year and fined $250,000 for the incident.
More recently, one would have to look at the fight between Jose Uzcategui and Andre Dirrell, which featured Leon Lawson Jr., the Uncle of Dirrell, sucker punch Uzcategui. Lawson was suspended by the Maryland State Athletic Commission and faced criminal charges as a result.
Of course, one of the most famous post fight brawls or sucker punches was when James Butler sucker punched Richard Grant on ESPN after he lost his fight. He was charged with assault and suspended. In fact, he served four months at Rikers Island as a result.
Were his actions, jumping into the crowd to attack bystanders, justified? Precedent by athletic commission for boxers and members of their team behaving poorly and attacking fighters after a sanctioned fight is over are usually dealt with harshly.
There really isn’t any specific precedent to determine if the actions of Khabib were justified, but it appears likely that the commission won’t find any justification for a fighter to jump into a crowd to start a wild brawl, and will also likely deal with him harshly.
Justified? Also no.
Khabib’s punishment awaits.
Chael Sonnen: “I’m the Biggest Heel this Sport Has”
By: Sean Crose
“I don’t do a whole lot of it,” Chael Sonnen said on a Tuesday conference call to promote his Belator 208 heavyweight title eliminator this weekend against Fedor Emilianenko, “just a show every here and there.” Sonnen was referring to his very active media presence as a podcaster and commentator. Even after working the wild UFC McGregor-Nurmagomedov card last weekend, Sonnen still claimed he was ready to face Fedor, a man widely regarded as the greatest heavyweight MMA combatant in history. “I’m sore and tired all the time,” Sonnen added, as proof that he’s been hard at work preparing for the Fedor match, which will go down at New York’s Nassau Coliseum.
Sonnen, one of the most highly regarded practitioners in mixed martial arts, might be best known for his famous near win against then dominant UFC star Anderson Silva years ago. Now that he’s facing another iconic brand in the 37-5-1 Fedor, the 30-15-1 Sonnen is at a point in his long career where he can put things in perspective. Of his colorful time as a top fighter, Sonnen claimed: “I think I should have more appreciation.” Still, the heavyweight is a man who looks towards the future. “As my life moves on,” he added. “I would like to create new memories.”
He’ll certainly have a chance against Fedor, a nice seeming man who nonetheless has earned a reputation as an aggressive, fearsome, and highly skilled fighter, one who is able to employ a variety of disciplines while in the octagon. “I think Fedor’s great,” Sonnen said, declaring his foe “the best heavyweight of all time” (while adding Fedor was about “to face the best fighter of all time”). Sonnen, who was long known as a classic villain, now seems reasonable in an era of Conor and Khabib. Not that he’s happy about it.
“I’m the biggest heel this sport has,” he stated on the call. Sonnen, however, has never thrown a dolly against a bus window, nor has he ever dove into the audience after a fight to attack someone, a difference between himself and recent UFC stars he seemed happy to admit to. “It’s important to be civilized,” Sonnen claimed outright. “It was a really big shock,” he said, when the inevitable matter of last weekend’s near riot in Las Vegas came up. “I don’t know why it happened.”
Yet, for the moment, Sonnen’s main priority is beating his famed opponent this Saturday. “I’ve been stunned,” he said of Fedor, “at how hard he can hit – especially with that right hand.” Not that he’s worried. Sonnen, after all, is the biggest heel around.
Or at least that’s a character he still likes to play.
UFC 229 Preview: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada will host the biggest pay per view of the year in either boxing or MMA as the UFC Lightweight Title will be up for grabs when undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov faces Conor McGregor in the main event of the evening.
McGregor is the UFC’s biggest draw, and Khabib is McGregor’s toughest test to date in MMA. This blockbuster event will be getting a lot of attention in the mainstream media leading up to Saturday.
The co-main event of the evening will be between Anthony Pettis and Tony Ferguson in the lightweight division. The winner of this bout will likely be in line for a future title shot against the winner of Khabib and McGregor.
Photo Credit: UFC Twitter Account
The undercard has some intriguing fights throughout. Ovince Saint Preux will face Dominick Reyes in the light heavyweight division, Derrick Lewis will face Alexander Volkov in the heavyweight division, Sergio Pettis will face Jussier Formiga in the flyweight division, and Michelle Waterson will face Felice Herrig in the Women’s Straweight division.
The UFC tends to show more fights on their pay per view offerings than boxing so five fights will likely be televised.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and the main event of the night.
Anthony Pettis (21-7) vs. Tony Ferguson (23-3); Lightweights
The winner of the co-main event of the night will likely move on to a future title shot.
Anthony Pettis was once considered a top rated contender, but he has struggled recently and has only gone 3-3 in his last six fights, and actually has a losing record of 3-5 in his last eight fights.
Tony Ferguson has been on a roll and is currently riding a ten fight win streak. However, his activity is of some concern as he has only fought three times since the beginning of 2016, while Pettis has fought seven times since the beginning of 2016.
Ferguson is 34 years old and three years older than Pettis. Ferguson will have a very slight two inch height advantage on Pettis.
Both fighters like to finish their fight. Of Pettis’ 21 victories, 17 have come by way of stoppage. 18 of Ferguson’s victories have come by way of stoppage.
There really is no such thing as an easy fight in the UFC. Pettis has defeated the likes of Michael Chiesa, Jim Miller, Charles Oliveira, Gilbert Melendez, and Benson Henderson. His losses were to Rafael Dos Anjos, Eddie Alvarez, Edson Barboza, Max Holloway, and Dustin Poirier.
Ferguson’s only losses were to Michael Johnson and two lesser known fighters very early in his career. He has defeated the likes of Kevin Lee, Rafael Dos Anjos, Edson Barboza, Josh Thomson, Gleison Tibau, Abel Trujillo, and Danny Castillo.
Pettis might have a slight edge in striking, but Ferguson has a strong edge in grappling. Ferguson was a NCWA Collegiate National Champion in Wrestling and was a high school state champion in Michigan. Pettis didn’t pick up on grappling until later on in his life.
Ferguson should win this fight by decision. He’s never been stopped by strikes in his career, and that’s Anthony Pettis’ best weapon.
Khabib Nurmagomedov (26-0) vs. Conor McGregor (21-3); UFC Lightweight Championship
As stated earlier, there really is no such thing as an easy fight in the UFC, and that’s why it’s very impressive for Khabib Nurmagomedov to have an undefeated record.
Khabib is a fighter with a very strong grappling background. He was born in Dagestan, Russia and has never lost. His win streak currently stands at 26 victories in a row.
Both Khabib and McGregor are 30 years old, though Khabib will have a two inch height advantage on McGregor.
Khabib has a history of injuries and trouble making weight, though he has made weight for this weekend. 16 of his 26 wins were by stoppage, with eight by TKO and eight by submission.
McGregor’s excitement as a fighter is much more than his personality. Of McGregor’s 21 victories, 18 have come by TKO/KO and one by submission. Only two of his wins were by judges decision.
Neither fighter can consider themselves to be super active since 2016. Khabib fought once in 2018, once in 2017, and twice in 2016. McGregor did not fight yet in an MMA cage in 2018 or 2017. He fought three times in 2016 and was last seen competing in a boxing ring when he was stopped by Floyd Mayweather Jr.
McGregor has beaten the likes of Eddie Alvarez, Nate Diaz, Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes, Dennis Silver, Dustin Poirier, and Max Holloway. His losses were to Joseph Duffy, Nate Diaz, and Artemij Sitenkov.
Nobody has ever beaten Khabib. He has defeated the likes of Al Iaquinta, Edson Barboza, Michael Johnson, Darrel Horcher, Rafael Dos Anjos, Thiago Tavares, and Gleison Tibau.
One of the biggest factors that jumps out at this writer is that McGregor’s three losses were all by submission and he’s facing a fighter who’s known for being a very strong grappler. Khabib has finished 8 previous opponents by submission.
If McGregor is going to win he’ll have to stop Khabib with strikes, it’s difficult to imagine him keeping the fight standing for five rounds.
Even though McGregor recently signed a lucrative contract extension with the UFC and is their most popular fighter, his recent inactivity and weakness in grappling will likely be issues that Khabib will exploit.
This writer feels that Khabib’s strengths will make for a very bad matchup for McGregor on Saturday.
For Boxing Fans Not Interested in the UFC; Streaming with DAZN and ESPN+ is the New Normal
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the number one PPV attraction in combat sports will defend his world title.
I’m not talking about Floyd Mayweather Jr., the past PPV king who has yet to officially announce the details of his next proposed fight.
I’m talking about Conor McGregor, the UFC’s cash cow who’s set to take on undefeated challenger Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Photo Credit: DAZN Twitter Account
As recently as last year, if a UFC fight card was on PPV and an outlet like HBO or Showtime put on a competing card, you could expect HBO or Showtime to still get decent ratings.
However, the times have changed and HBO is making an exit from broadcasting boxing and will be completely out of boxing by the time 2019 arrives.
The future for boxing fans is streaming, and the future is here.
One of the bigger complaints against HBO Boxing was that you couldn’t watch a fight on their network live via streaming. You could subscribe to a service like HBO GO without a cable television provider or satellite provider, but you could not watch fights live, only on tape delay. Showtime has that option for their subscribers, which reflects the inclinations of the younger generation to cut the chord and stream their programming and also reflected Showtime’s commitment to the sport of boxing.
Showtime would still probably get good numbers if they were to counter program against the UFC, but they even have a streaming option for fights available for their customers.
HBO has a wide array of programming for their subscribers and charges approximately $15 per month. Some of their consumers got HBO solely for boxing, and would shell out additional money per month for their PPV offerings.
The number of fights that HBO put on yearly has been on the decline, as well as their budget. For the same $15 a month, fight fans can get high quality fights on both ESPN+ and DAZN and a much larger number of boxing matches.
DAZN has contracts to televised both boxing and MMA. They plan to televised 16 boxing events in the United States and 16 boxing events in the United Kingdom with Matchroom Boxing per year. They plan to show 15 World Boxing Super Series events per year with 21 tournament bouts. They have a contract with Combate Americas for thirteen events a year. They also have a contract to broadcast some of Bellator MMA’s biggest events, who have named fighters such as Chael Sonnen, Rampage Jackson, Rory McDonald, Gegard Mousasi, and Fedor Emelianenko under contract.
ESPN+ also has plans to put on a large number of MMA and boxing events on their platform. When ESPN originally announced their contract with Top Rank they indicated they will show at least 12 live fight cards from the US and six international cards. They’ve already signed an extension on that deal that will call for 18 cards to air on ESPN, 12 prime-time cards that will stream exclusively on ESPN+, and 24 premium international events to be shown on ESPN+.
While DAZN has Bellator and Combate Americas; ESPN+ has a contract with the UFC, the MMA powerhouse. The deal that ESPN+ has with the UFC is for 10 UFC Fight Night cards on ESPN and 20 UFC Fight Night cards on ESPN+ per year.
In the past boxing fans who were not fans of the UFC would usually turn to their premium networks to watch boxing during a UFC PPV. This weekend, boxing fans have plenty of other options.
On ESPN+ they can watch a bantamweight bout between Luis Nery and Jason Canoy from Tijuana, Mexico and also watch a junior welterweight fight between Jack Catterall and Ohara Davies from Leicester, England in the junior welterweight division.
On DAZN they can watch a welterweight bout between Jessie Vargas and Thomas Dulorme, as well as an IBF Light Heavyweight bout between Artur Beterbiev and Callum Johnson, as well as a WBA Junior Featherweight bout between Danny Roman and Gavin McDonnell.
Additionally, fight fans can also watch on DAZN a WBA Bantamweight Title bout between Naoya Inoue and Juan Carlos Payano as well as a WBA Junior Welterweight bout between Kiryl Relikh and Eduard Troyanovsky. These bouts are part of the World Boxing Super Series and will be broadcast from Yokohama, Japan.
So while all the hype and marketing this week is behind Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov, boxing fans still have a chance to see a high quality card from Chicago and Japan on DAZN, and a boxing card from England and Mexico on ESPN+. If you’re already a subscriber you know of the quality and quantity of boxing fights these services offer.
Finally, the streaming services offer viewers an opportunity to watch an entire card, from opening fight to the main fight, and not just the top two or three fights. This will allow fans to get a better look at prospects early on in their career.
For boxing fans, the price of ESPN+ and DAZN combined is about the same price as a monthly subscription to HBO. But the quality and quantity of content is far greater with these streaming services.
If you’re not a fan of the UFC and are looking for other viewing options, might as well sign up with these streaming services for a month and enjoy.
And get used to it, for streaming is the new normal for boxing fans. At close inspection, it appears to be a better normal.
Jon Jones Claims Interest in Seeing Him Take on Wilder and Joshua
By: Michael Kane
Jon Jones, one of the finest MMA fighters on the planet, has said ‘people’ want to see him take on Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua.
Just who these people are, no one knows.
Photo Credit: Jon Jones Twitter Account
Jones who has just had a 4 year suspension cut to 14 months by USADA for helping them in their investigations of the use of illegal substances within the UFC, is expected to make a return to the sport towards the end of the year.
With Conor McGregor having made a lot of money by facing Floyd Mayweather in the boxing ring, it seems Jones would like to so something similar.
“Right now my mindset is more about making money, even those big fights,” Jones told RT Sports.
“You know, I watched Conor McGregor fight Floyd Mayweather, and it was high risk, high reward. There’s a saying, ‘scared money don’t make money’. I gotta be brave when I get back in the game and start challenging guys that I could possibly lose to, because that’s what people want to see.”
The former light heavy weight UFC champion could make a return in the heavyweight division, especially as arch rival Daniel Cormier has become the heavyweight champion to add to the light heavyweight strap he holds.
It was the heavyweights in both sports that he gave a mention to.
“They want to see Jones versus Velasquez, they want to see Jones versus Ngannou, that’s what people want to see, and that’s where my mindset is,” Jones said.
“Jones versus Anthony Joshua, or Deontay Wilder, you know, that’s what people want to see.”
We’ll find out if the fan interest for the fight is there.
Multi Division Boxing Champion Amanda Serrano to Return to MMA
By: Michael Kane
Amanda ‘The Real Deal’ Serrano, the six division world boxing champion is to return to MMA, taking on Mexico’s Erendina Ordonez.
The fight will be in the Comabate Americas women’s flyweight division on October 13th.
Photo Credit: Amanda Serrano Twitter Account
The 29 year old Puerto Rican, Serrano, makes her rerurn to MMA after an unanimous decision win over Yamila Esther Reyonso of Argentina for the WBO Junior Welterweight World Championship. The bout took place at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn on September 8th.
With her win, Serrano joined an elite group to have claimed six world titles at six different weights, joining Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao.
With one MMA fight to her name, so far, Serrano will be hoping to go one better than her debut bout. On April 13th, Serrano faced Corina Herrera at ‘Combate Estrellas ‘ in LA, the bout finishing in a draw.
Serrano’s opponent this time out, Ordonez, is a three time San Shou style kickboxing gold medallist.
Combate Americas CEO Campbell McLaren said in a press release, ” It is an honour to have the world’s greatest women’s boxer in history, who is on par with De La Hota and Pacquiao, back in La Jaula (Combate Americas cage) for Combate Americas.”