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Floyd Eyes McGregor and Nurmagomedov While McGregor Has Floyd and Pacquiao on His Mind

By: Hans Themistode

It didn’t take long for UFC star Conor McGregor to get rid of Donald Cerone at UFC 246. 

40 seconds to be exact. It took Floyd Mayweather an even shorter amount of time to call out McGregor on his Instagram account for a rematch. 

Seemingly watching the McGregor contest with his finger on the send button, Mayweather watched as McGregor landed a head kick and followed it up with several strikes on the ground that ended the contest. Once Mayweather pushed the send button, a huge picture of both him and McGregor was plastered across his Instagram account reading the words “MAYWEATHER VS MCGREGOR 2 2020”. 

Before the boxing and MMA world could wrap their heads around the possibility of a rematch between the two, Mayweather posted another picture. It contained the same format but this time McGregor was replaced by undefeated UFC star Khabib Nurmagomedov. 

Mayweather of course, has expressed interest in facing Nurmagomedov and defeated McGregor in the tenth round of their first matchup in August of 2017. By no means was it a blowout as McGregor made it competitive throughout. 

Before Mayweather made it clear that he wants to return against an MMA star, McGregor was on his own campaign trail. Not only stating that he wants the rematch with Mayweather but that he believes it’s only a matter of when, not if.

“I’d like to rematch Floyd, I think we should rematch Floyd,” said McGregor during a recent interview on ESPN. “He’s flirting with it and he can go and rematch someone else but it won’t be the same. I did phenomenal in the bout and the only reason I lost is because I prepared for a back footed, Philly shell kind of opponent. When the fight was like that I was picking him apart. Then he started pressing forward and I wasn’t sinking into my shots like I am now. I know I can beat Floyd if we rematch. Well, when we rematch.”

At this point, everyone is calling out McGregor. With the sort of payday that he can bring to anyone he fights, it isn’t surprising. Yet up until recently, McGregor seemed only interested in facing Mayweather in terms of boxing. But now he has his eyes on another huge star in the sport of boxing at the soon to be opened NFL arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Allegiant Stadium.

“I would love to be the first combatant to fight in that arena,” McGregor said. “What a fight that would be against Manny. A small, powerful southpaw. I’d have to figure out the weight and these things. But something that interests me, no doubt.”

There is so much to dissect here. Mayweather seems to have his eyes set on either Nurmagomedov or McGregor. While McGregor on the other hand has his eyes set on Mayweather, Pacquiao and of course his own UFC rival Nurmagomedov as well. 

With so many different possibilities, there is no doubt that Mayweather is likely to return to the ring to cash in another ridiculous payday.

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UFC 246 Preview: The Second Act Of Conor McGregor

By: Sean Crose

It’s been a tough couple of years for Conor McGregor. After assuring the world he would “educate” the greatest boxer of a generation, he ended up losing handily in his first boxing match. Then, the following year, he stepped back into the octagon after a lengthy layoff only to be completely dominated by a man he had mocked mercilessly. Then, of course, there were the consequences of antisocial behavior– charges of racism, and Islamophobia, sexual assault accusations, and numerous recorded incidents showcasing aggressive physical behavior. Again, it’s been a tough couple of years – much of it self-inflicted. Still, McGregor, one of the most famous athletes on earth, is planning on turning things around starting this Saturday night in Las Vegas.

For there, at the T-Mobile arena, the Irish star will once again step into the octagon, this time to face the highly respected MMA vet Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in a scheduled five round welterweight fight. Cerrone, at first blush, looks to be the perfect opponent for McGregor at this point. With a record of 36-13, and at 36 years of age, the product of Denver has lost his last two fights – to Justin Gaethje and Tony Ferguson respectively. Still, the 21-4 McGregor doesn’t have the greatest track record at welterweight, having split two matches with arch foil Nate Diaz in the 170 pound division back in 2016.

Photo Credit: UFC Twitter Account

It’s also worth noting that McGregor hasn’t won a fight since 2016, when he stopped Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title that November. After moving on to face – and be stopped by – Floyd Mayweather the following summer, McGregor took over a year off, then tapped out to Khabib Nurmagomadov in October of 2018. Then there’s the matter of those well-publicized troubles the Dublin based fighter has faced before, during and since that time.  The wear and tear seem to be evident in the McGregor’s latest public appearances. Here is a man, it appears, who has been genuinely impacted by his experiences and decisions. 

It’s best to keep in mind, though, that McGregor looks physically GOOD heading into Saturday. He’s carrying that needed extra weight well. He’s also appeared extremely sharp and focused in training. It sometimes may be easy to forget that McGregor is more than a pop culture presence, he’s a professional fighter who excels at the highest levels of his chosen sport. He is, simply put, a lot more than just hype. Should McGregor show the skills he’s noted for – the awkwardness, speed, and expert use of a deadly left hand – Cerrone may well be in for a long night come Saturday. Or perhaps a very short one. 

In fact, it’s being noted among analysts that the fight – which McGregor is favored to win as of press time – can go one of two ways:  McGregor will wrap things up in rapid whirlwind fashion, or Cerrone will survive an initial onslaught and take McGregor deep. Known for having less than impressive cardio, the second scenario could prove all wrong for McGregor. Cerrone, on the other hand, would be well advised to be mindful of the first scenario, as his lack of head movement in the octagon can make for a perfect target for McGregor’s missile like strikes. 

As he enters his second act, McGregor brings with him a great many questions. He can take comfort knowing other major combat sport stars, such as Muhammad Ali, and George Foreman, also brought questions with them into the mid to late portions of their careers. Both those men obviously did exceptionally well for themselves. Then again, many fighters have crashed and burned under the circumstances. It will be interesting to see where McGregor stands after this weekend. 

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Interview: UFC Veteran Leo Kuntz Calls for Fight with Bellator’s Dillon Danis

By: Jesse Donathan

Leo “The Lion” Kuntz would like to get his paws on Bellator’s Dillon Danis and settle the score once and for all inside the mixed martial arts gladiatorial arena. A two-time UFC veteran who trains out of American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida, Kuntz is a former The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 16 cast member who isn’t intimidated one bit by the Bellator golden boy Danis, who is better known as UFC superstar Conor McGregor’s Brazilian Jiu-jitsu mentor. According to Kuntz (18-4-1, 9 KOs), Danis is ducking him but can’t run forever. “Dillon, or ‘El Jefa’ as I prefer to call him, personifies all of the negative qualities that are attributed to the great sport of mixed martial arts,” said Kuntz on the origins of his beef with Danis. According to Leo, “He is arrogant and has zero respect for anyone, unless they can better his career. He is exactly all of the bad things about our sport rolled up into one large worthless bag of flesh,” explained Kuntz on how he really feels about the Bellator signed fighter.

“Many years ago, Bellator had offered me two title fights against Ben Askren. I had to turn both fights down because I was already under contract,” said Kuntz. “I knew that Bellator had had some interest in me and a fight between me and ‘El Jefa’ was a real possibility. I then began calling him out on Twitter, this is a tactic he uses often. ‘El Jefa’ only calls out fighters who have no real chance of fighting him. Where I come from, we call these types of people telephone tough guys,” said Kuntz.

“It quickly became apparent to me that Dillon is in bed with Bellator and they don’t want to see him fight somebody like me,” Kuntz explained. “Scott Coker even made comments on Twitter about ‘El Jefa’ not just being a friend, but also his business partner,” said Kuntz. “After those remarks, I lost all respect for Scott Coker and his organization. I would however still fight for Bellator if it meant a fight with ‘El Jefa,’” the American Top Team representative added.

Switching gears, Kuntz is unfortunately perhaps best known for his now infamous fight against opponent Tae Hyun Bang at UFC Fight Night 79 in 2015, which stands today as the only known prosecuted case of fight fixing in the modern era of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. According to an April 19, 2017 MMAJunkie.com article titled, “UFC warned Tae Hyun Bang, Leo Kuntz about fight fixing; Bang investigated in South Korea,” author Steven Marrocco writes, “UFC officials warned Tae Hyun Bang and Leo Kuntz about fight fixing before they fought at UFC Fight Night 79, people with knowledge of the situation told MMAjunkie.”

According to the report, both fighters initially denied any knowledge of wrong doing, but later Bang, “Allegedly admitted to police his role in fight fixing after receiving death threats from organized crime figures, who’d wagered $2 billion Korean won (approximately $1.7 million USD) that Kuntz would win.”

“Police say Bang accepted a bribe of $100 million won (approximately $87,000) while wagering $50 million (approximately $43,000) on his opponent,” writes MMAJunkie.com. A November 24, 2017 follow up article titled, “Report: Tae Hyun Bang sentenced to 10-month prison term for fight-fixing scheme at UFC Fight Night 79,” indicates that Bang was found guilty of, “Taking bribes in connection with a plan to throw a fight.” Incredibly, according to the report, the “three brokers” who set up the fix and gave money to Bang totaling $92,160 USD also were given jail terms for their roles. One of those brokers was reportedly MMA fighter Dae Won Kim.” A fact which may or may not be an indication that fight fixing in mixed martial arts is more prevalent than anyone would like to admit or has previously been willing to address.

“If the top level athletes in MMA would be getting paid in proportion to the top level athletes in the NFL, NBA, MLB etc… this type of incident wouldn’t even be considered,” said Kuntz on his infamous UFC Fight Night 79 split decision loss to Tae Hyun Bang who was later convicted and sent to prison. According to a November 24, 2019 MMAMania.com article titled, “Report: Tae Hyun Bang lands 10-month prison sentence for accepting bribes in attempt to fix UFC fight,” author Dan Hiergesell writes that, “Bang, 34, was given $92,160 USD by a collection of three brokers and was expected to lose the first two rounds to Kuntz.”
Interestingly, the report went on to state, “But after Bang bet half of that money on Kuntz to win, the betting lines drastically switched, forcing UFC officials to warn both Bang and Kuntz of the ramifications of fixing fights.” This is information, that if true, would seem to suggest that the UFC has actively monitored betting lines for sometime now, long before the expected launch of their official sports betting product known as UFC Event Centre in the first quarter of 2020 according to a November 15, 2019 Sherdog.com report.

According to Kuntz, who claims to have had no prior knowledge or involvement of any kind in the fight fixing scandal or any of the individuals involved, “I first became aware of the issue moments before my fight with Tae Hyun Bang. I was in the locker room getting my hands wrapped when UFC brass came and spoke to me about the betting line swinging overnight. I had no idea what this meant at the time,” explained Kuntz. “The UFC went to speak with Bang after they spoke to me and I’m certain that conversation was of a different nature. They knew that the bets had come in on me to win. It’s sad that athletes at our level would even consider throwing a fight for money,” said Kuntz.

“As far as my career goes,” said Kuntz after being asked how the incident has affected him professionally, “I think this incident actually helped me. It is always a topic of conversation and I’ve had several interviews based solely on the fight fixing scandal.”

More recently, Kuntz, a professional MMA fighter with a traditional martial arts background, had a successful exhibition boxing match in an October 12, 2019 Bozeman, Montana fight against another mixed martial arts fighter with a reported 5-1 semi-pro record. “I’m at a point in my career where I am finally able to train full time,” said Kuntz. “Except for my recent boxing exhibition, I haven’t fought in over 2 years. My last 4 fights have been at 155. During my time as a lightweight, I’ve only won 1 out of 4 fights! As a welterweight I am 17-1-1. I will be permanently moving back up to welterweight and I will be competing in MMA in the end of January,” revealed the traditional Chinese martial artist.

A student of the late Grand Master Wei Lun Huang, Kuntz is a Chinese kung fu master who has studied extensively in Taiji and other Chinese internal martial arts. On the influence kung fu has had in his training as a mixed marital artist, according to Kuntz, “Taiji’s power is like water, ever changing and adopting to its environment. Water is one of the softest substance’s on earth and it can still be harnessed to etch stone and steel. Water can carve through mountains and destroy entire cities, yet it is a requirement for nearly every known source of life on earth,” said Kuntz. “GM Wei Lun Huang has shown me how to be like water. This is a path you walk for a lifetime, knowing that you will never reach the end,” explained Kuntz with a heavy dose of Asian martial philosophy and spiritual dogma to his overall worldview.

On what the future holds for the American Top Team trained mixed martial artist, “I am still interested in boxing and will certainly be making my pro boxing debut in 2020,” said Kuntz who is no doubt looking for financially lucrative opportunities. “As a prize fighter, I am interested in any fight that makes dollars and sense.
“I don’t see myself getting involved in bare knuckle boxing though, unless I’m getting paid stupid money,” explained Kuntz upon being asked if the recent trend in MMA fighters transitioning to bare knuckle boxing would be something that he would be interested in pursuing. According to Kuntz, “Martial arts is about self-preservation and bare-knuckle boxing creates an environment that isn’t sustainable for the athletes. I would be more interested in bare knuckle MMA,” in what is an idea quite a few people would be willing to get behind and support.
“My stock is going up,” said Kuntz. “If Dana White wants to give me another chance, it’s best for him to reach out to me quickly. Once I start making waves at welterweight, I won’t be signing with any large promotion if they want to try and give me an entry level contract,” said Kuntz in what is no doubt the mark of a business savvy, experienced professional who has been around the block a few times already.

As a two-time UFC veteran and TUF season 16 cast member sporting an 18-4 overall professional record with an impressive 9 stoppages to his credit, “The Lion” Kuntz is a primed, unsigned big-league talent looking to take advantage of the current professional boxing/MMA crossover market. With the looming entry of Zuffa Boxing into the world of professional pugilism, fighters like Kuntz with previous experience fighting under the Zuffa banner and a desire to follow the money into the ranks of professional boxing are perfect potential free agent acquisitions primed for the taking as Zuffa attempts to make its mark in the squared circle. But in the meantime, Kuntz appears perfectly content with finding himself inside the Bellator cage opposite Dillon Danis where the score can be settled once and for all.

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UFC: Zuffa Boxing, DAZN and the Canelo/Kovalev Delay

By: Jesse Donathan

Rest assured, the more things change, the more they remain the same. The professional boxing landscape has recently looked offset and bewildered in the wake of what is increasingly shaping up to be a combat sports entertainment industry that is turning the page on how business is conducted in the modern era. With the highly unusual delay of the Canelo vs. Kovalev fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas at the hands of the UFC 244 main event as well as the recent KSI vs. Paul Logan II YouTube star spectacle, an overall picture is beginning to emerge on that suggests change is coming to the otherwise relatively steadfast traditional boxing hierarchy. With the emergence of social media, streaming services and the ever-looming presence of Zuffa Boxing and the UFC’s entry into the world of professional boxing, alliances are quickly shaping up in the way of UFC President Dana White reportedly meeting with boxing promoter Eddie Earn as UFC fighters and professional boxers are increasingly calling one another out.

Just this past week, former NFL standout Greg Hardy put Tyson Fury on notice while Fury himself was recently spotted training with UFC middleweight star Darren Till. Also waiting in the wings for a piece of the Tyson Fury sweepstakes is UFC titan Francis Ngannou, who has dreamed of a career in professional boxing since virtually the inception of his combat sports journey. This news of course, coming on the heels of the well-publicized beef between UFC president Dana White and boxing star Oscar De La Hoya means that the promotional and business aspects of the boxing/mixed martial arts crossover have been well in the making for some time now as the dollars and cents begin shape up in the combat sports entertainment industry.

Though not directly related to the UFC/Zuffa Boxing entry into professional boxing, the recent KSI versus Paul Logan II YouTube star headlining main event on a card promoted by Eddie Hearn, featuring legitimate, championship caliber boxers is a harbinger of things to come for many boxing fans who do not like the change in direction that the wind appears to be now taking. “White collar boxing is a slippery slope and has opened a very dangerous door,” writes four-time national amateur boxing champion Eric Kelly in his November 10, 2019 Twitter social media post. According to Kelly, “#KSI vs #PaulLogan is all the proof that you need. Being the main event on a card that features real professional boxers and world champions. Yet the boxers had to take a backseat to the YouTubers.”

Back in May of 2019, BoxingInsider.com published an article titled, “The Don King Effect – UFC’s Dana White and Zuffa Boxing to Promote Big Fights” where I predicted that the UFC was going to break into boxing in a big way moving forward into the future in 2020 and beyond. According to a November 7, 2019 Chael Sonnen YouTube video titled, “Could Jorge Masvidal vs Canelo Alvarez actually happen?” the former UFC middleweight title contender and current ESPN MMA analyst sat down in “The Bad Guy” studio to discuss what could possibly be on the horizon in the future concerning the professional boxing/mixed marital arts crossover.

“So Masvidal has something known as a hit list he put it out. There were three names on it, I can’t even remember two of them, but I want to get to the third because I remember this. He called out Canelo, Canelo Alvarez,” said Sonnen. “The sitting, reigning, multi-division world boxing champion. Canelo has only lost one fight ever, 21-years old, but he lost it, it was to a guy named Floyd Mayweather. And while he was dominated, it was his only loss and the guy was named Floyd Mayweather and Canelo was 21.”
In making sure his audience understood exactly what it was that he was trying to say, Sonnen went on to remark that, “I’m going to say that all for you a second time, so that you could put those pieces together. So, Canelo is a very special talent. And I’m condescending in case you don’t watch boxing and you didn’t know that,” said Sonnen.

According to Sonnen, “Masvidal is in a very unique position right now that I do not think he is aware of.” In summarizing the down to earth, regular kind of guy off the street attitude Masvidal seems to have, Sonnen went on to summarize exactly where Masvidal’s career stands at this point in time as “The Bad Guy” sees it. “I don’t think Masvidal realizes that anything is different in his life or career,” said Sonnen. “He woke up last week, trying to make weight knowing he was going to have to go out there and put it on the line against somebody for 25-minutes. Do the best that he could, walk away and live with the result. That’s what he got out there and did and I think he is waking up today in the exact same position,” theorized Sonnen.

“But he is wrong. He is wrong,” argued Chael. “The landscape of Jorge Masvidal has changed tremendously. He, I believe, is officially the number one contender. Would that be true? That if he wants to fight the winner of Kamaru/Colby that he will be given that opportunity. Would that be true? I think you guys would agree with me,” offered the ESPN MMA analyst. “But he doesn’t have to go fight the winner of Kamaru/Colby, he has a title,” said Sonnen. “Mission accomplished!” he added.

Stepping into Masvidal’s shoes, it’s all seems pretty simple and straight forward from “The Bad Guys” perspective. “Got in the sport, went up to that division, took big risks to win a belt; he has the belt,” said Sonnen. “He can now go after big fights and there is something about him versus Canelo that just works, it just does,” Sonnen confided.

“And as soon as he (Masvidal) said it, I said, ‘Oh, my goodness,’” explained Sonnen who no doubt knows few things are left to chance, but rather design.

“Now I am not predicting for you guys that you’re going to see that fight, the logistics of how are we going to do it and where are we going to do it are going to be tough,” Sonnen explained. “When Masvidal fights in the UFC and Canelo is exclusive on DAZN, but Dana worked that out with Showtime once before, he can work it out again,” said Sonnen. Which perhaps may go a long way in explaining the unusual delay of the Canelo/Kovalev main event this past Saturday night?

As originally reported in a November 7, 2019 BoxingInsider.com article titled, “DAZN’s Stands Defiant in Face of Canelo-Kovalev Criticism,” author Sean Crose writes, “After it delayed last Saturday’s Canelo-Kovalev match for 90 minutes in order to appeal to MMA fans who were watching a card of their own, I decided to reach out to DAZN for an explanation,” writes Crose. According to the veteran BoxingInsider.com reporter, he received a response the following Tuesday, though unfortunately none of his questions were answered directly as he was instead referred to comments DAZN representative Joe Markowski had previously made to ESPN reporter Steve Kim, who, as Crose noted, works for ESPN who coincidentally enough broadcasted last weekend’s UFC 244 event.

The report went on to note that, “The quotes, such as they are, make it clear DAZN is happy it delayed the fight for an hour and a half on Saturday. What’s more, Markowski added absolutely nothing conciliatory towards those who paid for what was literally poor customer service,” said Crose. According to BoxingInsider.com report, “Sure enough, my question to DAZN about how some perceived their weekend strategy went unanswered. Which brings us to a simple fact – DAZN is not only disinterested in individual consumer satisfaction, it isn’t afraid of that disinterest being public knowledge.”

Searching for a possible explanation to the sudden change of direction, Crose, who is the author of the acclaimed historical fiction novel titled, “the Regulator,” went on to postulate that, “Perhaps the streaming service received such a windfall from all those MMA fans this past weekend that it no longer feels it needs to play nice. Or perhaps it’s just an operation straight out of a Dickens’ novel. Either way, its coldness is notable,” writes Crose.

According to a November 6, 2019 Luke Thomas YouTube video titled, “UFC 244 vs. Canelo-Kovalev: Was DAZN Right?” the Sirius XM radio host weighed in on the issue, stating that, “I’ve noticed a lot of different takes on this. Basically, it goes one of two ways. One way is that you’re in favor of this. And the argument would be, wow, as a service to the fan, you got to watch the UFC 244 PPV and then, when that was over, you got to flip right over and then catch Canelo doing pretty incredible things,” said Thomas.

“Alright, and that was one argument essentially for it. And the other side, is that, well I don’t know how much of a cross over audience there actually is,” explained Thomas. “And more to the point, if you want to make your product look Busch league, boy, this is a great way to do it,” notes Thomas.

According to Luke, “MMA and boxing have always had a natural tension, and more to that point, when you look at the actual dollar figures that boxers make right, the 35-million that Canelo has made, the 40-million, I think 42-million guaranteed that Floyd got to fight Canelo or the 300-million that Mayweather got to fight McGregor, right, it’s always had this status as not merely the more lucrative sport for it’s a-list stars, its always had a bit of a big brother vibe to MMA,” explained Thomas.

Continuing, Thomas went on to expound that, “Like we respect the hustle to a degree of the MMA fighters, you are seeing some people open their doors more, the Freddy Roaches, the Teddy Atlas’s, that kind of thing, but its always had a bit of a big brother vibe to UFC,” said Thomas. “I think this was startling to boxing fans because this was the first time where that relationship got completely inverted. It was the first time where boxing could not look at itself in the face and say we are the big brother on this night,” explained the former United States Marine.

“And that’s important, because not only was this fight with Canelo and Kovalev not the big brother scenario, I mean it wasn’t the big brother when you had their top star. It wasn’t Danny Garcia versus Thurman II or something like that. This was Canelo Alvarez, the biggest star in combat sports. The biggest star in boxing, active, jumping up two weight classes man, and they made that one the second fiddle. I think that startled boxing fans,” noted Thomas.

In the after math of the Canelo Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev fight and its highly unusual delay at the hands of the UFC 244 main event at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as well as the recent KSI vs. Paul Logan II YouTube star spectacle an overall picture is beginning to emerge on the combat sports landscape that suggests the winds of change are in the air as the page is beginning to be turned in the otherwise steadfast, traditional professional boxing landscape.

With the emergence of streaming services, YouTube social media sensations and the ever-looming presence of Zuffa Boxing and the UFC’s entry into the realm of professional pugilism, alliances are quickly forming with some of the biggest movers and shakers in the combat sports entertainment industry. Though one can sense the offset fear and bewilderment from the professional boxing community, one can rest easy knowing that the more things change, the more they will inevitably remain the same.

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Tyson Fury Begins His MMA Training With UFC Fighter Darren Till

By: Hans Themistode

Lineal Heavyweight champion Tyson Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs) made his WWE debut at the Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia on October 31st. He successfully defeated Braun Strowman in an entertaining matchup. Following his win, Fury made a few headlines by stating that he wanted to jump into mixed martial arts (MMA). He doesn’t want to simply join any organization either, he apparently has his eyes set on taking his talents to the UFC in the near future.

Too many times have we seen professional boxers put down the boxing gloves and step into the octagon. It isn’t hyperbole to say that they have all failed miserably.

Fury however, believes he can make a successful transition and has even floated around the idea of receiving help from UFC star and two weight world champion, Conor McGregor.

One person who believes Fury would be making an erroneous mistake if he decided to step into the octagon is UFC president Dana White.

“I like Tyson Fury,” said White. “I think he is one of the biggest stars in combat sports right now. You look at the four Heavyweights Joshua, Wilder, Fury and Ruiz. I think massive fights can be made with all of those guys. Tyson Fury had a tough time in his last fight in a boxing match. Coming over to MMA is a whole other story.”

Heading into a sport as dangerous as MMA would be a curious move for Fury. However, it is a possibility and although White feels like it would be a bad move for Fury, it is something that he would embrace.

“Listen anything is possible. If Tyson Fury wants to fight MMA, I’ve got a ton of guys that would love to fight him but I don’t know why he would want to do it. Tyson Fury is one of the best in the world. He’s an incredible fighter. If promoted the right way, he could be apart of three or four of the biggest fights in Heavyweight history. Why come over here and get smashed? You’re the man in boxing. Why even think about coming over here?”

It might not seem like the best move for Fury, but he appears to be dead serious about making the transition as he was recently seen training with UFC Middleweight contender Darren Till.

Fury caught the attention of White as he reposted a video displaying the Lineal Heavyweight champion training with Till, and truth be told, he looked pretty good as well.

If this was anyone else, this move would be viewed as something that is farfetched. Yet since this is Tyson Fury we are speaking of, just about anything is possible. He successfully crossed over to the world of WWE, so who’s to say he would dive head first into MMA? Doubt him if you want, but we should all be taking Fury’s possible foray into yet another sport very seriously.

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UFC 244: Masvidal vs. Diaz for the BMF Belt

By: Jesse Donathan

It’s a conspiracy, or so UFC superstar Nate Diaz alleges in the controversy surrounding his positive test for a performance enhancing drug in the lead up to his UFC 244 showdown with Jorge Masvidal for the promotions newly created BMF title. The resulting backlash from the mainstream media and the sports wildly dedicated fan base was so severe that not only was an acquittal for Diaz quick in the making, but the UFC’s own anti-doping czar, Jeff Novitzky , has reportedly been left openly questioning the very intellectual foundation itself in how the matter of flagged test results could potentially be handled moving forward later down the line in the future.

“You’re all on steroids, not me,” Nate Diaz announced in his October 24, 2019 Twitter social media message in effort to get out in front of the bad news shared with him privately. Attached to the Tweet, an additional message the UFC superstar took the time to type up in a screenshotted text message that read, “I’m not gonna make it out to NYC for (the) fight next week because they say I tested with elevated levels that they say might be from some tainted supplements,” Diaz wrote. “I call false on that because I only take whole food or natural food supplements. I don’t even eat meat,” Diaz explained.

“So, until UFC, USADA or whoever is (expletive) with me fixes it, I won’t be competing. I’m not gonna play their game and try and hide it or keep quiet, as they suggested,” said Diaz. It was the shot heard around the world, heads turned in the mixed martial arts community on the news someone within the UFC or USADA had suggested Diaz hide the flagged, atypical test result. According to Forbes writer Trent Reinsmith, “The story isn’t that Nate Diaz is out of UFC 244, the story is that someone allegedly told him to keep quiet. Find that person, report that story. That’s what matters,” alleges Reinsmith.

The news and mainstream narrative would quickly shift to Diaz being exonerated of any wrong doing, with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reporting that Diaz had in fact been cleared to compete at UFC 244 after all. According to the October 25, 2019 Twitter social media post, “Breaking: Nate Diaz is eligible to compete at UFC 244. USADA has ruled he has not committed an anti-doping violation. Elevated level of SARMS was traced to a contaminated organic, vegan, plant-based daily multivitamin,” reads the Okamoto report.

Originally taped to an October 27, 2019 Chael Sonnen YouTube video titled, “The difference between Jon Jones and Nate Diaz flagged USADA tests…,” Sonnen, a former UFC middleweight championship contender and current ESPN MMA analyst himself, believes that, “The apologies that are owed to Nate Diaz are bountiful, but I don’t see them coming in.”

In classic form, Sonnen didn’t skip a beat in assessing the media firestorm surrounding the Diaz flagged test result. As the Bad Guy Inc. CEO sees it, “So, if you publicly attacked Nate Diaz and now you are left to look like a fool, the apology needs to be done publicly,” said Sonnen. “You did it through social media on Twitter, you got to go back to Twitter and make it right. Or you’re just a scumbag and you can go ahead and be scumbag, I mean, it is the fight business, right?” the seasoned veteran Sonnen leveled for his viewing audience in reviewing the basic facts of the story.

“People say terrible things about one another, but those are the choices. People were very quick to turn on Nate, now I will have to say, most of the people who turned on Nate were completely clean and innocent, and just don’t know, they just don’t know how abundantly clear it is. Take Dustin Poirier by example,” said Sonnen.

“Dustin Poirier, who has never taken anything and is squeaky clean himself, he wouldn’t know. He wouldn’t be like a guy like me who is an expert in this, for all the wrong reasons, but an expert nonetheless, he just wouldn’t know,” said Professor Sonnen. “So, he is going to default to the test.” Continuing, and most interesting to consider, Sonnen went on to remark, “Just by example, a lot of the people who were hard on Nate were very innocent themselves, okay. They weren’t throwing stones and then doing something bad. But wrong? They were wrong,” said Sonnen in getting to the bottom of the matter once and for all.

The Bad Guy’s message apparently made it to all the right parties, including the Dustin Poirier camp, with Poirier himself taking to Twitter social media in an October 28, 2019 post to lay something somewhat reminiscent of an apology out to Diaz, stating that, “… I jumped the gun when news came out that he (Diaz) failed a test. He’s always been a guy who pushed for clean eating and clean sport. I shouldn’t have,” explained the former interim lightweight champion before going on to add that that it, “Doesn’t change the fact that I still want to beat his ass,” said Poirier.

Since joining BoxingInsider.com, I have written a number of articles on the topic of performance enhancing drug use, regularly calling for a paradigm shift in how anti-doping is handled in combat sports across the board. It would seem the countless hours spent kneeling at the altar of sacrifice before the “Just Bleed Gods” has finally paid off as my prayers have been delivered to the high priests of MMA who answered the call. Although it is likely that they only picked the phone up out of necessity, rather than reason, in the face of increased backlash and scrutiny surrounding the way in which the promotion and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) handle their day to day operations amid accusations of conspiracy.

As originally recorded to an October 29, 2019 Luke Thomas YouTube video titled, “Jeff Novitzky Made a Key Admission About Anti-Doping,” the longtime MMA analyst highlighted what he believes to be a potentially “radical change” in anti-doping policy that could be on the horizon.

According to Thomas, ““What is slowly beginning to don on anti-doping authorities, and who again, Jeff Novitzky does not work for USADA, he works for the UFC, is what they’ve found is it’s not merely supplements that are contaminated with trace levels of prohibited substances,” explained Thomas. “They’re finding it in water from the municipal water system, they’re finding it in medications from reputable pharmacies, they’re finding it in foods, they’re finding it in all manners of circumstances where you just can’t believe,” said Thomas.

Going on to cite an October 26, 2019 Josh Gross article for TheAthletic.com titled, “In a ‘contaminated world,’ can common sense prevail with the UFC Anti-Doping Policy?” Thomas highlighted a segment of the report of particular interest to the MMA SiriusXM radio host. As originally written by Gross, “For many years the onus of “strict liability” fell on the fighters, meaning they were the ones responsible for what is in their bodies. Now Novitzky and the UFC are arguing that in some cases the burden must shift from the athlete to the testing authority.”

Referencing Novitzky, Gross went on to write that, “Maybe 10 or 15 years ago when the labs could only detect nanogram level and you didn’t see as much contaminates in the world, that policy was appropriate,” he said. “In this day and age, with those two things happening – the low limits of detection and increased contaminates in our world – I don’t think “strict liability” is the appropriate answer,” said Novitzky.

Admittedly blown away by this revelation from the UFC anti-doping czar, Thomas went on to share his thoughts on the subject and what it could possibly mean for the future of combat sports. “Strict liability is the, is part of and a key corner stone of the intellectual underpinning that makes anti-doping what it is,” explained Thomas. Continuing, “If the world is that contaminated and the detection is that good, as they seem to believe that it is, what are you supposed to do?” a perplexed Thomas asked.

“You can’t force the onus constantly on the athlete,” said Thomas. “He actually thinks the burden should shift to the testing agency. That is an absolute, if that happens, fundamental shift in how anti-doping works. It is an absolute invert. It is literally like saying, not literally, it is kind of like saying, I want to be fair here, you have went from guilty until proven innocent to innocent until proven guilty. That is how utterly monumental that is as an admission,” Thomas concluded.

According to an October 28, 2019 MMAFighting.com article titled, “Nate Diaz blasts ‘made up’ USADA drug testing issue: ‘It was all just a big old bunch of bullsh*t’,” author Damon Martin writes, “The UFC claims that an “organic, vegan, plant-based daily multivitamin” was contaminated with the banned substance LGD-4033—a selective androgen receptor modulator banned at all times for athletes—led to the adverse findings in the drug test.”

Interestingly, the MMAFighting.com report went on to state, “Ultimately, Diaz calls the whole debacle one giant “conspiracy,” and he vehemently denies any accusations made against him, especially considering his feelings on the majority of fighters in the UFC, who he branded as cheaters a long time ago,” said Martin.

According to the report, “’Everybody I’ve been fighting has been on steroids,’ Diaz explained. ‘Most of the people, I don’t want to diss everybody, but most of the people in the UFC, champions or not champion, they’re all on f*cking steroids, and they’re going to pass their tests and they know how to pass their tests. I know, cause I know all them motherf*ckers,’” MMAFighting.com reports.

In the wake of the controversy surrounding Diaz’s reported positive test for elevated levels of a performance enhancing drug, a furor erupted in the mixed martial arts community that brought increased scrutiny and skepticism to the efficacy of the promotions testing program under the United States Anti-Doping Agency, striking at the very intellectual foundation itself in how the two entities conduct their day to day operations. The resulting fallout so severe that the UFC’s own anti-doping czar Jeff Novitzky is openly considering a complete and radical paradigm shift due to the significant pushback and increased scrutiny from the combat sports media and general public as accusations of a conspiracy mount.

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Tyson Fury Eyes MMA Move With The Help Of Conor McGregor

By: Hans Themistode

Tyson Fury has made headlines recently. The Lineal Heavyweight champion has been seen in recent weeks in the WWE world. His back and forth feud with super star wrestler Braun Strowman has captured the imagination of everyone. It was fun to see Fury outside of his normal boxing element.

The fun quickly ended when it was reported that Fury was seriously considering to forego his 2020 rematch with WBC belt holder Deontay Wilder in favor of pursuing a full time career in the WWE.

In just a few short days, Fury will settle his beef with Strowman at the highly anticipated Crown Jewel wrestling event which is slated to take place on Halloween. With Fury reportedly making 15 million for his lone contest with Strowman, the possibility of Fury leaving the boxing ring for good is a real possibility.

With the obligations of defending his Lineal crown, coupled with his WWE commitment, Fury seemingly has a full plate in front of him. Well, according to the man nicknamed the “Gypsy King” he still has room for other ventures as well.

The undefeated Heavyweight champion is in serious talks with Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) star Conor McGregor about a possible move into the world of MMA. Fury isn’t simply thinking about making a move to the cage, he is apparently ready to go head first into it with McGregor firmly in his corner as his training partner.

“I have been speaking to Conor about it,” said Fury. “He’s willing to train me. It’s gonna be good”

Many boxers have made the transition to MMA or at least have given it thought. To train for such a complex sport, many would be led to believe that Fury’s possible MMA debut is something that could happen sometime in the future. Getting acclimated to an entirely different sport is something that could take Fury quite some time to get the hang of. If this was your first initial thought, it would be a good one, but ultimately, you would be wrong.

For Fury, stepping into the cage is something that could happen much sooner than anyone realizes.

“Who knows? I have got something big coming up after this, even bigger than this. We might see Tyson Fury have his MMA debut this year. Tyson Fury is taking over,”

If Fury truly is considering the move to MMA, then he has chosen the perfect person to train him. McGregor is the most prominent name in MMA and one of the most popular athletes regardless of the sport. According to Fury, the extension of help offered from McGregor is something he surely can’t pass up on.

“He’s just said any time that you are ready come over to Dublin and let’s go. I can’t wait, I’m going to take him up on the offer. Who knows we might be on a double-header.”

Although MMA would essential be a new ordeal for Fury, his background has led him to believe that any form of fighting is something that he will excel at.

“I come from a long line of bare-knuckle boxing champions. Getting hurt, getting bloodied is nothing new to me, it’s all a part of my heritage. I would love to get in there and smash someone up.”

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Bellator 231: Mir defeats Nelson by Unanimous Decision

By: Jesse Donathan

Coming into the main event of Bellator 231 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut both UFC veterans Frank Mir (19-13, 5 KOs) and Roy Nelson (23-18, 15 KOs) were riding multiple fight losing streaks, with Mir having dropped four bouts in a row, most recently falling to Javy Ayala via second round TKO at Bellator 212 this past December in 2018. As for Nelson, having dropped sum three fights in a row himself, including his most recent outing at Bellator 216 against mixed martial arts legend Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic in February, stepping into the cage in a rematch against Mir meant a chance for redemption. The two originally met at UFC 130 in 2011, with Mir taking home a three round unanimous decision victory. Inevitably, somebodies losing streak was going to end Friday night and it ultimately turned out to be Frank Mir’s.

Incredibly, Mir weighed in at 265.75 pounds for his rematch with Roy “Big Country” Nelson Friday night, which as fight commentator “Big” John McCarthy pointed out is stretching the limits of the 265-pound mixed martial arts heavyweight division. From the beginning, Nelson came out controlling the cage and pressing the action early on in the fight, stalking Frank Mir with short, plodding steps indicative of someone looking to set up a big shot and make quick work of the former two-time UFC heavyweight champion. Content to set back and counter strike, the story of the first round and perhaps the entire fight itself was Frank Mir’s highly effective inside leg kicks which routinely sent Nelson’s heavily weight distributed lead leg flying. The technique by in large prevented “Big Country” from finding his rhythm and setting up those legendary fight ending hands. The first round was a relatively clear 10-9 round for a Frank Mir who did his homework.

Photo Credit: Frank Mir Twitter Account

Though Mir still threw the inside leg kicks in the second stanza, he did so with less frequency than in the previous round as the game plan appeared to have been to soften Roy’s legs up in the first, hindering his mobility and overall movement in order to attempt to get Nelson out of there in the second. Though the savvy 43-year old veteran Nelson ultimately proved to be still quite durable, he is obviously missing the overall speed and explosiveness he once possessed just a few short years ago during his UFC tenure.

The second round was marked with Mir willing to stand and trade with a “Big Country” who did not appear to have a plan B besides banging it out with Mir, which was likely due in part to the unusually dangerous threat Mir poses in the grappling department. The second round was a more competitive and entertaining fight than the first, though one still ultimately judged a 10-9 round on my score card for a Frank Mir who just appeared to be the more dynamic fighter in the cage.

In between the second and third rounds, Nelson’s corner seemed particularly concerned with his nose, with one of his cornermen having a gauze at the ready as “Big Country” sat down to rest and compose himself. Seemingly finding his second wind or perhaps feeling a sense of urgency, “Big Country” would come out strong early on in the third, with the fighter appearing noticeably more aggressive and focused on the task at hand. After some back and forth action, the referee Todd Anderson would call a halt to the action with approximately 3-minutes and 30-seconds left in the round, the result of an accidental low blow from Mir that always seems to get the audience’s attention.

With the action restarted, Nelson would again resume his low, crouched stance in an effort to catch Mir with one of his customary fight ending big shots, though the crafty former UFC champion successfully evaded the thunder to keep his consciousness. With Mir seemingly exhausted and little more to offer, Nelson would go on to stalk his winded opponent around the cage for the remainder of the fight, ultimately displaying his heralded wrestling ability with just under 15-seconds left in the fight by impressively throwing Mir to the canvas.

Though it was too little, too late for the Las Vegas native as the end of the round and ultimately the fight itself drew to a close. Though it was a 10-9 round for “Big Country” on my score card, unfortunately it just wasn’t enough to secure the “W” as Mir took home the well-earned unanimous decision victory, moving to 2-0 against Nelson as he closed out their interorganizational rivalry.

In defeat, Nelson moves to 1-5 during his Bellator tenure, having dropped his last four fights in a row to Mir, Filipovic, Sergei Kharitonov and Matt Mitrione, a virtual deaths row of heavyweight mixed martial arts killers. Picking up a much-needed victory Friday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena, Mir snapped his own four fight losing streak that saw Mir, himself, compete against some of the best in the business, including the legendary knockout artist Mark Hunt, former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski and the legendary mixed martial arts demi-god Fedor Emelianenko. Both Mir and Nelson are two of the best fighters in the business, with both fighters having multiple fight losing streaks that serve as perfect examples of how losing can actually mean winning in the game of life.

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UFC Legend Randy Couture Hospitalized after Massive Heart Attack

By: Jesse Donathan

If there was a Mt. Rushmore of mixed martial arts, Randy Couture would have a seat at the table, for sure, no questions asked, it’s not even debatable. This much is true today and a hundred years from now, simply put, Couture is a verifiable legend in the sport of mixed martial arts. On Thursday, news of the mixed martial arts legends reported massive heart attack struck the MMA community like a Brock Lesnar ham-fisted sandwich, sparking fears and concern the world over for the UFC Hall of Famers health and wellbeing.

“But I’m sitting in the fighter meeting, I get a text message, it says, ‘Randy Couture suffered a massive heart attack and is in the hospital, TMZ reports.’ Oh my goodness,” explains ESPN MMA analyst Chael Sonnen in his October 25, 2019 YouTube video titled, “Randy Couture’s heart attack proves just how tough he is….” According to the Sonnen, who is a former training partner of Couture’s at the legendary Team Quest, “So I stopped the meeting. And another guy in the meeting was Big John (McCarthy). ‘Big John, I just got this news about Randy, I’m going this way, you go that way, lets find out who can find out information,’” Sonnen explained of his conversation with the well-known referee and current Bellator fight commentator.

Photo Credit: Randy Couture Twitter Account

“So, I go straight to Randy. Now when I went to Randy, I never thought in a million years (that) I’m going to hear back from him if its true. If its not true, he will go, ‘Oh, I don’t know where that rumor came from.’ So, I go to Randy, Big John goes to Randy’s significant other and they were both very responsive,” said Sonnen. “I hear right away from Randy. And he says, “Oh, I had a little heart issue, I’ll be out of here tomorrow.” Which as Sonnen explained, was somewhat re-assuring news considering the TMZ report.

“So John gets back, so I share what I got with John and then John shares what he got with me, and his was a little more, you know, the significant other is a little bit more worried, but we still thought we were out of the woods on this massive heart attack thing,” the ESPN MMA analyst said. Continuing, “So, then it catches on, it’s getting all over the news, words getting out, phones are lighting up. Go towards the end of my day and I see Jay Glazer. Well Glazer and Randy work out of the Unbreakable gym. And Glazer was like, ‘Oh Chael, let me tell you the story from the beginning.”

What would follow next is a testament to exactly what kind of man Randy Couture actually is, which is one tough, son of a gun. According to Sonnen, who relayed the story as originally told to him by Glazer, “He said, ‘Randy didn’t have some heart attack and an ambulance gets called and he goes to the hospital. He said, ‘Bro, he had a heart attack at my gym. He had a heart attack. He was telling us, ‘Oh, my heart, my chest, I’m having something going on in my chest.’’ He went and got a foam roller and tried to roll it out. He tried to roll out a heart attack, oh I should add for you, said Sonnen, he then finished the work out. He then walks to the hospital himself, no ambulance, no ride, doesn’t even tell anybody, walks himself into the hospital.

“They immediately perform an operation,” said Sonnen. “They put a stint in, they inform he has had a massive heart attack, they inform him that he has some kind of clotting, and they have some kind of with his blood. And Jay is now at the hospital visiting. And they come in and they ask Randy, ‘On a scale of 1 to 10, where’s your pain?’ And Randy says, ‘Oh, about a 2.’ And they go, ‘Okay, at the time of the heart attack, on a scale of 1 to 10, where was the pain?’ And Randy says, ‘Oh, 4.’

“And Jay goes, ‘Damnit, don’t ask him, quit, you ask me ques…, don’t ask him any questions, this is the toughest guy you’ve ever met. He doesn’t even know what an 8 or a 9 is,’” said Sonnen with a laugh.

In giving an update on Couture’s health, Sonnen went on to explain, “So Randy is doing okay, that is the point of my story, but the fact that he had a heart attack, tried to get it out with a foam roller, finished the work out and then walked to the hospital and informed the doctor he was in almost no pain, I think tells you all you need to know about the heart of Randy Couture.”

Among the most recent updates on Couture’s health include an October 25, 2019 Twitter social media post from ESPN MMA journalist Ariel Helwani. According to the long time MMA personality, “Randy Couture has been discharged from the hospital, less than two days after suffering a heart attack.” Incredibly, Helwani went on to add, Couture walked home just the same as he did when he checked himself into the hospital, according to the report. Whether this is an indication of how close Couture lives to the medical facility or if the aging fighter has fell on hard times financially remains to be seen, though with reports of Couture in the gym and working out, its clear the desire to compete still burns in the legendary fighters soul whatever the case may be.

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Bellator 231: Mir vs. Nelson

By: Jesse Donathan

It’s going to be a clash of mixed martial arts legends at Bellator 231 on Friday, October 25, 2019 live on DAZN/Paramount starting at 9:00 pm EST at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The evenings main event set to take place in a rematch between former two-time UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir (18-13, 5 KOs) and Roy “Big Country” Nelson (23-17, 15 KOs). The two originally met at UFC 130 – Rampage vs. Hamill in 2011, where Nelson dropped a three round unanimous decision to the always dangerous former UFC heavyweight champion.

For those of you who may not be aware of who Frank Mir is, allow me the opportunity to introduce you to one of the most dangerous submission artists in the world. Frank Mir is not someone to be underestimated in any capacity, especially on the ground, but he is also a proven, well-rounded mixed martial artist very capable of stopping fighters on his feet as well.

Despite having his best days behind him, Frank Mir is still quite capable of breaking every bone in your body, a feat former UFC and Pride FC heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, himself a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu master, found out first hand in their rematch at UFC 140 in 2011. It was a grappling master showcase, though unfortunately for the Brazilian legend, Nogueira would succumb to Mir via technical submission by kimura, which is another way of saying Mir broke Nogueira’s arm and the referee was forced to intervene and bring a halt to the contest.

And who could forget Mir breaking former UFC champion Tim Sylvia’s arm at UFC 48 – Payback, also via technical submission, where Mir captured the UFC heavyweight crown via bone crunching armbar submission. Later, upon a trip to the emergency room it was revealed that the 6-foot-eight-inch former champions arm was fractured in several places, leaving an endearing reminder of exactly how soft “The Gentle Art” of Jiu-jitsu can truly be.

Following a serious motorcycle accident a few short months later, where he was ultimately stripped of his UFC heavyweight title; Mir would go on to triumphantly recapture UFC gold at UFC 92 some four years later, defeating Nogueira for the UFC interim heavyweight title via second round TKO.

“There’s mathematics to fighting Roy,” Mir told Phone Booth radio in an August 31, 2019 MMAJunkie.com article titled, “Frank Mir on rematch with Roy Nelson: ‘I really don’t want to fight Roy.’” According to Mir, who is currently riding a four-fight losing streak, “If you follow that formula, Roy is beatable. If you detour that, you take risks and open yourself up to make it more exciting, and that’s when Roy catches guys with that thunderous right hand of his,” writes author Nolan King.

“Roy Nelson has been around the block a few times over the course of his 15-year MMA career and, as a result, things just don’t bug him like they used to,” writes authors Simon Head and Matt Erickson in their October 24, 2019 MMAJunkie.com article titled, “Roy Nelson is (not quite) done caring as Bellator 231 approaches: ‘Everyone thinks I suck anyway’.” According to the report, “Nelson has fought each of his past three bouts,” in Uncasville, Connecticut despite having requested fights on the opposite side of the country each and every time. “Hey, it is what it is,” Nelson told MMAJunkie.com. In summarizing his ultimate thoughts on the rather peculiar irregularity and circumstance, “I feel like when I was in the UFC and got the international departures. I feel like it’s the same thing,” said Nelson in describing the perceivable oddity of it all.

Originally from Las Vegas, Nevada, Nelson acquired the nickname “Big Country” due in large part to his to his impressive grappling acumen, which naturally led to his peers presuming he must have come out of one of the more decorated collegiate wrestling programs in the country such as Oklahoma or Iowa for example. Though on a current three fight losing streak of his own, a quick glance at Nelsons record indicates he has fought a who’s who list of mixed martial arts legends throughout his career, meaning the seventeen career losses on Nelsons record are a potentially deceptive indicator of his overall greatness when evaluating the totality of his career due to the strength of schedule he carried alone.

With both mixed martial arts legends riding multiple fight losing streaks, one of the two is about to snap a dry spell Friday night in the evenings main event live at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Considering the previous history these two combatants have with one another, is Nelson going to set the stage and record straight for a third and final showdown with Mir in avenging his 2011 UFC 130 defeat? Or will Mir manage to crunch the numbers once again, utilizing his tried and true mathematical equation to zero Nelson out, moving to 2-0 in their multi-organizational rivalry? Tune into Bellator 231 live on Paramount/DAZN tonight starting at 9:00 PM EST to find out and catch all the evenings results.

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Former NFL Great Greg Hardy’s Decision Victory at UFC on ESPN 6 Overturned

By: Jesse Donathan

Something stinks in Beantown and to those intimately familiar with “The Anatomy of the Fight Game,” virtually no part of combat sports remains beyond reproach. If once is happenstance, twice is coincidence and three times is a full-blown conspiracy, then there is something going on in Beantown that needs to be investigated. Boston is a beautiful city with a long and illustrious fight history, renowned the world over, though as happenstance would have it, one unfortunately steeped in impropriety and corruption. With MMA well on its way to becoming a global phenomenon, the experiences of UFC President Dana White indicate that there is every reason to be concerned.

“I had a kind of run-in with Whitey Bulger and his guys,” said UFC President Dana White in a February 28, 2011 BleacherReport.com article titled, “MMA: Without Irish Gangster Whitey Bulger, Would the UFC Have Survived?” According to White, “They showed up at the gym looking for money. It was time to leave,” writes author Colin Linneweber. The BleacherReport.com article went on to note that, “White may have never abandoned his boxing gym had he not been threatened with extortion by notorious Irish gangster Whitey Bulger before the criminal went on the lam in 1995.”

Photo Credit: GregHardyJr Twitter Account

Bulger, who once reportedly employed the services legendary boxing trainer Freddie Roach, is one of the most infamous crime bosses in US history. A ruthless and violent criminal once described by prosecutors as someone with “no redeeming qualities,” Bulger was the former mafia don of the Winter Hill Gang, whose crimes included, among other things, “Fixing horse races and even a gang war with another Irish American outfit over crime spoils,” according to a 2013 LA Times report titled, ”Whitey Bulger likened to Satan by victim’s son at sentencing hearing.”

Fast forwarding to this past weekend at UFC on ESPN 6, as coincidence would have it, controversy arose from the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission as a bizarre set of circumstances unfolded just before the evenings co-main event. According to an October 19, 2019 Bad Guy Inc. YouTube video titled, “Greg Hardy’s inhaler…who’s at fault?” former UFC middleweight contender Chael Sonnen weighed in on the latest controversy surrounding former NFL star Greg Hardy’s (5-1-0, 1 NC) use of an inhaler mid-fight as well as exploring the idea of exactly who is at fault in this made for media mixed martial arts disaster.

“Greg Hardy goes out and he fights Ben Sosoli from Australia,” explains Sonnen. “Now I’m gonna tell you right now, I don’t want to hear it from you, I’m going to take you on a whole bunch of different directions,” warned the ESPN MMA analyst. “Before any, ‘Aw, Chael, you believe in conspiracy theories?’ – No, I’m not, hear me out on this alright, let’s just have a little bit of fun. Let’s just be some fans, let’s just be some people talking, but let’s just be wide minded,” a non-conspiratorial Sonnen said as he began to lay out his case.

“Now, let’s get into the fun. So, in between the second round and third round, Hardy’s corner comes in and Hardy calls for the inhaler. The corner says, ‘It’s USADA approved,’ he says that to a commission official that’s there and then says, ‘It’s in my pocket,’ and then takes the inhaler out and gives it to Greg Hardy who uses the inhaler,” said Sonnen. Not finished there, in no uncertain terms Sonnen went wanted to make this point very clear, “That is against the rules to the clearest and the highest of levels.”

With the kind of insight that only an industry insider could deliver, Sonnen went on to discuss some of the finer points of mixed martial arts competition that isn’t reported on a regular basis, including the rather obvious nature of the infraction from the Greg Hardy camp in question.

“Is it against the rules, yes, is it clearly against the rules, yes. Does it matter in the least if it is USADA approved … no, of course not!” said Sonnen. “To put this, but I want to put this into prospective for you, see, I know this, this is clear to me but I’ve did the sport for 22-years, but you guys may not know that, you may go, ‘Hey, wait a minute, if it’s not a problem with USADA, I thought he could take it?’ No, not even close,” exclaimed Sonnen.

Continuing, “By example, you cannot have Gatorade,” explained Chael. “Not only can you not have Gatorade during the fight, you can’t have Gatorade the second you enter the building. The second you walk into the locker room, the only thing you are allowed to put into your body is water. Oh, and by the way, a water that they, meaning the commission, hand you,” said Sonnen.

According to Chael, who once infamously took UFC middleweight legend Anderson Silva behind the woodshed for five rounds before succumbing to a come from behind submission hold to the UFC great, “Hold on, stories not over. He asked the commissioner, ‘Can I do this?’ The commissioner told him, ‘Yes.’ Greg Hardy has a reasonable right to rely on that information, including if that information is wrong, he has a reasonable right to expect it to be accurate information and then to rely on it, which is what he did,” explained Sonnen.

“That only means, okay, that he cannot be disciplined, there will not be a hearing, there will not be a revocation of his license, there will not be a monetary disciplinary action in my opinion,” said Sonnen. “It does not mean that his opponent can’t look at it and say, ‘A commission official gave bad information, which allowed an illegal advantage to my opponent,’ which it did, right?”

In explaining that Hardy’s opponent Ben Sosoli (7-2-0, 2 NC) should file an appeal, Chael went on to note that, “The question becomes who is at fault? In many parts, the question becomes who’s at fault. You have a commission who has the ultimate say, as a matter of a fact, the only say, not USADA and certainly not the promotion, it’s the commission. You would have a claim against that commission,” explained the longtime mixed martial arts veteran.

Stepping back into time, according to a January 26, 2018 MMAFighting.com article titled, “Mass confusion: Miscommunication leads to two different rulesets being used at UFC 220,” author Marc Raimondi writes that miscommunication at UFC 220 in Boston lead to mass confusion between the officials and fighters at the event.

According to Raimondi, “Everything was going as it usually does for Kyle Bochniak backstage at UFC 220. His hands were wrapped and approved by the commission. He went over the game plan with his coach. The referee for his fight with Brandon Davis came over and laid out the in-cage rules.” But according to the MMAFighting.com report, “Less than an hour later, Bochniak was warming up and “getting in the zone,” as he put it, for the important fight. Just as he was about to walk out, another referee came to him and said there had been a change.”

In a rather bizarre turn of events, according to Raimondi, “The first ref had told him the new Unified Rules of MMA would be in place for the fight; the second ref said to forget that — the commission had made a change and now it was actually the old rules. The ref comes in and says the athletic commission has changed it back to the old rules,” Bochniak said. And I’m like, ‘Whoa whoa whoa, what’s the old rules again?’”

The document went on to conclude that, “A miscommunication between the UFC, the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission (MSAC) and the referees working the card led to the rules being switched from new to old in the middle of the event.”

Bochniak went on to describe the bizarre set of events as a curve ball, something he had not previously seen before while ultimately downplaying the resulting confusion surrounding the use of two different sets of rules applied to the same UFC 220 event. They say where there is smoke, there is fire, and its unusual events like these and those that transpired at UFC on ESPN 6 with Greg Hardy, and the use of a commission approved inhaler that are really pause for concern.

Boston is a truly beautiful city with a long and storied history in boxing, though one unfortunately marred by impropriety and corruption. With mixed martial arts well on its way to becoming a global phenomenon, the experiences of UFC President Dana White, Greg Hardy and Kyle Bochniak indicate that there is every reason to be concerned. “The Anatomy of the Fight Game” suggests every conceivable angle in combat sports is potentially susceptible to perversion, if once is happenstance, twice is coincidence and three times is a full-blown conspiracy, then something stinks in Beantown that needs to be investigated.

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UFC on ESPN 6: Reyes vs. Weidman

By: Jesse Donathan

UFC on ESPN 6 is scheduled to take place Friday, October 19, 2019 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts live on ESPN 2 starting at 9:00 PM EST with a main event showcase between Dominick “The Devastator” Reyes (11-0, 6 KOs) and Chris “The All-American” Weidman (14-4, 6 KOs). The evenings co-main event will feature a rematch between Jeremy Stephens (28-16, 19 KOs) and Yair Rodriguez (12-2, 4 KOs), whose first bout ended in a wild no contest last month at UFC Fight Night 159 in Mexico City, Mexico after an accidental Rodriguez eye gouge rendered Stephens unable to continue.

In an October 15, 2019 The Schmo YouTube video titled, “Chris Weidman Feels a Striking Advantage over Dominick Reyes,” the former UFC middleweight champion was interviewed about his upcoming fight against the undefeated light heavyweight prospect Reyes. According to Weidman, when asked about how his body feels coming into his inaugural light heavyweight debut, “I honestly feel healthier than I’ve ever felt, not killing myself making weight anymore, that’s the reason that I moved up, to just keep my body healthy and not deplete myself,” said Weidman.

Photo Credit: UFC Twitter Account

The Schmo, who is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stagnant mixed martial arts media pool would go on to ask Weidman how the weight cutting was coming along for Friday night’s fight. According to the New York native, “There’s pretty much no weight cut at all, It’s been a joke compared to everything I’ve been used to throughout my whole career, so I’m just kind of like chilling, just kind of enjoying fight week, my little vacation, then I get to go in there and make a statement on Friday night,” the Serra-Longo Fight Team representative said.

“You’re fighting a guy who also wants to make a statement, he’s undefeated, he thinks he’s got a striking advantage against you, a lot of people are criticizing your chin man, what do you make of that,” The Schmo asked Weidman.

“I think if it was a striking match, I have the advantage to be honest. But unlucky for him, I also bring wrestling and Jiu-jitsu to the table to a level he’s never seen, he’s never even gone against a wrestler before and striking changes a lot when you have to worry about the takedown, and he’s going to have to worry about it, because the fact is, if I get on top, he hasn’t dealt with anything like that before, and it’s going to be … that’s a problem,“ Weidman said.

Speaking with Reyes in his October 15, 2019 YouTube video titled, “Dominick Reyes Comes Dressed To SCHMO,” The Schmo asked Reyes how he planned to get the win Friday night knowing Weidman wants to wrestle him. According to Reyes, “It’s simple man, stop the takedown, don’t let him try to wrestle me and knock him out man, put these hands on him, make him pay.”

“You moved back to California, working with “Hendo” Dan Henderson man with the wrestling, what have you been doing with him this fight camp,” The Schmo asked Reyes. “I’ve been wrestling with the man, man and he’s … catching a couple H-Bombs, so I know I got a chin on me, that’s for sure,” Reyes said of training with the legendary UFC and PRIDE champion.

Whether or not Weidman’s championship caliber skills translate over into the light heavyweight division is the big question coming into Friday night’s fight against a dangerous up and coming talent like Reyes, who is no walk in the park for a division where Weidman’s former middleweight nemesis Luke Rockhold was knocked out cold against Jan Blachowicz earlier this year at UFC 239 in July in his own light heavyweight debut. A matchup with UFC light heavyweight kingpin Jon Jones is potentially on the line for either fighter, upping the bounty for whoever emerges victorious Friday night. It’s going to be a fight you do not want to miss starting at 9:00 PM EST live on ESPN 2 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, tune in to catch all the action.

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UFC Fight Night 161: Jedrzejczyk vs. Waterson

By: Jesse Donathan

“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, and know when to run. You never count your money, when you’re sittin’ at the table, there’ll be time enough for countin’, when the dealin’s done.” – “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers.

UFC Fight Night 161 is taking place on Saturday, October 12, 2019 at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida live on ESPN+ and will feature a scheduled women’s strawweight bout between Joanna Jedrzejczyk (15-3-0, 4 KOs) and “The Karate Hottie” Michelle Waterson (17-6-0, 3 KOs). The evenings co-main event will feature a featherweight showdown between mixed martial arts veteran Cub Swanson (25-11-0, 11 KOs) and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu prodigy Kron Gracie (5-0, 0 KOs). Kron is the son of legendary Brazilian Jiu-jitsu master Rickson Gracie, who of course is the brother of mixed martial arts legend Royce Gracie.

According to Ken Pishna of MMAWeekly.com, “Reports surfaced on Wednesday that Saturday’s UFC on ESPN+ 19 main event between former strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and top contender Michelle Waterson was in danger of being canceled because of Jedrzejczyk struggling to make weight,” writes Pishna in his October 9, 2019 Yahoo Sports article titled, “Joanna Jedrzejczyk rebukes rumors of possible UFC Tampa main event cancellation.”

Citing an ESPN report by Ariel Helwani, the Yahoo Sports article went on to note that, “Multiple unnamed sources said that Jedrzejczyk informed UFC official(s) more than a week ago that she would be unable to make the 116-pound limit for the fight.” According to Pishna, “Waterson’s camp refused to accept a catchweight bout.”

“Did I miss something?” Jedrzejczyk told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. “Was the weigh-in today? It’s Friday, right? Today is Wednesday. There’s nothing to be stressed about. I should be the one stressed, and I’m not,” said Jedrzejczyk.

Digging deeper into the equation, according to an October, 9, 2019 Andrew Whitelaw YouTube video titled, “Michelle Waterson REACTS to reports that Joanna Jedrzejczyk will MISS WEIGHT!” Whitelaw would interview Waterson in an attempt to get to the bottom of the UFC Fight Night 161 main event controversy. Referring back to the original ESPN report, Whitelaw asked Waterson for her take on the situation as it presently stands.

According to Waterson, “You know what, um, that is something that my management team is working on currently. It’s not something that I am focused on, I’m focused on fighting Joanna Saturday, that is my main focus and I hope that she is professional enough to make weight and put on a show for the people who came to watch.”

“We knew this was going to be hard for her to make the weight,” Waterson explained. “Coming from 125 after fighting Shevchenko, putting muscle on, and not just like, not just regular weight, actual muscle,” said Waterson. “And with the extent of how long it’s been since she’s fought, we knew it was going to be rough for her. But we figured if she wanted to have the advantage of being the bigger girl, that she would sacrifice and make the weight.”

Cutting right to the chase, Whitelaw asked Waterson point blank, “Would you fight her, if she can’t make the weight, would you fight her at a catch weight?”

“It depends,” said Waterson with a smile. “You know, like, I think that is the most frustrating part, because you know, her claim to the UFC is the strawweight queen. So, if you’re the strawweight queen, make strawweight weight,” a clever Waterson said with a laugh.

Interestingly, according to an October 9, 2019 Twitter social media post from TSN Sports UFC reporter Aaron Bronsteter, “Combate have updated the story and report that the UFC have given Michelle Waterson two choices: Face Joanna this weekend at a catchweight or face Jessica Andrade at UFC 244.”

In response to the Combate report, Showtime combat sports analyst Luke Thomas weighed in on the latest developments in the on-going saga with Jedrzejczyk’s alleged weight issues. “Imagine training for a particular fighter with specific skills and body type for weeks,” writes Thomas. And, “By no fault of your own, they come to you last minute & say ‘fight her heavy now or her opposite soon.’ This is one of those areas where fighters having less leverage than boxers is glaring,” opined Thomas.

With Waterson’s hand seemingly forced into a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation at UFC Fight Night 161, a glimpse of how promotions can ultimately make or break fighters is gleaned through questionable ultimatums and threats of unfavorable matchups should they not bow to the promotions demands.

While a cancelled main event would be disastrous for the Ultimate Fighting Championship and its affiliates, one cannot help but wonder if there was another way to approach this situation beyond ultimatums to athletes who have did absolutely nothing wrong in this equation beyond train to meet their contractual weight requirements.

If Joanna Jedrzejczyk has lost her strawweight queen crown, it should not be incumbent on Michelle Waterson to help her find it by conceding the size, strength and weight advantage to appease an opponent who did not walk the line. Michelle Waterson is playing with a stacked deck of cards with a free trip behind the woodshed as a consolation prize Saturday night. Unless Friday’s weigh-in yields a 116-pound strawweight limit Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Waterson’s knowledge of knowing when to hold ‘em, when to fold ‘em, when to walk away and when to run is going to be tested.

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UFC 243: Adesanya Stops Whittaker to Claim Undisputed UFC Middleweight Title

By: Jesse Donathan

According to multiple sources, UFC 243 in Melbourne, Australia saw approximately 56,000 fans in attendance to watch the UFC middleweight title unification bout between Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya and Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker in the evenings main event. Adesanya, fighting out of New Zealand by way of Nigeria and Whittaker, a Sydney, Australia native are both hometown boys in the eyes of the Australian crowd who obviously turned out in mass to support their mixed martial arts heroes at the beautiful Marvel Stadium in downtown Melbourne.

Adesanya came into his UFC 243 middleweight title unification bout against Whittaker with a six-and-a-half-inch reach advantage at 6-foot-4-inches tall, at least a full four inches taller than his opponent. Nonetheless, the reigning, defending UFC middleweight champion Whittaker came into the fight a -105 betting favorite to hand the undefeated Adesanya his first career mixed martial arts loss.

“The Reaper” would come out strong right out of the gate, meeting Adesanya in the middle of the Octagon and pressing the action on the interim champion who displayed excellent footwork in measuring up the aggressive Whittaker. Taking a page out of UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones playbook, Whittaker immediately looked to land oblique kicks to the side of Adesanya’s knee. It was a war of low kicks early, with Whittaker bouncing up and down on the balls of his feet, periodically lunging in with powerful jabs and left hooks in an attempt to mitigate the reach and distance management of the experienced kickboxer Israel Adesanya.

Just over half way through the bout, the fighters would briefly clinch up with one another in the Octagon, and on the break, Whittaker miffs an open-handed strike passed Adesanya which rakes the interim champions eye, briefly bringing a halt to the action as referee Marc Goddard assesses the situation. After momentarily wiping his eye on Goddard’s shirt, Adesanya would collect himself despite the increasingly common eye gouging technique that seems to enjoy the benefit of the doubt all too often anymore.
The fight would resume with Adesanya momentarily pressing forward on Whittaker before “The Reaper” would turn the tables, launching a failed superman punch that got Adesanya backing up. With both fighter’s head hunting, high kicks would launch numerous times from both athletes, Adesanya coming dangerously close to connecting on Whittaker at one point during the contest.

With just under 10-seconds left in the round, Whittaker would explode with a final volley of punches that ended up seeing Adesanya clobber Whittaker with a huge right hand just as the bell sounded that sent Robert crashing to the canvas, the champion potentially saved by the bell as “The Reaper” looked noticeably hurt returning back to his corner. It was a 10-9 round for the interim champion Adesanya who looked poised, calm and collected in the first stanza of the bout.

In between rounds, Whittaker looked calm and collected on his stool, the champions conditioning no doubt playing a huge role in his ability to recover from such a powerful blow. The two fighters would again meet each other in the middle of the Octagon, with Whittaker going back to the oblique kicks and his lunging style of attack against Adesanya in part credited by the fight announcers to the hard-fought success Kelvin Gastelum found against Adesanya in his losing effort to capture the interim title against Israel. In critiquing Adesanya’s game plan, former two-division champion Daniel Cormier, calling the evenings fight in Melbourne, would note that Adesanya was looking to counter Whittaker with a hook throughout much of the fight, an observation which would soon turn out to be a prophetic.

Whether through the fog of war, a lapse in focus and concentration, fatigue or perhaps even injury, Whittaker would begin to noticeably slow down half way through the second round. His footwork, in and out movement and overall mobility began to cease as the flatter footed, stationary Whittaker looked more and more like a target for the dangerous Adesanya. This was the beginning of the end for Robert Whittaker whose right leg seemed to be injured and giving him problems.
With under two minutes remaining in the round, Whittaker would launch a multiple punch combination against Adesanya who managed to connect with a huge left hook in the middle of the sequence which sent Whittaker crashing to the canvas with Adesanya and Goddard in close pursuit.
Swarming the obviously hurt Whittaker, referee Marc Goddard had decided he had seen enough, waiving off the contest with Israel Adesanya claiming the undisputed UFC middleweight championship in impressive fashion.

Like the true champion that he is, Robert Whittaker came to compete Saturday night and went out on his shield like many legendary warriors before him. “The Reaper” came to bang against a dangerous, seasoned kickboxer in a fight he could have easily chosen to take a completely different path in game planning against. Hindsight being 20/20, perhaps Whittaker should have looked to execute a more takedown based, ground oriented style of attack against Adesanya but the UFC middleweight title is now unified and Israel Adesanya has put his name on the map as someone to be respected and reckoned with in the middleweight division. Next up for Adesanya, a potential clash with middleweight juggernaut Paulo Costa or perhaps better yet, even a superfight with UFC light heavyweight kingpin Jon Jones in a fight the UFC has been looking to put together for quite sometime now. ​

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UFC 243 Middleweight Title Unification: Whittaker vs. Adesanya

By: Jesse Donathan

UFC 243 will air Saturday, October 6, 2019 at the Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia live on ESPN+ pay-per-view (PPV) with the main event slated to take place between the UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker (20-4, 9 KOs) and the UFC Interim Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya (17-0, 13 KOs). The evenings co-main event will feature a lightweight showdown between Al Iaquinta (14-5-1, 7 KOs) and New Zealander Dan Hooker (18-8, 10 KOs). For those interesting in watching the big boys go to town, Australia’s own heavyweight Tai “Bam-Bam” Tuivasa (8-2-0, 7 KOs) will meet Sergey Spivak (9-1-0, 4 KOs) in a battle of Octagon supremacy.

“I never have any expectations with fights,” Whittaker told MMAJunkie.com in an October 2, 2019 social media report. The champion would go on to state, “I prepare for a war and you know, I am pleasantly surprised if anything else. So, I am prepared to go to war with this guy, I am prepared to drag it and make it dirty, make it messy for five rounds, for 25-minutes. Every second of being hard, I am prepared for that. And you know, I am happy to take it there if that’s where he wants it to go. But as far as I am concerned, I have 25-minutes to try and put him away and I am going to use every minute to try and do that.”

“Look, (expletive) the belt,” Adesanya told TheMacLife in their October 3, 2019 interview on YouTube.com titled, “Israel Adesanya: “He’s not the first Maori I’ve fought, trust me” | UFC 243 Open Workout.” According to “The Last Style Bender,” who captured the interim title at UFC 236 in April against Kelvin Gastelum, “For me, the real goal is beating him because he is a warrior. He’s got that Maori blood in him and he’s not the first Maori I’ve fought, trust me. So, Sunday, October 6th, if you don’t have your tickets, don’t steal, don’t do nothing crazy, just make sure you get your tickets because trust me, we are going to blow that place up.”

Unfortunately, perhaps the biggest story of UFC 243 is the increasingly common seepage of political dogma into combat sports. “In many ways, the UFC took a few pages out of boxing’s book when it came into existence nearly 26 years ago,” writes BloodyElbow.com’s Milan Ordonez in his September 11, 2019 article titled, “Melbourne politician wants Octagon girls out of UFC 243: ‘It’s surely time to move on’.” According to Ordonez, among the pages the UFC took out of boxings playbook were, “the 10-point must system, the three judges scoring the fight, and ring girls.”

But if Australia’s politicians would have their way, the UFC’s Octagon girls could be replaced with Fight Progress Managers. “During the controversial boxing match between Jeff Horn and Michael Zerafa in Bendigo, Australia in late August, ring card girls were replaced by men referred to as Fight Progress Managers,” writes BloodyElbow.com.

“It’s 2019, do we really still need scantily-clad women to wander around the middle of a fighting ring between rounds,” Lord Mayor of Melbourne Sally Capp told the Herald Sun. “Grid girls are no longer part of Formula One; walk-on girls are no longer part of professional darts — surely it’s time to move on,” suggested Capp.

In a September 26, 2019 MMAMania.com article titled, “Dana White reacts to ‘ridiculous’ ban on UFC Octagon girls — ‘Nobody treats women better than we do,” author Jesse Holland quotes UFC President Dana White’s comments to The Daily Telegraph in response to the Lord Mayor’s political wrangling into combat sports. “Our Octagon girls, they’re as much a part of the UFC brand as anyone, they’re ambassadors for our sport,” said White. “So, for someone who has absolutely no education whatsoever about who these girls are – about what they do, what they mean to the UFC – to start going off, it’s ridiculous.”

While it may be ridiculous, mixed martial arts has a long history with political red tape interfering with an otherwise enjoyable evening of fights dating back to nearly the inception of the sport itself. With the No Holds Barred era of MMA essentially stamped out of existence due to overzealous politicians and the implementation of the unified rules system, this latest dustup from Australia’s elected officials is only the beginning of a political platform that is sure to grow louder in the coming years as the desire for change reverberates throughout a combat sports community with a sympathetic ear to lobbying interests and radically shifting cultural and social norms. For those who are just fine with the way things currently are now in MMA, tune into the UFC 243 pay-per-view event live on ESPN+ Saturday night to catch all the evenings best fights.

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