(Well, at least Miller’s training for what awaits him in prison.)
If you ever find yourself in a heated discussion about the American justice system, look no further than the case of Jason “Mayhem” Miller as proof that it might be in need of some retooling. The former Strikeforce/UFC fighter has been arrested no less than half a dozen times in the past couple of years for various degrees of assault (some on women, others on police officers) and yet continue to roam free from the only cage he actually belongs in: a jail cell or padded room. It’s a statistical anomaly, really.
But because MMA promoters do not care one bit about the wellbeing of their fighters, it was announced a couple days back that Miller would be returning from his self-imposed retirement/exile/whatever to take on Luke Barnatt at Venator FC III in Milan, Italy on May 21st. It was, in a word, saddening.
Even more saddening, as it turns out, is what Miller did immediately after booking the fight…
For three endless, slogging rounds, Gonzaga and Erokhin circled, stared, circled, and stared at each other, seemingly too scared to engage while the 1,800 people in attendance showered (or perhaps sprinkled, considering how few of them there were) them with boos.
By the time the abysmal contest had wrapped up, the pair of heavyweights had combined for just 35 significant strikes in total, with Gonzaga’s 20 strikes (and 2 takedowns!) earning him the victory.
Truthfully, we cannot even begin to imagine how a fight could possibly be worse than the Gonzaga vs. Erokhin already was, but somehow, someway, recent developments have allowed us to downgrade it from “piss-poor” to “the absolute nadir of professional mixed martial arts.”
(No no no, Ben. You’re supposed to kick dirt *in* your opponent’s face, you silly goose. via Getty)
Ben Rothwell has been enjoying quite the little career resurgence in recent years. After starting his UFC career off a mediocre 2-2, “Big Ben” has been running roughshod over every heavyweight he’s faced in the past three years. Even more impressive than the wins themselves has been the ways in which Rothwell has been finishing his opponents, which include a knockout win over former K1 champion Alistair Overeem and most recently, a submission of the previously unsubmittable Josh Barnett at UFC on FOX 18.
So I guess it’s about time that we start taking Stephen Thompson seriously as a title contender, eh?
Matched up against former welterweight champion Johny Hendricks in the main of event of Saturday’s Fight Night 82, the general consensus seemed to be that “Wonderboy” would ultimately succumb to the wrestling prowess of “Bigg Rigg” as several more talented grapplers had before him. Of course, you can’t exactly outwrestle your opponent if you can’t touch him, and it appeared as if Stephen Thompson was fighting from the future.
Utilizing his trademark karate stance and a level of accuracy that rivaled Anderson Silva‘s UFC debut, Thompson not only tore through Hendricks, he did so almost effortlessly. He stuffed the former champ’s takedowns, beautifully managed his distance, and mixed up his attacks with almost machine-like precision, cracking one of the game’s most lauded chins in the process. Once you take away a man’s steakhouse, you take away his fire, I always say, and Hendricks looked like a man without fire on Saturday. The guy with a canon of a left hand just isn’t there anymore, it would seem, and a credit is due to “Wonderboy” for the ease with which he was able to nullify Hendricks.
Fight Night 82 also featured Roy Nelson’s return to the win column, a horrifically broken jaw, and an early contender for “Knockout of the Year,” so check out all the highlights and results after the jump.
Welterweight Tim Means might be best known for once getting KO’d by a sauna, but it turns out that he’s actually a pretty talented fighter in his own right (and boasts one of the best nicknames in the game to boot). Since returning to the UFC in 2014, “The Dirty Bird” has put together a respectable 5-2 record, with wins over TUF 19 finalist Dhiego Lima and George Sullivan among others.
Fresh off a second round starching of John Howard at Fight Night 80 in December, Means was set to welcome Donald Cerrone to the welterweight division at Fight Night 83 later this month in a fight that had “fireworks” written all over it. Unfortunately for us, Means’ recent out-of-competition test happened to have FAILURE written all over it as well, resulting in “The Dirty Bird” being pulled from the card and yet another main event being placed in jeopardy.
(“If anyone from the bank shows up looking for a guy named Edward Targaryen, you never heard of him, okay?” via Getty.)
It has been a whirlwind handful of months for the Ronda Rousey camp, to put it lightly. Her loss to Holly Holm aside, it would appear as if Rousey’s support system is crumbling to the ground around her, or at the very least, setting all the charges for an eventual explosion.
A few years ago, when it was time for free agency in the NBA, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all decided to each take a little less money and play together for the Miami Heat. How did that turn out? Oh, not too bad. While they failed to live up to the expectations placed upon them, they still managed to win back-to-back championships and made the NBA Finals four years in a row.
What does this have to do with mixed martial arts?
Much like James, Wade and Bosh are considered three of the very best players in the NBA, there are currently three MMA fighters on the free agent market that have the opportunity to introduce a sea change to the sport.
Dominick Cruz vs. TJ Dillashaw, UFC Fight Night 81
January 23rd, in Boston, Massachusetts Eddie Alvarez vs. Anthony Pettis, UFC Fight Night 81
January 23rd, in Boston, Massachusetts Anthony Johnson vs. Ryan Bader, UFC on FOX 18
January 30th, in Newark, New Jersey Fabricio Werdum vs. Cain Velasquez II, UFC 196
February 6th, in Las Vegas, Nevada Johny Hendricks vs. Stephen Thompson, UFC 196
February 6th, in Las Vegas, Nevada Donald Cerrone vs. Tim Means, UFC Fight Night 82
February 21st, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Cody Garbrandt vs. John Lineker, UFC Fight Night 82
February 21st, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Marcos Galvao vs. Eduardo Dantas II, Bellator 150
February 26th, in Mulvane, Kansas Anderson Silva vs. Michael Bisping, UFC Fight Night 83
February 27th, in London, England Michael Page vs. Fernando Gonzalez, Bellator 151
March 4th, in Thackerville, Oklahoma Conor McGregor vs. Rafael Dos Anjos, UFC 197
March 5th, in Las Vegas, Nevada Holly Holm vs. Miesha Tate, UFC 197
March 5th, in Las Vegas, Nevada Mark Hunt vs. Frank Mir, UFC Fight Night 84
March 20th, in Brisbane, Australia