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December, 2013

The Unsupportable Opinion: UFC 168 Is Kind of a Garbage-Ass Card


(Yeah, and…?)

As some promoters would have you believe, UFC 168: Silva vs. Weidman 2 is the biggest event in UFC history. It’s so stacked, in fact, that some unnamed executives at Zuffa decided to raise the price of the card $5, in a one-time-only mini-gouge. (Dana White’s explanation for this? “Cuz.” Ladies and gentlemen, your UFC president.)

The price bump carries the implication that UFC 168 is not just a great pay-per-view event, it’s more valuable than every single UFC show that came before it. But is it? Let’s take a quick look at the pay-per-view lineup — i.e., the five fights they’re asking you to pay for:

Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva (for UFC middleweight title)
Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate (for women’s bantamweight title)
Josh Barnett vs. Travis Browne (HW)
Jim Miller vs. Fabricio Camoes (LW)
Dustin Poirier vs. Diego Brandao (FW)

To me, we’re talking about three big fights. The shocking ending of Silva vs. Weidman 1 gives their rematch a great narrative (horrible marketing aside), and it’s safe to say that most UFC fans are curious to see how the sequel will turn out. Rousey vs. Tate is compelling simply because all Ronda Rousey appearances are compelling, but there’s nothing to suggest that her second meeting with Miesha won’t end in another first-round armbar. And Barnett vs. Browne? Yep, I’m on board for that.

Beyond that, we have two solid contender fights that you could find on any other UFC main card. This kind of arrangement would place UFC 168 in line with past mega-shows like UFC 92 and UFC 100, which also followed the “two huge fights, one really good fight, two pretty decent fights” format. The difference is, the UFC never tried to jack up the prices of those shows, and there’s a reason for that. In 2008-2009, a UFC card with two big-name title fights was a special occasion. These days, it’s a ultra-rare fluke — and this might be the last time you see it.

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Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva Tests Positive for Elevated Testosterone, Hit With Nine-Month Suspension and Loss of $50,000 Bonus


(“Dammit, Jose! You told me this stuff was safe!” / Photo via Getty)

Sadly, one of the greatest heavyweight fights in UFC history will now have an asterisk next to it. Yesterday evening, MMAJunkie broke the news that Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva tested positive for elevated testosterone following his five-round war against Mark Hunt at UFC Fight Night 33, December 7th in Brisbane, Australia. As a result, the UFC — which regulated the event and was responsible for fighter drug-testing — has suspended Silva for nine months retroactive to the date of the fight, and stripped him of his $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus. The bout with Hunt will be changed to a no-contest on Bigfoot’s professional record, although Hunt still gets to keep his draw, and will receive the $50k that would have gone to Silva.

According to a statement released by a UFC rep, “Silva is on a medically approved regimen of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), and had been in compliance with therapeutic guidelines on all pre-fight tests performed prior to the event. The results of his test on the day of the event indicated a level of testosterone outside of allowable limit. Silva has been informed that the elevated testosterone level is a violation of the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy and his Promotional Agreement with Zuffa.”

As our own George Shunick put it, “Someone please explain to me how a man who is 280 pounds of bone, sinew and muscle has a ‘legitimate’ prescription for TRT.” That’s a very good question. When Silva tested positive for horse-steroids back in 2008, he blamed the result on an over-the-counter testosterone booster called Novodex, which he was using to treat his gigantism, brought on by cysts on his pituitary gland. And once again, Silva is claiming that his latest failed test is not his fault:

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Despite Being ‘Unranked,’ Tyron Woodley Gets #1 Contender Fight Against Carlos Condit at UFC 171


(Woodley might not be in the top ten, but he was definitely the people’s champion that night. / Photo via Getty)

Ever since Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler was booked as the first welterweight title fight in the post-Georges era, the UFC has been trying to find a high-profile dance partner for Carlos Condit on the UFC 171 card (March 15th, Dallas). As UFC president Dana White has recently explained, it wouldn’t be Matt Brown because Brown’s health is uncertain, it wouldn’t be Nick Diaz because Diaz turned the match down, and it wouldn’t be Tyron Woodley because T-Wood hasn’t cracked the top ten according to the UFC’s totally irrelevant rankings.

But earlier today, the UFC found an opponent for Condit, and it’s…Tyron Woodley? Huh. We’re not saying that the guy doesn’t deserve the opportunity, considering that he just beat the brakes off of Josh Koscheck and everybody else in the division is either booked or injured. Maybe now we can stop pretending that the UFC’s official rankings mean jack-shit, since they always seem to fly out the window as soon as it’s time to find a warm body. (Though I’ll bet you a nickel Woodley magically appears in the top ten the next time the rankings are updated. Seriously. Just watch.)

According to Dana White, Woodley texted him “15 times a day” when Matt Brown pulled out of his scheduled UFC on FOX 9 match against Condit, but of course, DW digs fighters who step up. “There are guys like (Woodley) that are out there,” White said. “Those are the guys I want to deal with. Those are the guys I want to hear from. I love Tyron Woodley. I love it.”

As MMAJunkie reports, the winner of Condit vs. Woodley is likely to get the winner of Hendricks vs. Lawler, which means that theoretically, MMA dinosaur Robbie Lawler could be defending his UFC welterweight title against currently-”unranked” Tyron Woodley sometime next summer. What a country.

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Terrible, Stupid, Just Awful Idea of the Day: A Man vs. Woman Fight is Going Down at Shooto Brazil 45 This Weekend [UPDATED]

God damn it, you guys. God. Damn. It.

Maybe it’s just me, but everytime it seems like this thing we call MMA is finally on the right track towards honest-to-God legitimacy, Jose Canseco shows up, or the UFC signs a yoga instructor(‘s death warrant), or some shit like this happens and we’re back to square one.

Begin the SMH’ing, because some Brazilian website is reporting that Shooto, one of Brazil’s longest and (formerly) most prestigious MMA organizations, is planning a man vs. woman fight at this weekend’s Shooto Brazil 45. Specifically, Nova Uniao product Emerson Falcao vs. Team Nogueira’s Juliana Velasquez. Who will be making her professional debut. 

I…I just can’t anymore, you guys. Wiping my hands of this whole thing.

And who came up with this fucking ree-dick-you-lus idea, you ask? Oh, just Andre Pederneiras, the legendary Uniao founder/trainer who has seemed like a relatively intelligent individual up until this point. Maybe he knows something we don’t. In any case, here’s the scoop, as Velasquez told MMAFighting:

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Urijah Faber’s Latest Comeback, And the Mystery of Creating New UFC Stars Under 155 Pounds


(Urijah Faber was the UFC’s biggest “little” star when the 145- and 135-pounders entered the promotion three years ago — and not much has changed since then. / Photo via Getty)

By Adam Martin

This past weekend at UFC on FOX 9, for the eighth time in eight UFC fights, Urijah Faber was on a fight poster for a UFC card as one of the main three fights of the night — an absolute rarity for any sub-155 pound fighter. The card, which took place in Faber’s backyard of Sacramento, California, marked the fifth time Faber has either headlined or co-headlined a UFC event in the nearly three years he’s been with the promotion.

Not only is Faber the only sub-155′er to be featured on eight fight posters, but he’s also only one of three to be featured in five or more main or co-main events of UFC cards, along with UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo and UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson.

However, unlike Johnson, who has fought mostly on free TV, only Faber and Aldo have appeared in more than one pay-per-view main or co-main event, with Faber having headlined two thus far and Aldo three.

According to Wikipedia, there are currently 419 fighters signed to the UFC, not including the recently-added women’s strawweights. 126 of those fighters are part of the UFC featherweight, bantamweight, and flyweight divisions. Including women’s bantamweight fighters, 144 fighters currently signed to the UFC are part of the sub-155 pound weight classes.

My math skills aren’t great, but that should mean that 34% of UFC fighters are either 145, 135, or 125 pounds. And yet, for some reason, despite over a third of the roster fighting in these weight classes, only two of those 144 fighters have headlined two or more UFC pay-per-view cards, despite the UFC having featured 42 PPV events over the last three years since the little guys merged over from the WEC in late 2010 (not including UFC 124, which only featured lightweights and above).

How can this be?

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Hit the Ground Runnin’: Julie Kedzie Lands Gig As Invicta FC’s New Matchmaker


(No, we will *not* stop using this photo of Julie Kedzie, thank you very much. Via MMAFighting.)

Well that didn’t take long.

Just a few weeks after announcing her retirement from the sport following a split decision loss to UFC newcomer Bethe Correira at Fight Night 33, Julie Kedzie has already found a new gig. During an appearance on yesterday’s “MMA Hour,” the WMMA pioneer/adorable cat lady announced that she will be pulling double duty over at Invicta FC moving forward, serving as the promotion’s matchmaker in addition to continuing with the color commentating role she has held since last year. Said Kedzie in a press release:

I am excited about this incredible new opportunity that will allow me to remain as active and hands on as ever in contributing to the growth of women’s competition in our great sport, Shannon Knapp has done an unbelievable job at pushing the envelope and helping transform women’s MMA into an aggressively expanding enterprise, a development that will undoubtedly lead to increased participation in the sport by young women athletes who want to challenge themselves in the world’s fastest growing sport.

Whew. For a second there I thought Kedzie was going to announce that she, just now, had reached the peak of her physical prime and was unretiring. Crisis averted, Taters.

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited as all hell to see what kind of matchups Kedzie puts together in Invicta’s *stacked* strawweight division. The possibilities are endless: Thug Rose vs. Hyatt, Van Zant vs. Herrig, Esparza vs….what’s that you say?

-J. Jones

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Georges St-Pierre Spotted in Miami, Partying Like a Semi-Retired Ex-Champion [VIDEO]


(Props: TMZ via MMAMania)

So here’s former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre dancing with (or at least near) some chick at a South Beach nightclub. And it raises an important question — can a man ever look cool dancing with a drink in his hand? This has troubled me my entire life. It’s like, you want to have your drink with you because alcohol is the only thing that reduces the crushing anxiety of being at a nightclub, but when you’re dancing with your drink, you’re very aware of it spilling, either on your brand new shirt, or on the female you’re dancing with (or trying to dance with), or on some meathead who wants to prove his manhood by overreacting when a half-ounce of Corona is splashed on his shoes.

And so, one of your hands/arms is almost completely demobilized, while you try to look cool moving the other parts of your body. That never works, and it only makes you more self-aware and uncomfortable. In other words, consuming alcohol turns down the volume on anxiety, but holding the drink itself brings it back up again. Even GSP — one of the baddest, sauvest men walking the Earth — seems to be somewhat stumped by this riddle. You can be the toughest dude on the planet, but as soon as you start bobbing to the music holding your beer, you’re just another regular goof.

It’s obvious that Georges St-Pierre enjoys the act of dancing, because honestly, why else would he be doing it? Dancing is essentially a human mating-ritual, something we do to attract sexual partners through the display of physical dexterity and confidence. But if you’re rich and famous and good-looking, people will want to fuck you anyway, no matter what you do. You don’t have to dance. You can just kick back and order expensive bottles at a VIP table, nodding at women to make them come over. What if GSP put his drink down on the floor and just started doing this? I think that would make for a much funnier TMZ video. But the thing is, that dark-haired girl wouldn’t laugh at him, or walk away. She’d raise her arms and go “whooooo!” and probably start twerking or something. I don’t know. It looks fun, doesn’t it?

(BG)

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Doug Marshall Suspended by PSAC After Failing Drug Test; ‘Rhino Era’ Ends With a Whimper


(Still…how could you not love this guy? / Photos via Sherdog)

When middleweight slugger Doug Marshall got body-shot KO’d by Alexander Shlemenko during their title fight at Bellator 109, it put an end to one of the most unlikely career-comebacks in recent memory — a brief and terrifying period that we came to affectionately refer to as “The Rhino Era.” (aka, “Year of the Rhino,” “Rhino Time”) And unfortunately, Doug’s unhappy ending just got unhappier.

As first broken by TheMMAReport.com, Marshall tested positive for an undisclosed banned substance following his loss to Shlemenko last month, and has been suspended by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission. PSAC Executive Director Gregory Sirb wouldn’t confirm the length of the suspension or any other details, but we’ll update you when we know more. In response to the news, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney issued a short statement to TheMMAReport:

Greg Sirb at the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission operates one of the best commissions in the country. Doug Marshall will have to adhere to any and every penalty that the Pennsylvania Commission delivers. When competing at the highest level, fighters are expected to train and prepare for their fights according to the rules and should fully expect to be tested at every Bellator event.”

“Expect to be tested” is an interesting way of putting it…

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In Case You’re Still Watching: TUF 19 Cast Revealed, Contains Zero Untested Yoga Instructors


(“So what *is* “Mahalo,” like a giant fish or something?” Photo via BJPenn.com)

We’re not sure if the full cast list for The Ultimate Fighter 19 was accidentally leaked or not yet, but being that the members of both *teams* were already revealed by a promo that has since been taken down, all signs seem to point to another technical snafu on FOX’s end. In any case, the information is out there now, and all we can do is pass it along in the hopes of deterring some of you from the premiere episode of yet another unnecessary season of a long dead show. Can you imagine what it would be like if Seinfeld went nineteen seasons? PULL THE PLUG ALREADY, DANA!!

This season’s TUF will feature middleweight and light heavyweight participants as well as the red hot coaching matchup of B.J. Penn vs. Frankie Edgar, with Penn and Edgar completing their trilogy at featherweight next April. Although the season has already started filming, no official air date has been revealed and blah blah blah I’m already bored. Check out the full cast after the jump courtesy of BloodyElbow:

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UFC on Fox 9: The Good, The Bad, And the Ugly


(Uh…guys? I’m pretty sure that’s Herb Dean. / Screencap via r/MMA)

By Mark Dorsey

Before we get into the endless promotion for the year-ending and stacked UFC 168: Weidman vs. Silva 2, let’s take one last, clear-eyed look at what went down at WEC UFC on Fox 9. The injury-cursed event seemed destined to be a disappointment to many fans who consider the lighter fighters boring, especially considering it was the lightest fight card in UFC history, with an average weight of just over 145 pounds. The fact that the fights were taking place at the Sleep Train Arena seemed like a bad omen, foretelling the coma-inducing boredom that might have resulted from a night of decisions. Nevertheless, despite the haters, the smaller guys provided a card of highly entertaining fights and they showcased why many MMA purists consider them the most exciting fighters in the sport.

The Good
• Too often, referees only get noticed when they screw up. However, the officials for this card should be praised for a solid night of work in which they did their jobs properly and kept the focus where it belongs: the fighters. Props to John McCarthy, Herb Dean, and Mike Beltran for getting through the 11-fight card with no critical errors. Even Dana White, who has been openly critical of MMA officiating in the past, praised both Big John and Herb Dean, saying, “These are the best guys” and complimented his one-time nemesis, McCarthy, saying, “When John is in that Octagon, he is in absolute and total control.”

• Much has been written lately about the success of Team Alpha Male under head trainer, Daune “Bang” Ludwig. Saturday night gave the camp an opportunity to showcase how deserving they were of that praise, with four fighters from the Sacramento-based crew competing. As a whole, the team didn’t perform flawlessly, but they did manage to win two of their four fights. It was a great night for Urijah Faber, as the hometown hero steamrolled Michael McDonald and established himself — again — as the top contender in the Bantamweight division. Chad Mendes also did what he needed to, beating Nik Lentz by unanimous decision. On the losing side, Danny Castillo dropped a close decision to Edson Barboza that many thought should have been a draw, and Joseph Benavidez got knocked out cold by Demetrious Johnson. Other than Benavidez, Team Alpha looked good, and judging from their backstage reaction to Urijah Faber’s win, they truly are a tightknit group that will continue their upward trajectory.

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