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Ask The Potato: Once More, With Feeling

Seasons Greetings From – Watch more Funny Videos
(Back by popular demand. Who says you can’t have Christmas in April?)

First of all, let me start by assuring everyone that I am not leaving Cage Potato to fight Anderson Silva, manage the utterly hopeless Dave Farra, work for the UFC, or begin a prison jolt (my mom asked me to be very specific about debunking that one). Instead, I am leaving to take a job with AOL’s, which is where you’ll find my work beginning next week.  Hope to see you there.

Second, I’m overwhelmed by the appreciation and support from you guys – even the sort of mean appreciation and support – and I can’t thank you all enough. That said, don’t act like this is a death blow to this site. Half the hilarious stuff you guys have attributed to me was written by Ben Goldstein, who was holding it down well before I came on board, and I happen to know that a very capable replacement has been chosen who will keep CP fully stocked in LOLs long after I’m gone.

Now, on to your petty questions.

I guess my question is WHY, oh WHY ARE YOU LEAVING US?

– LargeMidget

Because I hate you. And I mean you, personally, LargeMidget. Okay, not really. I just strongly dislike you. The real reason I’m leaving is because, after two years, I feel like doing something a little different. It’s been great writing for the Potato, and I’ve enjoyed the hell out of it, but it feels like it’s time to move on and try something else. That’s all.

Hey Ben,

First and foremost, thank you for all of your entertaining posts and insights into the sport. You have been a source of much entertainment and I wish you the best of luck in your new endeavor.

Many of the readers know that you received an MFA from U of M. I hold a degree in English and believe that earning an MFA in Creative Writing is one of the things I am supposed to do. My question for you is, what advice/words of wisdom would you offer to those seeking to pursue this degree? Also, what attracted you to your program and what did you like best while you were in it?

Thanks Ben, vaya con Dios amigo!

– landOencagement

Wow, an actual question, and one not at all related to MMA. But screw it, it’s my last day so I can do what I want. My advice when it comes to getting an MFA in Creative Writing is a) don’t do it because you think it will help you get a job afterwards (it won’t), b) don’t do it because you think anyone will be impressed by it (they won’t), and c) only do it because you genuinely want to become a better writer. Or because you want to drink a lot in the company of other socially awkward people.

Seriously though, for all the negative stuff that gets said about grad programs – especially the arts-related ones – I loved my program at the U of M. That’s where I found out that I didn’t really know as much about writing as I thought I did, and it’s also where I met many of my closest friends, including my wife. What attracted me to that program was that, for one, they let me in, and they also gave me a teaching fellowship, so I didn’t have to sink into debt just to learn how to write short stories. Trust me, that makes a huge difference.

Hey Ben that baby is due any day now. Now how about that onesie?

– Ballentine

You got it, Ballentine. The onesie is in the mail. But FYI, it is covered in anthrax. See you in hell.


What is you biggest CP Highlight and regret?

least favorite poster?

likely hood you will ever want to meet up sometime with the CP loyal at the first NY mma event? or just a fun weekend with yours truly? and yes, all expenses paid by me, but that means sex in some form.

– Perdew

I guess I’ll answer these in order, since they seem to go from surprisingly reasonable to downright creepy in a hurry. My personal CP highlight was probably the two-part interview with NY State Assemblyman Bob Reilly, as odd as that sounds. I just felt like the guy was making a lot of really flawed arguments against MMA, and I was glad to get the chance to try and get him to explain those a little more, so we could all see the nature of his opposition trotted out into the light of day. The Christmas message and Gambling Enabler videos are a close second, and the collaboration BG and I did on the ‘What Your Favorite Fighter Says About You’ series was a lot of fun as well.

My biggest regret? Probably that I never figured out how to embezzle company money. Or did I…

Least favorite poster definitely has to be Aptninja. Something about that guy. Seems like someone I’d really like to punch in the face repeatedly.

As far as meeting up with citizens of the Potato Nation, hell, I’ll always be game for that. I was surprised how many loyal CP readers came up to me at the last UFC Fan Expo, or at various pre-fight parties that we’ve co-hosted. I love meeting and talking with people who are passionate about MMA and yet also maintain a sense of humor about it, so no matter who I’m working for that won’t change.

That weekend jaunt you mentioned, though? The one with just the two of us? Yeah, I’ve got a thing that weekend. It’s, you know it’s just this thing I committed to a long time ago. Otherwise I’d totally be there. Really.

Wait, which Ben were you; hairy forearms or receeding hairline?

– PingPong

Hairy forearms.

I have a questioned that I have wondered Ben:

Quote: The two other televised bouts for UFC 91 aren’t likely to be on anyone’s list of must-sees…

Tamdan McCrory takes on Dustin Hazelett

Why, Why would you say that!

– JaredMagno

Let me get this straight. You want to bust my chops over the last paragraph of a UFC 91 preview article on that ran in November of 2008? Seriously? What, did your therapist tell you to find a new obsession now that all your friends are sick of hearing about your parents’ divorce?

But okay, I’ll play ball. The point of that article, if you bothered to read the whole thing, was that here Dana White had predicted 1.2 million pay-per-view buys for a card that had – and I stand by this characterization – a relatively weak undercard. Couture-Lesnar is a big seller, sure, but Gonzaga-Hendricks? Naw, playa. If you recall, McCrory-Hazelett was bumped up from the prelims only after the injury to Amir Sadollah, and I still had plenty of nice things to say about both guys. Really, I love watching both those dudes fight, but it’s not a bout people would pay for on its own and you know it. That’s all. Now let it go.

But seriously, Fowlkesy, here’s my question: In your hands you hold a sledgehammer. You are ordered to kill one of the two people behind the curtain or else a sniper shoots you in the dick with a high-powered rifle. The curtain falls and there stand GSP and Fedor bound, gagged and unconscious. Scrawled across their chests in red sharpie are the words "Goldstein wuz here" (this is irrelevant to the matter at hand but you can’t help notice it and feel weirded out). Now, Fowlkes. Who do you murder with the sledgehammer? GSP or Fedor?

– Kindling

That’s easy. I kill GSP. I’m not happy about it, and I probably have tears streaming down my face as I swing the hammer, first timidly and then with increasing and terrifying fervor, but I know it’s the right decision. Why? Because if I kill Fedor I’ve made some very dangerous enemies. He’s all M-1 has, and they seem like the kind of guys who wouldn’t soon forget how I’d chosen to destroy their livelihoods. If I kill GSP I just have a bunch of angry women and French Canadians to answer to, which is really not much different from my life now.

God damnit BF how could you do this to me? Ive spent the last 2 months trying to get my girl back and you go and do this? I cant deal with two losses. But on the brighter side of things congrats on the new gig and you can count on me to be an avid reader. You making my overnight shifts 10 times better. Thanks for the memories. I bid you good riddance.

– Sjsurf

Man, you have to let her go. Here’s what you’re going to do: write her a really mean email where you express all the terrible things you’ve thought about her but never spoken aloud, hit save instead of send, go to a seedy bar and get drunk, go to bed with whatever woman will have you, come home early the next morning, eat a Hot Pocket in your underwear, cry for a few hours, listen to some Springsteen, write in your journal, do some push-ups, then delete that email and create an online dating profile. Trust me, you’ll feel better.

What advice would you give someone looking at starting an mma blog other than don’t do it?

– Aarondramp

In order of importance:

1) Update regularly, but at least once a day.
2) Offer your readers something they aren’t getting anywhere else (or at least do it better than whatever they’re getting elsewhere).
3) When you think you’ve done something particularly good, get the link out to as many MMA fans as you can via forums, email, link-sharing, etc.
4) Be patient and wait to get hired on to a larger, paying website.
5) Let that old blog rot, and never look back.

Cagepotato Comments

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ghostboner- April 19, 2010 at 3:05 am
I thought I was your least favorite poster?

Also, I forgot to post my question in the goodbye post a few weeks ago... But seriously, you are leaving because CP has a don't ask-don't tell policy similar to the military, right?
Farthammer- April 16, 2010 at 9:25 pm
I meant 4 right angles, which are 90 degrees. But I combined them because I was drunk, you see. I also just scored Edgar/Penn 50-45 Edgar.
Farthammer- April 16, 2010 at 9:24 pm
Holy shit...

I mean this as a compliment, but your head/face has 4 right degree angles.
robthom- April 16, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Thats the first time I've read a Chiapetta article as far as I know.
I couldn't even finish it.

Long, difficult and dry.

I've heard of him before though. Apparently he's big time for some reason.

Your gonna steal the show over there IMO.
I guess I can just click on your byline so that I wont have to trudge through the rest of that shit.
(Helwani's cool but I dont watch video's)
Narcisist- April 16, 2010 at 8:12 pm
How can I apply to work with CagePotato? I have always loved this site and I would love to help out or work for you guys. I own, run and operate my own site (URDirtdotcom).

Please let me know, I am very interested.

cecils_pupils- April 16, 2010 at 7:20 pm
Congrats Fowlkes. mmafighting is a good website and they really really need someone funny on the payroll - I seriously hope that your new role there allows you to do more than just writing...

Will we see Ben vs. Ariel?
Will Ben be AOL's version of Franklin McNeil?
Will we actually prove the existence of the last unicorn?
Only time will tell...

Please just do me this one favor: tell Ariel Helwani no more plaid... please, no more plaid.
dranokills- April 16, 2010 at 5:06 pm
still didnt address the whole no one gets their shirt thing huh fowlkes?
didn't want to respond about the ipecac statement as well, well fine.
go now, geez stop hanging around doing nothing like before...MEH on you.
RwilsonR- April 16, 2010 at 5:01 pm
I never noticed it before, but I think in that X-mas video Fowlkesis wearing the same black velcro sneakers that my 92 yr. old Grandfather wears. Very nice orthopedic choice!
RwilsonR- April 16, 2010 at 4:48 pm
AOL still exists?

...and they have an MMA site?

Who knew!
robthom- April 16, 2010 at 3:50 pm
"That said, ..."

I see you just couldn't resist one parting fart in a our general direction.

Although I can understand, I would probably have done the same thing.

That being said, good luck over there tough guy.
Your a talented writer.

"Neither, University of Montana. "

Aha, so thats where the neck comes from. He's half cornfed hillbilly. It makes sense now.
Bad skipping- April 16, 2010 at 3:30 pm
Congrats Ben.

This site has the best writing in MMA.
Aptninja- April 16, 2010 at 3:18 pm
Bitch, Montana has one of the best-regarded MFA creative writing programs in the country. Or at least they did, until every other program began offering better financial packages. Are you reading this, University of Montana Board of Regents? No you are not.

Good night, Ben Fowlkes, and may a flight of angels sing thee to thy rest. Or a flight of High Lifes. Whichever.
landOencagement- April 16, 2010 at 3:07 pm
@ Badger,

Neither, University of Montana.

I was pretty surprised they offered an MFA program, let alone an educational system not comprised of fighting bears and surviving 10 months of winter.
Badger- April 16, 2010 at 2:48 pm

just curious, which "U of M" did ben attend? Michigan or Minnesota?
HeadsWillRoll- April 16, 2010 at 2:30 pm
Congratulations, BF. Count me as a new reader of And how long before you and Helwani get into a slap fight on camera? I mean, just give me a rough estimate. I'm a busy man.
MediumRare- April 16, 2010 at 2:26 pm
You're going to regret it Ben. Oh, for a while you'll like it. More money. More opportunities. But soon you'll come to resent the restrictions placed on your creative freedom. You'll be told "you can't say this" and "you shouldn't say that" and "no, they advertise with out site."

Soon you'll be longing for your days at the potato. But we'll have moved on. And all you'll have will be your Vicodin and cheap bourbon.

And you didn't answer my question!
parchy mcthirst- April 16, 2010 at 2:24 pm
And Folwkes, what gives? AOHELL? That company is an absolute, tyrannical shit piece. You are too worthy to work for such an abomination. You working for AOHELL is the same as when Conan was a slave, pushing and grinding at the giant mill for years and years as he worked in a circle all day long. Break free while you still can Fowlkes, break free
Goat- April 16, 2010 at 1:54 pm
I will only miss you as much as I miss my virginity...

oh so very much...
Fried Taco- April 16, 2010 at 1:51 pm
Dang, my eyes are all itchy again.
Kindling- April 16, 2010 at 1:50 pm
[A disembodied voice reaches your ears from the shadows] Bravo, Fowlkes. You've chosen wisely. But there's one thing you haven't accounted for...I'M THE SNIPER!
[ZOOM to close up of a man ripping off a balaclava—it's TV's Brock Lesnar!]
And I ain't goin' nowheres till I shoot me some dick.
parchy mcthirst- April 16, 2010 at 1:49 pm
I salute you Fowlkes. Without the half, there can be no whole. You are leaving us all half full. CagePotato is incomplete without you
NomadRip- April 16, 2010 at 1:28 pm
Good lord, that site is a boring read. I just tried to get excited about anything over there, but I didn't see anything grab me enough to subscribe there. Hopefully they won't stifle you over there. Perhaps after shanking someone, they'll give you some creative leeway to bring the funny to that place.
Pac-Man- April 16, 2010 at 1:15 pm
Hahahahahaha! Seriously? You can't kill Fedor with a sledge Hammer! Fedor can only be killed with the ancient bone-sabre of Zumicalis.... And Fuck you BF. I love your work but I'm not going to AOL to see it.
Terminator- April 16, 2010 at 1:09 pm
Don't let the door hit you on your way out. If you think everyone is going to cry because of your departure you're wrong. This website is, has been, and will be the waste-land of the internet with, or without you.

Ballentine- April 16, 2010 at 1:05 pm
Gonna miss reading you over her on CP Ben. GL on your new gig. About those onesies I will just take them to the laundromat and wash em a couple dozen times.