The UFC is holding its annual Fighter Summit this week in Las Vegas, bringing together the entire UFC and Strikeforce rosters for the purposes of education and camaraderie — pretty boring stuff, judging from Gegard Mousasi’s amazingly child-like doodles. But it did provide opportunities for old rivals to rub shoulders. Josh Barnett posted this photo yesterday evening with the note, “Pigs have now flown. Watch for Hell to freeze over next. Me and @danawhite together again.”
Barnett has publicly criticized the UFC and Dana White in the past, but when Zuffa bought Strikeforce in March, all of a sudden DW was a pretty fucking metal dude in Josh’s opinion. (That’s a compliment.) Barnett is scheduled to face Brett Rogers at Strikeforce’s “Overeem vs. Werdum” event on June 18th in Dallas. Whether he has a future in the company after that is still anybody’s guess, no matter how friendly he and Dana appear to be when somebody’s pointing a camera-phone at them.
(“My suit? No, it’s not Mr. Big and Tall, it’s Brooks Brothers. I got a Zuffa corporate card now.”)
The California State Athletic Commission today revealed the salaries from last weekend’s Diaz vs. Daly event in Stockton, and for the most part the fighters from the card were pretty well compensated.
The top money-earner of the night was welterweight champ Nick Diaz who netted $175,000 for his beatdown of Paul Daley. For his effort, Daley took home $65,000. Tied for second place in the night’s salary rankings are Strikeforce lightweight kingpin Gilbert Melendez and former light heavyweight champ Gegard Mousasi who both took home $150,000 for their efforts. The disparity between the take-home pay of Melendez and Mousasi’s opponents was interesting. Tatsuya Kawajiri picked up $97,612.50 for eating a handful of Melendez’s “hellbows” while Keith Jardine made just $25,000 for taking Mousasi the distance.
Nick Diaz: I know Georges St. Pierre is the obvious answer, but then I think about GSP out-wrestling Nick for five rounds and the dream-fight becomes a lot less dreamy. I’d actually be more interested in seeing Diaz try to avenge his 2005 decision loss to Diego Sanchez, another fighter who puts on a thrilling show every time he steps into a cage. Diaz has probably not forgotten his beef with Sanchez, and Diego has actually suggested that the two settle their rivalry as opposing coaches on TUF. Cosigned, homey.
It’s just as well. Frankly “011-44-115″ is harder to remember than “209″ (Pic: Strikeforce.com)
The first major Strikeforce event under the Zuffa/Forza banner delivered a full night of action and first round stoppages, with a little of the obligatory ‘Majority Draw’ bullshit mixed in for good measure. While it was a typical Strikeforce show from top to bottom, the UFC hardly tried to keep a low profile at the event. Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta were both in attendance, the cage floor advertised the upcoming GSP-Shields fight, and talk of cross-promotional bouts peppered the event from the commentator booth to the stupid text polls. Maybe it’s just us, but there are far more important issues to vote on.
After years of watching Nick Diaz win the stand-up battle against “better strikers”, is it now time for us all to admit that he is the better striker? In true Diaz fashion, he did exactly what he said he would do and exactly what the media and fans alike discouraged- stand up with a dangerous striker. Like a successful version of Jorge Gurgel, Diaz has built his mystique and fanbase upon his refusal to utilize his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and his unquenchable thirst to punch dudes in the face. While victorious once again, that doesn’t mean he dominated the fight. Daley’s power was a known commodity headed into this bout, which made the both the risk and the reward to stand and bang with him all the greater for Diaz. The two exchanged heavily throughout the one-round fight, and twice “Semtex” dropped Diaz to the floor in what looked like the beginning of the end for the pride of Stockton.
When message board commenters gush about how much better The Ultimate Fighter alumni are than the rest of the fighters in their respective division, we typically just give the little TUF noobs a proverbial pinch on the cheek and dismiss their uninformed opinions as being asinine as a result of the impeccable job the UFC and SPIKE did convincing them its true.
But when a so-called MMA expert like Franklin McNeil continually gives the edge to fighters who have appeared on the reality show in bouts against fighters who are widely considered more skilled and are thus ranked accordingly, it makes us shake our heads in disbelief that ESPN, the leader in sports coverage, gives this guy a forum to spew his skewed view of the sport under the guise of journalism. We may print a ton of opinion pieces here, but CagePotato isn’t proclaiming to be the CNN of MMA coverage and we’re clear in stating that editorials contain (sometimes cynically humorous) bias and are not to be taken as fact or even seriously in some cases. ESPN, however, is a different animal than CP.
Of the five betting websites we perused this morning, only one – Bookmaker.com – is offering lines on all four of Strikeforce’s scheduled televised bouts as well as a couple from the undercard. Most electronic bookies are steadfastly avoiding Gegard Mousasi vs. Keith Jardine, likely because they don’t want to be complicit in Jardine’s untimely demise. Not Bookmaker though, those brave motherfuckers are posting odds on that fight and somehow still allowing prop bets on the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix. A guy can still get Fab Werdum to win it all at +550 over there, if you’re interested. In order to stay focused on the here and now however, after the jump are the lines for Saturday night’s “Diaz vs. Daley” show courtesy Bookmaker, plus our picks.
The news of Kyle’s injury withdrawal comes just a day after we learned that Jon Fitch — who trains alongside Kyle at American Kickboxing Academy — would not be making his rematch date with BJ Penn because of a shoulder injury. Speaking of which, Carlos Condit is down to step in against BJ Penn…as soon as the UFC asks him to.