The past few weeks have been a trying time to be an MMA fan, with random drug tests nailing Anderson Silva (smh), Hector Lombard (could have seen it coming), and Jon Fitch (wah?!) for various types of performance enhancers. MMA has always had something of a drug problem, but 2015 has brought that issue to the forefront with a resounding injection to the buttocks. Worse yet, the UFC’s decision to recently abandon their out-of-competition drug testing program indicates that the sport’s steroid epidemic will only get worse before it gets better.
The question now becomes: Where do we go from here? Well, I’ve talked it over with my highly-dedicated blogging team of less than two people, and the best thing we could think of was to lob a bunch of biased and completely ungrounded accusations at the select group of MMA fighters who’ve yet to test positive for anabolic steroids. F*ck yeah, internet writing!
So without further adieu, join us as we take a look ahead at the hulked-out future of mixed martial arts, and more specifically, which of its fighters will most likely be popped for PED’s.
Our old friend Aaron Mandel will be sticking live “Hendricks vs. Lawler” results after the jump beginning at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest updates, and let us know how you feel in the comments section or on twitter @cagepotatomma. Let’s do this…
Then again, confidence has never really been an issue for Overeem, and it’s easy to see why. When he is paired up against anyone less than a top contender, Overeem fights as if he’s been beamed down from a distant planet (let’s call it, “Pectoria”) to remind us humans of how puny and insignificant we are in the grand scheme of it all. Even his nickname, “The Demolition Man”, is otherworldly in its awesomeness.
And while it’s true that Overeem has struggled against upper echelon competition throughout his career, it’s also true that there isn’t a fighter alive who crushes cans quite like he does (not that Rothwell is by any means a can). Ubereem is the foremost purveyor of squash matches, indeed, so let these eight videos serve as a testament to his greatness.
In Which The Uber Makes Gary Goodridge Cry Out in Agony
By the time Gary Goodridge got around to fighting Alistair Overeem, he was a 42-year-old (though oddly enough, introduced as 32) relic of his former self who was waist deep in the eight-fight losing streak that would end his MMA career. Overeem, on the other hand, had just obliterated Mirko Cro Cop‘s testicles at DREAM 6. To say that these men’s careers were heading in opposite directions would be a slight understatement.
I think it was midway through the second round of Paulo Thiago‘s bout with Gasan Umalatov on the TUF Brazil 3 Finale undercard that I began to feel a heavy, sinking feeling in my stomach. I thought it was just fight fatigue at first, my body’s way of telling me to step away from the television and do something, anything to negate the effects caused by a (by that point) six hour binge of manure ads, Linkin Park-dubbed promos, and the occasional MMA fight.
It wasn’t until the Thiago-Umalatov decision was handed down, however, that I was able to identify the cause of my discomfort. Paulo Thiago, real-life superhero and a fighter I have unapologetically rooted for since watching him knock out Josh Koscheck in his promotional debut at UFC 95, is likely on his way out of the UFC.Old Dad best summed up my feelings about Thiago, tweeting after the decision “Is it time for me to admit that Paulo Thiago is probably never going to be as awesome as I want him to be? Maybe, yeah.”
The fact is, Thiago has consistently underwhelmed since scoring violent finishes over Koscheck and Mike Swick early in his UFC career, dropping six of his past eight fights and only scoring decision wins over IDon’t and GiveaFuck. While I won’t go as far as to call his upset wins “flukes,” it’s safe to say that Thiago has unfortunately fallen into the category of UFC fighters who were never able to exceed the hype generated by their UFC debuts. Fighters like…
MMA fans knew knew less than nothing about Houston Alexander before he was matched up with Keith Jardine at UFC 71. Sure, he looked like something out of a Scared Straight program, but at just 7-1 as a pro, he seemed well out of his league against “The Dean of Mean.” Even Jardine, fresh off the biggest win of his career over Forrest Griffin, was baffled by the matchmaking, all but dismissing Alexander in some uncharacteristic pre-fight trash-talk.
But as Raymond Atkins once wrote, “Hubris is when God screws you over for being a smartass.” And screw over Jardine he did. In less than a minute’s time, the TUF alum found himself lying face down on the canvas thanks to a barrage of uppercuts so vicious that even his mouthguard was forced to flee for its life.
Last year saw Duffee staging a minor comeback, with a quick win over Neil Grove at Super Fight League 2, and another first-round TKO against Philip De Fries last December in his UFC return. So why has Todd Duffee been a ghost in 2013? For one thing, he recently discovered that he suffers from a rare nerve disorder called Parsonage-Turner syndrome. As he explained on Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show, the disorder has caused him debilitating pain and will put him on the shelf for at least a year:
“It felt like somebody stabbing me in my back,” Duffee said of his first encounter with Parsonage-Turner syndrome. “I kind of freaked out. Should I go to the ER? What do I do? It was that kind of pain. I just couldn’t move. I could kind of lift my shoulder to a certain extent, but I couldn’t use my hand fully. I could like pulse it, but I couldn’t close it. I couldn’t pick up anything with it or anything like that…It was scary. I’m not even going to lie to you. I was like, what is going [on]?”
We’ve saved the biggest fighters for last in the striking assessment series. Heavyweights end 57% of fights by (T)KO, far more than any other weight class. They also have the highest average power head striking accuracy, possibly because defense is harder when you’re that big.
So let’s see how the whole division stacks up against each other, then look at the winners and losers in each category. A full explanation of the chart and variables is included at the end of this post.
Sniper Award: Relative newcomer Shawn Jordan has been a highly accurate striker to date, though he has lacked knockdown power. So let’s focus on the trio of Pat Barry, Dave Herman, and Mark Hunt, who each have four or more UFC appearances and have maintained power head striking accuracy of 38% or more. These are big guys who can also hit their target.
Energizer Bunny Award: Monstrous southpaw Todd Duffee has almost quadrupled the striking output of his opponents with three fights to date in the Octagon, none of which have gone the distance. But with far greater Octagon experience, veterans Cheick Kongo and former champion Junior Dos Santos have managed to almost double the volume of opponents, all while maintain accuracy well above the division average.
1.) It’s Incredibly Dangerous For Both Fighters Involved.
Perhaps the most common criticism I’ve heard and read regarding testosterone replacement therapy in MMA is that it makes an already dangerous occupation even more hazardous. This is easy to observe through the perspective of the user’s opponent. It’s one thing if Barry Bonds wants to hit longer home runs, or if Hedo Turkoglu wants to flop harder — their opponents are not physically hurt by their actions in either example. However, if an MMA fighter takes testosterone to become more aggressive and punch harder, the likelihood of his opponent suffering irreparable brain damage increases dramatically.
Often neglected, however, are the additional long-term risks that the TRT user opens himself up to. Testosterone may make a fighter faster and stronger, but it doesn’t exactly undo brain damage. Prolonging a fighter’s physical prime also elongates the amount of time he’s receiving blows to the head. Imagine if boxers like Meldrick Taylor and Riddick Bowe – who showed signs of dementia pugilistica by the ends of their careers yet didn’t retire until they couldn’t stay in shape — had access to testosterone replacement therapy. Giving aging fighters the illusion that they can keep taking shots to the head because they’re still in good physical condition is bound to end in disaster.
2.) TRT Isn’t Nearly The Advantage It’s Made Out to Be.
With a somewhat forgettable year thankfully coming to an end, UFC 155 looked to excite fans, promote contenders and get everybody ready for a new year. This card did exactly that. Not to reach into our bag of clichés so early into the aftermath, but UFC 155 really sent 2012 out with a bang, and set the bar high for upcoming cards in 2013.
With as many solid fights as took place Saturday in Las Vegas at UFC 155, Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon’s three round battle was recognized by the UFC brass as the Fight of The Night and each man earned an extra $65,000 for their effort. The lightweight contenders should also be in consideration for Fight of The Year lists everywhere.
If it is, Lauzon will be competing with himself for his incredible fight last August against Jamie Varner. JLau may have lost the decision against Miller on the judge’s score cards, two rounds to one, but deserves credit for coming back from being bullied, beaten and bloodied badly in the first round by Miller in the first round and finishing stronger in the final two rounds.
On the strength of his aggressiveness and multiple submission attempts to close out the second and third rounds, this writer believes that a very reasonable judge could have scored the bout Lauzon’s way instead of Miller’s. As it stands, both men were impressive in their own ways and, *reaches back into the bag of applicable clichés* there simply were no “losers” in this one.
Miller has always shown excellent boxing skills but he may have been sharper than ever before against Lauzon in the first and second rounds, scoring almost at will with shots to the body and head, as well as knocking Joe down repeatedly with a nasty inside leg kick. His dirty boxing from the clinch was masterful, using punches, knees and elbows to hurt and cut open Lauzon over and again.
Heavyweight Todd Duffee’s career has been a strange mixed bag of extreme highs and lows. As a 23 year-old, Duffee became a sensation by knocking out Tim Hague in just seven seconds in his UFC debut back back in 2009. A host of injuries delayed his second fight in the organization for nearly a year.
When he did make his return, against Mike Russow, Duffee fell victim to one of the most surprising come from behind KO victories in UFC history. Duffee outclassed Russow for twelve minutes before getting caught and knocked out cold.
He was then released by the UFC, took a short notice fight against fellow He-Man impersonator Alistair Overeem (because short noticed fights against over-matched opponents was just how Ubereem got down in those days before he could keep himself occupied with running from and failing drug tests) , got shellacked, and then didn’t fight again for about a year and a half.
When he did, last April, Duffee stopped Neil Grove inside one round. He hasn’t fought since then but evidently the fickle matchmaking overlords (Happy Thanksgiving, Joe) at the UFC have been satisfied and it was announced Wednesday that the Duff Man will be back in the Octagon at UFC 155.
“Duffee (7-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) will meet Phil De Fries (9-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) at UFC 155, this year’s version of the annual New Year’s Eve weekend card in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena,” Case Keefer of The Las Vegas Sun reports.
Are you happy to see Todd back in the big leagues after being dumped a couple years ago, nation? We are. Win or lose, he’s exciting. After the jump, let’s look back at our favorite Duffee moments so far.