Time To Take A Stand Against PEDS

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There is something very wrong with our sport.

We’ve all known it for a while but by and large we’ve taken each failed PED test as an isolated incident, shaken our heads about cheats and tried not to think too hard about it.

We can’t do that anymore. With Jon Fitch, Hector Lombard and most shockingly of all… Anderson Silva, the Greatest of All Time failing drug tests, it’s clear that cheating is endemic in MMA and the sport as a whole has to do something drastic about it now, or else risk it’s very future.

It’s clear that we can’t rely on all the promotions to do it because drug testing is expensive and can cost you your star attraction, both of which can sink a lesser company. We can’t rely on the many governing bodies to do it, because as we’ve seen so often, they are directly beholden to the promotions for their funding and you don’t bite the hand that feeds.

So, is an international governing body the answer?

No. For one thing, such a body would be almost impossible to create in a meaningful fashion. For another, it’s been shown that international governing bodies tend to be far from corruption and bias free (yes FIFA and the IOC, I’m looking at you.)

In a sport which is dominated by one brand, it falls to the UFC to put their money where their mouth is and take a stand. They need to institute a broad ranging, transparent, out-of-competition testing regime, probably using one of the major independent anti-doping organisations like VADA or WADA where their fighters can be tested at any time.

These test results would be released to UFC officials and the public simultaneously, with set punishments for each drug infraction. A failure for PEDS should result in a ban of no less than a year and immediate stripping of any titles, while a failure for other drugs like painkillers or recreational drugs should receive a lesser, if still considerable penalty which includes mandatory rehabilitation treatment.

If the UFC – as the highest paying, most prestigious organization in the world – makes a stand against cheating, that you will be caught and your career will suffer considerable harm, then the use of performance enhancing drugs in the sport will diminish and at the very least, the sport will be seen to at least be trying to self police and keep itself clean.

Fighters with aspirations of UFC careers will be discouraged from juicing and promotion seeking to emulate the banner-brand’s sheen of respectability will follow suit insofar as they can.

If the UFC’s announcement today is anything less than something this far reaching, then the prospects for the sport as a whole are not pleasant.

MMA needs to be seen to be a clean, fair sport in order to maintain (let alone increase) it’s tenuous hold on mainstream acceptance. Any shirking from the contest ahead, against the sport’s inner demons could spell the end for MMA as a legitimate sport.

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Silva vs. Diaz: A Super Fight…

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Saturday’s collision between Anderson ‘the Spider’ Silva (33-6) and Nick Diaz (26-9) in the headliner of UFC 183 might not qualify as a Superfight (neither man is a champion and both are coming off a brace of losses) but the star power and enigmatic nature of both men, combined with so many unknowable factors make this a fight to get excited about.

A year and a half ago, Silva was the no.1 pound for pound fighter in the world and the consensus Greatest Of All Time (GOAT) but a knockout loss to Chris Weidman and a broken leg in the rematch dimmed his star and led to over a year on the shelf.

Now that he has returned, we can only wonder if Anderson can be close to the near-mystical figure he once presented in the Octagon. Will the first back-to-back losses of his career, a horrific injury and lengthy spell on the sidelines have diminished his skills, his passion?

It’s also worth remembering that Silva turns 40 in April, which is a truly impressive vintage for an elite level fighter, especially coming up against one of the most renowned cardio machines in the sport.

Diaz has long been considered one of the best Welterweights in the world, but frustrating decision losses in title matches to Carlos Condit and Georges St-Pierre and his typically difficult relations with the UFC management have led to almost 22 months in the wilderness.  However, as Nick is eight years Anderson’s junior and does triathlons for fun, I don’t think we can read too much into that period of self imposed exile.

It is rare that a fight between two competitors on a combined 0-4 run and 35 months worth of inactivity attracts such attention, but in this instance we have a pair of the most popular, divisive and mercurial talents in MMA.  Interestingly, right up until Anderson’s second leg break, this would be considered a drastic mismatch (indeed, many still see it that way) albeit one likely to provide a fun fight whereas now, it seems a little fairer…

Diaz gives up height, reach and weight to Silva and has never possessed the same aura against regularly top class opposition or displayed the same creativity in terms of striking prowess. However, with Anderson ageing and coming off a serious injury, Diaz’ confidence, relentless pressure, endless cardio and top notch boxing could be a nightmare for the returning ‘Spider.’

So much relies on how Silva’s mind and body have recovered from the reverses of the past few years and if either let him down, we could easily see Diaz swarm him and pick up a career defining victory. Nontheless, most will be assuming that Silva will pull off some implausibly creative knockout, as we’ve seen so often in the past…

Either way, we find ourselves with a truly compelling contest between two legends of the sport – and despite the exponential increase in the number of UFC cards and bouts, that’s not something we can say all that often.

Expect middle fingers from Diaz, hands down taunting from both men and a stark contrast between intensity and Zen-like calm.

Oh, and expect the unexpected. This is not one to miss.

Anansi Tales – Rise of the Bionic Spider

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In West African mythology, Anansi is the trickster god, who takes the form of both a spider and a man and while always in the middle of some kind of grift, he is always more than happy to confound expectations, puncture self importance and generally make everyone’s day just a little more interesting.

Now, who in MMA fits that description?

Of course it’s Anderson ‘the Spider’ Silva – so named for his proficiency in the eight limbed art of Muay Thai – but the similarity to Anansi in terms of seeming to view things, try things and achieve things differently from other folks is there as well.

Dana White posted up a picture the other day saying that Anderson’s leg was healing well following it’s break and he could be walking unsupported within a month.

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Of course, that probably means 2-3 months before meaningful rehab, another 2-3 months for contact sparring and then a 2-3 month camp. At best, we could see Anderson back in the Octagon in August-September, but more likely the start of 2015.

I’m a little torn on Anderson’s potential return.

On one hand there is the concern that at 39 years old (by the time he returns), having achieved almost everything possible in the sport, decidedly NOT needing the money and coming off back to back stoppage losses that he might not be the fighter he once was, his body or his mind might not be quite back in it.

There’s also the concern of seeing him get badly injured in the Octagon. Again.

I don’t think any of us want to see him put in a performance that truly reminds us of his mortality and harms his legacy. Even less, do we want to see him brutally knocked out or injured. I don’t need to hear a man scream in pain the way Anderson did in December EVER again.

But…

Is Anderson Silva mortal? Are his methods supernatural?*

*Obviously the answer here is yes. I’m speaking rhetorically for the benefit of the narrative.

Can any martial arts fan in the world not get a little excited by the idea of an Anderson comeback, an indian summer to his career, perhaps the much-awaited super fight with GSP, a shot at the title, a trilogy bout with Weidman (which could of course be a title match) and then, with his GOAT status assured beyond doubt a triumphant retirement.

On balance, if Anderson is fit in mind and body and really wants to come back, it’s something I’d love (and pay) to see. I bet you would too.

We must remember that the stories belong to Anansi, even when it seems that other character are in the driving seat. Who would bet against the Spider having one last grand trick, one last epic tale, one last big surprise to spring on us?

PS – I feel I have to say something here about Chris Weidman. Like a few folk, I was initially disappointed in the finish of the bout at UFC 168 – for all that it was a clean and righteous stoppage, the fact that it came from blocking an attack rather than making one and the sheer suddenness of it all made it feel a bit cheap – the kind of finish I’d feel unsatisfied by if it was in a pro wrestling match.

With a little distance, I don’t feel that way.

In fact, I’m more of the opinion that Weidman isn’t really getting the credit he deserves for his achievement. He’s stopped the greatest fighter of all time, within two rounds, twice – and neither were flukes or freak events.

The first time came via his tuning into the rhythm of Anderson’s ‘clowning’ evasion moves (nobody had ever done that before) and landing a punch on the button.

The second time came from his improving his game to negate the area Anderson had the most success in the first fight (leg kicks) and he improved his checking to a degree that he broke Anderson’s leg with the check.

Weidman has twice defeated the consensus GOAT, both times showing a versatility and maturity beyond his years or experience and he showed an evolution as a martial artist between the fights. Credit where it’s due, or in other words…

The King is Dead, All Hail the King.

However, let us remember that history is written by the victor, and all the stories belong to Anansi…

(In a totally non-MMA related aside, I’d also recommend checking out the music of the band Skunk Anansie and Neil Gaiman’s take on the character in the novels American Gods and Anansi Boys.)

KUMITE MMA Awards 2013

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We asked you who you felt deserving of recognition in MMA this year and some of you replied… heres the results.

Fighter of the Year

MMA: UFC on FOX 6-Johnson vs Dodson
1st Demetrious Johnson (25%)

Mighty Mouse earned the nod by being the most active of the UFC’s champions and adding finishing ability to his already formidable skill set, with his submission of John Moraga and first round knockout of Joseph Benavidez making it look a lot like he’s cleared out the 125lb weight class in less than 18 months.

The winner of John Lineker vs. Ali Bagautinov awaits in the new year but for now, few can argue that Johnson is one of the most complete, technical and dominant fighters in the game.

2nd = Chris Weidman (15%)
2nd = Renan Barao (15%)

Also nominated – Anderson Silva, Cain Velasquez, Georges St Pierre, Jon Jones, Urijah Faber (45%)

Breakthrough Fighter of the Year

1st Chris Weidman (31%)

Back to back second round stoppages of the universally acknowledged greatest fighter of all time will do a hell of a lot for your profile…

The signs were there last year as Weidman laid Mark Munoz out like none before him and the idea that here we had a wrestler with the striking nous and composure to challenge Anderson Silva has come to bear fruit in the most high profile way imaginable.

Now the figurehead of the Middleweight division, Weidman has a fearsome challenge in the shape of the souped-up Vitor Belfort to contend with in 2014.

2nd = Anthony Pettis (23%)
2nd = Cub Swanson (23%)

Also nominated – Alexander Gustafsson, Joanne Calderwood, Julianna Pena, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Rustam Khabilov (23%)

Fight of the Year

1st Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson (33%)

Every single fight that was nominated is worthy of the award, but I get the feeling that Jones-Gustafsson narrowly gets the nod because of it’s level of competitiveness and technical ability combined with the fact that we were a bit surprised how it ended up going down, compared to the predictable slobber knockers of the other lead contenders.

Here’s hoping we get the rematch in 2014

2nd Antonio Silva vs. Mark Hunt (26%)
3rd Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez (12%)

Also nominated – Brian Stann vs. Wanderlei Silva, Joe Lauzon vs. Jim Miller, Georges St-Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks (29%)

Knockout of the Year

Chris Weidman vs Anderson Silva

1st Chris Weidman (vs. Anderson Silva, UFC 162) (30%)

They said it couldn’t be done. Some of the best had tried to plant a meaningful blow on Anderson’s chin and been made to look downright silly. Chris Weidman changed all that and the import of that blow has outweighed more concussive or spectacular looking knockouts…

2nd Antonio Silva (vs. Alistair Overeem) (23%)
3rd = Mark Hunt (vs. Stefan Struve) (15%)
3rd = Paul Daley (vs. Romaria da Silva) (15%)

Also nominated – Paul Daley, Vitor Belfort, Junior dos Santos (27%)

Submission of the Year

1st Anthony Pettis (vs. Benson Henderson) (30%)

Im a bit astonished to see zero votes for Rose Namajuna’s flying arm bar here, but I voted for Pettis on account of the fact that he subbed Ben Henderson (really difficult) from guard (even harder) when Pettis’s road to victory was supposed to be via his striking skills.

2nd = Josh Burkman (vs. Jon Fitch) (20%)
2nd = Urijah Faber (vs. Ivan Menjivar) (20%)

Also nominated – Kenny Robertson, Ian Entwhistle, Chael Sonnen (30%)

Performance of the Year

1st Travis Browne (vs. Alistair Overeem) (25%)

A very competitive category has been taken by a fighter who’s performance in demolishing Alistair Overeem marked his coming out as a truly top level competitor. With an impressive win over Josh Barnett since, Browne should get a title shot in 2014, although he may have to go through Fabricio Werdum first.

2nd Gilbert Melendez (vs. Diego Sanchez) (17%)
3rd Cub Swanson (vs. Dennis Siver) (12%)

Also nominated – Robbie Lawler, Urijah Faber, Cain Velasquez, Edson Barboza, Tom Watson, Mark hunt, Diego Sanchez (46%)

European Fighter of the Year

1st Alexander Gustafsson (70%)

So very nearly unseating the polarising and dominant Jon Jones earned Gus the love of Europeans and the grudging respect of the Americans, who finally acknowledge him as an elite fighter and the fact that Europeans can match Americans in a grappling battle.

2nd Conor McGregor (16%)
3rd Joanne Calderwood (6%)

Also nominated – Khabib Nurmagomedov, Tom Niinimaki (8%)

Scottish Fighter of the Year

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1st Joanne Calderwood (70%)

Despite Robert Whiteford becoming the first Scot in the UFC, Steven Ray winning the Cage Warriors title and Graham turner maintaining his winning streak to earn a shot at the CWFC Featherweight belt, this category was dominated by Joanne.

Extending her unbeaten record, scoring memorable knockouts on home turf and finally earning the call up to the UFC has made her stand out from her Dinky Ninja brothers. more of the same next year please!

2nd Steven Ray (24%)
3rd Ricky Burns (6%)

Promotion of the Year

1st Ultimate Fighting Championship (40%)

Well, it just is, isn’t it? nice to see Cage Warriors and Invicta getting a good few votes though.

2nd Cage Warriors Fighting Championship (36%)
3rd Invicta Fighting Championship (16%)

Also nominated – First Fighting Championship, BAMMA (8%)

Promoter of the Year

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1st Dana White (64%)

It’s almost a default category, as with the UFC’s resources, Dana can afford to piss people off left and right and still be THE MAN. That said, I love the guy because he’s one of the few business figureheads who really seems to talk about their sports franchise with genuine affection.

2nd Shannon Knapp (36%)

Booker of the Year

1st Joe Silva (UFC 155 lbs and over) (46%)

I wish I had Joe Silva’s problems. ‘Which pair of elite level fighters, under exclusive contract to us will I pair up for this card or that card?’ must make for such a shitty work day.

Still, it’s acknowledged that Silva does a great job, often dragging surprisingly competitive matches from seemingly mismatched opponents and fun bouts from dull fighters.

2nd = Sean Shelby (UFC 145lbs and under) 23%
2nd = Ian Dean (CWFC) 23%

Also nominated – James Green (FFC), Scott Cutbirth (RFA) – 8%

Media Source of the Year

1st MMA Fighting (35%)

I’m a little amazed that anyone nominated BJPenn.com or the like, but MMA Fighting is a worthy victor here, combining timely, accurate news and insightful, informed opinion with some of the best added value in MMA journalism via the MMA Hour.

2nd MMA Junkie (23%)
3rd Your MMA (15%)

Also nominated – Inside MMA, BJPenn.com, Bleacher report, Bloody Elbow (27%)

Media Personality of the Year

1st= Ariel Helwani & Chael Sonnen (23% each)

This result amused me, as if Ariel and Chael are a double act (casting Ariel as the Jimmy Hart to Chael’s Ric Flair) but in their respective roles as reporter/interviewer and studio analyst they add a potent mix of personality and insight to whichever broadcast they appear on.

2nd= Tommy Toe Hold (15%)
2nd= Bas Rutten (15%)

Also nominated – Josh Palmer, Karen Bryant & Kenny Florian (24%)

Hero of the Year

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1st Georges St-Pierre (42%)

Defends his title twice in two of the biggest and most anticipated bouts of the year, then chooses to step away from the sport while at the top. Classy.

Throw in the fact that he backs a charity to help bullied schoolchildren and has always been the very picture of the modern professional mixed martial artist and a class act to the very end under incredible pressure and GSP more than deserves this award.

2nd= Mark Hunt (16%)
2nd= Joanne Calderwood (16%)

Also nominated – Joe Lauzon, Junior dos Santos & Urijah faber (26%)

Villain of the Year

1st Chael Sonnen (17%)

In the finest tradition of Ric Flair, Chris Jericho and pantomime villains since the dawn of time, Chael Sonnen is the guy we love to hate.

He tells lies, while also telling hard truths. He calls people names and makes ludicrous demands and threats. He presses the buttons of folks who are minded to be offended and makes himself and anyone associated with him a bigger star than they were before he started talking.

Keep up the good work, Sir.

Also nominated – Ronda Rousey, Conor MacGregor, Miesha Tate, Jon Jones, Frank Mir, Michael Bisping, Alistair Overeem, Vitor Belfort, Johny Hendricks, Kim Winslow

Warrior of the Year

1st= Diego Sanchez & Mark Hunt (25% each)

For services to blood donation, for willingly putting your bodies on the line in the name of our entertainment, for continuing to throw down despite broken bones, for refusing to sink to your knees and let the end come…we salute you.

2nd Joe Lauzon (16%)

Also nominated – Travis Browne, Rosi Sexton, Nate Diaz & Cain Velasquez (34%)

Social Media Personality of the Year

1st Conor McGregor (33%)

How to stay relevant when injured for a year? Easy, call out your entire weight class, well known fighters from other weight classes and if necessary, their entire camp, country and extended family.

Demean their skills, talk trash that no-one could reasonable ever back up and generally get user everybody’s skin so they can’ wait for you to come back, whether it is to see you succeed or fail.

Well played.

Also nominated – Miesha Tate, Tim Kennedy, Pat Barry, Dan Hardy, Cat Zingano, War Machine, Roy Nelson, Chael Sonnen

Talker of the Year

1st Chael Sonnen (75%)

As covered earlier, Chael excels when he speaks (you’d almost forget he’s a fighter really) whether it’s breaking down a fight as an analyst or selling his upcoming fight/book/TV appearance. Nobody comes close.

Also nominated – Conor MacGregor, War Machine & Nate Diaz

Card of the Year

1st – UFC 166 (Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos III) (30%)

In a year of insanely stacked cards, the trilogy fight between the two best heavyweights in the world was always going to stand out. Backed up by great matches (Melendez-Sanchez, Eye-Kaufmann) and a bucketload of knockouts and it was always going to be one remembered at the end of the year.

2nd = UFC 168 (Chris weidman vs. Anderson Silva II, Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate 2) (20%)
2nd = UFC 162 (Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman) (20%)

Also nominated – UFC Fight Night Sonnen vs. Shogun, UFC 165, Jones vs. Gustafsson, UFC 167 St-Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks, UFC Fight Night Stann vs. Silva (30%)

Official of the Year

1st Herb Dean (66%)

When it’s time for the big matches, you always breathe a sigh of relief to see Herb, Marc or John in the middle of the cage.

2nd Marc Goddard (25%)
3rd Big John McCarthy (9%)

Now, go and tune into Cage Warriors 63 to see Steven Ray retain his Lightweight belt and Graham Turner win the Featherweight title.  It’s 2014 and the Scots are coming!

UFC 168 Results & Thoughts

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The big year end card is in the books and I’m left thoroughly dazed by an incredible night of fights that delivered in all areas yet still leaves me feeling a bit hollow.

The undercard delivered in spades as Robbie Peralta came back from two rounds down to knock out Esteven Payan, as William Patolino put on a clinic of technique while Bobby Voelker showed the meaning of heart by wearing most of his blood on the outside without appearing to care.

We had back and forth wars, knockouts, submissions, the great career of Chris Leben being ended by Uriah Hall and third from the top, Travis Browne underlined his status as the next big thing at heavyweight with a first round knockout of Josh Barnett.

With Cain Velasquez injured and putative no.1 contender Fabricio Werdum in the wind, I’d say we have to see Browne-Werdum in Spring to see who welcomes the champ back.

All of this was so much stage setting for our self-hyping pair of title bouts – I’ve never recalled a UFC event which boasted two bouts of such gravitas.

First up, we had Ronda Rousey defending her belt against old rival Miesha Tate with the full promotional weight of a TUF season and their extant feud behind them.

For the first time ever, Rousey was taken into the second round, but she also showed improved striking and proved she had a bit of a chin as she bloodied Tate and took a few solid blows herself, while continuing to display the stunning judo throws that have become her trademark.

Tate reversed a whole lot on the ground as Ronda showed more variety, at one point going for a triangle towards the end of the second round. Tate’s plan was clearly to drag Ronda into deep water and that was exactly what happened, even if she wasn’t managing to dominate.

Into the third and Ronda was up 20-18 on my scorecard but was in ever more unfamiliar territory… until the third frame played out almost exactly like the first round of most of her other fights. From the bell, she rushed Tate, threw her and worked for an armbar, earning the tap at 58 seconds… of the third round.

Rousey retains, doesn’t shake Tate’s hand, earning the boos of all the easily led folk who drank the TUF kool-aid (since when did honesty and being true to yourself become a heel gesture) but did complement her opponent.

Great main event, right there…

…Except the night wasn’t over.

Anderson Silva entered first, looking to reclaim his belt (weird) before stopping twice on the way to the cage, seemingly to collect his thoughts. Was it nerves, mind games or did he suddenly remember he left the gas on?

Chris Weidman didn’t seem overawed and promptly took the first round, even managing to rock Anderson and swarm before being dragged into guard.

In the second, Anderson seemed to open up, started firing off his leg kicks – always a terrifying weapon – which had seen his greatest success in their first fight. Then it happened… Anderson threw a stinging left leg kick which Weidman checked with his knee and Anderson’s shin broke in truly gruesome fashion.

Anderson fell back, the ref stepped in and it was indisputably over, yet strangely unresolved.

Sadly, the lasting image of UFC 168 will not be Weidman holding the belt aloft in glorious and validating victory but Anderson Silva lying on his back, reaching for his ruined leg and screaming in abject agony.

It wasn’t meant to end this way, and I’ll expand upon that another time. For now, suffice to say that UFC 168 was one of the best UFC cards in recent memory, delivering from the start to the second from last kick.

Feuds were settled, ladders were climbed and we enter 2014 with the UFC short their two long time banner guys and with a new and undisputed sheriff in the Middleweight division. Interesting times.

Full Results

Chris Weidman def. Anderson Silva to retain middleweight title viaTKO (injury) – Round 2, 1:16
Ronda Rousey def. Miesha Tate to retain women’s bantamweight title via submission (armbar) – Round 3, 0:58
Travis Browne def. Josh Barnett via knockout (knee and elbows) – Round 1, 1:00
Jim Miller def. Fabricio Camoes via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 3:42
Dustin Poirier def. Diego Brandao via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 4:54

Uriah Hall def. Chris Leben via TKO (doctor’s stoppage) – Round 1, 5:00
Michael Johnson def. Gleison Tibau via knockout (punches) – Round 2, 1:32
Dennis Siver def. Manny Gamburyan via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) – Round 3, 5:00
John Howard def. Siyar Bahadurzada via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) – Round 3, 5:00

William Macario def. Bobby Voelker via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) – Round 3, 5:00
Robert Peralta def. Estevan Payan via knockout (punches) – Round 3, 0:12

Bonus Winners – £75k

Fight of the Night – Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate
Knockout of the Night – Travis Browne
Submission of the Night – Ronda Rousey

Georges St Pierre – Still One of the Greatest

I may have looked over GSP’s title defence against Johny Hendricks yesterday and scored for the challenger, but looking at it again I’m prone to score the first round as a draw, which would leave us in pretty much the same situation we find ourselves in real life… waiting on a rematch.

In any case, my belief that GSP remains one of the greatest fighters ever to step in the cage – worthy of occupying that lofty plinth next to Royce Gracie, Fedor Emelianenko and Anderson Silva – remains intact, even enhanced by the weekend’s happenings.

Georges may not have the highlight real or near mythological status of Fedor or Anderson but I truly believe he is the blueprint for the modern mixed martial artist and a shining example for anyone looking to take up the sport.

Cerebral, well rounded, professional, he never misses weight or shows failing cardio. Georges has shown an uncanny ability to keep a fight where he has the greatest advantage over his opponent, keeping strikers on the ground and grapplers on the end of his jab. He is the epitome of what a MIXED martial artist should be, even if you’d rather he got more stoppages.

His professional conduct and clean cut image have helped draw sponsors to MMA who wouldn’t even have looked at the sport five years previously and he’s helped to show that you don’t need a pro wrestling persona to be a big star.

His success and greatness is perhaps best illustrated by the lengths some people go to to try and drag him down, accusing him of greasing, steroid use and making sly allegations regarding his sexuality (which reveals more about the intellectual and moral weakness of those making such comments than anything else.)

A decision loss to a larger, younger, stronger fighter with acknowledged wrestling credentials and knockout power would have been nothing to be ashamed of, and the more I watch the match back, the more I see a case for a GSP getting a draw or a win.

What matters is his legend, and that is intact and I wish Georges all the best in resolving his personal issues and can’t wait to see him in the cage again.

You can have your own opinion on whether Georges owes the UFC or the fans at least one more match, but you can’t deny that the sport would be a far, far poorer place for the lack of him.

MMA Monday – 15.07.13 – Invicta, Festive Spirit, Brian Stann, False Flags

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Yes, we put days before months, because we’re not insane Americans.

The main action from this weekend was undoubtedly Invicta FC 6, but there was a few other things to talk about as well. First though…

– Invicta FC 6 Results
Sat, 13 Jul 2013
Kansas City, Missouri

Another night of quality action, with improved production and a broader and more lucrative platform (in North America at least) saw Invicta produce their deepest card to date, despite multiple changes to matches, problems with weigh ins etc.

The big story is Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ again beating up Marloes Coenen

It’s worth noting that Coenen had now lasted 32:49 with Cyborg over their two matches, which actually makes up something like a third of Santos’ total ring time in the sport.

However, Coenen was losing the whole fight, being knocked back, knocked down, thrown down and repeatedly punched with quite terrifying force by Cyborg.

Coenen’s quality ground game couldn’t save her and her increased size and developed striking made no difference, Cybirg was just irresistible.

Next up, Coenen is probably looking at a return to 135lbs, where shed probably be one win from a crack at the inaugural Invicta title or even a call up to the UFC.

Santos looks forward to another reign as the Baddest Woman on the Planet, with her next opponent likely to be Ediane Gomes or possibly Julia Budd, depending on scheduling.

Huge wins for Jessica Penne, Claudia Gadleha and Jennifer Maia surely put them into pole position at Atom, Straw & Featherweight while kick boxers Joanne Calderwood, Miriam Nakamoto and Tecia Torres all maintained their momentum with wins over quality opposition – in Torres case, it was a damned close call against multi skilled prodigy Rose Namajunas.

MAIN
• Cristiane Santos def. Marloes Coenen via TKO (strikes) – Round 4, 4:02 – to claim inaugural featherweight title
• Claudia Gadelha def. Ayaka Hamasaki via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 3:58
• Lauren Taylor def. Sarah D’alelio via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
• Jennifer Maia vs. Leslie Smith unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
• Jessica Penne def. Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 4:57
• Joanne Calderwood def. Norma Rueda Center via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
• Mizuki Inoue def. Bec Hyatt via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
• Miriam Nakamoto def. Duda Yankovich via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 2:08
• Tecia Torres def. Rose Namajunas via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

PRELIMINARY
• Tamikka Brents vs. Ediane Gomes canceled after Brents suffered knee injury in warmups
• Emily Kagan def. Ashley Cummins via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)
• Livia von Plettenberg def. Kathina Catron via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

– the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The rematch between Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva has been confirmed for the UFC’s year end show on December 28th with Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate being bumped down to the co-main event. That’s a hell of a way to round off the year, especially coming after a run of events as significant as Jones-Gustafsson, GSP-Hendricks and as fun as the UFC on Fox Sports 1 cards which seem to have designed with fan satisfaction in mind.

The second half of 2013 is an AWESOME time to follow MMA.

– Brian Stann Retires

The All American Brian Stann retired on a special edition of Ariel Helwani’s MMA Hour last week, candidly discussing his reasons and as usual coming across as the best possible ambassador that MMA could ever ask for.

We’re Scottish, and hence immune from the blind awe of the Stars and Stripes which affects many American fans are afflicted by, but Stann’s character and fighting style earned our admiration far more than the GI Joe character he was cast as.

Respectful, honest, well spoken yet more than willing to engage is some terrific scraps, Stann quickly became a favourite, a guy you always liked to see on a card.

His knockout of Chris Leben, the way he stopped punching Alessio Sakara once he was clearly out and his parting gift, that amazing Fight if the Year candidate with Wanderlei Silva will live long in the memory.

In recent times, Stann had proven to be an excellent analyst on the UFC’s burgeoning TV platform and it seems his future career lies in this area, both with the UFC and covering college football for FOX.

Kumite wish Brian all the best. Thanks for the memories, enjoy your time with your family.

A class act to the end, he’s an example to all the fighters who keep coming back on the off chance of glory with a far higher chance of serious injury.

– False Flags and Douchebags

With Anderson Silva’s upset loss to Chris Weidman and TJ Grant getting injured and being replaced by Anthony Pettis (who himself had only recently dropped out of a title fight due to injury) for his shot at Benson Henderson’s Lightweight title, the trolls and professional cynics of the MMA Online Community have been having a field day, implying that Anderson was paid to take a dive by the UFC, that TJ Grant’s concussion is spurious and he was pressured/paid to step aside to facilitate a more box office bout for Henderson, in the shape of old foe Pettis.

Shut up.

Please, just shut up.

Now, I’m not so naive as to imagine that all of MMA is squeaky clean and that the obfuscation masters at the UFC (we’re a private company, don’t you know, we don’t have to show you our books) aren’t above a little smoke and mirrors to end up at the fights they want, without having it be entirely on the level in terms of sporting fairness, but all is fair in love, war and business and as anyone who had ever put any kind of event on, promotion is all three on amphetamines.

Aside from being a little annoyed at being denied Henderson-Grant, which I thought was an intriguing matchup and that Chang Sung Jung walks into a title fight with Aldo after a year on the shelf, when Cub Swanson and Ricardo Lamas are clearly the men in form I can’t complain too much about the matches made.

For a start, Pettis should never have had a shot at Aldo in the first case, and at least Jung is a fun fighter and on a win streak at Featherweight. He’s also got a bit more box office appeal cache than Cub or Lamas, at this point in time at least.

As for Pettis getting a shot at Henderson, he’s beaten him before and was the de facto no.1 contender before taking the shot at Aldo, rather than stay on the shelf. I’m sure TJ will either get the next shot or an eliminator against someone credible – someone like Josh Thomson, Ross Pearson or Jim Miller would be good.

Also, anyone who thinks that Anderson Silva took a dive or TJ Grant stepped aside from a chance at being WORLD CHAMPION for something as banal as some money is just insane, that’s so far from what martial arts and/or elite level sports is about, it’s madness.

Even if money is all you see, can you see Anderson wilfully risking his legacy and any future payday by losing in such a fashion? Can you see Grant accepting any amount of money in lieu of a shot at a similar amount of money as well as the sheer gratification of becoming the man, allied with a whole new level of sponsorship and out-of-the-cage opportunities?

Could you imagine someone with the dedication, drive and years of effort being happy and quiet about something like that?

Hell, my friends wouldn’t even let me win at video games. I can’t imagine top level fighters being any less stubborn…

Of course, this reaction all comes down to folks who want to make like they’ve got an inside track, that they are more knowledgeable and thus committed to MMA than someone one else…

It’s hipsters for MMA – the whole pose of ‘I’m not a mark for the UFC’ while doing little but talk about them.

Just stop. It’s pointless, vainglorious and childish. There is no grand conspiracy, just folks trying to make money. If Dana and Joe wanted to book ME to fight Jose Aldo, they could as is their prerogative as the men in charge of a private company. Hey, that’s a guaranteed knockout for you… I’d never make the weigh in time though 😉

More importantly, it takes away from the achievement of Chris Weidman, the buzz of Jung and Pettis’ upcoming title matches.

Just sit back and enjoy. As Hunter would say, “buy the ticket, take the ride…”

– Team Kumite Predictions League

Week 2 (Invicta FC 6)

Ross (4 winners, 2 methods) – 26 pts (Running Total: 34)
Iain (3 winners, 1 method) – 18 pts (RT: 50)
Chris (1 winner) – 5 pts (RT: 28)

Ross wins the week, while Chris has a terrible run, predicting only one winner (thanks Claudia, I needed that…)

Iain maintains the overall lead with a solid performance. Next week, we’ll be predicting Cage Warriors 57… feel free to share your predictions and we’ll give a shout out to the best performer!