1. A Goodbye Letter From Ben Goldstein 

      Fantastic music selection.

      I haven’t often (perhaps ever?) linked to Cage Potato (their content never suited supplemental commentary), but I think the tone they write with is unique and important. There has to be dedicated MMA sites that can strike those satirical notes correctly.

      It will be interesting to see what becomes of the site: it seems logical to assume a major change is intended.

      I hope Goldstein does well. From his letter, sounds like he truly had a blast. That’s a massive achievement over a seven-year stretch of life.

    1. Jon Jones’ Rehab Stint Lasted Just a Day; Simply a Charade 

      Kevin Iole writing for Yahoo! Sports.

      I never took seriously the idea that Jones had a cocaine problem. More believably his problem, and the UFC’s, was that he got caught with cocaine in his system.

      The potential financial damage that can occur from partying like a rich twenty-seven year old will certainly be clear enough to Jones now.

      Personally, I think cocaine is a rotten drug. Expensive and useless. Some find it incredibly addictive, so best to give it a pass altogether.

    2. Johny Hendricks vs. Matt Brown 

      Hendricks wanted to fight again quickly; Lawler wanted more time off.

      Speaks well of Hendricks that he is so raring to go he will take a fight against a world class opponent in the meantime. The Matt Brown fight should be off the hook.

      Lawler deserves his time off … when and if the rubber match comes, it will be anticipated double-fold.

      I love when reality plays its rare good match-making card.

    1. UFC 182 Review

      So here it goes.

      I stayed up to watch the fights slightly hungover. I got progressively intoxicated as the fights went on. I didn’t watch the prelims – the Bulls game took precedence (they won in overtime).

      On the main card, the first two bouts were lacklustre.

      Then there was Marquardt vs. Tavares. Tavares looked sharp, relaxed, in the zone, and demonstrated some nice kick boxing which saw him home safely. The first round promised a great, competitive fight which never transpired.

      Next, Cowboy came out and dismantled the talented upstart Myles Jury. As promised, he checked Jury’s prior-displayed overconfidence. We will see Jury again, but Jesus Holy Christ, Cerrone really painted a clear picture of where he is at this point in his career.

      Cerrone schooled Jury in every aspect of the game. He showed an angry, laser sharp focus on ass-kicking that never let up.

      His final, theatrical kicks to the legs of a downed Jury reminded me of Couture spanking the ass of Tito Ortiz in their encounter of years gone by. In the post-fight conference he apologised for the fight because the fans booed at certain points; there was no need for him to.

      And onto the main fight of the evening.

      Cormier to me looked to have expended too much energy too soon, but the result was simple. He landed one takedown that lasted about one second. Jones landed several takedowns, and defended against countless attempts.

      Cormier fought a noble uphill battle in the striking department, but it was a battle he was never going to win. Jones was as creative as he has ever been. Constantly varying his attacks in a predictable (oblique kicks) yet unpredictable manner.

      By the end of the fight Jones should have been officially made a Jedi Knight. He is now in the same realm as Anderson Silva. He is now clearly captain of the ship at light heavyweight for years to come. Dana White strapped on his belt in an uncharacteristically enthusiastic manner.

      It was an exceptional fight, but on my card Jones took every round, the first three being close. I have to watch the fight again to be sure, and informally reviewing scorecards on Twitter most journalists gave Cormier two rounds, and all at least one.

      I had a bet on Cormier which may have made me score him more conservatively, so if you want a more objective score, maybe two rounds to five or three rounds to eight. As of this point, I still have it five rounds to zero. But I have yet to come down from “death ketamine,” so I expect my scoring might wobble over the next 48 hours. Cormier gave everything, and he fought an incredible fight that felt close and well-contested, but the decision was in before the last round in my Longrow-and-Mahou skewed opinion.

      After the event I was called out on Twitter for lacking expertise in the sport, after sending out a disagreeing tweet to one of the sport’s experts. So let me make it very clear. I do, in fact, completely lack expertise. I trained for a couple months half a decade back, but would drink a pint before training and often smoke cigarettes beforehand, which I feel impeded my upward trajectory in the sport.

      I was also in a country which completely lacked any expertise in the training I was doing. I’m not even sure who the guys were, to be honest. They seemed to like kicks more than anything, which I took a great ignorant enthusiasm in, and they constantly asked me “if I was serious about having a fight.” I was unconscious at the end of every practice session.

      On the other hand, I was doing it for fun, and I have spectated the sport since the first Dreamcast UFC game came out. Which makes me a long-time unqualified observer. If you have any other illusions, please stop reading now.

      All I have is a subjective opinion, which I hope to deliver in a luxurious electronic package. Often I am intoxicated while posting to the site, which makes quality control difficult. In the absence of quality, I hope for entertainment. In the absence of entertainment, I hope my readership will show me compassion. In the absence of that, I hope they will check in next week to see if I do any better.

      Over time, I believe this formula will prove to trump the top journalistic outlets the sport has to offer.

      As for UFC 182, I think it was the best event the UFC have put on since Hendricks vs. Lawler II. The ultimate test for an MMA event is the “buzz” test.

      Once or twice every year, you are left after an event with a buzz. This time I’m not so sure, because the aforementioned death ketamine has blurred the dividing lines between my natural enjoyment of the sport and the artificial chemicals flooding my brain organ. Reality splices itself onto imagination, or maybe the other way around.

      I think I have kept a sharp hold of it, and have upheld all journalistic duties a subjective observer might be said to have. When Jones spun, my vision spun and I was transported very briefly into a land of fairy people who were drilling through the walls to reassure me everything was OK.

      There was a moment in there when I thought I existed in Dante’s vision of hell, in a newborn world where all people mercilessly struck each other until the brain fluids leaked from their skulls.

      When Cerrone kicked, I felt my lower legs briefly depart from my body. But just as quickly they rejoined me. I never re-entered Dante’s vision of hell, which came as a great relief.

      Apart from these minor disturbances I was able to view the fights with an incredibly intense anxiety which I would not wish upon my worst foes, but which I believe allowed me to focus on what was transpiring in front of me in a more acute fashion than the most professional of journalists covering the sport at the time.

      It’s an approach to sports journalism which, while dangerous in certain circumstances, may have potential.

      There was one more minor disturbance, which at first I dare not to mention. In the interests of full disclosure I will bring it to you now.

      As I left my body for the last time, I felt I had lived an entire life outside this particular universe.

      In this universe I was a ring card girl, “fighting” with another ring card girl in a mush of money and slime. I was writhing about when it suddenly came on the loudspeakers that we were the main fight of the evening.

      We were both introduced to terrible disco music, and proceeded to have a fight where we repeatedly slapped each other with big fistfuls of money until my opponent’s fistful came free and scattered in the air.

      The commentators went wild, and I was victorious. Dana White came into the Octagon and strapped a big dildo around my waist.

      I mention this as an aside, because in reality it only lasted for a microsecond.

      It was a good night. It was a crazy night. And now we are all spinning in time and space, unsure of the fabric that makes up our most basic realities.

      Thank you, god bless, and goodnight, ladies, laddies, gentlemen, and gentlewoman.

    1. UFC 182 Betting Odds 

      Odds for tonight’s UFC card (via BestFightOdds):

      • Jon Jones (1.59 or -170) vs. Daniel Cormier (2.60 or +160)
      • Donald Cerrone (1.71 or -140) vs. Myles Jury (2.40 or +140)
      • Nate Marquardt (1.77 or -130) vs. Brad Tavares (2.30 or +130)
      • Kyoji Horiguchi (1.15 or -650) vs. Louis Gaudinot (6.70 or +570)
      • Hector Lombard (1.15 or -650) vs. Josh Burkman (7.87 or +687)

      It’s not often you’ll see Jones offered at 1.59. If you throw that bet into a treble with Lombard and Horiguchi (which are as close to forgone conclusions as you get in MMA), you would have a pretty nice parlay offered at around evens.

      Of course, that depends on Cormier coming up short tonight…

    2. UFC 182 Collated Fight Picks

      Here is a summary of how tonight’s main card is being predicted, collated from predictions made by journalists at MMA Mania, MMA Fighting, Bleacher Report, Bloody Elbow, and MMA Junkie.

      • 81% favour Jon Jones over Daniel Cormier (21-5)
      • 73% favour Donald Cerrone over Myles Jury (19-7)
      • 65% favour Brad Tavares over Nate Marquardt (17-9)
      • 100% favour Kyoji Horiguchi over Louis Gaudinot (26-0)
      • 100% favour Hector Lombard over Josh Burkman (26-0)

      Great to see the top three billed fights predicted to be competitive affairs.

      While 81% would normally show overwhelming confidence in a fight’s outcome, given we are talking about Jon Jones – an undefeated champion who has defeated an astounding number of world class opponents – I think Cormier has made a strong case to convince almost 20% of journalists he will win tonight.

    1. Rampage Regrets Leaving UFC 

      Not a man who gets on easily with his employers.

    2. The Time Is Now… But We Didn’t Get It Done on Time 

      So, yesterday’s UFC press conference passed without the expected big announcement. Instead we got dates for all of the promotion’s 2015 events. The biggest stars were brought out to answer questions.

      My guess is that the UFC was simply anxious to emphasise the big fights they have lined up for next year.

      Since Ronda Rousey was scheduled to take over the E! News (celebrity gossip site) Twitter account during the press conference, it seems likely they expected to have signed her next opponent – probably Gina Carano –, and that was going to be the big announcement.

      UPDATE: in retrospect it is clear the signing of CM Punk was to be the big announcement. Many irons in the fire, the UFC has.

    1. Weighing The Options of Anderson Silva 

      Tom Taylor writing for Fightland:

      The first Weidman fight saw Silva strutting around the octagon and sticking his chin out in a show of rather unsportsmanlike antics. It wouldn’t have been so bad, had he not been knocked out by Weidman when his confidence got too high.

      Next was their rematch, whose outcome made their first fight look like an episode of Care Bears. Yes, I’m talking about the tibia-break, the infamous spaghetti-leg of UFC 168. After a leg-kick gone awry, Silva’s leg snapped, and sent him crashing to the ground in pain. It was carnage. His legacy had taken a blow in his first loss to Weidman, but suddenly his career seemed to have come to an abrupt and tragic end.

      But Silva, even after losing his belt, still has the heart of a champion. His competitive fire, it appears, still burns. Just a few months into his recovery, it was announced that the former champ and consensus best-ever would be returning to action in a middleweight superfight. His opponent? A beefed-up Nick Diaz, the older of Stockton’s two favourite sons. The pair will meet at UFC 183 on January 31st of 2015.

    2. The Truth About MMA’s Dangerous Weight Cutting Game 

      Michael Huang writing for ESPN:

      Holm is 5-foot-8, with a “walk-around” weight of about 155 pounds. But she will be fighting at bantamweight (135 pounds) when she steps foot into the Octagon for the first time, on Dec. 6. When she talks about making weight, she speaks casually. It’s a part of a fighter’s life, she says, and it has been a daily thought for Holm for the past decade. She doesn’t want anybody to feel sorry for her — it’s part of the deal as a pro fighter.

      But the sheer numbers are alarming. Holm feels comfortable if she can be within 10 pounds of her weight class the day of the weigh-in. That means she has to lose 10 pounds — in 24 hours.

      If we could find a way to eliminate weight cutting from the sport it would be a very good, progressive change.

      This is a case where we need to save competitor’s from themselves – and that mentality in general is a million miles away from the way I usually think.

      Same day weigh-ins would be a good first step. The Athletic Commissions should take this challenge almost (and I mean almost) as seriously as performance-enhancing drugs.

      The sport has come a long way, but is still in need of major changes before we can champion it with all of our hearts. And don’t think this is unrelated to GSP’s hiatus.

    1. Anderson Silva: “With all my energy I’m going to be rooting for Vitor to win” 

      Anderson Silva on Vitor Belfort (via MMA Weekly):

      He’s more explosive, he’s got better boxing, good jiu-jitsu, good wrestling. Chris Weidman, he’s a new athlete. He’s a new generation. He’s a young athlete and he’s coming out very strong. It’s a fight that everyone is gonna want to see. With all my energy I’m going to be rooting for Vitor to win.

    2. “Korean Zombie” Taken Into Mandatory Military Service 

      After only fighting once in over two and a half years, count Chan Sung Jung out of competition for the next two years. He will be serving an involuntary military service in South Korea, beginning later this month.

      He’ll be nearing 30 when the South Korean government permits him to resume his career.