MMA Observer
    1. UFC 200: Jones vs Cormier 2 Canceled (Press Conference Highlights) 

      From The Fight Network.

      I couldn’t have more sympathy for Cormier. As fans we’re in a privileged position, because there’s still a ton of great fights being put on over the weekend.

      Dana White has vowed to find Cormier an opponent to fight on the UFC 200 card, but I worry for Cormier’s state of mind dealing with such a quick change of direction. I’ll be rooting for him.

      It would be truly brilliant for him to put on a strong performance, and make a lot of money in the process. And as a ridiculously talented and mentally strong athlete, he may very well have the capacity to pull it off.

      I’m in his corner.

    1. Does the UFC’s Mass of Title Shocks Help or Harm the Organization? 

      Josh Gross writing for Guardian US:

      Michael Bisping surprised everyone when he beat Luke Rockhold on Saturday night – but fans accept such upsets as a sign that exciting things happen when people fight in the octagon.

      Must read.

      This is a perfect example of the cutting, un-compromised journalism UFC fear and shy away from out of an instinct to control all corners.

      It’s the kind of untethered discussion and analysis of the sport the fans could have enjoyed reading and engaging with for years, if it weren’t for…

      Implied threats. And to be perfectly honest, a weakness on the MMA media’s side, at large.

      Josh Gross, possibly the most brilliant, straight-shooting journalist who ever covered the sport.

      Black-balled by UFC since 2005.

    2. Free Fight: Fedor Emelianenko vs Andrei Arlovski 

      Exciting fight from the past, and a good rewatch.

      Take this for what it’s worth, but I find it interesting UFC has chosen to offer not one but two Fedor fights in full on their YouTube channel ahead of Fedor’s next fight (which will be broadcast live on UFC Fight Pass, though UFC are not promoting it directly).

      I have a – completely unsubstantiated – feeling UFC is kicking it into fifth gear right now, and plans to go guns blazing for the next couple months.

      Just a feeling.

    1. How Kimbo Slice and MMA Challenge Our Notions of Celebrity and Humanity 

      Beau Dure writing for Guardian US with a thoughtful summary of the whirlwind of unexpected events surrounding MMA over the last few days – ending with the tragic and premature loss of Kimbo Slice at the age of 42 yesterday.

      Dure:

      Mixed martial arts has struggled with celebrity, taking awkward steps into the mainstream. But the sport has also gained credibility by showcasing the humanity of these men and women who punch, kick and choke each other. The past 72 hours have shown the sport at its best and worst, its most divided and most unified, showing the complex and compelling nature of a sport that is becoming difficult to ignore.

    2. Ariel Helwani’s UFC Press Credentials Revoked After Breaking Story of Lesnar’s Return 

      UFC has a history of black-balling reporters who rub up against company interests – most notably Josh Gross and Loretta Hunt –, so the reaction doesn’t strike me as surprising. It does strike me as unreasonable, and unwise.

      The distraction away from the excitement and positivity of UFC 199 (one of the best events in years) seems like one obvious negative short-term effect.

      In the long-term, incidents like this could foster a lingering distrust in the wider media towards the promotion and sport that could be hard to reverse.

    1. MMAjunkie Staff Picks for UFC 199 

      Ladies and gentlemen, place your bets.

      History warns not to count Dan Henderson out. In any case, I’m hoping the MMA gods shine favourably on the legend tomorrow night.

    2. UFC 199 Embedded Episode 5: ‘Tough Guy Using Cuss Words’ 

      In which Luke Rockhold learns the meaning of the word “iniculate,” Dominick Cruz picks fresh flowers while walking his dog, and Michael Bisping fails at the game of “BOO!” before failing to be noticed by Uriah Faber.

      Bisping ends on a stronger note with some choice parting words to Rockhold at the press conference.

    1. Kevin Randleman Rest in Peace

      Kevin Randleman always seemed like one of the purest personalities in the sport to me, and I have long considered him the most athletically-gifted fighter to have competed in MMA.

      As a fan I will miss his presence dearly, both as a competitor and a personality. The MMA community is certain to feel his loss – a community he took his own time to interact and engage with personally.

      His battle with Rutten, his time ruling the UFC heavyweight roost, his decisive victory over Crop Cop, then the unforgettable slam on Fedor that had the world stunned and replaying for years and to this day, are a few of the thrilling memories he leaves the fans with.

      Outside the ring he always appeared enthused, friendly, passionate. His interviews bored that out. A charismatic personality with a genuine, charming underside – whose heart burst out and welcomed people he didn’t know with a sincere friendliness.

      We were blessed to see such an individual in competition, and we are unlikely to see someone with such a big heart – who publicly showed great loyalty and respect towards his trainers, and love for his fans – again. He was one of a kind.

      The bigger picture for me was one of a ridiculously talented, good-hearted man who gave to the sport’s history blinding flashes of colour, excitement. We could all take a page from his book.

      RIP “The Monster.” You were truly great.

    1. MMA Rewind: Ronda Rousey 

      Phil Murphy at ESPN watches early Ronda Rousey fights with the champion herself, as she commentates on her memories and experiences from each fight. Good watch.