Though it involves neither mail nor a bag, the quips and questions sent to me @BenFowlkesMMA never fail to yield interesting queries about Fedor, Anderson Silva, dream superfights and announce teams, and one or two jabs at me personally.
Who wants to go first?
@JasonRule Does the contender title enhance-add any weight to the Penn v Fitch fight? Is there a demand to see either face GSP again?
To answer your first question: yes, but just barely. To answer the second: no way.
Fitch already won a number one contender bout when he beat Thiago Alves last year, so he has to take Dana White's promises with a grain of salt, especially if he continues to blanket opponents en route to boring decision victories.
Penn is 0-2 against St. Pierre, and that was when he seemed to be in his prime. GSP has only gotten better and more efficient since then, while Penn has fallen off a little. I'd be concerned for his safety in a third go-round. Please, no mas.
@SuperBizarro20 do see Andrie A. fighting Tim Sylvia in 2011 and if so in what organization?
Dear God, no. You ought to be arrested for even suggesting such a thing. Who wants to see that fight? I can't think of anything that would be a sadder reminder of how far each man has fallen. Watching that fight would be like watching someone slowly die of cancer. There are no winners in a fight like that, just one guy who loses a little less. Let's not unnecessarily plunge ourselves into soul-crushing depression, here.
@JeffTheJeff 'bag: 1. Who is your favorite current announce team? 2. What would be your play-by-play/color dream team?
Now that you've forced me to think about it, I have to admit there seem to be several good color analysts (Joe Rogan, Pat Miletich, and Jimmy Smith all stand out) and precious few decent play-by-play announcers.
I find Michael Schiavello's desperate pleas for attention to be absolutely intolerable, while Mauro Ranallo is growing on me, at least when he's not trying to do a pro wrestling schtick. Mike Goldberg's Yoda-like sentence constructions often drive me crazy (e.g. "Having a lot of success with the jab, is Kenny Florian."), but at least he doesn't try to be a show unto himself (looking at you, "The Voice.")
I guess I'd love to see a three-man team featuring Rogan and Miletich and...someone not named Gus Johnson doing play-by-play, but I'm not sure who that someone would be. Having trouble coming up with a good answer for this question, is Ben Fowlkes.
@pcusick13 What is SF plan for Mayhem Miller? Is he getting the next shot against Jacare?
That's a good question, and I think the lack of easily identifiable answers gets to the heart of Strikeforce's biggest problem. On paper, Miller is a promoter's dream. He's dynamic, articulate, entertaining, and a genuinely fascinating person. He's also well-known among casual fans, thanks to 'Bully Beatdown.'
And yet, what is Strikeforce doing with him? His last fight for Scott Coker's promotion was against the unknown Tim Stout last April. Granted, his suspension for getting assaulted in the cage on live TV kept him out of action a little while, but since then there have been at least two fights – a rubber match with Tim Kennedy or a grudge match with Nick Diaz – that seemed like logical next steps. Strikeforce failed to make either one happen.
'Jacare' Souza says he doesn't want to fight Miller again, and you could argue that Miller hasn't done enough to earn a title shot lately, but that's at least partly because he hasn't been given the chance. It seems as if Strikeforce can only focus on one big thing at a time. Right now, that thing is the heavyweight Grand Prix, but it won't last forever. Now's the time to move some other pieces into play, and Miller ought to be one of those pieces.
@Jason_MMA Do you think Anderson Silva would actually wait an entire year for GSP to bulk up for the Superfight?
It's the biggest fight he could possibly get right now, so I don't see why he wouldn't wait as long as necessary for GSP to pack on the pounds. What else is he going to do, take a rematch with Patrick Cote? Plus, just imagine all the insane stuff Steven Seagal could teach him in a year's time.
@FakeCokerSF Just how amazing is Fake Coker - very or extremely?
You know what I love most about you, Fake Coker? You're not a stupid parody of a real person. You act as though you might actually be the real person. You may even operate your Twitter in a more effective, consistent, and responsible fashion than Real Coker, and you do a good job of seriously promoting Strikeforce. Hear me now, Twitter users, get Fake Coker in your life. You'll be glad you did.
@jpcampbell710 do you think a fedor drop to 205 would resurrect his career or just negate his speed advantage he has at hvw8t?
Ah, the old weight class jump following a loss. Or as I like to call it, the fighter's false friend. All too often it allows a fighter to ignore the real problems in his life by focusing on gaining or losing weight instead.
Since I think Fedor was seriously hampered by 'Bigfoot' Silva's size advantage, I can see the case for a move down in weight. At the same time, I don't think that's his only or even his biggest problem. I would argue that Fedor could benefit more from an extended stay at one of MMA's better gyms. Clearly, beating up on his buddies in Stary Oskol isn't cutting it anymore. Maybe a new environment would also help him regain some of the old fire in the belly.
@kevin_pwns who needs who more in the potential reuniting of Nick Diaz and the UFC?
I'm not sure either one needs the other at all. True, the UFC could use a new welterweight contender to shake things up, and Diaz could use a UFC-sized payday so he can upgrade from that Honda he's driving.
Still, I suspect Diaz likes the freedom that comes with his Strikeforce employment even more than he likes money. And as much as Dana White would love to have Diaz inject some life into his welterweight division, he doesn't need the constant headache that comes with him. A reunion would be nice for the fans, but probably more trouble than its worth for both Diaz and the UFC.
@sephiroth872 how long do you see yourself working at mmafighting.com?
I'm just trying to make it until the end of this column.
@sdcassel Fighter you would pay the most to see fight? And what is it about them that makes them compelling?
It takes two guys to make a fight worth paying for, my friend. A few years ago I would have said I'd pay the most to see Randy Couture vs. Fedor Emelianenko. Actually, if they managed to do the fight as an exhibition in Randy's gym and stream it over the internet, I'd still probably pay a hefty price for it, but mostly for the novelty value.
Right now, though? I think a heavyweight showdown between Cain Velasquez and Alistair Overeem (or, failing that, Velasquez versus whoever wins the Strikeforce GP) would get the most money out of me. I don't even want to think about how much I'd be willing to pay for that, but it's a lot. Of course, since I cover this stuff for a living, it's all a tax write-off for me. In your face, IRS.
@mmalunatic4lyfe when and how long will it take for Fedor 2 b on top again? He's still the lb 4 lb best fighter n the world without (?)
Um, did you not see last weekend's fight? By the time it was over even Josh Koscheck was grossed out by what had become of Fedor's eye. Nobody who loses two in a row – the latter of which came against someone who is just barely top-ten caliber in the division – can still be called the pound-for-pound best. Fedor had a long, illustrious reign on top, but it's over now. The sooner you accept that and move on, the better off you'll be.
@JoakimKalantari I've heard a myth about there actually being people who care about the Rampage/Hamill fight. could this be true?
I'll be honest, I'd rather see Rampage/Hamill than Rampage/Evans II. This is a more favorable match-up for Hamill than Phil Davis was, and there's arguably more for him to gain if he wins it. It's co-main event quality at best, but I'll take it.
@MaxFlabber if and when Manhoef beats Kennedy on March 5th, what will that mean for both?
Seriously? You think the guy with no ground game to speak of is going to beat the guy who even 'Jacare' Souza was in no real hurry to grapple with? Surely you jest, sir.
The only way Kennedy loses this fight is if he tries too hard to impress people by standing with Manhoef. If he does that, he could easily get himself knocked out in the first round. But then, that would be extremely foolish, and Kennedy doesn't strike me as a foolish man.
The problem with Manhoef's particular game is that, terrifying though it may be, everyone sees it coming. I give Manhoef thirty seconds before his back touches the mat in this fight. Then it's Tapuary first, and the rent's due.