Twitter Mailbag: Your Questions on Testosterone, Trash Talk, and More

With questions on topics as diverse as testosterone use, knockouts, and how the HBO series "The Wire" relates to the world of MMA, this edition of the Twitter mailbag has a little something for everybody. Unless you hate fun and/or reading. If that's your deal, don't even bother.

If you have a question of your own, or just want to send me comments, compliments, and criticism, you can find me on Twitter @BenFowlkesMMA. Now who's up first?

@noelluperon With Sonnen now facing Stann, a Marine beloved by most, will he find trash material to hit him with or will he tone it down?

The way I see it, he has two choices: 1) go full-on Iron Sheik heel-mode by insulting a U.S. military hero, possibly with a bunch of tired 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' jokes and a semi-coherent rant about fascism, or 2) contrast how much he likes and respects Stann with how much he still despises Anderson Silva and every other Brazilian fighter he can name.

If I had to lay a bet on it, I'd go with door number two. There's no percentage in bashing a guy like Stann, so he'll punt this one and work on setting up future grudge matches with foreign enemies.

@PrincetonCrook do you think Tito Ortiz has enough in him to make an impressive run in the ufc or do you think he will fall short next time?

A lot of you asked some variation on this question, and I don't blame you. What do we make of a guy who suddenly beats a top contender after five years without a victory? The only reasonable answer is: wait and see.

Ortiz's win over Bader may be the beginning of a total resurrection. Or it may be the last little blip on the screen before his career flatlines for good. He was only in the cage for about two minutes, so it's impossible to know from what little we saw of him whether he really has what it takes to be a force at light heavyweight. With what he's making, however, you can bet the UFC won't give him any easy fights, so we should get our answer soon enough.

@maggiehendricks If you could share a beer with any fighter ever, and language is no barrier, who is it and why?

I've already done it. That fighter was Don Frye, and we both spoke English. Well, I spoke English; he spoke Don Frye. Also, I was the only one drinking a beer. Don had tequila. This was at about four o'clock in the afternoon in Las Vegas. The rest of the day went pretty much like you'd think it would.

@LoganasaurusRex which of the new WEC lightweights do you think is going to kick ass in the UFC? I have always thought Cerrone was a beast.

Donald Cerrone is indeed a beast, as he showed against Vagner Rocha at UFC 131. Cerrone was not only the far superior fighter that night, he was just plain meaner, and that never hurts in the fight game. But I also don't think we should look past Ben Henderson or Anthony Pettis. Sure, Pettis needs to work on his defensive wrestling, but he's only 24. Clay Guida might have schooled him in that department, but that's okay. Every young fighter needs a couple hard lessons like that. And while it's a bummer that Henderson has to see himself on the business end of that Showtime kick every time he watches a UFC highlight, his story still hasn't been written either.

@michaelbond89 who has the most to lose in the Henderson vs Fedor fight? Fedor said he is on his way out & might retire & hendo is champ???

Let me put it to you this way: Dan Henderson isn't staring a three-fight losing streak in the face. Not that he'd ever admit to caring one way or the other, but Fedor Emelianenko's once flawless legacy is in danger of being tarnished by this string of losses at the end of his career. No one can stay undefeated forever, but it you lose three in a row, the last of which comes against a 40-year-old light heavyweight, people are inevitably going to look back at the rest of your career and wonder if it wasn't more light than heat.

As for Hendo, he doesn't have much to lose. He's the 205-pound champ taking on a heavyweight great just for the hell of it. Even if he gets beat, so what? He's a senior citizen by MMA standards, but at least he wasn't afraid to keep putting it all on the line against whoever, whenever, and at whatever weight. You have to respect that.

@TheEntityMMA Mailbag question: Are you hiring?

Yes, I am. Send me your resume, an 8x10 headshot, a list of your deepest fears and greatest regrets, and a VHS tape of you delivering two separate monologues -- one Shakespeare, one contemporary. You should hear back in 4-6 weeks.

@hurstje1 Do you think flash knock-outs are deserving of a fight stoppage? Why or why not?

First of all, define flash knockout. Since you can't answer, I'll do it for you: when a person gets hit so hard and in just the right spot that he briefly loses all control of his body, entering a state of unconsciousness, only to be quickly jolted back into consciousness moments later. Also known as a knockout.

What I'm getting at is, we don't grade knockouts based on how long they last. When a ref sees a fighter's eyes roll to white and his limbs go limp, he has to make a decision right then. As soon as a fighter can't defend himself, that's it. Fight over. Whether it was what some might deem a "flash knockout" or not, that's usually something we don't know until we see how quickly the fighter recovers. And if refs start standing around and waiting to see whether guys recover from a state of unconsciousness, thus allowing them to absorb further punishment, they're not doing their jobs.

@MMAWeighInBlog In your opinion, what is worse, Sonnen failing to disclose TRT or Marquardt missing levels but playing by the rules? Why?

To be fair, Sonnen did disclose his testosterone use. He just did it right before the fight, the way you might mention to your buddy while on the way to a party that, oh yeah, his ex-girlfriend is going to be there with her new boyfriend. Or at least, you might do that if you were a jerk. If you were really intending to give someone fair notice, you'd tell them something like that when they still had time to do something about it, and you probably wouldn't lie to them afterwards about conversations you never really had, and the same is true for Sonnen.

Consider what would have happened if Marquardt hadn't told anyone about his testosterone use. His levels were fine when he fought Dan Miller, according to the great state of New Jersey. They were fine by the day of his scheduled fight with Rick Story, according to his management team. Makes you think that maybe he could have gotten away with it if he'd approached it as an attempt to cheat, but he didn't. He approached it as something he thought he could get permission to do, and maybe he could have, but we'll never know since he screwed it up royally with several bad decisions along the way.

As far as I'm concerned, neither should have been allowed to do what he was doing, but the athletic commissions and, to a lesser extent, the UFC invited this headache by not banning testosterone use outright. I think fighters should compete with the hormones they have, not the hormones they want.

And I don't care why your levels are low, either. If you brought it on yourself with past steroid use, then I'd say the punishment perfectly fits the crime. If it's a natural process you had no say in, sorry, but you have to live with it. I'm never going to be as fast or as strong as either Sonnen or Marquardt -- at least not naturally. My body just isn't capable of it. Does that mean I deserve a hormone boost to level the playing field? No. It means I either find some other way to make up for what I'm lacking, or else I stay home. I think I'll choose the latter.

@VineStreetLife How do you see the Diaz/GSP fight playing out? And do you ever get in the sun?

I see GSP winning the most exciting fight he's had in four years, and I see it being one in which he gets bloodied up on the feet and nearly submitted on the mat at least once. In the end, St. Pierre takes the decision.

And yes, despite a job that requires me to sit in front of a computer inside my house, except for the days when I sit in front of a computer inside an arena, I actually do get in the sun. But I live in Montana, and we only get a couple months of it each year.

@bigjim365 name 5 mma personalities and their counterpart on the wire.

Dana White is obviously Marlo: ruthless, aggressive, loves power for power's sake, can't give up the crown. Chael Sonnen is Clay Davis: willing to say absolutely anything to get what he wants, seemingly always teetering on the verge of disaster, but doing so with a smile. Nick Diaz is Jimmy McNulty: a hothead who is driven to be great at his job by the same characteristics that make him nearly incapable of everything outside of it. Wanderlei Silva is Avon Barksdale: all heart and emotion, still living by the rules he grew up on no matter how the game has changed since then. Randy Couture is Lester Freeman: an old dog who knows all the tricks, but is at times disappointed by his inability to pass that knowledge on to the young bucks. Also, he has a hot young girlfriend.

@mchervanik Should knees to head of kneeling opponent be made legal? It would be easier to referee because there would be no gray area.

I absolutely think knees to the head of a grounded opponent should be legal, but I also think the rationale you put forth is the worst reason to make that rule change. We don't need easier rules; we need better referees. Personally, I feel knees on the ground aren't as dangerous as elbows, and they would force some of the people who regard a front headlock as the worst-case result of a failed takedown attempt to rethink their fighting philosophy.

Knees on the ground would change the nature of a lot of positions that fighters frequently stall in, and are they really so much more damaging than a knee to the head while standing? You can basically use your shin as a baseball bat on a guy's head as long as he's on two feet. The prohibition against knees seems rooted more in a visual, visceral reaction than safety concerns.

The reality is, MMA (at least in North America) is only going to add rules from here on out, not take them away. We're just going to have to learn to live with it.

@JacobMcCrmck How long should Frankie have to wait on Maynard? 155 is so deep with many contenders on big win streaks.

Fair question. While I agree that Gray Maynard deserves that immediate rematch (see also: my three criteria for arriving at that distinction), we can't wait forever. I say give him nine full months from the date of the last fight, then see what his status is. If you can't get healthy enough to fight in the time it takes to create a human baby, then you're out of luck. I call this the Human Gestation Period Rule. I'm working on the name.

@heizerbjj If Tito got another shot after 4 losses in 5 years, why shouldn't wanderlei get another go?

It's not just whether you win or lose, it's how you win or lose. Ortiz lost a bunch of decisions in fights where he was at least competitive. Silva has suffered some frightening knockouts in the last few years, and not the kind where he's still awake enough to complain when the ref waves it off. When he goes out these days, he goes all the way out. You can only take so many of those before something bad happens to your brain.

It's not that nobody thinks Silva can compete at the UFC level. He did beat Michael Bisping just last year, after all. But if he can't take one solid punch from Chris Leben without losing 30 seconds of his life to the outer darkness, maybe it's time to do something else.

@FakeCokerSF Doesn't Feb. 26, 2012 at Saitama Super Arena sound like a good place for a big @Strikeforce vs @ufc?

You keep reaching for the stars, Fake Coker. One of these days you're going to pull one down and hold it in your arms. Of course it will destroy you, but what a way to go.

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