Photo by Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
After a brief hiatus, the Twitter Mailbag is back and ready to answer all your questions on topics as diverse as Hector Lombard’s chances for wearing UFC gold, to Brock Lesnar’s Hall of Fame worthiness, to what you should ask for if you want to wet your whistle in Germany.
Got a question of your own? Look me up at @BenFowlkesMMA on the old Twitter device and then fire away. In the meantime, let’s get this TMB started right, shall we?
Dan Brooks @Combat_Blog
Why is Nick Diaz suing the NSAC? Could that possibly work out well for him?
In short, Nick Diaz is suing the Nevada State Athletic Commission because they won’t let him fight, and yet won’t give him a chance to make his case that he should be able to fight. As you’ll no doubt recall, he was suspended after testing positive for marijuana following his decision loss to Carlos Condit at UFC 143. That was over two months ago, but, according to Diaz’s lawsuit, "the NSAC has still not convened a hearing. Nor has a hearing been scheduled. Accordingly, the NSAC's application of NRS 233B.l27 and/or NRS 467.117 is an unconstitutional deprivation of Diaz's due process rights."
Now, can that possibly work out well for him, you ask? I have no idea, but at least it’s an encouraging sign. Let’s stop for a second and just appreciate the fact that Diaz has a lawyer who is actually pursuing this thing. That would have been unimaginable a couple years ago, when the most complicated legal maneuvering he was capable of was no-showing a drug test that he knew he would fail. Now that he’s back in the UFC, he’s got a Vegas heavyweight handling his business, filing affidavits that, somewhat hilariously, quote an alternate universe Diaz as saying: "The summary suspension against me, made without any consideration of the merits of the Complaint, is the only reason I am aware of that a rematch against Mr Condit has not been scheduled. If the summary suspension is set aside, I would be prepared to compete against Mr. Condit or against any other opponent deemed suitable immediately."
First of all, imagine Diaz using a word like ‘suitable’ in conversation. Imagine him referring to the guy who peppered him with "little baby leg kicks" as "Mr. Condit." It’s like trying to picture Donald Cerrone in a bowler rather than a cowboy hat: so impossibly wrong, it’s hilarious.
But second, imagine what would have happened if Diaz would have been left to his own devices here. This is the guy who retired after a decision didn’t go his way. You think it was his idea to get attorney Ross Goodman in on this? I’m guessing no. I’m guessing that, if it were left up to Diaz, he would have filed a writ of ‘Eff your mother’ and called it a day. That he didn’t -- that he, in fact, enlisted the help of a professional who could at least put some pressure on the NSAC -- is a good sign. I’m not sure if it means he’ll be back in the cage against Mr. Condit any time soon, but at least it gives us reason to hope that he’s not done yet. For now, I’ll take it.
Jason Rule @JasonRule
TMB? You covered Schaub a bit in your Hurt Business series. After his most recent KO where does he go? 205, back to Grudge?
Who says he needs to go anywhere? Obviously it’s not a great career move (or, you know, brain move) to keep getting knocked out, but let’s not be so quick to hit the eject button on the guy. Schaub’s a talented fighter, and he was looking good against Rothwell, at least right up until he decided to plant his feet and play Rock-em, Sock-em Robots with Big Ben. Rothwell's chin allows him to play that game. Schaub's doesn't. Is that a problem that’s going to be solved by moving to light heavyweight, assuming Schaub could even get down to 205 pounds without donating a kidney? I doubt it. Plenty of light heavyweights can swat, and in that division Schaub loses the speed advantage he currently enjoys at heavyweight. Maybe the answer is simply using that speed advantage a little more, and brawling a little less. Schaub is a big, athletic guy who does a lot of things well. It just seems like taking blows to the head is not one of those things. I don’t know if you can build a better chin in the gym, but you can get better at preventing people from testing it.
Noel Luperon @NoelLuperon
how many Ariel Helwani's does it take to change a light bulb?
Just one, but it takes him three hours.
Luke Williamson @ltw0303
Doesnt @ufc almost have to bring King Mo back? If for any other reason to give Jones another contender after Hendo? #mailbag
I broached this topic with UFC president Dana White after the recent event in Stockholm. While he still wasn’t terribly pleased with Lawal, he didn’t rule out the possibility of the former Strikeforce champ getting back in Zuffa’s good graces. White said he respected Lawal for reaching out to Nevada commissioner Pat Lundvall to apologize for his remarks on Twitter, and said we’d now have to wait and "see how this whole thing goes down." It’s not exactly an enthusiastic endorsement, but it’s not a hard no either. Personally, I think Lawal is too good a fighter not to be in the UFC. Whether he’s a legitimate challenger for Jon Jones is yet to be determined, but I hope we get the chance to see for ourselves.
Maggie Hendricks @maggiehendricks
If you could match up any fiction writers (alive or dead) who, why, and who wins?
Depends what kind of fight I’m in the mood for. If I want an all-out slobberknocker between two departed great ones, I match up John Steinbeck against William Faulkner. If I want something a little more tactical between two living gems, I go with Amy Hempel vs. Maile Meloy. If I want a satisfying squash match that would fit right in on a New Year’s Eve card in Tokyo, I let Ernest Hemingway punch a hole in Jonathan Safran Foer’s face. Now that I think about it, I can’t imagine a time when I wouldn’t be in the mood for that last one.
In hindsight, will Rampage be remembered more as a great personality or fighter?
A little of both, though I’m not sure ‘great’ is the word I’d use to describe his fighting career or his personality. Instead, I might go with ‘fascinating.’ Or even ‘enigmatic.’ Inside the cage and out, he’s always been memorable, and at times extremely frustrating. Was he a great fighter? Maybe once, and maybe he still is in brief flashes, but as Dana White recently pointed out, he never quite became the fighter he could have been. He never seemed as interested in it as we were. He wanted to make movies, to be showered with praise and never, ever called out on his often absurd behavior in public. He wanted to be champ, then he wanted to quit MMA altogether, and then he wanted to go fight outside the UFC. He changed his mind a lot, in other words, and his career trajectory looks like that of a man who couldn’t decide on what he wanted to do long enough to fully commit to doing it. That’s how I think we’ll remember Jackson when he’s gone: interesting, entertaining, and all over the place.
Terry Shillito @TerryShillito
#twittermailbag I don't think we've heard your take on MMA in the olympics. Should it be in? Do they copy boxing? Etc.
The UFC knows it would be a great feather in its cap to get MMA into the Olympics, but I don’t think many fans realize that it wouldn’t be as fun in practice as it is in theory. Look at Olympic boxing, for instance. Between the head gear and the limited rounds, it’s so different from pro boxing that it’s practically a different sport altogether. The same would probably be true for MMA, since few fighters would want to take elbows to the head without getting a paycheck at the end of the night. Could it become an interesting way for amateur MMA fighters to make a name for themselves before going pro? Maybe. But if you think you’re going to see Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen go five rounds with a gold medal on the line, you’re kidding yourself.
With the NFL draft upon on us, if you were the UFC, who would your #1 pick be from outside the org to come to UFC and why?
Does Strikeforce count as an outside organization? If so, with the first pick in the 2012 purely fictional UFC draft, I select Gilbert Melendez, lightweight, of San Francisco, California. With my second pick, I select Luke Rockhold, middleweight, of San Jose, California. With my third pick, I trade some of next year’s picks to get the duo of Daniel Cormier and Josh Barnett. I don’t even care who wins that fight, both of them deserve to be in the UFC. And besides, I plan to resign as fictional GM of the UFC after this season, so let the next guy worry about all the fictional draft picks I gave up. Sucker.
A Fragile Smile @AFragileSmile
do you think Brock Lesnar is UFC HOF worthy?
Nope. Assuming he stays retired from MMA (and I think he will), he’s a 5-3 fighter with a career that lasted just a little over four years. Granted, he became UFC heavyweight champ in that time, and he brought a lot of mainstream attention to the sport, but that still doesn’t make him one of the all-time greats. It makes him a useful PR tool and an interesting guy to have around, at least for a little while. Shouldn’t a Hall of Famer be more than that? Shouldn’t he be one of MMA’s best, and not just one of the sport’s most popular?
I think so, but then again, MMA doesn’t have a Hall of Fame right now -- the UFC does. The UFC decides who gets in and who stays out, and it makes those decisions all on its own, and for its own reasons. That’s its prerogative as a private organization, but we shouldn’t confuse it for the real thing. It’s not the same as what happens in Cooperstown or Canton, so we shouldn’t put too much stock in it either way. Some day soon, I hope, MMA will have a real Hall of Fame. In the meantime, the discussion surrounding the UFC’s HOF doesn’t mean a whole lot.
Matt Giesbrecht @MattGiesbrecht
What season on TUF is your favourite and why?
Without a doubt, it’s season four: "The Comeback." What’s not to love there? You had Shonie Carter putting bling stones on everything, Matt Serra being the most obnoxiously effective (effectively obnoxious?) cornerman in the world, plus a little Chris Lytle and Jorge Rivera thrown in for good measure. All that, plus it was the season where Georges St-Pierre learned to be a pimp from the man who dressed like that because he did the damn thing. Sorry, but it’s going to take more than some tired locker room pranks to top that.
Dylan Lippincott @dylanlip
What's next for rashad? Does he rematch machida? At 32 how much time is left.
I wouldn’t mind seeing another Evans-Machida fight, if only because I’d like to know if one of MMA’s most gruesome-looking knockouts could possibly be replicated. And besides, what else is either one of them supposed to do right now? But even if Evans won that rematch with Machida we’d find ourselves right back at more or less the same point, wondering what’s next. I don’t think the clock is running out on Evans just yet. His style should give him a little more longevity than the brawlers of the MMA world typically enjoy, and it’s not like he’s been pushed into a premature old age by a bunch of bad beatings. It’s just that, as long as Evans and Jon Jones are in the same weight class, it seems unlikely that he’ll ever fight for UFC gold again.
That’s why, if he thinks he can manage it, now’s the time for Evans to move down to middleweight and take his chances. The cut will only get harder as he gets older, and there isn’t much left at light heavyweight except some just-for-the-hell-of-it bouts against others who are in the same position. That’s not a bad way to get paid for a little while, but it’s not much of a long-term strategy. If Evans wants a shot at being champ again, he’s either got to drop weight classes or else hang around and hope that Jones moves up to heavyweight while they’re both still young. Eventually, Jones will probably make that move. But if you're Evans, how long are you willing to wait? And why do you want to, if you have it in your power to lose a few pounds and be a contender right away?
Best beer (or beverage) on your recent European trip? #mailbag
While in Hamburg I had a delicious local beer by the name of Astra that I highly recommend if you ever get out that way. If you make it to Frankfurt, you’ve got to try the Apfelwein. If you go to Sweden, however, just do what the Swedes do and travel to Denmark for good, reasonably priced drinks. Your wallet will thank you.
Does 5'9 Lombard honestly stand a chance of getting UFC gold when he's an Umpa Lumpa standing next to 6'2 Silva? #reachmatters
First of all, how much longer do you think Anderson Silva is going to hang around in this sport? A year, maybe two? The man is 37 years old and closing in on what might be his last meaningful title defense. While he probably could keep fighting on into his 40s, it doesn’t seem like he necessarily wants to.
But I digress. Your question was about Hector Lombard, and whether a relatively short middleweight can find success in the UFC’s 185-pound division. It’s true that he’s going to be giving up some height and reach against guys like Brian Stann, Chael Sonnen, or Yushin Okami, all of whom are big dudes. Then again, Lombard’s dealt with that before. What he hasn’t done is taken on any of the division’s elite fighters. Not yet. Lombard’s got a great record on paper, but who’s the best fighter he’s beaten? He’s spent the last several years throttling guys who either weren’t good enough for the UFC or weren’t good enough to stay in the UFC. That makes it tough to know what he’s really capable of, though he is an exciting fighter and a fun addition to a division that could use a little fresh blood. All I’m saying is, let’s see him beat a credible contender in the UFC before we start matching him up against the champ in our heads. Let’s also not assume that we know who the champ will be a year or so from now.
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