Neither UFC President Dana White nor light heavyweight champion Jon Jones had said much since the infamous collapse of UFC 151, but that all changed yesterday. Within a 24-hour span, both White and Jones broke their silence in lengthy interviews with our own Ariel Helwani, explaining their sides of the story and -- with September 1, 2012 now come and gone -- hopefully putting an end to a conversation that has slowly grown tiresome.
Jones' voice arose first, and it was most notable in that: 1.) the young champ said the only fight he would've taken on eight days' notice would've been against Rashad Evans; 2.) accepting the Chael Sonnen fight would've been "ignorant;" 3.) he never once asked White to stop Sonnen from taunting him; 4.) he thought White would be more supportive, aka, not throw him under the bus while saying he "murdered the event," but was still happy to know where they stood because Jones doesn't want a fake relationship with anyone; and, 5.) he'd finally come to the conclusion that it wasn't his job to be liked, but just to show up, finish his opponent and go back home. Which, I might add, is exactly the attitude he needed to embrace after all this drama, and is one that probably doesn't bode well for Vitor Belfort's chances.
Then came White's turn, and as usual, we got a lot more than we bargained for with the UFC boss. White covered all the expected ground like his recovering relationship with Jones -- "I give Jon Jones a lot of slack. The guy is young." -- to Anderson Silva stepping up and offering to defend his middleweight title on eight days' notice -- "I would never call the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world and ask him to fight in eight days. And who's really going to fight Anderson on eight days' notice?"
But as these things usually go, the conversation inevitably meandered off and we learned the fate of a few superfights, plus the title chances of middleweight contender Chris Weidman and former light heavyweight champ Lyoto Machida. For Weidman, White wouldn't say definitively, but he strongly alluded that the 28-year-old would need one more fight to reach the top of the ladder, most likely against the winner of Brian Stann vs. Michael Bisping.
As for Machida, his prospects don't look as cheery. For making White's no-good, very, very bad day a little worse a few weeks ago, the Brazilian will apparently have to trudge his way to the back of the line.
"When I make a fight, I don't say a word until both bout agreements are signed and the deal was done," White tersely explained. "I did exactly what it is that I said I'd never do. I was in a position where, the big media call was the next day, and I wanted to have some answers. So I went out there, and Machida was in the freakin' jungle somewhere. [Manager] Ed [Soares] told me, 'he's in the jungle, I can't get a hold of him.' Ed says, 'I think he's going to take the fight, I don't see why he wouldn't.'
"So I went with it. It didn't work out. Here's a guy who's been terrorizing me for a title shot, he said that four weeks [notice] wasn't enough. I said ‘okay' and I moved on. Lyoto has been crying for this title shot for a long time, and you know how this stuff goes: when you turn down the opportunity to fight, things start going in another path, another direction. It happened to Rashad Evans. He was out of a fight for a year and a half. Machida is not next in line now."
Ah, yes, the good ole UFC way. Mess with the boss, and the boss messes right back. Who didn't see that coming?
5 MUST-READ STORIES
Dana White interview. In an extensive interview on FUEL TV, UFC President Dana White cleared up a number of issues stemming from the cancellation of UFC 151. Among the items discussed: White said he doesn't actually hate Jon Jones, he believes Dan Henderson deserved some of the blame, Greg Jackson is first and foremost a businessman, Anderson Silva offered to defend his middleweight title to try to save the show, UFC 151 undercard fighters who were not re-booked for the immediate future were compensated, and as far as White can remember, Jones didn't call and ask him to stop Chael Sonnen's trash talk.
Weidman, Machida likely not getting title shots. Later in the same interview, Dana White revealed that UFC title shots were unlikely as the next step for both middleweight contender Chris Weidman and former light heavyweight champ Lyoto Machida.
Jones opens up. Following a tumultuous two weeks that saw Jon Jones become public enemy No. 1 in the eyes of many fans and fighters, the young UFC champion talked at length to our own Ariel Helwani, covering his reasons for declining the Chael Sonnen fight, his current relationship with Dana White, the tidal wave of criticism he has received and where he goes from here.
GSP-Silva superfight likely for 180 pounds, Cowboys Stadium. The long-awaited Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre superfight will likely be contested at a catchweight of 180 pounds and take place at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX, which can seat up to 80,000 spectators.
McMann to Strikeforce, Rockhold vs. Larkin set. Invicta FC agreed to send 2004 Olympic freestyle wrestling silver medalist Sarah McMann to Strikeforce, potentially paving the way for a match against undefeated Strikeforce women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey. Meanwhile, Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold is set to defend his belt against Lorenz Larkin on November 3rd, much to the surprise of Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza, who had expected to receive his rematch.
Nearly two weeks after the cancellation of UFC 151, Dana White sat down with Ariel Helwani to discuss, at length, what exactly went wrong. Of course, potential GSP-Silva and Fedor-Lesnar superfights somehow wandered their way into the conversation, too. But anyway, check out this playlist courtesy of Zombie Prophet (via the MMA Nation YouTube channel) which features all four released segments of the interview, in case you missed it last night.
If you've ever seen Kill Bill: Vol. 2, you've probably wondered whether the scene where Uma Thurman three-inch punches her way out of a coffin buried six-feet under is actually possible. Well, Jon Fitch and the Mythbusters team joined forces to figure it out. (To see the non-MMA conclusion, check out Part 2.)
(Props to @PhilZeGerman)
For some reason, Mike Swick uploaded a gruesome video of his knee slowly, slowly getting drained. And for some reason, we posted it. There aren't really good explanations for either.
Andrei Arlovski, keeping it real: "I told them this, I don't really care about if they're going to disqualify me or not. If I have the opportunity to soccer kick, I will do it. And I did it."
Folks, there's a reason Nick Diaz and Anderson Silva can clown opponents in-fight like they do. It's because their names are Nick Diaz and Anderson Silva. Now, unless your name is also Nick Diaz or Anderson Silva, you probably shouldn't try it.
IN DEFENSE OF THE COACH
For the record, Greg Jackson has always put his fighter first before money. We are a team; we are a family.— Julie Kedzie (@julesk_fighter) September 5, 2012
@rockholdmma it's already been brought......lol— lorenz larkin (@da_MONSOON) September 4, 2012
Michael Clarke Duncan walked with me to the locker rooms after the Bonnar fight and told me what a great fight it was. Great memory!— Forrest Griffin (@ForrestGriffin) September 4, 2012
God bless Michael Clarke Duncan...great actor..great guy. You will be missed and remembered!— Stephan Bonnar (@StephanBonnar) September 5, 2012
CAN'T STOP, WON'T STOP
POSTERS, POSTERS, POSTERS
Tito Ortiz (@titoortiz) September 5, 2012
Announced yesterday (Tuesday, September 4, 2012):
- Strikeforce: Cormier vs. Mir: Luke Rockhold (10-1) vs. Lorenz Larkin (13-0, 1 NC) for Strikeforce middleweight title
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day is something that has nothing at all to do with UFC 151, Dana White or Jon Jones, courtesy of Dangalvan: Welterweight Prospects With Major Upside
It's hard to successfully predict one single MMA fight. It's even harder to successfully predict one single MMA career. And it's downright impossible to successfully predict eight MMA careers. But I'm going to attempt it anyway.
The eight prospects that I'll be highlighting are fighters in the welterweight division, a weight class that that is filled with young and promising fighters already in the major MMA promotions such as Ben Askren, Rory MacDonald, and Erick Silva.
Askren, MacDonald, and Silva are the golden standard for welterweight prospects. All of the fighters on my list have potential to follow in their footsteps, but they also have the potential to fail and never truly make MMA a career.
The eight prospects have a lot of raw talent, but in order to truly be successful in Mixed Martial Arts they are going to have to take their game to the next level by refining their strengths and eliminating their weaknesses.
Now, without further adieu, here are eight of the top welterweight prospects in MMA today.
(To clarify, I consider a prospect to be a fighter with roughly three years or less of professional MMA experience.)
Dhiego Lima (7-1)
The striking game of Dhiego Lima is downright scary. His ability to mix up his combinations with a wide array of strikes combined with his speed makes him one of the top pure strikers at 170 pounds. The upside is high for Lima, but he could easily be stuck fighting on lower-tier MMA shows if he does not improve his defensive wrestling, a glaring hole in his game. Off of his back, Lima is certainly dangerous with submissions, but he runs into trouble against veteran wrestlers that have proficient submission defense.
Braulio Estima (1-0)
What's that? You've never heard of a 32 year-old prospect? Well, look no further than BJJ expert Braulio Estima. When I say BJJ expert, I really mean it. Estima is one of the top active BJJ practitioners in the world today with multiple world championships and high-ranking victories as evidence. Estima made his professional MMA debut last week-end as he submitted Chris Holland at TFC 24 with an arm-triangle submission. In order to succeed, Estima will have to hone his MMA skills and become a more complete fighter by upgrading himself on the feet and installing a more explosive takedown shot.
Krzysztof Jotko (10-0)
Poland is slowly but surely churning top MMA athletes and Krzysztof Jotko is the latest example of that. The Polish welterweight is a talented fighter that likes to the close distance and turn fights into grappling matches. Finishing five of his last seven fighters, Jotko is a methodical fighter that takes advantages of openings given to him by his opponents. A former middleweight, Jotko looked solid in his welterweight debut against Damir Hadzovic at MMA Attack 2 as he defeated his opponent in decision fashion.
More after the jump...
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