Morning Report: Brock Lesnar re-signs with WWE; Alistair Overeem predicts Silva will be a 'statistic' after quick KO

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

There's no rest for the weary when it comes to 2013's relentless mixed martial arts touring schedule. Just as two straight weeks of UFC and Bellator action are in the books, a stacked UFC 156 card and season-eight lightweight tournament come chugging along around the corner.

Likewise, whether it's Alistair Overeem calling his shot or Nick and Nate Diaz getting pulled over by Officer Steven Seagal, there's plenty to go over today. So without further ado, let's jump ahead and get to it.

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6 MUST-READ STORIES

The MMA hour. Ariel Helwani and The MMA Hour return with another packed episode featuring a lineup of Tito Ortiz, Cung Le, Joseph Benavidez, Jacob Volkmann, Bellator color commentator Jimmy Smith and our own Mike Chiappetta.

Lesnar re-signs. Former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar inked a reported two-year contract extension with the WWE.

Overeem on Silva. Ahead of a return from a 13-month layoff, Alistair Overeem said of his UFC 156 bout against Antonio Silva: "The fight will probably end in one or two rounds. I'm going to raise my hands after and he's just going to be a number on my list, a statistic."

Ortiz talks Cyborg, White. UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz riffed on a number of topics, from his efforts to secure a Cyborg vs. Rousey superfight, to the prevalence of PEDs in MMA and his ongoing relationship with Dana White.

Bellator season 8 featherweight bracket. The eight-man bracket for Bellator's season-eight featherweight tournament has been finalized. Marlon Sandro vs. Akop Stepanyan and Fabricio Guerrerio vs. Magomedrasul "Frodo" Khasbulaev take place on one side of the bracket, while Mike Richman vs. Mitch Jackson and "Popo" Bezerra vs. Genair da Silva take place on the other.

K-1 Grand Prix rescheduled. Kickboxing promotion K-1 has rescheduled its 2012 K-1 Grand Prix Final 8 event for March 15, 2013, in Zagreb, Croatia. The event, which was originally scheduled to take place in December, features PRIDE legend Mirko Cro Cop among the eight-man field.

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MEDIA STEW

Poor Johny Hendricks. Dude just can't catch a break.

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Yesterday an Anderson Silva commercial. Today an Anderson Silva commercial. Hell, Anderson Silva was even in that Prebek video. Man, the middleweight champ is everywhere these days.

Props to Guilherme Arantes for the find.

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But... I never got to hear the best thing...

(HT: Reddit)

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Okay, I'll admit, this is pretty adorable.

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Look at the thumbnail. This video is exactly what you think it will be. Sorry, fellas. Apparently this video is set to private now.

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Well, so far that Erik Koch prediction hasn't really been working out for Pat Barry.

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CAMARADERIE

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TELL US HOW YOU REALLY FEEL

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GOOD GUY J.T.

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EVENTUALLY...

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Monday, January 28, 2013):

  • N/A

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day comes from thehivemind, who asks you: Did the referee overstep his bounds by assisting Johnson with timing his knees against Dodson?

Did anyone else feel that "Big"John McCarthy was over-stepping his role as referee during that sequence where Demetrious Johnson was throwing knees at John Dodson in the clinch? Dodson would alternate putting his hand on the ground to avoid getting a knee to the head and McCarthy would verbally call out whether Johnson could knee him to the head or not based on that.

Putting aside the legitimacy of being a grounded fighter by having a hand on the ground, did anyone else find those actions by McCarthy disturbing? While a referee should remind fighters to keep the action clean, for example telling the fighter not to hit the back of the head or to watch the head butts, in this instance McCarthy was providing real time feedback to Johnson on whether he should throw a knee to Dodson's head or body.

Shouldn't it be left up to Johnson to be aware of whether his opponent is grounded or not and where to throw his strikes? The analogy I'd use here is the 3 second violation in basketball. A referee doesn't tell you whether you have 1 second left to leave the lane, it's up to the offensive player to keep track of the time and his positioning, the referee's job is to call the violation if it occurs, there's no assistance provided to the player to avoid the violation.

In this case, McCarthy's actions put Johnson at the advantage and Dodson at the disadvantage even though McCarthy intended to "protect" Dodson. It was actually in Dodson's best interests to lure Johnson into kneeing him in the head so he could free himself from the clinch after the foul is called, plus Johnson could have had a point taken away for the infraction. The end result was Johnson knew when and where to throw his knees thanks to the referee. Also rather than Johnson having to reposition himself so he could see whether Dodson had a hand on the ground or not, he could keep his dominant position in the clinch as McCarthy's was providing verbal instructions. Who says in-cage coaching doesn't exists? Where do you draw the line between a referee protecting one fighter while not assisting the other?

Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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