Morning Report: After two grueling fights in a row, Joe Lauzon wary of the threat of brain damage

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The threat of the future, and how crippling it could become, is one that seems best left ignored by professional fighters, if only because the reality is terrifying. Tragic stories like that of Gary Goodridge are very real, and reconciling such a fact cannot be easy for anyone who cashes their paycheck with contests to get hit in the skull the least.

That inevitable moment of self-reflection is enough to send some fighters darting down a different path, such as former UFC bantamweight Nick Denis. The 29-year-old biochemist and Ph.D. student abruptly retired last year, citing concerns over the effects of continual concussive blows. Sadly though, stories like Denis' are few and far between. Often the realization comes too late in a fighter's life, when a lifetime of combat has already wreaked havoc on the brain and the tau proteins have long begun taking root.

For an athlete like Joe Lauzon, who prides himself on entertaining performances, the discussion becomes one of particular significance. At 28 years old, Lauzon has been through more battles than most men twice his age. But it's his last two fights, grueling wars of attrition against Jamie Varner and Jim Miller, that have Lauzon considering the consequences.

"I'm glad people enjoyed the fight, but I'm not looking to go out there and look like a zombie after every fight," he admitted to MMA Junkie. "I want to have exciting fights, but I don't want to be the guy that's exciting because he gets beat up so much."

Lauzon is an intelligent guy, one with a firm grasp of the fragility of the human body. And while he believes it's too early in his career to be worried, Lauzon is well aware of what could happen if he maintains this pace.

"I don't feel I've taken any real abuse or punishment," he concluded. "But the thing is I don't want to. I don't want to have wars if that means I'm going to forget my own name. If it got to that point, I would reassess everything and take a step back.

"I went to school for computer science. I can still remember all the classes and everything I learned."

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6 MUST-READ STORIES

Lauzon reflects on last two fights. Fresh of two grueling 'Fight of the Year' candidates, Joe Lauzon reflected warily on his fighting style, telling MMA Junkie, "I don't want to have wars if that means I'm going to forget my own name. If it got to that point, I would reassess everything and take a step back."

Cerrone: Jones should have fought. Referring to Jon Jones' decision not to accept a short notice fight to save UFC 151, Donald Cerrone said of his Jackson's teammate, "I think you need to fight. That's our job. I don't think you should curl up and find a way out. ... I [told him], 'You should've done it.' And he goes, 'Well, you don't make a million (dollars) to fight.' And I said, 'Well, you're right, but I f--king fight every time with all my heart.'"

Carmouche believes UFC rooting against her. Top women's bantamweight contender Liz Carmouche admitted that although the UFC is likely rooting for her to lose to Ronda Rousey, she isn't bothered by the slight because she understands drawing power is still the name of the game.

Healy, Barboza, Hieron receive new opponents. Injuries have led to the booking of three new fights under the Zuffa banner: Pat Healy vs. Kurt Holobaugh at Strikeforce's final show, Edson Barboza vs. Lucas Martins at UFC on FX 7, and Jay Hieron vs. Tyron Woodley at UFC 156.

Bellator introduces brackets. In advance of their debut on Spike, Bellator MMA has instituted brackets for their upcoming divisional tournaments. Previously, quarterfinal winners were paired off at the discretion of promotion officials.

Rousey ticket sales. Early tickets sales for UFC 157, headlined by the first female fight in UFC history, have thus far been slower than most major pay-per-view shows, with just 5,000 tickets having been sold in the past two weeks.

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MEDIA STEW

Women crying as he belts out a (presumably) sultry love song? Yes, this is exactly how Sexyama celebrates New Year's Eve.

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I was going to write something heartwarming about the scene that greeted Cain Velasquez at the airport after his victory, but then AJ DeVera tweeted me this -- "Where is the music coming from? Or is Cain so awesome everywhere he goes a mariachi band plays?!" -- and now I can't think of anything except how radical the latter would be if true.

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If you hadn't heard of Conor McGregor, you might want to keep an eye on the Irishman. McGregor moved up from featherweight to lightweight this past weekend, in the process becoming the first two-division Cage Warriors champion with this impressive finish.

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If we're keeping it real, Anderson Silva defeats Aquaman 9 times out of 10.

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"Actually, what happened was, I was on the ground in a very defensive position. I was coiled up like a spring getting ready to pounce all over that guy, and the ref stopped it. I think they overlooked my defensive mechanisms." Yes, Troll Chael is still the best Chael.

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What other sport but MMA could deliver such a solid pigs in a blanket joke that involves neither pigs nor blankets? (Click to enlarge.)

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(HT: MiddleEasy)

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Another graphic, you say? Well, if you insist. (Cue the Jackson's MMA haters in 3... 2... 1...)

Ufc2012_medium

(HT: Reddit)

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LOOKING A LITTLE BETTER

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RELFECTIONS

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DANA WHITE WOULD UNDERSTAND

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TAKING IT IN STRIDE

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MAURY SAVES THE DAY

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DAY FOUR

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Wednesday, January 2, 2013):

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day comes from Sexytime, who depresses us all over again with: The Complete List of UFC Injuries and Card Changes for 2012

It has been one wild ride this year as far as injuries go. Around the middle of the year I decided to create a list of the injuries that have plagued just about every event. Keep in mind that these are only the injuries that were reported by the UFC or fighters themselves and therefore the MMA media. There are most likely a number of injuries that occurred in the very early stages of planning and some that simply were not reported.

I've also included non injury related card changes such as illness before fights, arrests, visa issues, and surprise retirements. Those will be in italics.

I appreciate any input for any injuries or card changes I may have missed and I plan to continue these in the upcoming years.

(Approximately 107 injuries in total)

UFC 142: Aldo Vs. Mendes (4)

Siyar Bahadurzada was expected to face Erick Silva, with Carlo Prater stepping in as a replacement for Bahadurzada due to an injury.

Rob Broughton was expected to face Ednaldo Oliveira, but Gabriel Gonzaga replaced Broughton due to injury.

Paulo Thiago was scheduled to face Mike Pyle, but pulled out of the bout due to an injury and was replaced by Ricardo Funch

Stanislav Nedkov was scheduled to take on Fabio Maldonado at this event, but visa problems forced Nedkov to withdraw from the bout.

Caio Magalhaes stepped in as a replacement for Nedkov however, Maldonado was injured less than a week before his fight with Magalhaes and the bout was scratched from the card.

UFC on FX 1: Guillard Vs. Miller (5)

Mike Brown was expected to face Vagner Rocha but Brown withdrew due to injury, no replacement was found and the fight was scrapped.

Rafaello Oliveira was expected to face Reza Medadi, Oliveira was forced out of a bout with an injury and replaced by Fabrício Camões.

Madadi would later withdraw from the bout with Camoes due to injury and was replaced by Tommy Hayden.

Ryan Jimmo was expected to fight Karlos Vemola but Jimmo was forced from the bout with an injury, no replacement was found and the bout was scrapped.

Ken Stone was expected to face Mike Easton however, Stone was forced out of the bout with an injury and replaced byJared Papazian

Charles Olivera was expected to face Robbie Peralta but the fight was scrapped for undisclosed reasons.

A ton more included after the jump...

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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