The schedule once again freed from any major events, the past weekend was relatively quiet, right up until the moment it wasn't. Of course, then word leaked out of the Easter Day bombshell that could sink one of this month's most anticipated fights, and more than a few Easter egg hunts were likely ruined inside the Zuffa offices.
But while we all wait in limbo to find out the fate of Alexander Gustafsson and the facial laceration that may implode UFC on FUEL 9, let's catch up on the best of the rest with some headlines.
7 MUST-READ STORIES
Belfort talks TRT. Fielding questions at a UFC on FX 8 pre-fight press conference, veteran middleweight Vitor Belfort defended his use of testosterone replacement therapy. Said Belfort (via Tatame): "The UFC always knew that I use, do not do it to cheat. I have medical monitoring and UFC also accompanies it. Never broken through anything, always acted cleanly. Do blood tests every week to equal the testosterone levels of a person my age."
Gustafsson cut, bout in jeopardy. UFC on FUEL 9 headliner Alexander Gustafsson suffered a significant facial laceration less than a week prior to his hometown bout against Gegard Mousasi. "The [Swedish Mixed Martial Arts Federation] has not said he can't fight," UFC President Dana White stated. "And he wants to fight."
Condit: GSP beats Hendricks. Having fought both men back-to-back, Carlos Condit told AXS TV's Inside MMA that Georges St-Pierre will ultimately defeat Johny Hendricks. "Georges St. Pierre, he's just a more polished fighter," explained Condit. "Johny Hendricks, he's dangerous and he's got good skills be he is a little rough around the edges when it comes to his whole game. Georges is just such a technician. He puts things together so well and is just a sharp, clean fighter and I think that's going to make the difference in that match up."
Werdum wants title shot. UFC heavyweight contender Fabricio Werdum told Pro MMA Now that he hopes to receive a title shot after defeating fellow TUF Brazil 2 coach Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC on FUEL 10.
Video uploader files counterclaim. Nick McDermott, the man who captured video of UFC executive Michael Mersch informing Nick Diaz about Quebec's controversial "off the record" weigh-in rule, filed a counterclaim to the UFC's DMCA request, according to a report from MMA Junkie.
Shamrock returns. For some reason, 49-year-old UFC Hall of Famer Ken Shamrock is officially slated to fight 42-year-old Ian Freeman at an Ultimate Cage Fighting Championships event in Doncaster, England on July 27. Shamrock has lost 10 of his last 14, including his last performance, a TKO defeat at the hands of Mike Bourke in November 2010.
Submission success. The folks over at Fightnomics determined the most successful UFC submissions and whether subs are more likely to be finished in the opening two rounds or the third. The most attempted submission: guillotine. The most successful submission: rear-naked choke by a landslide.
In case you didn't catch it over the weekend, Esther Lin released the latest edition of her brilliant Focus series.
As always, if you missed last week's Bellator offering -- which featured two of this season's tournament finals -- you can check out the entire event below. (Click to watch.)
Between allowing a blatantly unconscious man to continue to get choked for at least 8-10 seconds, to just leaving the poor unconscious man lying there on his stomach when the fight is finally stopped, this may be the worst refereeing you'll see all day.
Did Clark Gracie, the ridiculously photogenic jiu-jitsu guy, stroll out to the Good Morning America set wearing a gi? You bet he did.
Big Nog looks pretty impressed by the second subtitled episode of TUF Brazil 2. You may want to check it out. (Click to watch.)
Yup, this has something to do with martial arts.
IN THE DARK
BREAKING NEWS!! Icing on the cake..... twitter.com/JonnyBones/sta…— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) March 31, 2013
Feels so good right now! Ready to man up!! twitter.com/JonnyBones/sta…— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) March 31, 2013
Pec tendon reattached Tuesday twitter.com/JeffMonson/sta…— Jeff Monson (@JeffMonson) March 28, 2013
Pectoral tendon repair. I don't have time to bleed, lol— Jeff Monson (@JeffMonson) March 30, 2013
READY FOR BENDO
Gilbert Melendez (@GilbertMelendez) March 27, 2013
This is what it looks like exactly 10 seconds before someone finds out just how mildly famous I am twitter.com/BigSexyMcCorkl…— Sean McCorkle (@BigSexyMcCorkle) March 30, 2013
@sycosteve as far as she's concerned, yes— Sean McCorkle (@BigSexyMcCorkle) March 30, 2013
Thank God for the UFC— Sean McCorkle (@BigSexyMcCorkle) March 30, 2013
WEST LINN COUNTDOWN
27 - the number of unfortunate souls collected on my path to immortality #UFC159 #4/27/13— chael sonnen (@sonnench) March 30, 2013
26 - the day in 1560 in which Nostradamus predicted Chael P Sonnen would be the greatest to have ever done it. He was right #UFC159 #4/27/13— chael sonnen (@sonnench) March 31, 2013
25 - the minutes Jon Jones will spend on his back having a make out session with my fists #UFC159 #4/27/13— chael sonnen (@sonnench) April 1, 2013
Announced over the weekend (Friday, March 29, 2013 - Sunday, March 31, 2013):
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day sees dpk875 proclaim: Bellator does a disservice to itself, and WMMA!
Maybe Bjorn Rebney didn't read the front page of CNN, USAToday sports, the LA Times, Yahoo, or ESPN back in February. Maybe he didn't watch UFC 157 and see two women deliver a great fight in front of a sell out crowd that loved every minute of it. But somebody at Bellator should have, and they should have let him know that Women's MMA has arrived in a big way. I know that the Ronda Rousey show dominated all the press, but Liz Carmouche helped deliver in both the build up to the fight, and an action packed main event that was filled with drama, and near finishes. UFC is following up with a second WMMA fight as a co-main event on one of it's FX cards. Rousey, and the winner then get a 12 week platform to sell their upcoming title fight. So, someone at Bellator should remind Bjorn that not only does he have women on his roster, he has some of the best in the world at the 115lbs weight class, and he is not getting the most out of his fighters.
Why are Jessica Aguilar, and Felice Herrig on the undercard of [last] week's Bellator show? I'm not saying that either women is Ronda Rousey in or out of the cage, but they are talented and don't need a whole lot of help to sell themselves. Aguilar is ranked number 1 in the world at Strawweight, and frequently contacts MMA reporters prior to her upcoming bouts so that she can volunteer an interview. She is also a bi-sexual, living with her girlfriend, an angle Liz Carmouche used to generate a lot of support from the gay and lesbian community. Maybe I'm the only who thinks that a good publicist would find a way to parlay Aguilar's story into some different demographics from the normal Bellator group. Herrig is not hard to find on twitter, not only tweeting about her training, but MMA, and life in general, with some very nice pictures mixed in. She is also on a three fight win streak, and her skills are improving. Aguilar and Herrig's fights are not being buried by elite prospects, or tourney finals... they are bumped by Luis Melo vs Trey Houston, and Ronnie Mann vs. Rodrigo Lima... please let me know if you are tuning in just to see those fights on SPIKE.
Maybe Bellator doesn‘t want to look like it is promoting a poor man's Ronda Rousey, but I can't think of another reason that they would not promote top 10 rated female fighters on the main portion of their card at a time when WMMA has buzz and is getting attention and gaining a wider acceptance. Neither of these fighters, or Bellator could have made these fighters into Ronda and the publicity wave that took over her last fight... don't get me wrong, but Bellator is doing it's best female fighters, and itself a disservice [last] week by the fight placement of it's two female fights.
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.