So, today's column is a bit bittersweet to write. This little morning tradition of ours started back in early February last year. We've ripped through 394 of ‘em since then. Hell, looking back on the ridiculously clumsy inaugural edition, it's surprising you guys ever tolerated my nonsense to begin with.
Since then we've endured all the sad mornings, waded through the bizarre mornings, relished in plenty of circus fights, a handful of Bob Sapp turtlin', and a lot of general tomfoolery from within the regional scene. But most of all, it's been a ton of fun, and I thank each and every one of you for allowing me to become a small part of your daily routine.
This isn't goodbye, because lord knows I'll still be around. But for the time being, this will be my last Morning Report for MMA Fighting. Hopefully you've enjoyed the ride as much as I've enjoyed creating it. Starting Monday, I'm passing the reins into the capable hands of David St. Martin. I know he'll entertain us all, and he's thrilled to keep this train chuggin'.
So, one more time for old time's sake, lean back in the chair of yours, pour yourself that morning coffee, and let's dive headfirst into some headlines.
7 MUST-READ STORIES
Sonnen challenges Evans. Chael Sonnen really wants to fight at UFC 167. So since Wanderlei Silva is a no-go, Sonnen went ahead and challenged Rashad Evans. Because why not?
Henderson, Pettis talk Aldo. Both Benson Henderson and Anthony Pettis either implied or directly stated that they want to call out UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo after winning at UFC 164 on Saturday night.
White rips Bellator, talks Belfort. UFC President Dana White slammed Bellator MMA, referring to Bjorn Rebney as a "scumbag" and dubbing Rampage Jackson vs. Tito Ortiz the "Battle of the Buffoons." White later defended the UFC's decision to book Vitor Belfort in Brazil, asking reporters, "You think that we would lie about that and risk the credibility of the sport, the UFC as a brand, so that Vitor Belfort can fight in f--king Brazil and cheat?"
UFN 27 ratings. Wednesday night's UFC Fight Night 27 event drew a 0.69 rating and 824,000 viewers, a significantly smaller number than UFN 26's 1.38 rating and 1.78 million viewers. Still, the event marked the third most-watched show of FOX Sports 1's 12-day history, falling only behind UFN 26 and its prelims.
Kongo signed for season nine. Former UFC heavyweight Cheick Kongo inked a multi-fight deal with Bellator MMA. Kongo is now scheduled to appear in the promotion's upcoming season nine heavyweight tournament. "If you're an MMA fan, you're a Kongo fan," Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney commented.
Torres arrested. Former WEC bantamweight champ Miguel Torres was arrested on possession of marijuana earlier this week by Indiana's Marshall County Sheriff's Department.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, the internet is a wonderful place.
Powerful Joe Rogan.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the 81 seconds that transformed Anthony Pettis from the disappointing WEC champ back into "Showtime."
"My dad and brother are cops in Brazil. So, (if) I no fight, then maybe the same career, cop in Brazil." -- Anderson Silva, who may've perhaps been the most frightening, unpredictable police officer in the history of the world.
Word to the wise: When Carlos Condit tells you, "Hit me as hard as you want to get hit," it's probably not a good time to show off for your friends.
Without question, this is my favorite MMA video ever. So if I'm going to pass the Morning Report torch, I might as well do it with this. It's been a blast, guys. Thanks again for putting up with my ramblings for two years.
IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED...
@SugaRashadEvans Hey Rashad, let me ask you a question... You busy Nov 16th?— chael sonnen (@sonnench) August 30, 2013
Rashad Evans (@SugaRashadEvans) August 30, 2013
WAITING FOR THAT WONDEROUS MOMENT
Sergio Pettis (@sergiopettis) August 29, 2013
I SIGNED UP for prison every time i fight. Head trauma. Starvation. Hot box. DISABLED FOR A YEAR when my UFC career ended. IDKWTF FEAR IS— GOD IS LOVE (@mayhemmiller) August 29, 2013
i have faith in the criminal justice system. i am innocent. the amount of attorneys attempting to get book deals is at best disheartening...— GOD IS LOVE (@mayhemmiller) August 29, 2013
...at worst, IT IS CRIMINAL. CRIMINAL. IF YOU SWEAR AN OATH, STICK BY IT. THAT IS HOW I LIVE, AND I AM A SIMPLE MONKEY.— GOD IS LOVE (@mayhemmiller) August 29, 2013
travisbrownemma is just a tad larger then myself http://t.co/M1bOHdGHdr— Ian McCall (@Unclecreepymma) August 30, 2013
CAN'T STOP, WON'T STOP
If Condit doesn't have an opponent I will fight him first. I like the way he fights, but he has no chance to stop what I want to do.— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) August 29, 2013
Announced yesterday (Thursday, August 29, 2013):
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day is dpk875's latest edition of: Prospects to Watch this Weekend
Here are some of the better prospects in action this weekend. I'm not perfect, if I've missed a fight that you know of... or someone has pulled out of a fight let me know in the comments section.
King of the Cage - 29 Aug - Highland, CA
Sean Strickland (12-0) vs. Daniel Hernandez
Sean Strickland is only 21 years old, and has been fighting professionally since 2008. He does everything well, but does not have one standout skill. He has missed weight for a KOTC MW title fight in the past, so as his body fills out he may be forced to move to LHW. Sean has a win over UFC vet Josh Bryant, and is the current KOTC MW Champ, so he has fought some solid competition to validate his shiny record.
Bone MMA - 30 Aug - Manchester, NH
Jabril Patterson (2-0) vs. Robert Taylor
Patterson was a college wrestler at SUNY Brockport where he competed at 285lbs. He is a very good athlete, who is had made great strides in both his standup, and overall grappling game to augment his wrestling.
Titan FC - 30 Aug - Kansas City, MO
Alex White (6-0) vs. Roy Babcock (7-1)
White is a solid prospect who looks comfortable in any position while in the cage. He likes to stand, but also has very nice submissions off his back. I didn't see the type of wrestling skills that tell me he can take the fight where he wants, when he wants, but his well rounded skill set should serve him well moving forward.
Immortals Fight Promotions - 31 Aug - Aberdeen, Scotland
Kamil Gniadek (5-0) vs. Artem Lobov
Gniadek is looking to take the fight to the ground, and then use ground and pound to open up submissions. He has a very nice single leg takedown, and is very good at gaining position out of the scramble. Gniadek competes in BJJ tourneys, and finished 2nd in his Purple Belt weight class at last October's IBJJF European Open.
Xtreme Kombat - 31 Aug - Cuautitlan Izcalli, Mexico
Anely Jimenez (7-0)
Alexa Grasso (2-0)
Karina Rodriguez (1-0)
Sandra Chimeyo (0-0)
XK will feature a four women Flyweight tournament to determine the promotions first FLW champ. Jimenez is considered one of Mexico's best MMA prospects, Man or Women. She has scored 6 stoppages in 7 fights, and could be drawing interest from Invicta in the near future. I'm unsure of the first round match-ups for this tourney.
Review from Last week
Tachi Palace Fights
Marcello Cassero (7-1) dropped a split decision to Art Arciniega (14-4). Arciniega has won 8 of 9 dating back to 2008, and the only loss was a decision loss at the hands of Chad Mendes back in 2009.
Mario Israel (9-0) TKO'd Reginaldo Vieira (9-3) in the 2nd round to win the Jungle Fight Bantamweight Championship. Israel could be in the UFC very soon.
Dragon House Fights
Middleweight Dominic Pica (2-0) ended up not fighting at DH14 last weekend. I'm not sure if it was an injury with Pica or his opponents.
Hernani Perpetuo (17-3) picked up a 5 round Unanimous decision over Tommy Depret
Made 4 The Cage
Walter Gahadza (11-0) picked up a Unanimous decision over Alan Johnston (6-2). Gahadza was originally scheduled to face Ryan Scope (7-0), but that changed late. Johnston is still a quality win for Gahadza's resume, and he is in a good spot as both Bellator and UFC are actively looking for top European talent.
RUFF - 24 Aug - Shanghai, China
Guan Wang (12-0-1) picked up a 1st round TKO over Sandro da Silva (3-3), and affirmed his status as one of the best fighters in China.
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in Monday's column.