Morning Report: Josh Barnett's UFC Window, Alistair Overeem Demolishes Sumo Wrestling Tournament

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

No one really knows what to expect when the curtain closes on the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. In a perfect world, both Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier would catapult into the UFC. But this isn't a perfect world, and Zuffa's particular brand of justice can at times be a little skewed.

It's been over ten years since Barnett tested positive for a bonanza of banned substances and was stripped of the UFC heavyweight title, and in that time "The Warmaster" and Dana White haven't exactly had the most loving relationship. Dana criticizes Josh for failing three drug tests, Josh offers to pee in Dana's mouth; hey, these things happen in MMA.

But if we've learned anything over the past couple years, it's that money is the great equalizer in the fight game, and if an athlete can sell tickets, it's a whole lot easier for past sins to be forgotten.

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

Dana White opens door for Josh Barnett's return to UFC. White revealed that Josh Barnett can re-enter the UFC if he defeats Daniel Cormier and wins the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix.

All-access: fight day with Bjorn Rebney. Mike Chiappetta shadows Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney during last Friday's Bellator 63 event for an intimate behind-the-scenes look at the burgeoning fight promotion.

K-1 announces 2012 Grand Prix in New York City. K-1 officials announced a full schedule of seven major events planned for 2012, capped by December's K-1 World GP Final in New York City.

Nick Diaz slated for BJJ super-fight. Retired UFC welterweight contender Nick Diaz will compete in a BJJ super-fight against an undetermined opponent at the World Jiu-Jitsu Expo on May 12 in Long Beach, CA.

Pat Lundvall responds to statements by King Mo. NSAC Commissioner Pat Lundvall finally commented on her infamous confrontation with former Strikeforce light heavyweight champ Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal.

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MEDIA STEW

Apparently Fedor wasn't the first one to try his hand at sumo wrestling. Check out this footage of Alistair Overeem obliterating the Ultimate Sumo Championship 2011, against a lineup that included Minowaman (!) and Wanderlei Silva (!!). (Somebody needs to send us video of Wanderlei's match. Right now.)

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Georges St. Pierre checked in from knee rehab with the latest installment of his Road to Recovery series. And if you're curious, that thing GSP is running on is a nifty anti-gravity treadmill. (Still confused? Here's how it works.)

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Missing for too long, has been Mike Goldberg's specialized brand of English, Joe. (HT: Reddit)

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Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson blew people away with his spectacular UFC debut against Dan Stittgen. Now the UFC has uploaded a behind-the-scenes look at the guy with the ridiculous 69-0 fighting record. (HT: Bloody Elbow)

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This was just posted on Fedor's Facebook page (which is presumably managed by M-1). Not saying it means anything. Just saying. (HT: Reddit)

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NOTHING LIKE AN ADCC CHAMPION TO HELP YOUR SUBMISSION GAME

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THE PUBLIC NEEDS TO KNOW THESE THINGS

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Tuesday, April 3, 2012):

- UFC 145: Matt Wiman (14-6) out, John Alessio (34-14) in against Mark Bocek (10-4)

- UFC on FX 4: Sam Stout (17-7-1) vs. Spencer Fisher (24-8), according to Sportsnet

- Strikeforce: Heavyweight Grand Prix Final: Virgil Zwicker (10-2) vs. Guto Inocente (5-0)

- Dubai Fighting Championship 1: Ricco Rodriguez (48-17) vs. Stav "Crazy Bear" Economou (12-2-1)

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day is a fantastic technical breakdown, courtesy of Bloody Elbow's Kyokushin Guy: The Takeaways Of A Judo Background. Part 3

To get on with this article's topic, I could oversimplify the entire discussion and state that Ne Waza is the same in Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but there really is a lot more to the story than that. When you look at Judo and how it was intended to work as a Martial Art, you see that it aspired to be as complete as any grappling art could hope. Using as little opposing force as possible, the practitioner would have to first throw his opponent to the ground, and if said opponent survived the fall or was still conscious, follow up on the ground in order to end the fight.

This may very well have been the case in the late 19th century, but as the Art gained more and more followers in Japan, rules had to be put in place for formalized matches. Over the course of time, such rules included limiting the duration of bouts, awarding points for successful techniques, penalizing stalling, and so on. The focus, especially after Judo became an Olympic sport (the 1964 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo), seems to be making the matches as visually appealing as possible.

This focus on Judo as an Olympic sport first and a Martial Art second is why ground fighting lacks the prominence it had, for example, in the days when Mitsuyo Maeda spread his art in Brazil. For a spectator to be able to enjoy a good "roll", he must first be aware of the complexity of Ne Waza, whereas throws, trips, takedowns are inherently spectacular, even if you have absolutely no idea how they're executed. As a result of this sad but simple truth, the ground game has been featured less and less over time, even on the most elite levels in Judo.

Found something perfect for the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's post.

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