Slow days in the news cycle are always interesting, in that they really only get dealt with a handful of different ways. Either the story du jour gets further dissected, big deals are made out of small deals, or some of the more curious tidbits get their chance to crack the surface.
Yesterday saw both option No. 1 and No. 3 take place, but in a way that was strangely related. In an appearance on The MMA Hour, Rich Franklin -- 37 years old, and one of the most stand-up guys in this industry -- had no qualms admitting he had given a couple second looks at TRT. And really, why not? By now it's basically the legal career revitalizer. Feel like you're 25 again, and don't worry, it's allowed and everybody's doing it. For an individual who has made a very good living off his body, it seems like a no-brainer.
Franklin's honesty was touching, even when you realize it's a bizarre reflection of the state of the sport. "At 37, my [testosterone] count obviously is not what it was when I was 25, and I'm a candidate for that kind of stuff," he confessed. "I haven't started yet. ... My levels are still decently healthy for a male, but they're not high enough to continue a prolonged career at a top level for many more years."
Middle age is an athlete's worst enemy. The Randy Couture's of this world are few and far between, and this is a young man's game.
Later on, Michael Bisping was asked about the recent UFC injury flood and he inadvertently nailed down a telling point. "Maybe we do go too hard [in the gym]," he said. "But that's the way you've got to train to get ready for a fight. You've got to train the way you fight. If you don't train the way you fight, when you fight you're going to be shocked."
That's just it. All the outrageous wear and tear doesn't come from fight night. It comes from blasting your body everyday in the gym for four months straight. Sooner or later, it just can't take the punishment anymore. But the pressure to perform is still there, the bonus checks and arenas full of delirious fans are still calling your name. What then? Realistically, why wouldn't someone like Franklin turn to TRT if he could log those extra gym hours and squeeze a few more years out of the tank?
"The only way to really, really, really cure something like that is to have a 100 percent zero tolerance policy on these kinds of things," Franklin finished.
"But it's just impossible across the board, because this is how sports operate."
Like I said, slow news days are strange. Sometimes we may study a story a little too much. All the same, I don't know about you, but his last line there is a little depressing.
5 MUST-READ STORIES
Franklin talks TRT. Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin admitted he has an interest in testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), if only to "continue a prolonged career at a top level."
The MMA hour. Ariel Helwani and The MMA Hour climb back into your life with a stacked lineup featuring Michael Bisping, Tyron Woodley, Charlie Brenneman, Rich Franklin and Brandon Vera.
The case for open scoring. In light of Pacquiao vs. Bradley, Fraser Coffeen presents his argument for the institution of open scoring in both boxing and mixed martial arts.
UK gets UFC on FUEL 5. UFC on FUEL 5 is heading to Nottingham, England's Capital FM Arena on September 29, 2012. Brad Pickett vs. Yves Jabouin and Andy Ogle vs. Akira Corassani are already booked for the show, which is the first UK event since November 2011.
UFC on FX 3 ratings. UFC ratings continued their steady decline, as last Friday's UFC on FX 3 event averaged just 1.086 million viewers.
I'm going speak for all of us and say we want to see Demetrious Johnson vs. Joseph Benavidez as soon as possible. Well unfortunately the wait just got a little longer, as "Mighty Mouse" has to go under the knife before he can battle for the belt.
Remember this fight? It's a good one, I promise. (Side note: How good a sign is it that the UFC is starting to realize posting free old fights up on the internet isn't the end of the world?)
Praise means a bit more coming from certain individuals, so when the ex-wife of Muhammad Ali proclaims, "UFC is the best thing that ever happened to fighting," that has to count for something.
This clip has floated around the internet for the past couple years, but some new footage just recently resurfaced. For all those who haven't ever seen this, you should probably click 'play' right now.
So in case you didn't catch it last night, Bibiano Fernandes is out of his UFC 149 bout against Roland Delorme because of, you guessed it,
injury not actually being signed to the UFC. This is how Roland found out. (Props to @JaredWeiss, Sherdog forums)
REVENGE OF THE MEXICUTIONER
Just wanna say thanks for all the congrats, I know I am truly blessed and give all the glory to God for all the greatness that's in my life!— joey beltran (@mexicutioner760) June 12, 2012
And also thank you to @Helen_Beltran who stood by me in my darkest hours and will be there when I shine like a new man o July 11th!— joey beltran (@mexicutioner760) June 12, 2012
FEAR THE SPIDER
Anderson Silva (@SpiderAnderson) June 11, 2012
Announced yesterday (Monday, June 11, 2012):
UFC 149: Bibiano Fernandes (11-3) out against Roland Delorme (8-1)
UFC on FUEL 5: Andy Ogle (8-1) vs. Akira Corassani (9-3)
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day sees OnceInALifetime hit the nostalgia sweet spot, while allowing me a platform to brag about how I can still dominate in old-school Street Fighter II: Fighting games and MMA: An intersecting journey
Back in those halcyon days, the UFC and MMA in general was hardly a blip on the radar in the quiet end of Australia I've lived in for the majority of my life. The 90s and early 2000s were instead filled with iteration after iteration of creative and action-packed fighting games, all of which provoked a very compelling question: "Which martial art was the strongest?".
So many styles posed provoking questions, spanning the effectiveness of the brutal and fast-paced Muay Thai of someone like Sagat, to the Karate derivatives of fighters like Ryu, Ken and Kazuya Mishima, to the Judo of Paul Phoenix, the Jeet Kune Do of Jann-Lee or even obscure arts (apparently) such as Gen Fu's Xinyi Liuhe Quan. At the time, it seemed as if only a massive crossover game would yield answers, as unrealistic as the criteria was to begin with.
With friends, I lost oh so many afternoons trying to answer these questions with games ranging from Super Street Fighter II to Tekken 3, but the answer was always indefinite. Even our speculations and arguments based around the legends of the screen, ranging from the late Bruce Lee, industry legend Jackie Chan, and even flashier (and obviously more cinematically-enhanced) martial artists like Jet Li produced no definite answer. I look back at that time now with a mixture of nostalgia and amusement, for it was a time in which things seemed so simple. (Dear reader, I do realise that this is hardly a realistic means to attempt to extract such a conclusion, but such were the days of youth.)
Fast forward to late 2007 (late to the party, I know), my second year of University, and a friend of mine (who has always been somewhat into pro-wrestling) is ranting about a fellow by the name of Brock Lesnar crossing over to the UFC. Before accusations of BROCKLESNAR-ism are thrown in my general direction, attracting a mixture of scorn and joviality akin to throwing Hyena pheromones on a bloodied tourist, a little explanation is needed.
Like many, I've had my time to enjoy wrasslin', but said time ended in the early 2000s. Sure, there'd still be the occasional antics on a friend's copy of the latest wrestling game release, but a man like Brock Lesnar was largely an unknown to me. So, out of curiosity, I looked up on Youtube (still a relatively new marvel at the time) his first MMA fight. I will be honest, I wasn't really entertained. Now, luckily, I have the depth of experience to see that it wasn't exactly a great MMA fight by most standards.
Slightly puzzled by this new form of combat sport (my experience was mainly limited to single-discipline fights or the highly-stylised Hollywood fare), I decided to dig deeper. Where did I start? After a bit of research, I found that a few names from back in the day with wrasslin' had apparently dabbled in MMA; namely, Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn. And from that, I saw my first proper UFC fight, the UFC 40 main event of Tito Ortiz versus Ken Shamrock.
Found something perfect for the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's post.