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The Real Deal on EliteXC 'Heat'

Hey All. I'm Matt Williams and my hope here is to interject a little bit of opinion here on MMAFighting.com and engage you readers. I'm not a fighter, amateur or professional. I've trained in the past but that is where my MMA experience ends. What I can tell you is that I've been a fan of the sport since the early days of the UFC. I take pride in this because I've seen the sport evolve from the beginning. This is no slight at "TUF fans" who only got started with the sport after the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. Most fans are good fans, regardless of when they got on board, so I welcome opinions from everyone.

Obviously the best place to start is with the recent EliteXC card. I was scheduled to attend the card but unfortunately could not at the last minute. After a few days to review, I'm not sure things could have gone worse for EXC. They lost their main event, they lost the luster on their top superstar and they're being accused of bribery/match fixing. First thing first, shame on Ken Shamrock. I've followed Shamrock since his early UFC days. Few would argue that he is past his prime...ok, way past! EXC comes in, makes a generous offer to a guy who hasn't won a fight in years, and he just blows the opportunity. I did not expect Shamrock to win, but at least he could have collected a check in the process even if he had lost. How do you put yourself in the position that you end up medically disqualified the day of the fight? You want to loosen up and do a little light boxing, I have no problem with that. You should not put yourself in a position to get a cut that could disqualify you from fighting. You are in the main event and therefore I believe you have a responsibility to fight, not get yourself cut before the fight. Very disappointing Ken.

As for Kevin Ferguson, whom I laugh if I refer to him as Kimbo, this is disappointing but not the end of the world. You are what you are. I didn't think the punch was all that bad, but you seem like a pretty badass dude who has been in a tussle or two, and I know you can take a shot. Right place, right time I suppose. The fact is, you were going to lose sooner rather than later. I doubt you'd beat Brett Rogers or Dave Herman, but losing to a UFC castoff is probably not the best choice. You can still throw with the best of them, but because of you're advanced age, I don't see you being a star. Kevin has the charisma and fighting style to be very popular, but I highly doubt he will ever been a Top-10 fighter.

As for the bribery issue...I don't even want to think about it. You'd have to be living in complete denial to not believe EXC wanted Kevin to win that fight and win it in spectacular fashion. It makes me question the integrity of Jared Shaw when I see him and hear him so adamantly complaining about what happened to Kevin. Do I believe EXC tried to bribe Petruzelli? I certainly hope not, but I can't say for sure. Boxing has seen its share of corruption, and while I do everything I can to distinguish MMA from boxing, the truth is that corruption will rear its ugly head sooner or later. I just hope it didn't happen here. MMA is just a teenager, finally getting mainstream popularity. If it comes out that EXC officials were involved in some kind of bribery, on network TV of all places, MMA will take a serious hit. So I keep my fingers crossed that this story will just go away.

On the flip side, Ninja vs. Radach was a war. This was a true slugfest and a very entertaining way to open the fight. Is it just me though, or does Ninja seem to lack cardio these days? I remember watching him in Pride and all you heard about was how he never stopped, always had something in the tank. In his last few fights, I haven't seen it. I can't wait for Radach and Lawler to do battle. Should be a good old fashioned brawl. And please, don't talk to me about Jake Shields fighting Robbie Lawler because Lawler would own him. Shields is a stud at 170, no doubt, but Lawler would overwhelm him and brutally KO him.

I'll get this out of the way now....but I'm a huge Gina Carano boobhugger. I think she is absolutely gorgeous, has the body type I love, and she is a fighter...what is not to love here? She looked good, not as impressive as her last fight in my opinion, but her takedown defense was excellent for the most part. I am eagerly anticipating her showdown with Cris Cyborg, and if you wanted my honest opinion, I think Cyborg wins. Carano's biggest enemy is the scale and she always looks exhausted at weigh-ins, like it was a huge struggle for her to get to that weight. Cutting weight is a tremendously tough thing to do, but at some point, you just have to suck it up and start fighting at a higher weight class.

Man, does Andrei Arlovski looks good or what? Ben Rothwell and Roy Nelson are borderline top 10 fighters and Arlovski has (T)KO'ed both of them in back to back fights. He looks fast in the ring and I'm finally seeing why everyone was on his bandwagon pre-Sylvia 2 & 3. Does a showdown with Fedor await? I hope so, but the problem I see is that Fedor will take Arlovski down and Andrei will be outclassed there. Arlovski has not looked good off his back in his past two against the former IFL standouts. Neither one of them are as good as Fedor is on the ground. If, but more likely when, Fedor puts Andrei on his back, what is he going to do? Fedor has the best ground and pound inside the guard across any weight class and that will open Arlovski up so that Fedor can pass. At that point, it might be lights out.

Odds and Ends:

I can't wait for UFC 92 and 93.

Obviously 92 has the two big title fights, but I'm most excited about Rampage/Silva 3. Rampage seems to be a better fighter now than he was in Pride, but when you get your ass handed to you twice the way Silva did to Rampage, that isn't something you can block out easily. Is the winner on the fast track to #1 contender status? I think Lyoto Machida would have something to say about that. I can't stand Machida to be honest, but he is effective and for that I respect him. I would love to see the winner of W. Silva/Rampage take on the winner of T. Silva/Machida for the next shot.

As for 93, who else is pumped for Franklin/Hendo? This was the dream bout at 185 from a few years ago. Things have changed now, one of which is that this fight will be at 205. Not sure what Dan is thinking here, especially if wants another crack at Anderson Silva. Should be a tremendous fight! As far as Coleman/Shogun 2 goes, I'm interested but I think Shogun should murder Mark here. I won't say their first fight was a fluke, because injuries happen all the time. Can you really tell me though Mark Coleman is a better fighter than Shogun at this moment in time? What I will be interested in seeing is Coleman fighting at 205. My most vivid memories of Coleman are his beastly days circa UFC 10 and the Pride 2000 GP.

As a huge fan of Japanese MMA, the state of MMA there really worries me. Dream has supposedly been in financial trouble due to poor ratings, but FEG people released a statement not too long ago to try and calm the fears of their fans.

Assuming Dream hosts a New Year's Eve show, here are a few fights I'd like to see: Joachim Hansen vs. Gesias Calvancante, Gegard Mousasi vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama, Mirko Cro Cop vs. Sergei Kharitonov and of course, Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Kiyoshi Tamura. I doubt any of these would happen, but I think they provide for some interesting matchups. Personally, I think Cro Cop and Sergei is more interesting than Cro Cop and Overeem 2.

Looks like we have a contract interpretation problem between KJ Noons and EXC. Not sure what will happen here, but Noons needs to step up and fight some top level competition before I fully believe in him. I think he should've sacked up and fought Diaz again, although I will admit I find a fight with Eddie Alvarez more enticing. Since I'm on the subject of the EXC 160 pound division....I think it sucks. Not the fighters, but the fact its a 160 pound division. This weight class was created for Nick Diaz, someone who I don't have very fond feelings towards. If EXC wants to promote MMA across organizations, they need to adopt the traditional set of weight classes, starting with 135 on up. I don't like this 160 and 140 pound weight limits. Suppose Diaz beats Alvarez for the 160 pound belt, could he even make 155 if he were slated to fight Joachim Hansen for the 155 pound Dream title? I like the weight classes how they are now, not the self-created weight classes EXC has come up with.

Lastly, I just wanted to say a kind word about Evan Tanner. By all accounts, Tanner was one of the nicest people you will ever meet who battled some demons in a very public light. I was sad to learn of his death but I was even more shocked at the UFC's response to it. You can't even send a representative to the funeral? We're talking about an incredibly popular figure who was a champion in your organization. Just terrible. RIP Evan Tanner!

Hope you guys enjoyed my first entry. I've love some feedback with your thoughts, both positive and negative. Hopefully if the response is there, we could also turn out a mailbag in the future.