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Twitter Mailbag: Answers to All Your 140 Character or Less Queries

You people sure have a lot of questions – especially about who would win in a fight between Brock Lesnar, Alistair Overeem, and Fedor Emelianenko. Naturally, a lot would depend on whether Don Frye is the special guest referee, but let's not get into that right now.

It's been a while since my last mailbag column and there's a lot of ground to cover, so let's get after it. Who's first?

@ChampBossley can you think of any scenario where james toney can impact mma in a positive way (besides losing)?

I'm sorry, but did you not see Ariel Helwani's interview with Toney? The one where Toney pulls out a doll of Randy Couture dressed as a woman and then says the only freak show is the one between his legs? As far as I'm concerned, that video alone is enough of a positive impact to justify his signing.

Plus, think about all the boxing fans who will reluctantly tune in to see him fight Couture. Maybe a few of them will realize that there's something to this MMA stuff. Or maybe we'll just get to see Toney eat elbows for a few minutes. Either way, I'm looking forward to it.

@Resnicno With Shogun out until 2011, what do you think Joe Silva should do with the LHW division?

If you read my recent column on this very subject, then you know that the one thing I think the UFC absolutely should not do is create another meaningless interim title to pass the time. Instead, I'd focus on making sure there is a clear number one contender to face Rua when he comes back, since Evans' last two wins are still unconvincing to many fans.

Ed Soares might think that fight should be between Evans and Lyoto Machida, but what if Machida wins? Does anyone really want to see Rua fight Machida for the third time in as many outings? I doubt it. We need some fresh blood in there, so how about the winner of the Little Nog-Bader fight meeting Evans for the top contender spot? In other words, anyone but Machida. He's had two chances already. The division needs to move on.

@adamtool Is there any logical reason why Dana White would bring Mark Hunt back?

First of all, Hunt's never fought in the UFC before, so White's not so much bringing him back, but rather bringing him in. But yeah, I see your point – why now, when Hunt has lost five straight in MMA?

The truth is, I don't know and I don't really care. Maybe Hunt's asking price has come way down. Maybe the UFC wants more kickboxers in the heavyweight division. Maybe Dana White just wants to see if Hunt can still walk right through a Cro Cop head kick without even blinking. It doesn't matter why as far as I'm concerned. While intellectually I realize it's kind of stupid, emotionally I really want to see Hunt fight again. He hits hard, he never backs up, and he's got a head that's filled with granite and stale Cheerios. As long as the UFC keeps him away from submission specialists, he can still put on a show.

@steampunk22 do you like the matchup of matyushenko/jones? Ufc has been very quiet about the event given it is coming up quite soon.

Honestly, I was a little disappointed when this one was announced, though not surprised. Jones is to the UFC what an 18 year-old pitching prodigy is to an MLB team. He's a valuable commodity if groomed the right way, but you don't want to rush it and risk ruining him. That said, Jones deserves a bigger fight, particularly if it's going to be a main event.

It's not that Matyushenko isn't a tough guy, but a) he doesn't have much name value among casual fans, and b) he doesn't have much to threaten Jones with. He's not going to outwrestle the bigger, stronger Jones. He's definitely not going to out-strike him. He's too slow, too predictable, and too plodding. Jones will roll right through Vladdy, and maybe then the UFC will finally give him an opponent who's on the upswing.

@beewsee What are your thoughts on an Overeem/Lesnar match? How do you see it going down if it were to happen?

Since roughly 70% of the questions I received involved some fantasy matchmaking between Overeem, Lesnar, and Fedor, I'll try to sum up my feelings thusly: every possible match between those three would be a dream fight, but right now I just hope we get to see at least one, since every conceivable permutation is tough to predict a winner in.

Lesnar has size, strength, and wrestling ability. Overeem has size, strength, and striking ability. Fedor has...all that stuff that makes him Fedor (recent loss notwithstanding).

To answer your specific question, it all depends on how good Overeem's takedown defense is. We haven't seen it much lately, in part because we haven't seen him fight much quality competition over the last few years. But if he can stay off his back, he destroys Lesnar. If he can't, he gets destroyed. This is part of why I think Overeem is among the most interesting, yet mysterious heavyweights in MMA right now. We know surprisingly little about what he's capable of, but what we do know is pretty darn intriguing.

@aarondaane what does the $ that the ufc has to pay a city cover? What are they actually insuring?

I assume you're asking this because of Dana White's grumblings about the high insurance costs to promote an event in Vancouver. Admittedly, I knew very little about this subject, so I asked someone who did: Tom Hammel of the Vancouver Licenses and Inspections Department.

"They have to have third-party liability insurance, medical insurance for the fighters, death and disability insurance for the fighters. They also have to sign an indemnity agreement with the city, indemnifying the city for any losses as a result of the event," Hammel said. "They need to also put up financial security – and it's returned once we've confirmed that all injuries have been covered and all the fighters have been paid."

Okay, that's all pretty standard athletic commission stuff, though. So why was it so much more expensive in Vancouver than everywhere else? For one, Hammel said that Vancouver doesn't have a provincial athletic commission (as Quebec does), so they have to form their own, which opens the city up to more risk and liability. As Hammel put it, "We don't receive the same protection that (Canadian provinces with provincial commissions) do."

But wait, there's also a legal barrier at the moment.

"Under the criminal code, it says that prizefighting is illegal...except – and there are only two exceptions – amateur boxing and professional boxing sanctioned by an athletic commission. Technically, if you read that strictly, any other type of combat sport is illegal under the criminal code, which is the concern we have. If a fight happens in the city and it's later deemed to have been illegal, where does that leave (the city) and the insurance company? It just raises a lot of risk issues that we need to protect ourselves of."

If the criminal code is expanded to include MMA – and Hammel said he believes that the current code is simply "outdated," and not intentionally excluding MMA – costs will most likely come down for future events.

There, I think that about covers it. And we both learned something. Which is, you know, nice or whatever.

@JeffTheJeff assuming Lesnar is the favorite against Velasquez, how much money would you put on Cain after the Lesnar-Carwin fight?

As of the time of this writing, Bodog has Velasquez as a +125 underdog. If I were some sort of degenerate gambler who barely looked up from the racing form to watch his third wife walking out on him (and I'm totally not, and how dare you imply otherwise), I'd wait for the odds to climb a little higher, as I'm sure they will when the late money comes in on Lesnar.

Given Velasquez's speed and wrestling ability, I actually like his chances to stay on his feet and chip away at Lesnar. I don't like them enough to consider him a favorite, but if the line gets up to +150 or more, I'd drop a little cash on him. If I were a degenerate gambler, I mean. But I'm not. Your mother is.

@PepperJess How long do you think it will take for Women's MMA to be a bit more mainstream idea in the U.S.?

I guess it depends what you mean by "more mainstream." If you mean more mainstream than it is at this very moment, I think we can accomplish that much as soon as Gina Carano comes back. If you mean mainstream in the sense that women's fight highlights regularly make SportsCenter without so much as a single catfight comment, it's going to be a while.

I honestly think one of the major barriers right now is a lack of depth. There simply aren't enough recognizable female fighters that fans really want to see. We need an organization committed to building the women's division (and not just the 145-pound division, either) and giving them enough opportunities to fight rather than simply throwing in a token women's bout on every other fight card.

I look around right now and see both Strikeforce and Bellator dipping their feet in that pool, but so far neither has really taken the plunge.

Got a question of your own? Hit me up at @BenFowlkesMMA on Twitter.

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