Stop me if you've heard this one before. Nick Diaz no-showed a media obligation, and a UFC headliner isn't pulling down the greatest paycheck. Yep, it's just another day in MMA, folks. So without further ado, let's dive into some headlines.
6 MUST-READ STORIES
Diaz no-shows. To the surprise of no one, Nick Diaz no-showed a scheduled interview with Michael "The Voice" Schiavello for AXS TV's The Voice Versus. Said Schiavello, who flew from Australia to Stockton on Monday, "Nick you have let your fans down again... And me a big fan in particular. Unprofessional mate."
Jung's salary. Despite his immense popularity and penchant for exciting performances, "The Korean Zombie" Chan Sung Jung is scheduled to earn a $20,000/$20,000 split with no pay-per-view points for his upcoming UFC 163 title shot against Jose Aldo, according to South Korea's CorMMA. "After 2 more fights, I will be able to negotiate my contract. Hopefully, I will be in a good position when that happens," Jung said.
The MMA Hour. Ariel Helwani and The MMA Hour are back in your life with a packed show featuring Demian Maia, Josh Thomson, Costa Philippou, Danny Castillo, John Crouch and Sean Loeffler.
Nelson re-signs. Days after Daniel Cormier drew up a fake contract for Roy Nelson to re-sign with Zuffa and meet him at UFC 166, the bout became official.
Batman returns. Two years after losing to Patricky 'Pitbull" Freire and re-retiring, 34-year-old Kurt Pellegrino announced intentions to once again comeback and compete in his backyard at a Nov. 15 Bellator event in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he'll meet Saul Almeida.
Maia talks Seagal. In the most obvious story of the day, Demian Maia elaborated on Steven Seagal's contributions to Anderson Silva's success (via Esporte Interativo, translation via MMA.tv): "It's a lie. It's marketing. Like every actor from Hollywood, when Seagal saw Anderson's success, he glued himself to him. He was down on his career and made it up again. It worked because he appeared in the media again. He never taught Silva anything ... For everyone who knows about it, it's a joke."
'Oh, Randy Couture wants to go work for Viacom? We'll just upload this.' Clever, clever. I see you, Zuffa.
How 'bout a quickie of Rory MacDonald sparring with UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman -- that's still weird to type -- but only because you asked nicely:
Slightly off-topic here, but apparently Chuck Liddell landed himself a role in Kick-Ass 2. (Note: The Iceman pops up around the 2:12 mark.)
Somehow I get the feeling the creator of this highlight was more than a little heartbroken after UFC 162.
On today's regional destruction: A bright green cage and little slice of violence. (For the lazy, jump to 1:55.)
Props to @KnockoutFootage for the find.
Are y'all ready for storytime with Ulysses Gomez? Normally I'd give you some kind of summary, but I really don't want to spoil the punchline for this one. (Fair warning: This is totally NSFW.)
STEP 1: EXCITEMENT
Flying to the 209. Looking forward to shooting The Voice Versus @nickdiaz209 tomorrow! #VoiceVersus— MichaelSchiavello.·. (@SchiavelloVOICE) July 21, 2013
STEP 2: DISAPPOINTMENT
@nickdiaz209 has no showed The Voice Versus. Nick you have let your fans down again... And me a big fan in particular. Unprofessional mate.— MichaelSchiavello.·. (@SchiavelloVOICE) July 22, 2013
COMIN' FOR BIG COUNTRY
July 22, 2013
YOUR MOVE, JOE SILVA
Our matchmaker hits harded than your match maker! @AliWSOF @MMAWorldSeries #WSOF4 pic.twitter.com/v4f4a3uMHM— Joshua Burkman (@JoshBurkman) July 21, 2013
Well there it is troops the wound is healing nicely the power of prayer won't be a leg model but can still fight lol pic.twitter.com/MREvkHd9KX— mark richard hunt (@markhunt1974) July 21, 2013
@hexrei it was your mother— mark richard hunt (@markhunt1974) July 22, 2013
Announced yesterday (Monday, July 22, 2013):
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day sees RightTriangle explore: Roger Gracie, Maia and the state of BJJ in modern MMA
The Roger Gracie vs Kennedy fight was an eye-opener. The best BJJ guy ever was consistently out-grappled by the most average guy in MMA. To his credit, Kennedy is a solid fighter with few weaknesses, but he is a high level gatekeeper at best. Recall that Kennedy got severely out grappled by Mayhem when he still had knees. If Tim had out struck Gracie on the feet, that would have made more sense but he out grappled Gracie. He even reversed the back mount in the first round which was shocking from a jiujitsu perspective.
How did this happen. I blame the gi. Roger famously said that 80% of BJJ is useless in MMA and I think gi jiujitsu is implied here. Obviously no one expects to see berimbolos and spider guard in MMA but there are many other mundane positions that do not translate as well. Roger is a perfect example since he excelled at closed guard, judo, mount and collar chokes. All of these positions drastically loose effectiveness without the gi and I think we need to rethink training and BJJ credentials as MMA grappling evolves. It's scary to say this but Eddy Bravo was dead on right in diagnosing the problem with the gi and MMA.
The sport BJJ landscape is still dominated by the Gi. Most of large tournaments are gi tournaments and the very top no gi guys only care about ADCC every other year. Most gyms still have a large majority of gi classes. I think this is all because the no gi grappling game is still in its infancy. Instructors know more in the gi so they teach more in the gi. Many top level competitors have a no gi game that's just a watered down version of what they do in the gi (Mendes, Cobrina, Lo). No gi popularity has grown over the last 5 years but it will have to continue to grow before we can expect a high level of ground technique in the UFC and I think Maia is currently showing one path of techniques.
Demian Maia is a very interesting case to follow. In his early career, he dominated everyone with a more classic jiujitsu. He played submissions from his back and caught a lot of good people in triangles. Then he famously tried to win fights with a "more open MMA game" and racked up some losses. His last 3 fights at WW have been a return to his roots but the jiujitsu of Maia 3.0 is very different than his first UFC fights. He doesn't play guard any more and he really doesn't try to shoot much. His new game is all about the clinch, the cage, body locks, singles and back mount. His success of doing the same thing 5 rounds in a row against wrestlers and a judo guys speaks for itself. Pat Healy plays a similar game and his Miller fight shows the effectiveness of the clinch to cage style of MMA grappling. Guys like Jim Miller and Lauzon have great submissions (and are so fun to watch) but these guys play a high risk submission game. Guys like Phil Davis and Weidman have good submission games but they to lack the positional control and prefer to hit transitional submissions. Right now, I see only Maia, Jacare and maybe Healy winning with offensive BJJ at the highest level. (We can debate the flaws of other guys like Werdum and Magalhaes later).
Maia is a bright spot in this narrative because he has seemingly found a group of techniques that lets him control a fight at his pace and look for the finish. I hope that he continues to have success and that other BJJ transitioners like Jacare and Drysdale can show adapted techniques to pave the way, but I think sport BJJ scene has to change if we want to see a higher standard of BJJ in the cage.
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.