As this week went on, I had to Google "what year is this" just to double check we didn't take a time warp back to 2004. I mean, both Chuck Liddell and Andrei Arlovski are making headlines? We must have gotten stuck in a time warp.
But no, here were are in 2014. And in a Jon Jones fight week, no less, and the usual sideshows that go with it. And, since it's simply a week, period, that means Ronda Rousey must be in the news.
So let's start this week's Fightweets with the latest from Ronda, move on to Jones, and then get into what the former champs are up to.
Ronda and Cyborg: Over the line, or oversensitive?
@MikeJBknows: Also, Are we (fans/media) getting too sensitive about trash talking? We know there's a line but should we police everything
Mike, I'm running both of your questions here since they tie into one another.
First off, there was, of course, Rousey referring to Cyborg Justino as an "it," in reference the latter's steroid usage. Bad choice of words by Rousey. You'd think by now, fighters, hell, people in general would know to avoid this.
Ultimately, though, I don't think Rousey needs much more than a proverbial rap on the knuckles for this. Rousey has proven herself a progressive-minded person. In this case, she simply poorly phrased something to make a point about an admitted steroid user.
Which ties into your second question. Short answer: Yes, but that's the direction the world is heading.
Longer answer: There's no quicker way for a writer to attract attention these days than by aligning yourself with the Manufactured Outrage Brigade. Someone out there is always on the prowl searching for new reasons to get offended. As the "Cancel Colbert" campaign few weeks back showed, context doesn't even matter anymore.
Treating every verbal misstep as an outrage ultimately does a disservice to real grievances. We live in a society with an astounding degree of inequality, but choose to fixate on punishing people who use forbidden words rather than, say, fix our broken public school systems. It's annoying as hell, yes, but it's not going to change any time soon. The best you can hope for, as it pertains to the MMA sphere, is that fans can see through all the phony fury and understand there are different degrees of transgressions.
No love for Bones?
@sigep422wesg? Why does Jon Jones get NO respect??
NO respect? In which way? If we're talking about Jones' skills and accomplishments in the Octagon, I mean, pretty much only his blindest haters are diminishing his accomplishments at this point. Most people who don't generally like the UFC light heavyweight champion's personality will still grudgingly give him his due among the sport's best pound-for-pound fighters.
I actually think Jones would be best served at this point if he simply stopped caring what people think. Embrace the backlash. Thank the fans who stuck with you, but turn your haters into the types who will pay money because they want you to get your ass kicked, then keep coming back for more.
In my personal dealings with Jones, I've found him to be thoughtful, courteous, and introspective. But somewhere along the way, that Jones always seems to get lost in translation.
What's done is done. No matter how well he performs, a large segment of the public has made up their minds about Jones based on UFC 151, or on his DUI incident, or social media missteps, or all of the above. So I say Jones should forget about trying to be loved and instead embrace the hate.
What's up, Chuck?
@serials1: Why is Liddell getting so mouthy lately? Dana's new mouthpiece?
Well, there's the minor little matter of Glover Teixeira getting his shot at the UFC light heavyweight title Saturday. Chuck Liddell has been preaching the Gospel of Glover for years and years, long before most of us ever heard of him, so it shouldn't be a surprise he's going to talk up his Pit teammate now.
As for the rest of Liddell's comments this week, from his take that Jon Jones should have fought at UFC 151 to his opinion that Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira should be allowed to retire on his own terms, I mean, how are either of those inconsistent with how he's always been? Liddell came from the old school on never backing down from a fight, so I can see why he believes Jones should have fought Chael Sonnen. And he very clearly wrestled with the idea of retirement for a long time, probably too long, before he finally let go, so he's saying Nog should be afforded the same courtesy. I'm not saying I necessarily agree or disagree with either take, simply that they're consistent with his views in the past. No one's putting him up to this.
What has changed is that since "The Iceman's" heyday, we've been bombarded by an army of fighters who robotically reply "I'll fight whoever the UFC wants me to fight" and do their best to avoid controversy. Liddell was always straightforward and matter of fact about his views. Then he'd go back up his talk (right up until his chin went), which was a huge part of what made him so popular. If he was fighting Tito Ortiz, he'd tell you why he didn't like Ortiz and what he was going to do with him in the Octagon. This week has shown that Chuck hasn't changed, even though the rest of the world may have.
Return of the Pit Bull
@dpop2: What do you think Arlosvki's chances are of being successful this time around in the UFC HW division?
I remember watching Andrei Arlovski get brutally run over by Sergei Kharitonov in the first round of the Strikeforce heavyweight tourney and thinking I never wanted to see the former UFC heavyweight champion fight again. At that point, from cageside, I had seen him get knocked cold against Tim Sylvia, Fedor Emelianenko, and Kharitonov (not to mention watching the Brett Rogers KO on TV). It was a sight I was quite sick of seeing.
But what can I say? Arlovski is now aligned with Jackson's MMA, and since the Kharitonov fight, he's 6-1 with a no-contest. No, he's not going to be challenging Cain Velasquez any time soon. But he's competitive again and there are a handful of interesting fights out there for him. It isn't exactly as though heavyweight is the UFC's most stacked division. You can headline a Fight Night card built around his return and draw a solid television rating, no small matter when the UFC is hellbent on running 78,952 shows this year. All in all, I think Arlovski has earned his shot.
@auggie85? Nurmagomedov & GSP have similar styles, why do I find Khabib more exciting and want to see him win opposed to GSP
I'm not sure about the GSP comparison, but maybe the reason you find Khabib Nurmagomedov exciting is because he is exciting? Nurmy is always pushing forward, he's willing to initiate offense, he's fearless. He's ragdolling guys. He's actually mixing up the martial arts in the way the sport's name implies. If he starts putting guys away, and makes an effort to learn to speak fluent English, we've got a potential superstar on our hands here.
And yet he got buried on the undercard for his last fight. The UFC can't figure out how to market a well-rounded fighter who is undefeated and has torn through the competition? Really? Hey, I like gunslingers like Donald Cerrone or Abel Trujillo as much as the next guy, but If we've hit the point the sport can't sell such an obvious can't-miss prospect and have to force feed us an endless stream of brawlers just to please the "Just Bleed" crowd, well, the declining numbers speak for themselves.
@fightforfood: Do you think Bisping will ever be more than a no. 1 contender gatekeeper? Can he deal with the top of the division's grappling?
Actually, Bisping might welcome that designation after his loss to Tim Kennedy last week. Bisping is 35 and just came off serious eye surgery. He had his opportunity to break through through about a year and a half ago, and couldn't do it. All things considered, No. 1 contender gatekeeper might be the best Bisping can aspire to at this point.
@Davei_Boi: Since Hendo is fighting in May, do you think that means anything since Vitor couldn't fight in July?
At this point, I think viToR belforT is going to be the MMA equivalent of Rafael Palmeiro or Sammy Sosa, who pulled vanishing acts as soon as MLB got real about steroids and then never returned.
Got a question for a future edition of Fightweets? Go to my Twitter page and leave me a tweet.
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