The cut stoppage
Is the fight being stopped the best thing that could happen to Diaz? There is still a "what if" instead of a clear loss...— Charles (@chjobin) November 7, 2019
Well, aside from Nate improbably making a miracle comeback and winning, yes the cut stoppage was the best possible outcome for Nate. In fact, it may just be the best outcome possible for the UFC. Now the discerning MMA fan is invested in a Masvidal title shot and they now have the Diaz-Masvidal rematch in their back pocket for the future.
The reality is, Nate was getting torched in that fight. He just had nothing to offer Masvidal. In the end it wouldn’t have really mattered though because Diaz brothers never lose, at least, not in their own minds. They just run out of time. I doubt Nate even considers the Josh Thomson loss a legitimate loss. Regardless of what happened last weekend, Nate would continue to call himself the real BMF and, in some respects, he’s right. But Masvidal is clearly the better fighter and the rest of the world shouldn’t need to see a rematch to know that.
What does winning a Bellator title really mean at this point? Their champs transitioning to UFC have gone mostly bad (Lombard/Brooks/Askren) while former UFC fighters are for the most part very relevant in Bellator (Larkin/Macdonald/Moussasi)— when the fights are on thats what i like to watch (@mmashithead) November 5, 2019
It means being a world champion, with all the perks and privileges that come along with that, which is pretty similar to what winning a UFC title means.
The UFC houses most of the best fighters in the world and so, as a result, any UFC champion is going to be widely considered to be the best at any given time. Except there are plenty of recent champions we can all (assuming we’re being honest) admit would have lost to Bellator fighters. Michael Bisping was probably the sixth-best middleweight in the world when he held the title and would have arguably lost to a number of welterweights. Tyron Woodley had a loss to Rory MacDonald while both were champions, and Ilima-Lei Macfarlane could probably have beaten Nicco Montana.
The way you’re framing the question makes it seem very dismissive of Bellator and that’s disingenuous. Yes Lombard, Brooks, and Askren have had poor UFC careers. Except Askren fought for Bellator SIX YEARS AGO. Meanwhile, Alexander Volkov is one Comeback of the Year KO away from being 6-0 in the UFC and deserving of a title shot, and let’s not forget that Eddie Alvarez came over from Bellator and won the lightweight title. On top of that, it’s extremely plausible that Ryan Bader could beat Stipe Miocic and Douglas Lima could beat any of the top welterweights.
We have seen this time and time again with other organizations. Pride, Strikeforce, and the WEC all were seen as second-tier MMA orgs, and while that’s not incorrect, to then extrapolate that down to mean their champions are also second tier is incorrect. On any given night any of the top five or so fighters in a weight division could beat any other top five guys and being a Bellator champion means you are probably in that mix.
Speaking of other promotions
Does ONE hold a candle to Pride who rivaled UFC back then or they are just the best Asian promotion?— Henry Verniz (@eichverniz) November 5, 2019
Well, if you believe their press releases, ONE is the biggest organization in the world and every event is seen by 12 billion people. If, however, you choose to live in reality, then no, ONE does not rival the UFC nor does it come close to peak Pride in terms of MMA cultural relevance. The closest rivals the UFC would have in that regard are Bellator and Rizin (the spiritual successor to Pride) but neither sniff the shadow of the significance of Pride.
The UFC does not possess all the best fighters and but it does have a healthy majority of them under roster and of the ones that are not, only a handful of them have reasonable claim to maybe being the best fighter in their division (*cough* Mighty Mouse *cough*). In its heyday, Pride was both more beloved, and feature as many if nor more great fighters than the UFC did. Barring something truly titanic, that sort of competitive balance is never going to happen again.
What’s the deal with Gastelum? Why did we see a hyper aggressive version against Izzy, but a flat, cautious version against Till? Is it the same concept with all sports, sometimes you’re ON and “feeling it”, other times not so much?— Wayne Dorman (@XarXarSupreme) November 6, 2019
My answer is of course going to be pure speculation but I think it’s a mix of two things. One, yes, any athlete can just have off days. You see it frequently in other sports but because they play so many games, it’s usually written off quickly. For fighters, each event is so much more important because of the relatively small number of outings they’ll have so when they turn in a lame duck performance, it stands out much more.
And secondly, I think most people underestimated (myself included) how much Darren Till being a southpaw would throw Gastelum off. Much of Gastelum’s offense stems off of his jab and he was never able to get comfortable jabbing with Till because the longer, rangier fighter was smothering his lead hand a lot. Taking a way the linchpin piece of offense is a good way to stymie an opponent and Till did an excellent job of doing just that.
Who should Darren Till fight next?
If I had to pick, Whittaker but in a perfect world, neither.
With Paulo Costa out, I want to see Yoel Romero take on Israel Adesanya. Despite his recent record, Romero still is arguably the best middleweight in the world and definitely poses one of the most interesting and difficult challenges for the new champion. Meanwhile, coming off a loss, I’d prefer they matched up Robert Whittaker with Gastelum. I know Whittaker is eying a Till fight as the shortest route back to the top but Bobby Knuckles was supposed to face off with Gastelum once already and it just makes sense to have them settle things up now.
Despite winning, Till did not immediately look like a world-beater at 185 pounds. And that’s okay! We don’t need to rush him to a title shot, which is what either of those other two fights would do. Let Till face of with Derek Brunson, a good middleweight who can compete in multiple phases and will test how well Till adapts to no longer being massively bigger than every opponent.
Should interim champions unifying a title count as a title defence— Done talking about Izzy vs Jorge (@SportsTalkMo3) November 5, 2019
Absolutely not. Interim titles are not undisputed titles so it would make zero sense to have title unification bouts considered defenses. They are two different titles entirely, which is why I’ve always thought it was dumb as hell that interim belts look identical to regular belts. Make one gold and one silver at the absolute minimum.
Explain why the weigh ins aren't digital?— Mr S (@Mustafa31185920) November 5, 2019
Because sports have a long memory, especially fight sports. Tradition dictates just as much as common sense.
Also, you shouldn’t want digital weigh ins. The old analog scales make it A LOT easier to just call a weight good and be done with it if a fighter is close to not making weight. And no one should actually give a crap about fighter weights. We just want to see great fights between fighters who are roughly evenly matched. If one guy actually outweighs the other by a pound and you genuinely believe that’s unacceptable, you must lead a sad and disappointed life. Personally, I don’t care if fighters blow weight by a five spot, because I just don’t think that’s a massive advantage.
who gives "bullet" the biggest threat not only for a close fight, but to take her title? seems like the only ones left are chookagian, araujo, and barber (though maybe for later), though i'm not sure i would pick any of the three to win— Bruce Lee, PhD (@B_Lee253) November 10, 2019
No one. No one is going to beat Shevchenko, not for the foreseeable future. Look, landscapes can change quickly in MMA but there is no real contender that jumps as as a legitimate threat to Shevchenko at this time. Aside from being vastly more technically sound than her peers, she is also the best athlete in the division and that combination is going to lead to plenty more dominant performances like the Jessica Eye KO.
Chookagian is a really good fighter and continues to improve but I don’t see how she makes any hay against Shevchenko. Same with Araujo. Barber down the line is perhaps a good enough athlete to compete but she is severely behind in the technical aspect of things. honestly, the most interesting challenge for Shevchenko at this point would be Weili Zhang or Tatiana Suarez in a couple of years, but neither feel like they would get the job done. Bullet is going to go down as an all-timer.
In your opinion, do the benefits of supplements outweigh the risk of a tainted supplement causing a failed drug test? Or are fighters flirting with disaster for a placebo?— James Warden (@JamesWardenMN) November 9, 2019
I’m not a medical doctor and have no idea what supplements do and don’t provide. I assume that most supplements do assist with various aspects of athletic competition as almost all elite athletes take some form of them. It’s one of the many, many reasons I think drug testing is idiotic. ‘Oh, this form of enhancement is fine but that is not because, reasons.’ Plus, there isn’t really that big a disaster if you are genuinely only taking supplements considering USADA’s stance on tainted supplements. It’s pretty easy to just give them a list of everything you take and then bam, you’re looking at a six-month ban. Alrighty then, especially if the positive side of things is a genuine uptick in performance because, especially at the top of the sport, just a little bit is enough to make the difference.
Tainted supplements, part deux.
Despite its success, I believe the "I took a gas station dick pill" defense is extremely low effort. What would your go to USADA defense be aside from tainted supplement?— Matt Gioia (@gioiabeans) November 8, 2019
I firmly disagree. As an attorney, let me tell you that The Anderson Silva defense is among the greatest arguments I’ve ever heard.
Think about it. Lying small is hard, especially when there’s going to be a ton of scrutiny placed on you. The tainted supplement defense won’t work without an actual supplement you’ve been taking that will provide cover for whatever you popped for. So instead you have to lie big. You need to lie in such an outlandishly implausible way that people, counterintuitively, believe it and GSDP is just that. It’s so spectacularly absurd that it’s almost believable, which is exactly what you want when you can’t provide USADA with a supplement to blame for why you failed a drug test. ESPECIALLY given the subject matter.
Men are idiots. This is just a fact. And men are definitely, certainly, 100 percent idiots when it comes to their sex lives and egos. I guarantee you have at least one friend that has taken some form of male enhancement and probably one who has taken a GSDP, if for no other reason than they were waiting in line at a Chevron, saw it, and though, ‘Why not?’ Because men are idiots. Big, big idiots and being a professional athlete doesn’t change that, in fact it likely means you’re more pathologically competitive than most of the rest of the world and would be a PRIME candidate for doing something dumb like that. Besides, you’re already taking any number of supplements to improve various aspects of competition so the idea of taking one more to improve that one isn’t ludicrous.
I love The Anderson Silva Defense. I think it’s genius and not just because it’s hilarious but because I find it more plausible than basically any tainted supplement defense. It’s definitely the one I would use were I in a similar situation, but I’d double down on it. I’d lean all the way into it because the more you talk about erectile disfunction and dealing with it, even if you’re completely full of sh*t, the more people are going to believe you are actually the most honest person in the room. Sure, people will make fun of you or the situation, but in the end, more people are going to think you’re an idiot with ED than a cheater.
I rest my case.
Thanks for reading this week and thank you for everyone who sent in Tweets! Do you have any burning questions about at least tacitly related to combat sports? Then you’re in luck because you can send your Hot Tweets to me, @JedKMeshew and I will answer them! Doesn’t matter if they’re topical or insane. Get weird with it. Let’s have fun.