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Morning Report: Daniel Cormier lauds Stipe Miocic’s focus on coronavirus right now, hopes champ ‘plays the fight game’ when this is over

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Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

At UFC 226 in the summer of 2018, Stipe Miocic lost his heavyweight title by first-round KO to Daniel Cormier. Then last summer at UFC 241, Cormier and Miocic rematched, with Miocic stopping Cormier with body punches in the fourth-round. The UFC quickly announced their intent to do a trilogy bout next, with this summer being the tentative plan. However over the last couple of months, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown most sporting event in jeopardy and Miocic, who is also a full-time firefighter, has been open about prioritizing that over fighting right now.

And to Cormier, that’s completely reasonable. Speaking on ESPN recently, the former two-weight world champion said he understands that there are bigger things to worry about right now besides their fight, but he also suggested that Miocic’s disinterest in talking about a fight with him is a sign the Miocic is also not that interested in the fight at all, for obvious reasons.

“I think right now he is being a fireman which is what’s way more important,” Cormier said. “That is way more important right now, that is what he should be worried about. But, you know, he doesn’t want to fight me, maybe he doesn’t want to talk about it. I mean I bashed him upside his head for a good 20 minutes you know what I’m saying? I wouldn’t want to fight me either.

“What if you can’t punch me in the stomach next time? Then what is he going to do? So it would be very difficult to think about us fighting again when he understands that if I’m healthy and I correct this little bit of a problem I got here [lowers hands to cover his body] he’s going to have a lot of trouble.”

Part of the reason the fight has not been rebooked already is that, following their second fight, Miocic underwent eye surgery for a torn retina and is still recovering. But even beyond that, Miocic has shown a lack of interest in facing Cormier again with his agent specifically stating they wanted to face “an opponent that Stipe has not beaten before”. Miocic is prepared to face Cormier next but it’s with less enthusiasm than when he was angling for a rematch with “DC”, and to Cormier that makes no sense. According to Cormier, a third fight between the two of them has the potential to be a massive event and the highlight of Miocic’s career, if only the heavyweight champion would “play the game”.

“He’s doing the right thing worrying about the virus, I get it,” Cormier said. “He’s a service worker, that’s his job in this time and I applaud that. But, when it’s time to get back to the fight business you’ve got to play the fight game and he doesn’t necessarily play the fight game. And that’s why for someone so talented and such a phenomenal fighter, he just has not made that connection with the world for people to tune in yet and it is because he won’t play the fight game. Sometimes you’ve got to play the game and he just hasn’t been willing to do it.

“Because this is a grand opportunity. This is the opportunity for him to take a guy - me, that he beat last time, that I beat him before - we’re in this great trilogy, one of the best trilogies in heavyweight history! This is the one to play the game! This is where you play the game and if he isn’t willing to play the game in this one, I don’t know what or when he’s ever gonna be willing to play the game. At the end of the day, he’ll walk away from this thing and he’ll have a lot less 0s in your bank account because you didn’t make people care. So ultimately, he’s only hurting himself.”


MUST-READ STORIES

New Title. Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje now headlines UFC 249 for interim lightweight title.

New card. UFC announces updated lineup for UFC 249, Andrade vs. Namajunas 2 still co-headlines.

Insane.Dana White’s COVID-19 plan: Two months of weekly fights at UFC 249 location, a private island, and Joe Rogan.

Conversely. ONE Championship postpones upcoming events in April due to coronavirus pandemic.

Reebok. Darren Till: Reebok, UFC ‘should pay a little more’ to fighters.


VIDEO STEW

Reaction to UFC 249’s new main event.

The A-Side Live Chat with Joe Lauzon.

Additional bodycam footage from Jon Jones’ arrest.

One of the most legendary fights of all time.

And another pretty damn good fight too.

Behind the scenes of Conor’s UFC debut.


LISTEN UP

The Co-Main Event. Discussing UFC 249 before all the late-breaking news was announced.

Anik & Florian. Joined by Michael Bisping to fantasy draft the UFC 249 main card.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Gaethje.

Stunned Campbell is supporting Dana right now.

Bless his heart.

Now everyone is going to want an island.

Good question.

Big mad.

Way too much information.

Damn.

Topical.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Francis Ngannou (14-3) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (10-0); UFC 249, April 18.

Ion Cutelaba (15-5) vs. Ovince Saint Preux (24-13); UFC Fight Night, April 25.

Marvin Vettori (14-3-1) vs. Karl Roberson (9-2); UFC Fight Night, April 25.


FINAL THOUGHTS

I believe this is the end of the mythical Khabib vs. Tony fight. Gaethje is going to KO Tony and then it’s all shot to hell and that’s a huge bummer.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL

Poll

Quick reaction: who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 62%
    Tony
    (504 votes)
  • 37%
    Justin
    (306 votes)
810 votes total Vote Now

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