Go to a nice restaurant with UFC welterweight Mike Swick and odds are you'll get to meet the chef. It starts when he orders something off the menu and has to specify that he'd like it prepared without garlic or spices, on account of an esophageal condition that doesn't react well to many of the mainstays of the restaurant industry.
UFC light heavyweight Forrest Griffin and I are only about three months apart in age, so you can understand why I was concerned recently when I heard that the 33-year-old fighter had been granted a therapeutic-use exemption (TUE) for testosterone prior to his UFC 148 bout in Nevada earlier this month. We all know testosterone levels decline naturally as we get older, but I didn't think guys our age had to worry about it yet. I mean, I feel fine. Maybe the workouts (and, okay, the hangovers) are a little tougher to recover from than they were 10 years ago, but come on, Forrest. We're still young men, are we not?
It's almost time again for the Summer Olympics, also known as the time when many of MMA's former collegiate wrestlers feel the slightest sting of regret as they glance at that old singlet in the closet. As UFC middleweight Chael Sonnen likes to say, a wrestler who doesn't win an Olympic medal never really retires from the sport, he just quits. Bring up the Olympic games to former NCAA standouts like Chad Mendes, and you see a man's eyes glaze over with dreams of what might have been. Bring them up to Daniel Cormier, the captain of the 2008 USA squad who missed his chance to compete after suffering from kidney failure following a difficult weight cut, and you see him wince at the painful memory of how close he came.
Nobody knew where Chael Sonnen had gotten that fake championship belt. Did he buy it off the Internet? Did he convince a UFC employee to dig through a closet and give it to him? Did he stand in line at a UFC event and buy it just like any other fan? He wouldn't say. Or rather, he would say, but the explanation he gave -- he claimed to have taken it from UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva "like a gangster in the night" -- was obviously a lie.
If it were up to him, Tim Kennedy would already be gone. He'd have hung up gloves, put his Army uniform back on, and put the world of professional mixed martial arts fighting in his rearview mirror. It's not that he doesn't love it anymore, he said. It's just that lately, he's found himself wondering if it's ever going to love him back.
If you search for it, and if you're into this sort of thing, you can still find video evidence of the old Wanderlei Silva. I'm talking about pre-facelift Wanderlei, back before he was a fixture in Japan's Pride Fighting Championships, and long before the UFC gathered him up in its massive arms for fun, but mostly meaningless bouts like the one he'll engage in against Rich Franklin at UFC 147 this Saturday night.
Rich Franklin (28-6-1) knows he must be close to retirement because people keep asking him about it. For the last two years it's come up in nearly every interview, he said, and that tells him something, even if it's something he might not want to hear.
If you didn't know better, you'd have thought UFC president Dana White was talking about an act of God, some unavoidable misfortune that finds its way across the universe and zaps you right in the teeth. A tree falling on your house in the middle of the night. A meteor rocketing through the roof of your Camry as you zip along the highway. Nothing you can do.
LAS VEGAS -- Frank Mir doesn't want to have to break UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos's arm this Saturday night. So he says. So he would have us believe. He finds such endings to fights distasteful, a little aggravating. Apparently, that's not reason enough for him to stop talking about the last time he did it, at UFC 140 in Toronto. Though, in fairness, those of us in the media won't stop asking about it.
UFC heavyweight champ Junior dos Santos was supposed to play a video game against former champ Frank Mir once. This was months ago, before they found themselves thrust together by circumstance and high testosterone levels. This was before Dos Santos' original opponent -- Alistair Overeem -- was pulled from the main event of UFC 146 following a surprise drug test that apparently surprised him a little too well. This was also before Mir all but begged for the opportunity to take Overeem's place in the May 26 main event title fight.
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