Matthew Riddle has a new gig. And no, he hasn't opened a marijuana dispensary.
MMA's most vocal pro-pro advocate this side of Nick Diaz has found a home in Bellator MMA. The company officially announced Monday that the welterweight standout will compete in their season nine tournament.
Riddle (7-3, 2 no-contests) had his hand raised after each of his past four UFC fights. But twice in that span, his post-fight drug tests turned up positive for marijuana, causing the results to be overturned to no-contests. After the second, originally a split-decision win over Che Mills on Feb. 16, the UFC released Riddle.
The Las Vegas-based fighter had signed with the Texas-based Legacy Fighting Championship, but Bellator bought out Riddle's contract.
"I had so many options after I left the UFC, but knowing that I was able to compete in a tournament against guys like Paul Daley, Ben Saunders, and Douglas Lima, signing with Bellator was an easy decision," Riddle said in a statement. "This division is just so stacked, and being able to fight in a tournament makes it even better. Bellator is doing a lot of great things right now, and I want to be a part of it."
In a press release, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney noted concerns with Riddle's marijuana use -- he carries a Nevada medical marijuana card -- but ultimately decided Riddle was worth the risk.
"Matt's got all the tools to be a force in our welterweight division," Rebney said. "When I saw Matt get released from the UFC coming off 4 straight wins including his dominant win over Mills in February, we took notice. We both realize that Matt will have a target on his back for his past indiscretions. But having discussed it with him, I'm comfortable that he's in the right place to enter the Bellator cage this fall in what will be the most loaded Bellator Welterweight Tournament in the promotions history."
Riddle laid out his Bellator goals.
"No questions asked, I want to win the next Bellator Welterweight Tournament, get my shot at the title and take my beautiful wife to the MTV Awards and meet Snoop Dogg," Riddle remarked. "I've seen all the pictures of Bellator guys walking red carpets and it's something I want to earn and be able to do. What could be better than that?"
UFC contender Rory MacDonald will never, ever fight his Tri-Star Gym teammate, welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.
Except when he would.
MacDonald, who will meet Jake Ellenberger in a main-card bout at UFC on FOX 8 in Seattle on July 27, was asked the "will you or won't you?" question on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour about potentially meeting St-Pierre.
In the course of his response, MacDonald said he wouldn't fight St-Pierre, since they were friends. Then he abruptly changed course.
"We're not fighting," MacDonald said. "Me and Georges are friends, we're training partners. We'll have our own arrangements and figure it all out when the time comes. It's not going to come to us fighting. Friends, teammates, you know? We're here to help each other."
When asked to clarify his "arrangements" comment, MacDonald reiterated his ultimate goal in the sport is to become a champion.
"We'll just figure it out," MacDonald said. "I'm not there yet. I'm more focused on Jake than anything, I'm taking it one step at a time. I'm sure at one point I'll be champ in this division, that is my goal. I'm not just here to be No. 3 guy or No. 4 or whatever I'm ranked. Eventually I'll get there."
Such talk, of course, is premature, as first he has to get past Ellenberger, winner of eight of his past nine fights. This will be MacDonald's first bout since he dismantled B.J. Penn in December. The British Columbia native had to pull out of his planned March rematch with Carlos Condit due to a neck injury.
"I'm just going to try to train similar to the fight against BJ," MacDonald said. "I think I was too anxious when it was announced I was going to fight Carlos again. I'm just going to try to relax a little bit and just train smart, try not to be a big musclehead again, not try to be a caveman. Sometimes I overtrain and I just have to settle down I guess sometimes."
The 23-year old MacDonald compared the changes in his body in recent years to going through puberty.
"I just I put a lot of pressure on myself and I don't know, what it's about. I've been training for so long and I have a certain, I'm still learning my body, I'm growing," he said. "I feel like I'm getting bigger, my body's always changing and stuff now, it's like I'm going through puberty or something. Man, that was stupid to say. I feel like, my recovery's always different this year from last year, you know what I mean?"
Meanwhile, Ellenberger started a fire in a recent online interview The MMA Digest, implying that MacDonald is overhyped due to his connection with Tri-Star and doesn't belong in the Top 10 at welterweight.
Appraised of Ellenberger's comments, MacDonald said his opponent's words might mask a lack of confidence. "When I hear stuff like that I just feel like he's trying to build himself up and his confidence," MacDonald said. "Self-conscious people have to somertimes build themselves up to give themselves confidence. Maybe he's right, he has some points that I haven't really fought anyone in the top 10, but, I mean, you gotta to get there somehow. I've been winning, and I have fight top 10 guys eventually and he's one of them. I guess he'll be my breakthrough fight."
As for whether Ellenberger might be looking past the fight, MacDonald said "Maybe he is, maybe he's talking bulls---. I don't know, I never really listen to his interviews, but I don't really care, really. At the end of the day it's just going to be a fight, I really don't have any beef with him, I really don't know the guy, I like watching his fights. We're professional fighters and we signed a contract to fight."
For his part, MacDonald (14-1) insists he focuses more on bettering himself than his opponents' strengths and weaknesses.
"I'll be prepared for everything," he said. "He's obviously a pretty well-rounded guy, heavy handed, he's probably the most heavy-handed guy I've ever fought, so that would be a big thing to watch for I guess. I'm just worried about myself, I just like to think Rory, [you have to] get yourself to the best of your abilities in the jiu-jitsu area, boxing, kickboxing, everything, got to be able to put everything together perfectly. I don't think this guy's a black belt in jiu-jitsu, I'm not so much into that, I just like to be like, I gotta get to where I gotta be, and everything else will figure itself out in the cage. That's the way I look at it.
Should MacDonald get past Ellenberger, he wouldn't mind getting another crack at Condit, who handed MacDonald his only career defeat back at UFC 115. But whatever comes his way, MacDonald is just happy to be finally in the mix with the welterweight elite.
"If everyone in the top five fought each other, I'm sure there would be winners on different days, you know what I mean?" MacDonald asked. "No one would win 100 percent of the time, it's a very close division and everyone is super challenging. I have a lot of respect for all of the guys out there. I'm excited to finally be fighting these guys. It's a long road to get here and I'm finally getting to fight some of the best days in the world."
After firing off a tweet that used a gay slur to criticize Bryan Caraway, UFC star Nate Diaz was quickly fined $20,000 and suspended 90 days for violating the UFC's code of conduct. Diaz has not been heard from publicly since then, but his manager Mike Kogan has attempted to defuse the situation by explaining that Diaz was using the term in a different context than the more generally understood, offensive way.
That explanation hasn't been enough for some critics, who believe that Diaz might have missed a lesson on sensitivity, but Diaz's team is holding steady on their stance.
According to Kogan, who discussed the incident on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour, Diaz feels he has nothing to be sorry for.
"Nate doesn't feel remorse for what he said," Kogan told host Ariel Helwani."I don't feel remorse for what he said. I don't feel remorse for defending what he said or elaborating on what he said. Because it was not a homophobic statement. It was not intended to offend homosexuals. We weren't even talking about homosexuals. One can debate the multiple uses of this term. We can sit here and debate in the English language, there's a lot of words that mean a lot of different things, but whatever. As it is, it wasn’t intended to be used the way people tried to twist the way it was being used. So therefore, what does he have to feel bad about? The fact that [Caraway] shouldn't gloat over other person's issues and try to kiss ass to make a point?
"Did anybody ask Bryan Caraway about his stance on marijuana? No," continued. "Nobody asked Bryan Caraway anything. They just gave him the damn money because he was chasing after Dana all over Twitter begging for the g------n bonus. Just take your money and go away."
Kogan said that while he understand some could be offended by Diaz's choice of words, he believed the context of Diaz's tweet made it clear he wasn't intending to offend anyone in the gay community.
"If we would have made a homophobic statement, or a statement that was clearly intended to insult homosexuals, that’s one thing," he said. "You come out and say, 'Hey, you know what, I’m really sorry it hurt people. We didn’t mean to do that.' But to me, and this is just my philosophy, and I'm sure it's going to be disagreed with by many people. This is how I think, and how Nate thinks. The mere fact that there is a protocol to deal with these crisis situation implies its lack of sincerity."
Kogan said that while he thought there was a better choice of words available, any apology would be an admission that he intentionally intended to offend the gay community.
He also suggested the code of conduct has been enforced unevenly, nothing other incidents that took place that didn't result in fines. He said he plans to have a private conversation with UFC leadership to gain a better understanding on what exactly constitutes a violation, how a fine amount is determined, and how a benefitting charity is chosen.
"I'm not trying to throw people under the bus," he said. "I'm just saying, people are out there making their opinions known and I guess, randomly, some opinions are more bolder than the others. Or maybe there's some kind of Twitter hate meter, if it goes up too high then you start to punish people. I don't really know. It really doesn't matter. It is what it is."
When Diaz is cleared for competition in a few months, Kogan said he will likely be heading north to 170 pounds, where he fought four times in 2010-11. Kogan said that over the years, Diaz's activity has made the draining cut to 155 more laborious, and that moving upward would give him a chance to add more muscle to his 6-foot frame.
Meanwhile, another client, Roy Nelson, is likely due for a big raise, as he's finished out his previous contract and is in line for a new deal at just the right time, having won three straight, all by first-round knockouts.
For now though, he'll concentrate on getting Diaz through this rough patch and moving him towards a new home as a welterweight.
"Just because there's a few really strong, big guys at 170, that doesnt mean he can’t be there," he said. "That doesn't mean he's going to stand there and try to measure his strength against their strength. There's strategies, there's ways to beat people without letting them engage their physical attributes, right? Carlos Condit is not a huge 170 guy. He fights at 170. I think Nate will do just fine."
There was much to love about Saturday night's UFC on FX 8 event from Jaragua do Sul, Brazil. Former Strikeforce champions made their MMA debuts, flyweights shined and there was a spinning heel kick that ended up on ESPN's SportsCenter. Then again, the card wasn't overly impressive and the main event featured a fighter, fairly or not, who is reigniting the debate about the role of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) in MMA.
It's time to separate the winners from the losers, the best and from the worst and the signal from the noise.
Credit Where Credit Is Due Award: Vitor Belfort
We'll get to the TRT issue in a moment because it's inextricable from the situation at this point. For now, though, let's talk about the kick. Under no coherent concept of 'good' was that kick anything but. The timing, set-up and ferocity of it all was positively sensational. Moreover, it's one thing to want to spinning heel kick a reporter. It's quite another to be able to do it to one of the best middleweights on earth. The kick ultimately found it's way onto ESPN's SportsCenter's Top Plays, which is the least it deserved in available accolades. If nothing else, Belfort is now in the running for Knockout of the Year while Rockhold is sent to the kind of career drawing board he's never been forced to saddle up to. Not bad for an old man.
Questions Where Questions Are Due Award: Vitor Belfort
Sorry, but this discussion of Belfort's achievements is impossible to have without a frank discussion of the impact TRT is having on his late-career resurgence. His physique looks dramatically improved and he's beating competitors in ways he did not at light heavyweight or heavyweight. Moreover, he's doing so at an age when skill development - particularly for techniques like a spinning heel kick that require a fair amount of athleticism - almost exclusively tapers off or gets worse. And let's not forget it's not as if he's still performing at a high level that is slightly less high than his previous high. He's winning in MMA after spending several years being, at best, highly inconsistent.
None of us are able to quantify just how much TRT is impacting his game. Others who've used the drug found the potency or effect to be less than inspiring. But what we can say for certain is this idea of a compartmentalized impact, e.g. it benefits training but didn't cause the kick, is complete nonsense. While it's hard to pinpoint the precise contribution of TRT in any one scenario, it's essentially omnipresent. The impact is fluid as it pertains to training, recovery, reflexes, athletic skill development, speed, power and more. These are just as relevant in camp as they are in the first round of a middleweight main event.
There's a debate to be had over whether the attention Belfort receives for TRT use is fair relative to his peers, but there's no arguing that there's not been a better poster child for the drug than Belfort himself. And frankly, trying to explain his success at this juncture in his career without a nod toward TRT is a task I've yet to find anyone capable of competently answering.
Good Ref/Bad Ref: Leon Roberts, Kevin Mulhall
Let's not overstate either the good or the bad. Generally speaking, the refereeing and judging on Saturday night was agreeable. Not perfect or even great necessarily, but relatively good. On the bad side, there were a series of highly dubious stand-ups from referee Mulhall that are difficult to understand. On the good side, referee Roberts performed his job ably, stopping fights right on time and not interfering in ways that changed the bout's complexion. Some of the judges' scoring created a few head scratching moments, but mercifully there wasn't anything in outlier territory.
I wouldn't call this an officiating 'win', but there also isn't a ton to bellyache about. They did well enough to not rage with righteous indignation and that's often better than normal.
Best Proof Flyweights Deserve Better Card Placement: John Lineker
I've long argued that while I personally enjoy the flyweight fights in the UFC, I understand why others don't. They sometimes do a lot without doing a lot to their opponent to change the complexion of the bout. Mercifully, Lineker does not have this problem. His style may be a bit on the reckless side, but no one can accuse him of being unable to make something happen. That's why his placement on the fight card is hard to understand. UFC is already dealing with a situation in Demetrious Johnson-John Moraga that is not advisable, namely, having the champion defend his title against a challenger who has only fought on Facebook preliminaries.
In Moraga's case, you can at least argue on the cards he was on, his placement was relatively justified (although he could have been placed at different events). No such argument is available here. Rafael Natal vs. Joao Zeferino wasn't terrible, but I cannot possibly fathom what the upside was in putting decent middleweights on the FX portion of the card over elite and far more exciting flyweights. Jussier Formiga is probably wondering the same thing.
I doubt it's intentional, but Lentz is beginning to resemble Fitch more and more every fight. He was getting close at lightweight, but ultimately was a bit too small and could be muscled some. At featherweight, he's a dead ringer for the World Series of Fighting welterweight. From his pressing wrestling attacks against the fence to his top game to the ability to defend seemingly unbreakable frames of a locked-in submission, Lentz is following the Fitch blueprint perfectly while putting together quite a run. Of course, he's also positioning himself in the same way Fitch did as a promotional entity, which is to say not much. Lentz will likely continuing winning, making a strong case for himself a fighter deserving of bigger fights against better opposition, but his style could make UFC brass want to wait him out until he loses in the process of knocking off challengers.
Least-Pleasing Retirement to UFC Officials: John Cholish
It's one thing for Ken Shamrock to rail against Zuffa. He might have all the evidence and the best argument in the world, but he simply isn't accepted or viewed as a credible speaker on the matter. But replace Ken Shamrock with a young, Ivy League-educated energy trader on Wall Street and the equation begins to change a bit.
Cholish announced on Twitter before his bout Saturday against Gleison Tibau that no matter the outcome, he was retiring from MMA. As he explained after the bout (which he lost), he loves the sport of MMA, but it wasn't really worth it for him to continue competing. In short, there was no money in it and he had a steady job, anyway.
As he later broke down on Monday's The MMA Hour, a fighter at his level of the game was either breaking even or losing money just to compete in the UFC. While he has the luxury of walking away because of full-time employment, many other fighters do not. Cholish is now openly advocating for the UFC to raise their pay for all fighters, but particularly those at the bottom of their pay scale.
The claim of low fighter pay being an issue in the UFC is not new, but thus far the 'movement' has lacked any truly credible speakers. It's not clear if Cholish is that guy or even cares to be long term. But while broke, faded stars who lack a post-secondary education can he dismissed with the wave of a hand, Cholish's claims are not so easily dispatched.
This is another one of those fights where the claim of 'robbery' seems misplaced given how close the contest actually was. There's nothing in the stat sheets (whatever that is worth) that indicates a decision for dos Anjos is some sort of crime of ineptitude. Debatable, certainly, but hardly some egregious error.
I scored the bout 29-28 for Dunham and felt he did enough to win the second round and clearly take the third. The Brazilian ever-so-slightly outlanded Dunham in the second frame, but was taken down twice. We don't have any FightMetric numbers on 'riding time', although the American is not credited with any submission attempts or passes. Dos Anjos did a good job of controlling posture with collar ties and overhooks while he held position.
The long and short is that Dunham is the rightful winner insofar as I can tell, but as we've discussed over and over (and as Frankie Edgar's fights against Ben Henderson demonstrate), if you fight opponents close in MMA, you're going to eventually get screwed. It's a consequence of using a less-than-refined scoring criteria as much as suspect judging. It's also not going away anytime soon. Beating the top guys in the world in your weightclass is easier said than done, but if you want any hope of a decision going your way, make sure the judges have positively zero choice but to award the bout to you.
In the closing moments of UFC on FOX 7's post-fight press conference, UFC President Dana White announced the winner of Maynard vs. Grant would be next in line to challenge reigning lightweight champion Benson Henderson. It was exactly the opportunity Maynard had been waiting for.
"I thought it could be [an important fight], yeah, because we asked for Anthony Pettis and then he dropped down. And then they offered [Grant] and I thought that he was a top guy too, so we took it and we kind of knew it would be one of those types of fights," Maynard said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour.
"Halfway through the camp, you get a little bit down, a little slowed up. But [announcing it was a No. 1 contender fight] was a kick in the ass, so I was pumped."
That's not to say White's announcement was met without its fair share of criticism. Just hours before, perennial Strikeforce contender Josh Thomson made his presence felt with a resounding knockout of Nate Diaz in his UFC return, while Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez fell just inches away from stealing Henderson's strap on the judges' scorecard.
Maynard has heard it all since that night, but if you've ever listened to the man speak, you'd understand that the criticism just doesn't bother him like it does some fighters.
"There's a lot of people out there, so there's a lot of people that like Josh, Gilbert, me, and they're just, that's what they say," Maynard explained. "I don't know what to say to that. I just do what the boss tells me to and I believe I've been a top guy. I believe I've beaten the champ, but it was a draw, and I slipped up a little bit. Just trying to get back to that belt.
"There's no clear guy, though. I think Anthony [Pettis], he was. I called him out, I asked to have him, and then he dropped down. But basically after that, who else? Who else is a clear guy?"
While he may not carry the smoldering name recognition of Pettis, Grant poses several of his own problems. A winner of four straight since dropping down from welterweight to lightweight in late-2011, Grant has quietly pieced together one of the most creditable streaks in the division.
Nonetheless, Maynard believes the 29-year-old has yet fight anyone on his level.
"I'm impressed to the point where it gets me up everyday to train hard as hell to beat him. That's all I need," said Maynard. "I don't fear anything anyone brings to the table. But there's a couple things that I'm aware of.
"I don't want to go into great detail about it. He's a tough kid, doesn't have a lot of huge holes, but there's a couple small technical holes that we're trying to exploit."
"I had to get a scope [on] my knee, there was just a lot of stuff in there," said Maynard. "I actually pulled my hamstring for the Clay Guida bout and thought it would heal up, so I kept going on it. And then by the time camp came around for Joe, my knee and my hamstring were pretty bad. So the camp was just turning out to be pretty hard."
It took some time, but Maynard finally believes he's back to 100-percent health. Now a fulltime member of San Jose's American Kickboxing Academy, Maynard is eager to get back to work and wash out the bitter taste left in his mouth from his bizarre split decision victory over Guida.
"It was definitely not my best, of course," Maynard admitted when asked for his thoughts on the fight that White brashly condemned. "It was just, it's hard to describe that bout. I don't know because I couldn't fight. That was the hardest, the guy just wouldn't do anything. So I don't know if I was good or not good. It was just a hard bout to compete in, just because I had to chase him the whole time. I know that's not my best, but it was a weird fight."
Ultimately, Maynard knows he has his hands full with Grant. But after falling so dramatically short in not just one, but two UFC title bids, he's confident about his chances.
And as for the current champion, Maynard is of the mind that Henderson isn't even the best in the division, regardless of what the record books may say.
"He's not," Maynard flatly concluded. "He's good though. He is good. Tough to beat. He's that guy that's hard to beat, but not the best.
"I think he has three bouts that could've gone either/or, that were very close. And to be honest I scored three of them to the other guy -- the two Edgar's and Gil. But it could've gone either way."
As the sunny rays of Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil shined down on him, John Cholish had already made up his mind. So the morning of his UFC on FX 8 bout against Gleison Tibau, Cholish took to his Twitter account to announce it to the world.
"Looking forward to my last fight today, Win, Lose, or Draw," he wrote. "I'll do my best to put on a strong performance and of course be having fun!"
Cholish ultimately fell short against Tibau, submitting to a second-round guillotine choke. Afterward he made good on his promise and retired from the sport of mixed martial arts.
But the thing is, Cholish isn't like most fighters. He may only be 29 years old, but MMA was just a side job for Cholish -- a hobby. His real career, working for a Wall Street commodities brokerage firm, is a far more lucrative endeavor, so it's not like he'll be strapped for cash anytime soon.
That unique position afforded Cholish the opportunity to reflect back on his time with the UFC, in particular the low wage scale that led to his current predicament.
"I'm fortunate enough that I have a job that provides for me really well," Cholish told MMA Junkie. "I give a lot of these guys credit that fight at this level. I think they could be compensated much better based on the income that the UFC takes in. Fortunately, I can just walk away and I'm okay with it. By no means do I mean it disrespectfully toward any other fighters because I think they do a great job. But hopefully Zuffa and the UFC will start paying them a little better.
"At the end of the day, it's hard. I have great coaches that take time off and travel. They deserve money, as well. To be completely honest, on a fight like this, I'm losing money to come down here. Flights, hotel rooms, food -- and that doesn't even cover the cost of the time I have to pay for my coaches for training. It's funny because people talk about the fighters, but at the same time there's camps and coaches behind the fighters that you don't even see. So if a fighter is having a tough time making ends meet, how do you think his coaches are doing?"
It's rare to hear UFC fighters speak out against Zuffa's stranglehold on the market. We're inundated with specifics of the six-figure contracts of Eddie Alvarez and the sport's top draws, but Cholish is a perfect representative of MMA's lopsided class structure. The fact that he believes he actually lost money by fighting Tibau is alarming.
Unfortunately, other than the far-fetched formation of a fighters' union, Cholish isn't sure what can be done to alleviate the problem.
"It's hard because you have top-level guys like Georges St-Pierre, Jon Jones, Anderson Silva that have started off where we started and worked really hard to get there," Cholish finished. "So is it right for them to have to give up what they did to try and sacrifice for the greater good? It's an individual sport, at the end of the day. It's not like you have a whole team that can kind of step away, like in baseball, when the first union started. Only time will tell. (Zuffa is) a private company. Maybe when it goes public at one point?
"I know the Zuffa higher-ups probably aren't happy with what I'm saying, but I'd like to think I can speak for the lower portion of fighters. A lot of guys I'm sure would love to say the same thing but aren't in a position where they have another source of income."
And with that, ladies and gentlemen, let's get to the fights.
7 MUST-READ STORIES
Belfort rolls. The old lion struck again. 36-year-old Vitor Belfort knocked out former Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold with a spectacular first-round spinning heel kick in the main event of UFC on FX 8. (Video.) Afterward Belfort staunchly refused to answer questions about his TRT use or Anderson Silva, while Belfort's supporters and critics within the MMA community weighed on his performance.
'Jacare' impresses in debut. Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza made short work of Chris Camozzi, putting the veteran to sleep with a first-round arm triangle in his impressive UFC debut. Souza earned a $50,000 'Submission of the Night' bonus for his efforts.
Barao out in jeopardy. UFC interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao suffered an undisclosed foot injury, which may force him to withdraw from his scheduled title defense against Eddie Wineland at UFC 161. Brazilian outlet Tatame first reported the news, which UFC President Dana White later confirmed to MMAFighting.com.
Hunt good to go. According to a report from New Zealand's Stuff.co.nz., Monday was considered the "last possible day" for Mark Hunt to resolve his visa issues, fly to the Unites States and acclimatize to the significant time change. Luckily, everything worked out.
Cholish retires. UFC lightweight John Cholish retired from mixed martial arts following his second-round submission loss to Gleison Tibau at UFC on FX 8. On his way out, Cholish urged the UFC to increase fighter pay. "I give a lot of these guys credit that fight at this level," he said to MMA Junkie. "I think they could be compensated much better based on the income that the UFC takes in. ... To be completely honest, on a fight like this, I'm losing money to come down here. Flights, hotel rooms, food -- and that doesn't even cover the cost of the time I have to pay for my coaches for training."
Caraway, Zingano feud. Cat Zingano claims Bryan Caraway intentionally struck her in the head with an elbow prior to TUF 17 Finale's weigh-ins, according to a report from Bloody Elbow. Zingano's husband, Mauricio Zingano, later released a statement echoing the report.
Riddle to Bellator. Former UFC welterweight Matt Riddle inked a deal with Bellator MMA after the promotion bought out his multi-fight contract with Legacy Fighting Championship.
That kick, man. That kick.
UFC President Dana White sat down for a candid hour-long interview with announcer extraordiniare Michael Schiavello. You can check out the whole episode here. Annnd it's down. Well, never mind then.
This was uploaded while we were away, so in case you missed it, check out Dana White's latest video blog. Nate Diaz keepin' it classy at 4:30.
Myles Jury isn't just an undefeated 24-year-old rampaging through the UFC's toughest division. He's also trying his hand in the video blog game.
"I feel for the guy. I did another interview and I feel like I was a little brash towards the whole marijuana thing. And, you know, it's not the biggest deal in the world, but it is a rule and it was broken, and it sucks." - Bryan Caraway on the Pat Healy situation.
Rin Nakai videos are always a little weird, right? Well, today is no exception. Yep, that's Nakai dressed (kind of) like a bunny during her weigh-in over the weekend. And yep, she still totally looks like she doesn't want to be there.
But you know what's even better? Rin topped the bunny costume just 24 hours later with her spectacular walkout outfit.
…… What in the world… Really?…. A spinning wheel kick… From Vitor Belfort… tmblr.co/Z8wavwlImWtj— Michael McDonald (@MaydayMcDonald) May 19, 2013
Wow! That was unbelievable!! What about that leg speed, spinning? Are you kidding? Freaking awesome!— Bas Rutten (@BasRuttenMMA) May 19, 2013
OMFG!!!!!! @vitorbelfort is the man— Demetrious Johnson (@MightyMouseUFC) May 19, 2013
Vitor's win creates an interesting problem - as far as I know Nevada hasn't licensed him for TRT but he's on it, & clearly the #1 contender— Joe Rogan (@joerogan) May 19, 2013
Well that couldn't have gone much worse. Congratulations @vitorbelfort amazing kick! I'll be back real soon.— Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) May 19, 2013
Be carefulwhat you ask for. twitter.com/vitorbelfort/s…— Vitor Belfort (@vitorbelfort) May 20, 2013
Brian Stann (@BrianStann) May 19, 2013
I am not trying to be a jerk & not jealous of other fighter success, I am secure in who I am. (cont) tl.gd/lriei6— Brian Stann (@BrianStann) May 19, 2013
In a day & age where we discover new long term effects of concussions and how horrible they are, I speak out of concern for my peers— Brian Stann (@BrianStann) May 19, 2013
@brianstann agree . confidence , energy , swag , cardio everything goes up . It allows you to train harder , etc . Just ridiculous— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunsonMMA) May 19, 2013
@brianstann don’t justify it to please morons who don’t compete. Plain & simple insecurities somewhere means they need shit— Tom Kong Watson (@TomKongWatson) May 19, 2013
FEAR THE GATOR
WOW!! Jacare is NASTY— Dana White (@danawhite) May 19, 2013
Maybe the fastest I’ve ever seen anybody put to sleep. Choke prob started 2-3 secs before it actually looked like an arm triangle #UFConFX— Jason Highwalker(@KCBanditMMA) May 19, 2013
Camozzi is tough but I saw that 1st round submission coming from the day this fight was announced. Just a bad match up for him— Cub Swanson (@CubSwanson) May 19, 2013
Man, @jacaremma is a BEAST! That's some top shelf strangulation skills right there— Joe Rogan (@joerogan) May 19, 2013
Middleweights,Jacare just arrived!!!!!— patrick cote (@patrick_cote) May 19, 2013
DON'T WORRY GUYS, WE'RE GOOD
Thank u for my visa father— mark richard hunt (@markhunt1974) May 19, 2013
Announced over the weekend (Friday, May 17, 2013 - Sunday, May 19, 2013):
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day comes from jme.mansour, who gives us a: Quick Technical Breakdown of Vitor's New Kicking Strategy
At face value, it seems that Vitor is randomly throwing kicks that are just happening to catch people. Comments denoting his success despite 'no set-up' are plentiful. However, Vitor's recent KO's have not been even remotely caused by a combination of random kicks and chance. They are part of a well known strategy.
The strategy involves establishing oneself as a power striker, thus forcing ones opponent to frequently slip or circle away from ones power punch. At this point, the opponent is very susceptible to kicks (they have blocked incorrectly and are moving towards the kick).
Spin kicks are very powerful. However, they land infrequently because the spin telegraphs the attack. But there are a few ways to use them effectively. That is, one shortens the spin by:
1. Distracting the opponent while stepping across to set up the attack, and/or
2. Tricking/forcing the opponent to slip or circle towards the spinning attack, and/or
3. Tricking the opponent into thinking a liner attack is coming, so that they react accordingly such that their reaction to the spin (the real attack) is slowed
What we saw today was a combination of 2 and 3. Vitor has established himself as a powerful striker who attacks with his fists in a linear style. He often utilises what is termed a straight blast (stepping forward with the back leg while firing 1-2's in rapid succession). His hand power is feared and opponents know it is coming straight.
- Rockhold is watching Vitor
- Vitor's left shoulder pulls back and his right jerks forward
- Rockhold expects either a (loaded) lead left hook, a jab or (most likely) a right straight
- Thus, Rockhold back hand rises to parry, he braces and he begins to slip to his left
- Rockhold realises he has reacted incorrectly and tries to return his hand to block and to brace on the opposite side; and
- BAMN! Too late.
A similar thing happened with Bisping. Michael expected a powerful straight attack, slipped to his left and into the trajectory of the kick which he ate in devastating fashion.
In summary, Vitor's opponents adapted to his linear power style by practicing their slips and circling, and he in turn adapted by developing a kicking game that intercepts them as they maneuver away.
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.
The MMA Hour with Rory MacDonald, Gray Maynard, Stephen Thompson, John Cholish, Mike Kogan, Holly Holm
The MMA Hour is back in your life on Monday. Below is a rundown of who will be stopping by and when:
2:05 p.m. -- Top-ranked female boxer Holly Holm will discuss why she's leaving the sweet science to pursue a full-time MMA career.
2:25 p.m. -- MMA manager Mike Kogan will discuss Nathan Diaz's suspension, Roy Nelson's future, and more.
2:45 p.m. -- We'll answer your #themmahour questions on anything and everything going on in the MMA world. Hit us up on Twitter using that hash tag, leave a question in the comments section below, or give us a call. The best submissions of the day will receivea prize.
3:35 pm. -- We'll recap the first round of the Ric's Picks Invitational and look ahead to round 2 this weekend.
Plus, we'll be taking your calls on anything and everything. Got a question or comment? Give us a call at 1-888-418-4074.
Watch the show live below beginning at 1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT / 6 p.m. GMT. Subscribe to The MMA Hour on iTunes: audio feed here; video feed here. Download previous episodes here. Listen to the show via Stitcher here or via TuneIn here.
(Editor's note: The first three hours of the show are below, and the complete show will be posted tomorrow.)
Mark Hunt will be fighting Junior dos Santos next Saturday night.
The heavyweight fighter will "likely" fly out tonight after getting his visa, the UFC confirmed to MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani.
Hunt's travel nightmare began around two weeks ago when he was stopped twice going to the airport because of a 2002 arrest. The UFC was even targeting Roy Nelson as a possible replacement if Hunt wouldn't be available to fight.
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