As I sit here fresh and rejuvenated from family vacation, I am reminded yet again, that the MMA news cycle is a relentless beast. Gone is my time sipping fresh drinks in the Mayan Riviera, replaced now with a dogged pursuit to catch up on all things MMA.
My first task was to watch UFN: Belfort vs. Gastelum where a variety of angles have me thinking.
Before the event, Vitor Belfort suggested a ‘League of Legends’, something similar to what we have been discussing here at Fightful MMA for quite some time. ‘The Phenom’ took it a step further and suggested bouts between aging fighters with perhaps bigger gloves, no elbows, no knees, shorter rounds and longer rest periods.
The sentiment around the MMA bubble has been mixed, with some balking at the idea, with others intrigued. But rest assured, if this idea was to come to fruition, everybody and their brother would tune in.
I believe there is still a space for fighters who are no longer top dogs in their respective divisions to compete in a fairer environment. I’ve long maintained that matchmaking was of the utmost importance. Pitting a BJ Penn vs. a Yair Rodriguez is not fair matchmaking, but ‘The Prodigy’ vs. someone of his ilke under modified rules would be far more fun to consume.
Will this idea ever become a reality? Probably not, but there are many of us that would like to see it take place. When you consider the once great Vitor Belfort succumbing to the younger, faster, harder hitting lion that is Kelvin Gastelum, the somewhat safer route for gentlemen like the Brazilian would be to compete in this proposed ‘League of Legends’.
Staying with the event, how about Mauricio ‘Shogun” Rua !!! What a fantastic performance vs. Gian Villante. The Brazilian looked great in that bout and while I do yearn for a matchup with he, and Misha Circunov, the UFC has already booked the Canadian for UFN 109 in Stockholm, opposite Swiss Light Heavyweight standout Volkan Oezdimir
The Brazilian fans were also treated to another highlight reel KO by Edson Barboza, whose jumping knee destruction of Beneil Dariush was a sight to behold. My goodness can ‘Junior’ turn a bout from exciting to majestic in an instant.
The rest of the card was somewhat an enjoyable watch, with solid performances by Ray Borg, Alex Oliveira, Kevin Lee (who showed impeccable resolve) and an incredible 77 second TKO debut from Brazilian middleweight Paulo Henrique Costa.
Then there was the news cycle that continued during my absence, making my eyebrows raise with anticipation of what’s in store later this year.
This Mayweather vs. McGregor boxing match may actually become a reality in June. Can you imagine if it actually does take place? #GameChanger
Cain Velasquez posted a message to his fans, stating his back surgery went well, but he does not have a definitive timeline for his return to action. Such an unfortunate career for the former champ. He could have went down as the greatest heavyweight of all time, but his body simply would not allow him to do so. Then again, his story has not been fully written.
Then there’s Tony Ferguson, who is not happy with the UFC, for not paying his his full show money. It appears there are two sides to this one, and somebody is not telling the truth. Is it Tony for misunderstanding what the UFC agreed to pay him, or the organization not honoring their original commitment?
The California State Athletic Commission will be voting on whether or not to take up to 40% from a fighter’s pay, should they miss weight. That’s 20% of their show money, and should they win, 20% of their win bonus. Personally, I like it. I hope the vote goes through.
In closing, three exceptional bouts were added to UFC 211 in Dallas: featherweight Frankie Edgar vs. Yair Rodriguez, lightweight Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier and flyweight Henry Cejudo vs. Sergio Pettis. Now that’s what a pay per view should look like.
Don’t forget to join me all week as I am back hosting the daily Fightful MMA Podcasts. Very excited to get back into the swing of things and catch up with Elias Theodorou Tuesday, Sean Pierson on Wednesday, Frank Trigg on Thursday and either Sean Ross Sapp on Friday or perhaps a special guest, that hopefully can free up his time by then. Stay tuned to my social media @ShowdownJoe for all the updated information.