For Mitch Clarke, move to Jackson-Wink MMA was a necessary change

Mitch Clarke trained at The MMA Lab for years, but he recently jumped ship to the renowned, Albuquerque-based Jackson-Wink MMA. For him, this was a necessary change. For Mitch Clarke, change was necessary. He had to make a change if he wanted to be a successful fighter and get back on track from a two-fight skid. So he did.
Clarke was a longtime member of The MMA Lab in Glendale, AZ. The UFC lightweight also made his home gym, Hayabusa Training Center, in Edmonton, Alta., a regular part of his fight camps — particularly at the beginning of each camp, and that’s where he trained when not in fight camp.
He’s moved on from The MMA Lab. Though he plans on still training in Edmonton out of camp, he’s found a new home for his fight camps.
Last year, about six to eight weeks prior to his UFC Fight Night 90 bout with Joseph Duffy in early July, Clarke permanently moved camp to the Albuquerque, NM-based Jackson-Wink MMA, one of the leading teams in all of mixed martial arts. It was a big, potentially career-changing decision for him, but one he believes had to happen.
“I have no problems with John Crouch and The MMA Lab; it’s a great team, great training partners, great coaches, great everything,” Clarke told BloodyElbow.com’s The MMA Circus. “But for me, I needed to change some things up. I bonded with a couple of coaches really well (at Jackson-Wink MMA). It stimulated my passion for the sport again. I needed to move forward in a different sense. I changed, and I like the change.
“It’s intimidating. It’s a bigger camp, and there’s so many great guys, so many stars. You forget that you’re at the upper echelon of fighting and they’re just people.”
Clarke said that he left behind some friendships in Arizona and that most of his former coaches and teammates were disappointed when the Canadian broke the news to them. But at the end of the day, prize fighting is an individual sport, and fighters have to do what’s best for them.
“It’s going to be disappointment, obviously. Some guys I was really, really tight with, and others not so much,” Clarke said. “I’m happy I did it. Unfortunately, it’s part of the game.”
Though he moved to Jackson-Wink MMA over half a year ago, he’s only been there for the six to eight weeks leading up to his last fight thus far, because in his fight with Duffy, he badly injured his knee.
Very early into the first round, the Irishman knocked Clarke down and quickly sunk in a rear-naked choke. Clarke suffered a torn meniscus, PCL and MCL in process.
The biggest reason Clarke was disappointed after the bout was he wasn’t able to show off his improved game at all, as the fight lasted less than a minute. He believes he got much better as an all-around fighter in the two months he’s trained in Albuquerque, and particularly his wrestling has improved, he said. But fans won’t be able to see any of that until the next time he steps inside the cage.
Clarke was sidelined and had to rehab his knee for six months, only returning to full health this past January.
“It was a little bit of a longer recovery than I would have wanted it to be or expected it to be,” he said. “I knew something was wrong, because I couldn’t lift my leg. It was a little bit of a harder recovery, just because there was so much wrong with it, than I initially wanted it to be. It’s part of the sport, unfortunately. It could’ve been worse. I immediately thought it was going to be ACL related, and that’s a career-altering injury. It’s still a crappy situation.”
The biggest difficulty for Clarke during his recovery was being able to trust his knee again and re-learning how to walk properly.
Clarke reached out to MMA fighter and six-time wrestling national champion Roger Alves, who’s suffered multiple ligament tears in his knees, for advice on how to deal with a severe knee injury. Clarke said Alves was a big help during his recovery process.
“When you have a bad injury, it’s pretty easy to just give up,” he said. “When your whole life is fighting and you can’t do anything, it’s just terrible in terms of you don’t know what to do. It’s about staying busy and seeing that one-percent improvement every day.”
Clarke recently signed a new four-fight deal with the UFC, but he’s still not sure when he plans on returning to action. Clarke wants to come back the right way, not the fast way; he’s not in a rush. He said summer or fall of this year is a possibility, but his return is ultimately something the UFC and his management team will figure out together.
Clarke’s last fight didn’t go his way or as planned. Far from it. It was a worst-case scenario, he said. But he’s confident the move to Jackson-Wink MMA will eventually pay off, and he hopes to display his improvements in his next fight.
From here, he’s only going up.
Source: bloody

Christy Mack recalls War Machine abuse during trial: ‘He said he would send his Hells Angels friends after me’

Christy Mack took the stand on Day 3 of the War Machine trial to offer testimony on the years of abuse she suffered during their relationship.  On the third day of the so-called War Machine trial, Christy Mack took the stand in a Clark County courtroom.
Mack, the complainant and alleged victim in the trial, proceeded to recall the years of abuse she had suffered during her relationship with War Machine, formerly known as Jon Koppenhaver before a legal name change. For over an hour, the prosecution examined Mack and asked her detailed questions about her relationship with the former MMA fighter.
“I would hide in my bedroom for days on end,” Mack recalled during the trial when asked how she would deal with visible bruises from beatings she endured at the hands of Koppenhaver. “I was extremely embarrassed. I always thought of myself as a strong individual. I realize now that I shouldn’t have been embarrassed.”
According to Mack, who struggled to fight back tears during difficult moments in her testimony, Koppenhaver had regularly threatened her to ensure her silence over the abuse, which included handing her mother’s phone number to dangerous friends.
“He said he would send his Navy SEAL friends or Hells Angels after me and my family if he ever went to jail.”
During the examination process, Mack revealed that she met Koppenhaver on an adult film set and began to show abusive signs “three or four months” into the relationship. When asked if she could recall the first time he abused her, she was unable to conjure up the memory. When prompted to give later examples, Mack recalled several harrowing incidents during the tumultuous relationship, including sexual assault and vicious attacks.
“He broke my phone in half, picked me up by my throat, brought me downstairs to my bedroom and threw me down.”
On one occasion when Mack attempted to escape Koppenhaver’s car after he had abused her, her ex-boyfriend promised to end her life.
“He said now I have to take you into the desert and kill you,” a distraught Mack told the jury during her testimony.
Despite the alarming situations, Mack explained to the court that she continued to love Koppenhaver and wanted to believe he was capable of change. She defended him against her mother, who witnessed him abuse her on numerous occasions, and made up excuses in front of her own friends.
“I once told my mom I fell down the stair in the bedroom. I told my friends that it was a dog scratch or that my dog bit me. I would come up with any excuse,” Mack explained. “I loved him. I would have done anything for him. I just wanted to be with him.”
Nearly three years removed from the disturbing incident that led to Koppenhaver’s eventual arrest, Mack admits she now understands how abusive relationships work and why it is difficult to escape the perpetual cycle.
“Now that I’ve looked into abusive relationships and I understand manipulation and abusive relationships between a boyfriend and girlfriend and how feelings play into it. I look back and realize that is not how it should have been.”
Koppenhaver is on trial for 34 felony charges, including attempted murder, kidnapping and various counts of sexual assault. The fighter pleaded not guilty to all 34 counts.
Source: bloody

Stream: War Machine trial updates

Follow BloodyElbow’s Karim Zidan for coverage of the so-called War Machine trial, where the former MMA fighter is facing 34 felony charges, including attempted murder. During Monday’s opening statements in the trial of War Machine, the court heard disturbing details of how the MMA fighter threatened to kill ex-girlfriend Christy Mack after beating the defenceless woman for two hours.
“This is it,” War Machine said as he stood over Mack’s body after hours of abuse (h/t Las Vegas Review Journal). “I’ve got to kill you now.”
War Machine, formerly known as Jonathan Paul Koppenhaver, is on trial for 34 felony charges, including attempted murder, kidnapping and various counts of sexual assault. The fighter pleaded not guilty to all 34 counts before a jury comprised of eight men and eight women listened to a harrowing 911 call made by Mack during the attack on August 8, 2014.
According to the prosecution, Koppenhaver walked into Mack’s home and found her asleep with then-boyfriend Corey Thomas in her bed. While explaining the incident to the jury, the prosecution played the 911 audio recording, where Mack’s frantic screams of “Jon, let go of him” rang audibly for all to hear. Lawnewz.com revealed that the tape was “used in the opening statement to give the jury a preview of what to expect when the State presents their case against War Machine.”
During Thomas’ testimony, which was the main focus on the opening day, he explained that Koppenhaver attacked him first, landing punch after punch before placing him in a choke hold. Thomas claimed he could see stars in front of his eyes and thought to himself, “I’m going to die in Christy’s bathroom.” He eventually managed to escape the chokehold, staggered to his feet, and asked Koppenhaver, “You gotta kill me, or you gotta let me go.”
Koppenhaver allowed a bloodied Thomas to walk out of the house, at which point he turned his attention on Mack, whom he allegedly assaulted for two hours. The vicious attack left Mack with 10 broken bones, including a broken nose, missing and broken teeth, a fractured rib, and a fractured eye socket. She also had a lacerated liver and other severe bruising. According to the prosecution, Mack escaped when Koppenhaver went into the kitchen and pounded on neighbours’ doors naked until she was let in.
The prosecution also argued that this was not the first time that Koppenhaver had abused Mack during their relationship. They referenced “times when War Machine choked Mack and put her in a chokehold” and that he “slammed [her] head into dashboard.” (h/t @AntonioNews3LV).
Koppenhaver,35, made his UFC debut at The Ultimate Fighter 6 Finale, where he won KO and Fight of the Night honors. He fought once more for the organization before being released in 2008 following a submission loss.
Opening statements are expected to resume on Tuesday.
Source: bloody

Correia: Brazil crowd was ‘against me’ during Ronda Rousey fight

Bethe Correia comments on her upcoming fight against Marion Reneau at UFC Fight Night 106. It’s not exactly in her home state of Paraiba, but Bethe Correia will fight in the capital of neighbor state Ceara, in the city of Fortaleza, both in the Northeast region of Brazil. This is a very welcome change for her, as Correia believes this time around will be different than the time she challenged Ronda Rousey for the bantamweight title in Rio de Janeiro, back at UFC 190 where the crowd greatly favored the champion.
Now, in her final preparations to take on Marion Reneau, Correia told Combate she looks forward to having the crowd on her side.
“I can’t even tell what it is like, because when I fought in Brazil, I had the crowd against me. I don’t remember having the crowd on my side. When I fight in the USA, I get a lot of sympathy from the fans from Americans, but this is different. This has a special taste, fighting in the Northeast. Being home, with my family, I won’t have to travel or deal with a different weather.
“I love Fortaleza, I used to go there a lot for fun. I always pictured myself fighting in the Northeast. I love it, it’s going to be great. I believe this time will be cool, I really want to listen to that crowd and receive their energy.”
Bethe Correia will take on Marion Reneau on the main card of Fight Night 106, in Fortaleza, Brazil, on March 11. The card will be headlined by a middleweight fight between Vitor Belfort and Kelvin Gastelum.
Source: bloody

Joe Lauzon to face Stevie Ray at UFC Fight Night 108 in Nashville

Joe Lauzon isn’t wasting any time returning the Octagon.

Lauzon will fight for the second time this year when he squares off against Stevie Ray in a lightweight contest at UFC Fight Night 108 on April 22 in Nashville. The UFC announced the fight Wednesday.

Lauzon, who has won three of his past five fights, defeated Marcin Held via split decision at UFC Fight Night 103 this past January.

Ray, who has four of his five UFC fights, defeated Ross Pearson via split decision in his last fight this past November.

Cub Swanson will face Artem Lobov in a featherweight contest in the main event.

Source: mmafighting

Tim Means accuses GSP of ‘turning his little cheek’ away from fighters’ union

UFC Fortaleza’s Tim Means spoke to Bloody Elbow about his new deal with the UFC and the serious concerns he has over the GSP-fronted MMAAA. At UFC 207, Tim Means’ scrap with Alex Oliveira ended in a No Contest, after Means threw a set of illegal knees at his opponent. This weekend, at UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Gastelum, Means has a chance at a do-over with he and Oliveira booked to fight on the main card.
In the build-up to this Saturday’s fight ‘The Dirty Bird’ has been open in expressing his dislike for ‘Cowboy’ Oliveira and his team. Means has been equally candid in discussing current attempts to organize mixed martial artists towards a goal of collective bargaining.
In December, ahead of UFC 207, Means was asked by Bloody Elbow for his take on the prospect of a fighters’ association or union. The 26-12-1 (1NC) welterweight was less than thrilled with what was currently on offer, especially from the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA), which was originally fronted by Bjorn Rebney, Georges St-Pierre, Tim Kennedy, Donald Cerrone, Cain Velasquez, and T.J. Dillashaw.
Means was taken aback by the MMAAA launch in November, 2016 and expressed a wish that more fighters were briefed on that organization’s plans ahead of the media and the public. However, he was interested in learning more. He reached out to Tim Kennedy for information. Means didn’t hear back from the former UFC middleweight, but chalked that up to Kennedy being deep into a fight camp preparing for Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 206.
Last week, when Bloody Elbow asked him whether he had gotten a response from Kennedy, Means sneered: “Of course not.”
Look at Donald Cerrone, he jumped off that ship in a matter of days. I never heard from Kennedy because it’s trash. It’s garbage. It’s just a garbage plan that they have.
“Those dudes are all in that s—t for themselves,” charged Means. “Look at Donald Cerrone, he jumped off that ship in a matter of days. I never heard from Kennedy because it’s trash. It’s garbage. It’s just a garbage plan that they have.”
Means feels that part of the MMAAA’s strategy has been to use ‘big name’ fighters in order to convince MMA fans to support their cause. He said this has resulted in fans ‘chirping’ him; asking for him to get behind the MMAAA because of who is already there. Means hasn’t appreciated this.
“That thing just doesn’t make sense to me just yet,” said Means. “There’s more questions than answers and it’s gonna take more than just a couple of fans saying, ‘Oh St-Pierre’s at the table. You have to get on board because these guys are smart.’ Well, yeah, I’m not there to take pictures with ‘superstars’ and do all that.”
“They’re all in it for themselves,” continued Means. “They’re trying to get people on board so they can try and get more numbers for themselves.” Means expressed bemusement at the MMAAA’s lack of information, including whether they are concerned with only UFC fighters and if so, what happens once MMAAA members are cut/released by the UFC. Means also bemoaned what he saw as a track record of inconsistency out of the fledgling labor organization.
“Since the last time I talked about this, they jumped off that Rebney dude’s jock strap,” said Means. “They had him handling it and Tim Kennedy came out said himself that he was the wrong dude to bring in. They have to get themselves organized before too many people want to jump on their bandwagon. Rebney was the wrong dude, and it just shows that they’re inconsistent with the choices they are making right now, so it’s not something that interests me.
St-Pierre was so upset – telling fighters that they should not be scared to climb on board. Look how quickly he turned his little cheek and looked the other way; as soon as title fights started getting offered.
“It was quite funny to see how quickly that changed with Cerrone; in just a couple of days. And then St-Pierre was so upset – telling fighters that they should not be scared to climb on board. Look how quickly he turned his little cheek and looked the other way; as soon as title fights started getting offered. You haven’t heard him bring up a union this time around. Now, all of a sudden, he’s excited and happy to be back.”
Means did state that he believes there are merits to collective bargaining and that fighters working together could secure benefits such as pensions and increased health care coverage. Currently he doesn’t believe there’s an organization capable of such goals. Means is also hesitant to get on board with the MMAAA and other such groups because he is very happy with his current working relationship with ZUFFA, and especially Dana White.
“I just renegotiated another new contract for another four-fight deal with numbers that I’m very happy with,” revealed Means. “It just takes time to negotiate with the boss. We had to reach out and talk, I didn’t like the first offer he gave me. I turned it down, we negotiated a little bit more, and the numbers went to where I wanted them. It just came with communication, and not with bagging on my damn job or bagging on my company.”
Means said he hadn’t yet met with the UFC’s new owners, but that he has semi-regular contact with White. Means also revealed that White gave him a ‘little bonus’ after the no contest with Oliveira.
In addition to being skeptical that unions could help him negotiate better deals with the UFC, Means also took exception to the idea that a fighters’ association could improve his sponsorship situation – possibly by ending the much maligned Reebok deal.
If you want to watch guys high-five and spar: turn on a Cerrone fight. If you want to watch two guys who dislike each other get after it: tune in to this fight.
“Before the Reebok deal, I had eight sponsors on my gear, and I’d get paid by only one sponsor sometimes, or none at all sometimes, or they pay me six or seven months after the fact. People are saying the Reebok deal is garbage…I get free gear and $10,000. That’s more money than I’ve ever made from sponsorship.”
Means needs three more fights before his Reebok earnings increase to $15,000 per fight. The first of those is this Saturday in Fortaleza, Brazil. “I thought the fight was starting to become fireworks,” said Means of his first clash with Oliveira, before attempting to sell the fight with one more dig at am MMAAA poster-boy.
“If you want to watch guys high-five and spar, turn on a Cerrone fight. If you want to watch two guys who dislike each other get after it, tune in to this fight. The fight’s gonna start off where it left last time and it’s gonna be a nasty fight because we do not like each other.”
The rematch of Tim Means and Alex Oliveira goes down on Saturday night at UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Gastelum. You can see it live on FOX Sports 1.

Source: bloody

Demian Maia: ‘I think I could sell better’ than Stephen Thompson

Demian Maia responds to critics who question his ability to sell fights in the UFC. Since he made his welterweight debut in 2012, Demian Maia has gone 9-2 in the UFC. Currently, he is on a six-fight win streak, defeating the likes of Gunnar Nelson, Matt Brown, and Carlos Condit.
For these reasons alone, many believe that Maia should be getting the next crack at the 170-pound world title. However, the much-coveted shot at the belt has seemingly eluded him for a while now, due to the current title picture in the welterweight division.
But if he were asked, the current number three-ranked contender feels a good handful are still doubtful about his ability to sell fights. It is something he obviously disagrees with:
“Everybody says, ‘oh this guy sell fights, this other guy doesn’t sell fights,’” Maia said during Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour (via MMA Fighting). “But the reality is that in the welterweight division nobody sells fights well. Sometimes people push off my shoulders with these things, but in my last fight, I got a submission win, and in previous fights, I’ve had great performances and people want to watch my fights.”
“I’m not saying that their last fight [Woodley vs. Thompson] was bad, but everybody knew it didn’t sell well, it wasn’t so exciting. So it’s not just my problem, it’s all of us together.”
“The UFC needs to promote a little bit more, and welterweight is a division that is hard to sell nowadays and that’s it,” he continued. “I think that people believe in lies and they repeat the lies so many times that the people start to believe, ‘ah, Demian is not fighting for the title because he doesn’t sell.’ And that’s not true, I wouldn’t sell worse than ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson did, I think I could sell better.”
Maia says he was also puzzled about the making of the rematch between Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson for UFC 209, especially since the first fight was already “really boring” due to the lack of action in the first three rounds.
“Marketing is everything. When I watched the first fight between Woodley and Thompson, and I want to make clear that I really admire both guys, for me the fight was really boring at UFC 205 because nobody pulled the trigger for three rounds. The fourth round there was a scramble and that was really exciting, but then the fifth round was so-so again.”
“But in order to make the second fight, the UFC gave them Fight of the Night because after two or three weeks nobody would remember well and then the people would say, ‘okay, it was a nice fight because it was Fight of the Night,’” Maia said. “But for me, that was far [from being] Fight of the Night. So people start to talk about that and that makes a buzz for the next fight, so it’s not so hard. When you want to push somebody, you can do it.”
Maia is scheduled to face Jorge Masvidal at UFC 211 on May 13th in Dallas.
Source: bloody

Still just age 20, ONE’s Angela Lee ready for her follow-up act

One of the best fights of 2016 happened halfway across the world, far from western audiences, at an hour when most of the west coast was still wiping the bleary crust from its eyes.

Over nine months have past since then, when Angela Lee announced her presence on the global stage with a spellbinding win over Mei Yamaguchi, and much has changed. At the young age of 20, ONE Championship’s inaugural — and thus far only — female titleholder has risen to become one of the leading faces of the company, and on March 11, she will finally return to make the first defense of her strap against unbeaten Taiwanese prospect Jenny Huang.

“I feel like I learned more in that fight, that five-round fight with Mei, than I did in all my other fights combined,” Lee told MMA Fighting ahead of ONE: Warrior Kingdom.

“Just because having that much pressure on your shoulders and learning to deal with it, and really work through it and push through — I gained so much knowledge and so much experience from that fight. So I’m really grateful. Although I did try to finish the fight, and even though it didn’t happen, I wouldn’t have changed anything about it, just because I think it was an amazing experience that I’m so glad I went through.”

Lee’s clash against Yamaguchi was everything a trial by fire should be for an young prospect: five full rounds of all-out action and adversity, a smorgasbord of wild swings in momentum that culminated with the sort of testing of wills that few athletes ever understand until they experience it. And for Lee, the act was even more impressive given her age. She was just 19 years old when she faced Yamaguchi — a young woman with barely two years of experience trading cannon fire with a battle-hardened 10-year veteran.

Not surprisingly, the standout performance prompted ONE to immediately double down on Lee. Days after the fight, ONE inked Lee to a new contract that a press release claimed made her one of the “top-five highest paid fighters” in the organization. Lee has since received a major marketing push throughout Asia, traveling across the continent to promote the ONE Championship brand, her popularity buoyed by her parents’ dual roots in Singapore and South Korea.

For someone who still isn’t legally old enough to buy a beer in her own home state of Hawaii, it’s all come together quickly for Lee. And although she grew up surrounded since childhood by the martial arts, even she can’t help but be blown away by how her MMA career has played out thus far.

“It’s crazy just to think about all that’s happened in this short amount of time,” Lee said. “Going into becoming a professional fighter and being with ONE Championship, obviously this was my goal, to reach the top and become the champion, however I did not think that it would come this quickly. I’m so grateful for everything.

“It’s a lot, but with the help of my family — I’m very, very close to my family, and to have them around me constantly, one, helps to keep me humbled and keeps me from getting big-headed, but also, two, they’re my support group. My dad is my head coach. They’re what keeps me grounded and they keep it real for me, so I’m really grateful to have them on this journey.”

While it would be easy for Lee to let the success of 2016 go to her head, especially under such unusual circumstances, she generally seems to be the first one to admit how green in the game she truly is. Her potential is evident, but her skills are still in their embryonic stages, and she considers herself a student of the game who studies the mistakes of figures like Ronda Rousey, whose stubbornness towards change ultimately caused her to pay a significant price.

“As brutal as it is, that’s the fight game, and that’s how things go down,” Lee said. “This sport is full of ups and downs, highs and lows. For me, I think that it’s just incredibly important to surround yourself with people who are going to be honest with you. You need to be honest with yourself. I think the most important thing is just to keep learning and keep improving. That’s the whole thing about martial arts, just improving yourself as a person.

“Since the title fight, I’ve just been going nonstop, really training hard, improving my skill set in all areas, from the striking to the takedowns to the grappling and such. I think that, for me, as a champion, it’s really important how I look at things and how — I don’t want to become complacent. I want to stay hungry, continue learning and striving to just improve in martial arts. I can’t wait to get back in the cage, really. It’s been awhile for me, so I’m really excited about this one.”

It’s still far, far too early to call Lee one of the best female fighters in the world. But the path is there for her to one day reach that stage, and in Huang, she faces a worthy next test.

A 26-year-old challenger, Huang holds an undefeated 4-0 record in the ONE cage, with the last three of those victories ending in submissions. Last December, she twisted April Osenio into all sorts of devilish knots en route to winning with the rarely-seen gogoplata finish.

So while Lee’s future in ONE may be bright, she knows that nothing is guaranteed unless she gets by the next foe standing in her way in Bangkok.

“Obviously any champion’s first title defense is crucial,” Lee said. “I’m really looking to make a statement with this fight. Jenny, she’s had really great fights and she’s earned her shot at the title. I’m taking her very seriously, but I think that this is my time to really show the world who I am as a fighter and solidify myself as a champion.

“This time off has really given me time for everything to sink in. I’ve been able to do a lot of traveling, meeting a lot of new people. All these new experiences have been just amazing for me, but all the while, still training hard, harder than ever actually, just because I know how important this first title defense is.”

Source: mmafighting

Morning Report: Joe Rogan on Georges St-Pierre vs. Michael Bisping: ‘Why have f**king championships at all?’

When the UFC announced last week that Georges St-Pierre would be coming out of retirement to challenge Michael Bisping for his UFC middleweight championship, the response was mixed. While many fans were excited about St-Pierre’s return, and even believed the fight itself was interesting, some did not like the fact that St-Pierre was cutting to the front of the line of a division currently rife with qualified title challengers, specifically, previously presumed title contender Yoel Romero. Well, add Joe Rogan to the list of people less than thrilled about the booking.

Rogan recently went on ESPN’s 5ive Rounds podcast where he voiced his desire to see Romero get his day in court, and why he thinks Bisping vs. St-Pierre is “not good at all.”

“I really want to see Yoel Romero get a shot at the title. I know he’s waiting, he’s waiting right now for what I think is an interesting fight between Michael Bisping and Georges St-Pierre. I think that’s an interesting fight. I don’t like it in terms of the hierarchy of the division. I think that, as far as the division goes, it’s not good at all. It sort of hijacks the whole situation.”

The decision to have St-Pierre challenge for the title coming off of a three-year layoff, in a weight division he’s never fought in, is the latest in a string of decisions met with skepticism from die-hards in the MMA community. Recent UFC decisions like introducing a plethora of interim titles or creating a women’s featherweight division despite lacking almost any fighters in the weight class, have been viewed by some as sacrificing the “sporting legitimacy” of the UFC in favor of quick monetary gains, causing some fans to worry about the direction the sport is taking. And though Rogan doesn’t harbor those same concerns, he says the purist in him doesn’t like some of the recent choices being made.

“I don’t like it. I’m not concerned because there’s great fighters and you get them together and you make great fights. I’m not concerned at that. But from a purist point of view, and someone who feels like – look, if you’re going to have a champion and you’re gonna have these divisions where one man rules over the division, there should be a very clear hierarchy… If you have a champion and you have all these people waiting in line to get a shot at that champion, the person who is perceived to be the best in that division is the one who should be fighting the champion next. The champion should always be fighting the number one available challenger. Right now, that is Yoel Romero.”

Rogan goes on to explain that he understands the reasons for making the fight and that he understands and appreciates Bisping’s position, that St-Pierre is a big money fight and that Bisping deserves that payday. However, despite his agreement that Bisping deserves the “big money fight,” Rogan says that, promotionally, what is the point of having champions if money fights are going to take precedence?

“As a person who deeply respects the position of champion – if you’re gonna do this whole interim title thing and you’re gonna have guys come back after being out of the sport for three years and get a shot right at the title, why have f**king championships at all?

“Why have a champion at all? Just set up great fights. And if you’re just setting up great fights, well that’s a great fight. Bisping versus GSP is a great fight. If you’re going to have a title, this is the champion of the world, then the champion should be defending his title against the number one challenger and that right now is Yoel Romero.”

The one thing that has made the UFC’s decision to once again forego matching Bisping up against a true contender more palatable for fans bothered by the lack of sporting meritocracy is Bisping’s claim that after he beats St-Pierre, he intends to fight Yoel Romero (or whoever else is the number one contender) on a six- to eight-week turnaround. And while, in a perfect world, that would be optimal, Rogan is skeptical.

“You know, Michael says that he’s going to fight Georges and then six weeks later he said he’ll be ready to fight Yoel Romero right afterwards but I wouldn’t believe that if I was Yoel Romero. When was the last time anybody ever did that? Has anybody ever defended the title against a former world champion and all-time great and then six weeks later defended the title again? I mean, come on, get out of here. That’s not happening.

“I see him drunk, in Vegas, in English flag underwear, having a great time. I think he’s gonna make a giant payday and good for him. I get it.”


MUST-READ STORIES

$$$. Tony Ferguson details not wanting to take a pay cut to fight Michael Johnson.

Real. Megan Anderson considers Cris Cyborg the real UFC women’s featherweight champion.

UFC 210. Daniel Cormier doesn’t like the new UFC 210 poster.

Confidence. Demian Maia is confident he would sell more PPVs than Stephen Thompson.


MEDIA STEW

Rankings report.

Free Legacy fight.

Live Chat.

Tim Means interview.

209 Rewind.


LISTEN UP

Press Row.

Heavy Hands.

Bushido Talk.


TWEETS

DC is upset.

He’s a popular man.

Solidarity.

Never ceases to amaze me that dudes who fight alongside and train with women, continue to say ish like this.

Rousey.

#DayWithoutaWoman #resist

A post shared by rondarousey (@rondarousey) on Mar 8, 2017 at 6:15am PST

Cool.

Feels like there are better uses for that TV than this.

THANKS FOR THE SMART TV!

A post shared by Mayhem Miller (@mayhemmiller) on Mar 7, 2017 at 5:18pm PST

USADA visits.

Derrick Lewis appears to be enjoying vacation.

Dominican Republic

A post shared by Derrick Lewis (@thebeastufc) on Mar 8, 2017 at 2:02pm PST

Woodley getting his acting on.

#SwipeRight Filming today and realize #ImMyDadfysSon !!!!!!! #TheFavorite

A post shared by Tyron Woodley (@twooodley) on Mar 8, 2017 at 12:52pm PST

Chiesa rocking a Diaz shirt.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

N/A.


TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

2012: Pat Curran knocked out Joe Warren to win the Bellator featherweight championship at Bellator 60.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Because I thought of it while watching the rankings report, here are my current P4P rankings.

  1. Demetrious Johnson
  2. Tyron Woodley
  3. Conor McGregor
  4. Jose Aldo
  5. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
  6. Daniel Cormier
  7. Anthony Johnson
  8. Joseph Benavidez
  9. Max Holloway
  10. Stipe Miocic
  11. Amanda Nunes
  12. Demian Maia
  13. Fabricio Werdum
  14. Cody Garbrandt
  15. Dominick Cruz

Also, Robbie Lawler should be ranked ahead of Stephen Thompson at welterweight as should Maia. Thompson has wins over exactly one currently ranked welterweight… Jake Ellenberger. Maia has six. I’m sure y’all will hate both of those takes so have at me. Until tomorrow, be easy.


If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting because we post dope things and you should enjoy them.

Source: mmafighting