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  • What’s next for Kevin Lee?

    I’ve said so many times before – I like Kevin Lee. But unfortunately, he has the wrong attitude for this business. The first time I noticed this about him, he was sulking in the cage after he lost the interim title to Tony Ferguson. Sulking, pouting, like a teenager. He seems very immature.

    I feel bad for him on a personal level.

    I wrote back in June 2019: I like Kevin Lee. I’m a fan. The way he acts annoys people, but it doesn’t bother me. The way he responds to losses breaks my heart a little bit. He takes it very seriously, very personally, and I don’t know if that’s the right way to think about losing. If he were my little brother, I’d tell him to use these losses as motivation. Heal up, get back to training, and don’t be so hard so yourself. Also, you lost to RDA, not some scrub, and he was a lot stronger than you tonight, bro.

    But he’s not my little brother and here’s the deal: He’s having a hard time making 155 and always talking about a 165lb weight class. As that is not happening, he decided to move up to 170 and promptly ran into RDA. There were obvious problems, and examples are right in front of your face regarding these types of matchups.

    Lee has a lot to think about moving forward. He should stay at welterweight if he believes his wrestling is strong enough to compete with Usman, Colby and Woodley. He’s young. Hopefully Dana gives him time to develop. At lightweight.

    Fans should remember that UFC is a fighting and entertainment company. If they don’t see any value add in Kevin Lee, welp …

    And that was before he started confessing about being drunk all the time, and more recently, the ADHD medication fiasco. He failed to ask for a therapeutic use exemption for this medication, which led to a positive test and thousands of dollars in fines. And now he’s cut.

    Again, he has the wrong attitude about this business: In hindsight, he thinks he should have picked his opponents: “Don’t take these tough fights. I ain’t going to lie to you, don’t do it. Cherry pick. That’s what they really want to see,” Lee warned up-and-coming fighters on The MMA Hour (transcribed by Shaun Al-Shatti). “Man, they’re going to be your best friend when they want you to take the fight, they’ll damn near get on their hands and knees. But then afterward they’ll kick you to the curb. People told me that going into the UFC too. They told me that same thing. I didn’t really listen, I just kept trying to give them what they want. But don’t even do that. Cherry pick. Cherry pick like a MF’er. You’ll get further that way.”

    I wrote previously that Conor’s skills suffered due to his cherry-picking opponents, and I stand by that. You get ahead in this sport by going through the fire. You cannot deny Dustin Poirier, Tony Ferguson, Eddie Alvarez, Nick Diaz, and so many others have been through IT. Of course, you must be strategic during negotiations, but in general, picking opponents does not guarantee success.

    And now this: He received notice of his release via email – It was dated Nov. 17, and it didn’t come from any member of the UFC’s top brass – not president Dana White, not chief legal officer Hunter Campbell, not even matchmaker Sean Shelby.

    “That was kind of the worst part about it,” Lee said Wednesday on “The MMA Hour.” “Didn’t really have the proper notice or even get a phone call about it. … Honestly, that’s what pisses me off the most – the lack of respect.”

    Ridiculous. It became clear to the organization that Mr. Lee is struggling with several issues. Issues they don’t want to deal with in the future.

    From my observation, they will give a fighter time to deal with personal issues if he/she happens to be very talented or very popular. Kevin Lee is talented and they kept him in the organization for quite some time. He kept his place during all his injuries, his change in camp, his losses. The positive drugs test and revelation of mismanaged adult ADHD, along with his admission of a drinking problem was much too much. He seems to be spiraling downward.

    Good luck to him.

  • Content

    As it turns out, I did not lose my old content. Great news for me as I can link to previous blog posts.

    My archive is here. More recent posts are on Substack. From now on I will post in both places.

  • Old school vs New

    I said I wanted to talk about Miesha later. I’m a big Miesha Tate fan. I was thrilled when she won the title off Holly Holm, because she’s one of those veterans who has paid dues in this sport. I’ll always be happy when that happens (Glover!). But her title reign was cut short. Cut short by a young woman who was bigger, stronger, faster than Miesha. This is the evolution of sport. And as we saw last weekend, history repeats.

    There is something I notice while watching these fights: there is a group of fighters, the veterans, who have a particular style of fighting. They dominated when that was the prevailing style, but they are left behind as training and nutrition evolve. Lots of active fighters have this old style, and the matchmaking process will not usually expose them until necessary.

    I won’t name names, but if you’re still foot stomping and head locking in 2021…

    Also, there is the issue of size. To succeed in this sport, at the very basic level you must be able to overpower your opponent. Being the bigger person in the cage helps, and it will help you implement the lay and pray strategy, if you’re so inclined. That is the basic step one – be one of those fighters the commentary team says is “big for the weight class.” That helps. Step two of the basic rules is to know how to cut weight and rehydrate. You already know step three.

    The basic rules aren’t really that simple. It might work for a few fights, but it catches up sooner rather than later. Strategic weight misses happen. Guys start rethinking their weight class. Welterweights and Lightweights get caught up in this a lot.

    Small guys with that old style who used to fight at 155 have to cut down to 145 to continue competing. Feathers become Bantams – that’s just the way it is.

    Even the heavyweights are not immune to this pressure. If you want to do the research, you might find that the older HWs were shorter. There are some outliers in the group as well (Volkov, Struve), but in general they also get bigger as the sport evolves. And there’s not a whole lot of cutting down to LHW, as that would entail a fighter lose 50lbs or more. DC, who I had GOATed when he held both belts, was able to do this successfully. Which is why he’s still my GOAT.

    But back to Miesha. Why did they match her with a young, bigger, stronger fighter? Were they trying to derail her title shot hopes? Did they think Miesha’s skillset had evolved after 5 years out of the sport? Did she? Maybe it was just one of those things, kinda like the unexpected Glover win?

    My view is that Francis and Glover won’t hold their belts for long. Francis operates by brute force; a skilled fighter knows how to exploit this. Glover is my guy, but we know a young man is on tap to snatch that belt.

    Izzy will hold on for a few more defenses. Whether a worthy competitor emerges is entirely dependent on the internal analytics.

    The rise of Khabib’s guys will take over 155 and 170, but in due time. In time.

    If Miesha was serious about reinventing herself she would have made a comeback at flyweight. I’m not saying she would beat Valentina, but she would have had a smoother ride to the top.

  • Day 1. Again

    I made some changes to my website, which resulted in all my content being erased. Unintentionally. No worries. I still have my blog archive. And I might reuse it – or just revisit it – just to see how I currently feel about events from the past.

    There is something very liberating about starting fresh. We go again.

  • Vieira vs Tate

    Last weekend was the Vieira vs Tate card, and I want to talk about that and a few other topics:

    Advice from DC

    Advice from Chael

    “He’ll never be one of us again.”

    Vieira vs Tate

    ——————————————————————————————————————

    Advice from DC

    I read this week that DC is urging fighters to chase the belt, not money fights. Tip to readers: advice from DC, Chael, or Bisping is purely propaganda and not intended to advance the interests of the fighters. They are fight promoters, trying to push whatever narrative.

    Mr. Cormier says“As an organization, you’d always want that belt to be the grand prize. You don’t want a McGregor fight to be the ultimate prize for the competitor. The prize needs to stay the championship and it seems like right now things are changing. Things are changing all around the world in terms of sport right? The money is changing everything across the board in all sports and I think the same thing is happening in the UFC.”

    The rise of Conor McGregor has led to his opponents experiencing an incredible increase in pay when facing him in the cage. Therefore, there is never a shortage of fighters calling out McGregor for a fight, any given day of the week. Everyone wants the money fight. But DC asks fighters to chase the belt.

    We have seen examples of fighters starting Go Fund Me campaigns to pay for their training, giving interviews saying they only have $17 in the bank, or begging for bonuses. But DC says don’t chase money fights.

    Chasing the belt is a fool’s errand. Chasing the belt is insanity when someone else has the power to deny you the fight to get to the belt. Chasing the belt is impossible when a fighter can refuse to fight. Being unpopular can also hinder your title hopes. A fighter can say in interviews that he/she wants the belt, but in reality, they can’t chase the belt. It’s out of their hands.

    Now, sometimes the MMA gods provide us with a little treat. Glover Teixiera won the belt off Jan Blachowicz. Glover’s strong grappling game overpowered the Legendary Polish Power. And if you’ve been reading my blog, you’d know I predicted this.

    Advice from Chael

    Clearly, Chael has seen the analytics on social media chatter about Khamzat Chimaev vs Gilbert Burns. He plays matchmaker and sees Neil Magny getting that fight, not Gilbert. Of course. Can’t derail the hype train just yet. In the meantime, Usman will get more fights to defend his belt. The moment he passes GSP is when he will get a new challenge.

    “He’ll never be one of us again.”

    This is comical. Back just a little while ago, it was important to become champ. As I said before, the rise of Conor is what ushered in the money fight era. Mr. Smith is saying that Conor is so rich now, he’s out of touch:

    Anthony Smith: “This is the second time that Conor’s come at me, and this one is not even my fault, and I don’t give a sh*t what Conor thinks about me, but I don’t know why he’s taken aim at me twice,” Smith said on SiriusXM’s Fight Nation, which he co-hosts with R.J. Clifford. “But as I thought about it, I think I figured it out. Conor has been uber, uber successful. He’s made more money than he could ever spend. He’s made true, like, generational wealth. Like, his kids’ kids’ kids’ kids are going to be just fine because of the things that Conor’s accomplished. What Conor can never get back, is he’ll never be one of us again, and it drives him absolutely crazy.

    “He used to be one of us. I found myself sitting at the desk wondering, like, does Conor miss what it felt like to be in the gym and just be one of the guys? Because he’s alienated himself from everybody. Like, I’ve been around him a little bit. I don’t know him. But I’ve been around him, and he was one of the guys, and he kind of sold out, and he starts taking shots at people, and he kind of sold his soul for all that money. And that’s fine if that’s what you want to do.”

    Two things to unpack there: Conor has sold his soul for money, and he’s not one of the guys and it drives him crazy.

    Conor is taking shots at people because he’s on the losing end for a change. He’s the biggest draw in the organization and he just took 2 Ls from Dustin Poirier – the 2nd included a leg break followed by a humiliating meltdown in the cage. The first was after an agreement with Poirier to make a donation to his charitable foundation. Conor loses that fight and Poirier started asking for his money. Shady business.

    Mr. Smith suggests McG’s wealth is a bad thing. Evil. Sold his soul. Remember the belt/money conversation? Chasing money, fighters started saying, “I’m a prizefighter,” in order to signal the U turn. A fighting career does not last long and you need to secure the bag while you can. Now you have DC and Anthony Smith acting like money should be a secondary motivation. I understand DC’s reason for saying this – he’s a company man and feels this approach is detrimental to the company – but not Smith.

    I want to talk about Miesha’s fight later.

  • First day of the season

    Today was the first day of the new Premier League season. First match up was Arsenal vs Brentford and the Arsenal lost 2-0. It was sad. Also, my take on the McG drama.

    Troopz:

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    And another one:

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    I kinda agree with the Arteta Out crowd.

    Ongoing: Conor McGregor is currently recovering from a broken leg, but still getting all the press.

    He is getting roasted for all his remarks/tweets about Daniel Cormier and his alleged drunkenness and overweight issues. All I can do is shake my head. I believe Mr. Cormier has reached untouchable status because once again, the MMA Twitter community is stepping up to defend him. The last time the community rallied for Cormier was during his battles with Jon Jones.

    I think the rallying around Cormier is not because he’s so beloved, but due to the villain storyline around Conor and Jones. Honestly, I’m hoping for Conor to make a complete recovery and schedule a trilogy fight with Nate – and retire.

    You’ll miss him when he’s gone.

    M

  • Emotional weekend of sports

    Being a fan is an emotional experience. We really go through it all while watching our favorites. And yes, sometimes, we get pleasure in watching heels lose in dramatic fashion.

    Let’s start with the dramatics. The main card of UFC 264 featured 2 heels and a nice guy, who just might be a bit too nice.

    I won’t mention anything about Sean O’Malley or Yana Kunitskaya. Wake me up when they book Yana vs Amanda or O’Malley vs The Funkmaster.

    Stephen Thompson losing to Gilbert Burns should be the end of Mr. Thompson’s title shot hopes for now. Strange things happen in MMA though – a short notice step in might change his life. So Wonderboy, stay ready. For now, however, he’s 38 and much too nice for this game.

    Tai Tuivasa vs Greg Hardy was what we paid our money to see! The heavyweights really know how to shut the lights off and that’s exactly what Mr. Tuivasa did. He did what needed to be done and left Mr. Hardy sleeping in the Octagon. Then he climbed on top of the cage wall and did a shooey! Good times.

    The main event featuring Conor McGregor vs Dustin Poirier was such a disappointing fight – I am still feeling somewhat sad about the outcome.

    I admit, I am not a big fan of either guy, but I tune in to McG fights for the spectacle. Everyone turns out for his fights and this one was no exception. The UFC hype machine was working overtime on this one and it showed. But after one round, it was over. The fight was stopped due to a doctor stoppage, as Mr. McGregor suffered a broken leg.

    Then — Conor pretty much had a meltdown, Poirier’s wife was throwing up the birds, there were death threats, somebody slidin’ in the DMs, etc.

    A mess.

    I’m going to be honest: The promise of a $500,000 donation put the rematch under a cloud. It should have never happened. You want to donate to a charity, fine. Do it later. Talk about it later. Don’t promote a fight based on a charitable donation to your opponent’s foundation.

    And let’s just leave it at that.

    Saturday night left me in a state of embarrassment for Conor. Sitting on the floor of the cage, shouting, “We don’t give a bollocks!” isn’t a good look.

    Sunday took the biscuit.

    There I was minding my business, watching the European Championship finals and the match went into extra time. Nobody scored so on to the shootout.

    You all know by now what happened: England missed the last 3 penalty kicks and it was all over. There were tears.

    Everyone’s blaming someone for the debacle, but for me it’s a few things:

    1. The Premier League has the best talent in the world. You gotta make those shots.
    2. Poor Saka. Yes, he’s young, but he’s made it to the big leagues now. He was shook, for sure, but you gotta make those shots.
    3. Rashford & Sancho – SMH. Do I have to say it again? You gotta make those shots.

    I’m not from England, but I am a big fan of the League. The Three Lions had a great tournament, but sadly, this was a choke.

    M

  • 263 Debrief

    I really thought there would be something interesting to write about after UFC 263, but there wasn’t.

    The excitement comes from the unexpected. Not watching an Amanda or Valentina KO in yet another mismatch.

    Who cares if Izzy beats Vittori? I’m sure he and his family/team are thrilled, but it doesn’t excite me as a fight fan.

    Let’s take a look at my picks before the main card started – all picked for the excitement factor: Paul Craig, Demian Maia, Nate Diaz and Marvin Vittori.

    Of course Paul Craig was going to win his fight. He came through with that nasty ground game and dislocated his opponent’s arm while the referee was just watching the action.

    Demian Maia lost, but he is at that advanced age as well as at the end of his UFC contract. I don’t rate Belal as that great of a fighter, but give him credit, he was able to defend against the takedowns and get off a bit of offense. Is this Demian’s last fight? Dana White says yes.

    Nate Diaz won that fight. He lost the battle but the war was won years ago. It was a great fight. Leon sliced Nate up for 4 whole rounds – then he got lazy in the 5th. That Leon was doing the stanky leg at the end told us something: Nate wasn’t in there to take away Leon’s 3, he was there to test himself against the best. And I think Dana wanted to give Leon a bit of shine, as he’s been very unlucky lately.

    I hope he gets his title shot before he goes out like Tony.

    Adesanya beats Vittori in what was probably the worse fight on the card. Belal followed the blueprint to beating Maia, while Vittori was unable to implement the wrestling heavy game plan to beat Izzy. It turned out to be another mismatch.

    Fights to make –

    Adesanya vs Whittaker

    Brandon Moreno vs Fig 3 (or does Joey B or Triple C slide in here?)

    Usman vs Edwards (please!)

    M

  • UFC 263

    I have some good news and some bad news. The good news: This card is stacked. Even the prelims are entertaining.

    Bad news: I have some unpopular picks.

    Paul Craig vs Jamahal Hill – Craig. All day.

    Demian Maia vs Belal Muhammad – Maia. I know he’s at the end of his career, I just love his dangerous ground game. Does he have one more? I hope so.

    Leon Edwards vs Nate Diaz – Come on now. Nate subs Leon in a FOTY classic!

    Deiveson Figueiredo vs Brandon Moreno – The racist photos posted by Moreno’s coach reflects badly on Brandon. Figs by KO.

    Israel Adesanya vs Marvin Vettori – If Vettori goes HAM on the wrestling, he’ll leave with the belt. If he decides to freeze up (they all do somehow) he’ll go home with regrets. I got Vettori.

    See you all after the main card!

    M

  • Not much to report

    I probably should have had something to say after UFC 261, but between Weidman’s leg, Zhang’s head and the fakery that is the welterweight division, there was just not much to say. I could mention Andrade’s mistake of talking recklessly about Valentina’s ground game, but is there any need?

    No.

    The next Fight Night was supposed to be The Return of the Snake, but there’s a whole lot of is he in or is he out drama at the moment, so nothing to report there.

    Tonight in ONE, Eddie gets a do-over.

    That’s something.

    M