Locked in the Guillotine MMA News Report 5.4.12: FOX and Lawsuits Edition
Posted by Robert Winfree on 05.04.2012
Nick Diaz has filed a lawsuit against the NSAC challenging his suspension on the grounds of marijuana metabolites. 411's Robert Winfree takes a look at what it could mean for fighters in the future. Plus Jose Aldo hits the Champion Spotlight and more!
Welcome once again my loyal readers, and those of you who might have accidentally clicked the wrong link but decided to read anyway. Yeah I'll take hits however I can get them, I'm not a terribly proud person. Pretty busy week this time around, I finally get a chance to look over the law suit that Nick Diaz filed against the Nevada State Athletic Commission, and a potentially big issue with a sponsor for the UFC. Of course there's also the UFC's third show on FOX to break down, and the Champion Spotlight looking at UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo. Busy column, hope my arms can last now that you're Locked in the Guillotine again.
Plenty of comments last week, so let's get right into it. Guest#0971 was first, and said he appreciates that when I review a show I do the undercard as well as the main card. I'm glad you like the format, I personally enjoy discussing the undercard as it's not only free space but can have some very interesting fights. Jacob reminded of something I should have remembered on my own, that plenty of asthma medications contain steroids to assist with the anti-inflammatory medication. I'm not sure what types of pills would contain steroids, since I'm fairly sure it was pills he was taking, but it's not quite as far fetched as I initially thought. That said, I'm still not sure how many he would have taken to get his inflated ratio. norby took issue with me saying that Chad Griggs should look to get to 205. I didn't say that just because he lost a fight at heavyweight, I said that because his frame is suited for 205, and Griggs himself has said he should look to get to light-heavyweight in the future. A loss doesn't instantly mean you should look to drop a weight class, and I certainly don't agree that "natural weight" is much lower than your walk around weight. Griggs was fighting at heavyweight because he had success there in Strikeforce and didn't want to lose the weight to get to 205. I don't mention changing weight classes lightly, mostly because I think cutting too much weight consistently is bad for the body and don't think an athlete should damage themselves like that just so I can enjoy fights. Guest#3757 closed us out, saying that he believes Jacob was actually Alistair Overeem and that he isn't helping his case out. Personally I'd be thrilled if someone like Overeem bothered to read what I write.
Thanks to everyone who commented, hopefully we'll get some more things to discuss at the end of this weeks edition.
Not gonna lie here, this event kind of sneaked up on me, and it wasn't until Monday that I realized it was set for this Saturday. The UFC's third event on FOX is a little different from their previous two. The first one had only one fight, but a heavyweight title fight carries with it drawing power just because people love heavyweight title fights. Thank heavens it wasn't one involving Tim Sylvia. The second had three solid, theoretically at least, fights and a main event of Rashad Evans and Phil Davis for a shot at Jon Jones. Now the first had a very fast knock out, the second main event was a long drawn out affair, and not terribly exciting. This time we've got a fight that could be gangbusters. Let's take a look at the card and get my predictions.
Pat Barry vs. Lavar Johnson: As far as heavyweight fighters go Pat Barry is one of the consistently least boring guys the UFC has. I know objectively Barry isn't a great fighter, but to his credit I can't remember a boring fight he's had. Johnson arrived in the UFC and stopped Joey Beltran in the first round, something no one else in the UFC had been able to do. Both guys love to strike, so this should be a decent opener for the main card. Pat Barry is a fun character but he really needs to get some wins. Given Johnson's power and size advantage I'm going with him, but Barry winning wouldn't be a monumental upset.
Rousimar Palhares vs. Alan Belcher: Believe it or not the winner of this fight will be on a three fight win streak and in serious contention for a title shot. Belcher is the more well rounded fighter here, his striking is much better than Palhares and he's no slouch in the wrestling department. Palhares is a submission specialist, and he knows it. He's improved his striking, as seen against Dan Miller, but he wants to get you on the mat and rip off one of your legs. Despite everyone knowing this, no one has been able to really stop Palhares from doing his thing. If not for his mental lapse against Nate Marquardt he could very well have secured the submission at a different time. The only real question here is if you think Belcher can avoid grappling with Palhares for any real length of time over fifteen minutes. I don't think he can, I think Palhares takes this one, likely in the second.
Josh Koscheck vs. Johny Hendricks: Welterweight action here as rising star Johny Hendricks fights perennial top five fighter Josh Koscheck. Many people, myself included, thought Koscheck lost when he fought Mike Pierce, and if that fight is any indication he could be in for a long, or very short, night here against Hendricks. Johny Hendricks stopped the extremely tough Jon Fitch by knockout in the first round the last time he was in the octagon, and if he gets by Koscheck it will be extremely tough to deny him a title shot. Hendricks is a good wrestler, but was out wrestled by Rick Story in his only career loss thus far. If he had problems with Story, it logically follows that Koscheck should be able to grind him out as well, given that Koscheck is much more explosive and experienced than Story. Hendricks is no slouch in the wrestling department of course, making this a very interesting fight. This could go either way, but I'm saying Hendricks here given how Koscheck has been fighting lately.
Nate Diaz vs. Jim Miller: Five rounds of lightweight action featuring two of the toughest and most talented guys in the division? On free television? Can you tell I'm pumped for this one? Nate Diaz annoys me on a personal level far less than his brother, and seems to have found himself during his second tenure at lightweight. He's stopped Gomi with an armbar in the first round then out struck Donald Cerrone for three rounds. Diaz just looks like a guy who's finally putting everything together, and that's a scary thought for much of the rest of the division. Jim Miller is a tough guy with solid wrestling and submissions, his only career losses are to Frankie Edgar, Gray Maynard, and Benson Henderson. Miller is a guy who only loses to the best, and even in those losses he only looked bad against Henderson, and then only from the second half of the second round on. Both guys fight southpaw, which could wind up being an interesting wrinkle in how this goes down. On the outside Nate Diaz will have a reach advantage, and is prone to throwing lots of punches instead of the two or three that most MMA fighters do. Miller will be the harder puncher, but will need to close the distance. On the mat it's a tough one, Nate Diaz is no slouch off of his back, but Miller is also a black belt in jiujitsu and has shown very good submissions in his fights so he's unlikely to get caught making some stupid mistake. Miller will be the superior wrestler, but neither Diaz is great at wrestling. The five round format makes this interesting because neither guy has been stopped in their careers, so we could be in for a war of attrition here. In terms of cardio the edge goes to Diaz, not to say Miller has bad cardio, but I don't think I've ever seen Nate Diaz even winded inside the octagon. This fight could go either way, but since I have to pick, I'm picking Miller. Jim Miller only loses to the very best, and I'm not sure Nate Diaz falls into that category yet. The winner likely gets the next title shot, and I'm not sure I'd favor either guy of Benson Henderson, but this fight and the resulting title fight will be awesome to watch.
Nick Diaz sues the Nevada State Athletic Commission: This is pretty big news, as this is the first time an MMA fighter has sued an athletic commission. It's more common for boxers to sue commissions, though with MMA's growth it was something of an inevitability. Nick Diaz has three main points to his law suit, the big one being that his constitutional right to due process has been violated by the NSAC stemming from his temporary indefinite suspension after his positive test for marijuana metabolites prior to his fight with Carlos Condit for the interim welterweight championship. I say this is the big issue because anytime the U.S. Constitution is referenced a suit has the potential to make waves at the federal level, and in this case that means athletic commissions all over the country will be effected. Diaz also claims the NSAC had no right to issue a temporary suspension because according to their rules a temporary suspension is issued to "protect the public welfare." That is odd wording, especially since I have no idea how suspending any fighter on a temporary basis in any way protects the public welfare. His final complaint is that the NSAC has violated their rules, because when a temporary suspension is issued the commission has 45 days to make a more permanent ruling, and that time has expired without a ruling. The commission was apparently waiting for Nick Diaz to produce a medical marijuana card before getting into the issues, but Diaz and his lawyer claim that they don't need too, citing HIPAA laws. This one could get drawn out people, there are laws for California and Nevada in play here, which ones hold sway in different areas, and doubtless lots of legalese to be sorted out. This is the first time an athletic commission will be forced under a microscope as far as MMA is concerned, so this could take a while to get sorted out. You can be assured I'll be following all developments closely to give you the best information possible.
Hector Lombard to fight Brian Stann: Well one thing this wont be is boring. Upon signing with the UFC Lombard stated his desire to fight Anderson Silva, which is admirable in that everyone should want to be the champion. Of course Silva has his big rematch with Chael Sonnen coming up, and there was plenty of drama around that apparently, so in the interim Lombard will fight Brian Stann. Stann was last seen mauling Alessio Sakara and stopping him in the first round with strikes from the guard. Stann is no joke, and his only middleweight loss has been to Chael Sonnen. Stann's weakness has always been his grappling, something I'm sure he's been working on, but it's doubtful either guy is thinking too much about the ground game here. Lombard and Stann are both strikers first and foremost, though on the mat I imagine Lombard would hold an advantage if he has to take Stann down. Should be a fun fight when it happens.
Preliminary UFC 145 buyrates: Early numbers indicate that UFC 145, headlined by the title fight between Jon Jones and Rashad Evans, did around 700K buys. This has to be considered good news for all parties involved. Jones continues to increase in drawing power, but was helped for this card with the back story between him and Rashad Evans. Evans, while not a top draw by any means, is something of a name still. If those numbers prove to be accurate it's a very good thing for the UFC and Jon Jones. It will be interesting to compare this with his next title defense against Dan Henderson.
Jose Aldo gets his next opponentvictim: It was announced that the next challenger for Jose Aldo's featherweight championship will be Eric Koch. Apparently Hatsu Hioki wanted another fight in the UFC before challenging for the belt, and while I don't blame him wanting to postpone the inevitable smashing, that move could come back to bite him. Koch is a talented striker, but there's no one at featherweight right now that I'd pick over Aldo.
UFC 146 gets another shakeup: The scheduled fight for the all heavyweight main card at UFC 146 between Roy Nelson and Gabriel Gonzaga had to be changed when Gonzaga suffered an injury. Fortunately for Mark Radulich, no so much for the rest of us, the UFC was able to find a heavyweight replacement in the form of Dave Herman. Herman's last fight was something of an oddity as he showed up sporting a full beard and body hair, he was subsequently TKO'd by Stefan Struve in the second round. The real story here is how much weight Roy Nelson will have lost, assuming he continues to do so. Nelson has said he would like to compete at 205, and if he's lost another ten pounds or so preparing for this fight it's not a huge leap to think his next fight could be in the light-heavyweight division.
I'm the money, don't forget it: Anheuser-Busch, brewer of Bud Light and Bud Lime and major sponsor of the UFC made public their displeasure with how some fighters are behaving in public and online. Nothing gets the attention of upper management like money, and Anheuser-Busch represents a lot of money for the UFC. They are unhappy with sexist, racist, and homophobic slurs being tossed around by fighters, more specifically on Twitter. The UFC was quick to point out that they, unlike other sports organizations, encourage their fighters to use social media and that policing over 450 fighters is difficult. I wonder if it crossed the UFC's mid that other organizations don't like social media because something like this could happen. Of course it isn't just on Twitter, as former champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson has done numerous things that would make a sponsor shy away in interviews, and even during his free time. Jackson has done numerous borderline sexist things in interviews, and a few weeks ago released an appalling video. Despite the humorous intent of the video, the subject of which was how to pick up and rape women, something like this should cost him his job. When he was called on just how ridiculous and in what poor taste the video was in his response was that his mother laughed at it. That's fine and dandy if family and close friends share a dark sense of humor. I don't enjoy that type of humor, but if someone does, and does so in the company of friends and family who also enjoy it I'm not going to climb on some high horse and denounce the very existence of it. The problem is that people don't seem to realize that something put on the internet is out there forever. Miguel Torres was fired after he made a rape van joke on Twitter. Now he was quoting the rough and dark humored It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia but on a forum as public as the internet you have to be careful about what is put out there.
Let's take a quick look at former Strikeforce fighter Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal and his situation. Lawal was fired after going on Twitter and calling a member of an athletic commission a "racist b*tch." Let's play the scenario two different ways and see which is better. King Mo leaves his hearing with the commission upset about the ruling and how he felt he was treated. In the car with his manager and other members of his entourage he vents his anger, using the above quote and doubtless several other expletives. After a few minutes the initial anger has passed and life goes on. Expressing anger, disgust, or similar feelings among those who likely share them, or at least understand where it's coming from, is perfectly fine and in this scenario King Mo is still employed. Then there's the other way, where he goes on Twitter and insults members of the commission and gets fired. The internet is permanent people, things you say, videos you post, pictures, all of it can live on as long as the internet exists. MMA is a new sport, one not sanctioned in all fifty states or all countries, and one that still has plenty of negative bias in "mainstream" society. Quinton Jackson making light of a horrific and disgusting act only lowers public perception of the sport, the fighters, and those who are fans of it. Fighters in particular need to remember this, and carry themselves in a more professional way. I'm not talking about everyone reading pre-printed statements from lawyers, but stop and make a conscious decision about what you're going to say or do. You are a representative of the sport, and the largest promotion in the world, and by default the fans. Please stop making these stupid decisions. Remember to whom you are speaking, and on the internet that really means everyone, and act accordingly.
When I started the Champion Spotlight series I didn't expect to have as much fun with it as I did, I'm kind of sad it's almost over. This week we look at the human wrecking machine that is UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo. Aldo won the WEC featherweight championship in November of 2009 and never looked back. He became the UFC featherweight champion when the WEC was absorbed into the UFC. He successfully defended his championship twice in the WEC and three times so far in the UFC. Jose Aldo is such a talented fighter that UFC middleweight champion and number one pound for pound fighter Anderson Silva has said that if they fought in the same weight class he, Silva, would retire. The most devastating weapon in Aldo's arsenal is his striking.
Jose Aldo is a wrecking machine when standing. He is adept with all strikes, kicks, punches, knees, and elbows. In quite possibly one of the most spectacular knockouts in MMA history he stopped Cub Swanson in just eight seconds with a flying double knee attack. Aldo doesn't just rely on flashy techniques, his fundamentals are sound. Watching the way he used combinations against Urijah Faber and Mark Hominick should be required for fighters looking to improve their striking. Jose Aldo finds success on the feet against anyone, from the stalwart power puncher Mike Brown to the athletic and fast Urijah Faber to the technical striker Mark Hominick, no one has had any appreciable success against Jose Aldo while standing. Aldo's kicks are some of the most powerful in MMA, let alone the division. Watching him kick Urijah Faber in the leg over and over during their title fight becomes almost painful just to watch. His leg kicks were effective against Mark Hominick as well, hampering his movement and knocking the Canadian striker off balance numerous times. His knees are also very effective, he's stopped Rolando Perez, Cub Swanson, and Chad Mendes with knee strikes. Aldo also possesses a killer instinct, if he thinks he has his opponent hurt he swarms with punches and elbows, anything that is legal to force the stoppage. In addition to one strike power he has dropped his opponents with a barrage of strikes, such as Manny Gamburyan and Mike Brown, both of whom he swarmed after they were rocked but not unconscious. All this without touching on Aldo's grappling, which is very good. Aldo possesses solid takedowns, though he rarely has to use them. He took down Mark Hominick at will in their fight. More impressive his Aldo's takedown defense, which is downright scary. I'm not entirely sure it's possible to take Jose Aldo down. When training for his fight with Chad Mendes lightweight Gray Maynard came down to help him with his wrestling defense, and the larger Maynard was reportedly unable to get Aldo on his back. Were it not for an ill advised guillotine attempt against Mark Hominick Aldo wouldn't have been on his back for any length of time during his UFC tenure. On the ground Aldo is no easy out either, as he was able to out grapple Urijah Faber, even putting the grappling oriented Californian in a mounted crucifix. His ground and pound was accurate and plentiful against Hominick, and he was successful against Kenny Florian when they clinched. Aldo also sports a black belt in jiujitsu from the Nogueira brothers and has shown himself quite capable with submissions, both offensively and defensively, through his career thus far.
Perhaps the scariest thing about Jose Aldo is his total lack of weakness. The one time he displayed weakness was the fifth round against Mark Hominick, where his poor weight cut and reported illness contributed to him being exhausted for the final five minutes. Aldo corrected the issue with his weight cutting but shedding some excess muscle that he'd put on before his first UFC fight. Looking at his frame from the fight with Hominick to his most recent fight with Chad Mendes the change is obvious, he has leaned out which makes his weight cut much easier and makes sure his cardio will hold up. Outside of those five minutes Aldo has been untouchable. Urijah Faber couldn't secure a takedown and could barely walk after their fight. Mark Hominick wound up with an alien growth on his head and hasn't won a fight since. The only thing that threatened Aldo during his fight with Kenny Florian was Joe Rogan's biased commentary. Chad Mendes was unable to get a takedown against Aldo, and was stopped with just one second left in the round. I don't see anyone right now at featherweight who has a legitimate chance at beating Aldo, the man is that good.
Alright ladies and gentlemen, that brings us to the conclusion of this edition, and it was a hefty one. Next week I'll have a review of the big UFC on FOX show, plus a look at all the relevant news, and some of the irrelevant news if things are slow. Also the final installment of the Champion Spotlight will look at current UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz. I'll see you all back here next week, you've successfully escaped the Guillotine once again.