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The Round Horn 03.06.14: The Interactive Column
Posted by Koeddy Laemmle on 03.06.2014

Hello everybody and welcome to The Round Horn, the interactive MMA column. If you are asking what the hell an interactive column is, you aren't alone, this is a pretty raw idea I've been working on for a while. In a format parodying ESPN's "Around the Horn", four panelists will debate a variety of topics in the world of mixed martial arts, and the points are given out by you, the reader by either up-voting or down-voting their points based on what you think. You can participate over at The Round Horn MMA subreddit (Signing up takes seconds, you just need a username and password). From there you can score each of their arguments and join the debates! The scores will be tallied through the week but I will only keep track of the four panel members and a winner will be declared every Thursday. Also, we encourage anybody reading to join the debate and have your points voted upon by your peers. I will be asking plenty of readers who participate in the discussions if they would like to join one of the weekly panels. This is an open invitation to all you logical debaters out there to have fun discussions and spread your knowledge with the possibly of being asked to join future panels and an open challenge to any wannabe "internet badasses" to try and prove us wrong. Results will be posted every Thursday and a new set of four will debate the next week's topics. Every month the four weekly winners will compete to crown a "Round Horn Champion". As I said before this is a raw idea meaning some rule changes may be made in the coming weeks to accommodate any unforeseen issues and if anybody has any suggestions I am always open to new ideas that may help the functioning of this untested style of MMA column.

Although I do personally plan on participating in future editions as a panel member the excitement of actually giving my "interactive column" a shot caused my testosterone levels to test abnormally high. I assure everybody the ban on TRT has NOTHING to do with it and I even have this authentic apology letter: I never gave up competing this week and never mentioned it. The 411mania MMA Commission decided to put another opponent in my place because I didn't have time to fit the new rules of the NSAC. According to 411mania, I will face the winner of this weeks matchup and if I happen to test high for testosterone they will further cut my non existing pay and force me to monitor all 411mania staff complaints about Dana White.

TODAY! R.I.P. TRT… Vitor out, Lyoto in… and the "Stun Gun" destroys Hathaway's face!

Let's get started by meeting this lovely group of Neanderthals we call call a panel... Our first member legitimately tried to choke me out when I first met him during our elementary school days when I ran my mouth a bit too much during a game of "WWF No Mercy" nearly 15 years ago, "Anonymous" Eric

Eric: Hi, I am Eric I am an avid mixed martial arts fan and have been watching MMA regularly since the legendary Bonnar-Griffin finals of the original Ultimate Fighter. My favorite fighters include: BJ Penn, whom is my original favorite fighter and will continue to be and I am a fan of Nick Diaz. Another fighter I actually find intriguing to watch even though others haven't cut him any slack is Ben Askren, I find his style of wrestling very intresting.

It's true ladies and gentlemen, you heard it here first, Ben Askren fans do exist! Hopefully our next panelists efforts at "The Round Horn" will go better than his attempts as a fantasy football team owner. I have NEVER seen anybody work as hard as this man and go 2-12 not winning until the second to last week of the season. "The Fantasy Football Fail" Alex Hall

Alex Hall: What's up guys! Im Alex Hall and I am a sports freak. I love all things sports related from basketball to football, mixed martial arts to golf. I have known Koeddy since we were little punks in middle school doing fantasy WWE and Football at his house. Now, I am fully obsessed with all things MMA and look forward to talking to you guys about flying knees, elbows, arm bars and knockouts! 
Wow Fantasy WWE I forgot that even existed from like 2005-2006. I remember buying Shelton Benjamin's Momma. Out next panel member has mastered the futile art of having a lot to say about nothing and is our resident beet, bear and Battlestar Galactica expert, "The Man They Call" O

"The Man They Call" O: What's sizzling everybody! You may call me Limp Noodle (In name and in practice haha!). I'm just looking to have a swell time with some fun discussion about the greatest sport on the planet! Let me tell you a little bit about myself: I am a fan of going through life with a smile. No need to stress out too much, or get pissed over some drama with a woman, we all die in the end. I train, write, game,  and am a BIG fan of surfing. My location kinda screws me over though, most of the time. Anywho, lets rock this!

Well I've got nothing witty to say, the man just gave himself the nickname of "Limp Noodle". And finally our final panel member is the other person hurt more by Anderson Silva's leg break more than Anderson Silva himself, "Getting-Noun-On" Maniz.

Maniz: Hello all, my name is Maniz (Muh-Knees). I love sports. I love my Green Bay Packers, Portland Trail Blazers, San Jose Sharks, San Francisco Giants, Portland Timbers and Real Madrid. More so than that, I love mixed martial arts and Anderson Silva. Chris Weidman got lucky… twice

Except last year when your favorite NBA team was the Chicago Bulls! In all seriousness I'd like to thank all four of you for your time and I genuinely appreciate all you guys coming through for me big time. I hope this whole thing goes smoothly and you guys will participate in future editions. I anticipate a particular one of you to get bitten by the bug and join the 411mania MMA staff very shortly.

Alright guys enough of the mushy crap let's get to the top story of the week, last Thursday the Nevada State Athletic Commission, finally put a ban on therapeutic exemptions for the highly controversial use of testosterone replacement therapy in MMA, effective immediately. Brazil was soon to follow and it appears the "TRT era" of MMA has come to an abrupt end. Can we all agree that they made the right call?

Eric: Definitely made the right call. There was a stigma that testosterone replacement therapy was a loophole into legally using steroids, and for the betterment of the sport and the betterment of the UFC they needed to distance themselves as far away from enhanced testosterone levels as possible. Steroids are not going away but the sport of MMA should not condone any activity associated with it. With this decision I think it helps the legitimacy of the sport.

Alex Hall: Dana White has been talking about testosterone replacement therapy for the past year and the NSAC heard him. Banning TRT in the UFC officially levels the MMA playing field again. However, this is only the first step. The UFC and whatever athletic commission they are working with, need to extensively test the fighters before, leading up to, and following their bouts. To ensure that fighters aren't using TRT (or any other performance enhancing drugs) and tapering down come test time. I like this ban, now look for more strict/random tests to take place to enforce it. 

"The Man They Call" O: Testosterone replacement therapy has long been used and abused by athletes everywhere, not just the UFC. Having said that, there are still ways to conceal usage, though this public ban will make the fighters dose a little more carefully. Frankly, complaining about the sanctity of the sport and how substances will only ‘bring the sport down' is silly. Will it not be as overtly visible as it once was? Of course. But will it stop TRT use in general? Not a chance.

Maniz: This all depends on what the UFC is wanting out of the ban in order to make the call whether it is good or not.. Does the UFC want older fighters like Vitor Belfort to stick around the sport longer and help make his overall career longer while performing at a high level. Or does the UFC want to make fights 100% fair and not worry about fighters using TRT? I think this is a good call. It's been hard to make sure no fighters are abusing it. If you have to use TRT then maybe it is time to think about your future after MMA.

The man most associated with TRT, the legendary, Vitor Belfort continues to make the headlines with his removal from a scheduled UFC Middleweight title show down with champion Chris Weidman at UFC 173.Do you believe Vitor Belfort's heavy association with the, now, banned substance will have a forever lasting effect on his near 20 year legacy in MMA and do you think this will have a negative effect on his chances at the UFC Hall of Fame in the future much like it has baseball players such as Barry Bonds & Sammy Sosa?

Alex Hall: Vitor Belfort has grown up in the MMA world. He has fought and beat a who's who of mixed martial arts from a variety of weight classes. Before 2013's terrifying string of devastating knockout's, Vitor was still as scary as they got. An athletic, experienced freak who could explode on anyone in the first two minutes of the fight. He may need an asterisk next his fights in 2013 but we can't discredit everything he accomplished in his career. 

Maniz: Absolutely, this will have an effect on how a lot of people will look at Vitor Belfort, maybe not a HUGE effect, but if you look at Belfort since he was 20 years old knocking Wanderlei Silva in seconds and think about his questionable TRT usage and past drug test failure in Pride, one could easily come to the assumption he's been on steroids the entire length of his legendary career. However, this will have no effect whatsoever on his chances at the UFC Hall of Fame. Like it or not, this is not baseball and unlike Barry Bonds, Vitor Belfort is going to his sport's Hall of Fame

Eric: I don't think so. This situation is not the same as the one Major League Baseball is facing with it's stars of the PED era. Although Vitor Belfort is a polarizing figure I can't see it changing his legacy, he never hid his TRT use and at the time was using it with-in the rules of the fight commissions and I don't think he should be punished because of this.

"The Man They Call" O: Vitor Belfort is synonymous with steroids. The man is a walking muscle. No matter his skill as a fighter, not allowing the man a prospective chance as a Hall of Famer due to substance abuse is absurd.  A multitude of fighters across all weight classes have been dealing in plenty of PEDs for as long as the sport has been around (Rory MacDonald, Chael Sonnen, Jonny Hendricks, etc). Athletes will always do what it takes to get an edge, no matter what they publicly ‘state' of these substances to keep up good publicity.

Staying on topic of the previously mentioned ban, plenty of other fighters have acknowledged use of TRT in the past, most notable Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen, many have been outted trough failed drug tests and supposedly there are even more that had been flying under the radar. Besides the before mentioned Vitor Belfort, what UFC fighter will be most effected by this ban long term?

"The Man They Call" O: Before Chael Sonnen became a laughing stock, this ban would have greatly crippled his game for sure. Now? I imagine any fighter not intelligent enough to carefully watch their dosage will be hit hard.

Eric: Either one of the guys you mentioned, Chael Sonnen or Dan Henderson, I think both of their careers have been lengthened because of testosterone replacement therapy.

Maniz: One of the first names that comes to mind has to be Alistair Overeem. However I think I'm going to have to say Chael Sonnen on this one. He was one of the original known users of TRT and one of the most overrated fighters I've ever watched in the Octagon. He is average at best compared to the rest of the talent in the UFC and without his precious TRT… Well at least he has a job at FOX lined up.

Alex Hall: This one was easy, Dan Henderson! Hendo is already exempt from this TRT ban for his fight with Shogun. He heard TRT was banned by Nevada State Athletic Commission and immediately filled out his forms in Brazil. Clearly even Hendo is saying If you want me to fight I need the stuff. I agree with Henderson when he says they need to test for other, more undiscovered PED's as well but this TRT had to be the first to go. If you can't fight without it, then its time to hang them up. 

During his fight on Saturday, Dong Hyun Kim continued to show a giant improvement in his standup game when he obliterated John Hathaway's face with just the third spinning arm strike knockout in UFC history. With the Welterweight division wide open following GSP's departure and the crowning of a new champion later this month, do you believe Kim is a top contender in his weight class?

Maniz: Welterweight division is wide open right now, I don't see why Kim wouldn't be considered a top challenger. His knockout over Erick Silva was impressive, but the fact he had an even more noteworthy highlight knockout in his following fight cements his status as contender.

"The Man They Call" O: I am a huge fan of Kim, so I will try and remain as unbias as possible. A huge issue facing Asian fighters is their lack of head movement and skill in stand up. We get the occasional Takanori Gomi who hits like a semi-truck, but his unrefined skill at striking and lack of head movement is still very apparent. If Kim is able to weed out this distinct weakness in his game, he is definitely a top 5 prospect.

Alex Hall: Like Daniel Bryan says, YES! YES! YES! This dude just keeps on impressing me. Going 4-0 with the last two fights ending with stunning knockouts, Kim's stand up has steadily improved. Eric Silva was put to sleep by Kim and is now getting a great top 10 Welterweight in Matt Brown for his next fight. I think Kim should easily get a top 5 guy. Rory Macdonald looked pretty impressive against Damian Maia. Both guys are coming off wins and I think this would be a great next test for Dong Hyun Kim.

Eric: His stand-up is improved but his chin is not and the aggressiveness and the way he carries his hands will catch up to him. I love his new found style as opposed to the grinder and if he is given the right opponents and a little luck he may be in title contention. I guess what I am saying is he possesses the skills to really beat anyone in the division, I just haven't seen the awareness from him to properly use those skills all the time

Time for "BUY or SELL", this is the segment of the column where the panel members will pick a stance on some of MMA's biggest headlines and explain why. BUY means they agree with the statement, SELL means they disagree.

BUY OR SELL:Neither contestant from the Ultimate Fight China Welterweight Finals, winner Zheng Lipeng or Wang Sai will have any considerable success in the UFC and it doesn't mean anything to win an Ultimate Fighter crown anymore.

"The Man They Call" O: SELL No matter how ‘disastrous' a season Ultimate Fighter China may have been, viewers are basing the talent of these fighters on American and Brazilian athletes, who have had a much higher tier of opponents and training buddies to hone their skills against. Everyone needs to start somewhere, and China is simply getting its stride.  This should not take any credibility from being an Ultimate Fighter winner; we may see Lipeng or Sai become the next Chris Leben or BJ Penn (not likely, but possible nonetheless). Of course it means something to win an Ultimate Fighter crown. Millions of people all over the world endure arduous training day after day in an attempt to improve their game. Contestants on the Ultimate Fighter (even in China), are the best of the newblood. These are the men that become the greats a few years down the line. Just because one area is a lower tier than another, does not mean we should give the crown any less presitige.

Alex Hall: SELL. I was busy all weekend and have yet to watch the Ultimate Fighter China Finale so I can't fairly evaluate either mans talent but, the main objective of the Ultimate Fighter is to gain notoriety of the sport and these athletes. The Ultimate Fighter gives viewers an almost documentary style feel into the beginning of these guys careers. In the finale they are fighting on the same card as their coaches, who are already huge draws.  Being the winner can only gain the fighter more fans and more notoriety, which is what the show is all about.  Not to mention the list of winners who have gone on to be a coach themselves for the show: Michael Bisping, Rashad Evans and Ross Pearson.

Eric: BUY I do not think the skill level in the Ultimate Fighter China is UFC caliber, they are good match-ups for each other but against other UFC fighters they might be hard pressed to win. They would be hard pressed to win in the World Series of Fighting. As far as winning an Ultimate Fighter not meaning anything anymore, it serves a purpose in getting these fighters great exposure and it allows the UFC to market new fighters so I believe it's still a moneymaker. I'd wish we'd see another comeback style Ultimate Fighter with fighters in the UFC already.

Maniz: BUY. I haven't watched the Ultimate Fighter since Kimbo Slice was on it. Does that answer your question?

BUY OR SELL: Vitor Belfort claiming he didn't pull out of his scheduled Middleweight title match at UFC 173 and the UFC were the ones to replace him due to the TRT rule changes.

Eric: BUY This was a business decision made by the UFC to avoid the TRT controversy altogether. Vitor Belfort was granted an exemption by the NSAC but then the commission banned the substance. No athlete gives up a title shot that they longed for. The UFC made the decision not Belfort.

Maniz: BUY Only because I don't see Vitor Belfort pulling out of a title fight on his own at this stage in his career. Even if he would have failed the drug test after the fight, he still would have fought.

"The Man They Call" O:SELL I believe Belfort not only pulled out of his Middleweight title shot due to the ban, but also because the fight would not have been held in Brazil.  

Alex Hall: BUY OF course I BUY this! Vitor Belfort sees the shot he has right now. The UFC did the right thing to ensure no excuses and a fair shot at the title for Belfort. Now Vitor can get his levels under control so IF he does defeat the winner of Machida vs Weidman, the UFC still gets a champ with a clean name.

BUY OR SELL: Chris Weidman opening up as the 2-1 favorite against replacement challenger Lyoto Machida at UFC 173.

Alex Hall: BUY Weidman showed us that he is for real. Defeating the "Greatest of All Time" twice in one year and remaining undefeated in his entire MMA career. Lyoto Machida has looked impressive in his first two fights at 185, but he also showed us in the Phil Davis fight that his stick and move style doesn't always work out. I think Weidman will look to be physical with "The Dragon" and effectively disrupt the game plan of Machida. 

"The Man They Call" O: BUY Chris Weidman has remained untouched, and is currently the undisputed middleweight champion. Weidman naysayers need to acknowledge that the new champ is a beast, and past experience should only support his chances against Machida. That said, as Lyoto Machida is one of my favorite fighters, we can't forget the fact that now that he has dropped to a more natural weight class, he has optimized his potential. I believe that Machida has the best chance at the Middleweight title, and will for some time, yet he will not overcome Weidman at UFC 173.

Maniz: SELLLyoto Machida may not be the favorite to win, but he is hungry for the belt. He wants to be only the third fighter in UFC history to win a belt in two separate weight classes. Chris Weidman is going to have to utilize his wrestling skills and be very patient against "the Karate Kid". I may be going out on a limb here but I call Machida winning by TKO in Round 3.

Eric: SELL Lyoto Machida looked fast versus Gegard Mousasi, really fast and we all know his style is an equalizing enigma within itself. I give Chris Weidman his due as champ but this has to be a pick em' fight.

BUY OR SELL: Dana White claiming Anderson Silva could return by the end of the year.

Maniz:BUY. Why not? With no set back he could be back in the cage by December, or even sooner. I say give him a rematch with Vitor Belfort!

Eric: SELL He could be training by years end if the injury was a clean break, but in the ring? No way. This is a classic Dana White selling point that is all.

Alex Hall: SELL Anderson Silva has been teasing us fans with little videos of him shadow boxing and doing some glove work. This does not mean this man is getting ready for full combat again. He is recovering faster than his schedule says but there is a long road ahead before "The Spider" is one hundred percent again. Which is what he, and the UFC will want him to be at if they are going to let Anderson put his body and legacy out there again. 

"The Man They Call" O: SELL Absolutely preposterous. No matter how fast Silva is recovering, the damage done to his leg will keep him from returning as fast as Dana claims. IF Silva was somehow able to come back to the UFC by the end of the year, he would not be at 100% and would disappoint millions. I say if Silva wants to come back, he needs to take as much time as he needs to recover, so he can have one last attempt at reclaiming his title.  

With Rampage Jackson and King Mo both advancing to the finals of the Light Heavyweight tournament at Bellator, do you think the future fight between their two biggest names will attract MMA fans who have been on the fence about Bellator?

Alex Hall: It doesn't get people jumping and screaming but this is a good fight that people have wanted to see for a while. I don't think it will have a significant impact on the Bellator's ratings however. Lets be honest, if this fight were in the UFC it probably wouldn't be a main event. 

Maniz: Second rate main event for a second rate promotion. No I don't think this will really gather any interest from people not watching Bellator.

"The Man They Call" O: I'm going to get a looot of hate for this one. Rampage Jackson has become a joke. He went from being pretty damn impressive to being a movie star that partied his ass off when he should have been training. He was so shoddy they let him go to Bellator. Fact of the matter is, the cream of the crop comes to the UFC and that is where viewers will see the best mixed martial arts on the planet. Bellator will renew interest if they begin talks about one of their champions coming to the UFC. Until then, it is clearly not close to the caliber of the UFC.

Eric: I think King Mo's star has fallen a little, but this all depends on how Bellator presents this match-up. If the match-up occurs on Spike then I think it will attract more viewers, just look at the numbers the recent Bellator card put up. If they try to build a PPV with this match-up among others then I think it will once again be disastrous for Bellator. People laughed when Bellator's last PPV fell apart and will not be keen to buy the next one. 

Cris "Cyborg" announced she was moving down to Bantamweight not long after the departure of manager Tito Ortiz, did she make the right move and when do you think we will see the much anticipated fight between Cyborg and Ronda Rousey?

Eric: Yes the money is in fighting Ronda Rousey and fighting in the UFC, that means make 135 or bust for Cyborg. I would like to see her make 135 first but given there is not much contender-ship for Rousey, the only suitable one is Cat Zigano but I don't see her coming back soon, I'd say Rousey vs. Cyborg will be the next championship fight either in August or September.

Alex Hall: Cyborg needed to make this move right when women entered the UFC. However she had Tito as her manager, who publicly said in a hilarious press conference: its "literally impossible for her to happen to make that weight." Now she has kicked him to the curb, and she is saying she can make the weight. Her statement didn't sound too convincing to me. Cyborg says she shouldn't fight her career at 135 but she can make the weight. She thinks she will only have to fight 3 times at Bantamweight, which will be monitored by her doctor. First, to win the Invicta 135 women's belt, and the second and third time to fight Rousey. A match and mematch to retire her "like I did Gina Carano." Dana White says if they can come to a deal and she proves (somewhere not in UFC) she can make the weight safely, we may see this huge fight. Dana White did hold up the UFC's Woman's Bantamweight divisions integrity by saying: "You don't just get a couple of fights at 135 and come in and step over every girl in the UFC and get a chance to fight Ronda, it doesn't make sense." I love that Cyborg will have to fully commit if she wants this chance. Now she just has to do it so we can see a women's "Super Fight".

"The Man They Call" O: If Cyborg is able to make the cut, good on her. It does not change the fact that Dana White is not going to have Cyborg face Rousey any time soon. The money will be good, but Dana needs to put on a show. Cyborg's abuse of testosterone and other male hormones has reformed her into some sort of half-man, half-woman fighter. It would not be fair to have Cybrog take on Rousey. Ronda Rousey would be slaughtered, and the Women's Bantamweight Champion would be a man. Though many may want to see this fight, Dana is not going to have his star be beaten down by Cyborg anytime soon. Once Rousey loses her limelight, or once the UFC needs to make up for a shoddy PPV; then we may see this fight. Until then, I wouldn't hold my breath.

Maniz: Yes she made the right decision. That's where Ronda Rousey fights at and if Cyborg wants to be considered the best she will need to fight in the only division that is currently being showcased in the UFC. I think we will see this fight sooner rather than later. This fight will happen by the end of the year. Everybody is already talking about this fight so it will have to happen in the near future.

Switching over: this is the "FaceTime" portion of the show where all four panelists can mention anything they want in a last ditch effort to earn some points from the readers:

Maniz: If the "Super Fight" between Jon Jones and Cain Velasquez were to occur I believe Cain Velasquez would win. Jones may have certain technical and length advantages but against Cain he would not be able to use his wrestling like he has in the past. Cain is too powerful and too big for Jones to win. Even though Jon Jones is a flashier striker, Cain's standup look a lot better in my book.

"The Man They Call" O: Time for a little shameless advertising. I am currently writing a historical fiction novel. It is a commentary on a lot of issues plaguing the world today, and the way I seamlessly flow character development, historical accuracy, and witty dialogue only elevates the project further. I have received nothing but praise for this work, from professors, friends, family, etc. I will keep you all updated, and if you are interested I will let you know when I finish! If you don't give a fuck, that's cool too!

Eric: Theory to stop fence grabbing in fights, one warning and after that DQ get aggressive with it and none of the refs just saying "Let go".

Alex Hall: I'm so excited to see Pat Barry return to kickboxing. On March 22nd in Richmond, Virginia he will be taking on Ed Burris before making his GLORY debut in May. It's probably safe to call this a warm up fight for "HD". MMA fans will be sad to see him go, but this will open up a whole new sport to the Pat Barry followers. If what you like about MMA is seeing fighters that bang toe to toe until a crazy KO, google some kickboxing and see what "Getting Starched" really looks like. 

Credit Youtube users: ATHonESPN, Karyn Bryant, MrGyromancy2, FOX Sports Live, King Mo


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