Mailbag: Little bit of everything

Mailbag: Little bit of everything
By Kevin Iole, Yahoo Sports
December 11, 2007

Kevin Iole
Yahoo Sports
You have to feel for Clay Guida. With any kind of luck, he could have been the 2007 Fighter of the Year.

As it is, Guida will be mostly an afterthought in a year dominated by the likes of Quinton Jackson, Randy Couture and Anderson Silva.

But had he ended the year with victories over Din Thomas, Tyson Griffin, Marcus Aurelio and Roger Huerta, he would have had to have been in the running for the honor. As it is, he wound up 1-3, defeating only Aurelio, though he had chances to win all four bouts.

Guys like Guida, who are willing to fight anyone at any time, are what makes mixed martial arts such a terrific sport. His fight with Huerta on Saturday was mind-blowing. With that, I'll get to a varied reader mailbag. My answers are in italics below the questions.

MEDICAL REQUIREMENTS

Do mixed martial arts and boxing have the same medical examination requirements?

Robert McConnell
Marriottsville, Md.

It depends upon the state, Robert. In Nevada, for example, they do. But in other states, such is not the case.


SCORING CHANGES

Have you heard any speculation about there being a change in the way MMA bouts are scored, particularly in the UFC? After watching UFC 78, I'm convinced now more than ever that simply getting a takedown shouldn't count for anything unless you do something with it, especially if your opponent is able to stand the fight back up without assistance from the referee. MMA is already biased towards wrestling over striking, and I think some rule revisions should be on the horizon. Your thoughts?

Sean
Forney, Texas

The problem is that there are not enough trained judges. Secondarily, everyone has their own take on what is significant. I look at who's controlling the action, who is causing the most damage and who is trying to end the fight. But I haven't heard of any movement to change the scoring system.


KUDOS TO ROGER

Where is the respect for Roger Huerta? The UFC has used him as its workhorse for the past year and he has given great performances and never disappoints. He had probably one of the greatest fights in MMA history against Leonard Garcia, but he still doesn't get a title shot. It should have been Stevenson against Huerta for the No. 1 contender. B.J. Penn is worthy and I support and him all the way, but I think Huerta should have been the one to fight for the title.

Garrett Duenas
Tamuning, Guam

Huerta earned a large dose of respect with his win over Guida. Check out my Yahoo! Sports colleague Dave Doyle's column on Huerta and you'll see that he's getting plenty of respect. Huerta will deservedly be in the title mix based on the win over Guida, but prior to that, he hadn't faced enough top-level competition to seriously be considered.


BELIEVE SHERK?

Does anyone actually side with Sean Sherk and believe that he is innocent of knowingly taking steroids, as he claims? Every time I hear that an athlete tests positive, the next few weeks are followed by continual denial, but over time it becomes clear that they were indeed using performance-enhancing drugs. I'm sure he was taking a performance enhancing supplement. If he didn't do it knowingly, it's still his responsibility to know what will make you test positive. If there's any doubt, don't take the stuff. It's that simple. It would be so refreshing to hear an athlete admit that they made a mistake (without being forced).

Mike S.
San Jose, Calif.

I couldn't agree more. I have no reason to doubt Sherk when he says he didn't know he was taking steroids. He offered an explanation that he may have taken a tainted supplement. Even if it's true, he still broke the rules. The UFC was right to have stripped him of the lightweight title, though it should have occurred much sooner.


SILVA WOULD ROLL

Anderson Silva would destroy Georges St. Pierre. Silva has too much reach, better footwork and more accurate striking. St. Pierre would never get him to the ground. Silva would win by TKO in Round One!

Kevin Nelson
Denver

I'd favor Silva, too, but I wouldn't sell St. Pierre short. He's a world-class athlete.


GSP NOT DOMINANT

I laugh at the thought of St. Pierre walking through the 170- and 185-pound weight classes. He can't even clean up the 155-pound class. Yes, the 155-pound B.J. Penn flat out dominated him at 170. Penn is the only fighter with the courage to fight Lyoto Machida at heavyweight and he took him the distance. Penn would be a much better match up with Silva. His dexterity is just ridiculous! A healthy Penn is the most well rounded fighter in the world!

Reid Averill
Collierville, Tenn.

B.J. didn't flat-out dominate St. Pierre. It was a back-and-forth fight, which I thought Penn won. But he hardly dominated. Penn is supremely gifted, but hurts himself frequently by allowing himself to fall badly out of shape.


WHERE'S TITO?

In my opinion, Tito Ortiz is the one who made the UFC popular. As an Ortiz fan, I feel he is the only Hall of Fame-caliber fighter who hasn't gotten the respect he deserves from UFC president Dana White. Do you feel that Dana is trying to kick Ortiz out of the UFC?

Zhen Chang

Ortiz isn't the only one who helped the UFC's rise in popularity, but he is without question one of the key players. He had a minor injury and was filming a television show, which is why he hasn't been fighting. Though White doesn't care for him, he also realizes that Ortiz remains one of his best drawing cards and so he won't boot him voluntarily. If Ortiz leaves for another organization when his contract is up because he earned a better deal is a separate matter. That wouldn't be a shock, because any organization that signed Tito Ortiz would generate gobs of attention. Plus, the guy is still an elite fighter.


DOGGING FEDOR

It seems to be the question most asked, but I'll add another wrinkle. Do you think Fedor Emelianenko should still be ranked No. 1, especially because he and his management failed to sign a match with Josh Barnett? Instead they signed a fight with one- dimensional Hong Man Choi.

Dennis Allen
Daly City, Calif.

When the next Yahoo! Sports rankings are out, I'm going to dump Fedor from the top spot in my vote. He had a chance to take on a legitimate top challenger and chose not to.


HUGHES FOR HOF

Great article on putting Matt Hughes into the UFC Hall of Fame. Hughes may be surly at times, but he is a great fighter and a great champion. On top of all that, the UFC owes it to him because he's a great employee.

James Cantrell
Maryville, Tenn.

There are a lot of Matt Hughes haters out there, but he's fought and beaten the best and has been one of the pioneers in the growth of MMA and its rise in popularity. He deserves to be put into the UFC's Hall of Fame sooner rather than later.


BIG JOHN, TOO

I completely agree with you about putting Matt Hughes in the Hall. He has helped build the UFC and MMA along with current Hall of Famers Royce Gracie, Randy Couture, and Ken Shamrock. Big John McCarthy is another individual who has helped build the UFC into what it is today. He has been the keeper of the cage since the early days. I think Big John deserves the honor of being inducted into the Hall as well.

Ryan Sarazin
Sudbury, Ont.

I would assume now that McCarthy has retired and become a member of the media as an analyst with The Fight Network, he'll be inducted with the UFC's next class, whenever that is. Though, knowing how much White loves the media, perhaps that will work to keep Big John out! White couldn't have a media member in his Hall, now could he?


THE BENCHMARK

Big John McCarthy has always been the benchmark for MMA referees, the best in the business. UFC should reward him for all that he has done for the company and the sport and induct him into the HOF.

David
Los Angeles

McCarthy is the greatest referee ever, but it was good to see New Jersey use new officials at UFC 78 last month. For the sport to truly grow, the pool of qualified referees needs to be expanded dramatically.


BRIGHT FUTURE

I was wondering if you think that Tommy Speer has a bright future. He seems to have a lot of raw talent, and just needs to hone his skills. I think he's a fresh change, too, with his humble attitude and soft voice.

Clancy Evans
Chicago

I think Speer has the talent to do very well, but you saw by the way Mac Danzig dominated him in the TUF 6 finale that he has a long way to go.


HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE

Now that Randy Couture has turned down the UFC's offer to fight Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, what are the chances of Big Nog facing Tim Sylvia for the title?

Matt Sears
Pensacola, Fla.

I believe Big Nog and Sylvia will meet for the title at UFC 82 in February.


FAVORS HUGHES

Hughes looked too relaxed in his second fight with St. Pierre. He thought he could blow right through him again like he did the first time they squared off. Big mistake, obviously. Now that Hughes has tasted defeat at the hands of St. Pierre, there is no doubt in my mind that Hughes will be more ready then ever come Dec. 29. He just needs to get St. Pierre's speed down to timing and rely on his overall cage generalship and experience. I got Hughes by second-round submission.

Adrian Rivera
Tolleson, Ariz.

I could see either man winning, but I think it's going to be a five-round war. I can't wait to see it.

  • Can’t get enough of Kevin Iole’s mailbag? Then check out last week’s edition.

    Kevin Iole covers boxing and mixed martial arts for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter. Send Kevin a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.

    Updated on Tuesday, Dec 11, 2007 9:02 pm, EST

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