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I was very impressed by Alistair Overeem in his win over Brett Rogers on Saturday's Strikeforce card in St. Louis.
I picked Rogers before the bout, but I knew I was wrong seconds into the match when Overeem took the center of the cage and had Rogers circling tentatively and backing up. Overeem's advantage in terms of experience was clearly evident, but if he continues to fight that way he's going to be a handful for any heavyweight.
With that, let's delve into the mailbag, where I respond to your questions and comments on a wide variety of mixed martial arts topics.
Boxers in MMA
Boxers Ricardo Mayorga and James Toney coming to fight in mixed martial arts (or trying to) got me thinking about boxers who may have a chance in MMA. The only boxer I could think of who could make the transition is Kermit Cintron. With his wrestling background, I think it would be interesting to see him in MMA. I don't think it will ever happen, unless they start making more money for MMA fights. I'm pretty sure Cintron makes much more boxing than if he was to try MMA.
There are a lot of boxers who are talented enough to make the transition. Can you imagine if Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather Jr. had trained in MMA since their early days and not boxing? They'd be outstanding. The problem is, though, that they have not and there is no financial incentive for them to try to make the transition. Mayweather earned a guarantee of $22.5 million for fighting Shane Mosley on May 1 and one of his advisers said with his share of the pay-per-view and other revenues, he walked away with more than $40 million. Making that kind of money means he won't ever give MMA a serious look.
Why the standups?
What was the deal Saturday at the Strikeforce card in St. Louis with referee John McCarthy constantly prematurely standing up the fighters throughout the night? Secondly, is it me or do Strikeforce fans boo a lot faster the UFC fans? It seems that they have no patience for the ground game or short moments of jockeying for position.
I had no problem with the way McCarthy worked the fights, Ramses. If the fighters aren't advancing position, then they should be stood up. As for your second question, I don't think you can differentiate a crowd. Yes, there are more UFC fans than there are of any other promotion, but fans are fans. I've been to many UFC shows where there were thunderous boos in the first minute when fighters are still feeling each other out and haven't begun to throw bombs. It happens everywhere.
Why no elbows?
Why is it that Strikeforce does not allow elbows to the head of a grounded opponent? I understand banning the knees, but elbows are a huge part of the ground and pound game, aren't they? Banning elbows like they do is like not allowing rear naked chokes to a grounded opponent.
I agree with you, Peter. Banning elbows like that certainly also favors fighters who work off their backs looking for submissions. But the thought process is that a. they're dangerous and b. elbows cause cuts which can decide a fight by itself. I am an advocate of the use of elbows, and also of knees on the ground. I agree with UFC president Dana White's position on that, though. He's working to get the sport sanctioned throughout the world. Once MMA is sanctioned in places like New York, Toronto and Germany, then officials can look at tweaking the rules and perhaps adding knees. But for the time being, I like the unified rules that the UFC and many other promotions use that allow elbows.
Silva best at 205
You defended the 205-pound weight class as stacked because of all the great fighters. I see all the guys at 205 as the same in skill level. A lot have beaten each other. They are all big, strong, tough guys, but after seeing Anderson Silva destroy Forrest Griffin, the guy who beat the current champion (Mauricio "Shogun" Rua), I wonder how good they really are. My thought is Silva could defeat all of the top light heavyweights. Yes, I am a Silva fan. Now that Lyoto Machida has lost the belt, I am hoping Silva can take a couple more fights at 205 and challenge for the belt. What is your opinion?
I'll reiterate my defense of the light heavyweight division: It's outstanding. But I agree with you that Silva would beat most/all of them. But that's because he's arguably the best fighter in the world. I wish Silva would get to light heavyweight in a hurry, because there are a lot of great fights I'd like to see him in, starting with a bout against Rua.
White blaming Strikeforce
Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White's non-punishment of Nate Diaz for his role in the April 24 Strikeforce brawl in Nashville, Tenn., and his comments about the situation makes it look like he is just trying to blame Strikeforce. I agree that Jason "Mayhem" Miller did not belong in the ring, but let's not act like Nate was acting in self-defense: It was a 5-on-1 beat down. Dana not suspending Nate is his way of trying to put the blame on Strikeforce and hurt them, which isn't necessary. Be the better company and suspend Nate for harming the brand of MMA, not just the UFC or Strikeforce.
I'm with you, Zack. I think Diaz should have been suspended by the UFC. Even if you accept White's premise that someone from CBS or Strikeforce sent Miller into the cage to try to stir up trouble, it doesn't mean Diaz should be allowed to pummel the guy in a one-sided situation. I think he should have received some punishment from the UFC.
Daley's release unfair
I don't feel Paul Daley's release by the UFC was fair. Even Jesse Taylor got a second chance after his drunken meltdown on "The Ultimate Fighter." Junie Browning got a second chance. Nick Diaz and Joe Riggs duked it out in a hospital and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson went mad with a monster truck and they all got second chances. I believe Daley got the short end of the stick on this one.
The decision to cut Daley was absolutely the correct decision. What he did bordered on battery. There was no longer a sporting competition going on when he punched Koscheck. That kind of behavior cannot be tolerated. White drew a line in the sand and made it clear to all fighters what to expect if they are unable to control their emotions and conduct themselves professionally. Daley had 15 minutes to punch Koscheck as hard and as often as he wanted and to back up his boastful pre-fight talk. When the competition ends, so does the punching. I should point out that White was not accurate when he said he cut Nick Diaz after Diaz brawled in a hospital with Riggs after UFC 57. Diaz actually fought Sean Sherk at UFC 59. However, just because a wrong decision was made in the past doesn't mean it should be repeated.
As a martial artist myself and a fan of MMA from the beginning, I can see boxing promoter Don King being very afraid of the sport. I just want to know how much King paid the judge who blocked Ricardo Mayorga from fighting and the North Carolina athletic commission for canceling the show? MMA promoters have been stealing his thunder for years. He's trying to fight a losing battle. When Mayorga's contract is up, I can see him leaving King's corrupt operation. As for Mayorga himself, he should just sit out until his contract is either restructured or runs out. King has just shot himself in the foot.
Virginia Beach, Va.
I'm not a lawyer and I don't know all the legal ramifications of this, but I don't blame King for suing if he is owed hundreds of thousands of dollars by Mayorga, as he claims. I only wish he'd commenced his legal action much earlier so it would have been resolved long before the day of the scheduled Shine Fights event. If Din Thomas had broken Mayorga's arm, which certainly would have been a possibility, Mayorga's fighting career could have ended and it's likely King would never be repaid. To the larger point, boxing and MMA are great sports and can co-exist. Boxing promoters got greedy and took the fans for granted and that gave MMA promoters the opportunity to take advantage of the discontent that existed. The bottom line, if you give people great fights on a consistent basis, they'll watch.
Who decides medical suspensions?
I am wondering about the medical suspensions. I read after UFC 113 that only two fighters, Lyoto Machida and Jonathan Goulet, were given suspensions of 30 days or more. But I also know that Jason MacDonald broke his leg on that same card. He posted on Twitter that he needs surgery to repair a broken tibia and fibula and dislocated ankle. I'm sure he won't be back in the gym before next month. How exactly does this work? Who decides on that? It doesn't seem consistent.
The suspensions are handed down by the regulatory body where the fight takes place. The doctors examine the fighters after the bout and make a determination. They're suspended so they don't try to go elsewhere and fight if there are no apparent injuries. But when a fighter has an injury like MacDonald had, it's not necessary to put a number on the suspension that night, because it's clear he's not going to be able to fight for a lengthy period of time. It's all about making the sport as safe as possible for the athletes.