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Mailbag: Readers respond to Houston

Kevin Iole
Yahoo Sports

My story on UFC light heavyweight contender Houston Alexander generated a huge response among Yahoo! Sports readers.

Most fans congratulated Alexander on successfully raising six children as a single father while also maintaining a successful fighting career.

But there were a few who had questions or complaints about the story.

Many wanted more details about Alexander's family, but he requested some privacy on that. The two women who are the mothers of his children are still around, though he did not want to go into detail about them.

He said he's happy to answer questions from fans who visit his Web site.

Alexander, who said he donated a kidney to his oldest daughter in 2000, said he was surprised by the hubbub over his role.

"You shouldn't get a medal just for taking care of your kids," Alexander said. "You're supposed to take care of your kids."

I'll answer some of your Alexander questions, as well as many others on MMA topics, in this week's mailbag.

WHAT ABOUT WOMEN?

How come when a woman does something so miraculous, it doesn't get noticed quite as well? Houston Alexander takes care of six children and has a job and you call him Superman, while women all over the world do it, too, and most everyone forgets a thank you. It's just my personal opinion, which may not matter, but I don't believe women who work just as hard should go unnoticed.

Montana
Poulsbo, Wash.

I got this question a lot and I find it extraordinarily irritating. The reason I did a story on Alexander is because he's a celebrity. Of course there are women – and other men – who do the same thing every day and aren't recognized in the media. But you don't do the right thing in the hope that you get profiled in the media.

The real point is this, though: Alexander is a hero to a lot of impressionable young people. If reading his story helps prevent a young man or woman from abandoning their children, isn't that a good thing?

I have great respect for everyone who takes care of their children under any circumstances, but particularly as a single parent. But doing so doesn't make it newsworthy.


KUDOS TO HOUSTON

Kudos to Houston Alexander for taking care of his family and his life at the same time. Forgive me but, as a bi-racial (African-American and Caucasian) mother, and also being a single parent of two children, I am glad to see a positive story every now and then about good things that African-American males are doing in the world. We need more men like him. Let him be a huge example to all the deadbeat dads in the world. He may have help raising his family while he works, but at least he is trying and being a model for his children on how men should be.

Gina Graham
Harlingen, Texas

Amen. I agree completely. Alexander admits he has help from his family, but he's making a concerted effort to do the right thing and should be commended. Congratulations and good luck to you, too, Gina.


KUDOS TO US

I saw the piece on Houston Alexander and I'm loving the fact that UFC stories are making Yahoo!'s front page. Your story is a real eye-opener and I have even more respect for Houston after reading it. Good work, mate. I hope to be reading more of the same on Yahoo! in the future!

Paul Taylor
Manchester, England

Thanks, Paul. Houston is definitely an interesting guy, which is why I think his story landed on our front page. His fight with Thiago Silva on Saturday at UFC 78 in Newark, N.J., figures to be a classic.

We're committed to covering MMA thoroughly. My colleague, Dave Meltzer, will attend the Strikeforce card in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, while Dave Doyle and myself will provide complete coverage of UFC 78 from Newark.


ODD MATCHMAKING

Over the last three years, I have become an increasingly intense MMA fan. I follow it diligently and try to engross myself in it as much as possible. My belief is that the UFC has the top talent in the world and has such a deep crop of fighters that it has the potential to showcase the world's best fights. Yet at the same time, I find it problematic that there is no ranking system. It's because of this that I find the matchmaking to be questionable.

For example, Rashad Evans, who was close to beating Tito Ortiz, is an up-and-coming fighter. He looked solid against Ortiz, especially as he got more comfortable in the third round and let his hands go. Instead of fighting another top contender in order to see how good Evans really is, he is going to fight Michael Bisping, who is coming off a win via judge's robbery.

I'd much rather see Evans test himself against a top-tier fighter in the division such as Forrest Griffin, Houston Alexander or Lyoto Machida, not somebody who is undeserving of the fight. A ranking system would make it easier for the UFC to set appropriate matches as well as giving the fans a clear indication on what potential fights should be. How do you feel about that?

Jordan Katz
Westchester, N.Y.

Well, matchmaking is always subjective, but I think the UFC's Joe Silva is marvelous. The problem the UFC has now is it has so many shows and each show needs a number of pay-per-view worthy fights.

Bisping is undefeated, albeit with one questionable win over Hamill, and is the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 3. He deserves this fight, though he would be fighting Hamill if Hamill were not sidelined from knee surgery.


STRIPPING SHERK

Are you serious that the UFC is not going to strip Sean Sherk even if the appeal of the steroids charges against him is denied? Is there more to this then what we know? This is completely ridiculous! How can anyone honestly consider Sherk the champ if he cheated? Please tell me there is something more to this then Dana just trying to give the California State Athletic Commission the middle finger for being slow.

Charles Conrad
San Diego

White has subsequently changed his mind and said he's going to consider stripping Sherk now if he is found guilty. Sherk's hearing is Dec. 4. If it is found that he, indeed, had steroids in his system, even if it was inadvertent contamination from a legal supplement, he deserves to be stripped. It's incumbent upon the fighter to follow the rules. There are differing degrees of guilt and innocence, clearly. If the commission finds that Sherk's usage was inadvertent, he should still be stripped of the belt, though he should be allowed to fight right away as a contender.

If he was found to have been a conscious user, he should be stripped, he shouldn't be allowed to fight until the year's suspension is complete and he should then be subject to random testing.

White must be a leader in this area, given the powerful position he holds, and not simply sit back and say he's going to let the system play itself out. That's copping out and it's not nearly a strong enough response to one of the biggest problems plaguing the sport.


Cung to UFC?

Hi, Kevin, I love reading your articles. I especially love that they are featured on the Yahoo! home page, which is a big step for MMA. I've seen Cung Le fight in several Strikeforce matches and think he's very impressive. All of his bouts, except for the one against Tony Fryklund, have ended in the first round with a KO. Do you think he'll be approached or has been approached to fight in the UFC? If so do you think he'd make the jump?

Erin Monahan
Brooklyn, N.Y.

I'm not aware of any contact between the UFC and Le. Le is an entertaining fighter and has a good relationship with Scott Coker and the folks who run Strikeforce. He is one of their marquee stars and I doubt they're anxious to let him get away.

At some point, it wouldn't be a shock were he to wind up in the UFC, because fighters move around a lot, but I don't think it's going to happen for a while.


LONGER ROUNDS

Why doesn’t the UFC have a 10-minute first round like Pride used to do? I really liked having a longer first round because it allowed for the fighters to really go after each other from a technical standpoint. It just seems that the way the UFC is set-up, it is designed to really favor ground and pound or power-punchers looking for the KO. Justin Kessler
Huntington Beach, Calif.

There needs to be more consistency among the rules, not less. I think three five-minute rounds for non-title fights and five five-minute rounds for title fights is fine. I'm in favor of the unified rules and urge all MMA organizations to adopt them.


LOVES KOs, BUT …

While I agree knockouts are exciting and are truly the secret yearning of every fight fan, I pray the Chuck Liddell-Wanderlei Silva fight at UFC 79 on Dec. 29 in Las Vegas lasts at least one round. My fear is that, similar to Liddell-Rampage Jackson at UFC 71, we're going to get a quick, first-round knockout that will leave fans on the winner's side declaring him the better fighter and on the loser's side using the "He got caught” excuse. I admire both fighters, though I favor Silva. I think Silva's skill set is a tad better than Chuck's all-around. Chuck's biggest weakness is that he almost always has to wait for the counter, and Silva's a good enough striker that he can avoid giving Chuck that opening if he's on his game.

Rafael Osornio
Eugene, Ore.

Both Liddell and Silva will come hard and look for the knockout. Frankly, I think Liddell was tentative against Keith Jardine at UFC 76, though Jardine's kicks played a big role in keeping Liddell off balance. But I would expect this to be a slugfest that ends in the first.