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When Gov. Jim Doyle signs the bill sometime this week, Wisconsin will become the 43rd state to regulate mixed martial arts.
It's one that doesn't regulate it that still stands out, however. The Ultimate Fighting Championship has been desperate to get into New York and has spent thousands on its lobbying effort.
But there will be no MMA in New York any time soon, even if the state legislature sends a bill to the desk of Gov. David Patterson for his signature in the next few months. That's because once the bill is signed by the governor, there would be a 120-day window that would have to pass before the bill became law and the sport became legal and regulated by the New York State Athletic Commission.
If the state does pass a bill this year, this is a thought that may essentially give UFC president Dana White a license to print money: Hold the company's annual New Year's Eve show in Madison Square Garden with a bout featuring reigning heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar. (Who knows if he'll hold the belt then, but he should be the headliner regardless.)
January 1, 2011, is a Saturday, the day the UFC normally holds its pay-per-view events. How about a New Year's Eve weigh-in and then a fight to kick off the New Year in the world's most famous arena?
It's going to be several months until there's any legislative activity. And it's no given a bill will make it to the governor's desk. But if it does, it's another four months after that before promoters could start holding shows in the state.
That means it's going to be mid-third quarter, at the earliest, before anyone can legally hold a fight in the state. So why not think big and put the biggest star on the biggest stage in the UFC's debut in New York?
It's worth considering.
With that, let's delve right into the mixed martial arts mailbag.
Lesnar has a lot of time to rebuild his body, Keith. I don't think he'll fight until late May at the earliest and more likely in either June or July. He'll have at least five months to regain his lost weight and strength.
Santa Barbara, Calif.
There are a string of doctors over North America who would tell you he was ill, Rony. He had diverticulitis and it was impossible for him to train with it. He lost between 40-50 pounds and joked he was thinking of moving to light heavyweight. His illness was very real. Given he's the sport's biggest draw, what would the UFC have had to gain by canceling a fight with Shane Carwin that would have done very big numbers? Nothing, I'd say.
He's a good enough athlete to do it, but I don't think he has the time to do it. He just began to train MMA a few months ago. It's inconceivable to me that, for all his athletic ability, he could compete with guys who have been training in the sport for years. Even Lesnar trained for more than a year before he actually fought in competition.
Iowa City, Iowa
I agree with the part about pro wrestling, Greg. He needs to focus 100 percent on becoming the best fighter he can be and the time he devotes to professional wrestling takes away from that. I would like to see him improve his competition level, but slowly. He's still young in the game and he needs to be challenged, but not thrown in with guys who are far more advanced. Each fight, he should face someone slightly better until he's ready to get into the cage with the elite guys.
Rock Hill, S.C.
I think Nick is a very entertaining fighter and has improved, but I wouldn't say he's deserving of being in the top 10. A win over Zaromskis, who is the DREAM champion, would be impressive, but I think he'd still need to defeat a few more top guys. But I actually like Diaz and think he's good for a sport in an odd sort of way.
They're trying to market fighters and build interest in the sport, neither of which is a bad thing. There are a lot of fans who became interested in MMA in the last couple of years, after PRIDE went defunct, and this is a way of introducing them to the sport's history. I think it's a good thing. There's no way it hurts.
San Leandro, Calif.
That's a very interesting question and one that's difficult to answer. St. Pierre right now walks around at about 185 between fights, so he's much too small at the present to be a serious threat to Silva, who cuts to 185 from around 220. Penn has already given St. Pierre one good fight (their first, which St. Pierre won by a disputed decision), and if he came in the kind of shape he's been in the last few times out, I think he would at the least make another good fight with St. Pierre. Unless GSP adds significant bulk, without sacrificing his quickness or athleticism, I just think Silva's size would be too much of a factor.
I think Jones has everything it takes to be a champion. But he's still young and I'll bet he doesn't get a shot at the belt this year. The light heavyweight division is loaded and there are plenty of guys who have an argument for a title shot. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua meets champion Lyoto Machida at UFC 113 in Montreal on May 8. The winner of the Quinton "Rampage" Jackson-Rashad Evans fight, which is at UFC 114 in Las Vegas on May 29, will deserve a crack. And, of course, you can never discount Randy Couture. I'd say it's unlikely Jones will get a shot in 2010. He does have a good fight coming up in March, when he meets Brandon Vera on March 21 in Broomfield, Colo.
- Brock Lesnar