Spinning Back Clique: Sean O’Malley’s career strategy, Paige VanZant’s revelation, Rory MacDonald’s future, more

·3 min read
Spinning Back Clique: Sean O’Malley’s career strategy, Paige VanZant’s revelation, Rory MacDonald’s future, more

Check out this week’s “Spinning Back Clique,” MMA Junkie’s weekly show that takes a spin through the biggest topics in mixed martial arts.

This week, our panel discusses A.J. McKee’s title win at Bellator 263 and if that makes him the best featherweight in the world. Plus, they dive into MMA fighter pay in the aftermath of Cheyanne Buys’ UFC on ESPN 28 win and subsequent viral revelation; Sean Strickland’s post-fight speech; Bellator and UFC breakout performances; and upcoming heavyweight potential fights.

Our “Spinning Back Clique” panel this week of Matthew Wells, Nolan King and Brian “Goze” Garcia discusses these topics and more with host John Morgan.

  • This past weekend, the PFL kicked off the promotion’s 2021 playoffs, and in a featured bout, Ray Cooper III shut out Rory MacDonald on the scorecards. While he’s just 32, MacDonald has been fighting for 16 years, and he’s now just 1-3 in his past 4 fights, dating back to his run in Bellator. “The Canadian Psycho” has given us a ton of highlights during his storied career, but what does the future hold? Are his days as an elite fighter over?

  • Sean O’Malley made a few statements recently that were quite logical in nature but may have riled up fans a bit in which he admitted financially, there’s no real incentive for him to take on higher-ranked opponents at this point in his career. What do you make of his logic? Is he right?

  • Paige VanZant opened up in the latest edition of her and her husband’s video blog, admitting she became quite depressed following her recent BKFC loss and even saying “I didn’t want to live anymore.” We say all the time that this sport features the highest of highs and the lowest of lows – but what can we take out of comments like this? Does something more need to be done in MMA regarding mental health of the athletes?

  • Gable Steveson claimed Olympic gold in wrestling over in Japan, capping off an incredible run there for the U.S. team, and there’s seems to be a lot of hype around Steveson potentially making the transition to MMA right away. We know that wrestling id a great base for MMA, but it’s obviously not all that you need to win. What’s the biggest career advice you would give to Steveson or any other Olympian making their way into the sport. Is there a promotion they should chase? A camp they should start at? Any training methodologies? What’s the advice?

  • Looking to this weekend guys, it’s a fight fan’s dream. PFL on Thursday, Bellator on Friday and UFC on Saturday. You’ve got Kayla Harrison vs. Genah Fabian, Cheick Kongo vs. Sergei Kharitonov and Jared Cannonier vs. Kelvin Gastelum in the headliners, but not everyone has the luxury of spending all three nights watching MMA, so narrow it down – what’s one fight on these three cards outside of the headliners that absolutely should not be missed?