Hello From The Other Side

Hi Guys & Girls,

Sometimes in the fight game, you have to say “bloody hell”. UFC London contained one of the biggest clusterfucks in all of my time watching fights. The main event featured Anderson Silva vs Michael Bisping. The home country hero, Bisping, had been campaigning for this fight for quite some time. 

Round one and two were, in my opinion, won by Bisping. Then we come to the controversial round – Round 3 was coming to a close, when Bisping lost his mouthguard. Referee Herb Dean was made aware and picked it up. Usually, at this point the ref stops the fight and ensures that the fighter has his mouthguard back in. For some reason known only to Herb, he didn’t. As a result, Anderson (showing the level of sportsmanship I have come to expect from him) landed several hits without the mouthguard, then there was a pause… Michael dropped his guard, gestured to Herb and then Anderson hit him with a flying knee, right on the buzzer. Bisping was out. There is no question in my mind that he should not have continued. However, as Dean did not call it off, it was not a knockout. The fight continued and Bisping won by decision. Unbelievable. Truly unbelievable.

So, lets analyze it. Firstly, I have to praise Bisping for continuing and winning. Not many would have done that, but bad, bad mistake dropping your guard. That’s a rookie mistake. It is one of the first things you are taught. I got roundhouse kicked in the face when I dropped my guard in my kickboxing class when my coach was trying to prove a point. But Herb, Herb, Herb, what the hell were you doing? Two big mistakes, not stopping the fight to give Bisping his guard back and having not stopped it, when Anderson knocked Bisping out why did you leave it? Again though, credit to Bisping to continue and win the fight. 

For Bisping, this is a phenomenal result. It puts a cherry on top of a good career. The only blemish for “the Count” is that he hasn’t been a UFC champion. The likelihood is, at this stage of his career, it won’t happen.

In the TV series “Two & a Half Men” there is an episode called “Back off, Mary Poppins”. In this episode, Alan finds out that his brother, Charlie, is a part of a support group with Sean Penn, Elvis Costello and Harry Dean Stanton. Alan asks Charlie “isn’t that?” to which Charlie responds “he used to be”. That is exactly how I feel about Anderson Silva when I watch him now. “Didn’t you used to be Anderson Silva?” The bravado is still there. The tricks, showmanship, the killer instinct and the talent, all still there, but only in small spurts and sadly not all at the same time. The timing and speed seem to have gone, his chin seemingly has gone.

I am not a fan of the man. I cannot stand the dancing around behind the ref or the hands down, leaning in, “here’s my chin, try and hit it”. I my opinion, it is needless and ultimately. If he hadn’t wasted time with this (and excuse my language here) bullshit, the likelihood is, he would have finished Bisping for a second and hopefully decisive time. Despite my dislike of the man, I recognize just how good he was. It is extremely sad to see him amble through fights. I love Nick Diaz, but 2009 Silva would have destroyed a disinterested Nick. 

Chris Weidman really seems to have taken Silva’s aura. I hope for his fans, MMA fans and indeed people like me who love watching great fighters, that Silva is able to regain his mojo and killer instinct. 

What is your favourite division in the UFC? Mine are the women’s divisions personally. I love me some WMMA, the women tend to bring it! Outside of the girls, it’s the Welterweight Division. You have multiple fighters who realistically can or could carry the title with distinction. 

So, who is the best in Welterweight in the world? I’m sure Conor McGregor would say he is, but realistically I can’t answer the question. There are way too many killers in that division, Robbie Lawler, Rory MacDonald, Stephen Thompson, Tyron Woodley, Carlos Condit, Johny Hendricks; all are absolute beasts in their own rights. Not to mention a (fingers crossed) highly motivated return from Nick Diaz and potentially the return of Georges St. Pierre, though my gut tells me the division has long since moved on from Georges.

There is one name I haven’t mentioned, he is not in the UFC and classifies himself as “the best damn Welterweight in the world”. I am of course talking about “Hello from the Askren side”, Ben Askren. This week his title defence for One FC was announced. That’s great, right? Apparently not! A couple of guys on his twitter account responded with “who cares?” 

This really upsets me. Firstly, Ben is a former US Olympian. For some, usually the very people who are denigrating him, he represented your country and secondly he is a champion with an undefeated record. The problem is the quality or recognition level of opponent. Whilst they are all good fighters, the reality is, Ben hasn’t faced a Robbie Lawler level opponent. 

What’s that you say? “Move to the UFC?” I would personally love for him to, I really would like to see him face stiffer competition and see where he really is in terms of “best in the world” stakes. A while back I was asked to pick 5 fighters I would sign if I started up my own promotion; the only rule was they couldn’t be current UFC fighters. My top pick was Ben. I was then asked where I would rank him amongst the top Welterweights in the UFC. My thought at the time (and still is) that he would rank amongst the top 5. 

So, why don’t the UFC sign him? Can you think of anyone else that the UFC would ignore with a 14-0 record (with 1 no contest)? His personality is the answer. Not to say I don’t like him, I actually really like the guy, I’d love to interview him (maybe I should make contact and hope he gives me the time of day?!). Ben is forthright, tells it straight, or at least tells it straight according to the “Askren side” and will happily tell you he doesn’t give a …. Incidentally why is it that more often that not, I gravitate to the guy (or girl) who doesn’t care?

Ben’s personality and lack of care has caught the ire of UFC President, Dana White. Dana himself is a brash individual with the exact same lack of care as Ben. As a result, they have had a bit of back and forth over the years. Many people thought his hilarious parody of Adele’s “Hello” was an attempt to mend fences, personally I think that they may be disappointed, I believe it was merely a parody and Ben will be (like Fedor and probably Cris Cyborg) one of the greatest to never fight for the UFC. So, sadly, I don’t believe we will ever know how good Ben is, was or even, (as I believe that better competition makes you better) how good he could have become. 

Incidentally, my other 4 choices, besides Ben, if I was building my own promotion were Cris Cyborg, Fedor (slightly cheating I know), Brock Lesnar and Benson Henderson (though having thought about it, I would cheat again and say Gina Carano). Ben, Benson and Cris are all awesome fighters, capable of carrying a division. Fedor is a legend and people pay to see him fight, even when it is against a fighter whom most don’t know anything about (such as Jaideep Singh). 

Brock is a freak athlete who has participated in amateur wrestling, transitioned to pro wrestling with WWE, tried American Football and of course became UFC Heavyweight Champion. A while back, Brock’s contract with the WWE was due to expire and he flirted with the UFC about returning. I personally don’t believe he ever truly intended to do so; he just wanted more funds from the WWE. 

I have said before that Ronda Rousey is a pioneer for WMMA, but before there was a Ronda, WMMA had another cross over star in Gina Carano. Gina was the star, amassing a 12-1 (with one draw) record in Kickboxing and an 8-0 record before colliding with Cris Cyborg. She has not been seen in a cage since that defeat, occasionally she teases UFC fans about a return (usually around the time her next film is due out), getting male pulses rising and females pining for their original pioneer. Like Brock, I don’t expect she ever intends to return. But if I could coax both out of MMA retirement, their name values alone would ensure that eyes were on my promotion.

I would of course sign other fighters, probably trying to steal mostly Invicta fighters, but those names would be the first guys and girls I would contact. Of the others Andrea “KGB” Lee would be the woman I would try to build my 125 lb division around, I believe she will be a superstar. Signing Roxanne Modafferi would bring experience, name value (to an extent) and likeability. Megan Anderson is awesome and will be a future champ at 145 lbs. I would personally also sign Amberlynn Orr, ‘cause I believe she is destined for the very top (yes both Amberlynn and Roxy gave me interviews, that doesn’t make them any less awesome). 

There are of course other Invicta fighters I would want (Amber Brown, Tonya Evinger, Deanna Bennett, Livinha Renata Souza, etc.), but my Bellator targets would be up and comers like Anastasia Yankova. As well as some names like Phil Davis, “King Mo”, “Rampage” Jackson and (I hate myself) “Kimbo Slice” to ensure eyes were on my product, I’d then be hoping for high profile UFC fighters to go “free agent”. This promoter stuff is easy! Give me a tonne of money someone, I’ll challenge the UFC!

My 2nd fighter interview was published this week; it is with Amberlynn “Alo” Orr. She is making her pro debut at Invicta 16 next week so I am extremely grateful to her, for taking time out. From her answers, you can really feel her determination. Please take 5 minutes and read the interview – I personally love her. I genuinely hope she reaches the top of the game and I have no doubt that she won’t stop until she gets there. So, as if I needed it, I now I have 2 more reasons to watch Invicta 16 (Roxy & Amberlynn – as well as “KGB” who I would have contacted for an interview, if it wasn’t for the fact that my site already has – and I really was disappointed with the fact that they had!).

Please support Amberlynn at Invicta 16 and follow her Facebook page (where she genuinely does interact with fans), she does have a Twitter account, but it hasn’t been active for some time. Also her walkout top is awesome (hint for my sister in law, Marie there).

On a personal front, I have had one of those weeks where being a parent just seems to be harder. I can’t seem to strike the balance correctly. As an example, I took my boy to bed yesterday, took his nappy with me, brushed his teeth and left the nappy in the bathroom. He inevitably wet the bed and I had egg on my face. I also had to calm him down because he was so upset with himself. 

Its difficult. I want to criticize myself, but I know how tired I am. Its funny, my daughter has started sleeping longer than 2 hrs in each interval at night, yet my tiredness levels seem to have increased. On the other hand, surely being a parent is something that you have no excuses with? 

6 days… That’s all that is left till my 30th birthday. I feel like the party is really coming together now which is great. All apart from my remit, which is decorations, I just haven’t finalized how I want certain things. I really need to get my rear in gear and find the motivation to do it. 

I’m also being asked for present ideas by family and other than Amberlynn’s walkout top, I can’t really think of anything!

Carpe Diem Guys

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