MMA: Felix Pablo Elochukwu
April, 12, 2013
By Josh Gross
Al Powers/Zuffa LLC via Getty ImagesAllow TUF sensation Uriah Hall a chance to develop before crowning him the future of the sport.There it goes, picking up steam. The Uriah Hall bandwagon, ladies and gents, is in full effect.
Dana White has touted Hall, who fights Kelvin Gastelum this Saturday in Las Vegas for "The Ultimate Fighter 17" crown, as the meanest, toughest, bestest fighter in the history of TUF. Like, ever. But he's a promoter and he's selling a TV show and a fight card, so anything he says has to be viewed through the looking glass.
That doesn't mean, though, that the rest of you get a pass.
While writing I was distracted by a tweet from a radio host in Houston who positioned Hall as the "2013 version of Mike Tyson."
How about the next Anderson Silva? People have somehow mustered the fortitude to suggest this as well.
Well how about a real world reality check -- people seem to need it. The top fighters Hall faced (Costas Phillipou and Chris Weidman) beat him. Phillipou wasn't remotely close to the fighter he is today. Weidman had just three fights, and finished Hall in three minutes.
So, can we hit the brakes on that out of control train? At least until Hall beats someone you've heard of, maybe a grappler.
GSP admits he was overweight
That's the Quebec Boxing Commission response to quotes from UFC welterweight Georges St-Pierre made this week to the Associated Press that, as best as he can recall, he weighed-in 170.4 pounds the Friday before defending his belt against Nick Diaz.
Credit the champion for saying what he did. I doubt taking the time to shed 0.4 pounds would have mattered on fight night. It's highly likely St-Pierre would have cut the weight and defeated Diaz. But anything is possible. If St-Pierre couldn't hit the contracted weight, history would have been rewritten in a significant way.
Jonathan Ferrey/Zuffa LLC/Getty ImagesIf Georges St-Pierre had been found unable to hit his contracted weight against Nick Diaz in Montreal, history would have been forever altered.
So the spotlight is thrust back on the Regie, whose reaction to this controversy has been less than ideal. When the story first broke a couple weeks ago, I pressed commission spokesperson Joyce Tremblay on whether or not St-Pierre was above 170 on the scale.
She confirmed, unequivocally, that St-Pierre did not stand on the scale above his contracted weight. Well, so much for that.
(Oh, right, the Regie doesn't count decimals. Even if their rules clearly state that they do. And even if the Regie, based on the leaked video featuring UFC vice president Michael Mersch, would have given the title contestants an hour to cut extra weight -- which seems in retrospect like a silly concession since decimals apparently didn't matter.)
And so there appears to be no reason to expect this bungled handling of a major championship fight will move past the bungling stage. While the Regie won't acknowledge its error(s), the UFC should be aware that this makes them look bad, too.
What else has the Regie messed up? How effective are their drug testing protocols? Their licensing procedures? Which of their other codified rules aren't they following?
I don't see why the UFC would want to be associated with a regulator like that.
The only reason the MMA world cared about Montreal on March 16 was the fact that a UFC championship fight was scheduled. A fight set at 170 pounds. Not 170.9 or 170.4. And therefore the promoter/sanctioning body/league/global leader in MMA should refuse to promote in Quebec again until the commission gets its act together.
Michigan House moves on amateur MMA legislation
A report from CBC News on Wednesday citing the St. Clair County medical examiner indicated Felix Pablo Elochukwu, a 35-year-old Nigerian-born amateur mixed martial artist who died at an unregulated event in Port Huron, Mich., April 6, found no evidence that his death was caused by trauma from the fight.
Elochukwu, living in Canada on a student visa, collapsed after three rounds in an Amateur Fighting Club event.
The name of the promotion is a misnomer. There's no such thing as "amateur MMA" in Michigan, because regulation isn't in place to make it so. State lawmakers had planned to fix that, and the timing of Elochukwu's death highlighted the urgent need for such a change.
On Wednesday, the Michigan State House passed Bill 4167, which would put in place regulations to govern the amateur side of the sport.
"For too long, the health and safety of amateur MMA fighters have been needlessly at risk because of the lack of state oversight," Joe Donofrio, a Michigan MMA promoter, said in a statement. "Sadly, during this time of unregulated combat, a fighter needlessly died. This bill rightly honors the memory of Felix Pablo Elochukwu by ensuring in the future that amateur fighters will be competing under the safest conditions possible."
The bill is headed to the State Senate.
What if: Aldo versus Curran?
Allow me a reprieve from the news.
What if UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo fought Bellator featherweight champion Pat Curran?
Aldo is unanimously ranked No. 1 at the weight for a reason, and Curran has quickly shot up the rankings. In ESPN.com's estimation, he sits behind only the UFC king.
C.J Lafrance/Zuma Press/Icon SMIUFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo is the best in the world at 145 pounds. But a superfight against Bellator champion Pat Curran would be a very intriguing matchup.
Curran is big for the weight. He's a very good athlete. He seems not to make mistakes. He strikes (offensively and countering). He can wrestle. And he can pull off dazzling submissions.
Aldo, of course, is a furious combination of speed and technique. He's a special breed, rightly residing No. 4 on this site's pound-for-pound list.
Could Curran pull off the upset? Sure. His defense is good enough to keep him safe over a five-round fight, and Aldo seems to go through spurts over 25 minutes where he fades or takes time off.
But the pick has to be Aldo. For all of Curran's attributes and success against multiple styles, including agile strikers and strong wrestlers, Aldo operates like he's on a different level.