Chat with Jon Anik
A new episode of MMA Live, which debuted on ESPN.com and ESPN Mobile TV in May of 2008, airs every Thursday at 3 p.m. ET. MMA Live can also be seen whenever it fits your schedule. Just head to the MMA Live video hub on ESPN.com. Anik is joined on the show by two lead analysts: Top UFC Lightweight contender Kenny Florian, and MMA writer Franklin McNeil. Suggestions for the show? Send them to email@example.com!
Anik started at ESPN in February of 2006 working for ESPN Radio, before moving over to the digital media platforms early in 2007. An avid MMA advocate and fan, Anik has hosted a boxing radio show in Boston for the last four years, covering more than 25 championship fights in Las Vegas and throughout the United States.
Send your questions now and join Anik in chat every Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET!
Jon Anik (2:24 PM)
Greetings, MMA Nation! Welcome in to another MMA Live chat here at espn.com. We're here for a full hour today, so fire off your questions! After the chat, I'm boarding a plane to Minneapolis for UFC 87. And remember, the latest episode of MMA Live will be up shortly here at espn.com. Frank Mir is in-studio once again, as we look back at WEC 35 and preview UFC 87. Here we go...
Hey Jon, your thoughts on Brett Favre to the Jets? No please don't answer that. Let's talk about something that is actually interesting. Give me your prediction for the Ken-Flo fight. I know you are a very objective reporter.
Jon Anik (2:26 PM)
Rest assured, Mark. This is a Favre-free zone. As for a Huerta-Florian prediction, I think Kenny's game is more well-rounded, and I believe he is peaking as a fighter. Roger presents a legitimate test, but I have Kenny via second-round submission.
rumored fight sean sherk vs tyson griffin man is this gonna be a battle or what?
Jon Anik (2:27 PM)
Agreed, and its a perfect fight for both guys right now. If Griffin wins, you'd have to think he's firmly in line for a title shot. Not sure what else he would have to do...
Should I be nervous about affliction?
Jon Anik (2:28 PM)
No. Affliction may represent the greatest threat to date, but the UFC's depth is untouchable right now, and I don't see that changing anytime soon.
Jon what's happening - it's your boy rob here again. So Horodecki to AFFLICTION huh - so delish! In your gut is Huerta (win or lose) going to be the next LW to follow? And if I may - Franklin McNeil is the man!!!!! He's the only other boxing writer that I read - Thanks!
Jon Anik (2:30 PM)
'So delish?' I'm looking for a 16-year old girl here in Bristol to explain to me what 'so delish' means. But in all seriousness Rob, Horodecki is a nice signing for Affliction. Hopefully there are more quality lightweight signings to come. I still believe, though, when push comes to shove, that Huerta will re-sign with the UFC. If he loses to Florian, that adds a different wrinkle, and perhaps Roger would be more inclined to look elsewhere.
Craig - Mission Viejo, CA
What do you think about the Adrenaline card being postponed? Could they really build a promotion based on Sylvia and Rothwell?
Jon Anik (2:33 PM)
Thanks for checking in, Craig. I thought the writing was on the wall for the Adrenaline postponement as soon as Tim Sylvia said he wanted to fight on Affliction's second card. Because Sylvia was to be Adrenaline's headliner. I also think Affliction's awesome debut had to be a bit intimidating for Adrenaline. And, the fall schedule is also loaded with cards.
Feds - Bristol, CT
Jon - the show is sweet!! Which athlete in the other major sports do you think would make the best fighter?
Jon Anik (2:35 PM)
Great question, Feds. Patriots guard Stephen Neal may be the most obvious answer, as he beat Brock Lesnar as a collegiate wrestler. I would look at a lot of NFL linebackers. I think Shawne Merriman and AJ Hawk would be tough outs in the cage. And from the NBA, I know the Hornets' David West is an avid boxer...not sure how his 6'10" frame would do on the ground.
Zach - Hamden, CT
Alright Jon. MMA Live is awesome, but I got a tough question. Of all the current UFC Champions (Penn, GSP, Silva, etc.) which is most likely to lose their belt first? and to who? I smell upset this weekend, but what do you think?
Jon Anik (2:38 PM)
It's about the toughest question I get, Zach. So I won't dodge it. I don't believe Jon Fitch will win this weekend. GSP is too good, and too focused. I actually think Frank Mir may take Minotauro's belt in December. And I'm a huge Forrest Griffin fan, but with all the talent at 205, how long will he really hold the wrap?
Marc (Malden, MA)
What can you tell us about the rumored merger of the UFC/WEC 185 and 205 divisions? Why not completely merge?
Jon Anik (2:41 PM)
At this point, it is really just ongoing discussion, but it seems like a win-win to at least merge the heavier weight classes. But, given that the UFC has been hesitant to feature weight classes lower than 155, I don't see any signs of a complete merger. And the UFC already has more fighters (200+) under its control than it needs.
Tyler Edmonton Alberta
How in the world will Mir take Minos belt? IMPOSSIBLE.
Jon Anik (2:42 PM)
Didn't say it was a slam dunk. But, given the question, I think Big Nog may be more likely to lose his belt before the other champions. Mir just needs to be able to go the distance, and he'll be fine. He's a maniac on the ground, just like Nogueira.
Jon, are you with me in thinking Brock Lesnar wins by brutal beatdown this weekend? Heath Herring is good, but he is going to be overmatched.
Jon Anik (2:44 PM)
Over/under 90 seconds? I say under. I wouldn't want to be in Lesnar's path this weekend...whether he's going to the restroom, or the Octagon. He's an absolute monster.
i saw bj wants to fight the gsp vs. fitch winner in december. and also defend his title this year. do you think its good for ufc to have bj with both belts, that would mean a longer wait in title defenses, giving he holds both belts.
Jon Anik (2:46 PM)
Raul, I think the UFC will strongly consider forcing Penn to relinquish his lightweight belt if he challenges at 170. I also think, as stated last week, that the UFC's lightweight division is loaded, and can sustain itself without BJ. I don't like having champions hold belts in multiple weight classes...just one man's opinion.
Teaf (Cleveland, OH)
Hey Jon. SHow keeps getting better, but where is the love for WEC 35. Great card this past weekend, and Condit was put to the test. I need to hear about it on MMA Live will i be disappointed?
Jon Anik (2:47 PM)
Don't worry, Teaf. A whole bunch of WEC talk on MMA Live today. I almost got booted off the show in our pre-production meeting for suggesting that Condit-Miura was the fight of the year.
Gritzy Gadzuric (Framingham, MA)
Do you think that Couture should take a warmup bout before facing Fedor in their superfight? Can he do that during his contract dispute?
Jon Anik (2:51 PM)
Too big a risk. If he somehow loses a warm-up as a decided favorite, it would take all the shine off of the match-up with Fedor. And you certainly won't see 'The Natural' in action anytime soon. The contract dispute will continue to interfere until it is resolved.
Joe (St. Louis, MO)
Jon, I'm sorry, but you're dead wrong about Mir vs. Nogueira. Nogueira's jui-jitsu is light years ahead of Frank's and Nogueira is the better boxer too. Nogueira by TKO round 1.
Jon Anik (2:53 PM)
Fair enough, Joe. Appreciate you chatting again this week. Perhaps a side wager between you and me as the fight approaches?
L. Melendez (Miami)
I can't believe how brutal that Condit fight was on Sunday. And I dont' mean brutal in a good way. Both fighters were exhausted and couldn't even compete when it was called. I think five round fights are ridiculous if fighters get tapped of so much energy that they can't finish.
Jon Anik (2:56 PM)
I certainly hear that, man. The reason most don't consider it a fight-of-the-year candidate is precisely that: both guys were completely cooked at fight's end. But I came away fairly impressed with Condit. Mentally tough, great chin, and he hadn't been forced to go 2+ rounds in two years. You can be sure he'll give his cardio some more attention in his next camp.
Joe (St. Louis, MO)
Anytime, Jon! You name the bet, and I'll accept. I don't think we've seen the best of Nogueira since he's been in the UFC, but you have to remember, before Fedor, Nogueira was considered the unbeatable heavyweight champion.
Jon Anik (2:59 PM)
Understood, bro. Also remember, I have a lot more interaction with Mir than Nogueira, so my view, while objective, may be slightly jaded. But how do you explain Nogueira's uninspired performance against Tim Slyvia? He got the 'W', but did not look right to me.
Marc (Malden, MA)
Isn't it the fighters' responsibility to ensure their conditioning is good enough to last 5 rounds, regardless of how much of a battle it is? I don't think we really want to see 3 round championship fights.
Jon Anik (3:00 PM)
Great point, Marc. Two things in combat sports I have no tolerance for: Failure to make weight, and lack of cardio.
Finn (Seattle, WA)
If GSP can get past Fitch, will his next defense be against the winner of the Alves/Sanchez bout?
Jon Anik (3:03 PM)
Well, if GSP does get by Fitch, there remains a strong possibility that he defends against BJ Penn. As for others, not sure too many people want to see Josh Koscheck get another chance so soon after losing to GSP last year So, in theory, the Alves-Sanchez winner seems the most deserving.
Jon, Condit seemed too skinny to me to compete with the best at 170. Where do you think he ranks in that division if he went to the UFC? I think there are too many good wrestlers at that weight and they would hold him down.
Jon Anik (3:04 PM)
I think that's a fair assessment, Mark. I would put GSP, Fitch, Koscheck, Sanchez, and Alves all above Condit right now. And Jake Shields one notch below Condit.
rob (at home)
Jon - could Fedor beat lets say MAGNETO?? j/k - The WEC only sold 700+ tickets for their recent show - EliteXC did 3000+ in Stockton, for crying out loud - yet EliteXC's show was a "disaster" and WEC is the "second best promotion" in the eyes of some -what gives?
Jon Anik (3:07 PM)
Well to clarify, the WEC event was at a much smaller venue. EliteXC loaded that Stockton, CA. card with local fighters, and still failed to draw. The WEC, in my opinion, has staged the three top fights of the year to date. I know Dream has a bunch of candidates for Fight of the Year as well, but WEC is the unquestioned #2 promotion right now...in my opinion.
Jon - anywhere on the web that streams DREAM or Sengoku? There are fighters over there who the whole MMA community needs to see fight - please advise....
Jon Anik (3:08 PM)
Not sure, Rob, but perhaps MMA Nation can help? I don't have HDNet at home. Thankfully, ESPN brings in certain cards so we can watch them after the fact.
John (in front of the clock)
is hermes franca donein the ufc after he fights Gleison Tibau ? you think franca will train 2 defend the take down?
Jon Anik (3:09 PM)
Crossroads fight for both guys. I think Franca's appeal is such that he may stick around. But you know the UFC's history. You lose three straight fights, and they usually cut bait. We'll see.
Kushi Kikko (Okinawa, Japan)
Konishiya Jon-san! Think you do that Hong-Man Choi has future MMA in UFC? He is nation hero and is 7-feet-2 tall and huge. Can he fight American Brock Lesnar?
Jon Anik (3:11 PM)
Kushi, thanks for the question. I trust you are more familiar with Hong-Man Choi's work than I. But I think Lesnar is ready - right now - to face the top guys in the world. And Choi certainly is not one of them.
john ( garden state)
tito's baby will it have a huge head like's father?
Jon Anik (3:12 PM)
That's a safe bet. High comedic value there.
Bren (Austin, TX)
I would never support someone UPLOADING a fight to a video-sharing service, but interested fans can certainly find bouts from DREAM/Sengoku on YouTube or Dailymotion.
Jon Anik (3:12 PM)
How would I do these chats without Bren in Austin? Thanks man.
the 2nd ppv for affliction looks lack luster.... will this lack of a card make the company flop?
Jon Anik (3:14 PM)
I guess I would respectfully disagree. I am jacked for the Arlovski-Barnett main event because it truly sets up a #1 contender to face Emelianenko. Also, if Tito Ortiz and Tim Sylvia are added to the card, doesn't that help round it out a bit? I just think Affliction needs to branch out to quality guys in other divisions, and soon.
Ben (Columbus, OH)
Is MMA Live on ESPN Mobile TV on Verizon Wireless? If so is it brodcast Live?
Jon Anik (3:16 PM)
Yes, Ben. MMA Live is available on ESPN Mobile TV, but it doesn't always run live, or at the same time. Feel free to send me a follow-up e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll get you the exact airtime(s) for this week. Hopefully, we'll be on regular TV soon.
Finn (Seattle, WA)
MMA Live is a great step in the right direction... but what's with the "worldwide leader" and their refusal to cover the fastest growing sport on the planet?!? Doesn't make sense to me. Great job by the way!
Jon Anik (3:18 PM)
Thanks, Finn. Patience my man. ESPN is acutely aware of the merits of Mixed Martial Arts coverage. Their commitment to MMA Live speaks to that. I just think we need to keep improving/progressing, and eventually the coverage will expand to meet the needs of all the MMA fans out there, both hardcore and casual.
Antok Henmann (Denmark)
Jon, do you think anyone but UFC has the money to compete consistently for more than a year or two as a legitimate 2nd rate MMA promotion? I think one (maybe like Affliction) could survive if they keep signing second-rate fighters with big names on the tail end of their careers like Sylvia and Tito?
Jon Anik (3:21 PM)
It's a solid question, Antok, and one that we get quite a bit. Of all the upstart promotions, I think we'd all agree that Affliction has the most staying power. And that is, in part, because of their resources, Donald Trump's presence, etc. I also think there's something to be said for the way they reportedly treat the fighters. Not just talking salaries. But quality of life stuff, too. Ya know, a bottle of water on the press table goes a long way sometimes.
Joe (St. Louis, MO)
Jon, Sylvia and Rothwell's manager, Monte Cox, has already stated that neither fighter will be a part of the second Affliction PPV.
Jon Anik (3:22 PM)
Thanks for the update, Joe.
Am I the only one who didn't love WEC 35? I was impressed by Varner but thought that all the other fighters including Condit would be crushed by mediocre UFC guys.
Jon Anik (3:24 PM)
Not at all Matt. A lot of people in the chat today say they were underwhelmed by WEC 35. I was a bit disappointed in Brian Stann, but very impressed with Varner. And, I know may be on an island, but I really enjoyed the main event. I liked seeing Condit respond to adversity.
John-John Molina (San Juan)
Dan, since Dana White controls EVERYTHING UFC like a tyrant, do you think if a big name fighter left UFC to get more money somewhere else, that Dana would then blackball them and make it almost impossible for them to return? Or do you think like Vince McMahon, he would be ALWAYS willing to bring someone back in the name of good business and puttnig out the best product?
Jon Anik (3:27 PM)
I think the UFC handles its guys on a case-by-case basis. If the separation was amicable, I don't see why the UFC would prevent a given fighter from returning. And I know there are a lot of UFC bashers out there. But if you take a step back and realize their overwhelming success, it's a bit easier to understand why they operate the business the way they do.
I was only really impressed by Varner at WEC 35. Other than him do you see any WEC guys being legit contenders in the UFC?
Jon Anik (3:29 PM)
Well, certainly guys like Urijah Faber and Miguel Torres can hang with the best in the world. But, of course, the UFC doesn't offer 145 and 135-lb. classes. Varner, yes. And I also don't think Condit would embarass himself in the UFC. It'd be a marked step up in competition, but he's defended his WEC belt three times now.
Joe (St. Louis, MO)
Jon, before you sign off, give us your picks for UFC 87!!
Jon Anik (3:30 PM)
Here goes, fellas. I think Brock Lesnar registered a devastating first-round TKO. GSP grounds-and-pounds his way to the win in Round 2 against Fitch. And I think Florian beats Huerta via submission in the second round. Cannot wait for Minneapolis.
Aaron Omaha NE
Don't answer that because there is NO WAY Varner would get out of the first round with Franklin, Hendo, or Silva.
Jon Anik (3:31 PM)
Varner is a lightweight.
Jeff (Redondo Beach, CA)
Looking back now, should Randy have just fought 1 more time and then got out of the UFC??
Jon Anik (3:33 PM)
Perhaps. But hasn't Couture established enough good will to be granted his request. Yes, a contract is a contract. But he's 45 years old, already a UFC Hall-of-Famer, and about the most genuine guy in the sport. It's annoying that this is what it has come to. And I still believe Couture will prevail in arbitration.
Aaron Omaha NE
Woops well that actually makes it worse. The list just got longer.
Jon Anik (3:34 PM)
Haha...you're right. I can think of 8-10 UFC lightweights off the top of my head that are better than Varner. But could he compete with the bottom half of the Top 10? I would say yes.
Brian (Canton CT)
Jon, do you think Kimbo, in the end, will just be an oddity, tyson-type that sells tickets and fights brawling fat heavyweights? Or do you think he will ever be UFC-caliber before he gets too old? Do you think KenFlo could beat and submit him despite the weight difference?
Jon Anik (3:37 PM)
Jury is still out on Kimbo Slice. We discuss his situation today on MMA Live. Unlike Brock Lesnar, a world-class wrestler, Kimbo brought very little to the table, other than ferocious striking, when he embarked on an MMA career. We'll see how much improvement Bas Rutten can exact before Kimbo's next fight. He's got a lot of work to do. I don't expect him to ever be as good as Lesnar is right now. As for Kenny submitting Kimbo, I think it'd be tough to get Slice on the ground, given the size difference.
Jeff (Redondo Beach, CA)
The Couture and Farve situation goes to show you that no one is above the sport. It is a business first and foremost.
Jon Anik (3:38 PM)
Who is this Favre guy? Fair enough, Jeff. And thanks for crossing over to our chat this week, if you know what I mean.
michael (maumelle, ar)
what is tito up to these days
Jon Anik (3:39 PM)
Several Internet reports out there that Ortiz will soon ink a lucrative deal with Affliction. He could debut at the Day of Reckoning Card, Oct. 11th in Vegas. But, as of last check, nothing is official.
Marc (Malden, MA)
I blame EliteXC for the negative feelings toward Kimbo. He should have been developed quietly and not made a main-event guy until he was ready.
Jon Anik (3:42 PM)
I concur. But there is no questioning his drawing power. If EliteXC does a big number on CBS Oct. 4th, that will only further cement Kimbo's crossover appeal. We all love Gina Carano, but the women can't carry the promotion by themselves. And neither can Robbie Lawler and/or K.J. Noons.
Larry (Medway, MA.)
If Florian were to lose this weekend, what will have been his downfall?
Jon Anik (3:44 PM)
Straight from his trainer, Mark Dellagrotte's mouth: If Kenny fights Roger's fight, and gets out of his element by taking part in a brawl, it will be tough. But if Kenny sticks to his always-cerebral game plan and makes adjustements mid-fight, he should hold serve as the favorite, Larry.
Jon Anik (3:47 PM)
Alright guys, I am literally being booted out of the chat room. Thanks again for the participation. And remember, if I didn't get to your question, send it to email@example.com, and I'll do my best to respond. Now, go check out the latest edition of MMA Live. I'm en route to Minneapolis shortly. Go Florian! We'll talk next week. -JA