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 firstname.lastname@example.org!
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 (2:26 PM)
Great to be with you for another MMA Live chat! We're here for the next hour, and then stay put at espn.com to watch the new episode of MMA Live. Kenny Florian returns to Bristol to discuss his win over Roger Huerta. Frank Mir is also in-studio, as is Franklin McNeil. Let's go...
Hey Jon, been looking forward to this chat all week - can't wait to hear what you have to say about last weekend's fights. But my question is about a potential dream matchup: My buddy and I were debating who would win between Spider and Forrest (or Spider vs. any of the top light heavyweights). Maybe the Irwin fight was somewhat of a fluke, or maybe I just have too big of a man-crush on Spider, but my buddy doesn't think he would stand a chance because of the weight difference. I know Spider has no intention of moving up a weight class, but how do you think he would fare if he did? Thanks!
Jon Anik (2:29 PM)
Josh, I wouldn't sleep on Anderson Silva against most of guys at 205. But he's not all that inclined to move up, and I don't blame him.
Who could Jon Fitch possibly fight next? I don't see anyone that can give him a real good challenge. Koscheck would be good I guess but if I'm not mistaken they train together.
Jon Anik (2:30 PM)
What a warrior Fitch is. I don't care who he fights next. Sign me up. We do address it on the show today.
Any idea when UFC 91 may be held. We have already heard rumors that 92 is the New Years Show. Who would headline in November that isn't already scheduled to fight?
Jon Anik (2:33 PM)
I think the most likely date could be Nov. 15 at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon. No Trailblazers game or any events in the building the week prior. No idea on a headliner. Geographically-speaking, Dan Henderson was a thought there, but he is unlikely to be ready b/c of the Sept. fight with Rousimar Palhares. Kenny Florian wants another fight before the end of 2008, but I would think December is more likely for him.
Jon -as always great to be with you and the rest of MMA nation on this great Thursday afternoon - there has been an article floating around different sites that Randy has asked for 6-10 million (each) to fight Fedor - after reading this I am thinking that maybe Randy really doesn't want to fight Fedor in the first place - I mean he does deserve a huge payday (they both do if the fight happens) but c'mon....thoughts?
Jon Anik (2:35 PM)
Good day, Rob. I think there may be some merit to your theory. The man is 45. But Couture is so legendary that I think he needs a capstone for his career. A fight with Fedor, win or lose, provides that.
Before any of you guys go crazy - whether you think I should get a shot at the title, or if you think I just laid and prayed - remember 3RD PROFESSIONAL FIGHT - let's calm down - I'm going to get better - TRUST ME!
Jon Anik (2:37 PM)
I'm sure you will, and I thought the performance was just fine. Had a hard time gauging how much your submission defense had improved, because Herring isn't really a threat in that way. I wasn't one who criticized you for not finishing...although I was in Minneapolis and wouldn't have minded a KO!
I knew Fitch was a beast but how didnt he go down from those jaw breaking punches GSP landed?
Jon Anik (2:38 PM)
Absolute animal. He was just hell-bent on proving he belonged in the Octagon with GSP. And he does.
Im a huge sean sherk fan he is my favorite fighter, SO i wasnt a big ken flo guy although i respected him i didnt think he was as good as he is... I took him in a bet with my friend thinking he could take rodger down like clay did but what really changed my views on kenny he how he has reacted 2 the bj penn situation and not wanting to sit on his butt and wait.... U think joe daddy would be a good fight for him?
Jon Anik (2:40 PM)
I think Kenny opened up a lot of eyes and gained a ton of fans this weekend. He's beyond motivated, even post-fight. As for a next opponent, Stevenson would certainly be a name to throw out there. MMA Live has more...
Jon, How long do you expect Forrest Griffin to hold the light heavyweight title? I say no way more than once or twice. Division's too deep. Keep it up on the show.
Jon Anik (2:40 PM)
Thanks, Jake. While I agree every defense will be a challenge, I am done betting against Forrest Griffin.
Jeff (Rochester NY)
If BJ fights GSP next, what is up for KenFlo?
Jon Anik (2:44 PM)
Dozens of questions on Florian's next opponent. Firstly, it could be interesting if GSP decides to shut it down for the year, as has been reported is a possibility. Were that to happen, you'd think Florian and Penn could fight in December. But Kenny just wants to fight someone that will give him some reward. A proven guy. He wants to fight the best. Otherwise, nothing to gain...
MMA an olympic sport someday? boxing is, so why not MMA?
Jon Anik (2:45 PM)
I think it is years and years away, unfortunately. Just too many variables. It would have to sort of take over the MMA calendar for six months or so. But...could you imagine some of the possible gold medal matches?
Lane (Kukuihaele, HI)
The best career move for BJ Penn would be to fight.......
Jon Anik (2:48 PM)
...at 155 and defend his belt! Jake Probst at sherdog.com wrote about as good a piece of journalism as you can, explaining why BJ should try to develop a legacy at lightweight. Jake also outlines the reasons Penn doesn't feel compelled to do so. Great read.
Leo (Boston MA)
What's next for Rampage, various websites say he's fighting Wanderli next and other say shogun?
Jon Anik (2:48 PM)
Definitely are conflicting reports out there, Leo. My gut says Wanderlai.
Zackie C. (Hyannis, MA)
Jon, how is your skills in MMA or as a fighter? Do you have any history in schoolyard or bar fighting?
Jon Anik (2:51 PM)
I'm 2-1 lifetime. My MMA game is incomplete. I've been taught several times how to box, and when Florian Martial Arts Center opens soon near Boston, I will resume lessons. But no ground game for me. Lot of contact there.
Loved UFC 87, how great was the show of class and respect by GSP and Fitch after the fight? wasnt a Fitch fan before the fight but i am definately now
Jon Anik (2:53 PM)
Agree across the board, Rich. It was a compelling fight, albeit one-sided...might have been closer if Fitch hadn't been so cleanly tagged in the first round. Then, it was just a matter of going the distance, and he deserves huge credit for being able to do so.
Joe (St. Louis, MO)
Hey Jon, been looking forward to chatting with you all week. Good call on Florian in his fight with Huerta. It seemed to me that Huerta became very frustrated that Kenny wouldn't brawl with him. Did you expect the fight to have more fireworks, or were you expecting Kenny to stay disciplined and beat Huerta with his technical expertise?
Jon Anik (2:57 PM)
Good to hear from you, Joe. I did expect more fireworks. Huerta had no idea what he was dealing with. Florian's a master strategist. The directive from Mark Dellagrotte and Kenny's camp: don't engage in a brawl. Ken-Flo has some interesting comments on the show today. He really wanted to finish.
Bren (Austin, TX)
It's Jason Probst (not Jake). There is a Jake Rossen at Sherdog too. Just thought I'd chime in with my regular Thursday helpfulness.
Jon Anik (2:58 PM)
I knew I would screw that up. Thanks, Bren. PLEASE go read Jason Probst's piece at Sherdog.com.
Jeff (LA, CA)
Barnett vs. Andrei Arlovski. Who you got?
Jon Anik (3:00 PM)
I'll pick the fight in October. Leaning towards JB right now.
Marc (Malden, MA)
When is a major UFC event coming to Boston?
Jon Anik (3:02 PM)
I know Boston is a huge UFC initiative. The sport has legs there. There are still legal obstacles, though, and I would say 2009 is optimistic.
Steve Cuffs (Ansonia, CT)
Is it an unwritten rule in UFC that 3-4 straight losses and you are dropped from the organization? Do you think they would be more lenient for bigger names on the tail end of their careers?
Jon Anik (3:04 PM)
Not an unwritten rule, but the UFC doesn't embrace losing, and has a quick trigger. As for making exceptions for big names late in their careers? Yes, I think certain guys, in all sports, get the benefit of the doubt based upon their legacies.
who's face looked worse heath herring or jon fitch?
Jon Anik (3:04 PM)
Lane (Kukuihaele, HI)
If Brock Lesner gets a fight in Minnesota then BJ Penn should get to fight in Hawaii. But I guess no one wants to come to Hawaii. Nothing to see here.
Jon Anik (3:05 PM)
That's not it, Lane. EliteXC has touched down there before. The UFC is just waiting for complete regulation before making the move. Where do I send my media credential application?
Jon, you guys need to get on TV. I can't watch you at work, and my home computer is terrible for watching you guys. Hurry up ESPN!
Jon Anik (3:07 PM)
Thanks, Mark. We all remain hopeful that MMA Live will soon be on ESPN or ESPN2. All we can control is the job we do on the show...and as long as we continue to improve and you, our loyal viewers, remain on board, the show will be hard to ignore.
Iceman Cometh (Long Beach)
Jon, what's Chuck Liddell's future in terms of ever again becoming the "face" of MMA? Is that window closed for good now?
Jon Anik (3:10 PM)
Not sure the window is closed at all. He's still as ubiquitous and iconic as any MMA fighter. And, he could be two clean punches away from regaining title, if he gets by Evans and is then awarded a shot against Forrest. But...I think he'd better just focus on Rashad Evans for now. And I, for one, am not sure he deserves to fight Griffin next.
Kirk (Des Moines, IA)
I am a high school wrestling standout and was wondering if you think high school wrestling will ever allow some modified forms of striking to adapt more to MMA style?
Jon Anik (3:12 PM)
Interesting question, Kirk. I actually used to cover high school wrestling. If striking were ever to be added, it would have to be modified. Not sure you could allow strikes to the head, etc. Just don't see them messing with the purity of that sport.
Joe (St. Louis, MO)
Jon, I like BJ's chances against St. Pierre at 170. In their first fight BJ was able to do something that no one else has done to GSP, make him back pedal. GSP can't produce an effective offense while back pedaling and I think BJ will use the same strategy in this fight. What do you think of BJ's chances?
Jon Anik (3:17 PM)
I don't really like BJ's chances, Joe. I am in that 'GSP is 80 times the fighter he was then' category. I thought GSP could've had more of a killer instinct against Fitch, though, near the end of the first round.
AFFLICTION - please come to Jersey - we are loyal fight fans and we support it all - bring us Fedor in Dec or maybe Feb.
Samuel (Fayetteville, AR)
The phrase "one punch knockout power" seems to be used way too much by announces and commentators. I mean, who at 205 or above can't knock someone out with one punch?
Jon Anik (3:19 PM)
That's valid, Samuel. But a lot of people just use it liberally to describe a guy with exceptional power, and someone who can knock you out even if he (or she) is off-balance or at a poor angle.
Jon, do you think Kenny has any chance of beating BJ? Do you think he truly believes he can beat him? I think the best thing that could happen to Kenny would be to have BJ win the welterweight title and give up the lightweight belt.
Jon Anik (3:24 PM)
Kenny absolutely thinks he can beat BJ Penn. So why would I not give him a chance? His mental approach is sound, and he wouldn't be fazed by the hype whatsoever. As for the belt, it doesn't look as though the UFC will force to Penn to vacate it. It would be great for Kenny's fans if that were to happen, but sometimes when a title is vacated, it draws negativity, and some think it devalues the title. I don't see it that way.
Olympic boxing is TERRIBLE. The judging is actually worse than real boxing. I can't imagine how scaled back they would make MMA if it were at the olympics!
Jon Anik (3:26 PM)
I'm a boxing fan, and am also having a really hard time getting sucked in to Olympic boxing. Pretty stale. Also agree with you that Olympic MMA may not be what we'd dream it to be.
Hey Jono, I saw you in the crowd at the UFC fight and yelled at you from the inside of the rest room. If ESPN ever televises lower-level MMA fights (like FNF boxing) would you take the job as play-by-play analyst? You are WAY better than Joe Rogan, that guy is a total DB.
Jon Anik (3:30 PM)
Appreciate the words, Kirby. But I think Joe Rogan does a good job, and there are probably better play-by-play options out there than me. I'll be in-studio breaking it down.
UFC Belt (in any weight class)
How could people think less about me because I'm vacated - I mean (besides WAMMA - and w/o us it doesn't count) I'm the belt that is most coveted in MMA -
Jon Anik (3:30 PM)
You're a smart belt.
Rick (NY, NY)
Ok last question. A small tiger vs GSP and BJ Penn?
Jon Anik (3:31 PM)
Give me Rush and Penn via first-round KO.
Lane (Kukuihaele, HI)
To be the man. You've got to beat the man. Otherwise you'll be considered a paper champ. Unfair as it seems...
Ed (Saginaw, MI)
hi Jon.....is Kimbo just an interner I con or do you see any MMA potential? I must say, it's early but I'd say not much substance.
Jon Anik (3:38 PM)
Here's our token Kimbo Slice question of the week (there were actually several, as usual)...I think Kimbo has entirely too much to learn in all aspects of the sport to ever be a real threat. His potential, in my eyes, is limited. He's already in his mid-thirties, and doesn't even have any amateur boxing experience, never mind ground acumen. Tough job for Bas Rutten.
Chase (Richmond, Virginia)
I was wondering when TUF 7 winner and local hometown hero Amir Sadolla will be fighting again since we have scene some of his fellow cast members already in a couple of the past events since the final.
Jon Anik (3:40 PM)
Amir has reportedly moved to Las Vegas and will fight before the end of the year at middleweight. He won't go down to 170.
Leo (Boston MA)
Who has the best chance of losing there fight at UFC Chuck, Franklin or Henderson?
Jon Anik (3:41 PM)
Great question. Still a few weeks away from UFC 88 predictions. But I kinda like Matt Hamill to beat Rich Franklin, so there's your answer.
Jon Anik (3:42 PM)
That's a wrap. Thanks for stopping by once again. Now go check out MMA Live, and we'll do it again next week. -JA