Chat with Chuck Mindenhall
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, MMA blogger Chuck Mindenhall stops by to chat about the news from the octagon.
Mindenhall began covering MMA for ESPN.com in October 2010. He has worked as a features writer for FIGHT! Magazine, and contributed to many other publications, such as the LA Times, Village Voice and LA Weekly.
Send your questions now and join Mindenhall Friday at 4 p.m. ET!
Chuck Mindenhall (4:00 PM)
No Zuffa events this weekend, but then we get crushed with two cards next weekend. I guess it's a good weekend to hate on Lebron or take in the US Open or contemplate your fantasy football draft. What's on your mind? Let's get this thing rolling...
Stan (San Diego)
Rory MacDonald will absolutely kill BJ Penn. What the hell is he thinking?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:01 PM)
I guess BJ sees this is a no lose situation. If he wins, hey, he just knocked off today's great buzz fighter and he's catapulted right back into the title mix. If he loses? He lost to today's great buzz fighter, and where's the shame in that? (I don't like this fight for Penn...).
Everyone complains there are too many UFC/MMA events and then you get a weekend like this and their is a huge void. I'd rather have a diluted card than no card at all.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:02 PM)
It's funny. Forget baseball -- the great American pastime is to complain.
Chuck, thanks for the Friday chat! Was wondering if you think we might see Rich Franklin try and go for a takedown with Silva, to beat him up on the ground? Call me crazy, but that seems like a smart strategy to me.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:03 PM)
We spoke to Rich yesterday on MMA Live, and Jorge Rivera asked him this exact thing. Rich said "I'm too stubborn to do that...I like to stand and throw punches." So I think we get a brawl similar to the UFC 99 catchweight fight they had in Germany.
Coleman (Baltimore) [via mobile]
Happy Friday chuck. How do you think rashad Evans would do against Anderson Silva at 185?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:04 PM)
Good question, and since we've see Dan Henderson take Silva down (for a round, anyway) and Chael take him down (for four and change), you'd have to think that'd be the game plan. I'd personally be into that fight. Why, is Rashad in the sauna with a new battle plan?
Do you like the Paul Daley signing by Bellator?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:06 PM)
I do. Bellator. Doesn't like to pick up the UFC/Zuffa's castoffs that much, but in this case Daley just wants to fight more and asked for his release. This is a perfect match. The tournament format will sate his desire to fight regularly. And it adds some good drama to the welterweight division over there.
If Sonnen loses a second time to Silva, what happens to him? Does he stay relevant? He's got a loud mouth, but people stop listening when you're not near the top.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:08 PM)
That's the million dollar question. You get the sense, in all the bigness surrounding Sonnen, that it could be a fleeting thing. He could be one big Silva punch away from receding back towards the middle. But...then again, that's the risk in every fight. I think Sonnen will keep himself relevant win or lose. He'd probably go after Machida and the Nogs if it's the latter...
What are your thoughts on the Faber/Barao fight? Am i crazy to think Barao is finishing this one early?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:09 PM)
Not crazy. It could happen. Barao is riding a 28-fight unbeaten streak and has looked pretty damn good in the UFC. Faber has been good, but you have to wonder if he'll bring the same motivation to this fight as he would against Cruz. If he doesn't Barao could close up shop early at UFC 149.
Say the Teixeira/Shogun fight happened. Who would you have picked?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:10 PM)
Wow. It's hard to say. My early inclination would be to go with Rua, but the more I type, the more I think I'd take Teixeira. That guy is a beast.
Fadi(Tustin) [via mobile]
Who's DC scheduled to fight? Who is Dos Santos fighting next?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:11 PM)
Cormier is healing up his broken hand, so no timetable yet on his return. As for dos Santos, he'll be fighting Cain Velasquez maybe in September. Hearing UFC 152 is being looked at on Sept. 22, but last night Mike Straka said he was hearing whispers of Macau for that bout.
Like to see D.Hendo versus A.Silva at 205, seems like Sonnen took a lot from Hendo into his strategy with Silva, Hendo just gassed from the weight drop.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:13 PM)
I also think Henderson had it in his mind to try and knock Silva out. In the second he got into an exchange and got caught. Henderson did have a bad weight cut in Columbus for that fight, so it would be interesting to see them play it back at 205 pounds. Should Hendo beat Jones, think Silva wouldn't be up for trying to take the light heavy belt from Hendo?
Stefan Struve vs Stipe Miocic is the Main Event for UFC in Nottingham...thoughts?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:14 PM)
Is this official? First I've heard of it, but this is a fight I thought they might make. Going to have to digest that one for a minute. Thanks...we're up to the minute here on the Friday Chat.
Are people crazy to think that one big bad decision with the Pacman will turn boxing fans over to MMA? That seems like a stretch to me.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:15 PM)
Yeah, for all the people who are complaining about the Pac/Bradley judges and swearing off of boxing, let them get a load of MMA judging. We get a couple of controversies per card, it seems. I guess the magnitude of that fight made it seem all the more egregious. These days you have to cringe a little when a fight goes the distance, no matter which sport.
Billy (West Mich)
Chuck, Which of these 2 fighters have the best case to make for a future #1 contenders bout? Bisping, Munoz, Lombard, Franklin, Belcher or Belfort?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:17 PM)
Nice little cluster of names. Right now I think it'd be Munoz over everybody if he beats Weidman. Then Belfort, Bisping, Lombard, Belcher and Franklin. Lombard might make a case if he smokes Boetsch, given his unbeaten streak and the marketing opportunities with it. If we're talking merit, it should be Munoz first.
Mark (St. Louis, MO)
More personal questions: What are your other hobbies/interests besides MMA/Sports?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:18 PM)
I love fly-fishing. Try to get out as often as I can. Couple of weeks ago was in Colorado going for native greenback cutts. Didn't get them...but did catch some grayling and browns.
Scott (Salt Lake City)
Do you think Matt Cain threw the greatest game ever this week?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:19 PM)
Baseball's got such a long history that it's hard for me to condense it into readable form...but it's got to be right up there. That's as dominant as it gets.
Belfort-Lombad (if Lombard wins) could be a great fight at MW.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:19 PM)
I wouldn't be opposed to that at all, Dan.
Scott (Salt Lake City)
Over/Under 200K buys next weekend for the Brazil card? I think way under.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:20 PM)
This is one of the weaker cards I can remember, so I will say under. Especially with a card happening a night prior with Maynard/Guida.
Again, not much love for Alan Belcher. He looks like he's ready to take out everyone put in front of him, very well rounded.....
Chuck Mindenhall (4:20 PM)
I like him a lot, but even as impressive as the Toquino win was, I think he needs one more like it to leapfrog the list. If he beats one of the guys we just listed? I'd have no qualms him getting a crack after that.
If Franklin is moving down to middleweight again, is he thinking title run? If so, how does he think he can beat Silva finally?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:22 PM)
That's the long division that he's struggling with, Eric. Bottom line is, he's moving down for one last chance at a belt. He feels like 185 is home. But it's conditional. Obviously, he's 37 years old with three fights on his contract. He'd need to win all those and hope that Silva either bolts the division, retires, or loses, because I don't think there's anyway the UFC rolls out Franklin/Silva III (even in a pinch).
steve (albany )
Once Sonnen loses to Anderson again is there any chance we will see Sonnen fight the Axe Murderer?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:23 PM)
The way they've been back-and-forthing each other, I'd think that fight's on the horizon. I think there's a queue running from Curitiba to Rio to Sao Paolo of guys who want to fight Sonnen.
Does Glover fight Bader next? Could a win over Bader put him in line for a title shot?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:24 PM)
Texieira could fight Bader next, but that depends on if Bader beats Machida. I think Teixeira should fight Bonnar next. Who's with me?
Ricky D (Atlanta)
Which fight were you looking most forward to was scrapped in the great Injury Bug of '12?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:25 PM)
Man, there've been a couple. Stann/Lombard seemed like the perfect fight to gauge Lombard with. Boetsch is no slouch, but I was looking forward to that. And of course Cruz/Faber III.
Ever been to Alaska to fly fish during the Salmon run? Kind of a dream trip..
Chuck Mindenhall (4:26 PM)
No, only been to Alaska in the dead of winter. That is one place I'm gunning to hit, though.
Brad (Long Beach)
If GSP's not ready to fight in November, who would you rather see get the shot at Carlos Condit? I keep reading Kampmann, but I think Hendricks has the better argument.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:27 PM)
I would agree that Hendricks has the better argument. To me, beating perennial top five guys Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck is still a little more impressive. My bigger problem is that, ahead of UFC on FOX 3, it was basically said that if Hendricks beat Kos that he'd be next for the title shot. There were conditions everywhere based on GSP's timetable, but not on the sudden emergence of Kampmann.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:28 PM)
Having said that...Kampmann has been impressive. And if anybody could tempt Condit into dangling the interim belt, it would be him, since he beat Condit once (the only guy to do so since 2006).
I want to see Teixeira vs Rampage. Rampage wants to just stand and trade...welp here ya go. Fight would be fireworks. Fat Rampage or not
Chuck Mindenhall (4:29 PM)
That would be an awful thing for the UFC to do to Rampage. Hey, wait...
Let's presume that both Hector Lombard and Mark Munoz win their respective bouts. Who should be next in line for a crack at the title?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:30 PM)
I would still say Munoz. He's been there waiting his turn, and he'd have beaten some good guys to get to that penultimate spot. However, the UFC likes story lines, and Lombard has a nice one should he beat Boetsch...that's a long time without a loss.
Chuck, Is Ben Henderson as cool as he seems in all the interviews? Nothing seems to bother him, seems like it will really benefit him in the long run....
Chuck Mindenhall (4:33 PM)
I've interviewed him a couple of times, once for a cover story in FIGHT where I spent the day with him. He's just that cool. Very organized. Loves his scarves. He has a goal to beat whatever record Anderson Silva leaves with in the UFC. There's something about the straight-faced nature in how he talks about that where you think it's...not ridiculous but totally feasible.
steve (albany )
Chuck is there any chance the unified rules will ever change? Obviously there are problems with scoring and stuff, I'd like to see the .5 solution with perhaps the option in each fight for a sudden death round if they were to end in a draw. I'd also like to see direct kicks to kneecaps become illegal.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:35 PM)
You echo Doc Hamilton almost to a tee. He was the one who came up with the half-point system and a series of signals for judges. I would love to see some experimentation with this. He also talked about the direct kicks to the knees, as evidenced in the Silva fight with Thales Leites (I think). Who knows when (or if) we'll ever seen these changes, but would love some exploration.
I'm a huge Emelianenko fan. With age and performance, once he get pass Rizzo, did u hear anything about him going in to the UFC? and who do u think will win?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:37 PM)
There are always rumblings of him going to the UFC, just as there are rumblings that he's about to retire. I still think it's possible for him to end up in the UFC. Money trumps all checkered histories. So long as he and his handlers can come to grips with the UFC's way, he could end up there.
NAthan (Fort Frances, ON)
Hey Chuck, last week you said you were a fan of C.Palahniuk, just wondering what your favourite novel by him is, and what is your opinion on Tito possibly making UFCHOF, but not Militech or Shamrock?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:39 PM)
I liked "Choke" and "Rant." That's a sick fascinating mind right there. As for Tito, if you can make a case for him in the UFC HOF, then Shamrock and Miletich should be there too. Grudges shouldn't dictate their place in that pantheon. It's what they did while in the UFC that matters.
steve (albany )
Chuck what is going on with Bibiano Fernandes? I've heard injury and I've heard no contract? The UFC flyweight division needs him.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:40 PM)
He didn't sign the contract, and last I heard there might be another contract on the table that he's exploring that's more lucrative. I think the UFC anticipated he'd sign and announced his fight at UFC 149. But, as with so much in 2012...snag!
Who are you taking between Maynard and Guida? I think it'll be a close fight, but Maynard wins a decision.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:42 PM)
I lean towards Maynard, too. I think he'll need to have a finish in the first few rounds. The longer the fight goes, the longer I think it favors Guida. There's some question about Maynard, too...he hasn't fought since October, and in that time he's been a vagabond traveling from gym to gym, and relocating ultimately to California. How will he look?
Dan (Framingham, MA)
How many more fights do you think Rory McDonald is from a title shot @ GSP/Condit?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:43 PM)
Depends. If he beats up Penn and there's conditions (like injuries) preventing other guys, he might already look like the No. 1 contender. But, I think he's got to get through Penn and at least one more. If he does, then the drama can switch to: Will he fight GSP, his mentor and friend?
Hey Chuck, someday when the biggest fight in MMA history happens, you'll have to have all of us chat regulars over to watch it with you on your big screen. I'll bring the BBQ chips.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:44 PM)
That's a plan. I guess that means when Jones/Silva happens?
What's your take on Rich Franklin's thinking about taking TRT in the twilight of his career?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:46 PM)
I mentioned this on MMA Live a little bit yesterday, but the thing is, when we first began talking about TRT it was a matter of dire necessity. Guys needed it to replenish their deficiencies. Now we have people talking about it as a casualness that is unsettling, like it's not a loophole at all but this counter-brand youth elixir. We are becoming too casual with it.
Even though I like the Bellator signing, doesn't Daley sort of constitute a wash-out? He was 1-3 in Strikeforce - with two listless losses to Mizaki & Woodley - and he hasn't knocked out anyone of note since Scott Smith. If Zuffa thought he was valuable they would've retained him; similar to the Dan Hardy situation.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:47 PM)
I can see you point there, Alex. But the thing is, he has some good victories too (the Kampmann one comes to mind), and he brings it. That Diaz fight was a classic, and he was close to becoming the Strikeforce champ. He's a fun fighter to watch, and that's half of it.
Scott (Salt Lake City)
Do you think we will see the last of Cung Le when he loses?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:48 PM)
I do. He's be 0-2 in the UFC, with losses to Wandy and then Patrick Cote. What would be left to do at 40 years old? He can make a living acting and doing other things. No reason to keep having that nose Picasso'd by mean people.
What happened to Sergio Non? Did he quit USA Today?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:49 PM)
Not exactly sure, but I think there were some changes at USA Today. Will have to ask him.
Great job on MMA Live last night, CM. Wondering if Chael will be on the show before his fight in July?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:50 PM)
I know we talked about bringing him on recently, but it didn't happen. I doubt he'll be on before July 7. But, I do know that Tito Ortiz is scheduled to be on June 28.
Coleman (Baltimore) [via mobile]
If you had to pick a winner today who wins? Jose Aldo or Frankie Edgar?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:51 PM)
You know, I'd go with Aldo. Edgar just takes punishment to dish it, and I think Aldo wouldn't let him off the ropes once he sent him reeling. However, this is just par for the course for somebody to discount Edgar.
Kris (Los Angeles)
Who do you give the early lean to in the fight between Benavidez and Mighty Mouse? And when will ESPN have flyweight rankings? The little people are people too, you know.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:53 PM)
I lean towards Benavidez in the inaugural title fight. I just think he has the overall tools to get it done. As for the rankings, we have talked about it. I'd suspect we'll roll out the ESPN flyweight Power Rankings to coincide with the inaugural title fight.
Tyler (Mission Viejo)
Chucky, now that it's 1-1 and headed to South Beach, you see anyway the Thunder wins this series?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:54 PM)
Child, please. That Kevin Durant won't gently into that good night. The Thunder will bounce back. They just need to win one game in Miami to drag the series kicking and screaming back to OKC.
We know that Rua didn't want to fight Texeira, but do you know if it's a fight Texeira wanted? What's next for him now?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:56 PM)
I never did hear what Teixiera's take on it was, but I am positive he'd have been all too happy to take that Rua fight and get the exposure. As for what's next? His immediate future is a trip to Russia, where he is right now helping Pedro Rizzo train for Fedor.
Wouldn't that be a way to wrap up a hall of fame career? First J.Jones and then A.Silva, but if anyone would do it , Dan Henderson would be the man. May be 50 by then , but .....
Chuck Mindenhall (4:56 PM)
He can start with Jones....
Any chance we could see Belcher-Bisping in the future? Could be a good fight if the cage can hold all the ego.
Chuck Mindenhall (4:58 PM)
Ha! Does Belcher bring a surplus of ego into the cage? I think that would be a fine fight, and it might help sort out somethings at middleweight. Probably won't happen any time too soon though. Bisping went under the knife this week to remove some "large bodies" from his knee.
Who ya got for the Forrest v. Tito fight?
Chuck Mindenhall (4:59 PM)
Forrest...but a smidge. I think he comes in motivated to this one, and that's been the bit of iffiness with him of late.
How risky is it for the UFC to do JDS/Cain so quickly? Another loss for Cain could relegate one of their youngest stars to gatekeeper very early in his career.
Chuck Mindenhall (5:01 PM)
This is definitely something to think about. If Cain were to lose, he'd be out of the running for the heavyweight title for as long as JDS is around. But in a division where nobody has ever defended the belt more than twice, it's not a white knuckle dice roll.
Hey Chuck, Happy Friday! Want to get this question in a little early, but how do you feel about the 'last one to defeat' him argument? IE Pettis or Kampmann making their arguments to fight Henderson and Condit respectively. I'm not in the camp that says it's a legit reason for them to jump the line.
Chuck Mindenhall (5:04 PM)
You got it in early, Jay, but I'm getting to it late. I am not necessarily in that camp, either. The personal history of fighters shouldn't trump the big picture. I know that half of the fight game is marketing, though, and Kampmann/Condit might be more appealing with its backstory than Condit/Hendricks. Same goes for Pettis, who not only beat Henderson but put that exclamation mark on it late with that ricochet fence-to-head kick.
Chuck Mindenhall (5:05 PM)
Alright guys, I've got to close the mother down. Hope you can survive this weekend without fights to sustain you. I'll be back next Friday from Atlantic City to take your questions. If I didn't get to your query here, hit me on Twitter...@ChuckMindenhall.