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 (2:27 PM)
Hello, MMA Nation! I am chatting with you today live from The Bellagio in Las Vegas! MMA Live at UFC 91! It'll have to be a quick chat today, because we have a lot to do. I got the chance to interview both Randy Couture and Brock Lesnar last night. Looking forward to telling you all about it! Let's get going!
Hondo (Boston, MA)
I'm glad to see that you're tearing yourself away from the Strip long enough to chat with us, thanks fof making the time. How's the center of the MMA universe?
Jon Anik (2:29 PM)
It is just awesome to be out here. I was at Xtreme Couture with Randy last night. He looks terrific, and was a picture of calmness. Then, we headed over to The Ultimate Fighter Training Center to talk to Brock, who also looks ready to go. The buzz has begun!!!
Michael (Glasgow, Scotland)
What a night this is gonna be. Whats the buzz like in Vegas Jon?
Jon Anik (2:30 PM)
Everywhere you go, people are talking about UFC 91. We are headed over to the set shortly to do a few hits, and then we've got 3 live shows for you guys. A Weigh-In Special at 6:55 ET Friday, and then pre and post-fight shows before and after UFC 91. Can't wait...
Ripken (Des Moines, IA)
Hey Jon Anik! Welcome to Vegas! Very happy for you guys and the show. What makes you think Lesnar can go 5 rounds?
Jon Anik (2:31 PM)
Hey Ripken. Cardio has never really been an issue for Lesnar, and I don't expect it to be on Saturday night. I think Brock will be more patient in this fight than he has been in his last two UFC appearances.
Ben (Columbus, OH)
Hey saw the promo with you and Frank Mir. He seems like a great guy but man he comes across rude on TUF 8. Have you asked him about what was going on there?
Jon Anik (2:33 PM)
Got a lot of good insight from Mir last night about TUF. He's not all that thrilled with the way the show was put together. He says he made several visits to the house to mingle with his team, and the producers never choose to show any of it. It's interesting to get his take, because you realize how little editiorial control he has. He seemed pretty frustrated, but I guess that's reality TV.
Hey Jon, what can we expect of Brock's chin?
Jon Anik (2:33 PM)
That's one of the big questions, Ryan. As Stephan Bonnar put it to me, how in the world can you have a head tht size and not have a good chin? It will be tested on Saturday for sure.
Nathan (Portsmouth, Ohio)
What fight do you think will be the "Fight of the Night" at UFC 91? I am leaning towards Dustin Hazelett vs. Tamden McCrory, which is an underrated bout that thankfully will be on the main card now.
Jon Anik (2:34 PM)
Yeah, too bad Amir Sadollah had to bow out. But the fans really win here, b/c I agree that the Hazelett-McCrory bout at 170 is shaping up as the Fight of the Night. Also am intrigued by the match-up, stylistically, between Demian Maia and Nate Quarry.
Bagel Boy (Canton, OH)
Johan Anik Santana for Cy Young!!! Hi jon...Dana says this is biggest MMA fight ever. Besides this, what do you think is the biggest fight in the world that could be made?
Jon Anik (2:35 PM)
Dana says this will be the biggest fight in UFC history in terms of the PPV buys. I think the two biggest fights that could be made, on paper, would be Fedor-Couture and GSP-Anderson Silva.
Craig (Erie, PA)
I was worried there would be no chat today with you guys at UFC 91, didnt think I would make it through work today. So whats more exciting for you these next few days, Lesnar vs Couture or Villasenor's contract auction?
Jon Anik (2:36 PM)
Hahaha...I was actually at the Bellagio Spa when it dawned on me that I needed to chat at 11:30 PT. I sprinted to my room for you guys! With respect to my man Smokin' Joe, UFC 91 is the focus right now. Still trying to figure out my main event prediction before the end of the chat.
Damjan (Charlotte, NC)
Jon Anik: I love you as a broadcaster, but when GSP loses to Baby Jay Penn, you'll eat those words about a GSP/Spider fight.
Jon Anik (2:37 PM)
Thanks, Damjan. Perhaps I have spoken too soon. Should BJ Penn win on 1/31, I will chow crow.
LIVE IN VEGAS! Congrats on taking the show one step closer to the "big time"! Have a blast at the show Saturday night!
Jon Anik (2:39 PM)
Thanks, Bren. We are jacked up to be out here, and hope you'll all check out our live shows. Also, in case you're wondering, we taped MMA Live yesterday in Bristol, so you will get the regularly-scheduled episode later today.
Seems like we do this pretty often nowadays but lets get to the picks Jon. I got Lesnaer by 2nd rnd ground&pound, our homestate boy KenFlo by UD, Gonzaga by 2nd rnd KO, Maia by 2nd round sub, and Hazelett in a UD in a war.
Jon Anik (2:41 PM)
Might as well get these predictions out of the way. Forced to choose, I'll stick with Brock Lesnar via TKO. I like Kenny Florian to actually finish Stevenson in the 2nd or 3rd round. Demain Maia will submit Nate Quarry (perhaps an unprecedented 4th straight Submission of the Night honor). I like Gonzaga to make quick work of Josh Hendricks, and we'll go with Dustin Hazelett in a unanimous decision over Tamdan McCrory.
Marc (Malden, MA)
Pro wrestling does have a lot of "fake" elements to it, but the need to be in great cardio shape isn't one of them. It may actually be harder, from a cardio standpoint, to wrestle for 30 min, than fight for 25.
Jon Anik (2:42 PM)
Good point, Marc. Lesnar assured me last night that he could've gone 25 minutes against Herring in August if need be. I really don't expect Brock to gas early. Although, he's never faced anyone who can diversify quite like Randy. Couture is very creative and able to adapt.
John (South Dakota)
So Lesnar broke Herring's orbital bone in the opening moments of the 1st round. Spent the next 3 rounds on top of him, but was unable to finish him. What makes you think that Lesnar is able to finish Couture?
Jon Anik (2:43 PM)
Again, it's a difficult fight to predict. I certainly won't be betting on it. But Couture has shown that he can be knocked out, and Lesnar has the power to do it. I think we were all a bit surprised he wasn't able to finish off Herring.
Mike M. (Los Angeles, CA)
What's up Jon? If B.J. Penn dominates GSP, and thats a big IF, do you think Dana will change his mind and allow a Penn vs. Silva to happen?
Jon Anik (2:44 PM)
I don't, Mike. He seemed adamant that he wouldn't let it happen. BJ Penn seems to get what he wants, but there have to be some limitations.
Bradley (Regina, Saskatchewan)
What happened to Amir? I'm really excited to see him fight again and you just broke the news to me. That SUCKS! Do you have any insight on when we might get to see Amir fight?
Jon Anik (2:45 PM)
It was a leg infection. Bonnar shares some insight today on MMA Live. No concrete idea when he will return, but I would imagine soon. Perhaps as early as UFC 92 in December.
John (Watertown, NY)
If Brocks beats Randy Sat. night, how do you think he'd fair against either Nog or Mir?
Jon Anik (2:47 PM)
I think he's more equipped to handle Mir than he was in February, Both guys have much slicker submission games than Couture, and that seems to be a weakness of Lesnar's. Although, in talking to his trainers last night, they say his submission defense has improved a ton.
Marcy Mayne (Fordham, NY)
Jon, last week you said there were no women in the chat so this week I am representing just for you! Can you answer the question that most of us have as to whether you are married or not? Also, I think Stephan Bonnar is your best co-host!
Jon Anik (2:48 PM)
Hey Marcy. Thanks for helping out our one-sided gender ratio. A lot of positive feedback on Bonnar on MMA Live. He does a great job. I am not married, but not single, either.
Jon Anik (2:48 PM)
Have to share this embarrasing 'Anik Dote'...They had me on a stool interviewing Lesnar last night. Pretty humbling stuff.
Marc (Malden, MA)
I think Lesnar not finishing Herring was more about Brock not wanting to make a mistake like he did against Mir. In the Herring fight, he was much more aware of his positioning and didn't get out of control.
Jon Anik (2:49 PM)
Randy (Sarasota, FL)
I'd like to see Kenny Florian get the W this Saturday and smoke BJ for the title in a couple of months so that BJ respects his own weight class. What do you think?
Jon Anik (2:49 PM)
Randy, no one at 155 is smoking BJ Penn. But I share your enthusiasm for the fight. Kenny has a very tough opponent to get through first, however.
I think this will be KFlo's Coming Out party. how about you?
Jon Anik (2:50 PM)
I think Kenny Florian is already firmly on the map. He's one of the Top 10 names in the UFC (open to interpretation). But surely, a strong performance against Stevenson would vault him even higher.
How many fighters that you know are picking Brock Lesnar to beat Randy Couture for the UFC heavyweight championship on Saturday?
Jon Anik (2:52 PM)
Good question, and one that we ask today on MMA Live. Very few fighters are picking Lesnar. Urijah Faber danced around the subject in Dana White's video blog, but ultimately picked Lesnar. I think Florian would've picked Brock, had he been in-studio with us. It'll be interesting to see who Mir picks on our MMA Live pre-fight show Saturday.
Hate to say it, but I think JoeDaddy takes your boy out this weekend.
Jon Anik (2:53 PM)
You're not alone. Should be a great fight. Kenny has said Joe is by far his toughest opponent since Sean Sherk. He's not sleeping on him.
Craig (Erie, PA)
wow... Anik Dote? Respect for you has gone to an all time low. But no need to PAnik
Jon Anik (2:54 PM)
Hey, throw the kid a bone. My sports column at Gettysburg College was called 'Anik Dotes'. What do you want from me, Craig?
Drew (Denver, CO)
Hey Jon, Do you think that Rasha Evans has enough to take out Forrest next month? I don't think he'll be able to win, no matter how much nipple twisting he does.
Jon Anik (2:55 PM)
I think Rashad Evans will finally meet his match in Forrest Griffin. As stated in previous chats, my days of picking against Forrest are done, until he loses again.
Cyrus (San Francisco, CA)
Do you think Joe Daddy will even try and throw hands with Kenny or will he be looking for a shot right outa the gate.
Jon Anik (2:55 PM)
I think Stevenson has to take it to the ground ASAP. Florian has a decided height and reach advantage, and his striking has improved a ton.
Jon, in terms of marketing and the future of the UFC, what is the worst case scenario for an outcome in the main event on Saturday?
Jon Anik (2:57 PM)
I think the UFC has options, regardless of who wins the main event. I think the only bad scenario is if Brock lays on top of Couture for 25 minutes, and the result is a boring fight and a split decision. But my expectation is that it will be electric. And no matter who wins, the UFC has plenty of avenues to go down with both guys.
Hey Jon, Any chance you guys can get Joe Rogan on during one of your live shows to do an interview? Or maybe a few of the fighters/celebs?
Jon Anik (2:58 PM)
We hope so. I know Joe will be pretty busy, MC'ing the Weigh-In, etc. But I'd love to have Rogan on the set. I've never even met the guy. We certainly expect to have the winning fighters on set in the post-fight show.
Anyword on the UFC interested in signing former Elite XC Heavyweight Brett Rogers?
Jon Anik (3:00 PM)
Because of Antonio Silva's suspension, Rogers might be the HW most likely to get an offer from the UFC. But, how many EliteXC fighters can the UFC actually sign? Jake Shields seems like a lock. Would also like to see them sign Rafael 'Feijao' Cavalcante. Not to mention Smokin' Joe Villasenor. We'll see.
Robin (ON, Canada)
Good afternoon, no questions yet about Ken-Flo and Joe Daddy...so who are you going with and how will it end?
Jon Anik (3:01 PM)
Hi Robin. Actually plenty of inquiries on that fight. Can't possibly pick against my guy Kenny. I say he finishes Joe early third-round, perhaps with a ground-and-pound.
Josh Cheraw SC
Jon, Props to you and ESPN for finally doing some full coverage hope to see it more
Jon Anik (3:01 PM)
Thanks, Josh. Good to have you back in the chat.
Since you promised us that you'd catch up on TUF can you seed for us the semifinals? We can consider Huggy Bear vs. the Giant as a play in game for the 155ers.
Jon Anik (3:02 PM)
I watched the sushi/fruit episode before I left. But I was flying last night, and therefore unable to get completely caught up. Vow to be better next week...
Drew (Denver, CO)
Have you heard any of the UFC's plans for Shane Carwin? Are they going to keep giving easy opponents so he can "cut his teeth", or are they going to finally let him show what he is made of? I hope it's the latter. He's a beast.
Jon Anik (3:03 PM)
Dana White seemed very optimistic about Carwin on MMA Live, as you will see later today. He should be in there with some legitimate threats soon.
Do you think next months card can be the best UFC card ever? Mir vs NOG, Rampage vs Wanderlai, and Evans vs Griffin!
Jon Anik (3:04 PM)
Can't imagine a card having more starpower at the top. Perhaps UFC 100 will have something to say about that.
Whats the deal with the release of Fabrice Werdum?
Jon Anik (3:05 PM)
Still no definitive word. There are conflicting reports. We ask Dana about it today on MMA Live.
UFC 94 will be the best card ever. Penn/GSP 2!
Jon - I understand what weekend this is and all, but how about a non-UFC question for your good buddy Rob? Why do you suppose the Hellboy/JZ fight is a non-title affair......thanks bro!
Jon Anik (3:06 PM)
Rob from Jersey back after a week off. Don't have any idea why it's a non-title affair, but didn't want to leave you hanging.
Holy crap - someone finally has interest in me - Does Dana not think I won't add anything to his "precious" 205 class?
Jon Anik (3:06 PM)
Yes, finally some rumblings on Ricardo Arona. I guess I would just say the UFC can't sign everybody. Line has to be drawn somewhere.
Any word on who is next for Anderson Silva? I think the match of '09 could be Pibull Alves moving up th 185 and having an all out war with "Te Spider".I just think Alves cuts too much weight to stay at 170 and would give Spider the war he is supposively looking for
Jon Anik (3:07 PM)
It's an interesting fight, Joe. And one that I hadn't thought of. Thiago really wants a title shot, and maybe it will come at 185 instead of 170. Good stuff.
Whats next for the "Iceman" Chuck Liddell?
Jon Anik (3:09 PM)
Who knows? He needs a W, though, so the UFC (I would think) would have to be careful in selecting an opponent.
Jon Anik (3:10 PM)
Alright, folks. I was supposed to be somewhere at 12 PT, and now I'm being yelled at. Thanks for the questions. Remember, MMA Live Episode #27 later today. Tomorrow, a live Weigh-In Special at 6:55 ET from inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena. And then MMA Live at UFC 91 pre and post-fight shows before and after the card. Hope you will all check it out at ESPN.com. We will definitely chat longer next week! Enjoy UFC 91! -JA
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