Chat with Brett Okamoto
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com mixed martial arts writer Brett Okamoto stops by to chat about the news from the octagon.
Okamoto joined ESPN.com in December 2010. Previously, he was the boxing/MMA writer for the Las Vegas Sun newspaper and has also worked with Sports Illustrated magazine and CNN.com.
Send your questions now and join Okamoto Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Brett Okamoto (12:59 PM)
Mayweather vs. Maidana!? ... I like it. Why not? Mayweather wasn't fighting Pacquiao anyway, Maidana is easily in my Top 3 to watch right now in the sport. I know we're talking MMA but I figured I would throw some boxing out there, you guys know I'm a Maidana fan. We could have gotten worse. Alright, ask me anything. Let's have some fun today.
Marc Iveson (UK)
Hey man. Super pumped for Melendez staying in the UFC and getting the Showtime fight. I am a huge fan of both. Hard to call a winner as I think if you were building someone to fight Pettis it wouldn't be far from El Nino. For me its got fight of the year written all over it...... unless Condit and Brown get it on at some point!!
Brett Okamoto (1:01 PM)
I agree with your take. I'll probably pick Pettis, but Melendez has the right attributes to give him a run. He's smart defensively. I know he got into a brawl with Diego Sanchez in the third round of their fight but for the most part, he's not easy to hit. He pushes guys backwards. Has good wrestling and top control. Cuts off the cage well. I like the fight, but again, I'll probably pick Pettis.
Mark lundy [via mobile]
Hey Bret wasup? Machida middle weight champ?
Brett Okamoto (1:01 PM)
Maybe. Definitely maybe.
hey just saw these comments by Cyborg to rousey on fighting at 135:?First to win the Invicta belt, the second time to kick your (butt) and the third time to kick your (butt) again so that the world can see it wasn?t luck". Dana has to make this fight right? Rousey haters would pay to see her maybe lose, Rousey supporters would love to see her beat cyborg. If cats out this HAS to be the fight right?
Brett Okamoto (1:02 PM)
It won't be the next Rousey fight. Cyborg needs to finish her Invicta contract. I'm assuming she needs some time to cut to 135 (if it's even possible, maybe it's not). If she proves she can cut to 135 and wins the Invicta bantamweight title, 1000000000% this fight has to happen ASAP.
well cummins got destroyed. please tell me the UFC isnt going to give him a high profile fight and say "he only had 10 days thats why he lost". i watched one of his wins and man he didnt look good their either.
Brett Okamoto (1:03 PM)
No, he's not going to get a high-profile fight. I don't think he'll get buried and be the first prelim in China or anything ... he's going to be somewhat recognizable after UFC 170, but he's not getting a ranked opponent or anything off that performance.
James (ALBANY )
Hey Brett, Given Rhonda's dominance would you ever see a time where she and Dana would support a "battle of the sexes" matchup - maybe a Special PPV against DJ (he weigh in at fly) etc Personally I like Main Events to go 5 rounds and not be over in 2 minutes. Whilst I admire her I dont think170 was good value at all. Thoughts?
Brett Okamoto (1:04 PM)
Absolutely no chance. That is Freak Show x100, not to mention no athletic commission, hopefully in the world, would sign off on it. In terms of value at UFC 170? I agree ... if I had dropped money on that card, I'd be a little sad.
Decam los Angeles [via mobile]
Remember when Pettis drop Cerrone with a liver shot and he went down covering his head the fight was still stopped. McMann went down covering her sides and not protecting her head at all. I think the outrage had to do with pple wanting to see a longer fight if the stoppage happened like rd 3 or later it be less of an outrage besides the pple who wants Rousey to lose. It left many many questions unanswered like what would happen if it went to the ground.
Brett Okamoto (1:05 PM)
Boom. That's pretty much exactly what I wrote in my post-fight column that night. http://espn.go.com/blog/mma/post/_/id/20497/ronda-rousey-took-care-of-business
Cameron (Auckland (NZ))
Hey Brett, Last week you were asked about TRT and the options for Vitor if it wasn't approved. Assuming NSAC won't give him an exemption and the fight goes ahead in Vegas (a) how long does he have to be off it not to show elevated levels and (b) how could this affect his peformance and physique given outwardly he seems a lot bigger and muscular since losing to Jon Jones?
Brett Okamoto (1:07 PM)
That's a good question ... I mean ... you assume he's on TRT right now since, as he claims, he needs it for everyday reasons not just fight reasons. So, if he has an elevated ratio right now (ratio, not level, there's a difference) I don't think that would be an infraction of any kind. I would think that once they say, hey, we're not approving you use of this for your fight in May, he would have to go off it from then on because at that point, they've said it's something he can't be on. How would it affect his performance? That's a million dollar question a lot of people want to see.
Marc (Chicago, IL)
I thought Herb stopped the fight prematurely in the Rousey fight. What are your thoughts? If she were fighting guys, would she even be on the UFC roster at 135?
Brett Okamoto (1:09 PM)
1st question: I would have liked to see the fight continue but in that split second when McMann doubled over and held her body, you can't fault Dean for stopping it. How many times have we seen something like that where the guy writhers around in pain for the next 90 seconds? He didn't know McMann was going to pop up that fast and be okay after he called the fight. 2nd question: Who cares? I guess I understand why people talk about that but then again, I don't. Rousey is a female fighter. She doesn't fight men. Just like women tennis players don't play men and women golfers don't play men.
Joe (ct) [via mobile]
What up Motto!!! you think Dana is gonna give nick diaz the winner of Lawler Hendricks cause he's a big name now since silva and gsp are not around and if condit wins he gets a rematch with rory?
Brett Okamoto (1:10 PM)
Zero chance. That would be the wolf ticket of all wolf tickets. It sounds like, talking to people around Nick, he's closer to coming back now than he was you know, 2 months ago or whatever, but it still would have to be "the right opportunity." I'm not sure what that means, exactly.
Alex Peer Des Moines IA [via mobile]
Can you explain to me what this fight pass is and how much it costs? And even though they probably don't want to waste one on the other I would love to see Brandon Thatch - Stephen Thompson
Brett Okamoto (1:12 PM)
$9.99/month. An Internet subscription with exclusive content (such as the China event this weekend and TUF Brazil) plus a fight library and other news content stuff, like Megan Olivi interviews and such. Yes, Thatch/Thompson would be cool.
What do you make of the decision to resign Gilbert Melendez, put him as a coach of TUF and fight for the title? I know some people think he beat Benson Henderson but officially hasn't beaten a Top 10 guy in the UFC. But at the same time he's clearly limited in matchups with TJ Grant being the only other viable option. I still think he should have beaten a top 10 guy first but the UFC had their hands tied I suppose.
Brett Okamoto (1:14 PM)
The only thing I don't like about it is that it kills Pettis/Aldo. I want to see that. I think Aldo is a potential star for the UFC, and yet they put him in co-mains (UFC 129, UFC 169) and don't really put the marketing behind him that they do other guys. If Aldo were to move up to 155 and keep destroying guys, how do casual fans not take notice? So, I don't hate the Melendez/Pettis TUF thing (even though I'm extremely over TUF, good lord I am over TUF) but I'm sad we miss Pettis/Aldo.
What is next for DC? Assuming all goes as planned, would think it would be Gus/Jones. Maybe Davis/AJ winner?
Brett Okamoto (1:15 PM)
That would make sense, yes. And I'm picking Cormier 10000%. I am officially on the DC hype train. Headed straight to the top baby! Title or bust!
Hey Brett, Is the BJ / Frankie fight going to happen on the TUF finale or are they going to put it on a ppv? Any idea what BJ's walking round at at the moment. Cheers
Brett Okamoto (1:15 PM)
It won't be on the TUF Finale. Can it carry a PPV? I'm not too sure about that. Feels like a PPV co-main to me. I don't know BJ's exact weight, but in the videos and appearances he's made, he looks slimmed down.
Tim (Fremantle )
Any idea when and who Mark Hunt would be fighting against? Still like to see him against Roy Nelson although Roys booked I gather.
Brett Okamoto (1:16 PM)
If the UFC can't make Overeem/JDS happen, I know there have been some asking to see Overeem/Hunt, which I think is a good fight. I think Overeem/JDS is a better fight but if you can't make it, you can't make it.
What's with Herb Dean at the moment? Seems to be going through a rough patch. Late stoppage with Mike Pyle, Early stoppages with Faber and Rousey!
Brett Okamoto (1:17 PM)
Even though I didn't think he did a terrible job in the Rousey fight, yeah, his handling of the Pyle/TJ fight was bad. Dana said on replay it didn't look as bad as it did live. I haven't rewatched the fight but wow, sitting there that night ... it was one of those fights where you literally say out loud, "Ok, Ok, OK, CALL IT!" It could be that its gotten into his head just a little bit. I bet he felt bad about the Faber call, at least a little bit.
Nick (Melbourne (Australia) )
Hi Brett. For the lesser UFC events, previously we'd get the whole event on Fuel (on Foxtel- owned by News). Now we only get the main card on Fuel with the rest being shown on Fight Pass (meaning we miss out). Is this the same for the rest of the world and do you think it's good value?
Brett Okamoto (1:19 PM)
I can't say definitively if it's that way around the world. My guess is yes, but the UFC has so many different broadcasting deals in different countries, I don't want to say for sure. Either way, is it good value? If you're buying Fight Pass you're not buying it for the two prelims you miss on a PPV, you're buying it for the actual Fight Pass events.
What is next for Rory? Obviously, probably depends what happens at 171. I am guessing woodley/Condit winner gets Hendricks/Lawlor winner, and Rory gets Lombard/Shields winner.
Brett Okamoto (1:20 PM)
If he can heal quick enough, I would expect him to fight on the Vancouver show in June. They'll give him a big fight there, that's where he's from. I could even see them giving him the Condit/Woodley winner in a No. 1 contender bout. If not, yeah, Lombard/Shields winner could work.
Jose R (Orlando, FL)
I think Rory vs. Diaz makes sense or Diaz vs. Lawler. Either fight would be high profile. Condit will be busy training to fight the New WW Champ Hendricks. I think he KO's Lawler
Brett Okamoto (1:20 PM)
OR ... Rory vs. Diaz. Yes.
Seems like a lot of people don't realize that Herb isn't employed by the UFC
Brett Okamoto (1:21 PM)
You're right, I don't think a lot of people do realize that ... what's your point though?
Brock (Vancouver) [via mobile]
Regarding the Tuf 19 finale, thought they were headlining the Sunday after 175?
Brett Okamoto (1:23 PM)
Actually you're right, forgot about that. UFC hasn't made it official, but I've heard that's a direction they are very interested in. Having TUF 19 Finale day after PPV.
Odds that Cyborg makes 135? And odds that she passes a pee test? Can she do both without dying? Finally, who wins at 135 between Ronda and a clean Cyborg?
Brett Okamoto (1:25 PM)
Well, if she cuts to 135 you would think the most likely substance she would test positive for would be a diuretic to help her cut weight. Odds of her making 135? I mean ... I think she can get down there. How much of her fighting ability will she lose in the process is a bigger question.
Brett, why do you think so many UFC fighters are getting TRT exemptions, seems odd that so many guys need it
Brett Okamoto (1:25 PM)
Because it's easy to get right now. If all you have to do is fill out some paperwork, pay for a couple extra tests and give blood here and there ... and you can be on a steroid ... then it's probably worth looking into.
Do you know if the UFC considers Fight Pass a success so far? What will determine if it is a success or failure?
Brett Okamoto (1:27 PM)
Dana White says it's a huge financial success already ... they won't know for sure until the free trial period is over and they see how many people are paying for it. Thing is, these Fight Pass events, the UFC has to pay for them. They aren't covered in the deal from Fox. So, if the Fight Pass subscriptions aren't high enough, then the UFC is actually losing money with each Fight Pass event they put on, but it's for the greater good in promoting the service longterm. The way Dana talks about it though, you'd think it's covering those costs and then some already with the amount of subscribers it has.
Ronda was on late-night TV recently and I realized just how rare that is for a MMA fighter. Do you see any fighter with a chance to help publicize the sport? I'm thinking Bones Jones but I don't know if he has the right personality
Brett Okamoto (1:28 PM)
I think he has the right personality actually ... but for whatever reason, no, mainstream late-night TV stuff like that just doesn't seem all that interested in the UFC's light heavyweight champion. You almost have to have that Hollywood cross-over like a Ronda or Rampage.
Barry (North Carolina )
Brett, DO you think that GSP will return anytime soon ?
Brett Okamoto (1:29 PM)
I think there will be plans laid out for a comeback by the end of 2014.
I hope BJ gets to fight for another title, it'd be fun to watch his last hurrah.
Brett Okamoto (1:30 PM)
I don't see him ever fighting for a title again, but I'd settle for a BJ Penn finish. An upset, knockout win to turn back the clock. That would be fun to watch and write about.
Sean (New York)
Hey, Giving the fact that for now silva and gsp are done, in their prime, who do you think would win in a 5 round fight?
Brett Okamoto (1:30 PM)
In their prime? I'm still taking Anderson Siva. It's closer in my head than it used to be, though. Silva had nothing off his back against Chael or Weidman.
Sean (New York)
do you think jon jones could beat can valasquez?
Brett Okamoto (1:31 PM)
Could? Yeah. Would I pick him to do it? Probably not.
Matt T (Boston, MA)
Who is the most difficult fighter you ever had to interview?
Brett Okamoto (1:33 PM)
They can all have their moments. I wouldn't say it's one guy is more difficult than the next, but sometimes you get a guy and within the first two minutes you're like, "Ok, he's just not in the mood." I've had my differences with a couple guys here and there but whatever, you move on and try again next time.
Pound for pound: best knockout power? best submission? most explosive?
Brett Okamoto (1:34 PM)
KO power: ... Hendricks? Submissions: I'd probably go Maia still ... Explosive: Aldo.
Do you hold any weight to home field/ring advantages in combat spots and if so how much?
Brett Okamoto (1:36 PM)
Not really. Not nearly as much as other sports ... this is just me personally. I've seen Faber lose in Sacramento. Seen Benavidez lose in Sacramento. Seen Mir and Forrest lose in Las Vegas. I don't think it gives you that much of a boost.
Michael Bane (Chicago)
Do you think Lombard will be able to stay off his back against Shields at UFC 171, or will Shields grind his way to another smothering victory?
Brett Okamoto (1:37 PM)
Lombard is a pretty tough guy to get down. To me, it seems like an awful matchup for Shields. Really awful. But Shields is tricky man, I wouldn't put it past him to find a way ... and he'll test Lombard's stamina at that weight class ... but I like Lombard quite a bit.
Hey Brett! I figure no two fights are the same even for rematches. How do you see the Shogun/Hendo fight going after the epic first fight?
Brett Okamoto (1:38 PM)
Good question ... in the first one, Henderson had his way early but couldn't put Shogun away, then Shogun rallied back. Can Shogun still stand up to an early right hand by Henderson? How much has Henderson slowed down since the first one? I see it being similar in that when they are both fresh, I like Dan. But if he couldn't finish Shogun early the last time, I don't think his chances of doing so increase in a rematch ... should be a good fight. I guess I'm leaning Shogun but not sure.
@ParoleeProud (Rochester NY) [via mobile]
Big Jonny Bones fan here...when, and to whom, do you predict he will lose his strap??
Brett Okamoto (1:39 PM)
He might not ever lose it. He might move up to heavyweight as a champion. Honestly, I wouldn't put it completely past Glover Teixeira, who has a ton of knockout ability, but ... probably not. Cormier could give him a test, I'd still pick Jones though. It might have to be a heavyweight that takes him down.
Stipe Miocic if he's not lined up an opponent yet, could be an interesting match for Overeem. Stipe and JDS would be fun too.......
Brett Okamoto (1:40 PM)
Supposedly JDS is interested in Stipe and vice versa ... I mean, whatever, any of those matchups (you throw Hunt in there) are fine ... but THE fight is still Overeem vs. JDS.
Big Steve (Tahoe)
Who can beat Pettis? Or Rousey? Or Aldo? No one.
Brett Okamoto (1:41 PM)
I wouldn't put Pettis in that boat just yet. Melendez is capable. T.J. Grant if he ever is allowed to fight again is capable. Younger guys like Khabib Nurmagomedov, Rustam Khabilov, (my boy MJ of course) are capable. But Rousey? Maybe no one, if the UFC can't sign Cyborg. I don't think Cat can do it. Aldo? No one at 145. Mendes has the best shot, but probably not.
You think Machida is Weidman's worst match-up?
Brett Okamoto (1:42 PM)
Ummm, probably. Him or Jacare. With Belfort, it's a dangerous fight but if you can take him down and wear on him a bit he loses fire quickly. At least he has historically. Jacare could match what Weidman does on the floor and he has more KO power than Weidman. Machida obviously very difficult to figure out, but I think Weidman would walk him down systematically and handle the speed. Actually, I think Jacare would be the toughest matchup.
How do you think Dan Hendersons career plays out ?
Brett Okamoto (1:44 PM)
I mean, his best days are behind him. They just are. I could see him having a great fight with Shogun, if he wins ... who knows? Maybe they decide to have him fight DC. That would be a fun fight. Henderson would lose. I guess that's your answer right there. Henderson gets into some fun fights and even some important fights because 205 is so thin, but I think a big title-opportunity type win will elude him.
Hurley (Doomstadt, Latveria)
DC or Bones obviously has the best shot at beating Cain, but if not them, then who?
Brett Okamoto (1:45 PM)
I guess Travis Browne. I got to see him work out with Frank Mir during Mir's last training camp and Browne is a giant, man. Athletically, he's an imposing dude. Not JDS imposing, but he's an NFL tight end kind of athlete. If he continues to improve his defensive wrestling and footwork, maaaaaybe he can beat Cain? Maybe. Cain is so good.
Has Dana jumped the shark with his antics? Seems when he makes the news now it is for trashing one of his current or former fighters. I know he has done that for a while but it feels like every one gets to see it now splashed on the web.
Brett Okamoto (1:47 PM)
I agree. Dana has always been passionate but lately he's so defensive. Like, relax man. He's treating every question from the media as a personal attack. And yeah, it sort of all started at UFC 167 with the way he handled GSP's announcement and snowballed ever since. I don't think he's completely crossed a red line yet, but he's acting more lunatic-ish than usual, for sure.
Were you surprised at how little buzz the OTL story on TRT generated yesterday?
Brett Okamoto (1:48 PM)
I wouldn't say it generated "little buzz." It's getting read. I think people are burned out on the TRT topic in general. It was a good time for that story to come out though, as the Nevada commission is reviewing its policies tomorrow ahead of Belfort's application. And to anyone in this chat who didn't read it yet, I would suggest giving it a look. It was well-reported by Mike Fish.
Does Cormier have to take another fight while he waits for Jones / Gover? If so, who does he get next?
Brett Okamoto (1:49 PM)
I would say yes and either winner of Davis/Johnson or Shogun/Hendo.
Will Rousey stick around in MMA, or is she already approaching boredom? Can the UFC afford to keep her interested?
Brett Okamoto (1:50 PM)
I don't think she's approaching boredom yet, but I think that's a possibility. She's the type of athlete that is motivated by challenge, not turned off by it. It doesn't make her wins less sweet, I'm sure she loved the way she performed at UFC 170. But if she's going to keep getting in the gym and improving, she's going to need motivation and right now, someone like Alexis Davis provides zero motivation. UFC has to find her challenges.
Tyler (Isla Nublar)
As if Tulo needed anymore pressure coming back from injury, now he's supposed to "replace" Jeter?
Brett Okamoto (1:52 PM)
Eh, people gotta talk about something. I don't think he's under a ton or pressure, it's not like he's in a contract year or anything. He wants to stay healthy for himself, not for the Yankees interest. Not sure who the Yankees have in their minor system that would be enough to get an in-his-prime Tulo.
John (East Lansing, MI)
Brett, how much longer, if ever, do you think it'll take to get MMA as an Olympic sport?
Brett Okamoto (1:53 PM)
If it's not forever it's still a very long ways away. I think it would be cool, but you gotta think, the UFC, the biggest fight promotion in the world, doesn't have unlimited depth. You look at heavyweight, light heavyweight, women's divisions, flyweight even, they're not bursting with depth. How would the Olympics entice fighters to compete? The best are going to be fighting professionally already. MMA is nowhere near boxing in terms of talent at an amateur level.
If/When DC ends up fighting Bones, all I keep picturing is the Evans/Bones. Do you see it going much differently than that other than DC having better wrestling?
Brett Okamoto (1:55 PM)
Sounds crazy, but I think DC's striking has evolved to a point where it might be better than what Rashad's was going into that Jones fight. I don't know ... now that I actually write that it sounds even crazier than when I just thought about it in my head. I can tell you that a noted MMA oddsmaker told me a betting line on Jones/DC would not be close. He thinks it's still a terrible matchup for DC.
Your boy Maidana is gonna be embarrassed. 12-0 Money. EASY Money.
Brett Okamoto (1:56 PM)
Probably. He's gonna get paid though. Deserves it with the way he fights. Seized an opportunity by beating Broner. Good for him.
Maybe MMA fighters in general should be paid better, then? Gotta entice new talent somehow, it sure ain't the paychecks most fighters get at present.
Brett Okamoto (1:57 PM)
Fighter pay is going up, compare it to 10 years ago. We're starting to see the benefits of that a little bit now, hopefully we'll see them more and more as time goes on. That's what MMA needs just like any other sport, high quality athletes doing it.
Love the Maidana / Mayweather fight, I think Maidana will make it very interesting just on his toughness alone, and if he catches Floyd, lookout.......
Brett Okamoto (1:58 PM)
IF he catches Floyd. Make no mistake, I'm not saying Maidana is a big threat to beat him, but I like the fight. I like it a lot better than I would have liked Mayweather/Khan. What's Khan done, lately? Although I will say, everyone should go find Khan vs. Maidana in 2010. One of the best fights I've ever covered live. Hands down.
Is there a clause or something in Rousey's contract that she gets a fight night bonus no matter what? Think Koch or Pyle deserved it more...
Brett Okamoto (1:59 PM)
Yeah ... I would probably agree.
OK, Brett, Dana goes stark raving mad and asks you to make the card for a big end of the year PPV. You get to book five fights- what would they be?
Brett Okamoto (2:02 PM)
Are we talking any fantasy fight I want? Just go wild with it? I've been given the keys to the Fertitta's fortune and can offer millions of dollars to make any fights I want? Headliner: Brock Lesnar vs. Fedor EmelianenkoCo-Main: Ronda Rousey vs. Gina CaranoThird: Jon Jones vs. Cain VelasquezFourth: Georges St. Pierre vs. Rory MacDonaldFifth: Jose Aldo vs. Anthony Pettis
Brett, I know being a ref is really tough, but I feel like herb has stolen $120 bucks from me for his stoppages with Faber and mcmann. By the way I thought Sarah looked good, and don't agree with a lot of the writing afterwords about Ronda winning relatively easily.
Brett Okamoto (2:03 PM)
You thought she looked good? She's an Olympic wrestler who couldn't rotate off the fence at all when Rousey got ahold of her. I'm not calling McMann out, she's a novice in MMA when you think about it. She's basically just starting her career. But to say she looked good ... throwing counter right hands as you're getting bullied into the fence isn't really "good."
Ross (New York)
On a good night I still think Rashad can beat everyone in the LW divison besides JBJ. What do you think?
Brett Okamoto (2:04 PM)
Yeah sure, I can agree with that. On a good night. He doesn't always seem to have a good night though at this point in his career. I think if he fought Cormier 10 times ... I'd expect Cormier to beat him about 7 of 10, that seems fair right?
With Silva hitting the pads, who do you think he's going to get in his return fight? At the risk of sounding goofy, how compelling would Silva/Diaz be given their recent losses and desire to get paid and put on a show?
Brett Okamoto (2:05 PM)
There are worse things than a Silva/Diaz fight. It does sound ridiculous but when you think about Diaz being retired, both of them on losing streaks, if the UFC said, "whatever, let's do it," I don't think people would hate them for it.
Hey Brett. I've always wondered, BJ looked grossly outsized by Diaz and Rory, but to make the cut he's making is kind of tough. Why hasn't he given LW another run?
Brett Okamoto (2:06 PM)
Preaching to the choir man. I don't know why he has to make these returns to the cage more difficult than they have to be. Only BJ would come out of retirement to face a middleweight-posing-as-a-welterweight (Rory MacDonald) and the come out of retirement again to face a guy who is a terrible matchup for him in a potentially difficult weight class to cut to. This is part of why we love him, though.
My fantasy fight is Aldo v Barao. IMO, the 2 best p4p fighters on the planet. And I'd bet money on Barao winning, possibly easily. I can't see a single flaw in his overall skillset.
Brett Okamoto (2:07 PM)
I almost put Aldo/Barao. But I already went with the teammate fight, MacDonald vs. GSP.
Brett Okamoto (2:08 PM)
In reality, the top fights the UFC can make right now? I wrote a blog on this a couple weeks ago ... Jones/Cain is No. 1. If they sign Cyborg, Rousey/Cyborg actually probably becomes No. 1. Aldo/Pettis is an amazing fight, whether it sells or not.
Hey Brett,Do you think that Mendes will get a title shot at FW now that Pettis is going to defend against Melendez?
Brett Okamoto (2:08 PM)
I would think so, yeah. He deserves it more than Cub Swanson ... maybe they do it outside of Brazil this time. There would be interest in that fight, Mendes has looked outstanding.
Say Cyborg cuts to 135 and runs through an opponent or 2. Rousey does the same. Who would you favor if they fought?
Brett Okamoto (2:09 PM)
Instead of saying they each run through opponents, let's just assume the fight is tomorrow at 140 pounds. Both are comfortable at the weight .... I would favor Rousey.
Hopefully the insiders are thinking Sarah McMann gets a win and she's right back for a rematch, she will do MUCH better next time, and she nailed Rousey with a couple of good right hands this last time.
Brett Okamoto (2:10 PM)
Ken, you're one of my regulars, you know I respect ya Ken, but come on. She got ran out of the building. Even if you think the stoppage was early, there was nothing in that fight that makes me want to see it again any time soon. Maybe down the road, but not soon.
Let me get this straight, if Silva would have beat Weidman in the first match, he would have been a huge favorite against Belfort and Machida. So Weidman beats Silva convincingly two times and now you don't know if he can beat Belfort or Machida? What's with the Weidman hate from you?
Brett Okamoto (2:12 PM)
Here's what I don't understand ... how is it that I'm asked a question on who is Weidman's "worst matchup," I answer it ... and all of a sudden that means I don't think he can beat the guy I said? Didn't I just answer a question as to which fight would be the most difficult? Did I say Jacare would run over Weidman? Sometimes, you guys ... sometimes.
Marc T (Sherman Oaks)
Any update on where Mir goes from here?
Brett Okamoto (2:13 PM)
I think it's going to be Lorenzo Fertitta's call. Obviously Dana White will weigh in, but given Mir's contract, his history with the UFC, his closeness to the organization because he's a Vegas guy, I think Fertitta will talk to him and make a decision.
So what fights are there for Rousey? Who cares about HER being bored, why wouldn't fans be bored knowing she's never going to lose? Tough sells on ppv
Brett Okamoto (2:15 PM)
People will give Cat Zingano a chance, as they should. I don't think Zingano will beat Ronda, but it's worth watching. After that, if there is no Cyborg, then I don't know. Maybe the UFC just hopes to create a Mike Tyson effect where people tune in just to watch destruction. I kinda doubt they'd do that, though. In reality, we should point out that the UFC has handled Rousey pretty well up to this point. Liz Carmouche was sort of whatever, it was the first one, could have been anybody and the card would have sold. Then they tried to do Zingano, but she got hurt, so they did the Miesha rivalry and Miesha at least gave Rousey sort of a fight -- better than anyone else probably would have. And then you do the Olympics theme around the Olympics. All these moves make sense.
So Moto- Why do you hate Cain? You said that maybe, Travis Browne could me a good matchup- that means that you think Cain with get run over right? Why all the hate bruh? LOL
Brett Okamoto (2:17 PM)
Haha, exactly. And to Joe (NY), wasn't calling you out on your question, I get that all the time on Twitter and on this chat. Like, I think there is a very solid group of people in the world today who think I hate Georges St. Pierre and think he's a terrible fighter -- which is just ... kooky.
Nell (Yonkers, NY)
Who would you rather see face Weidman next? Machida or Jacare? I like Jacare more. He can defend Weidman on the ground and outstrike him.
Brett Okamoto (2:18 PM)
It's weird because even though I said earlier I think Jacare is probably a more difficult matchup ... right now I'm so intrigued by Machida's speed. He's awkward, unorthodox and at 185 he is sooooo fast. I want to see how Weidman would handle that. Jacare will be there afterwards.
Don't know what Melendez contract says, but it probably has a "first fight is a title fight clause'.
Brett Okamoto (2:18 PM)
I don't know ... Bjorn Rebney told me his plans were to not have Melendez fight for the title right off the bat in Bellator ... which mean it wouldn't have been in his contract, which the UFC presumably matched virtually word-for-word. So, that might have just been a UFC decision.
Tyrell (Pittsburgh) [via mobile]
With Mayweather choosing Maidana where does Broner go from here? Does he get on that card as a co-main?
Brett Okamoto (2:19 PM)
Good question, one that is beyond my boxing expertise. I follow boxing as much as I can but not nearly as up to speed on it as MMA. Not sure where Broner will go, I would highly doubt he ends up on a co-main though. Seems like a name Showtime will need to headline a card.
jeremy (spokane [via mobile]
Mcmann is not even a real contender....only reason she was chose was one a easy win and 2 made the card look good with Olympics going and 3 past Olympians and a late Olympian so called punching bag in cummins
Brett Okamoto (2:20 PM)
I would agree she was a longshot, but if not her, who? The UFC wanted Ronda to turnaround quickly and fight in February. Their options were limited. Would you have rather seen her fight Alexis Davis? I wouldn't have.
There have been times when it sounded like you didn't give Weidman much chance for a long run as champ. In your defense, you also talked about the murderer's row he's facing ahead. Chris is special combination of gifts, he can take them all.
Brett Okamoto (2:21 PM)
Agreed. If I had to put money down on Weidman going on a GSP/Anderson type run, making 7-8 title defenses, of course I'd put it on "no." But it's not impossible. I do lean towards him beating Belfort.
WHERE'S TODD DUFFEE???? But seriously, what did you think of Rory's performance? I can't decide if I was impressed or not.
Brett Okamoto (2:22 PM)
I was impressed. Beating Demian Maia is not easy. MACDONALD IS ONLY 24. Just keep saying that over and over again. He's three years away from his prime. He found a way to get off his back in the critical third round against one of the best grapplers in the division. He's still developing, not ready to hold the title yet. I'd pick Johny Hendricks over him FOR SURE. But he'll get there.
If Jacare and Weidman fought next month, who do you think wins and how?
Brett Okamoto (2:23 PM)
I would probably go Weidman by decision ... don't think a submission win for either would be in the cards unless one of them got hurt or really tired. Weidman controls fights so well ... would have to Weidman.
Orlando San Jose [via mobile]
U see any chance Jon jones and Cain getting in the cage together
Brett Okamoto (2:24 PM)
For sure. That's a fight for Madison Square Garden some day, isn't it? Jones/Cain for the heavyweight title at MSG? Sign me up. If not in NY, yeah, 2015 look for that fight.
I think Silva Diaz is in the bag. It lines up perfectly considering people speculate Diaz would return toward end of the year....and even puts Silva back in hunt with a win. Sign me up, I'd watch that fight any day.
Brett Okamoto (2:24 PM)
There you go. I can see it. As ridiculous as it sounds, I can see it.
jeremy (spokane wa) [via mobile]
Moto seriously holly Holm....curious why there is not more talk about that. Ufc should hold out for that fight before cat. I just really love how its obvious Dana is again protecting a prize fighter...
Brett Okamoto (2:26 PM)
I'm not ready to get on this "Dana is protecting Ronda" bandwagon 100 percent. He tried to sign Cyborg to a contract, Tito and her turned it down and went exclusively to Invicta. He tried to make the Zingano fight when we all thought Rousey didn't know how to strike at all, Zingano got hurt. You see what I'm saying? I think he's hesitant on this Cyborg idea because A. It came up when he was trying to promote a fight between Rousey and McMann and B. He's holding a grudge. "You didn't want to sign with us last year? Cool. We're done with you."
Brett, what's up with Duffee being on the TRT list. He's only 28! how can that be?
Brett Okamoto (2:28 PM)
I think he was actually 24 when he was approved. It wasn't based on age with him, they said he had a condition.
Speaking of NYC, how close do you think the UFC is to being allowed there?
Brett Okamoto (2:29 PM)
As close as it's been in the last three years. Not sure if anything changes this year. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is likely to keep MMA off the floor again.
How do you think the strawweights will develop? Will there be any hype there?
Brett Okamoto (2:29 PM)
Honestly ... I think it probably struggles to get off the ground for a bit. Look at flyweight. Flyweight has yet to really, really take off and one of the absolute best fighters in the world (DJ) is its champ.
If Ronda would ever leave the UFC for whatever reason do you see the UFC dropping the women's divisions?
Brett Okamoto (2:30 PM)
I wondered that when they first introduced it, but now that they are introducing a strawweight division, I've dropped that theory. Seems like women's MMA is permanently in the UFC.
Prab from Toronto [via mobile]
Hi Brett, just have a crazy theory i would like to run by you. With Bellator's failed run at Gilbert Melendez, it seems that warning shots have been fired to signify that Viacom will pony up the cash for the right guy. With all of the GSP drama going on, mainly because of the drug testing, do you think we could see Bellator make a run at St. Pierre? Let's say Bjorn tells Georges' reps that they are willing to work out a drug program that GSP would be willing to get behind. With the friction lately with Dana and GSP, what do you think about this crazy conspiracy I have in my head?
Brett Okamoto (2:32 PM)
I'm all for creativity here Prab, thanks for the question. No, I don't see that happening. First off, GSP is still under contract with the UFC. I don't have the specifics of his deal in front of me obviously, but the UFC has said he's under contract and I believe them. Second, GSP wouldn't want to go to Bellator anyway. At least not right now. Maybe I'm wrong on that, he seems to obviously hold some resentment towards the way they handled things, but the competitor in him would want to return to the biggest show, which is still the UFC.
Tim (North Olmsted)
Brett - how much does the initial success of the Strawweight Division depend on how physically attractive the Champ is? It does mean a lot right? Would Rousey be such a star if she looked like Kaufmann?
Brett Okamoto (2:33 PM)
Is that North Olmsted, Ohio by chance? Yeah, I think it helps. And just so we're not accused of being sexist here, it helps in the male division's too. You don't have to be beautiful, but the fact that GSP is a halfway decent looking guy, you don't think that in any way that helped his appeal? Of course it did.
Troy (Spokane Valley)
Gus did an admirable job against JBJ, but it seems to me that it won't be that close in the rematch. I think JBJ will adapt better and widen the gap between them. Do you agree?
Brett Okamoto (2:34 PM)
Yeah, I've said that before in this chat actually. I think JBJ adds different takedown entires to his game, a counter jab, continues to develop his kickboxing range and the rematch is nothing like the first fight.
Tyrell (Pittsburgh) [via mobile]
If Rumble were to ko Davis do you think the Ufc will give him Cormier? Considering he would be on a good streak and Cormier would probably end it in boring fashion. Rumble is one of a few guys they can still market at 205
Brett Okamoto (2:35 PM)
I still think they'd make it. Rumble is in Rashad's camp. I think he'd confidently go after DC. In fact, if Rumble KO's Phil he'd be a fool not to call out DC if you think about it.
Jon (Fort liquor dale )
You used to cover boxing??? Wasn't aware of that, detaiiillllllsssss pleaaasssseeeee!
Brett Okamoto (2:38 PM)
I still cover big fights when they are in Las Vegas and I don't have to travel. I used to work at Las Vegas Sun newspaper ... first boxing match I EVER covered ... I graduated from college in 2008, came to Vegas and went straight to Oscar De La Hoya's last fight ever against Manny Pacquiao. How wild is that? Lot of good opportunities after that, went to first fight ever at Cowboys stadium ... Pacquiao/Clottey, one of the worst fights I've ever seen. Seen Mayweather fight now probably 4/5 times? It's great. Love mixing in boxing with MMA now and then.
Tim (North Olmsted)
Of course it's North Olmsted Ohio!
Brett Okamoto (2:38 PM)
Cool, I grew up in Avon, Ohio until I moved to Colorado when I was 15.
Seems like nobody is really talking about the return of Frankie Edgar and BJ Penn. Could this be the last hurrah for both fighters or do you think this could spark a comeback?
Brett Okamoto (2:39 PM)
I disagree, I get questions about that fight every week. In reality, you could argue BJ has already had his last hurrah ... maybe not though. Edgar still has some good years left you would think. If Aldo left that division, he could definitely hold the belt still.
J. Hendricks (Pumped Up)
GSP is a good looking guy? Ha, not after I got through with him.
Brett Okamoto (2:40 PM)
I like the (pumped up) addition, nice.
lsj (Newark uk)
Feed Anderson Bisping on his return?
Brett Okamoto (2:41 PM)
I suggested that during last week's chat I believe ... but now we've already moved on to Silva/Diaz. Either one would be fine. Bisping has wanted that fight since he was a little boy it seems. I'd be fine with it going to him.
Scronkish (Las Vegas) [via mobile]
RRR stated last year that her goals before retiring were to: 1) be the only undefeated fighter in her division and 2) leave WMMA in a better place than when it started. Goal 2 is already accomplished with the notoriety the fighters are getting now and the addition of the straws. Given her burgeoning acting career and that only CZ stands in her way of goal 1--and based on her life and death against MT, she's not RRR's kryptonite--RRR ain't long for the UFC (maybe 3 fights). One of them has to be Holly Holm, because neither CZ or CJ has the requisite skill set--pinpoint striking, great footwork/distance control, and TDD--to beat RRR, but HH does (not that she will). Thoughts on HH and what it will take to beat RRR.
Brett Okamoto (2:43 PM)
Woah, I had to read this a couple times. We left no detail out on this one ... umm, I agree with you there is a very good chance Rousey could be gone within three fights. Unless she just LOVES fighting so much that her life would be empty without it, if she goes 3-0 in her next three, it's easy to see her leaving. She's not like some of these other champions where this is her only avenue to make money. She has the freedom to leave whenever she feels like it. HH is fun to watch, but how is she stopping a Rousey takedown to armbar? Seriously, how is she doing that? I don't see it.
Best fighter to never hold UFC gold? KFlo, Bisping, Faber or Hendo?
Brett Okamoto (2:44 PM)
Out of that list ............. definitely between Faber and Hendo ..... I'd probably go Faber but it's basically a tie.
You said a long time ago that you will never bet against Hendo, after he won the consecutive fights that you picked against him. Don't go back on your word now.
Brett Okamoto (2:45 PM)
Did I? I can't remember things I say sometimes ... which two fights were they? Either way, I wouldn't bet against him in any fight but I might pick against him. If we're talking me actually putting money on the line for Hendo to lose ... nah, I'm good.
Is Rousey's acting career blossoming? Carano was the lead in her own movie, and then... nothing. I think Rousey needs to try to double dip as long as possible. No offense to her, but she's not exactly Merryl Streep.
Brett Okamoto (2:46 PM)
I agree, but Carano is obviously still doing well enough that she hasn't had to return to fighting, you know? I'm not saying Rousey will start getting million-dollar paychecks from Hollywood, but she wouldn't starve either.
It offends me that Fitch always gets left out of the "best to never hold a belt" questions.
Brett Okamoto (2:46 PM)
Good point. Fitch is on that list.
What is the next move for Mousasi ?,he had his moments vs Machida
Brett Okamoto (2:47 PM)
Stay at middleweight, try to rebound. Francis Carmont? Costa Philippou?
jeremy (spokane wa) [via mobile]
Any word on what the injury exactly was on rashad Ihave read a few different things..
Brett Okamoto (2:48 PM)
His camp won't say ... probably a partial tear of a meniscus or something along those lines based on the timeframe.
Jesse (Iowa City)
1) Women's MMA is severely underdeveloped...2)Rousey is a smug punk who needs to meet another real athlete and she hasn't yet...3)For her to be paid what she is makes this a pure marketing ploy...she is Danica Patrick
Brett Okamoto (2:50 PM)
1. I agree. The depth is not there. No disrespect to any of the fighters, but it's not. 2. Rousey's personality will be viewed however, but in terms of a fighter, she's got my respect man. 100%. She works hard, she's a top level athlete, she's intelligent about it, she's the real deal when it comes to fighting. 3. Yeah, that's a sound argument. She deserves most of what she gets because of what I said in re: 2, but of course there is a marketing element to it because she's the first of her kind.
Dont know if you saw the replay but what were your thoughts on Goldbergs awful commentating on the effects of a liver shot?
Brett Okamoto (2:50 PM)
Didn't see it.
when is UFC going to establish another weight class for women? Rousey is a joke and too big for her opponents. White says he does not like 1-dimensional fighters...hmm...what is Rousey then?
Brett Okamoto (2:51 PM)
They are bringing in the strawweights and Rousey is not one-dimensional. She showcased that a bit in her last fight. Knocking out a determined Olympic wrestler with a liver shot is not easy.
Do your Rockies have the best defensive infield in the majors?
Brett Okamoto (2:53 PM)
Probably not ... Areando is a stud, Tulo has lost some of his range (he's still way better than your average ss, but he's not what he was defensively earlier in his career), LeMaheiu is solid, Morneau is a step down from Todd at first. Big step. Todd "The Professional" Helton was the man at short-hops through the sun in your eyes view at Coors Field.
Troy (Spokane Valley)
I remember the Hendo comment, but you say a LOT of things. Who could remember it all?I can't see how Travis Browne would beat Cain. Cain is relentless, careful, and vicious on the attack. Browne is probably a great athlete, but Cain is a great fighter.
Brett Okamoto (2:54 PM)
I do say a lot of things. And of course, Cain is a huge favorite in that fight. If you're searching and clawing for a contender, you could make a case for Browne though.
Johnny Utah (Catching waves, brah)
Bro, Arenado, sick defense, bro. Tulo and him, I'd pay to see just them... bro.
Brett Okamoto (2:55 PM)
This is how you get posted in a chat run by me.
If Rashad was to had lost to DC, would he be on his way to mw. It would be hard to convince Dana and Joe even with a win! Plus him vs Machida would be a heck of a rematch
Brett Okamoto (2:56 PM)
There are a ton of awesome fights for Rashad at 185 but like I've said on this chat many times, I don't think he can cut to 185 and be the same guy. Everyone just assumes he could make it if he wanted to, I don't.
Manny (Austin, Texas)
Everyone inside the sport, and outside the sport realizes that there's way too many exemptions, so... why not tighten the ability to get one? These gusy already don't get paid enough, now they're fighting other fighters with an advantage (however small)?
Brett Okamoto (2:56 PM)
I agree. Hopefully the Nevada commission takes a hard stance this week when they meet on Friday.
No offense to your betting rule, but if Anderson Silva was matched again Hendo, I'm advising to bet $$ on Silva!
Brett Okamoto (2:57 PM)
Really? Even after the two losses and a serious injury? I wouldn't. And actually, not betting Hendo is not one of my betting rules. I only have two set in stone betting rules. Don't bet $ money on a guy coming off a knockout loss and don't bet money on a guy who has a history of gassing out.
Brett Okamoto (2:58 PM)
Those seem like obvious ones, but then you get an Overeem fight and you get antsy and bet it and then he's gassed three minutes in and you hate yourself.
With the dearth of talent at HW, why did DC drop down anyway? Lack of big fights outside Cain, better fights against Jones and such, some other reason?
Brett Okamoto (2:59 PM)
It was all about Cain holding the belt.
I see a lot of hate for DC because of his opponent, not his fault and he went out there and dominated for the second fight in a row. What more does this guy need to do? lol
I was just about to say, outside of Cain, how many HW's can you safely bet on? lol
Brett Okamoto (3:00 PM)
I agree. He knocked another man out in what, 79 seconds? And it came at a weight we were all worried about him making. Gold star for DC.
Brett Okamoto (3:00 PM)
Betting on heavyweight fights is probably not the best way to go anyway. You see our boy Todd Duffee vs. Mike Russow? That kind of ending doesn't typically happen in lighter weight classes. You can get robbed of a winner in heavyweight.
if Maidana beats Mayweather will that be the biggest upset in the history of combat sports?
Brett Okamoto (3:01 PM)
I see the phrase: "Biggest upset in combat sports" and immediately think Buster Douglas. It will probably always be that way for all of time for me.
Just based on measurable (I don't have them in front of me), are there a lot of fighters bigger than Brock? He obviously looks huge on tv, but so do other guys, and vice versa
Brett Okamoto (3:02 PM)
What do you mean by bigger? He weighed-in at the limit of 265 pounds. Plenty of guys have weighed-in at 265 pounds. In terms of like, "I am standing next to this guy interviewing him and feel like he could crush me in the palm of his hand at any time" ... Brock was probably the biggest. I think his personality played into that though, too.
Regarding gassing out, while its more common in heavier weights, are there fighters in lower weights that commonly do that?
Brett Okamoto (3:03 PM)
It happens of course, but not as much as heavyweight. Adrenaline dumps can definitely happen ... you see a guy think he has a fight finished, doens't get it and then he's done.
Tulo has been killing me in my keeper fantasy league for years... He's always hurt but I just can't let him go! I can only imagine how you feel about real life Tulo...
Brett Okamoto (3:04 PM)
He is going to make it this year. Hang on to him. This is the year. He's healthy going into spring training, I think he's learned to let a ground ball up the middle go in a 2-5 game in May and not risk diving after it. There is a chance he might want to get traded, which will only happen if he's healthy. Monster year for Tulo.
jeremy (spokane) [via mobile]
Most overrated fighter of all time?
Brett Okamoto (3:06 PM)
..... Hmmm. I don't have an answer for that off the top of my head. I know it's been asked before ... I can think about middling guys who sort of wasted talent, but in terms of a guy who is overrated when you look at his career as a whole? Would have to think about it.
Connie P. (Alabama)
Like in Hendricks-Condit? Hendricks was giving him his best shots and Carlos (while he didn't literally shrug them off) just kept coming.
Brett Okamoto (3:07 PM)
Kind of, but Johny didn't gas. He kept taking him down when he needed to. A recent example I can think of is Andrade/Musoke on that Machida/Mousasi card. Andrade dropped him and even raised his hands to celebrate, then followed him to the ground, beat him up but couldn't finish him. Musoke stormed back. Another example would be Maynard/Edgar II at UFC 125, one of my favorite fights in UFC history.
Brett - Can we get some gambling picks for this weekend's Bellator and UFC card? Thanks.
Brett Okamoto (3:08 PM)
I don't have many to be honest. I might take a flyer on Mikhail Zayats +185 just because Lawal has not looked good, man. Watching his last fight I thought he looked injured the way he was moving. With that kind of payback, might be a value play.
Brett Okamoto (3:09 PM)
Alright, think we set a new record. Had a blast. We'll do it again next week. Spread the word, let's pack this thing. Not even a big fight week and we did it, too. Wow. This feels special guys. Hit me on Twitter anytime @bokamotoESPN. Enjoy your weekend.