Good to be with MMA Nation once again on a Thursday! We'll chat for the next hour, and then Episode 18 of MMA Live should be ready for your viewing. Today on the show, we talk to Rashad Evans about his ridiculous KO of Chuck Liddell. We break down the entire main card from UFC 88. And of course, we offer our thoughts on the late Evan Tanner. Let's get going...
Good afternoon Jon - First and foremost I'd like to say RIP Evan Tanner - you will be missed in the fight community, as well as for everyone in MMA nation to say a little prayer (or just a special something) for all the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters that we lost 7 years ago today - thank you sir.
A good way to get us started, Rob. Certainly a huge loss for Mixed Martial Arts with Evan Tanner's passing. We do our best to remember him on the show today.
Is liddell done for?
I did not predict an Evans victory, but I wasn't surprised by the result, either. In terms of contending for a title, I believe Liddell is finished. But I do expect him to fight again.
What's up Jon? I don't know about u but I'd love to see Axe Murderer vs Anderson Silva, any chance we'd ever see that? And will the UFC ever do another show at Mohegan Sun in CT? I know they did a show there years ago.
Hey Brian. I'd love to see a match-up of two great Muay Thai guys, but Wanderlei would seem to be a few wins away for that to become a reality.
Any word on Machida's status? I personally think he should fight Wanderlei or Shogun whichever one is not fighting Rampage
We've barely begun, and I count 8 questions on Lyoto Machida. He will not fight at UFC 89, and is expected to return in December or January. As for an opponent, Shogun is intriguing. Kenny Florian mentioned a rematch with Rich Franklin as another decent possibility. We'll just have to wait and see.
Jon, despite the outstanding character and Rashad Evans ( I for one am a big fan of him), did a little part of you cry when good ole Chuck was seperated from reality on Sat? Especially the fashion in which it was delivered? I don't see anyone gaining fame in MMA the way Chuck did...
No part of me wept for Chuck on Saturday, Tim. In my humble opinion, it is Chuck's responsibility to evolve with the sport. He needs to round out his game, and become more creative as he gets older. He's very plodding, and doesn't seem able to hang with the quicker athletes that litter the sport today. He's had a tremendous run.
How far has MMALive come in the ESPN circles? We can all see that the shows are still going strong(and can thank <inerst deity here> for it), but how much further is it going? Is there anything you can tell us about possible broadcasts? MMALive panels getting segments on sportscenter every week? Anything going on at all that you know of?
Hi Mark. Thanks for supporting the show. I think our momentum in Bristol is tangible. People are starting to take notice, and I hope we continue to expand our reach to other ESPN platforms. Just gotta be patient.
So what hot rumors do you have for us regarding Affliction's big announcement? Whispers of HBO are out there.
A lot of rumors are circulating, Mike. I talked to a pair of sources this morning, but don't really have much to add, other than what has been reported at Sherdog.com and the other MMA websites. I will say: Affliction COO better have a major announcement, given how he has 'teased' it thus far.
What opponent makes the most sense for Lyoto Machida? is this likely to be a situation where Machida would wait for Thiago Silva to get healthy and then re book the fight, much in the same way that Liddell v Evans was?
That is a possibility, Norman, but not the resolution I expect. Silva's back should be okay by December, but Machida can't risk a recurrence of the injury. My best guess, right now, is Machida fights Shogun Rua in December.
Jon, it was good to see Dan Henderson get a much needed win but did you feel that he needed to make more of a statement in the win?
Actually, Chris, I thought Hendo did just fine, even if he apologizes post-fight for the lack of action. Given his strategy, I'm not sure there was much more he could've done to make a statement. Palhares remains an extremely dangerous opponent, and you will see that when he submits his next opponent. Henderson is a guy I always appreciate watching fight. He's one of the best.
What are your thoughts on the MW contenders? Assuming he is healthy does Okami get the next title shot? How about Hendo vs. Nate for #1 contender?
Several great questions coming in from Charlie in Philly. Okami's health is the biggest factor with him. I think Henderson and Marquardt are both sort of at a crossroads, so that fight makes a ton of sense. Marquardt would be a dangerous test for Henderson for sure. I thought Nate looked terrific Saturday night...mixed up his strikes beautifully. They are not happy in Denmark.
What was with the booing during the Hendo/Palhares fight? i thought that was the best fight shown on the PPV
A lot of people thought the fight lacked punch, Jerome. I was more entertained than most, but certainly wouldn't put it at the top of the PPV. I liked the Dong Hyun Kim-Matt Brown scrap that got the main portion of the card started.
rumored fight with Fedor vs Tito for affliction in January is this the right way to bring in Tito? he would get killed
Perhaps Affliction sees all of the mega-fights being staged by the UFC, and wants a mega-fight of its own. Even though Arlovski or Barnett may deserve to fight Fedor next, a fight between Emelianenko and Ortiz would shake up the industry.
Jon, any way I can convince you to do an interview for the website I write MMA for?
I do them all the time, Bren, and would be happy to. Shoot me an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hey Jon, keep up the great work. Slowly building this MMA game up at the World Wide Leader. Does a win over Leben put Bisping in with Silva next @ 185? Okami can't seem to stay healthy long enough to fight the Spider.
Thanks, Jeff. I think Bisping not only needs to beat Leben, but needs to do so with style points (i.e. KO) in order to get the next shot at Silva. Bisping is in the mix, as is Henderson after his win last weekend.
JA, sorry I'm late brohan. I have got to ask you one serious question: Does Liddell's frightening KO beg the need for a minum of 8 oz. gloves? Kids shouldn't be exposed to that. The violence of that punch completely overshadows the technical brilliance of wrestling/BJJ.
Hi, Charlotte. Not sure MMA is really meant for kids to be watching. It depends on age, but most of my friends with children (8-10 years old) do not let them watch the fights live. They tape the events, and let the kids watch only the fights deemed to be not too violent or bloody. As for the 8 oz. gloves, how about Liddell puts his hands up?
It's nice to be back! Do you think Rashad Evans is more-deserving of a title shot than "Rampage" Jackson or Machida?
Good to have you back, Bren. I think Rampage deserved an immediate rematch, but his wild police chase/collision incident got in the way. As for Machida, I think he might've gotten the fight with Griffin had Rashad not registered such a devastating knockout. If you're the UFC, and Evans does that to the guy who has been the face of your promotion, how do you not reward him with a title shot? Just one man's opinion...
Jon, how has becoming a TV host changed your life? Do you get to go to the "exclusive" after hour parties with Chris Berman, Dana White and the pusher?
Hahaha...I've actually been working for ESPN for almost 3 years, but MMA Live is certainly the most enjoyable/gratifying project I've been a part of. That said, I'm nowhere near the 'A' list.
Wow was I wrong last week about Chuck. Who saw that coming? Anyways, about Affliction, is the reason they delayed their next event because of poor ticket sales or because so many fighters were going down to injury?
Actually, Craig, both of our analysts, Kenny Florian and Franklin McNeil had major doubts about Liddell heading into the fight. On to the Affliction stuff, I think there were a combination of factors that led to the postponement. Ticket sales is near the top of the list.
Jon, Urijah Faber is the most overrated fighter since Michael Grant in boxing. This punk kid will be sent back to the X Games if he ever moves up in weight and fights a "Real" ufc-caliber opponent.
Strongly disagree. But I would like to see him tested against the top UFC guys at 155.
who is next for josh koscheck? you said a couple weeks back kenny was embarassed about how he looked on TUF season 1.... was he embarassed doing the reunion? cause he shouldnt be he is a stud at 155lbs and was fighting 185lbs on the show
Not sure who is on tap next for Koscheck, but I am a big fan of his. As for Florian, I'm sure it was gratifying for him to re-unite with the cast, given his recent successes.
Hi Jon! Since Rich Franklin has moved up weight, how many fights, or how long, do you think until he would get a title shot, assuming he keeps winning!
We all know how stacked 205 is in the UFC. But Franklin remains a big name and draw, and should be in the mix with 1 or 2 more victories.
I sit here every week and see people talk about Machida. WHY! Who has he beat? Please explain this to me. I want to like the guy but it is hard when everyone sweats him for no aparent reason other then he is undefeated!
It's an interesting point. What if he had succumbed to that near-triangle choke from Tito Ortiz? Where would he be then? My only real point on Machida all along has been that he shouldn't be punished for his fighting style. The sport is about winning. Entertainment is part of it, but you gotta win first. See Henderson, Dan vs. Palhares, Rousimar.
Hey Jon love the show, watch it every thursday while eating dinner. Have you ever considered going into play by play for mma, you're knowledgable about the sport but are also a fan which would bring great excitement to the telecast
Appreciate the kind words, Stephen. Doing MMA play-by-play is certainly intriguing. I just need to work on my historical perspective. Guys like Mauro Ranallo have far more of a historical framework for Mixed Martial Arts than I do. Since MMA Live began, I have gone back and watched about 300 fights that I should've been watching earlier this decade with the rest of you!
Why did the rumored Spencer Fisher vs. Melvin fight not come to be?
Still without word on why Melvin Guillard was pulled from the card. If it was an injury, I think we would've heard by now. I'm thinking it's something else.
I can't believe you had Dana White in studio and didn't ask him when Ken-Flo is going to get a shot at BJ Penn.
With all due respect, Marc, he has been asked that question a million times, and his answer is always the same. 1) He wants to stage mega-fights. 2) BJ Penn wants to avenge his loss to GSP. 3) The masses want to see BJ Penn fight St. Pierre. It's just good business, man, even if you and I know Kenny deserves a title shot, and a bit more respect for that matter. Seems as though BJ gets what BJ wants.
Jon, how's it going? I love these weekly chats you do. Dana White said something along the lines of "Affliction is hanging on by a thread" during the Couture/Lesnar conference call. Now I see Affliction has postponed their Oct. 11th show. Is this a sign of impending doom? Thanks!
Thanks, Josh. I am constantly asked about Affliction's staying power. It seems as though the Day of Reckoning card will now take place in January, and could get a boost in terms of some big names (Fedor, perhaps Tito Ortiz). I just think it is such a daunting task to be chasing the UFC right now, and Affliction is starting to realize that. We should know more after their 'big' announcement in the next 10 days or so. I do expect Affliction to be around, at least through 2009.
All this talk about Machida and nothing about Lesnar??? How do you think he matches up the Couture? I think he's just too everything (big, quick, tatoo) for Randy.
Agreed, Jeff. So tired of the complaints about Lesnar getting a title shot. He is going to be the UFC HW champion someday. He is a huge crossover star, and a very talented fighter. If I were Couture, not sure I would've even taken the fight. I think Randy's in trouble 11/15.
How will the cancellation of last night's WEC show and subsequent rescheduling for November, affect the fighters involved?
It's a good question, Mark, and a disappointing situation. A lot of guys spend thousands of dollars on a training camp, and have no way to recoup that money. I was shocked they postponed it a FULL 2 months, but I'm sure there were a lot of logistics at play. Urijah Faber was hoping to fight again in 2008. Now, that'll be his last fight of the year. No winners in this situation.
Do you think the UFC is hurting the image of what it means to be Champion by offering up shots to folks many would consider undeserving of the opportunity like Mir, Lesnar, Cote, Penn (at Welterweight), and even Lutter/Serra from TUF 4?
It's a tough question because I can see both sides of it. I understand fully why Dana White and Joe Silva make the decisions they do. But, sometimes, it absolutely compromises the integrity of a given division.
UFC 91 was originally rumored to be in Portland, OR... is there a reason why it is not going to be held there? And is there any rumors about UFC fighting there in the future? Or is the list of places UFC plans on going to reaching page 35363?
I fully expect the UFC to touch down in Portland, Oregon, as soon as another good date becomes available. As for why UFC 91 was moved to Vegas, it's pretty simple. Couture-Lesnar could headline the biggest PPV in UFC history. It has to be held in the fight capital of the world.
Jon, have you guys talked about a supposed "prime" range like in baseball (27-29 yrs. old). Even though Couture has excelled at his age and the success of younger stars it seems to me that 31-33 is the prime for a general range.
I like the question, Jim. But I really think it depends on the fighter. Kenny Florian would tell you that he is entering his prime right about now (age 32), but others could realize their prime at a younger age. Also, Bernard Hopkins isn't the most exciting boxer in the world, but remains very competitive at age 43 b/c he treats his body like a temple. The dude never drinks, never eats fried food, etc. If you WANT to be great after your 40th birthday, your lifestyle must reflect that desire.
Hi Jon! One of the most enjoyable fights recently was the Torres/Maeda fight. Do you think it is helps or hurts when fighters dislike each other?
Loved that fight. In talking to fighters, some say it doesn't matter either way. Others, like Ken-Flo and Oscar De La Hoya, insist that disliking their opponent aids them greatly in their motivation and preparation.
When will people realize that championship fights don't always go to the most deserving challenger, but sometimes they go to the challenger who can bring the most hype and PPV buys?
Well put, Jeff.
You guys are late! My left mouse click button is breaking from me bashing refresh. Wheres the goodies?
I just checked with our ESPN.com editors. They are working on it. I will let you know as soon as MMA Live is ready. Sorry for the delay! Appreciate your passion.
Due to Brock Lesnars lack of technical ability and donkey kong style of fighting Do you feel that Brock will somehow tarnish the UFC heavyweight belt if he ever obtains it?
Don't think that is a fair assessment of Lesnar, Mike. Sure, his technique in certain areas is raw. But he's ready for this opportunity.
Jon, LOVE the show and I think you are really growing as an analyst. I would like to see you give your opinion more. Also, who do you think has the best jab (not KO power, but best consistent jab) in all of MMA?
Thanks, BC. As you know, I'm not paid to give my opinion, but I try to work it in when I can! As for the jab question, you've really jogged my brain. I like Arlovski's jab, but his reach is a bit of a disadvantage. Tim Sylvia is 6'8", and has done a decent job of keeping certain people off of him. I just texted Florian to get a better answer for you.
What really happened with Karo Parisyan, before the Yoshida fight?
Your guess is as good as mine. I know there was the diagnosis of panic attacks, and some mental issues. Not exactly sure. What I am sure of is that I felt horribly for Yoshida, a rising star.
Jon if you had to give me a yes or no do you think Dreams will be around this time next year, Do you think this upcoming show will get the ratings up to give them more life ?
It's hard to say, Eric. I think the next show absolutely must do a big number. I predict World Victory Road/Sengoku will outlast Dream.
I think people are missing the point on Lesnar as well. If he beats Couture and captures the title, it will be recognizable on many fronts, including for NCAA wrestlers who are looking for an avenue to continue to fight after college. He wasn't ALWAYS a pro wrestler.
Hmmm...I don't seem to recall the last time the NFL determined a Superbowl match-up by slotting the two most popular teams against each other in order to determine the league's champion. In most sports, teams have to EARN the right call themselves champ based on what they've accomplished on the playing field. Imagine that?
Yes, Jeff. But you're smart enough to realize why these decisions are made, right? Life = not fair. See Anik's salary compared to Florian's!
lets talk evan tanner .... What wil lthe UFC do to honor Evan is he hall of fame material? i think he is
I think he is a fringe Hall-of-Famer, John, and could very well get in. There is no doubt he needs to be honored in some way by the UFC, and they'll be sure to.
As a fan of mma Id love to see Ken dominate Kimbo. Whats the buz between the mma professionals like yourself?
I think a lot of MMA journalists, myself included, would like to see Kimbo get a dose of reality. Just not sure Ken Shamrock is the guy to dole it out.
Jon, Uriah Faber has been dominating in the WEC. His a fighter with so much talent but is fighting in a smaller market with the WEC. Do you see him moving up to 155 and testing the UFC? Or do you think he is just going to wait for the UFC to absorb the smaller weight class?
I'm not sure the UFC will ever absorb the 145 lbs. division. And I think Faber, at least right now, is content to stay in the WEC. One of the biggest curiousities amongst MMA fans is just how good Faber will be against the top lightweights.
Simply stating a fact on how MMA championship fights are determined. Unless the UFC starts a tournament, they are going to continue to make fights that are most appealing, not to the most deserving. Never said I agree with it.
Do you think that Fedor will ever come to UFC or will people continue to underestimate him?
My opinion on this question changes like the wind. If Affliction folds (not my immediate expectation) and a fight with Couture can only be made under the UFC umbrella, perhaps Fedor takes the plunge. But he's as stubborn as Dana White, or so it seems.
Whats with all the Brock bashing? heres a fact he just dominated a guy who was probably one win away from a title shot. Another fact is he improved a lot from his first UFC fight to his second, and will make another huge leap from his second to third fight. And the biggest fact is he is the biggest draw in the UFC right now, wouldnt any SMART businessman do everything possible to make money off of that?
AND, is there anyone in this chat who is not looking forward to Lesnar-Couture??? If you are not going to buy the PPV, enlighten me as to why.
Jon with Mitsuhiro Ishida and Kazuo Misaki coming to the U.S to fight in the next strike Force card do you think this will open the gates up to more of the top MMA fighters in Japan coming over to fight in the U.S ? Could we possibly see in the near futre Aoki Shields fight ?
It's a very encouraging sign, at least for American MMA fans. Ishida is still considered a top 10 lightweight in the world by many experts. Not holding my breath on Aoki, but we'll see.
::screaming:: Urijah Faber/ Frankie Edgar...........
Frankie Edgar recently did an interview on SIRIUS Satellite Radio, and said he has no urgency to move down to 145 to fight Faber. Is the match-up intriguing? Yes. Could Edgar make the cut in weight? Absolutely. But he is entrenched as a UFC LW, and seems content with that status, even if he didn't get the Florian fight he sought.
I am not going to buy it because Lesnar is not the most deserving challenger.
Your loss. At least promise to watch MMA Live the week after for a recap!
Do you think MMA will ever catch on as scholastic sport in college or HS?
Doubtful. Boxing may be more violent than MMA, but given some of the brutality and blood associated with MMA, it's just a tough sell to a lot of people.
With Couture's age and obvious delays in setting up the fight at what point do we say that Couture's window has closed in being competitive with Fedor?
Not sure that his window to be competitive has closed just yet. But, I think he returned to the UFC a bit reluctantly (meaning that he didn't have any other option, other than to spend the final year or two of his career in a court room instead of a cage).
Liddell=Favre. Past their primes, but still a big draw. Both show flashes of brilliance in the last stages of a great career, but neither has what it takes to reach a championship in their respective sport. Good comparison Jon?
I'll buy it. Except that Favre may have more bullets left than Liddell right now. Sorry, Iceman.
Sorry Jon -should have been more specific - - Faber/Edgar as The CK's first test at 55....my apologies
No worries, Rob. I think that's a good first test in the UFC for Urijah, but who knows if Edgar will still be near the top of the division if and when Faber crosses over.
Anyone who does not buy the Lesner v Couture fight is not a tru MMA fan. No one thinks Kimbo Slice is a main event caliber fighter but we still watch cause we love the sport.
Agreed, Ben. Other than GSP-Anderson Silva, I can't think of a bigger fight the UFC can make than Couture-Lesnar.
Considering it looks like "Rampage" vs. Wanderlei Silva will be on the undercard, as is Florian vs. Stevenson, the only excuses any MMA fan should have in terms of not ordering UFC 91 are 1.) No money, 2.) You'll be attending live, or 3.) Death.
I second that.
Jon do you ever see Liddell rethinking his training and possibly leaving John Hackleman and the Pit to go to another camp to train ?
He seems to be a loyalist, but something has to change if he wants his career to end positively.
Update on MMA Live: There is a technical issue that is holding things up right now. Sorry. But the show is done, and will be available as soon as humanly possible. Everyone but me in this department is working on it as we speak. I'll stick around with you guys for another 15 minutes or so.
Jon, Care to hit us with your main card predictions for UFC Fight Night 15?
Nice to have a submission come in from Milwaukee. Off the top of my head, I'll take Nate Diaz, Clay Guida, Joe Lauzon, and Ed Herman. And I'll have my eyes on Rob Kimmons on the undercard.
I'm not sure why people are saying Lesnar doesn't deserve a title shot. Even Dana said it would be a 4 man heavyweight tournament or sorts. The winner of Lesnar/Couture will fight the winner of Mir/Nogueria for the HW Title. How is this not fair to all four fighters? I think deep down there are some people who look at Lesnar and see "Pro Wrestling" written all over him. I don't care if Lesnar had a career in tiddly winks - what I do know is the guy has a back big enough to show a movie on, the strength of a gorilla, and the agility of a middleweight. Athletes with his size and speed come around maybe once a decade. He's worth paying to see every time.
Another well-put defense of Lesnar. I know some in the chat today have questioned whether or not Mir, even as a former UFC HW champ, deserves the shot at Nogueira. I think the 4-man HW tournament that the UFC has set up could be outstanding. Potentially 3 sick fights.
The winner of Nog vs Mir gets the next title shot right?
Correct. Barring injury or some unforseen circumstance, the Mir-Nog winner will face the Couture-Lesnar winner.
Jon who are you taking CroCop or Alistar overeem ?
Overeem. I think the Demolition Man is in better current form.
I'll Take Mac Danzig over Guida. To me he is one of the most impressive products to come from TUF, and this is a great match for him and for FN 15.
Fair enough. That's a tough one to handicap.
Hey Jon love the show. My question is that I'm a big fan of MMA especially UFC,WEC because the use of a Cage. I would watch IFL but not as excited about it becasue of the ring and ropes. Any Guess why MMA is not fought primarily in a cage.
I have talked at length with Frank Mir about the downfalls of the ring. MMA competition, universally, should be held in a cage. Don't see any merit to the ring, Chris. Thanks for chiming in.
What are some of the funniest moments you guys have had so far on the set of MMA live?
Ken-Flo has a great sense of humor, and oftentimes I have to reign everyone in during our pre-production meetings. Once we are on set, the mood is a bit more serious. Wish I had something more specific for you.
I hope you and Kenny are gonna give Franklin some love on the show today for choosing Rashad! He was spot on with him being a live dog.
McNeil loved Rashad to win the fight. He told me I was missing out on a money-making opportunity. We make sure to give him some credit today off the top.
Jon, sorry, really late today!! Just wanted to say RIP to Evan Tanner, great fighter and even greater man!
Joe from St. Louis finally arrives! What a tremendous loss for MMA and the UFC. I have been very impressed with the manner in which he has been immortalized across all of the great Internet websites. We do our best to honor him today on MMA Live.
Are viewers really more interested in watching hours of poker coverage on TV rather than a weekly 30 minute MMA show? Really, ESPN has over 5 different networks and can't fit MMA Live anywhere on the schedule (yet)?
We are trying, Samuel. I think it's an eventuality...we just have to be patient. As previously stated, as long as we continue to improve, and you continue to watch, I think it will happen. Keep firing in those e-mails to email@example.com. It all helps...I promise you.
UFC to Portland ASAP!! Say, Jon, do you think that Chuck should move weight classes at this point? He's obviously done for at light heavyweight. Do you think he'd fare better at heavyweight? Or should he do the work to lose a bit of that gut and try to cut to Middleweight?
Yeah Mike, the only loser in the whole Couture-Lesnar announcement was Portland. The Rose Garden was clear for a week...Greg Oden and the Blazers were out of town...Bummer...But, a card of that magnitude had to be in Vegas. No chance Liddell could fight at 185 at this point. Perhaps he could hang with some of the lesser heavyweights. My suggestion for Liddell: Re-dedicate yourself to the sport. Be willing to be versatile. When the 4-seam fastball goes, develop a splitter, etc.
When Lesnar beats Couture and Mir, will the talk of Lesnar/Fedor start?
The Lesnar-Fedor talk has already begun. We answer an e-mail on the subject today on MMA Live.
Alright, ladies and gents. I'm being summoned to voice the Twins-Royals highlight for ESPN.com (Wish it could be all MMA all the time, but duty calls)! Episode #18 of MMA Live should be available soon. And remember, if I didn't get to your question, just send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will effort to respond personally. Thanks for all the great submissions today...no pun intended...We'll do it again next Thursday at 2:30 ET. Until then, R.I.P. Evan Tanner, and all of the 9/11 victims. -JA