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September 18, 12:35 PM ET
Chat with Jon Anik

Jon Anik
  (2:28 PM)

Good to have everyone back for another MMA Live chat here at espn.com! We'll field your questions for the next hour, and then the show should be up for your viewing. Let's get right to it...

Bobby (Boston)

If Rampage/Wandy gets moved to a later PPV is it too late to add another marquee fight to UFC 91?

Jon Anik
  (2:29 PM)

I think the always resourceful UFC will come up with something. I really like some of the prelim fights, too, especially the Dustin Hazelett-Tamdan McCrory scrap.

Josh (NY, NY)

So I'm prepping for my TUF8 draft (snake draft, we each get 4 fighters) - based on what we've seen and based on what you know about each fighter coming in, who are you two favorites in each weight class?

Jon Anik
  (2:31 PM)

I wish there was room for one more in that draft! It's early, but I do like Junie Browning at LW, and was impressed with Tom Lawlor at light heavyweight. I really like watching Frank Mir as a coach. He's certainly into it. And how do you not like Nogueira? Even if he's a bit subdued...

Hondo (Boston, MA)

Hey Jon, I absolutely love the show, thanks for putting it on. Do you watch any of the MMA reality shows out there? If so which ones? Do you have any thoughts on the current crop of TUF fighters?

Jon Anik
  (2:32 PM)

I do watch TUF, but oftentimes I tape it and don't see it live. I'm not totally enamored with the field just yet, but it's hard to glean much through 2 episodes. I think Junie Browning looks relentless.

rob (jersey)

Jon - good afternoon to you and MMA Nation - - boy EXC stepped up big time huh - now maybe Pit Bull/nelson isn't the most competitive match (which I'm not real sure it isn't) but it sure will get people to tune in (as if they weren't already) Now if they can only secure Diaz/Alvarez - and maybe a Josh Thompson/Hellboy match - -thoughts?

Jon Anik
  (2:35 PM)

Props to EliteXC and Affliction for sure. I just hope, as you do Rob, that it leads to more collaboration between all UFC competitors. DREAM has delivered all year, and I'd love to see some of their standouts continue to crossover.

Ben (Columbus, OH)

Do you feel that with Affliction agreeing to let Arlovski fight Nelson on the EliteXC CBS show it is the first step in a merger?

Jon Anik
  (2:37 PM)

I don't expect an all-out merger anytime soon, if ever. But all fight fans really need is a working relationship and a concerted effort to put on the big fights that people want to see. I may want to see Josh Thomson fight Mitsuhiro Ishida, but Strikeforce should first go after Joachim Hansen.

Tim (Wilmington, NC)

With the UFC telling Rich Franklin and Dan Henderson that rematches w/ Anderson Silva are unlikely, what do you think of a Hendo vs. Franklin fight. The winner possibly seeing Michael Bisping? All three of those guys have seen action at 185 and 205, I think the matchups are intruiging? What are your thoughts?

Jon Anik
  (2:39 PM)

I agree on all fronts. It would seem to me though, Tim, that things will be on hold until 10/18, to see what Bisping does against Chris Leben at UFC 89. A Bisping win could set up Season 9 of The Ultimate Fighter with Bisping and Hendo as the coaches. Then, Henderson likely couldn't fight Franklin until the end of the show. Stay tuned. Filming for Season 9 of TUF is slated to begin in April, 2009.

Jeff - MD

What is the latest on Shogun? Any word if he could be added to the year-end show? Maybe a fight with Machida or even Liddell?

Jon Anik
  (2:41 PM)

Wish I had something concrete for you Jeff. I think he will fight before year's end, and I think Machida is more likely than Liddell. They gotta get Chuck a W!

Josh (NY, NY)

I know it's only been two episodes, but I've been really impressed by Mir's coaching on TUF8. I've read interviews where he really downplayed his coaching skills - but he really helped a few guys during their fights last night. Thoughts?

Jon Anik
  (2:41 PM)

He's a very passionate guy, and it's a great forum/format for him.

Sid, Hoboken NJ

First of all, love MMA Live. A great forum for us fans. Jon, in your opinion will the ratings for the CBS Elite show raise even 1 tenth of a point for the Arlovski fight?

Jon Anik
  (2:43 PM)

It's a good question, Sid. Not sure if it is a ratings booster, but it is certainly a huge appeal to the hardcore MMA fans. And, putting one of the best heavyweight strikers in all of MMA on CBS should help both promotions, and the sport going forward.

Darek (Dallas, TX)

Hey Jon! Good to chat with you again. I read earlier today that Affliction/EliteXC might merge to possibly make a Kimbo/Fedor matchup. This is like hearing nails on the chalkboard to me. What are your thoughts on this and do you actually see this possibly happening?

Jon Anik
  (2:45 PM)

Hey Darek. I do not think we will ever see Kimbo Slice fight Fedor Emelianenko. I do not question the fight's appeal and drawing power, but Kimbo has a lot of work to do before that would come to pass. Certainly would give us a Weigh-In topic on MMA Live. Also, Kimbo Slice will be on the show next week, just a couple days before his fight.

jim (belton,tx)

is skip bayless an mma fan? does he ever ask u about mma?

Jon Anik
  (2:46 PM)

I have never crossed paths with Skip. But I'll be sure to ask him about MMA for you, Jim if and when we connect.

Mark (Mount Pleasant) for Rob in Jersey

Man, Rob speaks the truth. I dont know how much AA will put up the overall numbers...but I do know that AA is going to be the sole reason that makes it a cant miss for hardcore MMA fans. If EliteXC somehow snags Alvarez for the card as well, it should strike gold.

Jon Anik
  (2:47 PM)

Alvarez wouldn't fight on 10/4, but I'd think he'd have to be in play for the first EliteXC PPV in 2009.

Jeff - MD

what did you think of mousasi's win in the dream grand prix? that was quite an impressive win he had.

Jon Anik
  (2:48 PM)

Finally some love for Gegard Mousasi! Absolutely ridiculous. In case you missed it, in the finals of the DREAM MW Grand Prix, the dude, from his back, knocked Jacare de Souza out cold. Wow.

Taku Osaka Japan

I'm wondering who is on your mma mount Rushmore and what is your favorite color?

Jon Anik
  (2:51 PM)

Nice to have you check in from Japan. My MMA Mount Rushmore: 1. Royce Gracie 2. Randy Couture 3. Sakuraba 4. I'd like to put GSP on here, b/c I think, when all is said and done, he would occupy this spot. But right now, I'd lean towards Chuck Liddell. And, I'll have to get back to you on the favorite color. I play black on the Roulette tables in Vegas.

Charlie, Philly

Do you think that if Bisping beats Leben next month that the UFC will offer Bisping a coach's spot on TUF 9 US vs UK?

Jon Anik
  (2:52 PM)

Yes. Who else would even be in the mix, if they wanted a British fighter to coach the UK team?

Arnie Enfield, CT

I read online that Anderson Silva was talking retirement? He was saying maybe two more fights and then he will have nothing else to prove? Is that true he is talking retirement and if he is what do you think the UFC can do to keep him around?

Jon Anik
  (2:54 PM)

I'd love to bang out a 1000-word answer. But we hammer the topic today on MMA Live, so I'll make you wait. Two things I will say: He'll be around for at least another year, so enjoy him while you can. And, he could make an absolutely killing by boxing Roy Jones Jr. I have to think that intrigues him.

Jose, Miami Florida

MMA Mount Rushmore: there cannot be an MMA Mount Rushmore which does not include Ken Shamrock

Jon Anik
  (2:55 PM)

Fair enough...should probably have him on there over Liddell...it's hard to shave it down to 4.

Chris (Harrisonburg, VA)

Jon, What are your thoughte redarding Mirko CroCop's latest performance at Dream 6? He seems to have lost the agressiveness that propelled his stardom in the past.

Jon Anik
  (2:56 PM)

Seems cooked to me, Chris. He just didn't look in shape.

Stu, West New York

Jon, MMA Live has been ESPN's best idea in the last 5 years. Does the panel believe that this Elite Card has the star power to save this promotions low ratings? Is Kimbo vs Shamrock really going to change the landscape of MMA? Kimbo main eventing over and over is a joke to the real MMA fans.

Jon Anik
  (2:57 PM)

Thanks, Stu. I know the producers will appreciate that. Personally, I think the 10/4 show on CBS will do a big number. Not as big as the 5/31 show, but big. Still perplexed at the lack of promotion. And no, Kimbo-Shamrock will not change the MMA landscape. Whatsoever.

Josh (NY, NY)

While I'm happy Arlovski/Nelson was added, doesn't having the final IFL HW champ face a former UFC HW champ on a card highlighted by Kimbo/Shammy at HW just draw attention to how far XC's HW division really has to go? Especially when its HW champ is now trying to seek reinstatement after a negative second test result.

Jon Anik
  (3:00 PM)

It's a fair statement, Josh. But I'm not sure it will cast a negative light on Elite XC's heavyweights. Remember, the division is suffering across the board. Prior to Couture's return, the UFC had Nogueira, Mir, and Lesnar. Promising up-and-comers like Carwin and Velasquez, but no huge names. What Kimbo Slice lacks in skill he more than makes up for in name recognition. As for EliteXC HW champ, Antonio 'Big Foot' Silva, it's too bad. I like him as a fighter and he's a good man.

Ben (Columbus, OH)

I just read the article about Kimbo v Fedor on mmajunkie.com. I almost peed my pants. The goal is to create a successful partnership. Kimbo would not last half a minute and he is the only thing keeping elite xc afloat from what I have read.

Jon Anik
  (3:03 PM)

You are not alone in that sentiment, Ben. I just really want to see Kimbo against a legitimate opponent. Because I don't really feel like bashing the guy like everyone else. If he beat a Brett Rogers or Antonio Silva, he would get some respect. Now...can he do it? I don't know. Can't wait to assess Kimbo post-10/4.

Joe (St. Louis, MO)

Jon, I'm here early today!! With the recent news of the Affliction/EliteXC co-promotion, what does this mean for the industry? Kind of funny how EliteXC banned their fighters from wearing Affliction clothing on TV, but now they're partnering with them. Desperate times call for desperate measures?

Jon Anik
  (3:04 PM)

Hey Joe. Chat queue is overflowing today! It is definitely an important stretch here for Elite XC, but I'm not sure how 'desperate' they are. Affliction reached out to Elite XC. And, EliteXC has been willing to collaborate with other promoters. The big question remains: Will this lead to frequent, consistent co-promotion?

Bishop (Watertown, MA)

Do you think Gina Carano makes weight for this next fight? What does ti say about her, and by extension women's MMA, that she has consistently missed weight?

Jon Anik
  (3:06 PM)

She's got to, Bishop. It's part of the job, as we discuss in the chat every week. Hopefully she learned a lesson the last time around.

jim (belton,tx)

hey jon. i heard in a recent interview floyd mayweather sr say that if any top level mma fighters came to him and asked him to train them he would! do you see any fighters asking him to do so.

Jon Anik
  (3:07 PM)

If your boxing needs work, there may be no better guy to go to. I'm sure you know Andrei Arlovski works with renowned boxing trainer Freddie Roach.

Arnie Enfield, CT

Love the show, read the questions every week. What is the latest on the Karo Paryisan situation? He was one of my favorite fighters and I love the judo throws. Keep up all the great work!

Jon Anik
  (3:08 PM)

Thanks, Arnie. Nothing new to report on Parisyan. Quite a few inquiries on him this week, so I wanted to address it. I've got some feelers out there.

Craig (Erie,PA)

Hey Jon, Just wanna thank you for making my thursday afternoon workday go by much faster. And wanted to know if im not the only one still shuttering in pain from what happened to Crocop. Between that fight and Kongo there may not be a possibility of future Crocops.

Jon Anik
  (3:09 PM)

We're here for you, Craig. As for Cro Cop, testicle relocation = not pleasant. I wonder if he really wants to re-dedicate himself at this point.

Jeff (Rochester NY)

What non-MMA athelete would make a great MMA fighter? (I think Allen Iverson would be tough in the octagon)

Jon Anik
  (3:11 PM)

AI would be a slick lightweight, if he could cut to 155. From the NFL, there are a bunch of linebackers who could be great heavyweights. Shawne Merriman is the only one I know of who actively trains in some MMA disciplines. But I'm sure there are several others.

Jeff - MD

MMA Live is up!

Jon Anik
  (3:12 PM)

You're hired, Jeff.

Pyshic

Predicition: Frank Mir will be the UFC's most popular heavyweight after his run on TUF. His enthusiasm really shines through. People are looking for a guy to get behind in this division, and Mir's the guy!

Jon Anik
  (3:14 PM)

I like it, Psychic. As stated earlier, it's an awesome forum for Frank to showcase his personality and fighting acumen, and he is already shining. But.....he needs to find a way to beat Nogueira in December in order to really capitalize.

Justin, CA

What is the potential of Brock? Will he be champ after his next fight and where do you see him going should he win and/or lose? Thanks.

Jon Anik
  (3:15 PM)

Yes. I know many experts disagree, but I think Lesnar will overpower Couture, and become the champion. I know he couldn't finish Heath Herring, but perhaps he would have if the decision was in question. Brock = here to stay.

Joe (St. Louis, MO)

Jon, do you really think Chuck Liddell is that great of a fighter? I know he has done important things for the sport, but I have always questioned his ability. It seems his run of knocking out grapplers was put to an end, and he never beat anyone with half way decent striking. I'm sure he's a hall of famer, based on popularity, but not because he was an exceptional fighter. Your thoughts?

Jon Anik
  (3:17 PM)

I have never been Liddell's biggest fan. I was critical of him a few weeks ago, and was bombarded by MMA Nation. But, in talking at length with Kenny Florian and others, his impact on the sport can't be questioned. My friends who don't follow MMA at all know who Chuck Liddell is. And although he had many great moments in The Octagon, I do believe his popularity will be a major factor in his eventual HOF induction.

Leo (Boston MA)

Jon I was thinking of heading out to Vegas to watch UFC 91, do you know if there are still tickets left or is the event sold out yet?

Jon Anik
  (3:19 PM)

Just go. Do whatever you can to get out there. Overpay. Not one you want to miss. I don't know off the top of my head if tickets are still available, but the Internet does.

rumteen sacramento ca

hey john quick question why if lyoto and rashad both are undefeated and lyotos beat guys like rich franklin bj penn among others why isnt there a number one contenders fight to see who should fight forrest in my opinion this is unfair to lyoto

Jon Anik
  (3:22 PM)

You can't always forecast what will happen in a given fight. Liddell-Evans was supposed to happen all the way back in July. And, most expected Liddell to win. Machida was supposed to face Thiago Silva. Even Machida haters acknowledge he deserves a title shot soon, if not now. Just keep winning, and it'll come. I am okay with Rashad getting the shot at Forrest Griffin. And, were it not for his legal issues, I think Rampage deserved an immediate rematch. I'm rambling...

Matt (lake oswego, or)

gina carano is HOT. that is all.

Jon Anik
  (3:23 PM)

No argument here. And I don't throw 'hot' out there all that often.

Mark (Boston)

I believe I read that there are at least 5000 tickets still available.

Jon Anik
  (3:23 PM)

That's for UFC 91, 11/15 in Vegas. Thanks, Mark...and congrats on your Red Sox.

Hondo (Boston, MA)

I'm sorry Jon, but I have to call you out on an answer you just gave. Brock might have finished Herring if the desicion was in question? That's some pretty outstanding speculation. It doesn't exactly fit in with the killer's instinct that one expects from top level fighters especially when a submission can basically come at any moment. Brock is definitely here to stay, but he's still green and has some holes that Randy can possibly exploit.

Jon Anik
  (3:25 PM)

No problem, Hondo. I can take it. But I thought the criticism of Brock for not finishing Herring was a bit unfair. The point is, we all agree Lesnar is a huge force to be reckoned with. He's had 2 UFC fights, and yet when the sportsbook closes, he will be FAVORED to win the UFC Heavyweight championship. Would you be surprised if he finished Randy?

Pierre (Montreal)

Hey Jon for UFC 91 only tickets left are for $1,000

Matt (lake oswego, or)

ufc 91 was originally planned to take place in the rose garden in portland, or, but since couture's return, has been moved to vegas. i know vegas is a better place to host a huge show, but portland, with team quest and a big mma scene with a lot of fans, why did we get robbed of a huge card, and will ufc be planning a show in early 09?

Jon Anik
  (3:27 PM)

The only loser in Couture's return ended up being Portland, OR. But rest assured, the UFC is acutely aware of the MMA scene there, and there will be a card at the Rose Garden soon. I would bet in 2009.

rob (jersey)

I think we are in agreement that win/lose GSP would still be in the running to fight Anderson Silva - ifg he gets both fights - do you think he would retire? What would be left?

Jon Anik
  (3:29 PM)

Rob, a lot of the elite guys really take it fight by fight, even if you think they may fight forever. And I think there is always someone to fight, always up-and-comers, etc.

Todd (Raleigh)

Hey Jon, Cote has quick hands and has definitely improved, but does he last the first round or is it another fists of fury from Silva?

Jon Anik
  (3:30 PM)

With respect to GSP's prediction that Cote can pull off the upset, I expect it to be a quick fight. The minute 'The Spider' sees an opening, he takes advantage of it. And Cote has holes.

Samuel (Fayetteville, AR)

Why the long layoffs between fights for certain fighters, like for Silva vs Irvin, when it only lasted a little over a minute and Silva never even got hit. Couldn't he come right back the next month and fight again?

Jon Anik
  (3:32 PM)

Yes, Samuel. Silva could've come back sooner, and probably would've liked to. But imagine being (UFC VP of Talent Relations, Matchmaker) Joe Silva, or Dana White for that matter. So many different considerations when you are scheduling fights and cards. It's not as easy as it looks to us, as we try to play matchmaker. Part of me thinks Silva is talking retirement, b/c he has 6 fights left on his contract, and would like to start banging some of them out!

Matt (lake oswego, or)

DREAM looks like it is having trouble staying afloat. what are the odds that fighters like Gomi, Aoki, Overeem, Kharitonov, etc. show up in the octagon? with Pride's buyout, i was hoping to see a lot of these names in the octagon, but never heard of any of them being pursued. i don't know about you, but i'd LOVE to see your co-host Ken-Flo fight Aoki. that would be an unbelievable technical fight.

Jon Anik
  (3:34 PM)

I know Kenny would love to fight some of the top guys from Japan. DREAM is facing uncertain times. And, should the promotion fold, I would think the UFC, and others, would be there to pounce on the talent.

Ramone (Philly)

How come everytime you chat you get bombarded by people who are Anti-Lesnar? I dont see how these people cant see Brock is a monster and is legit. Also on the him not finishing Herring, Fedor wasnt able to finish Herring i do believe

Jon Anik
  (3:36 PM)

I understand fighters who may be a bit envious that he is getting a title shot so early on in his UFC career. But I think he deserves it, as I'm sure you do. Frank Mir said he was just about the toughest guy he ever faced. As for the Fedor-Herring PRIDE fight, I believe it was a TKO due to a doctor's stoppage.

rob (jersey)

so we talk alot about "Mega-fights" on this chat - so what up and comer "megafight" (in any promotion) would you want to see?

Jon Anik
  (3:38 PM)

I want to see some BJJ guys go head-to-head. I'd like to see a 4-man tournament at 185 or 205 with Demian Maia, Rousimar Palhares, and Ronaldo 'Jacare' de Souza. You can pick the 4th guy, although Gegard Mousasi has a strong argument to be included.

rob (jersey)

I'm watching MMA Live and heard that there were votes for Brock Lesnar on the Mt. Rushmore - I'm definitely not Anti-Lesnar - but come on.....

Jon Anik
  (3:38 PM)

I hear ya there.

Jon Anik
  (3:38 PM)

Alright folks, that's a wrap. Thanks for taking part, as always. Enjoy the show, and we'll chat again next week. -JA