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January 16, 11:16 AM ET
Chat with Jon Anik

Jon Anik
  (2:30 PM)

Good afternoon/late morning if you're on the West Coast. Thanks for stopping by for another MMA Live chat. We'll talk UFC 93, Affliction, UFC 94, WEC 38, and anything else that's on your mind. Fire away.

Mitchell (fargo)

Do you feel that the UFC not giving Rampage a title shot right away is punishment for his legal problems this past year? Based on his last performance he looked ready for that title shot! Thanks

Jon Anik
  (2:31 PM)

Nice to start the chat in Fargo! I don't think Rampage is being punished. I just think he wants to stay active, and perhaps the UFC would rather have Rashad Evans' first title defense against the Lyoto Machida-Thiago Silva winner.

Aaron (Mclean, Va)

Anik, why does Affliction use a ring instead of cage? The casual MMA fan associates MMA with cage fighting. Also, why is Tito not fighting for Affliction immediately?

Jon Anik
  (2:32 PM)

No specific reason, Aaron. Perhaps they wanted to differentiate from all of the cages that are out there. Also, the UFC has patented 'The Octagon'.

Doug (alpharetta, ga)

What's up Jon? Considering the debth at ufc 155, is their someone you feel is close to a title shot( besides ken Flo of course)? Are guys like Frank Edgar or the Guida-Diaz winner in the discusssion? Thanks

Jon Anik
  (2:33 PM)

Hey Doug. I think Nate Diaz is inching closer. He's undefeated in the UFC, and a win over Clay Guida would move him up the ladder. Gray Maynard may not be too far away. Sean Sherk could get another shot. Frankie Edgar is still several wins away from contender status, even if he beats Sherk.

Steiny (NYC)

Who takes the Fedor - Arlovski fight this Saturday?

Jon Anik
  (2:34 PM)

Let's get the prediction out of the way. I think it'll be competitive for a round or so, but eventually Fedor will get the W. That said, I was surprised to see just how heavy an underdog AA is. +350 at last check.

Kevin (Worcester,MA)

Jon my man, sorry about the disapearing act the past couple of weeks, very busy at work but I'm back....with Henderson/Bisping set up for TUF do you think the winner of their match is in line for a shot at Silva or do they each need to win one more fight after that?

Jon Anik
  (2:35 PM)

Good to have you back, Kevin. I definitely think the Bisping-Hendo winner gets Silva. Henderson is worthy of another shot, and Bisping has worked his way up the division. A win over Hendo would catapult him to No. 1 contender status. So, yes.

Bren (Texas)

Evans said he wouldn't be physically ready to fight by UFC 96 which is why they brought in his best-friend/training-partner Keith Jardine. Moving on to a question, do you think Shogun's lackluster performance was due to the layoff/surgeries or a sign that he's no longer the fighter he was once viewed as being?

Jon Anik
  (2:36 PM)

I don't think he's the fighter he once was, and may never return to that form. I understand the layoff and the surgeries, but he had a whole lot of time to recover, and was facing a cooked 44-year old. What an underwhelming performance.

Big Beast Cardinal from Louisville, KY

Who are Frank Mcneils "Sources" ? All of us at the ESPN MMA board have wanted to know for some time now.

Jon Anik
  (2:38 PM)

The reason any journalist refers to someone as a 'source' is to protect that person's identity. If he didn't say 'source', he would just give you the guy's name. The reason Franklin is able to get so much information is because he keeps his sources confidential. Does Chris Mortensen reveal his sources when he breaks news every other day? You guys gotta cut McNeil some slack.

Ahmed (Hanford, CA)

Hey Jon, it's been awhile since I've made it here to chat. Anyway, what are your feelings about Chris Horodecki having to pull out of Affliction due to the bulging disc, and do you think Andrei Arlovski has a legitimate chance to KO Fedor? Freddie Roach seems to think so and he has me sold.

Jon Anik
  (2:40 PM)

Firstly, I will say Arlovski definitely has a chance to KO Fedor. He certainly has the speed and power to land a huge shot. I don't think it will happen, but it could. As for Horodecki, just very disappointing. That fight has been in the works for awhile. Feel bad for Dan Lauzon.

Joe (St. Louis, MO)

Jon, can we please talk about UFC 93? How did you see the main event? I saw it 29-28 for Franklin.

Jon Anik
  (2:41 PM)

It was close, Joe. I gave the first two rounds to Henderson, and the third round to Franklin. I wish Rich had had more of a sense of urgency in the opening round. Also tough to score the takedowns, as always. Hendo had four of them in the first two rounds, and that clearly impressed the judges.

Bigg Chong, santa cruz CA

You guys do exceptional work when is it gonna be on the deuce?

Jon Anik
  (2:42 PM)

Thanks, Bigg Chong. Still no word on if or when MMA Live will be headed to TV. But...at least we are headed to UFC 94. We appreciate the support.

Marcus (KC, MO)

Hey Jon! What are your thoughts on th outcome of the Franklin v Hendo fight and what do you think is next for Franklin?

Jon Anik
  (2:43 PM)

It'll be interesting to see where Franklin goes from here. I think he stays at 205. Perhaps he could face Stephan Bonnar if Bonnar gets through Jon Jones. I would much prefer to see Ace try to ascend at 205, as opposed to dropping back down to middleweight.

Cowboy Ron (Piston, PA)

Jon, I heard a rumor from my ex-wife's boss that the McDonald's near ESPN is closing. Not sure if you work too much in Bristol, but how will that affect your training for MMA Live?

Jon Anik
  (2:44 PM)

Hahahahaha...I drove by today and it was all boarded up. Thankfully, I'm a Burger King guy now. Ya know, that whole 'MMA Live is powered by Burger King' thing...

Denis Kang

Jon, don't take after me and start out on fire for this chat then suddenly tank it at the end.

Jon Anik
  (2:45 PM)

Will make sure not to. I really like Denis Kang, and was very disappointed he deflated so quickly. Inconsistent.

john (Jersey)

I support MMA live i had tasty BK for lunch orignal chicken sandwhich DELISH

Jon Anik
  (2:46 PM)

Outstanding.

dave(nj)

do you think that the wec will now put in a womens division now that they no longer have the 185 or 205 divisions

Jon Anik
  (2:46 PM)

I don't think they will have a women's division. I think the WEC will effort to sign Gina Carano, and put on her fights when a legit challenger surfaces. But I don't ever see them signing 10-15 female fighters and staging bouts regularly.

Kevin(philadelphia) [via mobile]

do you see mma outlasting boxing as the new fighting entertainment for the 21st century. also is anderson silva the best pound for pound fighter in mma ??

Jon Anik
  (2:48 PM)

Yes. And yes. MMA has already passed boxing. And I've covered both sports, so I do speak with some experience. Boxing is not dead, nor will it ever be. But it has really fallen off, and MMA is as popular as its ever been.

Dr. Love (Detroit, MI)

Jon, what can we expect from Sokoudjou now that his career is faltering? Will he be a "gatekeeper" for now on because of his name, or can he ever fight for a belt?

Jon Anik
  (2:48 PM)

Sokoudjou has a lot of skill and promise, but he just hasn't put it together. I think Babalu beats him this weekend, too.

Charlie, Philly

Which is more likely at WEC 38 this weekend: Pulver wins a round against Faber or Cerrone wins the LW title?

Jon Anik
  (2:49 PM)

I think Donald Cerrone has a great shot to beat Jamie Varner.

derek lansing, mi [via mobile]

so what's the latest on kimbo, he did what what most said loose and fall off the face of the earth

Jon Anik
  (2:50 PM)

You'd think there would be opportunites for Kimbo in Japan, but the whole EliteXC mess needs to play itself out first. My opinion is that Slice just wants to make money, and his heart is not in MMA. Not sure he's even training regularly. I should probably find out...

john CA [via mobile]

will cung le fight anderson sliva soon?

Jon Anik
  (2:51 PM)

Not soon, and perhaps not ever. Cung Le is 36 and off making movies. He also has a handful of fights left on his Strikeforce contract, and plans to honor it.

aaron, indiana [via mobile]

Can I have your job? Please

Jon Anik
  (2:51 PM)

I am fortunate to do what I do. No question about it.

Charlie, Philly

Do you make anything of BJ pulling the plug on the interview during the filming of UFC 94 Primetime? Do we really need a 24/7 type show to hype this fight?

Jon Anik
  (2:53 PM)

It'll be interesting to see how the third and final episode of UFC Primetime plays out. As for whether or not we need the show to hype the fight, perhaps not. But the show is extremely well done, and certainly isn't hurting the cause. I thought last night's episode was phenomenal. 24/7 still rules in terms of cinematography. But this is UFC Primetime's first attempt, and I've been impressed.

Ben (Columbus)

Did you catch the Fedor: Baddest Man on the Planet promo? I think it was great and it made me a little more of a fan. Still pulling for Arlovski though.

Jon Anik
  (2:54 PM)

Not yet, Ben. I have it on the DVR. Nice to see Fedor creeping into the mainstream a bit.

Jeff (MD)

What is your one UPSET SPECIAL for the fights this weekend? (WEC or Affliction)

Jon Anik
  (2:54 PM)

Gimme Vitor Belfort +155 against Matt Lindland.

Jeff (MD)

Fair to say that Kenny is rooting for GSP next weekend?

Jon Anik
  (2:55 PM)

He should be. I know he has gone on the record and predicted BJ Penn. But you'd have to think a GSP win gives Florian a much better shot to face BJ right away.

Steve, Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

Hey Jon, love this chat every Thursday... it's great fun! Any chance of getting the transcript of the chats posted on the MMA portion of the ESPN website so we can read the chat if we were unable to catch it live?

Jon Anik
  (2:56 PM)

I will work on it. But all of our chats are archived. Just go to the Sports Nation page on espn.com, hit 'archives, and go to the MMA section. They should all be there. Thanks.

Joel (NY)

Jon, what will happen if Dan Lauzon does not have an opponent for Saturday, will they move a perlim card into the main card?

Jon Anik
  (2:57 PM)

I believe they have already done so with the Jay Hieron-Jason High fight.

Carl (Chicago)

Jon, assuming Fedor gets past Arlovski, who do you think is next in line?

Jon Anik
  (2:58 PM)

It'll be the winner of the Josh Barnett-Gilbert Yvel scrap, also on the Day of Reckoning card this weekend.

Julian in Gaithersburg

Hi Jon, Have you heard when the Mir Lesnar fight might happen? and How many more wins does Bobby Lashley need before the UFC makes an offer?

Jon Anik
  (3:00 PM)

Mir-Lesnar will likely be May 23 in Las Vegas. As for Lashley, I expect the UFC to make a run at him with 1-2 more wins. He has a lot of appeal. And, in my opinion, he's not one you want to let get away. Now, I have heard from a source that there is some hesitancy from the UFC because they don't necessarily want to just sign a bunch of WWE guys. But Lashley seems worthy to me.

BRUNO (GEORGIA)

WHAT TO EXPECT ON THE SHOW TODAY?

Jon Anik
  (3:01 PM)

We recap UFC 93. Also we preview the Affliction card. We catch up with Tito Ortiz, Oscar De La Hoya, and Tom Atencio. Also a quick WEC 38 discussion. Busy show.

rob (jersey)

Jon - would you pass along my thanks to Franklin. I had the pleasure of exchanging a few words with him at the Trump Tower on Tuesday - i doubt he'll remember but I had a red Affliction (Misfits) shirt on.

Jon Anik
  (3:02 PM)

Will do. Of course you were rocking the Affliction shirt. Let me guess, you don't own any UFC gear? Haha.

Joel (NY)

Jon, Yvel is all good to go for Saturday? No problems whatsoever?

Jon Anik
  (3:02 PM)

As far as I've read, yes. He has been cleared.

Jeff (MD)

What did you think of the UFC giving Coleman/Rua co-fight of the night? Obviously, Dana and company love themselves some Rua.

Jon Anik
  (3:03 PM)

Not a whole lot to choose from for Fight of the Night. Rua had better beat Chuck Liddell, or he's in real trouble.

Hondo (Boston, MA)

Are there more WWE guys looking to make the jump to MMA? Or is Lashley it? Who is closer to the UFC now Lashley or King Mo?

Jon Anik
  (3:03 PM)

It's a good question, Hondo. I think both guys are destined for the UFC. King Mo is ready right now, but remains under contract to Sengoku in Japan.

Julio (Chicago) [via mobile]

Greatest MMA fighter right now?in ur opinion

Jon Anik
  (3:04 PM)

Pound-for-pound, it's Anderson Silva, followed by GSP and Fedor. Others have Emelianenko at the top. And some have BJ Penn there, too.

Ahmed (Hanford, CA)

What do I gotta do to get some questions answered here???

Jon Anik
  (3:05 PM)

Keep firing away, Ahmed. The chat queue is furious today!

Aaron, IN [via mobile]

What are your thoughts on Wanderlei Silva?

Jon Anik
  (3:05 PM)

I think he should just be a trainer and stop fighting. He's taken a ton of punishment in his career. Not only in the cage, but during training.

Franklin McNeil (Trenton NJ)

Greatest MMA writer right now in your opinion?

Jon Anik
  (3:06 PM)

Hahaha. Franklin McNeil, without question.

Joel (NY)

Jon, with the monster payroll for Affliction fighters on Saturday, can they really survive past this event?

Jon Anik
  (3:07 PM)

They will survive past this weekend, and Golden Boy's involvement should keep things going. But they really need to start staging events more frequently, and learn how to promote or their run could be short.

Nevin S. (Valhalla, NY)

Jon, if other organizations ever rise up to at least somewhat equal UFC, will we ever see MMA's equivalent of the Ring Magazine Champion given to each weight class? Cause, I gotta tell you, Fedor would house any of these UFC heavies, including your BFF Mir.

Jon Anik
  (3:09 PM)

WAMMA has done everything right to establish itself as the ranking system to go to. But, until the UFC recognizes it, forget about it. Also, I'm just not sure that anyone will ever truly challenge the UFC.

Jerrod(Columbus)

Who gets the next shot at Anderson Silva? will it be 185 or 205?

Jon Anik
  (3:09 PM)

Thales Leites at 185 for the belt.

BJ Penn (Hilo, HI)

If you tap due to strikes, you're a b****.

Jon Anik
  (3:09 PM)

My favorite line of the episode.

Chris (Florida) [via mobile]

Your thoughts on Bobby lashley joining MMA?

Jon Anik
  (3:10 PM)

Go get it. I think he's got a lot to offer the sport. Brock will smash him, though, no matter when and where they fight.

Hondo (Boston, MA)

What's your take on EliteXC's future? Is there a realistic chance that they are actually resurrected? What happens to Smoking Joey Villasenor?

Jon Anik
  (3:12 PM)

I would say the percentage that EliteXC is resurrected (under new ownership) is about 20. Once the matter is resolved, guys like Smokin' Joe Villasenor will either continue with EliteXC, or sign elsewhere. Just continue to feel so bad for all of the fighters who are being held up. It's rubbish.

D'Arcy (5 feet away) [via mobile]

I'll never chat again if you don't discuss Tonya Harding's eagerly-anticipated bout in the cage on Saturday in Detroit. She's celebrating the 15th anniversary of her "bout" with Nancy Kerrigan... thoughts?

Jon Anik
  (3:13 PM)

You are way too jacked up for T Harding! At least if someone's leg gets snapped this time, it'll be legal. But, hopefully, it'll be her leg...

Tom, york, pa [via mobile]

Will ufc ever land fedor? Opening up a clash with brock or randy.

Jon Anik
  (3:14 PM)

Sure, it's a possibility, especially if Affliction struggles or folds. But the UFC has made honest efforts/offers in the past, and Fedor hasn't bitten. Maybe it just wasn't meant to be.

Tom (Brooklyn, NY)

How can you put anyone on top of Fedor P4p, he has never lost a fight while Anderson Silva and GSP and BJ have all been beaten decisively, the guy never loses but somehow he loses his spot, IMO MW in the UFC is so weak, just Dana White makes it look as if Anderson Silva is so amazing, it didn't show when he danced around at UFC 90.

Jon Anik
  (3:14 PM)

Just one man's opinion, Tom. That's why the P4P debate is always great.

Stefan from las vegas nevada [via mobile]

Do you think ken shamrock will ever face brock lesnar or bobby lashley?

Jon Anik
  (3:15 PM)

No. Ken Shamrock is completely cooked. Those guys would destroy him. And I said that having never seen Lashley fight!

Julian Gaithersburg MD

How do you feel about Gilbert Yvel being aloud to fight? Even if he is a talent I don't feel he deserves to share the ring with disciplined martial artists. He is a thug that throws tantrums...he should fight Kimbo in a backyard

Jon Anik
  (3:16 PM)

I agree that his past transgressions are tough to swallow.

Charlie, Philly

Considering the recent news of Randy being out for most of 2009 (at least) after surgery and filming a new movie, how many more fights do you see Randy having?

Jon Anik
  (3:17 PM)

Forget Ricky Hatton...There's only one Randy Couture. He is 45 and really looked pretty good against Lesnar. He's under contract for two more UFC fights, so I think you will at least see him twice more.

Ahmed (Hanford, CA)

Hendo vs Bisping. Who do you foresee being the better coach and who do you see winning their eventual bout after the show?

Jon Anik
  (3:18 PM)

I think Hendo will really relish the opportunity to coach, but so will Bisping. It's great for TUF that they have two guys who really want to be there as coaches. As for their fight at the end of the show, I think Bisping is the fresher fighter, but I'm not picking against Hendo.

rocky pa

if lesnar beats mir, what is next for lesnar?

Jon Anik
  (3:19 PM)

The next HW challenger. Likely Gabriel Gonzaga, or perhaps Shane Carwin. Or maybe even another fighter that is not presently in the UFC.

John(NY city) [via mobile]

Do u really think Brock is better than Bobby?

Jon Anik
  (3:19 PM)

Worlds better, at least right now. Brock has had much more time training as an MMA fighter, and he just beat Randy Couture!

Joel (NY)

Jon, give me your pick for Vlady and Little nog on Saturday please?

Jon Anik
  (3:21 PM)

Looking forward to that one, Joel. I'll take Little Nog.

Hondo (Boston, MA)

Any thoughts on the inaguration on Tuesday? From an MMA Live perspective?

Jon Anik
  (3:22 PM)

Not sure MMA (or MMA Live) is on Barack Obama's agenda. But a great, historic day for our country, for sure.

Jason (Boston)

Do you think Brock would stand a chance against a guy like Overeem if brought to the UFC?

Jon Anik
  (3:22 PM)

Absolutely. I think Lesnar would be favored to beat any HW in the world, expect for the two guys who are fighting this Saturday night. And maybe Josh Barnett. I also think Lesnar will be favored to beat Frank Mir in the rematch.

derek lansing, mi [via mobile]

who's the next HOFer for UFC

Jon Anik
  (3:23 PM)

Likely Matt Hughes. Perhaps the late Evan Tanner. I think they should induct Chuck Liddell. Otherwise, they may have to induct him after having lost 5 of 6 fights or something.

Hines Ward (Pittsburgh PA) [via mobile]

Jon. you gonna be picking my steelers in the super bowl next sunday?

Jon Anik
  (3:24 PM)

I'm a Patriots guy. I'll be rooting for the Cards, but don't think they'll get it done.

Jerrod(Columbus)

SMOKIN' JOE!!!!!!Whose striking do you expect to be better, Penn or GSP? i think with GSP's freakish athletic ability this fight wont go to the ground.

Jon Anik
  (3:25 PM)

BJ Penn is a tremendous, tremendous striker. That may be his only edge in the fight, albeit a slight one. GSP is a five-tool guy if there ever was one.

Mike NYC [via mobile]

Is a move to 205 our only chance to see Anderson Silva in a competitive fight?

Jon Anik
  (3:26 PM)

I don't think so. I truly believe Demian Maia is ready for Silva right now. I also think Dan Henderson deserves another shot. The bulk of the stiff competition may be at 205, but those are the two names I would keep an eye on at 185.

David (SC)

I think the time has come for the UFC to induct someone that they will not be making money with any time soon. Pat Millatich has a legacy because of his school. He deserves it.

Jon Anik
  (3:26 PM)

Miletich deserves it. So does Frank Shamrock.

jake:(California) [via mobile]

Do you think tom Brady will come back?

Jon Anik
  (3:27 PM)

I may be a Pats fan, but this is still a mixed martial arts chat. As long as Belichick is there, I don't care about #12.

Finn (Seattle, WA)

If Machida loses to Silva, or he loses in his title shot... then Anderson moves up right? I thought I read somehwere he doesn't want to get in his buddies way of a title opportunity.

Jon Anik
  (3:27 PM)

That is true, in part. I am just not sure Silva will ever formally relinquish the title and move to 205.

derek (pueblo co) [via mobile]

Jon, what's your take on ufc 96's fight between shane carwin and gabriel gonzaga? I played college football with carwin and he is a beast. Its good to see him finally get a worthy opponent.

Jon Anik
  (3:28 PM)

A terrific fight on paper, Derek. Reason enough to buy UFC 96. Have never heard anyone say a bad word about Carwin, and we all know of Gonzaga's versatility. Joe Silva did well with that match-up.

Charlie, Philly

No love for Nate the Great at 185 getting a rematch with Anderson? What if Robbie Lawlor signed back with the UFC?

Jon Anik
  (3:30 PM)

Much higher on Nate Marquardt than Robbie Lawler. Glad you brought that up, Chuck. See what I did there...upchuck. Sorry. Seriously, though, I've always been a huge Marquardt fan.

Bren (Texas)

Do you think BJ Penn genuinely deserves a shot at GSP's championship (after losing his last two fights at Welterweight and 2/3 wins at 155 coming against a featherweight and a dude who was coming off a yearlong suspension for steroids)?

Jon Anik
  (3:30 PM)

No. But you know this better than I do, Bren. BJ usually gets what BJ wants. He seems to be the one fighter who calls his own shots within the UFC.

Joe (St. Louis, MO)

Jon, I will respectfully disagree with your analysis of the BJ/GSP fight. I think BJ has a decided advantage on the feet, better BJJ hands down, and a better chin. I would give GSP the nod in cardio and wrestling, but GSP's wrestling will be negated by BJ's takedown defense. In the last fight, GSP was able to use his wrestling, but that was more because BJ was tired. He got up whenever he wanted to. BJ wins this fight.

Jon Anik
  (3:32 PM)

Joe is raring to talk UFC 94! You make some good points, but GSP is still so young. Only 27, and I think he is just now peaking as a fighter. He doesn't have as good BJJ, and you may also be right about the chin. But mentally, I think GSP is in a much better place than BJ Penn. Predictions next week from Vegas.

Anibal (Princeton University)

When will we see Jake Shields or Robbie Lawler back in action?

Jon Anik
  (3:33 PM)

Wish I had a good answer for you, Anibal. Until the EliteXC mockery of a travesty works itself out, both will be sidelined. Very unfortunate. But when it does, I expect the UFC to pluck them both.

Julian Gaithersburg MD

If Nog wins his next fight (whoever that may be) will he get a title shot?

Jon Anik
  (3:35 PM)

I think Nogueira is, at minimum, two fights (wins) away from a title shot. If Lesnar beats Mir, perhaps the UFC would give Nog a shot at the belt, but I just don't see him getting that chance right away.

Princeton (wow) [via mobile]

How does it feel to know the MMA Live chat is getting Ivy-League love?

Jon Anik
  (3:35 PM)

It feels great. I'm telling you. MMA = fastest growing sport in the U.S.

Joel (NY)

Jon, do you know much about Koshceck opponent for UFC95 Paulo Thiago?

Jon Anik
  (3:36 PM)

Nope. Other than that he is an aggressive Brazilian, who I believe is undefeated, but all fights have been for smaller promotions in Brazil.

David (SC)

What will be the headliner in Germany for UFC now that Randy will not be ready?

Jon Anik
  (3:37 PM)

Your guess is as good as mine. UFC 99 is so far away that anything could happen. GSP-Thiago Alves, perhaps? Penn-Alves, if he wins? Penn-Florian? I just don't know bro.

JoshBarbs (Curry, MA)

I think that GSP would be a lot cooler if you walked down the aisle to a song by the band "Love Weapon".

Jon Anik
  (3:38 PM)

Who is Love Weapon? I think I may know the drummer, but didn't they fold?

Kendo (Reno, NV)

Jon, finish this line: The best part of my week as the host of MMA Live is.....(Please say picking up chicks at Lake Compounce!!)

Jon Anik
  (3:39 PM)

...when the show is done! Then, I head right to Compounce (I jest, of course).

David (LA) [via mobile]

Do you like K-1 fighters crossing over and what do you think about Pat Barry?

Jon Anik
  (3:40 PM)

I like Pat Barry. Sam Caplan, one of the best MMA journalists out there, says Barry is one to keep an eye on in 2009.

Joe (St. Louis, MO)

Jon, rumors are swirling about UFC 99 in Germany. I've heard that the UFC plans to extend an offer to Cro Cop and a few opponents that have been thrown out are Tito Ortiz and Lyoto Machida. The UFC wants Mirko to fight at 205. Craziness!!

Jon Anik
  (3:40 PM)

Yawn. I'm done with Cro Cop. Tito, though, still has something left. I'm sure of it.

Soup (Campbell. CT) [via mobile]

How can you tell who is impersonating someone in your chat? I feel like someone is sitting at home with his twin sons just making up great questions...

Jon Anik
  (3:41 PM)

A lot of people try to mess with me. Some are better than others.

Ahmed (Hanford, CA)

Jon, after MMA, what is your favorite sport to cover as an ESPN analyst?

Jon Anik
  (3:42 PM)

I love boxing, but there just isn't a whole lot to discuss these days. Also a big NBA and MLB guy, but the NFL is king.

David (SC)

Give me some Paul Harris : ) love. Those slams of Jeremy Horn were awesome. Makes Hendos win over him look better. I want to see Nate vs. Pulhares.

Jon Anik
  (3:42 PM)

There you go, David. I would also be intrigued by a Palhares-Marquardt fight. Good call.

Baumer (NYC)

I predict Tito returns at UFC 100. He has been saying for a while he'll be back in July.

Jon Anik
  (3:43 PM)

A distinct possibility, although Affliction has had his mug all over the place this week. To lose him now would not be good.

Simon (LA) [via mobile]

Will MMA become the 4th most popular sport in America?

Jon Anik
  (3:44 PM)

Isn't it already?

Hondo (Boston, MA)

How much longer is this madness going to go on? I need to know how much more time to devote to work today.

Jon Anik
  (3:45 PM)

Hondo, the questions keep flying in, and I don't have anyone bugging me to voice a highlight right now. We're here at least until 4 ET.

Mark (Panama City Beach, FL)

Is the current Arlovski the best version of The Pitbull we've ever seen?

Jon Anik
  (3:45 PM)

Quite possibly. His striking has certainly never been better.

Jon Anik
  (3:45 PM)

Update: MMA Live Episode #37 is up!

michael longview tx [via mobile]

Hey jon who will rampage fight next an when do u think he will get a title shot?

Jon Anik
  (3:46 PM)

He will fight Keith Jardine at UFC 96. My expectation is that a win gets him an immediate title shot.

Jerrod(Columbus)

You Rock Mr. Anik! Is Rua a good matchup for Chuck seeing as how he's lost 3 or 4 of his most recent?

Jon Anik
  (3:46 PM)

I actually think it is the perfect match-up for both guys. Talk about a must-win scenario. Neither guy can afford a loss whatsoever.

Hondo (Boston, MA)

Word to Big Bird. Glad to hear it Jon. Do you think that the rise of MMA will help or hurt amatuer wrestling?

Jon Anik
  (3:48 PM)

I think it can be a benefit to amateur wrestling, b/c now wrestlers now they have an outlet when their high school/college wrestling careers are done. Also, wrestling is a hugely important component to MMA and a vital skill to have if you're going to be successful.

David (SC)

I proclaim this January as being the busiest month in MMA history.

Jon Anik
  (3:48 PM)

Yeah, try fitting MMA Live into a half-hour! My producers want to choke me out.

Ahmed (Hanford, CA)

Are you hyped at all about Margarito vs Mosley? I'm trying to be, but even with good boxing matches being so few and far between, I'm far more eager to see Affliction.

Jon Anik
  (3:49 PM)

Ahmed, I'm definitely more excited for Affliction. But I've gotten to know Mosley pretty well from my time covering the sweet science, and am excited he's getting this opportunity.

Simon (LA) [via mobile]

I believe its 5th in the popular rankings behind nfl,nba,mlb,soccer,and hockey..but I did put it before boxing

Jon Anik
  (3:50 PM)

Soccer certainly rules on a global level. As far as the U.S. goes, no way hockey is more popular than MMA.

Justin (Saugus, CA)

Hey Jon, assuming Faber gets through Pulver and Brown, where do you see his future?

Jon Anik
  (3:51 PM)

I see him fighting Miguel Torres in a WEC mega-fight, perhaps the promotion's first-ever PPV. I do not see him moving to 155 in the UFC.

A Feds (North Haven)

Jon, will we ever see you as a "crast test dummie" on MMA For Dummies, or will you guys keep giving free advertising for Keith Florian and "Florian's MMA Shack"?

Jon Anik
  (3:52 PM)

I have been a dummy before, but I ended up on the cutting room floor. Kenny punched me in the stomach and I went down hard, actually.

Joe (St. Louis, MO)

Jon, just wanted to say on behalf of MMA Nation, thanks for giving us all a great outlet to discuss MMA, especially on ESPN.

Jon Anik
  (3:52 PM)

My pleasure, Joe. Thanks for coming back to the chat every week. Without you guys, MMA Live would never have become what it has.

simon

Simon.. that would make MMA 6th. You would have to think that it is 5th behind NFL, MLB, NBA & NASCAR. It is still going strong.

Jon (Dallas)

"Organik" Jon Anik, 1st of all: Smokin' Joey Villasenor 2nd: My picks for UFC 100 provided Rampage beats Jardine and GSP gets by BJ Rashad vs. Rampage GSP vs. Alves B.J. vs. Florian Hendo vs. Bisping Live on ABC; Mike Terico and Randy Couture announcing. What do ya think?

Jon Anik
  (3:53 PM)

I like the way you think, Jon. That would've gotten posted, even without the Villasenor reference.

Craig (Erie, PA)

Lol is there any video of this punch to the stomach? I think it could be a huge youtube hit.

Jon Anik
  (3:54 PM)

My wind was gone instantly. No video, however. I've gotta save a little face.

Titos Fritos

Speaking of MMA Live Jon, how successful is the program? Can you give us some insight into how the MMA page/MMA Live show is doing on ESPN?

Jon Anik
  (3:55 PM)

Sure. The show is doing quite well. Consistent viewership every single week. And the good news is you guys are watching the entire show, which is really nice. Please keep up the support!

Mike (temecula, CA)

What ever happened to Rulon Gardners MMA interest? I saw him fight in Japan and he was great, i thought he might have a future in the sport.

Jon Anik
  (3:55 PM)

As far as I remember, Rulon Gardner has gone on the record saying he's interested in MMA as a fan, but not as a competitor.

Jeff (MD)

Jon from Dallas had me until Tirico and Couture....we gotta have Rogan and Goldberg!

Jon Anik
  (3:56 PM)

No love for Anik and Florian? No, of course you'd have Mike and Joe on the call.

Pancakes Edwards (Detroit, MI)

Yo Anik- what is with PTI hating on MMA, do you ever think ESPN will give MMA love besides the incredible job you guys are doing?

Jon Anik
  (3:57 PM)

I do think ESPN will eventually show MMA some more love. As the Worldwide Leader in Sports, you can't ignore ratings and popularity. MMA has both.

Ahmed (Hanford, CA)

So we have established you are a Pats guy, Jon... but who are your teams in all the other American sports?

Jon Anik
  (3:57 PM)

I am from Boston, so that answers a lot of it. I'm a huge Kobe Bryant fan, so I also root for the Lake Show. And I'm an Atlanta Falcons fan because of Matty Ice.

Ken (Pittsburgh)

Any updates on the NY MMA legislation from this week, Jonny?

Jon Anik
  (3:58 PM)

Watch the MMA 411 in the show this week. A concrete update in there. It looks promising for 2009.

Drew (X-Games)

Jon, can we officially dedicate the last five minutes of each chat to personal questions about you? I'd like to ask you what sport you are best at cause where I come from, either you are slinging rock or ya got a wicked jump shot.

Jon Anik
  (3:59 PM)

You can ask me whatever you want, Drew. My best sport growing up was basketball. I was a good shortstop, too, but I was afraid of the baseball, so I couldn't hit worth a lick. Probably shouldn't admit as much. But I'm a lot tougher now.

Ahmed (Hanford, CA)

I'm guessing MMA's lack of TV exposure is due to political reasons, mainly a lot of old-timers believing the sport is too brutal and lacking the true knowledge of the incredible level of athleticism these guys possess...

Jon Anik
  (3:59 PM)

That has a lot to do with it, Ahmed.

Matty Ice

Is Kenny Florian the toughest guy out of BC? Bunch of wussies over there...

Jon Anik
  (4:00 PM)

I like the comedy there. But last time I checked, they had a pretty decent hockey program...actually, the best in the country.

Titos Fritos

On that note, how tall are you? You said they made you use a stool to talk to Brock Lesnar, but you don't look that short I don't think? Or is Brock that tall?

Jon Anik
  (4:07 PM)

5'9"- Major technical difficulties. Sorry.

Titos Fritos

Oh man, looks I crashed the server with that question. My bad guys. I will never ask another question again lol.

David (SC)

Will UFC 94 be the biggest PPV in MMA History?

Jon Anik
  (4:08 PM)

It has a chance, David. If this chat is any indication, the interest in GSP-Penn II is like nothing I've ever seen. People have been asking me about the fight since November.

cincinnati [via mobile]

No love for cincy that's a shame huge mma fans here

Jon Anik
  (4:09 PM)

Cincinnati is a great MMA market, no doubt.

Craig (Erie, PA)

A shortstop afraid of the baseball? Isnt that like a fighter afraid to be punched?

Jon Anik
  (4:10 PM)

Hahaha...I got better as I got older. I'd like to issue a retraction right about now.

Steiny (NYC)

Will Rich Franklin require surgery after getting poked in the eye?

Jon Anik
  (4:10 PM)

Nope. Scratched cornea. But no retina damage. Seems like Franklin dodged a bullet there.

Robert (Milwaukee)

Jon, make sure everyone knows all the titles will not be on the line at UFC 100. Just not enough time on the broadcast if all go the full 25 minutes.

Jon Anik
  (4:11 PM)

Yes, Robert. Thanks.

Tim (Idaho) [via mobile]

Jon,you say violence is a big part of which MMA doesn't get enough exposure.But I don't think dat's it because WWE is the most watched "sport" and its full of violence..your thoughts on that?

Jon Anik
  (4:12 PM)

The point is that major networks, such as ESPN and ABC, could be reluctant to put MMA on TV b/c of the blood, and the unknown. But the Ryan Clark hit on Willis McGahee last week was more violent than anything I've seen in MMA (excluding freak injuries, like Corey Hill's).

Noodles19 Syracuse,IN [via mobile]

Do you think Brock Lesnar could be the greatest heavyweight champion the UFC has ever had

Jon Anik
  (4:13 PM)

He could be, but I'm not sure that will happen. He's got the physical tools, but that's a tall order. And the UFC HW division really seems to be getting stronger, and bigger for that matter.

Jon (Dallas)

3 to 4 titles could be on the line if it was on Network T.V.; there is a method to my madness, and this could be the biggest show in MMA history if Silva and White do it right (or just hire me). j.k.

mark houston texas [via mobile]

I realize there is alot of weight between gsp and spider silva but given they are said to b the 2 top pound for pound fighters in ufc is there ever a chance we will see them too meet at a weight and fight like penn has done with gsp?

Jon Anik
  (4:14 PM)

It's a distinct possibility. Dana White has said many times he would like to make a GSP-Anderson Silva fight. If it happened, my guess is it would happen at 180, or at 185 for the MW title.

Jon Anik
  (4:16 PM)

Alright, guys and girls. Thanks for bearing with us b/c of the technical difficulties towards the end. A huge volume of questions today...we appreciate it. Now, go enjoy Episode #37 of MMA Live, and we'll chat again next week. PLEASE NOTE: It will likely be a Friday chat from Las Vegas on 1/30. Check espn.com for details. Until next time... -JA