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March 17, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Jon Anik

Jon Anik
  (12:59 PM)

Good Wednesday to all of you fine people. We're here talkin' MMA for the next hour and then I'm gonna go fill out 30 brackets. Let's vent...

Snacks (in Canada looking for American Bacon)

1 month out and no official announcement of a UFC show to counter Strikeforce on CBS....just a Zuffa bluff or will it happen?

Jon Anik
  (1:00 PM)

I've said all along that the UFC was just bluffing. Not to say they never even considered a counter show on April 17th. But with four shows in a 20-day stretch beginning this Sunday, I just think it would be oversaturation.

Jake (LA)

Any updates on Tito v Chuck 3? Is Tito being replaced?

Jon Anik
  (1:01 PM)

Franklin McNeil will clear this up, as only he can, tomorrow on MMA Live. Right now, it looks like Liddell-Ortiz could very well still happen.

Ryan (Austin)

Jon,Chuck vs Tito... off or on? And if its off, why would Dana intentionally lie to us saying its not off and Rich is fighting Randy?? Please clear this up. Thanks

Jon Anik
  (1:01 PM)

There is definitely some misinformation out there. I know McNeil has dedicated a good part of his week to getting more concrete answers.

Mike C. (Portland, Or.)

Bellator gets more and more interesting. Is Filho vs. Lombard actually going to happen? Have you heard anything about where Filho's mind is at and if he's really ready to fight? If not, Lombard could but a whupping on him.

Jon Anik
  (1:02 PM)

We will have either Bjorn Rebney or Roger Huerta on MMA Live tomorrow. I'm sort of hoping it's my old boss, Bjorn, so that we can ask about the veracity of the Lombard-Filho rumor. Last we heard, Filho was set to take some time off.

Roman (CGY)

Do you expect Jake Shields in the UFC after his loss to Hendo? His deal is up with SF. Will he get an immediate title shot v GSP? Hard to give it to Daley, if he beats Koschek, when Shields beat him.

Jon Anik
  (1:03 PM)

I do expect Shields to transition into the UFC when his Strikeforce contract is up. But he could feasibly beat Hendo, and really create a headache for SF.

Jason (Owosso, MI)

Any good finds in your UFC Main Event cards?

Jon Anik
  (1:04 PM)

Not sure what you're talking about man. Didn't buy any cards. MMA Live Twitter account is not run by me. I am Jon_Anik on there.

Steve Mtz (New Mex)

Yoo Jonny, loving the MMALive more by the episode man! Gotta admit, I thought Floyd and Mosley had to be lickin their chops after watching Pacman this weekend. Seriously not impressed especially considering Floyd's defense and counterpunching is in another league than Clottey's.

Jon Anik
  (1:05 PM)

I didn't learn much about Pacquiao this weekend. We know he throws a ton of volume, but he's not nearly as accurate as Mayweather. Clottey can make elite guys look pedestrian, though, and I thought Manny did about all he could, given that Clottey wasn't really in there to fight. Can't wait for May 1!

Adam (Portland, ME)

Jon my man! What's up? Your thoughts on Huerta in Bellator? I'm drooling at the thought of a potential Huerta-Alvarez showdown.

Jon Anik
  (1:07 PM)

Hugely exciting news for Bellator. I first heard rumors of Huerta coming on board when I was calling fights for Bellator last season. You even heard rumblings prior to his fight with Gray Maynard, and I'm happy Bellator was able to get it done. Still no guarantee he'll make it out of the bracket. But there's a great chance we get Alvarez-Huerta in October, so keep drooling.

Mike C. (Portland, Or.)

Is middleweight a good division for James Irvin to come back in? I've seen reports that the weight cut for him is pretty severe. What's your opinion of his chances against Sakara?

Jon Anik
  (1:08 PM)

That's the rub right there. If the weight cut isn't too strenuous, I think Irvin could have some success at 185. I do think he finds a way to win Sunday night against Sakara.

Cory (Brooklyn)

IF Pacman fights v Floyd like he did v Clottey, he will get picked apart.

Jon Anik
  (1:09 PM)

I think a lot of people agree with you. I was just bored Saturday night.

Colin Pon (Edmonton, AB Canada )

Jon, Could the UFC ever put on a card that would beat the PPV numbers of Mayweather vs Oscar. I think they hit nearly 2.4 million buys. What kind of card would it take to supplant that?

Jon Anik
  (1:11 PM)

If UFC 100 didn't eclipse 2 million PPV buys, I find it hard to believe any card ever will. You would need some sort of mega-fight at the top, say GSP vs. Anderson Silva. You'd also need Brock Lesnar, Randy Couture, and perhaps a Kimbo Slice vs. Chuck Liddell fight. All the stars would have to be aligned.

hectec (chitown)

what up jon!!! please explain the reasoning in why huerta would choose bellator over ufc???

Jon Anik
  (1:11 PM)

The opportunity to fight more often would have to be at the top of the list. Huerta controls his own destiny in Bellator, and could feasibly fight four times between now and the end of October.

Jon Anik
  (1:12 PM)

I'm now being told Huerta will be on MMA Live tomorrow.

angelo (texas)

if by chance mir and carwin have a lackluster fight ( i doubt it) could cain jump both of them for a title shot

Jon Anik
  (1:12 PM)

Absolutely. The UFC has already kept that door ajar.

Steve (DC)

Not nearly as accurate as mayweather? Based on a fight against a guy who didnt move his hands from in front of his face? Check his compubox numbers against Cotto and De la Hoya, you might be surprised.

Jon Anik
  (1:13 PM)

Just one man's opinion, Steve. Mayweather literally changes the direction of his punches mid-flight. It's no knock on Manny, but I think Floyd is more precise.

Matt (Denver, CO)

Hey Jon, are you and the mmalive crew going to be in CO on sunday?

Jon Anik
  (1:13 PM)

Unfortunately not. Our remotes are almost entirely based upon sponsorship. I believe the next trip will be for UFC 113 May 8th in Montreal.

Dan (Chicago)

Alright Jon,UFC 111, UFC 112, or UFC113. You can only buy one, which one is it going to be?

Jon Anik
  (1:14 PM)

Tough call, but it's gotta be UFC 111 for me. Four of the best welterweights in the world on display, and a heavyweight fight with massive title implications.

Nick (Green Bay)

Dana White has stated numerous times most notably in the blog announcing Kimbo as part of TUF that he expected a network deal done by early 2010. Is there any rumors/whispers of a UFC network deal and what would have to happen for this to occur?

Jon Anik
  (1:16 PM)

I'm not hearing anything, internally or otherwise. I'm not sure the UFC would be willing to relinquish some of the control of its broadcast to a broadcast partner. That could be part of the hold-up.

David (SC)

Alright picks time. Who you got for Vs. on Sunday?

Jon Anik
  (1:17 PM)

Jon Jones, Junior Dos Santos and Cheick Kongo. Chalk across the board. My NCAA bracket has far more underdogs.

rob(jersey) [via mobile]

ANIK!!! I made it. Are you going to be in Newark as a fan next weekend?

Jon Anik
  (1:17 PM)

It's gonna be tough, bro. I thought for sure I would be there (only two hours from my front door), but I might be stuck at ESPN doing NCAA tournament stuff. Will keep you posted.

Steve (DC)

I'll drop cause this is an MMA chat, but I might email you for a spirited boxing discussion, as far as MMA, we know Hardy is a great striker, but how can he deal with GSP's improved almost Machida like defensive movement on the feet.

Jon Anik
  (1:19 PM)

Please do. jon.anik@espn.com --- On Hardy, I agree that his biggest challenge will be dealing with GSP's superior speed and movement. As long as Hardy goes for broke (unlike Clottey), I think we could be in for a great fight.

Omar (Dallas, TX)

why does Bonnar still have a job in the UFC when others get cut after 1-2 losses?

Jon Anik
  (1:20 PM)

There are a lot of reasons, Omar. He almost never puts on a boring fight, in large part b/c he is willing to get beat up/knocked out in order to land a punch. He's also been on the wrong side of some decisions and dealt with a ton of injuries. He's been a great ambassador for the UFC and I think he deserves 1-2 more fights to prove he belongs.

David (SC)

How do you see JDS and Bones Jones winning?

Jon Anik
  (1:21 PM)

I think Jon Jones will ground-and-pound his way to a second-round victory. Dos Santos will catch Gonzaga early, or win by unanimous decision.

Oscar (Chicago, IL)

what's with British fighter acting like such d-bags? It must be something in the water...

Jon Anik
  (1:23 PM)

I wouldn't generalize. Sure, some of the more high-profile guys (Bisping, etc.) know how to strike a chord with fans. Hardy just knows how to sell a fight. I find him to be refreshing. I think McSweeney can be annoying. On Hardy---I still haven't seen any of the UFC Primetime or Countdown special, so perhaps that might change my tune a bit. But I am a Dan Hardy backer.

Snacks (in Quebec looking for GSP)

Who is your pound for pound best? Fedor, Silva or GSP?

Jon Anik
  (1:23 PM)

Can't even remember the last time any one of them fought.

Jon Anik
  (1:24 PM)

There's really no wrong answer. But the last time I went through the process, I had Fedor as #1.

Matt (NYC)

How about some thoughts on Dream 13? The return of the Affliction killer Josh Barnett and Bibiano vs. Joachim!

Jon Anik
  (1:25 PM)

Excited to finally talk a little DREAM on MMA Live tomorrow. Always wish we had more time, but we will preview those two fights tomorrow. I really like Bibiano Fernandes to get by Hansen.

lance (chi-town)

hey JA give me a high 5 for having my versus back!!!!

Jon Anik
  (1:26 PM)

Great news. And great timing for Versus to get back on DirecTV just before the first UFC card. Enjoy...

Rory (Chicago)

Where would Lymon Good fit into a stacked ww division in the ufc? Look out for BYU to crash the elite 8

Jon Anik
  (1:28 PM)

Thanks for the free play on BYU! I see Lyman Good as a top 15 welterweight in the world right now. Still think he needs more experience against high-level guys before we can call him elite. Good is such a physical specimen, though, that I'm not sure I'd count him out against anyone. I'd like to see him face Paulo Thiago.

Tom (CO)

Jon when is Forrest Griffin's next fight?

Jon Anik
  (1:29 PM)

He is fighting Lil' Nog at UFC 114 on May 29th.

Snacks (Quebec)

Fedor Nov 7 over Rogers...GSP at UFC 100 over Alves...Silva Aug 1 over Forrest on the same show that your bf Florian laid an egg

Jon Anik
  (1:29 PM)

Easy dude. Easy. And I know when those guys fought. The point is that they all have been pretty inactive of late, so the P4P discussion doesn't have much legs.

Scott (Northern Kentucky)

I am on board the Hardy band wagon as well Jon. Sprawl, Sprawl, Sprawl and this fight could be very interesting. Much easier to type than to accomplish.

Jon Anik
  (1:30 PM)

Very true, Scott.

David (SC)

You have not watched Prime Time? What is up with that? You won't even get any jokes about GSP putting his jeans on one leg at a time. Watch it and then this chat will be much funnier.

Jon Anik
  (1:31 PM)

I have it on the DVR, but Championship Week is one of the busiest we have here at ESPN. Glad it's over! I wish it could be all MMA all the time, but that's not my reality right now. I will get caught up in time for next week's chat.

Dave (Toronto)

What's your take on Mark Bocek? He seems pretty under the radar, but is actually a very skilled fighter.

Jon Anik
  (1:32 PM)

I like Bocek, too, and he's got a nice opportunity to showcase himself against Jim Miller. That's a must-win if he wants to emerge from underneath that radar.

Baumer (NYC)

I think the UFC will have Spike premiere UFC 111 against the April Strikeforce card, they have done it before and would seem to make sense

Jon Anik
  (1:32 PM)

That does make sense.

BT (Atlanta)

Does Franklin have anything to gain fighting Chuck?

Jon Anik
  (1:33 PM)

Nothing. And even though Rich is the consummate company guy, I really don't think he would accept that fight. The Couture fight has much more appeal for Franklin right now, and for obvious reasons.

adam berry (dade county 305)

hey jon, whats ur prediction on the kimbo vs mitrione fight

Jon Anik
  (1:33 PM)

Surprised that Kimbo would be favored against almost any other UFC fighter. I like Mitrione via ground and pound.

Johnny (Minneapolis)

After Jon Bones demolishes Vera, do you think he gets a crack at a top 5 guy?

Jon Anik
  (1:34 PM)

Yes. No doubt in my mind.

Ben (CBus, OH)

Do you think Vera training with Phil "Mr. Wonderful" Davis will help himr greatly against Bones Jones? Since Mr. Wonderful and Bones seem to be very similar.

Jon Anik
  (1:35 PM)

There are some similarities, but I just don't think you can replicate Jon Jones in the gym. Sometimes his strikes are so unorthodox you get the sense he doesn't even know where they are coming from. Having Davis in camp certainly won't hurt, but I'm not sure it will help him 'greatly', as you put it.

David (Dallas, TX)

Which card of the upcoming PPVs gets more buys?

Jon Anik
  (1:36 PM)

I would predict in this order: UFC 111, UFC 114, UFC 113, UFC 112.

Matt (Las Vegas, NV)

For the record, there are plenty of US d-bag fighters as well as Brazilian d-bag fighters out there.

Jon Anik
  (1:36 PM)

Hahahahahahahaha. Thanks for keeping everyone honest.

Dylan (Miltown)

Hey JA, Will MMA Live Pick'em only be available for UFC 111?

Jon Anik
  (1:37 PM)

That is up to you guys. Please participate. If the numbers are strong for UFC 111, I would imagine it'll be back for UFC 112, and all of the other big shows of the year.

Jon Anik
  (1:38 PM)

...and for those who aren't sure what we're talking about, we have launched the MMA Live Pick 'Em game in advance of UFC 111. Go to espn.com. Scroll on the FANTASY tab at the top, and you will see our MMA Live Pick 'Em. There is an experts group you can join to play against MMA Live staff.

Donell (Pepperell,MA)

hey Jon I'm a huge fan of MMA LIVE and tomorrow is my 28th birthday is there anyway you or Franklin McNeil can give me a birthday shout out on the show tomorrow buddy it would really mean alot.

Jon Anik
  (1:38 PM)

How about a birthday shout out in the chat? Does that work? Happy Birthday, Donell! I've actually been to Pepperell. Nice town.

Evan (SLC)

I'm debating between getting 113 and 114. Sell me on either one.

Jon Anik
  (1:39 PM)

Dude. You gotta get the Rashad-Rampage fight, no? That's UFC 114.

David (Dallas, TX)

Hey Jon, my birthday was yesterday...

Jon Anik
  (1:40 PM)

This could get out of control. Happy Birthday, David!

Tom (CO)

Love the show man, love the chat even more. I read it every week but never get a chance to post. Do you see Forrest Griffin ever getting another title shot and if so when?

Jon Anik
  (1:41 PM)

Thanks a lot, Tom. We appreciate the support. And now you're posting! I think Forrest Griffin could absolutely position himself for another title shot at 205. Lil' Nog, his next opponent, is being groomed as a contender. If you beat that guy, you get right back on the path.

Baumer (NYC)

Who is your Final Four and Champion?

Jon Anik
  (1:43 PM)

I went with all four No. 1 seeds in the Final Four. Employed that strategy in 2008 and it worked out. I went away from the chalk early on, though. Have Murray State, Minnesota, Richmond, and Temple in the Sweet 16. Apologies to those who have asked for me to post my complete bracket. Not exactly sure how to do that.

Jeff W (Austin, TX)

Hey Jon! My birthday is in a little less than 9 months!

Jon Anik
  (1:43 PM)

LOL.

Rory (Chicago)

What do you think about Condit vs. McDonald? Lot of hype around the Canadian.

Jon Anik
  (1:44 PM)

Are you asking b/c your name is Rory? I agree that there is a lot of hype, and I'm actually inclined to think he will back it up. Condit is one tough dude and it won't be easy. He really needs a W.

John (Sioux Falls, SD)

Is Forrest Griffin the best example in MMA of how styles make fights? Guy has looked great and horrible against other top fighters.

Jon Anik
  (1:44 PM)

I think that's a fair point, John.

Jason (Owosso, MI)

any tips for a 1st time home buyer?

Jon Anik
  (1:45 PM)

Not sure if you really want to know, or are attempting humor. I'll just say be patient. I made an offer on a house last year and, retrospectively, I'm so thankful we didn't get it. Even if you love a house, make sure you look at 20-30.

Andrew (Jacksonville, FL)

Do they give a reason for rejecting an appeal, such as Bonnar's? It seemed pretty obvious to everyone it was an accidental headbutt.

Jon Anik
  (1:46 PM)

Not sure they are required to give a reason. Video, as you say, clearly shows an accidental headbutt.

Matt (Las Vegas, NV)

Is it even possible the UFC gets 1 million buys again seeing as how they're dilluting their product by putting on as many cards as Simpsons re-runs?

Jon Anik
  (1:47 PM)

That's a good question and a good point. But I do believe Lesnar's return will go over 1,000,000 PPV buys.

Jason (Owosso, MI)

Jon - I'll only ask you ?'s I really would like you answer to.

Jon Anik
  (1:47 PM)

Well then I hope the answer helped :)

Eric (Oak Ridge, NJ)

Why are people asking about the Liddell-Tito match? I haven't seen anything about that out there.

Jon Anik
  (1:48 PM)

Because there are conflicting reports as to whether or not the fight will actually go down. As you may know, they are the coaches on the upcoming season of 'The Ultimate Fighter' reality show, and were supposed to fight at season's end.

jake (ohio)

whats up jon love the show how do u see the akiyama vs wanderlei fight going

Jon Anik
  (1:49 PM)

Great fight, Jake. I was impressed with Wanderlei against Bisping, but I'm not sure he has the stamina/gas left in the tank to contend with a prime Akiyama.

Steven (Linlithgow, Scotland)

What are you more excited for in early April, UFC 112, or the return of Tiger Woods?

Jon Anik
  (1:49 PM)

c) Bellator Season 2!

Steve Dave ((AZ))

Jon, what's your take on double weigh in's? I personally perfer the single weigh system. If Rumble Johnson and others can cut that much weight, hydrate, be strong, and still fight at peak levels without gassing, I say more power to 'em.

Jon Anik
  (1:51 PM)

Yeah, I tend to agree, Steve Dave. Cutting weight is a huge part of combat sports and has been for some time. If you can cut a bunch of weight without jeopardizing your health, power to ya.

David (Warsaw, Poland)

What do you think of my fellow Pole, Tomasz Drwal at 185? He has looked good of late. can he be a contender in the future?

Jon Anik
  (1:51 PM)

That's the third question that has come in on Drwal. I remember being very impressed with his last performance. He's a pretty relentless guy and is now in the right weight class. I think 2010 could be a big year for him.

Jon Anik
  (1:52 PM)

...and my fiance is Polish, so I root for all of the Polish guys. Khalidov, Soszynski, etc.

Chris (Bristol CT)

So i stood out in front of espn with a sign for mma live on Monday and Linda Cohn told me to get lost. Whats the deal?

Jon Anik
  (1:53 PM)

Hahahahahahahaha. Linda is a strong New Yorker. She doesn't take crap from anyone.

Steven (Chicago)

Do you have enough info yet to do a brief hype/what-to-expect for Bellator XIV?

Jon Anik
  (1:53 PM)

I don't pal. No longer on the payroll. But you will at least get Ben Askren on that Chicago show. That much I can tell you.

Hayden (Logan, Utah)

when is rampage's next fight?

Jon Anik
  (1:54 PM)

May 29th at UFC 114 against his nemesis, Rashad Evans. I'm just hoping the fight actually happens. I have concerns that something might happen.

Jim Lampley (Pacquiao's Corner)

BANG.....BANG.....BANG.....BANG.....BANG.....BANG.....BANG.....BANG.....BANG.....BANG.....BANG.....BANG.....BANG.....BANG.....BANG.....BANG.....BANG.....BANG.....BANG.....BANG.....BANG.....BANG.....

Jon Anik
  (1:55 PM)

I am a huge Lampley fan and have interviewed him many times. But what was that all about?

Ben (CBUS,OH)

Do you see Mariusz Pudzianowski making a serious impact in MMA. Like signing with UFC or Strikeforce?

Jon Anik
  (1:55 PM)

I doubt it. I wonder if he could cut down to 265 consistently.

Hayden (Logan, Utah)

Being around MMA so much, do you ever train or want to get into it?

Jon Anik
  (1:56 PM)

I've taken boxing and kickboxing lessons, but never done any jiu-jitsu. At some point, I will go take a BJJ lesson with Keith Florian. But I don't have any aspirations to get into MMA or train regularly. I like my ears the way they are.

Kevin (LA)

I thought Kenny's family was from Peru and not Poland?

Jon Anik
  (1:57 PM)

Hahaha. That is correct. That's why, if Florian fought Khalidov in a super fight, I would root for Mamed.

Brian (Richmond, Ky.)

While I'm glad to see that MMA is popular enough to warrant a second video game, is there any way EA Sports can succeed without the UFC license? For better or worse, UFC = MMA for most people, and Nick Diaz isn't going to sell a lot of units among non-MMA fans.

Jon Anik
  (1:57 PM)

No argument from me. We all know EA is the class of sports games, so perhaps the game itself will be the selling point. But you're right, without the presence of UFC fighters, it's a tough sell.

Jason (Owosso, MI)

Kenny might get jealous if you train BJ J w/ Keith.

Jon Anik
  (1:58 PM)

Kenny is way too expensive. And Keith is better.

Ben (Cbus, OH)

Seriously can we get better questions on here then "when is rampage's next fight" or when if forrest's next fight"

Jon Anik
  (1:59 PM)

With all due respect man, this chat isn't just for hardcore MMA fans. We are trying to reach a lot of different MMA fans, and bring in new fans as well. Not every fan can spend countless hours perusing Sherdog and other MMA websiters. We are equal opportunity!

Phil (Cincinnati)

I've watched a couple of interviews of Jon Jones both on your show and elsewhere and he seems like a great ambassador for this sport. Whats your take on him?

Jon Anik
  (2:00 PM)

I think he's a bit more confident (bordering on cocky) than he lets on in those interviews. But certainly a guy who can and will be great for the sport.

Shawn (Portland, OR)

when is GSP's next fight? LOL

Magnus Ver Magnusson (Iceland)

Pudzianowski needs to stop ducking me. I'll take him out in the cage any day.

Jon Anik
  (2:01 PM)

Alright, guys and girls. Gotta do the hard out at 2PM ET today. If you still have questions, fire them to mmalive@espn.com for consideration on the show, or directly to my attention. You can also hit me up on Twitter (Jon_Anik). Tomorrow on MMA Live: Roger Huerta, Dan Henderson, and Rashad Evans. So, until next week, be safe. And don't text and drive. -JA