Thrilled to be back with you fine people after being forced to miss last week's chat. A ton to get to today, with Chael Sonnen's failed drug test and UFC 119 on tap this weekend. PROGRAMMING REMINDER: Chael Sonnen will be at ESPN tomorrow to address his situation for the first time. MMA Live is 1AM ET on ESPN2, so be sure to tune in. Alright, let's vent.
YO! No chat last week?! No notice, no apology, no nothing...come on man you're better than that!
I alerted people on Twitter as best I could. Had a death in the family. Wish there was a better way to let people know on ESPN.com.
It's looking like Chris Leben will be fighting Brian Stann. Thoughts on the match? What do you think of the All American's chances?
When Stann was here a few weeks ago, that was the fight he told me he wanted. Happy to hear he might get it. I think it's a good matchup for Stann.
Will Chael be a guest on MMA Live this week or an analyst? Are PED testing questions off-limits or will Chael address them? Looking forward to the show :)
Chael will be here as an analyst, but will treated as a guest off the top as we address the PED allegations. We absolutely will be discussing his entire situation. Should be interesting.
Hey Chost, could you explain what would have happened if Sonnen had won the fight? How would the title pitcure have been handled after the steroid story. So essentially what is the UFC's policy on steroid using title holders?
Sonnen would likely have been stripped of the title, pending his appeal. Looks as though Chael will appeal and that appeal will be heard on December 4th. Not gonna go too in-depth in the chat here today b/c I want to hear from Sonnen tomorrow, as I'm sure most of you do.
Are you guys going to grill Chael on MMA Live? We've heard all the excuses before from athletes: tainted test, jack daniels, flaxseed oil, and none of them have held up.
We will do the best we can. He knows tough questions have to be asked. And he's a stand-up guy for being willing to come here and break his silence on ESPN.
Belfort out, AGAIN?! Seems mighty convenient with the Sonnen news and the uncertainty of the MW division. Glad to see Nate stepping up to take the fight. Does a win for Marquardt there solidify him as #1 MW contender?
I'm being told that not only is Vitor not injured, but he could face Anderson Silva as early as Jan. 1 at UFC 125. As for Marquardt, a win over Yushin Okami would likely give him a title shot, pending the outcome of the Sonnen situation.
I appreciate all of your opinions on Chael. But if your question is more than 2-3 lines, I just won't have time to read and respond. Short and sweet, please!
Well I think everyone wants to know... What are your thoughts on Sonnen failing his drug test? Did he inform the CSAC before the fight? What additional information do you have?
Josh Gross of SI reports that Sonnen indeed informed the CSAC prior to the fight that he was taking something. We'll have many more answers tomorrow.
Belfort's manager says he is 100% healthy... Will Vitor face Silva now?
All indications are that it will happen, and perhaps as soon as New Year's Day. Not sure I believe Belfort deserves a title shot b/c his last UFC fight wasn't even at 185. But I think the UFC has adjusted to the circumstances nicely and is doing what I would do in their shoes.
chost, sorry for you loss, i didn't know and didn't mean to come off as rude. Sorry buddy.
No worries at all! Felt very supported by the MMA media and fans during a difficult time.
Does Cro Cop stand a chance against Mir? I think Mir will outclass him in all aspects, including striking.
Cro Cop certainly has a chance. I'm not picking him to win and I believe Mir is ready to put forth a dominating performance. But a lot of the media guys I really trust and look up to are picking Mirko. We'll see Saturday night. I also wonder about Cro Cop's health.
Why do you believe Efrain Escuedaro was released?
He's just not ready for primetime, in my opinion. Oliveira is great and will be a tough out, but Escudero sort of gave up. And he looked quite bad in losing 2 of his last 3.
True or False, Ryan Bader is the most over rated fighter in the UFC?
I guess we will find out this weekend. I will say false, b/c I think he beats Lil Nog.
Thoughts on the signing of Josh Barnett to Strikeforce?
They needed a big-name opponent for Fedor Emelianenko. Barnett qualifies. Good signing.
sorry for your loss, did you watch any of TUF, some of the fighters look pretty good
I did watch TUF and I agree there are 3-4 guys that looked strong. Still so early in the process. Looking forward to tonite's episode.
Is Dan Henderson alive?
Yes he is! He was in Bristol just last month. Hendo will fight Babalu in December.
Do you think the UFC will ever put on a "mega card" such as 4 or 5 championship fights on a single card?
No. They do so many PPVs per year now. Need to spread out the championship fights. We've seen cards with 2 belts on the line, but usually never more than that.
Still leaning Cain???
Totally up in there. Is that the way I was leaning the last time we spoke?
Has Chael's management or himself limited the type of question that will be asked?
Nope. I'm sure we will go over things in our pre-production meeting, as usual. But we haven't been told that anything is off limits. Chael wants to do this, and we are honored that he has chosen to make his first comments to MMA Live.
Do you pick certain questions to answer or do they go through in the order you received them?
I select the questions, but they come in so quickly that I'm not able to read every single question. On days like today, the chat is overflowing, so I just try to pluck as many as I can and respond as quickly as humanly possible.
Guillard vs. Stephens FOTN?
A strong possibility. I like Guillard to keep his momentum going. Gotta avoid that Stephens power though.
What should I look forward to more, UFC 119 or 120? I'm thinkin' 120.
I tend to agree. Love the 3 big fights involving the British guys, especially Hardy-Condit. UFC 119 isn't loaded on paper, but still worthy of a purchase, in my opinion.
Jon, does Dana White fire Sonnen after this positive test?
No. Chael still has to go through the appeals process. But even if denied, he will not be cut by the UFC. He's certainly not the first to fail a test and won't be the last.
JA. How about a week two Superbowl pick? My Packers are looking good. Save for a banged up RB core
At the beginning of the season, I said Steelers-Packers. Gotta stick with it.
Efrain was cut because he didn't make weight, fought a sloppy fight, and tapped due to a chin choke.
Will there be an interim champion in Light heavyweight while we wait for Shogun?
Doesn't look like it.
Jon how pumped up are you for Satoshi Ishii vs. Minowaman ? Fight was just added to the Dream card.
That DREAM card is drunk with talent. I just moved and no longer get HDNet! It's a huge loss. Very hard to keep up with all the MMA without it.
As I have read your chat's you have seemed to lean against Brock, or maybe it's my MN bias?
If there was a pistol to my temple, I would probably take Brock Lesnar. But Velasquez is gonna make it very difficult, and has a great chance to spring the upset.
It seems that no one outside of the devoted mma community cares about sonnen's test results too much. I thought that with the mainstream progress the sport is making this would be a bigger deal. Thoughts?
Well, Jim Rome has devoted plenty of time to it and will continue to do so all week. And ESPN's MMA show that I happen to host is leading with it. I guess it's somewhat surprising that there wasn't a mention on SportsCenter, given how high-profile Sonnen became leading up to UFC 117. But the story is by no means buried.
Do you have an e-mail address for more in depth questions?
Hit me up on Twitter (@Jon_Anik) and I will definitely get back to you. May not be right away, but I will reply. Also can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anik! Would you agree that the fighter most in need of a W this weekend is Hellboy?
Sure. Mousasi and Miller also need to make sure they hold serve.
Isn't it a bit of a step down for Leben to go from Simpson, to Akiyama, to Stann?
In terms of the title picture at 185, I would agree. Stylistically, I like the proposed Leben-Stann fight. But you are right- Leben would appear to be much higher up on the contender ladder than Stann.
Tell your boy Rashad to take a fight quick. Eating all that ESPN spread can't be helping his 205 title aspirations?
Hahahaha. We've talked at length about it. It's gotta be the right fight for Rashad. So far, that hasn't been presented.
It's almost "BROCKTOBER"!!
Spike is replaying UFC 116. Sure, it's expensive to be a fight fan. But if you just wait, you can usually see a lot of the big cards for free.
That is true, but there is just nothing like watching a UFC PPV live. I will be in New York Saturday, and it pains me that I may not be back in time to watch UFC 119. I will order the PPV regardless, but it's anti-climactic to watch it after the fact.
Hey Chost. Sorry for your loss. Always tough. Who do you like in the Serra - Lytle fight?
Thanks, Trick. I like Lytle. He's gotta exude patience and discipline, but I think he should be favored to win.
How do you think Jake Shields will fare in his debut?
Tempted to pick the upset because I was so impressed with what Martin Kampmann did to Paulo Thiago. But I'm not the only one who has repeatedly been burned by Jake Shields. Great co-main event for UFC 121.
Do you think the UFC is wise to overload us with Brock in October?
I do. Do you?
Dana White just tweeted that Vitor goes for Title and Nate/Yushin winner is next. Guess that answers that Sonnen has fallen well down the ladder......
The UFC is just proceeding based upon the circumstances. But if Chael wins his appeal, he will have a big fight in the spring of 2011. I still think Sonnen will be heard from at 185. It just may not be until after a year-long suspension. And at that point, his margin for error will be thin if he wants to ever fight for the belt again.
119 features a main event where either fighter would need 2 more wins to get a title shot. Does the UFC really think that is worth a PPV?
It's actually the fight on the card that I am most looking forward to. I understand why you don't love it as the co-main. But that said, if Jon Jones was fighting Bader, you'd have no problem with it. And we got Jones on free TV last month. So, I'm okay with it. And the winner will likely face Jones.
I just wanted to say: Matt Serra wins by stoppage, and THAT is surprise FOTN! Thank you.
Rob is on the record...
Gomi - Whats next ?
Possibly Clay Guida.
Hey Jon, what do you think about a light heavyweight interim title match between Bones and Rashad? I know they're boys but that will put butts in the seats!
That's the fight I would've made. Curious if the UFC even attempted to make it happen. Both guys have expressed reluctance to fight one another.
Have you heard how bad Cro Cop's eye is? Will it effect the fight?
Dana White insists that Cro Cop is fine. Never a good thing to even hear rumors of an injury like that before a big fight. Time will tell.
If GSP beats KOS and Hardy Beats Condit, do you see Hardy vs. KOS happening shortly after that?
Potentially. But the UFC rarely has a guy who lost fight a guy who won.
Do you think BJ Penn is past his prime, or just that Frankie has his number?
Edgar just has his number.
Terry Francona back next year ?
Absolutely. Love Tito. And for a while there, I thought he might've been the AL manager of the year. Kept the Red Sox in contention, despite losing all of their best players at one point or another.
How interested are you in the bj vs hughes fight?
I'm interested. More interested in how much they gave Hughes on the side to convince him to fight again this year.
If Couture wants another crack at the belt, isn't this the best time to give it to him?
Yes. Wouldn't surprise me at all if the UFC attempted to set up an interim title fight between Rashad and Randy.
Who you got, BJ or Matt?
Will make a prediction closer to the fight. I will say that B.J. Penn coming off of two losses is gonna be an angry, motivated man. Hughes was awesome against Almeida. Is he that guy, or is he the guy that struggled to finish a washed-up Renzo Gracie in Abu Dhabi?
Any love for Michael Vick being named starter in Philly? Chael's gotta feel good about 2nd chances after hearing that news...
There ya go Rube.
I know Mark Hunt hasn't done much recently but he is still a pretty big name, curious to see him not even on the Spike portion of the card.
Good chance the fight ends up on the PPV as a filler.
If Leben were to beat Stann, would his next fight be a title eliminator, or is he still too far away for that?
You'd like to think a win over Stann would thrust him into a No. 1 contender's bout. At the very least, he would face one of the top 4-5 guys at 185.
Mark Hunt is a big name to us, but not to the mainstream fans. A big KO could change that!
Off the cuff, no gun to your head, no binding picks; who is your favorite fighter, for whatever reasons, in each weight division LW and up?
Such a difficult question to answer in this space and without much time to think about it. At heavyweight, Brock Lesnar is must-see TV. Ditto for Jon Jones at 205. Bellator's Hector Lombard is vicious, and is always the first guy I think of at 185. Would pay to watch that man spar. At welterweight, I like Paulo Thiago. And at 155, you all know the answer. :) Impossible question there, Steve Dave. Gonna make me some enemies!
Thanks Jon for all you and ESPN does for MMA. I love this chat and get many ideas from you and the fans!
Aldo would annihilate Edgar. Imagine what he's going to do to Gamburyan, a lower to middle of the pack UFC 155'er.
I think the WEC would've rather given Josh Grispi the title shot against Jose Aldo. I would've much preferred that matchup.
Chost, sorry for the loss man. With MMA's continued upward momentum and sellouts of the UFC, what is ESPN's plan?
Thanks, dude. I'm just the host of the show. I am thankful that the MMA Live ratings continue to be strong, despite the time slot. Hopefully, the coverage will continue to expand. We are scheduled to be in Anaheim next month with live coverage of UFC 121 on ESPN2.
wonder what everybody is going to say if the anvil catches him
sorry, should have known better than to clown on your boy rashad, nice to see the media staying objective
Didn't read what you wrote about Rashad. I feel as though I tell it like it is. I've criticized Rashad, Kenny, and others in the past. I do it tactfully, but I try hard to maintain objectivity.
Get back to work Joe.
I think we should set something up where if you cant make it to a chat or event, I take over for you, I can be your backup? Lets make it happen!
Hahahaha. There is a long line!
Who wins the re-match - Florian/Penn II? (Man-crush aside)
Fight was actually proposed to both parties for Detroit. Florian is a much better fighter now than he was in August of 2009. Still don't think he would beat Penn.
So I realize you are just a small cog in a much bigger machine, but management does see the numbers vs. Baseball on TV, right?
Yes sir. They are hard to ignore.
Its been a long long time since Ive seen a Crocop high kick KO I would love to see it happen to Mir. I do like Mir but I just miss the high kick KO
That's why you gotta buy UFC 119!
Rashad and Bones say they won't fight each other, but there's a good chance that Rashad is champ when Bones becomes #1 contender.
Very true. And despite what both parties say, they aren't as close as, say, Fitch and Koscheck. They've only actually trained together a handful of times.
Always catch the after ppv mma lives, but you guys need a better than 1 am est friday slot, rough for morning work
I hear ya bro. Loud, clear.
Is Hunt actually going to try to make 265 ? or is the fight at Super HW
He will make 265. Indications are he is already around that number. The UFC won't stage super heavyweight fights, unless Shaq comes calling.
Buy or Sell - Frank Mir will fight Brock Lesnar again.
Good question. I'll buy. It's a moneymaker. Of course, Lesnar would have to lose to Velasquez for it to happen anytime soon.
Good to see you back Jon, How do you see the Sherk vs Dunham fight playing out?
Thanks bro. I like Dunham. Sherdog's Tomas Rios watches more film than anyone I know. He says to keep an eye on Dunham's footwork early. If it's fluid, the fight is his. Also just have no idea what kind of performance Sherk will put forth. I was single the last time he fought.
I'll keep asking, when can we look to see Brilz in action again, and against who? Is he injured?
This is the first time I've seen your question, Heath. I believe he is scheduled to fight Vladimir Matyushenko at UFC 122.
Lyman Good vs bad Ben Askren - who you got?
Can't wait for that fight. Tough to assess Lyman b/c he's been out of action for some long, and Askren's domination of Dan Hornbuckle is fresh on the brain stem. I wish when guys asked for predictions they would offer up theirs first! I'll take Askren.
thoughts on UFN 22?
Marquardt is athletic. Oliviera is the man. All Jim Miller does is win. And a huge night for Cole Miller. Loved seeing him back up all that talk, even if I'm a Ross Pearson fan. Miller can beat a lot of 155ers on any given night. Great size and finishing instincts.
Jon, any chance we see the UFC back in PA? And possibly in Pittsburgh in 2011?
Is it me or does Brady look like he's going for the femine look?
Must cut that lettuce.
Which fight do you expect to get fight of the night honors on Saturday? I think Meathead vs. Mexicutioner is a dark horse and certainly one of the best nickname fights of all time.
I agree that fight could end up in the FON discussion. Both guys like to bang, but neither has off-the-charts power, which means it could go into the 3rd round. I think Dunham-Sherk could be a winner.
Vitor going to be the man to finally knock anderson out? I think not, you?
who has the best nickname in MMA, in your opinion, have you ever given anyone a nick name?
I like the Arm Collector.
What do you think about the Sotiropoulos/Lauzon fight? I like the matchup, but don't like that it might eliminate one from ever getting a title shot.
Sort of a head-scratcher to me. I am happy for Lauzon that he was rewarded for that sick performance in Boston. But you are right in that a loss for GST would likely prevent him from ever fighting for the title. Also not exactly sure where Lauzon is at 155. Is he in the UFC's top 6 right now? I'm not so sure...
when does huerta fight alvarez?
October 21st. And it's too bad, b/c most of the media will already be in Anaheim for UFC 121.
what do you see as the most exciting match up at UFC 120
Off the top of my head, I think it's Condit-Hardy. But I also expect big things from the John Hathaway-Mike Pyle fight. Two aggressive gents.
Jon- You guys need Joe Rogan in studio for MMA live one week!
No argument here.
How about worst nick-name? J-lau ranks right up there...
Maybe Ken-Flo. Hehehehe
When is Jon Jones going to fight again? Baddest dude in MMA!!!
He is one bad dude. I'm expectant that he'll face the Bader-Lil Nog winner at UFC 125, January 1st.
Lets here them, who do you have on Saturday?
Due to time constraints, we'll be quick. Mir, Bader, Lytle, Dunham, Guillard, Doerksen and Beltran.
Diaz vs Noons II. Who you like?
All depends on how Diaz approaches the fight. Noons' hands are some of the best in MMA. As most of you know, he moonlights as a pro boxer. Diaz needs to work all disciplines of MMA, and he'll be fine.
FYI, only girls do "hehehe."
Why is Bader such a heavy favorite over Lil Nog?
Younger guy and he's undefeated. Plus, many believe Lil Nog lost to Jason Brilz, despite being given the decision.
appreciate the time and effort, one of the most exciting things i look forward to all wk
My pleasure, Angelo. Appreciate you always being here for the chat!
I will be @ Bellator! Screw the media, LOL. When do I get to host the chat?
You are actually the #2 fill-in.
Jon ban jason from your chats please, no harrassing the chost!!
I'm not in the banning game, but maybe I shouldn't post so many of his comments/questions...
Chost is a pretty dumb nickname.
Yet it stuck with you!
when does Ben Askren make it into the UFC?
Think Jardine's suspension will be over turned?
I think so. He was apologetic and handled the situation well. He's also not at all a malicious guy.
Sorry for your loss Jon. So are you honored that Chael is going to talk you first or excited about the ratings?
Thanks, Hondo. Very excited that Chael has chosen to offer up his first comments on MMA Live. Equally excited that it should result in a big rating. Please, please tell your friends to watch MMA Live, tomorrow at 1AM ET on ESPN2, and set those DVRs.
Jon Jones is the baddest guy in MMA? I think Cain Valesquez , Junior Dos Santos , Shane Carwin , and Brock Lesnar have something to say about that.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion. It's what makes MMA such a great conversation sport.
Jon- Again sorry for your loss! You're a stand up dude(all 5'2) and you always kill it on the chat, mma live and the highlights! Keep up the good work!
Hahahahahahaha. 5'8" 3/4 the last time I was measured. Hoping to be 5'9" at my physical in 3 weeks.
Joe Rogan vs Jon Anik. Who wins?
Rogan by first-round stoppage.
How did you like doing blow by blow of a boxing event?
Loved it, David. Feels most natural for me to do live events (play-by-play, remotes, etc.). Thankful for the opportunity and hopeful another comes my way. If you missed it, replay is available at ESPN3.com. Just search under boxing. It's the Edrin Dapudong-Wilbert Uicab replay.
Have you ever had a conversation with Rogan at an event? He seems like an approachable dude.
Never met the man, but have talked with Mike Goldberg on numerous occasions. Hope to cross paths at some point.
What are your thoughts on the whole Rousimar Palhares deal?
Sour grapes. Glad he was quick with an apology, but he lost some fans with that display.
What's the deal with Phil Davis? How much longer does he get the Jon Jones treatment?
Hopefully not too long. I understand fully why the UFC brings its top prospects along slowly. But I believe Davis is ready for a Top 10 name at this point.
You a fan of "The Voice" Michael Schiavello Jon ?
Yes. We have different styles when calling fights, but LOVE the man's passion. And his knowledge is second to none.
Just for you I will certainly check that out.
Thanks dude. Critiques can be filed in the chat next week!
How come we haven't seen more of Mir on MMA Live? Nobody speaks the truth like Frank "Muuur"
He doesn't like to fly. Certainly not performance-based. We love having Frank here.
Jon, since we all come to you for MMA knowledge, I felt it important to ask.....do you think the Oregon Ducks have a legit shot at a national championship this year?
Why not? They score 70 points a week!
Alright, y'all. Must go work on this Sonnen interview and the rest of MMA Live. Chael will be here tomorrow for the whole show. We start at 1AM ET on ESPN2 and will also do a complete preview of UFC 119. Feel free to send me your other questions/comments on Twitter- @Jon_Anik.Thoughts and prayers with my Digital Media colleague and one of our loyal chat readers, John Zehr. Wishing you a quick recovery, Z! Until next week, be safe. That includes not texting and driving...See you tomorrow on The Live! -JA