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February 15, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Brett Okamoto

Brett Okamoto
  (1:00 PM)

What's up guys? Chatting with you today from lovely Omaha, Nebraska. A bit slower front on MMA this week but still some good fights I'm looking forward to taking in tonight. What's on your mind?

Marc (Chicago, IL)

I like Condit, but I still don't think he should be allowed to sit for the next 9 months. Who cares if he loses before he fights GSP? He still has the interim belt and the whole point of the interim belt is to keep the action moving and maintain a number 1 contender/unification bout.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:01 PM)

Could not agree with you more as far as the interim belt is concerned. It's purpose should be that, an "interim" champion while the formal champion is out. In this case, Condit is just a No. 1 contender, so why the belt? Outside of the belt though, I do believe Condit has earned the right to wait if that's what he wants to do and that's what I would want to do. You don't gamble a title shot.

J.P. (Denver, CO) [via mobile]

With fighters' pay coming under fire, do you think a union would the best option for the fighters? And if so how would they go about starting that process?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:03 PM)

I would be in favor of seeing the fighters form a union someday and I think it will eventually happen. The process would have to be fueled by some of the bigger names in the sport, guys coming together to create enough leverage. You can't have a handful of the UFC's prelim fighters trying to create a union. It has to be the stars.

your name D.Hyder (your location Rocky Top,Tn)

post your question or comment : Have they announced the fighters that made TUF 15 and if so were can u find those names at ?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:04 PM)

Haven't been announced yet. Should happen in the coming weeks.

mike (nd) [via mobile]

Have thus sneaking suspicion Sanchez wins tonite, have I lost my mind? PS- new grandpa today! And they're already checking out gyms for him to start training mma when he's older, gotta love my daughter, lol

Brett Okamoto
  (1:06 PM)

Hey congrats Mike! We'll forgive you for losing your mind on the Sanchez pick! Haha, actually no, you have to respect Sanchez or he will sneak up on you. Like most, I think he's better at 155, but he's coming into this fight in much better physical shape it appears than his last and he's dangerous in multiple areas. I'm not picking him but he's got a shot.

Mitch (Utica, ny)

Brett, besides experience whats one thing that you think Rashad has over bones going into their fight?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:09 PM)

Think he's a little more polished on the ground, technically. Also think he actually has better one-punch KO power. Jones strings together combinations, hasn't really knocked a guy out with one strike. I'm kind of grasping at straws here, but that's two things I could come up with.

wasco California [via mobile]

do u think cain Velazquez can retain the belt once again or will he fall short of those accomplishments

Brett Okamoto
  (1:10 PM)

Velasquez can absolutely retain the belt and I think he will at some point. He's got the best cardio in the heavyweight division, I don't think that's an overstatement at all. If he beats Mir, with the way that division is, he might already be back in line for a title shot.

Tyler (oklahoma)

Why did the UFC decide to put a guy coming off a loss (Cain) vs a guy coming of a win (Mir)? There are new heavies that could've fought Cain or Mir. I thinks its an awful fight for Frank, especially since he's probably a win away from another title shot.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:12 PM)

I agree with you Tyler. I respect Frank for taking the fight but that's a monster challenge when he is, like you said, one fight away from a title shot. I had been told Werdum was mentioned but it would have been in Brazil and perhaps Mir didn't want to make that road trip. He's a family guy, likes to fight close to home. We'll see what happens in that one.

Trevor (Mpls)

Interim belt = POINTLESS. Just call him #1 contender (which he is), if he wants to fight, then fight someone. If he wants to wait for the title shot, then wait...

Brett Okamoto
  (1:12 PM)

Word.

Biv (Illinois)

Just wanted to say Chost is doing a great job on the UFC insidet show.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:13 PM)

Agree. Anik is killing it. Real happy for him.

Kevin (Mile High)

Great article on BJ, gut feeling, will he be back in the cage this year?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:14 PM)

My gut feeling is still yes but man, I don't know. He sounded like he was leaning towards retirement more when I talked to him, but I still think give it some more time, he won't want it to end like that.

McKinley B. Noble (San Francisco, CA)

Brett, hasn't GSP's absence, however temporary, had a silver lining for the UFC in the long run? Considering the sudden interest in challengers like Sanchez, Ellenberger, Hendricks, and even Koscheck, it seems like GSP could wait until 2013 to come back.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:15 PM)

Depends how you look at it. If you're the UFC, you NEVER want your biggest PPV draw out for this long. GSP is money in the UFC's pocket. But like you said, now there's a lot of interest in these other guys whereas previously, it seemed GSP was running through them so quickly, we were never excited about any of them.

Dustin (Nebraska)

I think when Ellenberger KO's Sanchez he should fight Condit in a rematch.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:16 PM)

Personally, that's what I'd like to see to. But I think Carlos is waiting.

Ed (Work)

7 main card fights for Japan? Ummm what's the damage going to be for my wallet

Brett Okamoto
  (1:17 PM)

Same price as always Ed!

@PappaFeez (Dallas)

Told you they were going to broadcast 7 fights on UFC 144 since it was in Japan. Pretty cool. And the card is STACKED

Brett Okamoto
  (1:19 PM)

Yeah, great card. Just booked my flight, can't wait for that main event. Anyone want to talk Hendo/Edgar? I was watching fights from those two on the flight out to Omaha. Not sure who I'm picking.

Chilly Water (Oklahoma)

Chael said last night on UFC Insider that he hasn't even been contacted about fighting Andy. And last week when Andy was asked if he is going to fight Chael, he clearly avoided the question. Do you think there is any chance that Chael is telling the truth and Silva really is trying to avoid fighting him again?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:20 PM)

I didn't see the show, but no. If I had to guess, Anderson is just not really talking publicly about anything because 1. That's just kind of his personality and 2. He's still injured. Chael is talking about it because, well, yeah it's Chael. The fight is going to happen.

Tom (NYC)

Can you make a suggestion to ESPN to have you guys make picks for the ENTIRE fight card, not just 3 fights?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:21 PM)

Sure, I'd be down for that. I actually still do that for my old newspaper, lasvegassun.com. They post the entire card and our career records. Check it out sometime before a PPV card.

Mike (San Diego)

Brett, Why doesn't ESPN have you guys pick all the fights? You guys are experts, and I'm sure you know about out all the fighters on the prelims. I feel it's a mistake

Brett Okamoto
  (1:21 PM)

Didn't know you guys wanted the prelims so much. I'll mention it to the bosses.

David (Spartanburg)

Any word on why Koscheck left AKA?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:23 PM)

Anytime that happens there are going to be multiple reasons. From one interview he did, it sounds like his relationship with striking coach Javier Mendez went a little stale, but I can't comment too much on it. A lot goes on behind the scenes in these gyms so, hard to tell exactly what happened.

Rebecca (Billerica)

Which heavyweight tonight has the most potential in termss of title contention? De Frries, Miocic, Herman or Struve? I like Miocic but my friend says Struve.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:24 PM)

Miocic and Struve are definitely the top two. I guess I'd lean slightly Struve for now just because I think as he continues to mature, he'll grow into his body more and he'll fight smarter. Who knows? They both win, they might fight each other next.

Matty-Ice (Detroit)

Was Jake Shields too over-hyped coming into the UFC? Granted he fought GSP and lost his dad right before the Ellenberg fight. But I had him losing to Kampmann. Does he worry about his job if he loses in Japan?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:26 PM)

I think he was a little over-hyped. Not to say he's not a great fighter because he is, but the UFC painted this picture like they had stolen away like THE GUY to challenge GSP from Strikeforce when that really just wasn't quite the case. I don't think he's worried about his job though. He's still one of the top 10 170ers in the world.

Andy (TX)

What's the beef between Gross and Mindenhall?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:27 PM)

Haha, it was temporary beef. If you guys didn't see it, MMA Live is now doing a segment called MMA Live Hot Button where two of our writers argue about different topics. The show is also going back on TV so ... good things to come. Thanks for the support as we retooled the show.

CB (DC)

If Hendricks and Ellenberger both win, who gets the next title shot?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:28 PM)

Hendricks would be in front of Ellenberger.

Andy (Chicago)

Vegas likes Herman. Almost all of you like Struve (me too). How do you see that match going?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:30 PM)

Yeah, I was surprised Herman opened as the favorite. I think Struve is just the better all-around guy. He's capable of hurting Herman on the feet. Struve gets hit waaay too much but he actually can take a decent chin despite the KO losses on his record. I think he'll be slightly better than Herman everywhere this goes and maybe get a second-round, late sub finish.

Alex (DC)

On mir going to brazil - Anik said the dude hates to fly.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:30 PM)

The dude does hate to fly.

David (Spartanburg)

You are an up and comer and want to pick a fight camp to join and get you to the top. Who ya got?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:31 PM)

Depends what weight class. People sometimes forget, when picking a camp it's nearly as important to find one with the right type of sparring partners as it is with the right coaches.

Jay (Vegas)

BJ Penn Nate Diaz at 155lb. Fight needs to happen.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:32 PM)

Or Penn, Cerrone.

Andy (Chicago)

How many rounds is the main event tonight?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:33 PM)

Three rounds tonight.

Jeff (Salt Lake City)

Is AO really a "blackzillian" now? If so, that camp is getting scary!

Brett Okamoto
  (1:34 PM)

Yep, Overeem signed with them this week. Was hoping he'd stick around in Las Vegas but ... not meant to be.

Jeff (Salt Lake City)

IF BJ comes back (I pray he does), how many fights would the UFC "need" him to win before giving him a shot at the 55 title? I would love to see him make 1 more run before he hangs them up. Do you think staying in Hawaii and not going to a "real" camp has stunted him a bit?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:35 PM)

Hard to say about staying in Hawaii. He obviously had a lot of success doing what he did, but I think for him, he wishes he would have committed himself to the sport a little more IN BETWEEN fights. If he came back, they'd probably want him to win at least two fights before fighting for a title and, unfortunately, from talking to him I think if he does come back it would still be at 170 pounds.

Ed (Work)

I'm sure everyone thinks the same of Hendo/Edgar. Everyone thinks Hendo is a future champ and has all the tools to beat and finish Edgar. But then, Edgar just always seems to prove you wrong. Pettis/Lauzon is even more intriguing

Jim (St. Louis)

I think Henderson will be able to do what Maynard was unable to do, which is put an end to the fight. Give credit to Edgar for his ability to stay in those fights, but Henderson's size and strength will be too much.

James Jones (Cold Water, MI)

Hard to pick against Edgar ... Bendo is a great fighter but Edgar is such a tough guy. I don't think Bendo does anything that Edgar hasn't already seen and better

Jr (Arizona)

Ben Henderson bringing back that belt to Arizona!

Brett Okamoto
  (1:37 PM)

Yeah, seems like we all somewhat agree on the Hendo/Edgar matchup. I had picked Hendo early but I'm leaning more towards Edgar now. If he can keep it standing I think he'll outbox Henderson pretty much all night and even on the ground, I have a suspicion his grappling is underrated. Still not sure though.

Guy (Chicago)

On a scale from 1 to 10, how badly does Rampage whoop Bader?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:38 PM)

Depends on what Rampage. If he is motivated Rampage, I do think he'll walk through Bader. But if he's 50/50 Rampage, Bader will edge him.

RYAN (IOWA)

How do you feel about this upcoming Tate vs. Rousey fight? I love Rhonda Rousey, especially after she did Joe rogan's podcast and came off real personal and humble. Do you think Strikeforce is forcing-rushing Rhonda a bit into a title shot quickly to maybe recover a bit about all the mess with Cyborg? And who do you like in that fight?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:39 PM)

Tate and Rousey are fantastic for the sport, but who's behind them? You can't sell women's MMA with one fight. Carano/Cyborg was huge, but it didn't necessarily boom interest. Strikeforce needs to build more contenders to keep this thing going, they just don't have many to work with unfortunately. Looking forward to the fight. Seems like everyone is picking Rousey.

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

Is there insight or gossip that you ever hear and find out to be true through verified sources, but you don't report it due to some certain ethics?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:40 PM)

ESPN has a high set of standards when it comes to reporting "rumors." There are some things that yeah, we hold on to because no one wants to speak about it on record. It's a bummer when it turns out we can't break those stories, but credibility is main concern. You never want to be wrong as a journalist.

Jeff (Salt Lake City)

Is it legal for Ed Herman to wear that wool coat he had on yesterday when he fights tonight??

Brett Okamoto
  (1:41 PM)

You could have braided that back hair.

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

Do you think some of these guys names are made up? Bader, Bisping, Overreem?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:43 PM)

Most fighters names are what you see. When athletic commissions send out official results, fighters real names are listed. Can't really think of a good example off the top of my head of one that's different than they announce. It's always funny to see Jacob Christopher Ortiz though.

J.R. (Tampa)

Any word on who's going to round out the UFC flyweight roster in addition to the 4 in the mini-tournament?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:44 PM)

Yeah, I saw a list the other day. Don't have it in front of me. A lot of names came from the most recent season of TUF. Brian Bowles officially dropped down ... that's all I can remember right now.

Guy (Chicago)

If Bendo beats Edgar, I think BJ matches up stylistically. Who would you put your money on in a BJ-Bendo fight?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:45 PM)

Probably Henderson mostly because of the cardio. Then again, BJ has much better cardio at 155 than he does at 170. That'd be a close one.

Todd (CT)

Do you think Silva destroys Sonnen in their next fight?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:46 PM)

I could see multiple scenarios playing out. Anderson is always a threat to knock a guy out at any moment in the fight, but I'm not going to completely ignore what Chael did in the first fight. Plus, Chael can take a punch, so even if Silva clocks him, he's capable of walking through it and getting the takedown. Like him or not, the fact is Chael did not fear Anderson like I think a lot of other guys have and that makes him a much more dangerous opponent.

Edu (NY)

When and who is Machida fighting next?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:48 PM)

Haven't heard anything on Machida recently. He needs a winnable fight. Whoever they pick I expect a lot of people to say, wow that's a big step down, but with his record as it is recently, he doesn't need a big name fight right now.

Guy (Chicago)

Are there any serious talents I should be watching in Strikeforce outside of Gilbert Melendez? I'm not blown away by anyone competing in the HW tourney (is that even still happening???) and I can't think of anyone else that's impressive.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:50 PM)

Luke Rockhold is legit. He's got a tough skill set and his athleticism and frame make him extremely tough to control. Of course there are many others, (Jacare, Kennedy, Lawal, Masvidal is good, etc.) but as far as guys who could make a run at the title, I'd say those two.

Robert (Marlbrough)

In your response to Tate/Rousey... how does the UFC/Strikeforce build the women's division. And do you get the sense that they are serious about it or that its lip service.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:51 PM)

I get the sense they're serious about it but it's probably not a huge priority to them. Tate and Rousey have kind of done things on their own and now Zuffa notices they have a following so they are pushing them. As of right now, it's almost like it's kind of up to the women to make some sort of splash on their own and then the promotion will get behind them.

Matt (NYC)

Hello Moto! After Eddie Alvarez fights Aoki do you think we could finally see him in the UFC?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:52 PM)

Difficult to say. I don't know if that one fight has a lot to do with him moving to UFC. The UFC is obviously aware of who this guy is, it comes down to finances. Even though he lost to Chandler, Alvarez is still one of it not the biggest name in Bellator. I'm sure they're committed to keeping him.

Alex (DC)

What's new on the Dan Henderson front?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:54 PM)

ESPN blogger Chuck Mindenhall talked to Henderson recently and wrote that Dan actually does want to fight and not wait for the winner of Jones/Evans. Not really a clear opponent for him right now so I think he'll be waiting at least until some of these fights happen. Rampage again if he wins in Japan?

Marc (Chicago, IL)

I have Comcast and apparently they don't carry Fuel TV... do you know why and can you talk to some of the big wigs at the UFC to change that?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:55 PM)

The UFC is well aware of it and they've definitely looked into it, but it sounds like to me there won't be any changes made in the immediate future. I also have cable, I bought an additional package that had Fuel for like $6 a month. Can you do that?

Nathan (London, ON)

WHat is going to happen to Nick diaz now? And who would win in a fight between Aoki and Sotuoropolis?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:58 PM)

He'll most likely get a year-long suspension, but we'll see. The Nevada commission has surprised me before so, we don't know for sure what his penalty will be. As far as the fight goes, it happened once and if memory serves me right, it ended with one of the more vicious groin kicks anyone has ever seen. If they fought tonight, I'd lean Aoki.

Guy (Chicago)

Do you think that the increased amounts of UFC fights on FX and Fox are watering down cards? I just don't feel as excited for most of these cards like I used to be. UFC 100 comes to mind (obviously) but I just feel like all the old cards were more stacked.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:59 PM)

Yeah, I do think it's getting to be a little much, but these FX and Fox cards are free, so if they're not packed with big names remember, at least you're not paying for them.

josh (seymour tennesse)

if bendo wins who fights him next

Brett Okamoto
  (1:59 PM)

Winner of Nate Diaz and Jim Miller fight in May.

Scott (Salt Lake City)

Anything on Mayem Miller?

Brett Okamoto
  (2:00 PM)

Nope. Didn't he tweet his fans recently asking them to tweet Dana and get him a fight? Sounds like he's ready to get back in there.

Mike (Milwaukee)

Have you followed any of the action by Pettis' younger brother, Sergio? People are saying he's destined for the UFC and to be better than Anthony.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:01 PM)

I've actually never seen him fight live, but I have heard he's good. I haven't had anyone tell me specifically he's going to better than Anthony, but sounds like he's definitely talented.

jrsdomain (pico rivera, ca)

whats the word on carwin?

Brett Okamoto
  (2:01 PM)

Still looks like a late spring return.

Brock (Vancouver)

Condit already beat Ellenberger, nothing to win again, if he takes a fight should be winner of Kos/Hendricks in Aug/Sept, winner fights GSP Nov/Dec

Brett Okamoto
  (2:03 PM)

That first fight was so close there would be interest in seeing it again. If Koscheck wins, doubt they'd make that fight because no interest in Kos/GSP fight. This is all just hypothetical though if Condit doesn't fight again, which I don't think he will.

Matty-Ice (Detroit)

Machida vs Brandon Vera? That low down? Bader if he loses to Rampage?

Brett Okamoto
  (2:03 PM)

Yeah actually, I could see Machida fighting Vera.

Matt (NYC)

Who do you like tonight? Simpson/Markes? Watson/Dillashaw? Thanks.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:03 PM)

Picked Simpson and ... you know what? Give me Watson in an upset.

James (CT)

I love BJ but his welterweight record is something like 2-3-1 right? I hope he comes back at lightweight because I want to see him win.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:05 PM)

His response to that was, at 170 I'm supposed to be the lighter guy and only win in the later rounds when the other guy is tired. But I come out and stomp them in the first round, then lose the next two. So, you can't tell me I don't belong with the 170ers because when we're both fresh, I beat them. And I said, yeah, but do you think part of the reason you gas is because you have to wear their weight in the first round? And he said no, it's been a personal cardio issue for him, not the weight.

Kevin (LA)

Even if he wins, do you think Edgar has to adjust his style to lengthen his career? The amount of damage he has absorbed in the last two fights can't be good for you.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:06 PM)

He took damage in two fights against Gray but other than that, he's not known for being an easy to guy to hit. In fact, his stick and move style makes him very difficult to hit. Give credit to Maynard for finding him as much as he did ... but even then you can only say that Maynard found him in the first rounds of those fights. After that, Edgar made him miss the rest of the time. So, no, I don't think Edgar needs to change his style, it's already a defensive style.

Nathan (London, ON)

Shaq has talked about fighting mma before. If Shaq fought Conseco(and not his twin brother) who do you think would win?

Brett Okamoto
  (2:07 PM)

Shaq would run through Conseco. It'd be terrible.

Marc (Malden, MA)

A year suspension for pot? I can't imagine it actually enhances performance, shouldn't that be revisited?

Brett Okamoto
  (2:08 PM)

They actually say it hurts your performance, therefore endangering the athlete. It would be potentially a year because it's his second offense. I'm not a fan of that ruling either, but it is what it is.

Scott (Salt Lake City)

Have they set a date for the Faber V Cruz fight?

Brett Okamoto
  (2:08 PM)

Nothing specific yet.

JimBob (The Counter)

Any good plays today? Love Red Ink.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:09 PM)

Thanks, I'm glad you guys are enjoying it. No gambling plays for me tonight, just watching. If you HAVE to have action, which living in Vegas, I'm not hating on you if you do, I'd take Struve at those odds.

Nathan (Fort Frances)

Who's your all time favourite boxer? And whats one matchup(excluding PACMAN VS MONEY) that you would like to see?

Brett Okamoto
  (2:12 PM)

Wow, tough question. I've actually never really thought about who my favorite boxer is. I hate to give an obvious answer but I love Muhammad Ali fights. The Morales/Barrera trilogy is a must-see. In terms of one matchup ... really not sure. I'd love to see a good heavyweight fight for one of the Klitschko brothers eventually.

Matty-Ice (Detroit)

What do they do with bantamweights after Faber/Cruz? There is really no one I'm pumped either of them to fight

Brett Okamoto
  (2:13 PM)

Michael McDonald is fighting Miguel Torres ... if McDonald wins it's still very early in his career but he's rising. Renan Barao obviously is real close, although I don't think he's ready to take out Cruz (or Faber).

Brett Okamoto
  (2:15 PM)

Alright let's wrap this one up. I'm actually not sure if ESPN is doing the live chat tonight during Fuel card. If we are, I'll be running it from cageside so stop by to talk about the fights. If we don't do it, you can always send me something on twitter @bokamotoESPN. Later guys.