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March 28, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Brett Okamoto

Brett Okamoto
  (1:03 PM)

Welcome to the Wednesday MMA chat! Thanks for stopping by this week guys. Bear with me, as I seem to be experiencing some technical problems today. Hopefully this thing starts running smoother for me as we get this going. Obviously big news yesterday with King Mo getting the axe from Strikeforce for comments he made following a disciplinary hearing in Nevada. I'm sure we'll get to that, interested to hear your thoughts on it. Anything you guys want to discuss is fair game. What do you got?

Gerry (San Francisco, CA)

I don't know who does ESPN MMA Rankings, but why is Yushin Okami still ranked as a top 10 middleweight? I know he lost to Silva, but losing to Boetsch the way he did was demoralizing...

Brett Okamoto
  (1:05 PM)

It was, but look at his body of work. 10-4 in the UFC, with relatively recent wins over Mark Munoz and Nate Marquardt. He got clipped by Boestch in that fight. It happens. I guarantee, you ask any promoter to have a tournament featuring the top eight middleweights in the world, pretty much all of them would include Okami. He just ran into Silva and then got caught in the third round of a fight he was dominating.

Alex (Concord)

What are the chances that Mo Lawal ends up with UFC after his suspension is over? Seems like a perfect way to bring him on the main card with Oritz, Rampage, Forrest and Franklin nearly on the way out.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:06 PM)

That's nine months away, so yeah, I could see time healing those wounds between he and Zuffa, especially since it seems like most fans are against the promotion's decision to cut him. I would honestly say 50/50 chance, as just my personal guess.

mike (sf)

when do we see barnett/ cormier winner in the ufc?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:08 PM)

Not this year. I'm assuming Zuffa has reached an agreement with Showtime that allows them to move the heavyweight champion over once he defends the belt one time, because there is no division left for him to fight. I think the winner will fight one more time as announced against a guy Strikeforce will go out and sign for a one-fight deal and then he'll move over to the UFC.

Jeff (Salt Lake City)

Surprise drug test after presser - love it. Was it really a surprise or did the 6 know it was coming?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:09 PM)

It was a surprise. Dana didn't know about it either as far as I could tell.

CB (PA)

Not a fan of the new TUF format. Commentators are paid to show up for a reason.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:10 PM)

I agree with you but remember, that part of it isn't new. There never was commentating during these fights, that's the style UFC likes to use. Technically, these fights that don't end up showing on their professional record, so the promotion likes to keep an amateur feel to them. I'm with you though, if it was up to me I'd have Anik calling them.

Ryan (El Paso)

Brett!!!!!!!Why Do u guys have Shane Carwin in your HW P4P list? Hes lost 2 straight, hasn't fought in a year, and has nothing on the horizon.....how silly!

Brett Okamoto
  (1:11 PM)

Ryan!!!! Well, I think part of that is good ol' fashioned "the heavyweight division is kind of thin" so Carwin keeps his spot. And he has fought within a year, his last fight was June 2011. If we get to June 2012 and he still hasn't fought, he'll get lifted.

Scott (Salt Lake City)

Do you think any of the Heavyweights that were tested yesterday are going to get popped for something because they weren't expecting the tests?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:12 PM)

Hope not, but that's the point of a random test. I thought it was a good idea by the commission.

stickman (Montana)

TUF brazil better than TUF live????????????

Brett Okamoto
  (1:14 PM)

Honest answer, haven't watched the first episode of TUF Brazil yet. Planning on doing so, probably today. Was it that good? Random side note, Wanderlei came in and hit the circuit machines at the local gym I work out at last night. Looked big, in a good way.

Scott (Westville)

Undertaker going to retire undefeated at Wrestlemania or will HHH (this year) or Brock (Next year) break the streak?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:15 PM)

We can talk about a lot of things at this chat, Wrestlemania included, but don't expect me to have any kind of opinion on it. I don't hate on it, but not my thing at all.

Larry (Vancouver)

Echo to Gerry's comment....not quite sure why Vitor is gettng such high ranking for Middleweight....The only two win in middleweight for him is Akiyama, who is more suitable as a welterweight....and the completed over-weighed Johnson....does he really deserve #3....or is it purely based on his star power

Brett Okamoto
  (1:17 PM)

He's basically lost one fight in the past five years and that was to Anderson Silva. You bring up good points, but you could say the same about the guys ranked below him. Do guys like Mark Munoz and Luke Rockhold have more quality wins than Belfort right now? Not really.

Scott (Westville)

What will the drug policy be for the fight in Brazil? Is that run by a Brazilian commission?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:19 PM)

Same policy as any other card. The UFC basically policies itself. It hires drug agencies to perform the testing and the whole process is overseen by former NSAC head, now UFC employee, Marc Ratner.

Corey (Quincy, MA)

Am I the only one loving what I've seen from Dominic Cruz so far on TUF? Great coach, funny guy and getting under Faber's skin.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:21 PM)

I doubt you are. Cruz is definitely benefiting from the show so far. During interviews, especially with people he doesn't know all that well, he can be somewhat stuffy and doesn't show a ton of personality. Doesn't mean he gives bad interviews, he's just kind of got a serious way of answering questions. Gotta believe he'll be a bigger name after this show, which is good because he's a great fighter.

Matty-Ice (Detroit)

Man, I'm going through withdrawals. I have a feeling the numbers for 145 will be higher because of the lay off.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:21 PM)

Probably right.

L (TX)

Mike Chandler is amazing in almost every area. Why is there not more chatter about this guy? Look at what he's accomplished in under TEN FIGHTS for God's sake!

Brett Okamoto
  (1:23 PM)

I think you just said it. He hasn't fought enough. And while I agree with you that Chandler is a great talent, what kind of chatter do you want on him this early in his career? Everybody paid attention to the Alvarez win, but let's not crown him a top three 155er yet. I've got him ranked somewhere in the 11-13 range. He's definitely improving between each fight though, so I expect that to go up. Great cardio, terrific wrestling, improving hands. He'll continue to have success.

Charles (Wisconsin) [via mobile]

How do u think Silva vs. Sonnen2 will play out he can't dominate Silva again right. BTW I'm subscribing today. #UFC 147

Brett Okamoto
  (1:25 PM)

Sonnen will go after him right from the bell. If there's one thing about Sonnen that makes him a great dance partner with Anderson it's that he shows no fear of him and isn't afraid to go at him. Most fighters can't figure out how to break down that range of his and it ends up being a disaster for them. Chael recognizes, "hey, if I don't go at the guy he's going to pick me apart anyway. So, let's go at him." That said, I think Silva will be more ready for it this time ... I'm thinking Silva by TKO in the second round.

Michael (Philly)

I am excited for the UFC to return to AC. Any early thoughts on Guida-Maynard? Love the match-up.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:27 PM)

Yeah, has the makings of a good fight. I think we talked about this a little last week, I'm anxious to see Gray again. He didn't look right in the final Frankie fight, like he was going through the motions, didn't know what he wanted to do. Will he get back on track? How will the fact it's a five-round fight hurt him? He'll have to match Guida's pace for possibly 25 minutes, that's a question mark for him. I'm leaning Maynard, but not completely decided yet.

Rick (Kansas)

Where's the uncle Creepy v. Mighty Mouse card going to take place?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:28 PM)

They haven't announced it yet, it's part of the van voting thing, but Dana said yesterday he thought the voting had wrapped and that he knew where it would be. All he said was it's in the US and it's a venue they haven't been to in a long time.

Scott (Salt Lake City)

Was Mo just hiding behind the racial stuff to take attention away from the positive test?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:28 PM)

Here's my opinion on the Mo stuff ...

Brett Okamoto
  (1:31 PM)

I was actually at an NSAC meeting a couple years ago that was similar. Pro boxer didn't reveal a substance he was taking on a prefight questionnaire. He was Mexican though and actually did not speak English. He had his English-speaking manager fill out the form for him. The NSAC ended up going easy on him and now, I believe, they have forms available in multiple languages. So, it was an honest question for the commission member to ask, "Do you speak/read English?" because Mo signed the form. That said, it was very obvious Mo knows English and I felt Pat Lundvall did sound condescending. But Mo can't go out on Twitter and outrage like he did. So I guess in the end, I'm okay with Zuffa's decision to release him.

Kraw (Work)

Did you see that pic of Rashad with the big knee brace?! What do you make of it, and will this affect your Red Ink for 145?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:32 PM)

I haven't seen it ... tweet it to me @bokamotoESPN. Even without seeing it though, I don't know if I can go against JJ on Red Ink with Rashad. I do think Rashad will win a round, maybe the first like the Lyoto fight, but I don't think I can muster up the courage to tell anybody to put money on Rashad.

MJH (Philly)

What do you think about betting lines being set for TUF fights now? That has to make them official fights, doesn't it?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:33 PM)

Good point, but I still don't see these things showing up on their pro records. I guess a fight doesn't have to be pro to wager on it ... or does it? That's actually a question I don't know the answer to.

Keith Hackney's Mullet (Roy Nelson's Head)

Ninja, is Big Country really staying at HW? At some point you have to think Dana will force him to 205 or boot him, right?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:34 PM)

No, I talked to Dana about it yesterday and he said he's done asking Roy to make 205. Said he doesn't think he can make it. And I was like, "Dana, I think he could make 205." And Dana responded, "you have to want to make 205. He doesn't want to make it." That's hard to argue.

Chuck (IL)

How goes it Brett...On your down time, have you ever had a chance to hit some golf balls with your friends Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:35 PM)

I do golf occasionally, but not with celebs. Not at that level quite yet. My first month after moving out here I was working for the local news paper though and I covered a charity event and got to talk to Luke Wilson after he played his round. I was like, Wow, Vegas is cool.

Jesse (Norwich)

WHat do you see as the holes in Diaz' case that the marijuana metabolites in his urine aren't on the list of banned substances? If it's not on the list, what did he violate?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:37 PM)

He had a higher level of metabolites in his system than the commission allows. What will be interesting though is how his team argues the fact of how long those metabolites can stay in ones system. I still think it's a longshot of working, but it will be an interesting discussion.

Robert (Burlington, VT)

Realistically is there anything the UFC can do regarding TUF to improve it? Most of the best prospects (Rory MacDonald, Mike McDonald, Chris Weidman, Jim Hettes) get sent to UFC right away which takes away from TUF quality.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:39 PM)

I think there are some things they can do to improve the show overall but as improving the talent? Not sure. I mean, if you're a talented fighter but flying under the radar, don't you fly to these auditions, show them your record, dye your hair and win your way on? Like you said, the best talent is getting picked up by the UFC in advance, but this is a way to make sure they don't miss anybody. Realistically though, no, a super star born in TUF will always be a rarity.

Matty-Ice (Detroit)

It's amazing to me how far Machida has fell in the past 2 years. What's next for him? I imagine a step down in competition. Vera? Bonnar?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:39 PM)

I'd be cool with Bonnar. Would Bonnar be cool with Bonnar?

Ytzach ((Israel))

Shalom Brett! How many ppv buys do you see Anderson Silva vs Chael Sonnen getting? What about Rashad vs Jones?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:39 PM)

Oh man, I am TERRIBLE at predicting these things. Let me think for a second ...

Brett Okamoto
  (1:41 PM)

I'm gonna say ... Rashad/Jones will be 625,000. Silva/Sonnen II will be 1,000,000.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:41 PM)

Don't hold it against me if those end up being off.

David (Saint Louis)

I have been reading that Mir has been cutting some weight. Can we expect a similar body frame that say he had at UFC 100 against Lesnar?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:42 PM)

Yeah, I actually talked to Mir about that about a month ago. He says he's going to be back in the low 240 range. I think it's a good move.

tdiddy (winnipeg) [via mobile]

Can't say I agree with you on Maynard looking lost in his title fight. The fight was almost an exact mirror of their second fight up until the finish. Frustrated maybe. However if a guy can't get up for a title fight then he should'nt be fighting for one. Dana never said anything of the sort and he's the first to comment on stuff like that...

Brett Okamoto
  (1:43 PM)

I've just been told by multiple people his camp wasn't great for that fight. He was irritable. Then he switched camps and hasn't fought since. You're telling me that's not a little bit of evidence that suggests he wasn't right?

Matt (Nashville)

Hey Ninja, is Rory MacDonald a future WW champion? only 22, trains @ Tristar, and has already faced some tough guys (Nate Diaz, Condit, Pyle). If he's able to win against Mills @ 145, who'd be a good next step for him?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:46 PM)

Yeah, I think he's definitely got the foundation to hold a belt someday. If he beats Mills ... give him a guy like Rick Story? That's a logical next step I would say and still, with everything somewhat jammed up at the top still with GSP out, no need to rush him.

Scott (Salt Lake City)

Is Bellator going to be able to survive this year? There is no way they can be making money with only 100K vewers.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:47 PM)

They have a strong business model. I believe they make a profit on the site fees from the casinos that host the shows. They have a strong financial backer. They are in no threat of folding anytime in the near future as far as I know.

Dan Hardy's Mohawk (Somewhere in Las Vegas, NV)

If you can gamble on college sports, which aren't pro, i imagine you should be able to gamble on TUF.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:49 PM)

Sound reasoning there. I guess I've just never thought about how it applies to combat sports. Can you bet on NCAA wrestling matches? I don't see why not.

Fair play (???)

Does Rampage's TRT exemption for Japan open the door for some fighters to seek venues that will be as lenient as the UFC allows? Is that why Chael is cool with fighting in Brazil?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:51 PM)

No. These outside drug testers the UFC hires are still from athletic commissions and they are run by Ratner who, although a UFC employee, is familiar with the systems and operates them as they would in the UFC. Chael has fought in the US since his issues with the California commission, it's not like he's running away from US commission testing.

Zach (St. Louis)

Whats up Moto! What do you think are the chances of Anderson Silva having a super fight before he reties? Like going to LHW and fighting Bones or meeting GSP at a catchweight?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:53 PM)

I asked Dana late last year if he had EVER had a conversation with Anderson about ... is he slowing down at all? Has he mentioned the end of his career, or whether he'd like to cut back on how many times he fights per year, etc. And Dana said no. So, it doesn't sound like he's nearing retirement, which obviously increases the chance we'd see him in a super fight. I guess a lot hinges on what type of challenges surface at 185 and how willing he is to go back to 205. I'd say ... 55 percent chance he'll fight a super fight.

James (CT)

Echoing Matt, after Nate looked so good against Cowboy...Rory's win over Nate is even more impressive.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:53 PM)

It is, I won't really argue there, but I've never liked Nate at 170. And if you watch that fight you can see, size clearly played a part in how well Rory was able to control it.

Dominic (NM)

Is there any talk of doing a UFC in New Mexico? Possibly at the Pit in Albuquerque?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:55 PM)

I've personally never heard New Mexico mentioned. The Pit would be a great venue though, I like that arena.

Scott (Salt Lake City)

Are you excited for opening weekend of the MLB season?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:56 PM)

I found out yesterday you can stream your MLB.tv account on Xbox Live. So, I can watch all Rox games on TV, in Las Vegas. I called almost everyone I knew to tell them the good news.

Fair play (???)

Are fighters tested as often, or during training for these venues? If a fighter uses TRT to achieve superhuman levels during training, but comes back down to Earth for fight week, hasn't he cheated w/o possibility of detection? I hope I am wrong.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:58 PM)

The commissions would love to test fighters in between fights to catch that, the issue is money. As of right now, Nevada is the only commission I believe with the funding to do it. And they do it. That's why they tested all the heavyweights yesterday at the press conference and if you remember, there was speculation last December because they called for Overeem to be randomly tested but he was out of the States and didn't submit his sample until weeks later. So they are testing these guys in between fights when they can, but that's only for fights, obviously, in Las Vegas.

joe streitenberger (grove city ohio)

any news on when the ufc is coming back to columbus, ohio. I believe we still have the largest attendance in the usa right

Brett Okamoto
  (2:00 PM)

I think you are correct Joe. The Strikeforce cards have not done particularly well there, but I would think UFC will return eventually. Haven't heard anything specifically for Columbus this year, but I guess that could change. They're still finalizing a few venues for the fourth quarter.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:01 PM)

Good stuff guys, let's wrap for today. Thanks as always for your questions/comments and enjoy the rest of your week. Go Rox.