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August 29, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Brett Okamoto

Brett Okamoto
  (1:04 PM)

So, if I appear to be at all distracted today it's because I'm in the middle of a crazy week in Colorado. Getting married this weekend, just drove in from Las Vegas last night. Thought about canceling the chat, but to do that on the same week UFC cancels it's first card ever? That'd just be cruel. So let's talk this thing out. Who's ducking who? Who's making smart business decisions? You either blame Jon or you don't. Discuss.

Tyler (Oklahoma)

Some people complain about to many cards and stuff like that, but I would much rather have 151 this sat. then nothing at all. It reminds me of when they didn't put on as many events and it seems like your just waiting all the time. Plus there is no guarantee the card youve been waiting for is gonna be any good even if there are big names. Some cards are a little more watered down now, but you also get great fights like Zombie vs poirier in there. I dont think Im in the minority on this.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:06 PM)

I tend to be on the, "go ahead and put on all these cards" side of the argument. There are more PPVs (I wish I knew the exact number, someone want to look that up compared to a few years ago?) but you're also getting a lot more free (and quality) cards. Plus, these fighters need fights. All these undercard fighters everyone was worried about when the event was canceled, they are the ones wanting to fight 3-4 times a year, and that takes a lot of cards.

Nick (Perth (Australia) )

Hi Brett, I'm sure your going to get bombarded by WTF questions for UFC 151, but there are only a couple of things left which stump me. Firstly, given which LHW's are already lined up to fight, which LHW's he's already beaten and assuming he wouldnt fight Jon Jones on a weeks notice (we'll that's a given anyway) who were the LHW's that Anderson Silva would have been "ok" to fight?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:07 PM)

I don't believe he mentioned anyone by name. I spoke to his manager Ed Soares and basically Anderson offered to headline the card, knowing that his name alone would be enough to at least salvage the event. Of course he wasn't going to fight Jon Jones, not when he hasn't been training, and that's a huge fight the UFC would want time to promote anyway. We're talking about a mid-tier guy he would have fought.

Tim (North Olmsted)

I actually give Vitor a better chance against Jones than Hendo or Chael because he has the faster, more dangerous hands by far. Agree?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:09 PM)

On the feet, yeah. But remember how easily Anthony Johnson was taking Vitor down in Brazil? There were like three standups by the referee in the first round of that fight. Without those standups, Vitor would have been in trouble. Jon should be able to throw him down with ease and those elbows from the top ... that's why Belfort is a 9-1 underdog here.

Pete Buffalo New York [via mobile]

How can Bones Jones duck a fight with Machida and consider himsrelf a true champ?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:10 PM)

See, this is the million dollar question. Either you believe this is cage fighting, so it's different from other sports and these guys need to man up and take any challenge thrown at them, or you see it as more of a business, a professional sport, where turning down these challenges where a fighter has much to risk and little to gain makes sense. Depends which side you're on.

Nick (Perth (Australia) )

UFC 151 Q2 - To me Zuffa / Chael etc might have dodged a bullet as Sonnen / Jones represented an almost dangerous mismatch. I've always thought that Joe Silva did / does a good job but given the size, weight, reach difference between Jones and Sonnen, I couldnt see the fight having a happy ending for Sonnen, especially if Jones (as he spoke about) wanted to "put on a show"...I commend Chael for volunteering but am glad it didnt happen. Where was Zuffa's duty of care? Thoughts?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:12 PM)

This is a major aspect as to why so many are mad that Jones would turn down the fight. If they were throwing a guy like Glover Teixeira at him, a scary, 205er with good grappling and dangerous hands, maybe okay we understand you turning it down. But why turn down Chael? I agree with you, I think it's a huge mismatch in favor of Jon Jones, but obviously there was something there Greg Jackson didn't like so he advised his guy to turn down the fight. From UFC perspective, it was strictly desperate times call for desperate measures/marketing value in Chael ... that's why they would have made the fight.

Chris (Sydney)

Hi Brett, To the uninitiated as far as NFL is concerned, can you maybe in NBA or MMA terms describe Chander and Arthur Jones NFL standing / prospects (i.e. core 10 year players, rocks, likely journeyman, All Pro, workhorses etc) and would either after NFL consider MMA? (and if so what would their prospects be?)

Brett Okamoto
  (1:14 PM)

Hmmm, to be honest with you Chris I haven't followed the football careers of the Jones' brothers enough to comment on it with a great deal of knowledge. That said, these guys are in the NFL, I doubt MMA is even a consideration to them. That said again, clearly they are athletes so I'd guess they could do very well, but all great athletes wouldn't necessary do terrific in MMA. There are some people out there, most people actually, who don't have the mindset to fight other people in a cage for a living.

Sandy (Gainesville)

Hey moto, so now that Belfort is fighting Jones, will the UFC match up Belcher with Boetsch and give Weidman the winner of Bisping/Stann? Also any news on Rashad?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:15 PM)

Think it depends on how bad the spinal injury is to Alan Belcher. Need to find out a few more details on Belcher's health before we book him to a different fight. I, for one, am really going to miss the Belcher/Belfort fight. I thought that was a great matchup. Either way, I do think Weidman/Bisping would be a fight the UFC would consider, tough to predict because there is a lot playing into the whole situation, including what happens with the return of GSP and whether he fights Anderson.

Mark (BRonx)

you think Anderson Silva is really backing Vitor Belfort or is he just saying that?? I think Silva just hopes Vitor lasts longer than he did against him, make himself look bettter ...

Brett Okamoto
  (1:17 PM)

Maybe. You think he'd care that much about something like that though? He leads pretty much all the p4p lists, I would be surprised if he's staying up at night, hoping Belfort looks good against Jon just so that his win looks better. I have no reason to doubt what he said, that he's rooting for Belfort because of the Brazilian tie. The fact he'd say that suggests he and Jon can't be THAT good of buddies, too.

Seth (Brockton)

hi Brett, any idea why Shogun passed on Jones? Wasn't he fighting Vera for the chance to meet Jones after Jones-Hendo??

Brett Okamoto
  (1:18 PM)

Yeah but you can't fault Shogun. UFC 152 is less than a month away. Technically, Shogun is dealing with a medical suspension from that Vera fight. He would have been allowed to compete against Jones on the 22nd, but that'd be a brutally short amount of time to recover and then prepare. He offered to take the fight in November, which still would have been fairly short notice, but UFC declined.

Markus (Liberty City)

Whats your take on Bellator letting their fighters take bouts in other leagues? I like that they let them stay busy but now im not all that excited about Dantas. I thought he was fit for the UFC

Brett Okamoto
  (1:19 PM)

Wouldn't give up on Dantas at all. He's 23. If you saw the fight, you know he was swarming Nam and got caught by a counter hook. That happens, especially to an inexperienced fighter like him. I also like the fact Bellator is willing to let their fighters stay busy, because Dantas deserves to fight more than twice a year at this point in his career. He's still a champ in Bellator and will still be marketed that way, I don't think it's a huge blow that he suffered a loss.

Trevor (Minneapolis)

So who is to blame MOST for 151 fiasco? Bones for not accepting a replacement? Hendo for not telling UFC when he got hurt 2.5 weeks before event? Dana & Co for having a very weak card that couldn't stand up after Bones-Hendo was kaput? Hurricane Isaac??

Brett Okamoto
  (1:21 PM)

I say, personally, all of the above. You can understand why each side acted the way they did. Hendo kept the injury quiet, but in no way did he ever think his dropping out late would cancel the entire card. Jones, I think he could have taken the fight, but you can understand why he didn't. And the UFC had a better co-main on tap (not an awesome one, but an okay one) that fell through when Koscheck got hurt and some cards are simply stronger than others, is what it is. Perfect storm caused the cancelation.

jeff (florida)

When did Jones duck a fight with Machida? correct me if I am wrong, but Machida turned him down.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:21 PM)

Assuming the questioner meant Chael.

Ty (Delaware)

Why all the hate for Jon Jones not taking the Sonnen fight? Did people really want to waste money on watching Bones wreck Sonnen in the first round?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:22 PM)

I'm guessing a lot of people would have, yes.

Stoke (Oregon)

I think you were giving Hendo a 1 in 10 chance to win. What about Vitor?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:23 PM)

Man, I don't want to sound disrespectful because I think Vitor is a terrific MIDDLEWEIGHT, but okay ... if Jones fights Vitor 100 times, Vitor wins ... 7 of them.

Wilkie (Toronto)

Buzz is minimal for the next UFC in Toronto even with Jon Jones added to the card. Do you feel that oversaturation is becoming a large problem for the promotion?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:25 PM)

I expect the buzz to pick up. Last week I held an impromptu Twitter poll, asking people if they'd buy 152 and an overwhelming majority said yes. Now of course, my Twitter followers are MMA fans, but this story about Jones is not going away. It's going to be a big focus during that week, why he turned down the fight ... Vitor will do his part to sell the fight. It's a strong card ... I think the buzz will come.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:25 PM)

I expect the buzz to pick up. Last week I held an impromptu Twitter poll, asking people if they'd buy 152 and an overwhelming majority said yes. Now of course, my Twitter followers are MMA fans, but this story about Jones is not going away. It's going to be a big focus during that week, why he turned down the fight ... Vitor will do his part to sell the fight. It's a strong card ... I think the buzz will come.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:25 PM)

I expect the buzz to pick up. Last week I held an impromptu Twitter poll, asking people if they'd buy 152 and an overwhelming majority said yes. Now of course, my Twitter followers are MMA fans, but this story about Jones is not going away. It's going to be a big focus during that week, why he turned down the fight ... Vitor will do his part to sell the fight. It's a strong card ... I think the buzz will come.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:26 PM)

Sorry, technical difficulty there.

Louis (Detroit)

Any chance Hendo gets another shot at Silva when he comes back?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:27 PM)

Silva? Nah, I don't think Hendo should cut to 185 anymore. Hopefully he comes back sooner rather than later and a Jones fight is still in the works. I think it will be, it's not like there are a A TON of other options at 205 for Jones right now.

Paul (SF, CA)

So I guess I must be crazy, but I was talking a couple of months back about Vitor Belfort as stylistically the kind of fighter you need to have against Jones. Someone who is fast enough and will try to blitz him in the first round. Point fighting or counter fighting Jones is a losing path.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:28 PM)

Like I said earlier along these same lines, on the feet I totally agree with you. The Belfort Blitz will be interesting early, but I think Jon is going to throw Vitor to the ground EASILY. And Vitor is going to have a nightmare of a time getting off his back against Jones.

MJ Hammer (Toronto)

People give GSP a hard time for no finishes, but outside of Anderson who finishes EVERYBODY, who else could finish all the top talent GSP has faced? (BJ, Fitch and Kos are all finishes in my book)

Brett Okamoto
  (1:29 PM)

You're right, but I think the criticism comes because GSP is so dominant in those fights. Kind of like, okay, if you're that much better than this guy which clearly you are, stop being so conservative and finish the fight. That make sense?

Dave Y (Chicago, IL)

How soon do you think Sonnen will face Jones? Or will Jones and Greg J never agree to fight Sonnen?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:31 PM)

They would agree to face him. It sounds crazy but we're not that far away from a Chael/Jones fight. When I was told the UFC was giving Chael the shot (before I knew Jones would turn it down), I was pretty stunned. I understand the marketability aspect, but this guy hadn't won a single fight at 205 ... it cheapens the belt in my opinion. But the UFC was willing to do it, which means they'll be willing to do it again, especially since that fire has been flamed on places like Sportscenter after Jon turned down the fight. Biggest thing Chael needs to do is just win at 205 and it will happen.

ryan (wi)

The UFC should run six ppv cards a year...stack the cards with championship fights and big names and do one free card a month to set up #1 contender fights and get new names out there.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:32 PM)

How many of you agree with that? Is that turning into the popular way of thinking or are most of you in favor of more cards? Either way, I guess it doesn't matter because the UFC makes a ton of money through PPV and there is literally 0% chance they ratchet down to six cards per year.

Former Bones Fan (NJ)

It's not that I don't understand JBJs reasoning. It's simply that I want the fighters I root for to be warriors and to FIGHT. I can't root for a guy who cops out like JBJ did. Just can't do it. Surely you understand that?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:33 PM)

Yep, like I said that's the million dollar question. It's unfair to expect these guys to be "warriors" but that's kind of what they're built up to be through the UFC marketing machine and comments they make themselves to media and on Twitter. So when that perception gets shot up, people are angry.

gordy (gateshead UK)

i reckon jon jones has let Dan White down badly,the man who gave him the opportunity to be a champion,this goes right to the core of what the UFC is about,if he beats belfort then i would ease him up to heavyweight,if jones wont go up to heavyweight cut him from the UFC,there is hardly any competition for him in the UFC anyway where would he go,Dana cannot lose this one he has to bring to power back to himself and the organization.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:35 PM)

Jon Jones is going to bring in tons of money for the UFC. I've seen the "power struggle" conversation floating around, but I just can't get into it. This is a business, between two partners, the fighter and the UFC. At the end of the day, the UFC does still hold the power, don't kid yourself into thinking they don't. In regards to the rest of what you said, I understand your anger, but I don't expect Jones to move to heavyweight after this fight.

Sean (Belfast)

What fighter do you think could even challenge Jon Jones. I think JDS.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:35 PM)

I agree. JDS and Cain are the favorites. Overeem up there as well.

Paul (SF, CA)

In combat sports in order to build a legacy you need epic fights, big finishes and heated rivals; when GSP doesn't finish, and Jones turns down fights, it hurts your legacy, winning is not enough, fair or not (though both admittedly still have a long way to go before the end of their careers).

Brett Okamoto
  (1:38 PM)

There is some truth to that. I was talking to a longtime boxing reporter the other day and he was saying that's part of the reason guys like Hearns, Leonard, Hagler, Duran are remembered more fondly by the boxing world than a modern fighter like Floyd. We want to see these guys challenge themselves. It's a tough thing to fully dissect though because I hear what you're saying, but at the same time, Anderson is going to go down as the best ever in the eyes of most regardless of whether he fights GSP or moves up in weight again before the end of his career.

Dan Hardy's Mohawk (Las Vegas, NV)

Hello Moto ... congrats on the pending nuptials! And as much as I'm disappointed in JBJ turning down the fight, Dana White acting like a childish buffoon after was worse. Roger Goodell, David Stern and Bud Selig wouldn't act like that.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:41 PM)

I saw a photo of Dan yesterday, he's helping Joe Benavidez train for his title fight in Sacramento and it appeared as though the mohawk was gone ... sad day for one of our regulars on this chat. The Dana White "childish buffoon" idea has been going around forever. Either you like the way he conducts himself or you don't. From my perspective, sometimes it works great for him and others it's like, okay, Dana's emotion is getting in the way of making progress on some things. I thought it wasn't a great idea to throw your biggest star in the future under the bus, but still enjoyed listening to that conference call.

jeff (florida)

Can we be honest here, Jones was not and will never be afraid to fight Sonnen. he isn't ducking him, He made a decision that we was not prepared to fight a completely different style of fighter in that short of time. If a fighter or any athlete feels unprepared when entering their sports arena, things can turn very dangerous for them.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:42 PM)

Yeah, I wouldn't call it a "duck" either. For what it's worth, and Dana obviously said this on the call, I did hear Greg Jackson played a significant, significant part in talking Jones out of the fight. I think Jon's initial reaction was, okay fine.

Zachary (Cinci, OH)

Moto, please answer! Big fan! What are your thoughts on moving weight classes around, such as, 155 moving to 150-- meanwhile, 170 is now a 175 weight class. That way, you can add other weights like 160. This would add more champions and there should never be excuses of why you can't fight another champion, especially when the bulk up would never be hard. Do this for every weight class, and you could add up to four more. Think about it, no more excuses! Thoughts?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:45 PM)

Meh. This is the boxing model and what it ends up doing is watering down the titles. I think MMA has the weight classes just right. Only the best of the best hold belts, which is how it should be. There's not enough depth to do something like this either, look at all the weight classes and already there is a lack of good contenders to challenge for belts.

Len ((Tempe, Az))

Congrats on the upcoming nuptials Brett! I actually think that the Jones/Sonnen fight has more juice to it than ever. If Chael and Jones win their next fights I think they will be the next coaches on TUF and headline a card in Vegas on 4th of July weekend. Thoughts?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:46 PM)

Yeah, that could happen. I'd rather see these guys fighting than coaching a reality show, personally. But you are on the same page as me that the fight has gained lots of steam. Whether or not you're thrilled by that is definitely up for debate.

Josh (San Marcos)

For some freak reason if Forrest were to defeat Chael, what would be next for Forrest

Brett Okamoto
  (1:48 PM)

We'll see if that fight still happens, first off. If Forrest won, I guess I could be wrong but I don't see them using it as a win to throw him back on a path to title contention.

Daniel (LA)

Cormier (if he wins, with no long injury layoff) vs Alistair in Jan to decide #1 contender?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:48 PM)

Doubt it. I'm pretty sure Alistair goes straight to the title when he's back.

Jonathan (Indiana)

People seems to forget that this is not the first rift between Dana White and one of his big fighters. Sure, everyone thinks of Tito, but after Randy Couture won the HW championship against Silvia and defended against Gonzaga he then quit in a dispute over salary for over a year (even though he was still under contract), not retiring but refusing to fight leaving the HW belt in limbo for over a year. Dana will get over this thing with Bones and many will likely forget it ever happened, just like Couture.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:49 PM)

I agree. Give it a year and let's see what the UFC's relationship is like with Jon Jones. I'm guessing smiles and bro hugs.

Jim (LV)

Couldn't Jones have asked for a rematch clause in the fight contract and in case Sonnen got lucky just said "I wasn't prepared for this short notice change and I'll destroy him after a full camp"

Brett Okamoto
  (1:50 PM)

Rematch clauses are great in boxing, not in the UFC. Jones would have more than likely gotten a rematch anyway though.

Julia (Chicago)

How does Sonnen even get a title shot? Is the depth that bad? His record is terrible. He's just a marketer.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:51 PM)

Yes, the depth at 205 is that bad. They did offer it to Lyoto Machida first, don't forget, but 205 is littered with Jones' victims.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:52 PM)

Just thought to myself, someone in an earlier question asked what's up with Rashad and I don't think I answered. I talked to his manager yesterday. If you've seen Rashad doing commentary, you may have noticed he's a little big right now. His manager told me though he'd like a fight late this year or in January and it will absolutely be at 205.

BK (NYC)

See, I don't get why Machida and Rua aren't getting equal criticism for ducking the fight. Isn't it up to them to step up, too? I also laugh how everyone said "Chael had no chance," but yet everyone wanted to see it. Really don't see the benefit for Jones there.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:54 PM)

I really don't think you can criticize Shogun, for reasons mentioned earlier. Machida? It'd only be a month to prepare, but one thing I did not think served Machida well is he comes out and says, "four weeks isn't long enough to prepare for a fight with Jon in Toronto ... but give me six weeks and I could be ready to fight him in Brazil!" Okay. Sounds like shenanigans to me to get the fight to Brazil.

Adam (Fargo)

Am I the only one that wants to see Sonnen Silva III?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:55 PM)

At this particular moment, yeah. Maybe some day down the road.

Billy (West Mich)

Some crazy betting lines for 152. D. Johnson at +300? I think the fight will be way closer than that?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:56 PM)

Mighty Mouse is an awesome fighter, I just think the line tells you how highly oddsmakers are on Joe B.

Brenden (Minneapolis)

Is BJ's only realistic way of beating Rory a quick KO? Maybe he could submit him but I just don't see how he will be able to control such a big kid or pinpoint him for 3 full rounds.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:56 PM)

Short answer, yes. BJ needs to catch him early, or Rory is going to throw him around, GnP him, finish him in the second or third.

Paul (SF, CA)

I can't blame Shogun and Machida for passing on the short notice fight. Both guys are facing Rich Franklin status is they lose to Bones again, so they need to feel they're taking their best shot at it.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:57 PM)

Good point.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:59 PM)

Alright guys, sorry to cut it short but let's wrap this thing at an hour. Hope you had as good a time as me. Have a good UFC-less weekend. I'm going to miss the chat next week, but I'll see if we can get someone to fill in by then. Also good luck in your fantasy football draft if you have one coming up, I'm taking a tight end early. We'll see if it works out. Later.