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January 9, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Brett Okamoto

Brett Okamoto
  (1:02 PM)

Happy Wednesday chatters. Three days until the final Strikeforce event. At the end of the day, I think it's a good thing if you have to lean one way or the other on it closing up. Competing brands can be good for fighters, but MMA is not going to follow the same guidelines of boxing when it comes to promoters. It falls in line more with the other mainstream sports. There is a major league, the UFC. There isn't an Oscar De La Hoya vs. a Bob Arum. If you believe fighter pay is an issue, I think the resolution is a fighter's union. Not competing MMA promotions, because we've seen they just don't have the longevity of the UFC. Those are my thoughts on Strikeforce's end as a promotion in the business sense. Let's talk about the fights past and present and anything else you guys have on your minds.

Nick (Perth (Australia))

Hi Brett, Just wondering what how your Vegas (odd) head thinks the Eddie Alverez / Bellator situation will play out - more to the point will Zuffa support Alvarez if it goes to court (or leave him to defent himself) ?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:04 PM)

I don't really see Zuffa getting involved. No need. They made their offer, obviously as of right now it's the one Eddie prefers. They'll wait and see. In terms of who will win, I like Bellator's chances early. Seems as though they matched Zuffa's offer and although I totally understand where Alvarez is coming from (that there are more opportunities to increase your revenue in the UFC than in Bellator) it's not guaranteed money. So, from a contractual standpoint ... I think Bellator's offer will probably stand up in court. But we'll see.

Tim (Fremantle)

Michael Bisping just doesnt have to beat Vitor, he has to dominate him ? Yes / no. If he grinds out a decision or wins like he did against Rivera (after he kneed him in the groin) to me he doenst deserve a shot. Agree?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:05 PM)

Disagree. He's been at this for a long time. He's been consistent. I thought he beat Chael Sonnen last year but no complaints, it was a close fight. The UFC wouldn't mind seeing him in a title fight. He's paid his dues and he brings the UK audience. And I've said this a million times, but I honestly think Chris Weidman BENEFITS from not fighting Anderson too early. I know he wants his shot, but having him fight again, grow as a fighter in the meantime, only increases his odds when he eventually does face Silva.

LarrySandersJoey (Robin Hood Country, UK)

How's it going, Brett? Chances of UFC giving away GSP/Hendricks + JBJ/Gustafsson title matches on free tv, assuming they're still champs come summertime? With all due respect to the challengers they're hardly household names and I'm sure Fox'd relish the chance to showcase two of the top three P4P'ers in the process

Brett Okamoto
  (1:06 PM)

I'd be all for it, but don't see it happening. I'm with you, I think the UFC should throw Jon Jones on a Fox telecast one time and really show new potential fans what this sport has to offer. But the PPV money the UFC draws is probably too attractive. I definitely don't see it happening with GSP ... his style isn't really one you want to highlight to a new audience.

Cory (US)

Mr Okamoto, if you were going to die tomorrow who would you wanna see fight one last time today?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:07 PM)

Kind of a depressing thought, Cory ... I'd probably spend my last day doing something other than watching an MMA fight buuuuut to answer your question it's gotta be Anderson Silva. He's the best.

Chad (Arkansas)

If Cain and DC were to fight, who would win?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:09 PM)

Very interesting question. DC is the better wrestler. He just is. And Cain being a wrestler, who knows? Maybe DC would have a psychological advantage over him. The same could be said about Cain's striking though. DC's is catching up, but Cain was so far ahead of him when he first came to the gym that maybe that edge for Cain is still there, mentally. It's a great matchup. I'd go Cain but it's really dead even.

dakota tn [via mobile]

DO U SEE CAIN AND JDS IN A THIRD FIGHT

Brett Okamoto
  (1:09 PM)

No doubt. Probably a fourth and who knows? Maybe a fifth, too. They are the best heavyweights, hands down. Two fights with two very different outcomes. Everything is set up for a career-long rivalry.

Cameron (Auckland)

Good article on Vitor Belfort. Where is the middle ground with TRT? It seems to be ok for someone to use it if they're testorone deficient and to get them back to "normal levels" but if they're normal and use it to obtain elevated levels then that is objectionable.....is that correct?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:11 PM)

Well if they're normal, they won't get an exemption to use it anyway which means they're cheating if they're on it. It's a very broad issue as we all know by now. Basically, if a guy genuinely needs it, I think the majority feel he should be allowed to. But the problem is you now have all these guys in their 30s wanting to get on it and it brings up the question, do these guys really need it and (if they do) do they need it because of past steroid use? It's tricky. As of right now, it's legal and regulated by the UFC and the commissions, although how good of a job they do regulating it is up for debate.

Nick (Perth (Australia))

Nate Marquadt seems to have gone from a UFC outisider to almost a favourite to have a title shot after GSP / Diaz (providing he wins his final SF bout) ! Do you see it this way and does he deserve it?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:13 PM)

I don't think he's being looked at as a favorite to get a title shot when he comes into the UFC. Anyone who looks at him that way ... he's only won one fight at 170 pounds so let's tap the brakes a bit. I think people are just excited about him because he's at this new weight class, which probably suits him better than competing at 185 did.

James (Gold Coast)

Anderson Silva's 10 fight contract - excluding dollars what would it look like in terms of fights - all middleweight or would this include bonus fights at LHW? If so hopefully we get to see meaningful LHW fights with Jones / Henderson etc and not Bonnar, Griifin fillers etc..........

Brett Okamoto
  (1:13 PM)

Yeah, it's just a 10 fight deal. Whatever those 10 fights are, it encompasses all of them.

Mark (New York)

What is the feeling on Women's MMA in the UFC? I know Dana loves Ronda Rousey but we haven't heard anything on any other female fighters?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:15 PM)

Yeah, that's it. It's the Ronda Rousey show. There are literally people who think if she were to lose next month, they'd cut the division right then and there. I don't think it's quite like that, but a lot of it definitely rides on her shoulders. That's obvious. I think the UFC has a low expectation on PPV sells for her first fight. They clearly think the Rousey/Cyborg fight is worth big money and they want to be the ones to cash in on it. Right now, everything is up in the air in terms of how long it will stay in the UFC. Will depend a lot on how it sells and if Ronda keeps winning.

Sandy (Gainesville)

Where does a win in the Okami/Lombard fight put that person in the middleweight division? With Bisping getting the next title shot (if he wins), really the only people in consideration seem to be Lombard, Weidman, and Rockhold. Of those three, who do you think would get the chance to fight the Spider? And, do you think Silva will defend his belt more than once this year?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:18 PM)

Interesting final question there ... He has no fights scheduled yet next year and the schedule already goes into April, so I'm thinking he probably only fights twice in 2013. One of those will for sure be a title defense, will the other? I think if Lombard beats Okami with a knockout? He's a good bet to fight Anderson. They obviously like the marketability of the guy. He was going to be on Fox right out of the gate before he got moved to the Calgary card. Weidman is deserving, we'll see who he fights? Rockhold is probably the furthest away but maybe he comes on and beats Weidman impressively? Who knows. The one thing that becomes clear is that it's wide open. Anyone who can string together as few as two highlight reel wins at 185 will be in line for a title shot.

Chad (Arkansas)

Who measures the fighters heights? Its funny to see two fighters listed as the same height when one is clearly taller/shorter than the other.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:18 PM)

Ha, good question. The managers maybe? Provide it to the UFC? Maybe the fighters themselves?

Paul (SF, CA)

People shouldn't be attacking Chael and Nick Diaz for not earning their title shots and then denying the title shot to Bisping because they don't like him or he'll get killed by Anderson.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:19 PM)

I agree, Bisping has deserved it. Whether or not he has any chance at beating Anderson, that's really not the question. It's, has he climbed to the top of the division and if he beats Vitor, he unquestionably has.

Matt (Nashville)

Since Anthony Pettis hasn't fought in almost a year, will octagon rust be a factor for him against Cerrone?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:20 PM)

Yeah I mean, you can never rule it out. Cerrone is a bit of a slow starter himself though. Always has been. When he was in the WEC he even started seeing a sports psychologist to try and figure it out. And it tends to happen even more so when a lot is on the line. It's not a huge concern for me if I'm picking Pettis, but it's definitely something that's out there.

DAYLON (DALLAS)

Hey Brett .. no one is really saying much about who won't be coming over from Strikeforce .. any names that stand out who won't be migrating to the UFC from Strikeforce?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:23 PM)

Top of the list is Josh Barnett. I obviously think Josh is talented enough to join the UFC but Dana continues to kind of dance around questions related to him. I think this last card will be interesting. Do they keep a guy like Mike Kyle if he loses? Ryan Couture? KJ Noons? Even Saffiedine? If I'm on this card, I'm definitely looking at it as a must-win pretty much regardless of who I am.

David (Spartanburg)

What is the bloodiest fight you ever saw?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:23 PM)

Lauzon/Miller and Velasquez/Silva come instantly to mind, but it might just be because those were this year.

Matt (DC)

Who does Rockhold get first?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:24 PM)

I'd like to see him get Weidman right out of the gate. If not ... I don't know it feels like most of the middleweights just lost for some reason. Maybe Costa Philippou?

mike (sf)

Cormier 20-1 favorite? I'm sure Barnett will be a huge favorite as well. Do either of their opponents have any chance this weekend?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:25 PM)

Hmmm, yeah, I don't think odds are even available on those fights. Everybody's got a chance in MMA but ... no. It would be fairly crazy if they lost.

Bob (the Counter)

Football picks? All four favorites covered last week!

Brett Okamoto
  (1:26 PM)

It felt like the all went under, too right? Or was that just me? I like Denver -9 and under 48 on the Pats game.

Matt (Nashville)

Who will have more success in their new weight class? Patrick Cote @ WW? or Jeremy Stephens @ FW?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:27 PM)

I'd consider Jeremy Stephens the better fighter of the two and featherweight the easier division right now. So, Stephens.

David (Spartanburg)

10 years from now what will be your memory of and memories from Strikeforce?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:28 PM)

I didn't attend as many Strikeforce cards as UFC cards when working for the Las Vegas paper, but I was there when Fedor lost to Werdum. That will definitely be something I never forget. Honestly, it's sad, but I'll remember sitting on press row thinking over and over again, "There should be more people here." Some of those shows were just horribly attended, especially this year when it was perceived to be on its deathbed.

David (Spartanburg)

Bellator might win in Court, but they can't win. How can you win when one of your biggest names does not want to be there? They should do this Dana White style and cut him and talk a bunch of junk about him. "We cut him because he lost and couldn't cut it in our organization" Rediculous, but the best option IMO.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:30 PM)

Meh, I don't know about that. People would see through that one, I think. I agree with you though that they're kind of in a lose-lose now, which isn't all that fair because what did they do? They allowed Eddie to shop himself and are now trying to match the offer. And at the end of the day, I'm not sure if it matters if Eddie wants to be there or not. He's still going to try and win fights. He's still going to be on the commercials. You know? Those kind of things don't affect business that much, in my eyes.

Matty-Ice (Detroit)

Does Noons absolutely have to beat Couture to get an invite to the UFC? He could have some fun fights here. Guillard and Gomi come to mind.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:31 PM)

I agree with you but I kind of lean to yes, he has to win.

Paul (SF, CA)

Which current UFC champions will still be champion by the end of 2013?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:32 PM)

Let's go down the list here: Velasquez (yes), Jones (yes), Silva (yes), GSP (let's take a shot and say no), Henderson (another shot, no), Aldo (no), Cruz (kind of a wash, yes I guess), Johnson (yes).

Nickel Steak (Boston)

Does Buddy Roberts have any fights lined up that I should know about?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:34 PM)

We got a big Buddy Roberts fan in the house? This chat is expanding to new readers, I can tell. Was just reported Roberts is likely out of his fight against Michael Kuiper later this month. No timetable on return but doesn't sound like it will be long.

Nickel Steak (Boston)

Cheap win for Phillippou, Boetch couldn't punch or see.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:35 PM)

I agree, he was jumping at Philippou's legs trying to pull guard by the second round. Too bad. Gotta credit Philippou though. Win is a win.

Rick (Kansas)

Fight you're most looking forward to on the upcoming Strikeforce card?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:35 PM)

Probably Herman/Souza or the main event, even though I don't think Saffiedine has much of a shot.

Miggy (Philly)

Yo Brett! What's your NFL playoff lockpiece for the weekend? I like the Seahawks.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:36 PM)

They're the hot team right now. Tough to go against the Falcons at home though.

Matty-Ice (Detroit)

We all wanted that Pettis/Cerrone fight to be a 5 rounder but now that it isn't, who benefits more from a 3 round fight?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:37 PM)

It's worth bringing up but I honestly don't think either one of them. We've seen them both in five-round fights and neither of them have looked bad in championship rounds.

Rick (Kansas)

You got Mousasi beating Kyle this weekend? Will the UFC bring Mousasi in starting at the bottom against guys like Matyshenko, or start in the middle vs guys like Shogun?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:37 PM)

Middle.

Rich (Chicago)

I saw your top ten fight wish list....you mean Cain Velasquez versus Alister Overeem isn't in the top ten, are you kidding me ?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:38 PM)

There are so many good fights man. Can't name em all. I'm definitely excited about the potential of that matchup although to be honest, I'd probably still watch Overeem/JDS if I could only watch one.

Jeff (Southgate, MI)

if gsp and silva dont fight, will it end up hurting each others legacy? in my mind jon jones dosent need to fight silva because hes already looking at the heavyweight division for the future

Brett Okamoto
  (1:40 PM)

That's tough to say. I don't think it would necessarily turn into a negative, like, "Man, those two were great but I think less of them because they never fought." I think if their legacies take a hit it will be because of what you said ... that Jon Jones WILL move up to heavyweight and then when you ask yourself who was the greatest fighter of all time and it comes down to say Anderson or Jon, that will be the determining factor.

Jim Bob (the Counter)

Is Cormier really a 20-1 favorite? I haven't seen any odds posted yet.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:40 PM)

No, I think that was a guess by the other reader.

Rob (Philly)

Ubereem will finish Big Foot in the ___ round.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:41 PM)

First

Kraw (Work)

Say Bellator wins in court... why cant the UFC counter with a larger/better contract offer? Is it just one offer and done? Can't they have a counter the matching offer?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:41 PM)

I would believe so, yes.

@PappaFeez (Dallas)

What happens if/when Vitor KO's Bisping? Would UFC do a stadium show rematch in Brazil with AS and Vitor? They are the two most popular fighters in Brazil and would be big money over there even though the 1st fight ended so emphatically.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:43 PM)

I wouldn't be surprised by it. Dana told reporters at 155 that he didn't see it happening because the first fight was so conclusive, but you guys know how this works. If Belfort knocks out Bisping in the first round, all of a sudden that changes things. I tried to ask Belfort about that during our Q/A (you can read that on the MMA page now) but he was kind of in a weird mood during the call and just told me the title fight talk is none of his business. He's been around for awhile though, I'm sure he knows one highlight reel knockout can change everything.

David (Saint Louis)

Have to bring up the Tyson Fury comments. I think it it so obvious that a boxer would get man handled in mma and a mma fighter would be outclassed in boxing.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:44 PM)

100 percent. When JDS would talk about fighting a Klitschko ... I didn't say this to him because just no need to ... but come on. He wouldn't stand a chance against Klitschko in a boxing ring. Two different sports.

Jeff (Southgate, MI)

if a strikeforce champion gets a title shot right off the bat, will they do a whole strikeforce/ufc unification thing like they did with the pride welterweight and middleweight titles?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:45 PM)

I doubt it. They might mention it, I don't think they would have any reason to really ignore it, but it wouldn't be a major part of the promotion. I could be wrong, but that's my guess.

Jonathan (Indiana)

So you have GSP, Bendo and Aldo losing this year. Who do you have each of them losing to?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:47 PM)

Yeah, I mean those questions are always tough to answer because so much can happen. But when someone asks me those type of yearlong questions, I tend to look at the division. GSP would have to beat Nick Diaz, most likely Johny Hendricks and then another solid welterweight, which there are a lot of them suddenly. Bendo is in another tough division, you got Melendez moving over, Maynard in the mix, Pettis/Cerrone winner would be a tough fight. Aldo, I kinda see him losing to Frankie. And if not, I think Erik Koch is a sleeper to beat him. Wouldn't surprise me to see all of them still holding the belts, but those are the three with the toughest year ahead I think.

James (CT)

I'd think the UFC would give Ryan Couture a chance and hope he wins a few so they can build him up, expecting to draw viewers on name recognition.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:48 PM)

It's possible, but with all due respect to Ryan, he's a good fighter but hasn't demonstrated quite yet he's UFC caliber. Odds of him competing at some point in the UFC? High. But I don't think he's a sure thing if he loses this weekend.

David (Spartanburg)

No it is real. I can confirm 20 to 1 on the DC fight. $2,000 to make $100.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:48 PM)

There ya go. Wow. Might as well throw $10 on it for me.

@PappaFeez (Dallas)

Pettis/Cerrone isn't even the Co-Main. Rampage/Glover is. Fox execs wanting Rampage's "name" you would assume, yes?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:49 PM)

I suppose so. If it's about name though, why not have him headline it? He'd draw more than the flyweight title fight.

David (Spartanburg)

Is the five round Main Event rule working for you? I didn't like it when they made it and I still don't. Yes I like more five round fights, but how can you justify some of these Fuel Main Events being five rounds and not have #1 contendor fights that are not main event be three rounders.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:51 PM)

It'd be kind of interesting to go back and see how many of these five round, non-title main events have actually gone to the fourth or fifth round. I might spend my afternoon doing that. It feels like it hasn't really changed things THAT much. I guess I kinda feel like "whatever" about it. It's nice to know if you have a good fight going you'll get to see those last two rounds. But if it were to go away, I wouldn't have a problem with it.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:52 PM)

The only fight that comes to mind off the top of my head where I was glad it was five rounds was, believe it or not, Clay Guida vs. Gray Maynard. Because I was like, come on, we haven't even gotten started yet. If that fight were to have ended after the third it was like, no-contest worthy.

Matt (Indianapolis )

How soon do you see Jones moving up to Heavyweight?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:52 PM)

I'd say 2014 if all goes well.

Ultimate Warrior (Parts Unknown)

If Eddie sat out for a while and didn't try to sign with the UFC, could that have run out the clock on Bellator's ability to match?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:53 PM)

Of course, he wouldn't have done that because at that point you're self-inflicting no paychecks for awhile, but no. I don't think that's how it works.

@PappaFeez (Dallas)

What would the odds be on a Jones/Cain fight at heavyweight if it was at the end of the year? I feel Cain would dominate him.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:54 PM)

I kinda do too, and I think the odds, let's not say at the end of the year because we don't know how they look in those fights, let's say if it happened tomorrow, I'm opening action at Velasquez -155.

Mike (Boston)

Any news on the UFC coming back to Boston?

Brett Okamoto
  (1:55 PM)

I want to say yes ... Dana gets asked those questions ALL THE TIME at press conferences and fan gatherings ... but Boston rings a bell. Might want to google that one because I know he was asked about it recently.

David (Saint Louis)

Any word on Frank Mir? I was really hoping he was going to be much lighter for the JDS fight. Similar to UFC 100, but he looked very flabby. Think that lighter weight suits him better.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:57 PM)

Yeah, Frank Mir's performance against JDS was slightly underwhelming. He was obviously fighting a very tough opponent, but he didn't look good. He's back in the gym and waiting on a date. He's not in a huge rush to get back in the cage against someone that doesn't make sense. We'll see what happens in some of these heavyweight fights and then where Frank fits in.

Kevin (Mile High)

Can Jacare contend for the UFC belt? His ground game is great, and stand up is evolving and getting better. I'm excited to see him with Herman to gauge where he fits.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:59 PM)

Me too, Jacare can be a tricky matchup for anyone because of that ground game. I think he'll beat Herman, but that's an interesting fight. He's another one of those Strikeforce guys who just wants to fight more than twice a year. I'm sure he'll want to be pretty active right out of the gate this year.

Brett Okamoto
  (1:59 PM)

Me too, Jacare can be a tricky matchup for anyone because of that ground game. I think he'll beat Herman, but that's an interesting fight. He's another one of those Strikeforce guys who just wants to fight more than twice a year. I'm sure he'll want to be pretty active right out of the gate this year.

Chip (MO)

5 rounders, dont forget Shogun vs Hendo. Awesome five round non title fight.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:00 PM)

Good call.

pete (nyc)

To take Pappafeez comments a step further I think this is the year we see Jones get knocked down a bit. It happens to all fighters (excpet Silva). I truly believe he gets knocked out by Hendo.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:01 PM)

Ya think? Hendo has to beat Machida first, so who knows if we'll even get that fight? If it were to happen you can't disregard a Henderson right hand, but I think that's a matchup that favors Jones. Henderson is slowing down a bit and I think you need speed to contend with Jones' reach. I don't see Jones losing to any 205er this year.

David (Spartanburg)

Favorite place to watch a fight? If you had one place you would like for UFC to hold an event (so that you could go) Where would it be?

Brett Okamoto
  (2:02 PM)

Ummm, the Rogers Centre in Toronto for 129 was amazing. I saw Pacquiao/Clottey at Dallas Cowboys Stadium and that was amazing even though the fight was terrible. I guess I'd just like to see a stadium show in the U.S. I wouldn't say no to a soccer stadium in Brazil though, either. That'd be an experience.

James (CT)

I would be the house on Cain at -155 over Jones. I can't wait for Bones to fight a world class athlete who isn't half his size. JDS or Overeem too. Maybe even Cormier.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:03 PM)

I see what you're saying but don't forget Jones is improving. I'm with you in the sense that Jones makes mistakes that his athletic ability allows him to get away with at 205, but he's with a great camp and he's a hard worker so eventually those holes won't be there. I guess what I'm saying is, bet the kids college fund, not the house.

Nickel Steak (Boston)

Was Cain v. JDS the first five round HW fight?

Brett Okamoto
  (2:05 PM)

Ever? Hmmm. I don't think so but another one isn't coming to mind.

mike (boston)

When do you expect to see Anderson back in the cage. I was thinking UFC 160 in May.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:06 PM)

May sounds about right.

Dan (New Jersey)

Huge BJ Penn Fan, i think he can make a run for the 155 belt, do you see him coming back to fight and if so who do you think he would come back to fight?

Brett Okamoto
  (2:07 PM)

I do see him coming back ... I don't know at what weight. He basically told me before the Rory fight he had closed the door on 155. If that's the only way the UFC gives him another fight, then I think he'd drop. If he were to go there, I suggested Joe Lauzon on my "10 fights I'd like to see this year" blog. I know they've worked together in the past but I don't see it holding up a fight between the two. If he fights ANYONE at 155, I'd be happy.

Mike (Boston)

Timmy/Couture was last 5 rd hw fight

Brett Okamoto
  (2:09 PM)

Yep, thank you. Couture went five with Ricco Rodriquez way back when as well.

Brett Okamoto
  (2:10 PM)

Cool, let's wrap it there guys. Thanks as always for joining me, we'll see you back next week. Final Strikeforce card this Saturday, I will be there in OKC so follow our coverage on the ESPN MMA page. Hit me on twitter @bokamotoESPN any time. See ya.