Twitter Mailbag: On Cerrone-Till, Cyborg's USADA concerns, UFC's PPV status, and more

Is “Cowboy” taking his Liverpudlian opponent lightly at UFC-Gdansk? Does Cyborg really think there’s a USADA conspiracy afoot? Is Bisping really a jerk, or does he merely want us to believe he is?

All that and more in this week’s Twitter Mailbag. To ask a question of your own, tweet to @BenFowlkesMMA.

I doubt it. Donald Cerrone has surrounded himself with experienced professionals who can make an honest assessment of opponents regardless of ranking or name recognition. Cerrone may not have known much about Darren Till when the fight was booked, but by now I’m guessing he’s been briefed.

I don’t every worry about Cerrone taking opponents lightly, because he seems like the kind of guy who would enjoy a parking lot rumble with the toughest dude in any town as much if not more than a main event bout in a packed arena. What I always wonder is what kind of condition he’s going to show up in, because we all know that Cerrone will take fights and cash paychecks whenever he can, even if he’s injured or burned out or just not fully prepared.

And if you asked me who’s hungrier here, or who this fight means more to, that would have to be Till. But then, it’s not like Cerrone hasn’t beaten up people who really, really wanted to win before.

Cris Cyborg is what I like to call a “grievance fighter.” She’s always mad at someone, always feels she’s been wronged by powerful forces. She seems to need that motivation, as if she’s only at her best when she is struggling against a vast conspiracy.

It’s not an uncommon syndrome among pro fighters, but it seems to get worse when your critical thinking skills aren’t all that great. As Holly Holm pointed out, she’s been tested plenty by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. And it’s not up to either fighter to agree to a certain number of pre-fight tests. That part is not up to them, nor should it be. If you know how many times you’ll be tested, you know when the testing is over and it’s safe to dope.

My hope is that Cyborg understands this and is just trying to generate some hype for the fight by taking the doping accusation that follows her like a cartoon rain cloud and using it against her opponent. She’s probably also looking for the fuel that comes with feeling like the world is against her. That, or she’s just saying stuff without thinking any of it through.

1. Tony Ferguson
2. Khabib Nurmagomedov
3. Nate Diaz

In that order.

I’d be interested in seeing that data, but I’d caution against trying to use it in any official capacity. USADA tests fighters year-round, whether they’ve got a fight coming up or not. If they show up two weeks after your latest loss, when you’ve been doing nothing but countering the creeping despair with ice cream and “Deadwood” marathons, they’re probably not going to get an accurate picture of your healthy fighting weight.

But if USADA accumulated the data anonymously, just to tell us how many lightweights walk around like light heavyweights? That’s a graph I’d love to see. I’m just not sure what to do with the information.

Impartial journalism is a thing you do, not a thing you feel. Of course you’re going to form opinions on these people once you get to know them a little. They’re going to form opinions on you, too, and they don’t always express them super diplomatically. But they still deserve the same fair shake in your coverage.

Honestly, it’s not the loathsome people who present the biggest challenge – it’s the lovable ones. At least for me, it’s much harder to write negative things about people you like than it is to write positive things about people you don’t. But what’s true is true. That’s the only guiding principle that’s worth anything.

That’s a hell of a claim to make with UFC 217 staring us right in the face. You’re telling me the return of Georges St-Pierre, plus two other compelling title fights, isn’t going to break half a million buys? If you’re taking bets, give me the over on that one.

But OK, then what? Conor McGregor may or may not return to defend his lightweight title. Jon Jones may or may not end up with a lengthy suspension for his anti-doping policy violation. Ronda Rousey probably ain’t ever coming back, unless the UFC can lure her with just the right offer against someone who promises not to hit her in the face too hard.

So where on the active roster is the next pay-per-view star?

I suspect what we’ll see more of in 2018 is the kind of stacking we see with UFC 217. At one point, that card would have been GSP-Bisping and not much else.

But the UFC’s been burned by injuries and last-minute scratches often enough to appreciate the need for a backup plan or two, which in the best-case scenario results in a better overall fight card for the money. You might be tempted to sit it out and wait for the GIFs if there’s only one fight you want to see. But what if there’s three?

What we won’t see is a complete abandonment of pay-per-view. Not yet, anyway. It’s such a huge piece of the UFC’s revenue pie (see the second graph on this page) that it’d be impossible to pivot away from it without some other huge new revenue stream to take its place. And even if the UFC does get the huge new TV deal it’s hoping for, revenue projections included that money in addition to a growth in pay-per-view sales.

What may actually happen is that a new TV deal could give greater input to the broadcast partner. After all, if you were going to pay hundreds of millions to broadcast the UFC, wouldn’t you want some guarantees that you’d get more than just the leftovers the UFC thought it couldn’t sell for premium prices?

You can’t ever count out St-Pierre, but he’s asking a lot of himself here. We have no idea what he’ll look like after four years away, or how his style will translate against a bigger opponent in a weight class he’s never competed in before.

Say what you will about Michael Bisping (and we will), but these days he’s a sound defensive wrestler who wins fights with his physical and psychological endurance. It’s hard for me to see a smaller man jabbing and double-legging his way to a win over Bisping – even if that smaller man is GSP.

But if you want an explanation for the lack of consensus, look at St-Pierre’s resume. Clearly, he’s a gifted fighter who knows how to execute a game plan. And, let’s be honest, it’s not like Bisping is even one of the scarier middleweights out there. It’s not so crazy to think that GSP could surprise him. But if he does? Let’s just say I’ll be pretty surprised too.

I guess it depends how much of it you think is schtick. Or does it?

Say you’re right. Say this is all an act, and  Bisping has only been pretending to be a jerk in basically every public appearance because it generates heat with the fans and turns him into a draw. Say he’s been doing this for years, never letting the mask slip, forcing himself to go against his own personal ethos by spitting at cornermen and committing intentional fouls in his fights, all as part of a calculated ploy to make fans hate him.

If that’s the case, wouldn’t hating him be the same as rewarding him for a job well done? He’s worked hard at this. Too hard, one might even say. He deserves to be recognized and appreciated. It’s just that, in this case, you show that appreciation with boos.

But if he’s really capable of putting on that convincing an act, for that many years, then Bisping is wasting his talents in MMA.

My theory? At some point, Bisping realized that he was the bad guy. He saw that he was never going to get to wear the white hat, so the best he could hope for was to be good at wearing the black one. It just so happens that he’s very good at it. This is probably not unrelated to why fans felt the way they did about him in the first place. Like all the best schticks, this is his natural personality with the volume cranked up. And it seems to be working.

There was a time when I would have agreed with you. We aren’t UFC shareholders (wait, you’re not Guy Fieri, are you?), so why do care so much how many units the company moves, or what ratings it draws on TV?

The answer is: We care because the UFC cares. Because it clearly influences every decision the UFC makes, and very quickly. You can’t understand what the UFC is doing and why if you don’t pay attention to some of that stuff.

At the same time, it is possible to pay too much attention to it, or to see it as a catch-all excuse. Just because we understand that the UFC is motivated by profits and pay-per-view buys, that does not oblige us to go along with anything just because it serves that end.

Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Follow him on Twitter at @BenFowlkesMMA. Twitter Mailbag appears every Thursday on MMAjunkie.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Cris Cyborg clarifies stance on Holly Holm and USADA testing

UFC women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg would like to clarify her stance on Holly Holm and performance-enhancing drugs.

Cyborg on Tuesday issued a string of tweets expressing concern over Holly Holm and PEDs, calling for more testing by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency ahead of a potential title fight at UFC 219.

In response, Holm, who’s never failed a USADA test, posted a video on her social media accounts to point out Cyborg’s less-than-perfect drug-testing past and the fact that she’s been tested more times this year than Cyborg has.

That brings us to today, with Cyborg issuing her own video message, explaining that she isn’t worried about the past – just the future – when it comes to USADA testing both fighters.

“When they knock at my house at 5 a.m.,” Cyborg said, “I think it’s right to go to your house at 5 a.m., too.”

Cyborg (18-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC), who recently won the belt with a TKO victory over Tonya Evinger in July, could next face former women’s bantamweight champion and longtime pro boxer Holm (11-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) as part of the year-end UFC 219 pay-per-view on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas.

Cyborg’s longtime manager, George Prajin, recently told MMAjunkie he’s in daily discussions with UFC officials while looking for the right deal to lock up the champ and the fight (Holm’s camp is also looking for the right deal).

In her video, Cyborg essentially is calling for an equal amount of testing between now and Dec. 30, should that be when she and Holm agree to fight. Cyborg’s reason?

“When I beat your ass in the cage, your team won’t have an excuse for anything,” Cyborg said.

If they finally meet, Cyborg would be looking for her first UFC title defense and 19th consecutive victory going back to 2005. Holm, meanwhile, recently halted a three-fight skid with a dazzling head-kick knockout of bantamweight Bethe Correia in June.

For more on UFC 219, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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After UFC champ Cris Cyborg points to drug testing, Holly Holm points to scoreboard

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When it comes to UFC women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg, potential next opponent Holly Holm just wants to get real for a moment.

Cyborg (18-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC), who recently won the belt with a TKO victory over Tonya Evinger in July, could next face former women’s bantamweight champion and longtime pro boxer Holm (11-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC). The bout could be part of the year-end UFC 219 pay-per-view event in Las Vegas on Dec. 30.

Cyborg’s longtime manager, George Prajin, recently told MMAjunkie he’s in daily discussions with UFC officials while looking for the right deal to lock up the champ and the fight (Holm’s camp is also looking for the right deal). Additionally, on the 32-year-old Brazilian slugger’s social media accounts, Cyborg seems to know Holm is likely next. But early this morning, she took aim at drug testing – and Holm’s longtime home at Jackson-Wink MMA – ahead of the likely title fight (via Twitter):

Holm responded via an Instagram video, mostly to address Cyborg’s suggestion the champ has been tested a disproportionate number of times.

“So apparently there was a little bit of drama today because USADA went to Cyborg’s house,” 35-year-old Holm says in the video. “And I know I’ve been a topic of interest a lot on her social media, and I don’t mind. Fighters (are) trying to promote and hype fights, and that’s fine.

“But let’s be real for a minute.”

Holm then pointed to the scoreboard – not to remind followers that Cyborg has a less-than-perfect drug-testing past, but simply to give the champion a reminder: Holm has actually been tested more than Cyborg (nine times to eight) this year.

You can see for yourself on USADA.org.

“She said she’s being tested by USADA and wants me to be tested just as much, and she probably should have looked at the public records on the USADA webpage and seen I’ve been tested nine times compared to her eight,” Holm says. “I’m in no race, and I really don’t care. I just know I can complete clean, and they can test me all the time. So, I just never needed an applause for passing my tests.

“In the mean time, I’ll just spend my time training, and she can spend her time complaining and making false accusations and false memes.”

Here’s the full video (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

If they finally meet, Cyborg would be looking for her first UFC title defense and 19th consecutive victory going back to 2005. Holm, meanwhile, recently halted a three-fight skid with a dazzling head-kick knockout of bantamweight Bethe Correia in June.

For more on UFC 219, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC champ Cris Cyborg waiting for right deal to fight Holly Holm at UFC 219

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Cris Cyborg’s longtime manager said he and his team are in “daily” communications with UFC officials as a fight offer looms for UFC 219.

“It’s been pretty aggressive on both sides,” George Prajin today told MMAjunkie. “Both sides want it to happen.”

Cyborg (18-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) could look to defend her women’s featherweight title against ex-bantamweight champ Holly Holm (11-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) at the Dec. 30 pay-per-view event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Holm already has said she’s open to the fight. But Prajin said a new deal needs to be struck before Justino can commit.

“The UFC wants to have a longterm future with her,” he said. “She does as well. She just wants to be paid her value.”

At the press conference for this past Saturday’s UFC 216 event, UFC President Dana White expressed confidence a deal would get done with the champ.

“It’s not done yet,” he told MMAjunkie. “I can never predict what’s going to happen, but I think we’ll get it done. Soon.”

The clock is ticking on Justino’s contract. Prajin said UFC 219 could potentially be her final obligation to the promotion. A report in April from MMAFighting.com states the deal will expire this month, regardless of how many fights are remaining.

Asked about a “champion’s clause” that typically extends a current titleholder’s contract with the promotion for three fights or one year, whichever comes first, Prajin said, “That’s an interpretation of a contract that I’d rather not discuss publicly, because that’s an argument that can be made both ways.”

Prajin declined to comment further on the details of Cyborg’s contract.

Justino signed a seven-fight deal in 2014 that saw her compete under the all-female Invicta FC banner before migrating to the UFC. The promotion eyed a showdown with now ex-bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, but the fight never materialized. Rousey suffered a brutal knockout to Holm – and then current bantam champ Amanda Nunes – and Cyborg swore off fighting lighter than 145 pounds after two trips to 140 pounds.

Cyborg returned to the octagon in July at UFC 214 and claimed the featherweight title – left vacant by injured Germaine de Randamie – with a brutal beatdown of former Invicta FC bantamweight champ Tonya Evinger. At the event, Cyborg spoke of turning over a new leaf with the industry-leader.

The 32-year-old Brazilian frequently has disagreed with the UFC’s promotional strategy and publicly bashed it. After several flareups, White admitted in June that the promotion had erred in its treatment. He resolved to give Cyborg a title shot at featherweight. On the eve of that fight, Cyborg was encouraged but said there were some actions that couldn’t be taken back.

It’s not hard to discern when something is wrong with the relationship. When Cyborg is unhappy or wants to make a point, her preferred method of communication is Twitter, where she never hesitates to fire back at a perceived slight. As recently as this past week, she touted the ratings generated by one of her UFC fights.

A face-to-face meeting between the champ’s team and White was scheduled for this past Thursday. It was canceled, but Prajin said the meeting could be rescheduled for this week. He said the fact that both sides are regularly communicating is a good sign.

“In negotiations, emotions run high,” he said. “There’s a lot of flexing on both sides. Everybody wants to get the best deal. We know her value, and the UFC obviously values her, as well. We’re just trying to make sure we come to an agreement on a mutual understanding of that.”

For more on UFC 219, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Sports Illustrated ranks top 50 fittest athletes, and Conor McGregor somehow beats Demetrious Johnson

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Have you ever wondered who the world’s fittest athletes are, and wished someone would rank them?

We haven’t really, either. But for all the sports junkies who love a good pound-for-pound argument, Sports Illustrated has put out lists of the world’s top 50 fittest athletes.

The list is dominated by NFL, NBA and MLB stars. But five current MMA stars – Conor McGregor, Demetrious Johnson, Cris Cyborg, Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Holly Holm, as well as future MMA fighter Kayla Harrison – managed to make the cut. You just have to wonder what the rankings committee was thinking when they ordered them.

SI said the list was created based on “many factors, including physical benchmarks such as strength, speed, endurance, agility, flexibility and power, and performances in the last 12 months.”

So, did they steal Cyborg’s training journal? Did they look at the numbers on the plates in Johnson’s gym session, or time his charges across the cage? MMA doesn’t exactly lend itself to the measurements that make such a big difference in other sports. The most important ones keep track of how many times you’ve punched, kicked, or choked your opponent.

When you look at where Conor McGregor ended up, it’s even more of a head-scratcher. If athletes were judged on their performances over the past 12 months, how can you give the UFC lightweight champ the No. 9 slot for running out of gas against Floyd Mayweather, while you give Johnson the No. 15 spot for a five-round triumph over the tough Tim Elliott and a blowout of Wilson Reis?

If popularity is a measure, then it’s no wonder McGregor sits atop the MMA heap. Then again, this is just the type of engagement SI is looking for when it puts out these lists. So kudos – you got us again.

Take a look for yourself, and feel free to vent in the comments section. Here are the MMA fighters who made the cut, along with the overall top five women and men on their respective lists:

WOMEN’S MOST FIT

  • 30. Kayla Harrison, Olympic judoka expected to make 2018 MMA debut
  • 26. Cris Cyborg, UFC women’s featherweight champion
  • 22. Karolina Kowalkiewicz, onetime UFC women’s strawweight title challenger
  • 12. Holly Holm, former UFC women’s bantamweight champion
  • 5. Tia-Clair Toomey, crossfit
  • 4. Maggie Steffens, water polo
  • 3. Katie Ledecky, swimming
  • 2. Allyson Felix, track and field
  • 1. Simone Biles, gymnastics

MEN’S MOST FIT

  • 15. Demetrious Johnson, UFC flyweight champion
  • 9. Conor McGregor, UFC lightweight champion
  • 5. James Harrison, football
  • 4. Matt Fraser, crossfit
  • 3. Roger Federer, tennis
  • 2. LeBron James, basketball
  • 1. Cristiano Ronaldo, soccer

For more on the upcoming MMA schedule, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Not even Miesha Tate wants to see Ronda Rousey 'get slaughtered' by Cris Cyborg

Ronda Rousey and Cris Cyborg squaring off in the octagon sounded like an awesome idea about three years ago. It sounds like an absolutely terrible idea now, though.

Considering Rousey got destroyed by Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes in her last two fights and seemingly has no interest in ever coming back, you’d be hard-pressed to find somebody who believes Rousey even belongs in the same cage as the reigning UFC women’s featherweight champion – except, of course, for Edmond Tarverdyan.

Rousey’s longtime coach actually had the audacity this week to lobby for her return for one more fight against the biggest killer in the history of women’s MMA, which really makes you question his motives. Thankfully, Cyborg refused to even entertain the possibility.

One person you’d think wouldn’t mind watching Cyborg pummel Rousey is her biggest foe, Miesha Tate. But even Tate took Tarverdyan to task for his “asinine” suggestion.

Via Tate’s Sirius XM Radio show “MMA Tonight:”

“I’m going to give Cyborg a round of applause, because she wouldn’t look anymore like a bully than if she took that fight with Ronda,” Tate said. “That would be ridiculous. It’s just nonsense to even think about that. I cannot believe that Edmond would even suggest something so asinine.”

“I think Edmond just wants another payday so he can try to pay off his bankruptcy issues, because Jiminy Christmas. Poor Ronda,” Tate added. “You know, I’m not her biggest fan, but I wouldn’t even want to see that fight. I’m not her biggest fan, but I don’t want to see her get slaughtered by Cyborg at this point in her career, either. It’s not appealing. That’s not what this sport is about. It’s about great, competitive matchups, and I just don’t feel like it’s even fair to ask for something like that. If you were looking out for your athlete, why would you do that?”

Listen to Tate’s full 3-minute segment on the subject below:

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Cris Cyborg has no desire to beat up Ronda Rousey while she's down

There was a time Cris Cyborg badly wanted to fight Ronda Rousey, but that time has passed.

In response to Edmond Tarverdyan’s comments that he’d like Rousey (12-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) to return for one more fight against Cyborg (18-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC), the UFC women’s featherweight champion today called Rousey’s longtime coach “a joke” and explained why she’d only take the bout if it was scripted.

Via CrisCyborg.com:

When I wanted to fight her it was because she was at the top of her game and she had all of the confidence in the world. She had not been KO’d twice in a row and some people were actually saying she could beat Floyd Mayweather in a fight.

I wanted the challenge so bad I almost killed myself trying to make the lowest weight possible just to give this fight to the fans, and she made every excuse for it not to happen.

Both of us are now at different chapters in our careers and for me that chapter is finished.

If Ronda is wanting to make the fight for the fans, I would still be willing to give them it, but I think it would be better to take place inside the WWE ring.

Cyborg vs. Rousey could’ve been the MMA superfight of all superfights had it happened at the height of Rousey’s UFC dominance. That’s when Cyborg called for it on repeated occasions. She just couldn’t make 135 pounds without seriously jeopardizing her health, and then-bantamweight champion Rousey refused to fight at a 140-pound catchweight, which Cyborg twice made in the UFC before the featherweight division opened this year.

That it never materialized is a shame, but not as shameful as Tarverdyan’s suggestion that it should still happen.

Was he not cageside for Rousey’s last two fights? Did he not see her get out-classed by Holly Holm for 6 minutes before being knocked out with a devastating head kick? Did he not see how awkward she looked as Amanda Nunes lit up her face in a 48-second TKO loss?

For Tarverdyan to suggest Rousey should come back to face the biggest killer in the history of women’s MMA right now, you have to question his motives.

As for Cyborg, given the fight would still probably do big numbers on pay-per-view, it would’ve been easy for her to try and capitalize with another Rousey callout. But Cyborg essentially has showed mercy with her response, alluding to the fact that she wanted the fight when Rousey “had all the confidence in the world.” She has no interest in proverbially kicking her while she’s down and is only a shell of what she used to be.

Kudos to Cyborg for that.

But a WWE match? I can get down with that.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Source: MMA Junkie

3 reasons Edmond Tarverdyan pushing for Ronda Rousey to fight Cris Cyborg is troubling

Call me crazy, but I’m starting to think maybe Ronda Rousey’s longtime coach, Edmond Tarverdyan, doesn’t have her best interests at heart.

What could make me even entertain such a thought, you ask? How about his comments on Monday’s edition of “The MMA Hour” in which he opined that Rousey (12-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) had at least one big fight left in her – against UFC women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg.

If that sounds like a terrible idea to you, congratulations, you have a working brain. Cyborg (18-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) would be a bad style match-up for Rousey under the best of circumstances, which these are not.

Rousey hasn’t fought since her 48-second TKO loss to Amanda Nunes last December. She looked stiff and awkward in that fight, like someone who’d been more focused on future career opportunities than present ones. She got beat up badly and then disappeared into the world of acting, reality TV and WWE cameos, all three of which typically afford even fewer chances to do serious MMA training.

Cyborg, meanwhile, has only gotten scarier. She’s bigger and stronger than Rousey. She’s a much better striker. She’s more composed and experienced inside the cage. If she has any glaring weaknesses, whether on the mat or elsewhere, we’ve yet to see them.

Unless Tarverdyan is planning to sleep a sedative into Cyborg’s water bottle, it’s unclear how Rousey could conceivably beat her, especially now. So why would he say such a thing? I have a few theories.

1. Tarverdyan doesn’t necessarily think Rousey would win, but he needs the payday

The coach’s financial troubles are well documented. He doesn’t have a vast stable of fighters to replace the income he’ll likely lose out on if Rousey abandons MMA for good. If she’s fighting and he’s coaching her, he gets paid. If she’s glowering at pro wrestlers and battling network stars, he doesn’t. Rousey vs. Cyborg would be a monster fight on pay-per-view, so maybe (just maybe) Tarverdyan is thinking more about his own bank account than his fighter’s health.

2. Tarverdyan knows the fight won’t happen, but talking about it gets his name back in the news

These days are two types of Edmond Tarverdyan stories in MMA media: those having something to do with Rousey and those having something to do with one of his screw-ups. He’d probably rather not re-litigate his bankruptcy case or talk about his bizarre in-cage spat with Fabricio Werdum if he doesn’t have to, so why not spout some nonsense about Rousey and let the internet take it from there? And look, it’s worked. Here we are, talking about him, albeit maybe not how he’d like us to.

3. Tarverdyan actually believes what he’s saying and thinks there’s some chance of it coming true

I don’t know if this is the least plausible or just the most troubling possibility. There are very few good reasons for Rousey to even consider a fight with Cyborg right now. She has paying work outside of MMA, at least for the moment, and easier potential opponents inside it in the event she did want to fight again. And, just to be clear, there are no serious indications Rousey does want to fight. She had one foot out the door even before the Nunes fight. If she were to come back after an extended hiatus, she could probably make almost as much money fighting a fellow celebrity and former MMA star like Gina Carano, who’d be much less likely to punch a deep hole in her face.

Like the poet says, “there is game without talons.” Hopefully there are other people in Rousey’s inner circle with sense enough to realize it. And hopefully Rousey herself is capable of seeing that her coach might be looking out more for himself than for her.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC champ Cris Cyborg issued California boxing license, appears serious about in-ring career

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Cris Cyborg is the most dominant female MMA fighter of all time, and she appears poised to find out if her success will translate to the ring.

Cyborg, the UFC women’s featherweight champion, recently applied for a boxing license and was granted one Wednesday by the California State Athletic Commission, MMAFighting.com confirmed with the CSAC, noting that she was also issued a federal boxing ID.

Since claiming the previously vacant title with a TKO of Tonya Evinger at UFC 214 last month, Cyborg (18-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) has been uncertain about what her future holds. For starters, her UFC contract is set to expire in October. There’s also the fact that her weight class, which was created earlier this year, is without fighters (Evinger is a natural bantamweight); the UFC has yet to sign women to fill out the division.

Cyborg said earlier this month she preferred her first title defense come against former women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm, who fought Germaine de Randame – and lost – in the inaugural UFC women’s 145-pound title bout. Cyborg-Holm is a bout UFC President Dana White said he likes, and Holm has expressed interest, though an agreement hasn’t been reached.

Cyborg didn’t immediately comment on the news of her boxing license, though a retweet of MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani would indicate she’s serious about a career in the ring.

MMAFighting.com also reported she intends to compete in the junior middleweight division (154) of women’s boxing.

Cyborg, 32, is no stranger to the ring. She’s spent time this year sparring with two-time Olympic gold medalist and WBC/IBF champion Claressa Shields, who tweeted a video of one of their sessions in June.

Cyborg is a slugger and considered one of MMA’s heaviest hitters – male or female. Perhaps a transition to the boxing ring would be smoother than expected.

For more on the upcoming UFC schedule, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Rory MacDonald's all-caps Reddit AMA included a Robbie Lawler PED accusation

Dann StuppFormer UFC welterweight title challenger and current Bellator contender Rory MacDonald didn’t hold back during today’s Reddit AMA.

MacDonald (19-4 MMA, 1-0 BMMA), who recently made a successful Bellator debut with a submission victory over vet Paul Daley in May, answered a number of questions from fans as part of the social-media site’s “ask me anything” event.

However, one answer stuck out – one that involved former champion Robbie Lawler, who scored a come-from-behind TKO victory over MacDonald in a legendary bout that was named MMAjunkie’s 2015 “Fight of the Year.”

During today’s Reddit AMA, user “cczzrr” asked Macdonald if Lawler “was on peds when you fought.”

His answer (which came in all caps, like all of his other answers) was succinct: “IM CONVINCED HE WAS.”

The July 2015 bout took place just weeks after the UFC launched its drug-testing program with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). According to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which also tested UFC 189 fighters, all of the tests – including Lawler’s – came back clean.

MacDonald, though, seems convinced otherwise, though he didn’t go into details or elaborate during the AMA.

The 28-year-old Canadian also weighed in a number of other topics, including:

What he did for the first few weeks after the UFC 189 fight with Lawler:

“FIRST 3 DAYS I LAYED IN BED. AFTER THAT I PARTIED AND DID WHATEVER I WANTED EVERYDAY AND NIGHT FOR THE REST OF SUMMER”

Thought on Jon Jones’ latest failed drug test:

“SHAMEFUL, LIKE EVERY OTHER GUY THAT DOES THIS CRAP AND HIDES IT, YET GLOATS DURING VICTORY”

Best/worst walkout song:

“MC HAMMER CANT TOUCH THIS WAS THE WORST”

“THAT ONE (TOOl’s ‘Forty Six & 2’) WAS THE BEST FORSURE”

Reaction to speculation that some especially tough fights may mean a shortened career:

“I FEEL BETTER THEN EVER TBH, NOT REALLY WORRIED ABOUT WHAT PPL MAY BELIEVE, I CAN ONLY TRUST HOW IM GENUINELY FEELING. I FORSEE MANY MORE YEARS COMPETING AT THE TOP RANKS OF THE SPORT”

On watching the recent fight between UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and Demian Maia, knowing he’s got past wins over both of them:

“NOT REALLY, I KNOW I WILL HAVE THE CHANCE TO SHOW I AM THE BEST WITHOUT A DOUBT AT SOME POINT IN MY CAREER”

Thoughts on Woodley:

“I THINK TYRON IS A VERY STRONG COMPETITOR, VERY STRATEGIC, ATHLETIC BUT I AM AWARE OF HIS WEAKNESSES ALSO”

If he rematched Woodley:

“I WOULD SUBMIT OR TKO HIM”

What if “some billionaire offered you $800k to walk up to Brock Lesnar and give him a ‘Stockton Slap,’” would he do it?:

“YES”

If not MMA, what would he have done for a career?

“PROLLY LIVE IN THE WOODS AND DO RANDOM SHIT”

Potential next fights?

“I BELIEVE IF MY NEXT FIGHT IS FOR THE TITLE I WILL BEAT (CHAMP DOUGLAS) LIMA THEN FIGHT THE WINNER OF (GEGARD) MOUSASI VS (RAFAEL) CARVALHO.”

Why Bellator?

“THE MONEY WAS THE BIGGEST FACTOR FOR ME AT THIS POINT OF MY CAREER”

Hobbies?

“I LIKE SPENDING TIME WITH MY DAUGHTER, I LIKE THINKING ABOUT GOD AND THE BIBLE, INVESTMENTS, BITCOIN.

“I WOULD TELL MYSELF TO KEEP IT SIMPLE AND TRUST IN YOUR STRENGTHS.

“HEADBUTTS, KNEES AND KICKS TO HEAD ON THE GROUND.”

What it would take to fight Cris Cyborg:

“1 MILL”

On whether UFC flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson is MMA’s pound-for-pound fighter:

“HONESTLY I THINK I AM”

On whether he broke “your caps lock on your keyboard” during the AMA:

“YES”

For more on the Bellator’s upcoming schedule, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

Filed under: Bellator, Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie