True to form, Francisco Trinaldo hardly satisfied with UFC-Sao Paulo win over Jim Miller

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SAO PAULO – It seems Francisco Trinaldo is keeping up with his tradition of not being quite pleased with his UFC displays, no matter the outcome.

After a tough first round at Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 119, Trinaldo (22-5 MMA, 12-4 UFC) managed to outlast fellow veteran Jim Miller (28-11 MMA, 17-10 UFC) to earn a unanimous decision from the judges. The main-card lightweight meeting put a big name under Trinaldo’s belt but, most importantly, landed him back in the winning column after a loss to interim title contender Kevin Lee (16-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC).

Trinaldo is certainly happy to be back on track, which isn’t to suggest he’s 100 percent satisfied with what he showed against Miller.

“I trained to knock him down or submit him,” Trinaldo told reporters after the FS1-televised bout, which took place at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. “I swear to you. I trained every day. I didn’t miss a single training session. I did four training sessions a day. I didn’t miss a single one.

“When I thought my body was tired, I looked at my kid and thought, ‘No (expletive) way I’m going to stay here. I need this win.’”

It may not have been a finish, but it was a positive outcome, much like the seven straight wins “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil” alum managed to line up before Lee spoiled his party in March. And it’s one that Trinaldo believes should be rewarded in the rankings.

“The next step is to meet a guy who’s ranked,” Trinaldo said. “A top-7, top-5, top-8. Because I want to show what I can do.”

Trinaldo has always been known for his unwavering work ethic as any of his coaches and training partners will confirm. But he found even more motivation while preparing for his 16th octagon appearance since 2012. Apart from the added fuel of a loss, he became a father six months ago.

“The arrival of my kid (Francisco) just pushed me harder,” Trinaldo said, “to train harder and show I’m going to be a great fighter and a great citizen.” (via Instagram)

Instagram Photo

As usual, Trinaldo wants to resume his path to becoming a great fighter sooner rather than later. While it would appear he has a preference for fighting on Brazilian soil, given that’s where 13 of his UFC outings have taken place, Trinaldo says he doesn’t want to wait until Belem’s Feb. 3 card to return.

Pressed for possible names, “Massaranduba” gave two options. Before taking a loss on what was a record-breaking 28th octagon appearance on Saturday, Miller was coming off two consecutive setbacks. Trinaldo thinks either of those men could be good fights for him.

The problem is that the two, ex-155-pound champion Anthony Pettis and contender Dustin Poirier, are set to fight each other Nov. 11 at UFC Fight Night 120. So he might have to settle for someone else.

Another option? Well, it seems like he’s not counting on it to happen now, but Trinaldo would like a chance to get the UFC Fight Night 106 submission loss to Lee back at some point.

“I lost to a guy who I know I’m superior to,” Trinaldo said. “We’ll meet further down the road, and I’ll get that one back.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 119, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 119 results: Francisco Trinaldo outpaces fellow veteran Jim Miller

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Francisco Trinaldo outworked and wore down a crafty Jim Miller, taking over a close fight in the later rounds.

The reward for Trinaldo (22-5 MMA, 12-4 UFC) was a win on the scorecards, as he beat Miller (28-11 MMA, 17-10 UFC) via unanimous decision by scores of 29-28 across the board.

The lightweight bout was part of the main card of today’s UFC Fight Night 119 event at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo. It aired on FS1 following prelims on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass.

Miller got off to a good start in this fight, but he seemed to fade in the latter two rounds under the pressure of Trinaldo after controlling the action from the top for most of the opening round.

In the second, Trinaldo began stinging Miller with his combination punching on the feet, and grinding away with his top pressure when the action hit the mat. Miller could be seen wincing in pain at several points, and he seemed to run out of gas as Trinaldo kept pushing him into the third round.

Trinaldo really took control in that final frame, using his work rate to keep Miller on the defensive and further sapping his energy with ceaseless attacks. By the end, it was clear that Trinaldo had done more to earn the win, and all three judges scored the fight in his favor, giving him two of the three rounds on every scorecard.

The win for Trinaldo is his first since a submission loss to Kevin Lee in March. Miller has now lost three straight.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 119 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 119, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s John Morgan and Fernanda Prates contributed to this report on site in Sao Paulo.)

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 119 staff picks: Who's taking Lyoto Machida to win after 28 months off?

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Machida
vs.
Brunson
Covington
vs.
Maia
Font
vs.
Munhoz
Miller
vs.
Trinaldo
Hermansson
vs.
Santos
Lineker
vs.
Vera
MMAjunkie readers’
consensus picks
2017: 97-67
machida2017
Machida
(54%)
maia2017
Maia
(77%)
font2017
Font
(68%)
trinaldo2017
Trinaldo
(53%)
marretasantos2017
Santos
(60%)
lineker2017
Lineker
(86%)
Simon Samano
@SJSamano
2017: 104-60
brunson2017
Brunson
covington2017
Covington
munhoz2017
Munhoz
trinaldo2017
Trinaldo
hermansson2017
Hermansson
vera2017
Vera
Dann Stupp
@DannStupp
2017: 104-60
trophy copy 2015 Champion
brunson2017
Brunson
maia2017
Maia
font2017
Font
jmiller2017
Miller
hermansson2017
Hermansson
lineker2017
Lineker
Ben Fowlkes @BenFowlkesMMA
2017: 103-61
trophy copy 2016 Champion
brunson2017
Brunson
covington2017
Covington
font2017
Font
jmiller2017
Miller
hermansson2017
Hermansson
lineker2017
Lineker
Steven Marrocco @MMAjunkieSteven
2017: 101-63
brunson2017
Brunson
covington2017
Covington
munhoz2017
Munhoz
trinaldo2017
Trinaldo
hermansson2017
Hermansson
lineker2017
Lineker
Brian Garcia
@thegoze
2017: 99-65
brunson2017
Brunson
covington2017
Covington
font2017
Font
trinaldo2017
Trinaldo
marretasantos2017
Santos
vera2017
Vera
Fernanda Prates @nandaprates_
2017: 97-67
brunson2017
Brunson
maia2017
Maia
munhoz2017
Munhoz
jmiller2017
Miller
hermansson2017
Hermansson
lineker2017
Lineker
Matt Erickson @MMAjunkieMatt
2017: 96-68
brunson2017
Brunson
covington2017
Covington
font2017
Font
jmiller2017
Miller
hermansson2017
Hermansson
vera2017
Vera
George Garcia @MMAjunkieGeorge
2017: 95-69
machida2017
Machida
covington2017
Covington
font2017
Font
jmiller2017
Miller
marretasantos2017
Santos
vera2017
Vera
John Morgan @MMAjunkieJohn
2017: 95-69
brunson2017
Brunson
covington2017
Covington
font2017
Font
jmiller2017
Miller
hermansson2017
Hermansson
vera2017
Vera
Mike Bohn @MikeBohnMMA
2017: 94-70
trophy copy 2014 Champion
machida2017
Machida
maia2017
Maia
font2017
Font
jmiller2017
Miller
marretasantos2017
Santos
lineker2017
Lineker

The UFC is back in Brazil this week, and a former champion returns after a lengthy layoff.

UFC Fight Night 119 takes place Saturday at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo. The main card airs on FS1 following prelims on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass.

(Click here to open a PDF of the staff picks grid in a separate window.)

In the main event, former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida (22-7 MMA, 14-7 UFC) is back after more than two years away thanks in part to an 18-month suspension. He takes on Derek Brunson (17-5 MMA, 8-3 UFC) at middleweight, and the American is a -160 favorite. Brunson also is the pick of eight of our 10 MMAjunkie editors, writers and radio hosts, making him our heaviest staff favorite.

In the co-feature, Colby Covington (12-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) takes on Demian Maia (25-7 MMA, 19-7 UFC) at welterweight. Covington is a slight favorite over the recent title challenger and has seven of 10 picks going his way.

Also on the main card,Rob Font (14-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) is a 7-3 choice over Pedro Munhoz (14-2-1 MMA, 4-2-1 UFC) in their bantamweight fight. Jim Miller (28-10 MMA, 17-9 UFC) has six of 10 pickers taking him to upset Francisco Trinaldo (21-5 MMA, 11-4 UFC) in their lightweight bout.

Jack Hermansson (16-3 MMA, 3-1 UFC) is a 7-3 pick over Thiago “Marreta” Santos (15-5 MMA, 7-4 UFC) at middleweight. And to open the main card, John Lineker (29-8 MMA, 10-3 UFC) is more than a 3-1 favorite against Marlon Vera (10-3-1 MMA, 4-2 UFC), but our picks are split right down the middle at 5-5.

In the MMAjunkie reader consensus picks, Machida, Maia, Font, Trinaldo, Santos and Lineker are the choices.

Check out all the picks above.

For more on UFC Fight Night 119, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC-Sao Paulo's Jim Miller didn't set out to break all-time record, but it's 'cool'

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SAO PAULO – Jim Miller’s next fight will be a record-breaking one.

On Saturday Miller will become the first person to reach the 28-fight mark under the UFC banner. The record is currently shared with ex-champs Tito Ortiz and Frank Mir, who’ve both parted ways with the promotion, and current middleweight champion Michael Bisping, who’ll get his 28th octagon outing when he meets ex-champ Georges St-Pierre in a UFC 217 title bout.

As Miller (28-10 MMA, 17-9 UFC), whose record also includes a 2013 no-contest with Pat Healy, prepares to face Brazil’s own Francisco Trinaldo (21-5 MMA, 11-4 UFC) – and hopefully snap a two-fight losing skid – at UFC Fight Nigh 119, he’s aware of what he’s about to accomplish.

Does it carry any special meaning, though?

“It does and it doesn’t,” Miller told MMAjunkie during a media day ahead of the event, where he fights in an FS1-televised main-card bout at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo. “It’s not what I set out to do. But, right now, I’m tied with a group of gentlemen that I have a lot of respect for and that have really left their mark on the sport and the organization.

“So it’s kind of – pulling the lead a little bit. Bisping is going to catch back up. But it is cool. It’s definitely a feather on the cap. And I’ve been able to do it in a pretty fast time compared to those other guys. Bisping was in the UFC a few years before I was.”

In any case, it wouldn’t take a record for Miller to be excited about the encounter. First of all, he’s happy he even gets to do it, after a period in which getting matched up against anyone – either at lightweight or welterweight – was proving to be quite the difficult task.

But also, he gets to add another first in his record: a fight in Brazil. Miller has visited the country once before – back in 2011 – but it was in support of his brother Dan, who met Rousimar Palhares at UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro. For Miller, who was captivated by the intensity inside the arena then, that was an added reason to take this one on.

“I wanted that, and I wanted to experience it,” Miller said. “I’ve been really excited for this fight and just the experience overall.”

When you’ve been a UFC fighter for more than 10 years, there aren’t that many firsts. But there’s another one that Miller is hoping to one day get: a title shot. At 34 Miller said the fire of one day holding a belt is still very much alive in his heart. And despite currently sitting on a two-fight skid, he doesn’t think that’s too crazy of an idea.

“The sport’s all about timing,” he said. “You look at just Kevin Lee, getting the opportunity to fight for the interim title. He was ranked No. 7. I was ranked 3 and 4. And I didn’t get my shot. I was 9-1 in the organization, and there was just injury and rematch after – things just didn’t pan out for me at that time.

“And I had ups and downs a little bit. It really just comes down to timing. And being able to grasp that golden ring while you have the opportunity. I know that I can compete with any of those guys. It’s just a matter of showing up and being myself.

“I’m going to keep doing this as long as I can. And keep going out there and fighting as hard as I can.”

To hear from Miller, check out the video above.

And for more on UFC Fight Night 119, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC-Sao Paulo in-depth breakdown: Stylistic matchups, fight picks, best bets and fantasy studs

MMAjunkie Radio co-host and MMAjunkie contributor Dan Tom provides an in-depth breakdown of all of UFC Fight Night 119’s main-card bouts.

UFC Fight Night 119 takes place Saturday at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo. The main card airs on FS1 following prelims on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass.

* * * *

Derek Brunson (17-5 MMA, 8-3 UFC)

Derek Brunson

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’1″ Age: 33 Weight: 185 lbs. Reach: 77″
  • Last fight: Knockout win over Dan Kelly (June 10, 2017)
  • Camp: Brunson’s MA and Fitness (North Carolina)
  • Stance/striking style: Southpaw/kickboxing
  • Risk management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+ 3x Division 2 All-American wrestler
+ Regional MMA titles
+ Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt
+ 10 KO victories
+ 3 submission wins
+ 13 first-round finishes
+ KO power
+ Dangerous left kicks and crosses
+ Subtle shuffle-step entries
^ Closes distance and sets up strikes
+ Strong pressure against fence
^ Strikes well off the breaks
+ Good power-double takedown
^ Chains / transitions from it well
+ Solid pressure from topside
– Sometimes throws self out of position
+/- 3-2 against UFC southpaws

Lyoto Machida (22-7 MMA, 14-7 UFC)

Lyoto Machida

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’1″ Age: 39 Weight: 185 lbs. Reach: 74″
  • Last fight: Knockout loss to Yoel Romero (June 27, 2015)
  • Camp: Kings MMA (California)
  • Stance/striking style: Southpaw/kickboxing
  • Risk management: Good

Supplemental info:
+ Former UFC light-heavyweight champion
+ Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt
+ Karate black belt
+ 9 KO victories
+ 3 submission wins
+ 5 first-round finishes
+ KO power
+ Crafty feints and footwork
^ Deceptive distance closer
+ Accurate left cross
^ Coming forward or off the counter
+ Dangerous left kick
+ Good counter wrestling
^ Strong base and balance
– Someimtes struggles from back
+/- Coming off a 28-month layoff
+/- 0-2 against fellow UFC southpaws

Summary:

The main event in Sao Paulo features a pairing of middleweights as Derek Brunson and Lyoto Machida square off.

A top-10 contender who has recently rebounded from losses to the likes of Robert Whittaker and Anderson Silva, Brunson will get another shot at a big name when he travels to Brazil.

Welcoming the American is Machida, a former champion who has been out of competition for the past two years due to an infraction with USADA stemming from April 2016.

Starting off on the feet, we have a battle between two southpaw strikers.

As I often preach in my breakdowns, a meeting of lefties can always be tricky, especially considering that most southpaws predicate their games on facing an opponent of the opposite stance. For this reason, the more “skilled” striker does not always demonstrate their perceived on-paper advantages.

With this in mind, I will be very interested in seeing Machida’s approach. Not only is the Brazilian coming off of a two-fight skid, but those last two losses came at the hands of southpaw fighters.

Still, the dynamic of this matchup has been one that typically favors Machida since Brunson is a come-forward fighter who can sometimes be available for the counter.

If the 39-year old Brazilian’s bottom has not yet dropped out, then Machida may have ample opportunity to attempt counter left hands, a shot that has traditionally troubled Brunson from both stances.

Nevertheless, Brunson will be the more potent striker of the two, and more importantly, he has the pressure to make things uncomfortable for Machida.

Subtly stalking his prey as he utilizes a shuffle-step variation to come forward, Brunson will put himself in prime position to land shots from the power side of his southpaw stance. Having a knack placing powerful kicks, Brunson has also improved his hands over that past few years, being particularly dangerous when punching his way in or out of the pocket.

And considering that Brunson does his best work when forcing his opposition to the fence (a place that has caused problems for Machida in the past), I would not be surprised to see another pressure-heavy approach from the American here.

In Machida’s middleweight title bout with Chris Weidman, we saw the Brazillian initially struggle to get off offensively under the waves of suffocating strikes and takedown stanzas. Should Brunson have similar intentions, I will curious to see how he fairs in the takedown portion of the equation.

Despite having a lower takedown percentage than one might expect, Brunson does a deceptively good job of using his initial shot to force his opponents to the fence; the former All-American wrestler does a decent job of chaining off his attacks from there.

However, it is in that brief space/period of re-wrestling where Machida is most crafty, re-swimming under-hooks or even limp-arming as he attempts to circle to safety. In fact, historically Machida has been hard to take down outside of well-timed shots or an outright out-muscling.

But if Machida is grounded, he is far from impervious.

Although he is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Machida has struggled when being put on his back, often displaying a lack of offense or even scrambling ability from the bottom.

Against Weidman, this cost Machida crucial rounds. Against Rockhold and Romero, it cost him brutal stoppages.

Brunson may not have a “game-over” type of ground game, but he can transition well with strikes from topside and plays position when he needs to. That said, if Brunson fails to score takedowns early, then this fight’s propensity to hit strange lulls will likely increase as time goes on.

Not only does Machida bring the lulling intangible with his off-beat stylings, but we also saw Brunson struggle in spots against Anderson Silva, another southpaw who prefers to counter. And even though Machida is the elder fighter who is coming off of a layoff, he is more experienced in five-round affairs than Brunson, who has shown signs of slowing late in fights regardless of winning or losing.

With the oddsmakers opening Bunson in the neighborhood of a -150 favorite, I was slightly surprised the line wasn’t a bit wider, to be honest.

Don’t get me wrong: As a black belt in karate who discovered MMA later in life, watching Machida’s initial rise was one of the most inspirational things I’ve witnessed in this sport. Because of that, part of me will always be rooting for Machida to do well.

And yes, perhaps this is another case of me trying to over-correct the steering wheel in the effort to sway from my biases, but I will once again be reluctantly siding with sensibility since there are ultimately more paths and probabilities for a Brunson victory.

If this matchup were to have happened a few years prior, then I would side with Machida to find a crippling counter shot before the final bell. But now, at 39 and a 28-month layoff at his back, the odds at a successful showing may be steeper than the betting lines suggest. For that reason, I will be staying away from any plays as I observe how this crucial crossroads bout shakes out.

Official pick: Brunson inside the distance

Official outcome: To be determined

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Jim Miller vs. Francisco Trinaldo is 13th addition to UFC Fight Night 119 in Brazil

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After putting out a call for an opponent – at lightweight or welterweight – Jim Miller will remain at 155 pounds.

Miller (28-10 MMA, 17-9 UFC) is scheduled to fight fellow lightweight Francisco Trinaldo (21-5 MMA, 11-4 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 119. UFC officials recently added the bout to the fight card, which now boasts 13 matchups.

UFC Fight Night 119 takes place Oct. 28 at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo. It airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass, though the bout order hasn’t been finalized.

During his nine years with the UFC, Miller has earned nine UFC fight-night bonuses, including six “Fight of the Night” bonus checks. However, he’s currently coming off a majority-decision loss to Dustin Poirier (in a “Fight of the Night”) and a unanimous-decision defeat to former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.

He now takes on Trinaldo, who looks to bounce back after a lengthy winning streak was recently snapped. The 39-year-old Brazilian vet and former Jungle Fight champion, who debuted with the UFC in 2012, had won seven consecutive fights, which included knockout wins over Chad Laprise and Paul Felder. However, he suffered a recent submission defeat to contender Kevin Lee in March.

The latest UFC Fight Night 119 card now includes:

  • Lyoto Machida vs. Derek Brunson
  • Colby Covington vs. Demian Maia
  • Jarred Brooks vs. Deiveson Figueiredo
  • Augusto Mendes vs. Boston Salmon
  • Christian Colombo vs. TBA
  • Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Jack Marshman
  • Jack Hermansson vs. Thiago “Marreta” Santos
  • Rob Font vs. Pedro Munhoz
  • Hacran Dias vs. Jared Gordon
  • Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Max Griffin
  • Niko Price vs. Luan Chagas
  • Jim Miller vs. Francisco Trinaldo
  • John Lineker vs. Marlon Vera

For more on UFC Fight Night 119, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC bonus machine Jim Miller just wants someone – 155er or 170er – to bleed with him

Dann StuppWho wants to shed some blood with UFC veteran and bonus machine Jim Miller?

Miller, a veteran UFC lightweight, has earned nine UFC fight-night bonuses, which ranks eighth in company history. Yet the 34-year-old, who’s helped six opponents claim “Fight of the Night” bonus checks (in addition to his three “Submission of the Night” awards), can’t seem to find an opponent.

So today, Miller put out a call – to both lightweights and welterweights (via Twitter):

As he tweeted with the video, “Never thought I’d have to beg someone to bleed with me.”

Miller, who’s been with the UFC for nearly nine years, is coming off a majority-decision loss to Dustin Poirier (a “Fight of the Night,” natch) and a unanimous-decision defeat to former champ Anthony Pettis.

So, who’s going to step up and fight Miller in October or November? Miller isn’t picky – aside from the fact the New Jersey native doesn’t want to fight at UFC 217 in New York City “because I can’t stand New York.”

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out 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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Twitter Mailbag: Is McGregor getting to Mayweather, or does calling him 'boy' go too far?

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Is Floyd Mayweather losing the press tour portion of his fight with Conor McGregor? Did McGregor cross a line by calling Mayweather “boy”? What, if anything, should the journalists association do about Ariel Helwani’s removal from the Showtime team?

All that and much more, including some insight on fighter pay from Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, in this week’s Twitter Mailbag. To ask a question of your own, tweet to @BenFowlkesMMA.

You know what press conferences tell you? They tell you who is better at doing press conferences. And clearly, that would be Conor McGregor. He’s a more energetic and charismatic figure on stage than Floyd Mayweather is, and it’s not even close. He’s also just generally easier to like, seeing as how he does not have a history of assaulting women.

Mayweather doesn’t excel at firing up a crowd the way McGregor does, except for when he’s inviting them to hate him. But he was right about one thing he said at Wednesday’s press conference in Toronto: The fans, as enthusiastic as they are, can’t fight for McGregor.

There is no part of me that believes Mayweather is the least bit worried about McGregor’s boxing skills. Mayweather has been at this since childhood. He’s seen just about everything there is to be seen inside a boxing ring. McGregor has never even been there as a professional.

It’s possible that Mayweather could get too confident and take it too easy in either preparation or execution. It’s possible that McGregor could land one magic punch.

But I’m reminded of what Larry Holmes said about Eric “Butterbean” Esch before their fight, as documented in the excellent story “Champion at Twilight” by Carlo Rotella. After briefly trying to sell the fight as a competitive affair, Holmes gave up and admitted the truth, which was that he didn’t see anyway Butterbean could hurt him.

“Maybe he lands a lucky punch, but I don’t believe in luck,” Holmes said. “Not that kind.”

Yeah, so, in case you didn’t hear, in two consecutive press conferences McGregor referred to Mayweather as “boy.” The first time he did it, encouraging a shadowboxing Mayweather to “dance for me, boy,” he seemed to immediately realize his error, at which point he switched to “dance for me, son.” Then at the following day’s press conference he went right back to “boy,” forcing me to do the Britney Spears cringe face.

If he’d said the same thing to Khabib Nurmagomedov, it wouldn’t be worth mentioning. But since he said it to a black fighter in a country where “boy” was historically used by white men in order to demean black men, it understandably set off some alarms.

You could make the case, and many have, that McGregor should get a pass on this one since he comes from a different country and culture where terms like this don’t have the same historical resonance. I can buy that to some extent. You can’t grow up in the U.S. and not know that a white man calling a black man “boy” carries some serious baggage. But could you grow up in Ireland and genuinely not know it? Sure, probably.

Still, at some point you’d think someone would whisper a history lesson in his ear. He’s working in the rare field in which he can call his colleague all sorts of derogatory names at considerable volume in the most public of settings, and he’ll be rewarded instead of punished. The list of words he’ll actually get in trouble for using is pretty short. It wouldn’t be so hard to steer clear of this one, and it would even make sense. (One of McGregor’s other talking points is how old Mayweather is; you can’t call a man 12 years your senior a boy.)

I don’t think McGregor is racist. I think he’s doing his best to be inflammatory, as he has with all his pre-fight talk, and that’s one of the main reasons he’s on that stage with Mayweather, getting ready to cash a huge check. But when these questionable moments start to pile up, soon even comments like this one, where he refers to “dancing monkeys” in the gym during “Rocky III,” begin to catch people’s attention.

Do I think he meant that as racist? No, I heard it and thought he actually meant the earlier scene, not the one where Apollo takes Rocky to the gym full of black fighters, but the one where Rocky’s so famous his training camp has become a media circus (and Mickey haaates it). Warning: I don’t remember it all that well, because who watches “Rocky III” except for the Mr. T parts, but you could almost convince me that there were literal dancing monkeys in that first gym. Hell, in the next movie Rocky’s brother-in-law sexualizes a robot that was given to him as a gift from his family. Dancing monkeys would not be unthinkable for the Rocky franchise.

Still, wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to wonder what he meant by that? Or if we didn’t have to give ammunition to the “MMA is all racist skinheads” crowd? McGregor is MMA’s representative in what’s likely to be the most-watched pay-per-view fight of all time. It’d be great if we didn’t have to defend him before the fight even starts.

It’s a tough call for a few reasons. For one, the MMAJA is still in the process of adding members, so any action right now would have to come from those of us on the interim board, which is only six people. Speaking up or taking action would mean speaking on behalf of newly confirmed members, who had no say in the decision because they just joined this week. That doesn’t seem fair.

Also, while I think it’s extremely petty (and yet soooooo in character) on Dana White’s part if indeed he did pressure Showtime into yanking a job opportunity away from Ariel Helwani, it’s still an employment issue – not an access issue. If White had banned Helwani from attending this press tour, that would be different. But he didn’t. Helwani is there at every stop, doing his job as a journalist for the same outlet he’s more or less always worked for.

Does that make it a cool move on the part of White or on the part of Showtime, which just let itself be dragged into a nonsensical grudge by caving to the demands of one of the least essential parties to this fight? No it does not. But the MMAJA is and should be focused on creating and maintaining an environment where media members can effectively do their jobs. All week at this traveling circus, Helwani has been doing his.

People are putting too much emphasis on two key things here: The fact that Amanda Nunes withdrew the day of the fight, and that she was “cleared” by a doctor.

It’s relatively easy to know when you should withdraw from a fight with a broken hand, and it’s the minute you see the X-ray. The rate at which your bones heal is fairly predictable. But if you’re sick, especially with an illness you’ve struggled with before, how do you know you won’t feel better tomorrow? Or at least better enough to fight? Maybe Nunes held onto that hope for too long, but if so I’m inclined to believe that it was because she really wanted to fight.

As for being cleared, according to Nunes and her camp that consisted of a doctor checking her blood and her hydration levels. People who’ve dealt with sinusitis say it sometimes takes weeks and multiple doctors to even get a correct diagnosis, so maybe it’s not the easiest thing to identify. Even then, it’s not like there’s some magic test doctors can perform to determine physical fight readiness. At best, all they can do is tell you when you absolutely shouldn’t compete. Even then people get cleared with broken bones and torn ligaments and facial lacerations that were very recently glued shut.

Could Nunes have fought sick? Probably. Would it have harmed her chances of winning? Almost certainly. By pulling out the day of the fight, she made some people mad at her. But how many of those people would have cared about her if she’d gone through with it and taken a career- and/or life-changing beating while she was already sick?

People want to compare it to other jobs, or even other pro sports. If a quarterback has the flu and still plays in the big game, for one thing, everybody knows and talks about it in advance. It’s also a shared decision with shared responsibility. He plays poorly? Hey, maybe the coach should have gone with the backup. And why didn’t the front office sign a better backup?

In fighting, you’re all alone. No one wants to hear your excuses afterward. And one fight can be the difference in hundreds of thousands of dollars in future earnings. So I don’t blame a fighter who looks out for herself. Who else in this sport will do it for her?

Preach, brother. When I hear that Justin Gaethje is targeted as a coach on an upcoming season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” all I hear is that I’ve got no chance of seeing him do the one thing I want to watch him do for at least a few months.

Even then, coaches on “TUF” don’t have the best track record of actually making it to the promised fight at the end. (Just ask last season’s coaches, Cody Garbrandt and T.J. Dillashaw, who were supposed to fight last weekend and didn’t.)

I’m sure that, especially with his fighting style, Gaethje could probably use a break to rest and recover. But I’m not particularly interested in watching the process unfold on reality TV.

According to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, the fighters on “Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series” (note that it’s not the UFC, but DWTNCS LLC that’s the promoter of record) all got $5,000 to show and $5,000 to win.

That’s half the entry-level pay for many UFC fighters, but it’s still pretty competitive for what most of these fighters would make in smaller shows. As far as why they do it, obviously they’re hoping it will vault them into the UFC, and maybe even with a little extra push after we watched them cave in someone else’s nose at the job interview.

Competition between fight promotions is a good thing for fighters and fans. It leads to better products from both Bellator and the UFC, since they’re forced to up their game in the race against one another. It leads to better pay and treatment for fighters, as both fight promoters try to sign the fighters they want and keep the ones they already have. The only people it’s not good for are the executives who would rather make more for giving us less.

What’s different about the Gegard Mousasi signing is that it’s a fighter on the upswing leaving the UFC for what he perceives as a better deal with better treatment in Bellator. If that pays off – if two years from now you hear Mousasi raving about his Bellator life rather than ruefully regretting this decision – that will have an impact on other fighters.

The other piece of the puzzle is that at some point Bellator will reach a certain critical mass of fighters who matter. You get one or two big names, so what? Big fights require two big fighters. A few free agent signings mean nothing if you don’t have anyone worthwhile to match them up against.

But Bellator is gradually beefing up some of its key divisions now, and with fighters who can and will fight in multiple weight classes. That means matchups worth making and fights worth seeing. If the money’s right and the treatment is better, don’t be surprised if more fighters decide they might like to join that party.

Good question. Again, it depends what kind of hall of fame the UFC wants to have (and that decision is entirely left to the UFC at this point). As my podcast co-host Chad Dundas likes to frame it, it’s a question of whether you want to have an all-time greats hall of fame or just an awesome dudes (and dudettes) hall of fame.

If it’s the second one, then yes, Jim Miller gets in. He’s been an exciting, reliable workhorse for the UFC, and he’s had tons of memorable battles over many, many years.

But if this is just for the all-time greats? Sorry, but I don’t think so. Miller’s never held a UFC title or even challenged for one. The only other current UFC HOF member with a similar deal is Stephan Bonnar, and clearly he’s there just for one important fight. But who knows, maybe there’s still time for Miller to make his case on those grounds.

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

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 213 video highlights: Anthony Pettis vs. Jim Miller

Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos

With a mix of unconventional kicking techniques and a solid ground game, Anthony Pettis had a little too much of everything for Jim Miller to handle.

Pettis (20-6 MMA, 7-5 UFC) outpointed Miller (28-10 MMA, 17-9 UFC) on the feet and on the mat, snatching a unanimous decision victory with a clean sweep on the scorecards, nabbing 30-27 marks from all three judges.

The lightweight bout opened up the main card of today’s UFC 213 event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. It aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Check out the highlights above.

Also see:

For complete coverage UFC 213, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Twitter reacts to Anthony Pettis' blood-soaked victory over Jim Miller at UFC 213

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Former UFC champ Anthony Pettis earned a crucial victory for his career on Saturday when he returned to the win column against Jim Miller at UFC 213.

Pettis’ (20-6 MMA, 7-5 UFC) return to the UFC lightweight division after a failed stint at featherweight went according to plan when he picked up a unanimous decision win over Miller (28-10 MMA, 17-9 UFC) in the pay-per-view bout at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Check below for the top Twitter reactions to Pettis’ victory over Miller at UFC 213.

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For complete coverage of UFC 213, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie