Bellator 183's Paul Daley: Only Nick Diaz and Douglas Lima were men of their word

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Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos

SAN JOSE, Calif. – A lot of fighters talk a big game, but Paul Daley said only Nick Diaz and Douglas Lima walked the walk after talking the talk.

Big-show vet Daley (39-15-2 MMA, 5-2 BMMA) meets former UFC fighter and recent Bellator arrival Lorenz Larkin (18-6 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) on Saturday at Bellator 183.

The welterweight fight, which airs on Spike from SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., has already created some fireworks. They’ve been out of the cage, though, as Larkin has spoken openly and often about his disdain for Daley’s perceived insincere trash-talk.

But Daley?

“The fact it’s getting so heated up is just comical,” he told MMAjunkie. “But I hope he brings that same intensity into the ring.”

After all, Daley, a 33-year-old vet with 29 knockouts in 39 career wins, has faced many opponents who promised to stand and bag with the British slugger – only look to look for a reprieve once they got rattled.

There have been a few exceptions, Daley said.

“I think there are two people in my career … who felt the heat and stayed on their feet and not attempted to clinch or go for a takedown, and that’s Douglas Lima and Nick Diaz,” he said. “That’s the only two guys in over 53 fights.”

Lima picked up a unanimous-decision win over Daley in July 2016, and Diaz scored a TKO win over Daly at a 2011 Strikeforce event. They’re not Daley’s only career losses, but he said those two past opponents really stand out.

“Those are the only two guys I’ve hit and stayed up, and they haven’t tried to take me down or play a different game, and they kept coming after it,” Daley said. “I just hope Lorenz does too.”

Check out the full interview as Daley breaks down the matchup, talks about his potential retirement, what he wants his legacy to be, and whether a fight with rival Michael Page ever happens.

And for more on Bellator 183, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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

Twitter Mailbag: How big a deal are these eight-ounce gloves for McGregor and Mayweather?

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How much difference will two ounces really make on the fists of McGregor and Mayweather? Why does the UFC middleweight champion still get no respect? With a UFC interim lightweight title bout scheduled, where’s “The Eagle” when you need him?

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

The big deal here isn’t the what, it’s the why. Is there a difference between using eight-ounce gloves and 10-ounce ones? Sure there is. (For a more detailed answer on that, I’d recommend this Twitter thread.) But the big issue here is the Nevada State Athletic Commission reversing what it had previously described as a vital safety rule, and without any very good explanation for why.

The Association of Ringside Physicians came out against the glove switch. The commission itself had said it would need to be presented with compelling evidence in order to issue a waiver. That didn’t happen, but the NSAC issued the waiver anyway. Then it tacked on a request that the gloves be turned over to the commission after the fight, ostensibly for a “study” on the effects of glove size. That this study would also give the commission possession of valuable sports memorabilia seems like a happy accident.

Both Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather are enthusiastically supportive of the glove switch, and it might not make a huge difference in the end. But it is worth asking why the NSAC even has these rules if it will throw them out the window the instant the big money draws ask it to.

This was a social media post that snowballed into an actual rule change. As much as the commission said it didn’t want to be used in any stunts to keep the hype alive, that’s it exactly what it did here, and without putting up much of a fight. Kind of makes you wonder what these people wouldn’t agree to for the sake of a dollar.

I don’t want to speak for everyone, but yes, we do all want that. But according to UFC President Dana White, Khabib Nurmagomedov still isn’t ready. That leaves us with Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee in an interim title fight that’s interesting and all, but is bound to lack that title fight feel.

What it’s going to feel like instead is a fight in which the UFC had a date and an interim belt, and it filled in the names based on availability. The reason it will feel like that is because that’s exactly what it is.

Still, right now the UFC has the advantage of working with a division that’s loaded with talent. It would almost be hard to make a bad fight at 155 pounds right now. That’s good, since who knows if or when the real champ will ever return from his epic payday. It’s not hard to imagine that interim belt suddenly morphing into the real thing.

I think we all kind of get it, even if we also kind of don’t. Even before he had the UFC middleweight title, Michael Bisping was a much better fighter than he got credit for. It’s partially due to his personality – a lot people, fighters and fans, just don’t like him, and therefore don’t want to admit that he has legit skills – but it’s also a question of style.

You look at a lot of Bisping’s biggest victories and you see fights with too much room for debate. The knockout win over Luke Rockhold is a glaring exception to most of his recent work, where he won by small margins after nearly losing. That’s how it went against Anderson Silva. It was a similar story in his lone title defense against Dan Henderson.

And that’s the other thing, which is that his reign as middleweight champ isn’t exactly helping him. He’s had the belt for over a year now and has defended it only once, somewhat unconvincingly, against a non-contender who was rapidly closing in on senior citizen discount territory. That’s not the kind of thing that’s going to earn you a ton of respect.

The question is whether the Georges St-Pierre fight will offer him a better opportunity in that regard. On one hand, St-Pierre was a pound-for-pound great and a legend in the division below Bisping. But if Bisping wins, I’m sure a lot of people will write it off to GSP’s age and time off, not to mention the fact that he’s not even a middleweight.

In that sense, it’s kind of a no-win situation for Bisping. In the financial sense, however, it’s exactly the opposite, which explains how we ended up here.

I’m not sure it’s going to change anybody’s viewing habits, but now would be a fair time to ask the UFC president if he’s reconsidering his support, especially since a lot of CEOs have sprinted away from Donald Trump after his response to the unrest in Charlottesville over the weekend.

I feel like I already know what White would say. He’d probably give us the same spiel about how he’s not really political, and he only gave that speech to help out a friend who had helped him out in the past.

And sure, that will placate people up to a point. But when other business leaders have raced to publicly distance themselves from Trump, it might be time to start wondering if we’ve finally passed that point.

If McGregor beats Mayweather, chances are he’ll have to knock him out. And if he knocks out the best boxer in a generation, giving him his first career loss and beating him at his own game the first time out? Then forget fighter, I don’t see how you don’t crown him athlete of the year.

That’s a very good question. Ronda Rousey was tested nine times in 2016, according to the online USADA test history database. As far as we know, she hasn’t officially retired, so she should still be subject to testing, especially since USADA is still looking for other inactive but not technically retired fighters, such as Nick Diaz.

Yesterday I sent an email to USADA to ask if there’s any reason it is suddenly way less interested in Rousey, but so far I haven’t heard back. I suppose it’s possible that her number just hasn’t come up yet this year. But the more time passes, the less plausible that explanation is going to be.

Seriously? This one is really hard for me to pick. A few years ago and forget it, even with the size difference you’ve got to take St-Pierre all day. But the man’s been gone for nearly four years, all while time has marched brutally onward. It’s true that he doesn’t seem like the type to let himself get too out of shape, and clearly he wasn’t about to rush (ha) his return, even if it jeopardized (in theory) his chances of getting the fight.

But still, we have to admit that we’re just guessing when it comes to what GSP will look like in the cage now. Bisping isn’t an easy guy to take down, and if St-Pierre’s timing is off it could spell trouble for him. Plus, while Bisping isn’t exactly known as a knockout artist against middleweights, he might have more power than we think when he’s throwing at a welterweight. If you make me pick right now, I guess I’ve got to go with the champ.

It depends. What does success look like for a weekly internet fight show? Dana White’s Contender Series is filmed in a gym and the fighters make about half the typical UFC minimum, so it’s relatively cheap to make. And if it helps the UFC lock down some talent or snag some Fight Pass subscribers, that might be all it takes to justify the pretty meager expense. Maybe the better question is, what would failure even look like for something like this?

If you had the ability to be at or near the top of either sport, I can’t imagine why you’d pick MMA. In addition to the differences in pay and contractual restrictions, there are just so many more ways to get hurt in MMA. For a long time we’ve told ourselves that boxers suffer more head trauma over the long term, and that may be true, but it’s not like MMA fighters suffer none, plus I know plenty of MMA retirees who are limping around on bad joints after years of grappling in the gym and the cage.

Also, notice how MMA fighters keep calling out boxing champs, trying to get a piece of that pie now that they see how well it’s working for McGregor? Notice how you don’t see so many boxers trying to do the same thing in reverse? That ought to tell us something.

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

Anderson Silva, apparently not interested in retiring anymore, calls for Nick Diaz rematch

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Two months after threatening to retire from MMA, Anderson Silva is calling for a rematch with Nick Diaz.

“I believe this was one of the best fights in the history of this sport,” Silva wrote to Diaz on his Instagram account. “With all my respect Nick. Let’s show how it’s done. I will wait your reply, maximum respect to the Diaz family.”

Instagram Photo

Silva fumed at the UFC for not giving him an interim middleweight title fight with Yoel Romero after a bout with Kelvin Gastelum fell through at UFC 212. The battle lines seemed drawn between the former middleweight champ and the promotion. Silva promised to call it quits if he didn’t get the fight. UFC President Dana White called his bluff.

Now, “The Spider” is pivoting, curiously toward an old foe, one that led to the most controversial period of his long and decorated career.

Silva (34-8 MMA, 17-4 UFC) and Diaz (26-10 MMA, 7-7 UFC) met two years ago at UFC 183. The fight was pivotal for both fighters. Silva had lost his title at UFC 162 after an upset knockout at the hands of Chris Weidman and then broken his leg in a rematch. Diaz hadn’t fought since a decision loss to now-former welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre prompted him to walk away from the sport. The fight, in Silva’s middleweight division, was an expected and widely celebrated booking.

Over three rounds, Silva consistently outstruck Diaz and earned a unanimous decision for his first win in three years. But just one month after the fight, the fighters’ worlds were turned upside-down when Silva tested positive for a pair of steroids and Diaz tested positive for marijuana.

The pair took wildly divergent approaches to diluting the findings, with Silva professing innocence by claiming he’d taken an off-brand sexual enhancement substance on the recommendation of a training partner in Thailand.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission, which oversaw the fight, didn’t buy the excuse and suspended him one year, adding a dig in accusing the former champ of “soft testimony.” Meanwhile, Silva’s colleagues and the public questioned whether his legacy had been permanently tainted.

Diaz, meanwhile, came in looking to fight his suspension, which marked his third such punishment for marijuana. The NSAC threw the proverbial book at him, suspending him an incredible five years and fining him $165,000. The severity of the punishment created a major backlash in the public, leading to a White House petition and support from celebrities. The NSAC later backtracked, shortening Diaz’s punishment to 18 months with a $100,00 fine.

This past August, Diaz’s suspension ended, opening the door to a return. But according to White, the former Strikeforce champ turned down multiple fight offers.

“The most difficult to get into the octagon? Right now, it’s the Diaz brothers – right here, right now,” White said.

Diaz’s younger brother, Nate Diaz (19-11 MMA,14-9 UFC), recently turned down a fight with Tony Ferguson (22-3 MMA, 12-1 UFC) at UFC 213 before rejecting it when the UFC wouldn’t up his pay.

As the younger brother subsequently suggested, any Diaz return would have to be accompanied by a very healthy payday.

Would Silva provide that? We’ll find out soon enough.

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

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

Trading Shots: What does Nick Diaz's provisional suspension tell us about USADA's real UFC impact?

Is Nick Diaz’s issue with USADA a sign of a broken system, or an inevitable side effect of cleaning up the sport? MMAjunkie columnist Ben Fowlkes and retired UFC and WEC fighter Danny Downes discuss in this week’s Trading Shots.

Fowlkes: Bad news, Danny. Your dude Nick Diaz may be in trouble again. Apparently he accrued enough “whereabouts failures” to run afoul of USADA, which resulted in him being “provisionally suspended” this week.

First, can we agree that, no matter what else you want to say about the guy, this proves that Diaz is still totally on brand? Not showing up for important things is a patented Diaz move, so a part of me has to applaud the consistency.

But more importantly, doesn’t this whole situation highlight some problems with the USADA system? UFC President Dana White just told John Morgan that he doesn’t think Diaz will ever fight again. Diaz has already been gone from the cage for more than two years, and in that time he’s given no indication that he wants to return.

And yet, he’s never told the UFC or USADA that he’s retired, which means he’s still under contract and still obligated to tell USADA where he’ll be at all times, presumably for the rest of his natural life. Does that seem a bit extreme to you? Especially for a dude employed as an independent contractor?

Downes: If I didn’t know any better Ben, I’d say that you seem upset about this. Why? This is the future you and your friends in the so-called media wanted all along. Something had to be done! I remember cries of “What if somebody dies?!” as if performance-enhancing drugs turn you into some overpowering Anime character capable of punching holes through people’s skulls.

Who would have guessed that a company that doesn’t respect its athletes would pair up with an organization that doesn’t appear to respect athletes? At least the morality and sanctity of mixed martial arts has been restored.

As for this specific case, I’m not surprised (you know whats). I don’t know Diaz, but he doesn’t strike me the type of guy that would tell USADA where and when he’ll be at all times. Personally, I think it’s amazing that we don’t hear about these “whereabouts failures” more often. Fighters aren’t always the punctual type and many prefer their lifestyle because it allows them the freedom to move around and not be tied to a laptop like some dork.

Having said that, what alternatives are possible? The proverbial USADA cat has been let out of the bag. The responsibilities forced upon these independent contractors are unreasonable, but I don’t see room for compromise. Instead of telling USADA where you are 24 hours a day, you just have to give them a 12-hour window three days a week? I can only imagine what certain journalists would say if the requirements were eased.

Fowlkes: OK, we might as well admit here that one of the reasons this seems so absurd is because of who we’re dealing with. If Alistair Overeem had gotten popped under this rule (btw, it takes three “whereabouts failures” in 12 months to get you in trouble, so there is some room for error), we’d be a lot less sympathetic.

But Diaz? Odds are he was just off somewhere passing the dutchie to the lefthand side, Danny. Maybe he was also messing around with some nunchucks, like you do. The one thing I feel confident saying is that he was probably not juicing up and preparing to make his return as a heavyweight. Once again, it feels like USADA is getting the wrong people for the wrong reasons.

Which is not to say that the whole USADA system needs to be scrapped. You can act like any concern about PEDs is just a bunch of overblown, moralistic hand-wringing, but look around at some of the rises and falls that have taken place in the UFC since the testing got real. Obviously, some of that magic juice really works. It must, for people to take the risks they do in order to keep using it.

In a sport like this it can’t help but increase the danger to competitors. But as I’ve said on multiple occasions, unfettered use of PEDs also turns the sport into a hormonal arms race where doping is the price of admission. It’s not a moral issue; it’s a fairness issue. Either we want to let everyone play weight room chemist or we don’t. And if we say you can’t use it, it’s unfair for you to use it while your opponent plays it clean and suffers through the bumps and bruises and soreness without the same help.

So yes, having an independent body conduct random, out-of-competition testing for PEDs is a good thing for enforcing those standards. But the fighters got no say in the implementation of this program, in large part because they don’t have a unified association to help negotiate stuff like this the way athletes in most other major pro sports do.

Continuing to subject a fighter to tests years after he’s effectively stopped competing is invasive. Telling him he has to publicly retire just to live his life without USADA on his back seems like an onerous requirement. Hopping in and out of retirement can be harmful to a fighter’s brand and earning potential. But if he doesn’t do it, he’s stuck with a UFC contract and a USADA obligation indefinitely?

That’s a problem. Are you really going to tell me that the only solution is going back to the days when state athletic commissions (or the UFC itself, in sometimes deeply flawed fashion), did all the testing, usually on a schedule so predictable you could circle it on the calendar?

Downes: If you’re going to create a testing system for the entire UFC, you can’t pick and choose when to enforce it. Singling out people like Overeem or other past users while giving fighters like Diaz a pass would be discriminatory. The “eye test” isn’t based on science and shouldn’t be the guiding principle of an anti-doping policy.

I wouldn’t call returning to the old system a solution, but I would say it’s preferable to the current situation. We have two imperfect systems and the old way was the lesser of two evils. Hopefully there are improvements to the current USADA program, but I don’t see any on the horizon.

Think about it. What benefits has USADA really given the sport? Your boogeyman Vitor Belfort has faded from glory, but he’s also 40 years old. I’m not saying that PEDs weren’t a problem or that they don’t work. I just don’t see any major changes in the UFC. I’m sure readers will be able to pinpoint specific cases, but I’m talking about systemic, far-reaching changes.

What have we received in return? Further entrenchment of the UFC interfering in fighters’ lives and placing increased, onerous requirements on them. If USADA (and by extension the UFC) can interfere in their everyday lives, what more can fighters give up? Why don’t we make every fighter live in an “Ultimate Fighter”-type house where we can record their every move?

Some people will say that this goes with the territory and it’s the price of being a fighter. I call shenanigans. You have hundreds of fighters subjected to an agreement that they had no say in. It affects their personal lives and could ultimately harm their careers.

This is about more than a Diaz brother doing what he wants. Fighters are expected to let some stranger knock on their doors when he or she pleases, but they can’t even decide what T-shirt they’d like to wear to the cage? I’m not saying we should go back to the “good ol’ days.” I’m just saying they seem better than what we have today.

Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Danny Downes, a retired UFC and WEC fighter, is an MMAjunkie contributor who has also written for UFC.com and UFC 360. Follow them on twitter at @benfowlkesMMA and @dannyboydownes.

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

Nick Diaz flagged for potential anti-doping violation, allegedly missed USADA drug tests

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Nick Diaz, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has been looking for you.

The UFC announced Thursday night it had been notified by USADA of a potential anti-doping violation against Diaz because of an alleged accumulation of three “whereabouts failures” within a 12-month period.

In plain terms, what that means is Diaz allegedly has missed three tests in the past year.

USADA’s drug-testing policy states “UFC athletes who have been identified and notified that they are part of the UFC Registered Testing Pool (UFC RTP) are responsible for directly keeping USADA informed of their whereabouts.”

Diaz (26-9 MMA, 7-6 UFC) hasn’t fought since January 2015 against Anderson Silva. “The Spider” originally claimed a decision win in that matchup, but the result was later overturned when both fighters tested positive for banned substances – Silva for performance enhancers and Diaz for marijuana metabolites. Diaz, 33, hasn’t won in the UFC since an October 2011 win over B.J. Penn.

UFC President Dana White this week told MMAjunkie he doesn’t believe Diaz will ever fight again.

“I highly doubt it,” White said. “I don’t know. I honestly don’t think that, and I can’t speak for him, you’d have to speak with Nick himself, but if you ask me – people ask me, ‘Do you think Ronda (Rousey) is coming back?’ No. I think Ronda’s going to retire. Ronda hasn’t retired, but my opinion is, I think she will. I don’t think Nick Diaz will ever fight again. I just don’t think he has the desire anymore.”

The UFC’s entire statement on the Diaz matter can be read below:

The UFC organization has been notified that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Nick Diaz of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from Diaz’s alleged accumulation of three Whereabouts Failures within a 12-month period. Diaz, like all other UFC athletes, is enrolled in USADA’s UFC Registered Testing Pool and required to file accurate Whereabouts information in order to be located for out-of-competition, no-notice testing.

USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of Diaz’s case, who has been provisionally suspended pending the final resolution of this matter. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

Dana White: I don't think Nick Diaz will ever fight again

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LAS VEGAS – It’s been more than two years since former Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz has stepped into a UFC cage, and if Dana White is right, the perennial fan favorite may never do it again.

While MMA fans have been holding out hope that Diaz might soon make a return, White said he’s not nearly as optimistic.

“I highly doubt it,” White told MMAjunkie. “I don’t know. I honestly don’t think that, and I can’t speak for him, you’d have to speak with Nick himself, but if you ask me – people ask me, ‘Do you think Ronda (Rousey) is coming back?’ No. I think Ronda’s going to retire. Ronda hasn’t retired, but my opinion is, I think she will. I don’t think Nick Diaz will ever fight again. I just don’t think he has the desire anymore.”

Diaz (26-9 MMA, 7-6 UFC) hasn’t fought since a January 2015 fight with Anderson Silva. “The Spider” originally claimed a decision win in that matchup, but the result was later overturned when both fighters tested positive for banned substances – Silva for performance enhancers and Diaz for marijuana metabolites.

Diaz, 33, hasn’t tasted victory in the UFC since an October 2011 win over B.J. Penn, and White believes that the fiery welterweight has lost the passion needed to compete at the sport’s highest level.

“The thing about fighting, first of all it’s a young man’s game,” White said. “You’ve got to be young, hungry. You’ve got to be an animal to jump out of bed every day and go in there and train the way that you do.

“The things that you have to do to get to the UFC, let alone break into the top 10 or the top 5 or be a world champion, you have to love it. I just don’t think that Nick loves it anymore.”

White previously told MMAjunkie that both Nick Diaz and brother Nate Diaz (19-11 MMA, 14-9 UFC), who has been out of action since an August 2016 rematch with Conor McGregor, have been offered fights but have thus far turned them down.

However, he does seem cautiously optimistic that Nate will again see action in the octagon – though he admits that when it comes to MMA’s favorite scrapping siblings, anything is possible.

“Nate, I think that Nate probably will (fight) if something popped up,” White said. “But that’s just my opinion. If you ask the Diaz brothers they might have a different opinion.”

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

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Source: MMA Junkie