By In Mixed Martial Arts

The Cathartic Zen of The Cowboy

“You can never truly know what lies inside the mind of another person, but I can’t help but wonder two things about Donald Cerrone. One: Does he want to become a UFC champion? Two: Did he ever?

These questions sound more easily answered than they actually are. In the aftermath of his win against Yancy Medeiros at UFC Fight Night 126 on Sunday in Austin, Texas, Cerrone stated pretty clearly that he wanted to drop back down to lightweight to get the belt. Case closed, right? Not so fast. In the same interview, he fell back into his usual demeanor: “I’ll fight whatever they tell me. They’ll call me and say, ‘We need you at 170,’ and I’ll be like, ‘OK.’ They all pay the same to me, so it don’t matter what it is.”

Those are contradictory sentiments…”

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By In Mixed Martial Arts

A Good Night For Heavyweights

“The heavyweight division wasn’t always bad. In its heyday, it boasted some of the sport’s most iconic, enigmatic, dangerous and inspiring fighters. They rightfully anchored the biggest events in the biggest organizations, captivating our curiosities more naturally and, frankly, more morbidly than any other division.

The problem: Most of those heyday heavyweights are still fighting. The morbid fascination of those extremely large and extremely tough men is not exciting so much as it is depressing. The heavyweight fights that decorate undercards are almost always sloppy, gassy affairs. At best they end quickly; at worst, the sheer mass in the cage seems to puncture space-time itself and bouts drag on for an eternity. It has become increasingly rare to see good, technical fighting occur when more than 410 pounds are in the cage. Even the most diehard fight fans see “heavyweight” on the tale of the tape and immediately think “smoke break.”

Of course, that description doesn’t apply to everyone, so you can delete the #notallheavyweights tweet you were drafting…”

 

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By In Mixed Martial Arts

A Blueprint to Unionize

“I know it may be hard to believe, but the biggest story in the MMA world had little — though not nothing — to do with UFC Fight Night 125 on Saturday in Belem, Brazil. It sounds strange, since apparently the event was important enough to justify a 15-hour run time, or at least that’s how it felt. However, as good as it felt to see Lyoto Machida snap a three-fight losing streak in front of a supportive crowd of countrymen, a more pressing development was going on behind the scenes.

It was announced that heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic will fight light heavyweight titleholder Daniel Cormier in the UFC 226 headliner in July. That alone is big news. This is the first champion-versus-champion match in Ultimate Fighting Championship history to take place above welterweight, and it’s a genuinely compelling clash on its own. Cormier was undefeated at heavyweight for four years and 13 fights, and he didn’t just beat scrubs. Former UFC champions and title contenders like Frank Mir, Josh Barnett, Antonio Silva and Jeff Monson decorate his heavyweight ledger, and eight of his 13 wins resulted in stoppages. Cormier was a legitimate heavyweight talent despite being small enough to compete at light heavyweight. Now that Miocic is short on viable contenders, this is one of the best matchups on the UFC roster for the heavyweight champion.

Yet it isn’t just the matchup itself that is noteworthy. How the fight materialized is just as significant and potentially much more so depending on how the future shakes out…”

 

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By In Hawaii, Mixed Martial Arts

Make UFC Hawaii Happen

“A lot of my concentration has been recently dedicated to athletic delegations, a coupling of words I don’t typically think about or write about. Perhaps the more newsworthy delegation is between North and South Korean officials meeting and agreeing to Olympic participation and cooperation. Since I live in Korea, it’s something that obviously occupies my mind. Yet it’s another set of delegations that, while more esoteric and less reported, has me feverishly hitting refresh and eyeing ticket sales: the delegations from the Hawaii Tourism Authority and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Officials from both camps met recently to discuss the possibility of making UFC Hawaii happen at some point this year. As of now, there’s not much to report. The delegations met and discussed terms, and by all accounts, the meeting went well. Talks will resume as Max Holloway’s title defense against Frankie Edgar at UFC 222 draws nearer.

I won’t beat around the bush here: UFC Hawaii needs to happen. Frankly, it’s ridiculous that it hasn’t happened already…”

 

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By In Hawaii, Korea

Lessons from the Hawaii Missile Threat

“Since I moved to Seoul four years ago, I’ve grown used to the hysterical concern that my family and friends back in Hawaiʻi have expressed about my new neighbor to the North. The hysteria has only intensified post-Trump, with every fiery sound byte and furious tweet manifesting into another frantic phone call asking if I’m sure I don’t want to move home yet.

It was a strange sort of role reversal when I woke up on an otherwise regular Sunday morning to discover that, while I was asleep, an intercontinental ballistic missile had been launched, was inbound to Hawaiʻi, and it wasn’t a drill. No texts or voice messages were on my phone, and the worst-case scenario billowed in my mind like a mushroom cloud. A quick Internet search informed me, however, that the warning was a mistake. Gratefulness and relief washed over me. Harrowing stories of parents calling their kids to say goodbye slowly turned into memes poking fun at the whole situation. Everything was fine. Everyone was fine.

A latent restlessness lingered around my apartment, though; one that soon transformed into anger…”

 

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