Bloody Inbox: UFC Options After Overeem's Drug Test Failure, #RallyForMarkHunt, Bellator Problems And Filipino MMA


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Question from OurBovinePublic: Dana always claims he makes the fight that fans want to see. We stayed up all last night plastering him on twitter with requests to make the JDS-Mark Hunt fight but he has ignored all of us so far. Do you think the fans can really have an influence on him so will he just make the fights that he wants i.e. Frank Mir. I get that Hunt doesn't have a great record and that Mir is ahead of him in the queue but why not have Mir fight Cain in a number 1 contender match so he has a chance to get the next shot anyway and capitalize on Hunt's popularity and current momentum? #RallyForMarkHunt

I don't know that more fans actually want to see Mark Hunt than Frank Mir. There's just a vocal part of the hardcore fanbase that really wants to see the Cinderella story that would be a Mark Hunt title shot. Mir is still the option that would sell the most tickets, which makes him the obvious choice to replace Overeem.

The truth remains that Hunt is still a guy who lost to Sean McCorkle less than two years ago. He has some work to do to really be in a spot to get a title shot, let alone a title shot when the much more well known Mir is available and coming off an incredible win over a former title holder in Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

All that said, the idea of Hunt getting a title shot is kind of crazy and could be a lot of fun. It'd likely be a short and violent affair and Hunt does have the proverbial "puncher's chance." Does he have a better chance of knocking out Junior dos Santos than Mir has of submitting him? I don't know.

The whole situation kind of reminds me of when Hasim Rahman had proven to be, at best, on the fringes of the top 10 (Hunt currently sits ranked #13), lost to Oleg Maskaev and rebounded by winning three fights over fringe-level opponents (Cheick Kongo playing the Corrie Sanders role of hard hitting non-challenger) and somehow earned a title shot against Lennox Lewis only to land the shocking KO as a more than 20-to-1 underdog.

You just never know what can happen when a heavyweight with power is given his shot.

Question from HaterSlayer: Alistar almost doomed the New Years card with his drug drama and he followed that up by blowing one of the biggest fights of the year. So do you think Alistar will be released from Zuffa again if his B sample comes back positive?

Given the tone Dana White took when addressing the situation, I'm pretty confident that Overeem will be cut. He cost a huge fight and his ratio being 14:1 is pretty inexcusable. The doubt that would surround Overeem going forward given his physique is going to make him a very hard sell in the future. There are also massive doubts cast over every accomplishment in his heavyweight career.

Where Cristiane Santos may be able to come back to Strikeforce because of a lack of depth and names in women's MMA, there are plenty of heavyweights in the UFC sea and, as such, it's probably for the best to cut loose a man who tested positive here and cost the promotion a major title shot after the situation before the Lesnar fight.

Also, unlike Chael Sonnen's badly failed test, that failure came after Sonnen lost the fight so it had little to no impact on anything. Also, Chael had the whole "testosterone replacement" thing which, legitimate or not, is at least some sort of excuse. Overeem has spent so much time bragging about being clean that he can't use that excuse. If he tries he is going to be blasted for not disclosing it with all the scrutiny he's been under for his U.S. career.

Question for Anton Tabuena from WARISTOTLE: My question is, how long do you think it would be before there is a true-blue Filipino fighter in the UFC? I always thought Folayang was going to be that guy, and in my opinion he was only a couple of notable wins away before the Ole Laursen fight. Filipino MMA was looking real good just a couple of months ago, and now it seems to have hit a bump in the road with the losses of Eduard, Belingon and Banario.

Anton: Thanks for the question. There are lots of up-and-comers in the country, so despite those setbacks you mentioned, I think it's only going to take a couple of years, if not earlier.

When talking about candidates for a UFC move in the near future though, contrary to popular belief, I actually think that his teammate, Kevin Belingon, has a much better chance. Lightweight is such a stacked division that making it to the UFC is a longer and harder road for everyone, so Eduard Folayang would've had a more difficult time. Belingon on the other hand, was reportedly already being scouted by Zuffa a while back, and had he won that fight against Imanari, who is still ranked in the top 20 at bantamweight, he would've obviously been ready then.

But as you already know, Kevin got a bit too aggressive and it got him caught on that crazy chain of leg lock submissions. Even after fights where he dominates though, Belingon still looks much better each and every time. He's still very young, and he's constantly improving, so I think having this first loss against a guy that experienced can be very beneficial for his career.

Also, regardless of the outcome of that fight, I think Team Lakay was already planning on making him drop back down to flyweight. He wouldn't have much of a size and strength disadvantage, and he also has a much better chance of making it to the UFC in that division. If he can cut down properly and win a few key bouts, he can expect a lot of interesting phone calls.

Going back to the original question, if a Filipino is going to get to the UFC, it's probably going to be flyweights and bantamweights. If you factor in proper weight cutting, and the average size of the fighters in the country, that's where most of the talent is. Belingon is a great example for this, but at the rate MMA is growing in the country, there are bound to be more UFC hopefuls soon.

Question from Andy Anderson: What is wrong with Bellator? I know this is a huge question but they are like that friend you have that has a lot of potential but they never put it all together.

Bellator is on a bit of a roll as far as having really entertaining shows so far this season, but the way they handle titles and the strict adherence to the tournament format as the only possible way to challenge for a belt is always going to hold them back. You've got champions either kept on the shelf for a crazy amount of time or fighting in meaningless non-title fights.

Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Chandler is a rematch that every MMA fan wanted to see, but we have to have Alvarez fight Shinya Aoki (in a still kind of important/legitimate rematch) and know that Alvarez vs. Chandler probably can't happen under the rules of Bellator for at least a year.

If Eric Prindle's hand remains an issue, we'll probably see Cole Konrad sit idle for close to a year. Chandler is being forced into a farce of a non-title fight against Akihiro Gono which isn't going to do anything for his profile. They may lose Hector Lombard without giving him fully compelling fights during his run, instead throwing stiffs at him while only defending his title once.

It'd probably be a better idea to do away with the idea of having champions beyond the tournament. Just keep putting the tournament winners back in the tournament to try to run through the field again. Saying Lombard won multiple tournament championships is a hell of a lot more impressive than saying he fought nobody ex-NFL players and defended his title one time. The already solid lightweight tournament could have Alvarez and Chandler in instead of Rene Nazare and Ricardo Tirloni and be much more appealing than using Chandler against Gono.

They just aren't doing things that I think are going to help them grow long-term.

Question for KJ Gould from Pankration Philosopher: How did you get into catch wrestling? How is the catch wrestling community up there in the UK? I am aware of Jake Shannon, Tony Cecchine, and other catch wrestlers in America, but in your opinion, what is the overall state of catch wrestling in the world? I would love to one day have catch wrestling as popular as BJJ. Thank you for time.

KJ: My first experience with Catch Wrestling was pretty inadvertent. About 13 years ago I was taking part in a Jeet Kune Do concepts martial art, and it was primarily a kick boxing hybrid with Filipino Knife and Stick based martial arts thrown in. The only grappling arts really around at the time was Judo, and grappling within what I did was pretty basic.

I got to go to a Sifu Richard Bustillo seminar, and Bustillo is one of the old school guys like Guru Dan Inosanto. The seminar was obviously in JKD, and Bustillo specialised in Muay Thai and Filipino Martial Arts, and we got to do some grappling based on BJJ and Catch As Catch Can. The Catch element was possible from Gene LeBell, but also the late Larry Hartsell who was a great American Jeet Kune Do guy that focused on the grappling arts.

It was also around this time my family got web access through dial up, and just looking online for videos following the UFC where I could, I found some videos on a website that featured Muay Thai, BJJ and some no gi instructionals, and the no gi stuff was Erik Paulson video clips from the late 1990s. His videos on leglocks kept me awake at night as my brain went into overdrive!

Since then my interest only really resurfaced in the last few years through information and communities online such as the Sherdog grappling forum.

Catch Wrestling in the UK is making a comeback now that Coach Roy Wood and Andrea Wood have brought back the 'Snake Pit' catch wrestling training to Wigan, but there have also been other guys plucking away at it for years such as Ian Bromley, Tommey Heyes, Jack Mountford etc. The Snake Pit are putting on intensive seminars throughout the year, and are planning to stage competitions as well I believe.

The world of Catch Wrestling though is pretty fragmented and has been for years. A lot of it is too many egos competing instead of working with each other, plus lineages are harder to verify compared to BJJ where there's a better documented 'family tree'. Sometimes a great coach doesn't need to have a lineage to be able to teach Catch well, but you have to be wary of any coach that claims a lineage he can't verify just to bolster their 'credibility'. For instance, the late Karl Gotch only ever endorsed one man to coach his style of Catch Wrestling, and that was Yoshiaki Fujiwara. Anyone else claiming to teach the 'Gotch Style', or claims endorsement by Gotch is unfortunately out their to con you.

You do now currently have guys still around like Billy Wicks, Dick Cardinal, Billy Robinson and Roy Wood who will endorse guys, and in some cases like Billy Robinson will document down to the hour how much time on the mat you've spent under his direct supervision as a means of quality assurance.

You also have a lot of no gi gyms appearing to teach Catch Wrestling, when it's just Submission Grappling using 'Catch' as a current buzzword.

In my opinion, Catch really needs an oversight like an IJF or IBJJF, or even recognition from something like FILA as a legitimate wrestling style, and as a sport that includes pins and submissions as well as generally longer time limits to differentiate itself from the generic no gi submission grappling style. Consistency and structure are key for Catch's survival in its own right, rather than just being absorbed and assimilated into other arts as it has been.

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