Welcome to the second installment of the new nightly series, Midnight Mania. It’s a little like mixing an energy drink into a cup of coffee and chasing it with a NoDoz. The ethics of keeping you awake this late are questionable, but I try to live by this quote from a somewhat famous fighting man, Sean Bean, who was himself quoting Yeats -- “But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”
So, know how we mentioned in yesterday’s Midnight Mania that WME | IMG plans to demand $450 million for its new television deal? Well, the company is willing to undergo significant changes to make it happen, including dropping Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg as the commentating duo. This follows an earlier story that UFC will likely hand over production to cable companies. That’s big news. But, not everyone is convinced.
I keep picturing reading a future story on UFC rights negotiations where a deal falls apart over Dana's insistence on keeping Face the Pain.— Dave Doyle (@davedoylemma) November 28, 2016
Face the Pain may never die. At this point, it has outlasted Zuffa ownership, Fidel Castro, and Glenn from the “Walking Dead,” so gauging its departure seems a fool’s bet.
Meanwhile, Conor McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh, opened up with his thoughts on UFC stripping the “double champ” no more of his Featherweight belt.
He’s got a point in terms of time gone between title defenses. UFC 206 headliner Anthony Pettis went 16 months without defending his Lightweight title ... without even an interim champion to keep the division moving.
Useless Fact Of The Day: Anthony Pettis had a longer UFC lightweight title reign than Benson Henderson #UFOTD— Seán Sheehan (@SeanSheehanBA) November 29, 2016
Eventually, of course, if McGregor isn’t going to defend the belt, UFC would need to strip him. But, is Kavanagh right? Would it have been worth more to UFC in the long run to be able to promote McGregor as the two-weight world champion for his next fight than create a belt to headline a UFC 206 card that will likely do ~150,000 pay-per-view (PPV) buys? Chael Sonnen has the answer to that.
Kyle Noke retired over the weekend after a loss to Omari Akhmedov at UFC Fight Night 101. In honor of his career, watch him put Peter Sobotta in a nightmare last year at UFC 193 in Australia.
Been harping on about this for half a decade now but... Front snap kicks are the dog's bollocks https://t.co/OCn63IjEwx— Jack Slack (@JackSlackMMA) November 29, 2016
While we are on sick clips of fight-ending moments, GLORY Light Heavyweight Gokhan Saki posted a reminder of what world-class kickboxing looks like.
What i do best #power #speed pic.twitter.com/cI65vU6kb2— Gokhan Saki (@gokhantherebel) November 29, 2016
And while we are talking about other combat sports ...
Leo Vieira with some beautiful Jiu-Jitsu!Posted by Brazilian Jiu Jitsu on Saturday, November 19, 2016
Or perhaps you prefer beautiful violence of the concussive kind ...
JJ McDonagh's brutal 1st round KO of unbeaten prospect Jake Ball at the weekend. pic.twitter.com/snX65lcyj5— BoxingTipster (@AgainstTRopes) November 29, 2016
That first knockdown is very is similar to this knockout, bringing us full circle back to mixed martial arts (MMA):
.@Fight_Ghost Mohammed Hussein KO's Ray Koeijers. From 2012 pic.twitter.com/SdGeNPCMPj— caposa (@GrabakaHitman) November 29, 2016
Fans Are Rad
MMA fans have made some incredibly creative memes, .gifs and artwork over the years. Check out the latest addition to the virtual gallery:
@BrianStann Hey Brian what you think of my latest custom painting? pic.twitter.com/7za81SawxH— Ross Baines Art (@RossBainesArt) November 29, 2016
Brock Lesnar, former UFC Heavyweight champion, got speared by returning legend Goldberg. Many WWE fans were disappointed by how short the match was. Fortunately, there are ways to make it more interesting:
My dude @rayrod747 is so damn talented. Here's his take on @Goldberg going 'Super Saiyan' on Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series. More to come. pic.twitter.com/99gIQO6Qtr— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) November 29, 2016
Some fans, though, cross the line. Thank goodness we have memes to make fun of them with.
The best thing about memes, though, are the iterations. The Internet generates them as reliably as a Mandelbrot set. And as Ian Malcolm from “Jurassic Park” said about iterations, “with subsequent drawings of the fractal curve, sudden changes may appear.”
And in case you missed it, this fresh take on an all-time classic is brilliant.
So Conor McGregor has had the featherweight title taken away from him.— EOW (@_EOW_) November 27, 2016
Crazy how the tables have turned! pic.twitter.com/5PgGTgxwvM
So, remember how the belt-stripping of McGregor got triggered because Daniel Cormier got injured? And how his gym, American Kickboxing Academy (AKA), has the highest injury rate of all the major MMA camps? Well, perhaps the real surprise should be how many fights go through as scheduled. Jackson-Winklejohn, incidentally, which boasts one of the lower injury rates in the industry, posted this old classic about sparring day.
Sparring Tuesday. Bring it on. #itrainhere #teamjacksonwink #jacksonwinkmma #jacksonwink #jacksonwinkmmaacademy #jacksonwinkinternational #jw #jwmma #mmacamp #mma #mixedmartialarts #ufc #mmafighting #martialarts #striking #grappling #bjj #wrestling #coachjackson #coachwink #505 #abq #albuquerque #newmexico #barleans #sorenomore #zebramats #resultsrna
JCVD is the picture of martial grace. He’s got nothing on Chuck Norris, though.
It appears that Kelvin Gastelum was, in fact, cleared to fight Tim Kennedy at UFC 206 in Toronto, Canada, despite his recent administrative suspension.
Gastelum cleared to fight at UFC 206, per his camp. Awaiting details, but assuming it's what I wrote earlier, fine in lieu of suspension.— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) November 29, 2016
That’s a fantastic fight, especially in the grappling phase. And to absolutely no one’s surprise, Tim Kennedy has been training like a psychopath for it.
You know who else is a beast? Sage Northcutt.
Meanwhile, Mirko Cro Cop is apparently enjoying the testing-free land of Japan since he “retired” from UFC. He is scheduled to fight fellow aging veteran Wanderlei Silva at RIZIN’s World Grand Prix Tournament on Dec. 29, 2016.
@EliasTheodorou @theakosombo @SecretMovesMMA post UFC retirement... I guess that shoulder injury healed up nicely! pic.twitter.com/jSwN90sxNo— Jaime Richards (@jcsl8r) November 29, 2016
Bobs And Weaves
You might have missed it, but an extremely shady Russian leader, Kadyrov, had his kids fight in a cage several months ago. He then got into a public feud with Fedor Emelianenko about it. Now, apparently, his kids have gifted their trainer a car. A really, really nice car.
UFC fighter Abdel-Kerim Edilov was gifted a Porsche Panamera by Kadyrov’s sons for training them for their scandalous MMA fights. pic.twitter.com/qqetwf8KQa— Karim Zidan (@ZidanSports) November 29, 2016
In Russia, kids buy the car for you ...
In other craziness, a bodybuilder laid a suit clean out at a competition recently. And no one appeared too eager to do anything about it. I don’t blame them, really.
On the more ... legitimate ... front. This Saturday’s The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 24 Finale features Jake Ellenberger vs Jorge Masvidal. Here’s how they match up:
Solid 170-lb. matchup at Saturday's #TUF24Finale— Fightnomics Reed (@Fightnomics) November 29, 2016
Ellenberger vs Masvidal
Jorge finished by strikes only once, but Jake with tons of power. pic.twitter.com/HEg67VTDVZ
Oh, and Joanne Calderwood is not happy about the red tape it takes for fighters to acquire UFC tickets.
@danawhite apparently I need to get your approval......rsvp #whathappenedtokickingassandnotkissingass pic.twitter.com/f4AsEIDT5i— Joanne Calderwood (@DRkneevil) November 29, 2016
While we are on upcoming events, gear up for UFC 206 by watching Anthony Pettis smoke Joe Lauzon. When he is at his best, he is indeed “Showtime:”
Podcasts And Audio
The Severe MMA podcast has several Irish lads chatting about fights. If you haven’t heard it, it’s good craic.
Oh, and here’s an accompanying clip Sean mentions in the podcast. Emil Meek fights at UFC 206 on Dec. 10, 2016, in Toronto, Canada. Watch to the very end — the credits are worth it.
For those asking about the Emil Meek gif I mentioned on the podcast, here is it. (made by @GrabakaHitman) pic.twitter.com/52IZoIY0ho— Seán Sheehan (@SeanSheehanBA) November 30, 2016
Jack Slack breaks down the past weekend’s fights and answers a lot of questions in the latest episode of “Fights Gone By.”
And Kid Nate went on a rant from an undisclosed location:
Not to be outdone, Cole Miller got really real. Luke Thomas plays the audio of that interview, then reacts here:
- Jose Aldo plans to defend his title against the winner of Pettis-Holloway in 2017.
- Bryan Caraway might finally have a fight with Jimmie Rivera in Phoenix.
- If you missed it, read why Anthony Johnson turned down a fight with Moose Saucy.
That big announcement Bjorn Rebney, Georges St-Pierre, T.J. Dillashaw and Donald Cerrone were teasing for tomorrow? Important information perhaps just came to light- — it appears that a fighter’s association is indeed the topic of conversation, with DeadSpin doing some last-second sleuthing. Perhaps this will be the crest to rise above the rest?
This appears to be the logo of the MMA Athletes Association: https://t.co/FJVTWq8vur pic.twitter.com/ghwC7QOcg4— Deadspin (@Deadspin) November 30, 2016
In the most literal sense of the word, stay woke, Maniacs. Meanwhile, if you have any suggestions, hit me up at VorpalManiac@gmail.com (even if your suggestion is to pick a better email address).
Oh, and by the way, new college football rankings are out. My college is ranked No. 24 ... Not bad!