Welcome to Midnight Mania! Tonight we have Woodley and Thompson getting into it verbally, a short retrospective of Conor McGregor’s rise, moar Sumo, fan art, highlights, podcasts, and much, much more.
Tyron Woodley has a history of saying controversial things, some of which are factual and some of which aren’t.
His claim that his race affects his popularity among fans and even how he is treated by UFC brass almost certainly has some merit. His claim that Demetrious Johnson isn’t being promoted because of his race probably does not.
Listening to Woodley say Mighty Mouse isn't the highest paid UFC fighter because he's black pic.twitter.com/ykBT8X7MNA— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) January 18, 2017
Woodley: “Some people say it’s race in sport. The second I bring up race in sport I’m immediately race-baiting, but I can point out clear facts where no other champion has been treated like me.”
He was careful to be clear he didn’t think Stephen Thompson was racist, but said some of his fans “definitely cross the line”.
Sage Northcutt says he's out of school now, working with Tyron Woodley and focus on fighting#UFCTonight— UFC Tonight (@UFCTonight) January 19, 2017
Woodley’s take on Demetrious Johnson and Jon Jones, however, was particularly surprising:
“Who’s the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world? Demetrious Johnson. African-American male- completely a Tasmanian Devil. Why doesn’t he have the big endorsements? Why isn’t he making the most money? What’s the difference? Think about it- the second Jon Jones slips on a banana peel and do something- now he’s his own worst enemy- but, they can’t wait to throw him under the bus, but people of different races are given so many chances.”
Thompson: “He threw himself under the bus! What are you talking about?”
When the interviewer asked Thompson if he saw any validity to Woodley’s claims, the North Carolina native couldn’t see it. Woodley, however, maintained his position:
“I am by far the worst-treated champion in UFC history, blatantly, facts.”
He then transitioned to a more positive note, saying that he intends to go down as a legend of the sport and saying he fights for God, his family, and his legacy.
McGregor is out here out-bidding Trump for McLaren sports cars:
Conor Mcgregor outbidding Donald Trump for a McLaren MP4-12C before the inauguration on Friday pic.twitter.com/QgbZFsD99X— Al Foran Comedy (@ImpressionistAL) January 18, 2017
That guy’s Conor impression is pretty dang good.
With how ubiquitous he is these days, it’s easy to forget just how recent Conor’s rise to fame was. Two years ago, he had just knocked out his first top-ten opponent in Dustin Poirier, had never headlined a PPV, and was given Dennis Siver as a gimme bout ahead of an already-promised title shot against Jose Aldo.
Jan18.2015— MMA History Today (@MMAHistoryToday) January 19, 2017
2 years ago today,
Conor McGregor put on a show against Dennis Siver
This was McGregor's first main event in the United States pic.twitter.com/wltKJoAfsW
Immediately finishing Siver, McGregor hopped over the fence & went into the crowd to get in Jose Aldo's face— MMA History Today (@MMAHistoryToday) January 19, 2017
This start of their rivalry... pic.twitter.com/6Gu8sXLx7L
Eleven months after getting into Aldo's face, McGregor defeated him to become the UFC Featherweight Champion pic.twitter.com/M39iqGBSQX— MMA History Today (@MMAHistoryToday) January 19, 2017
That fight would be the last “easy fight” of Conor McGregor’s career, as he went on to face Chad Mendes, Jose Aldo, Nate Diaz twice, and Eddie Alvarez to dominate the headlines, become the first simultaneous two-division champion, and break all the records on PPV. But two years ago today, he had been in the fight game for six years as a professional, and still had everything to prove.
Bobs and Weaves
SUMO IS BACK
When life hits you hard but you rise above it:
This was a gorgeous takedown. Where did she learn to wrestle like this?
Girl beats dudes ass pic.twitter.com/597272wLk6— Thirty Sec Fights (@ThirtySecFights) January 19, 2017
If Ronda Rousey had gotten past her straight punches (she didn’t) the champ had this spinning backfist in her pocket just waiting:
If anyone has Fight Pass, this looks like fun:
Speaking of Fight Pass:
Alright, Jhenny. We see you.
Invicta booked the rematch of a first fight, which, if you recall, ended in a controversial armbar that was later overturned to a no-contest.
Meanwhile, another Invicta champion is making her re-entry to the UFC:
Jon Jones with his professional football player brother, Chandler:
Daniel Cormier making light of not being that Daniel Cormier:
These jokes have been going around today:
Promotional videos have some of the best highlights:
This article by Jack Slack about Rocky Marciano and the art of fighting “ugly” is dope and led me to find this documentary about some of the great old-timey fighters:
This is why UFC on Fox 23 is going to be interesting, because Valentina Shevchenko knows how to throw a straight punch.
See Shevchenko’s UFC debut here:
Podcasts and Video
The Heavy Hands guys interviewed Greg Jackson, who is as quirky and humble as you might have thought:
The MMA Ratings Podcast:
the Promotional Malpractice Live Chat with Luke Thomas. I have a theory about this podcast, similar to this theory about Game of Thrones: Luke Thomas has no T-shirts.
- Penn vs. Rodriguez did pretty well considering the competition from football. This is a reminder of how tiny MMA is compared to the giant that is American football.
- Ben Fowlkes’ story of the fighter who actually just admitted he cheated and took steroids is a remarkable article. That guy, Mike Richman, is returning to fighting soon, ostensibly now a clean man.
- Lombard vs. Hendricks is set as a Middleweight bout, and that seems like a fun style clash.
Stay woke, Maniacs!