Welcome to Midnight Mania!
Ben Askren is seemingly on his way to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, courtesy of what would be an historic trade deal, with Pound-for-Pound great Demetrious Johnson headed to ONE Championship in return. This is a deal with upside for all concerned; Johnson will (hopefully) be getting a better deal financially from ONE, while Ben Askren will finally get to test his undefeated mettle against the best fighters in the world, unless ONE manage to pull off some cross promotion with RIZIN and set up a rematch with Kyoji Horiguchi. Losing out are Demetrious Johnson fans, who will no longer get to see Johnson fighting the best in the world. The other potential development is that men’s flyweight could be shuttered as a division in the UFC, something that has been threatened before.
The possibilities for Askren’s debut opponent are wide, but Askren has the perfect opponent in mind. His college wrestling friend Tyron Woodley is already scheduled to fight him, but Ben has called dibs on infamous heel Colby Covington after Woodley is through, or if Covington happens to beat Woodley. The matchup would pit wrestler against wrestler.
He has also hinted at another marquee matchup: Khabib Nurmagomedov, the Dagestani lightweight champion who just choked out Conor McGregor, has been in Askren’s sights for years.
Anyone know another Russian that needs humbled the old country way? pic.twitter.com/tEdSoUSX45— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) October 25, 2018
It will be interesting to see Askren finally facing a real challenge. The UFC was famously dismissive of him when he was angling for a matchup with then-champion Johny Hendricks, leading to his signing for ONE. Now, he will get his belated chance to show what he can do.
Now you’re all in big big trouble!— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) October 25, 2018
Demetrious Johnson, meanwhile, has changed his Twitter handle to @Mighty1Gaming after the trade rumors surfaced.
Demetrious Johnson has changed his Twitter handle in the wake of today's news. The plot thickens ... pic.twitter.com/NiujJxOo6B— Mike Bohn (@MikeBohnMMA) October 24, 2018
It is apparently standard language in Zuffa contracts to be able to trade fighters, though this is the first instance of it happening.
Re UFC/ONEc Johnson/Askren trade rumor - the standard language in Zuffa contracts (as disclosed during the Alvarez lawsuit) allows them to trade athletes pic.twitter.com/Yg4qXtjBex— Erik Magraken (@erikmagraken) October 24, 2018
People’s minds are alight with the possibilities; this is potentially promising precedent both for fighters seeking higher pay through competition between promoters, and fans who want to see fresh matchups between fighters in different organizations.
Footage: The moment the UFC began working out "The Switch" with ONE Championship... pic.twitter.com/caJgB3VUyQ— Submission Radio (@SubmissionRadio) October 24, 2018
Eddie Alvarez on his 8-figure deal with ONE:
It’s 8 figures in stuffed animals— Eddie Alvarez (@Ealvarezfight) October 24, 2018
This doesn’t look promising for Khabib Nurmagomedov, who got half his two million dollar fight purse.
Nevada deputy attorney general Carolyn Bateman says Khabib Nurmagomedov’s actions were the “catalyst” for the UFC 229 melee.— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) October 24, 2018
This would be a fun matchup
Per sources, UFC close to finalizing a welterweight bout between Gunnar Nelson and Alex 'Cowboy' Oliveira for UFC 231 on Dec. 8 in Toronto. Fun addition to a card I'm already in love with between Holloway/Ortega and Valentina/Joanna.— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) October 24, 2018
Abdul Razak Alhassan is still officially on the UFC website and still eligible to be voted on in rankings, and the UFC still hasn’t offered any public comment on his rape indictment whatsoever.
After rape indictment, UFC’s Abdul Razak Alhassan seeks complete removal of GPS monitor https://t.co/6ABYZJC3eP— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) October 24, 2018
It’s crazy how little even the top UFC fighters get paid in comparison to the revenue they generate. This PPV easily grossed over 100 million, and probably netted them 60 million even after McGregor’s much more generous split.
Marnell says Nurmagomedov made in the range of $5 million to $6 million at UFC 229.— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) October 24, 2018
It’s incredible that Snyder went down so easily to Sadulaev, but these things happen in wrestling.
TO ALL FAKE FIGHT WWE FANS: this is “professional wrestling”. These are REAL athletes pic.twitter.com/CBVSTmqkbN— Nunya Bissniss (@MMA_Tello) October 24, 2018
Combat sports this weekend
Podcasts and Video
The GOAT, Artem Lobov, talks his upcoming fight and the McGregor situation
Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith sounds off
Memes based on old art are some of my favorite
This poor dog!
i've never seen a clearer explanation of plato's cave pic.twitter.com/R8EIgpdLIx— SEO Weedwagon (@bijanstephen) October 23, 2018