Welcome to Midnight Mania!
Retirement is very much a relevant topic in the modern world of mixed martial arts (MMA). Just last weekend, UFC Stockholm saw three men retire following stoppage losses. One of those men, Alexander Gustafsson, was still fairly young, just a single fight removed from a title shot. Looking at his record and age would seem to indicate that Gustafsson still has something left to give, but MMA is unforgiving. If one is halfway out the door, it’s best to quickly scramble all the way out before it slams shut on a finger.
A less hazy case is BJ Penn, the former Lightweight and Welterweight champion who recently made history with the longest losing streak in UFC history. It’s more than clear that Penn’s best days are behind him, and his health is at a larger risk.
In an interview with TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter, Dana White agreed.
Dana White would like to see BJ Penn retire and would also like to see Sage Northcutt retire, says "this sport isn't for him" pic.twitter.com/k1vEjV1IMY— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) June 7, 2019
“No, I want BJ to retire. I love BJ Penn. BJ Penn is one of the legends of the sport. This is a young man’s game. I gave him a lot of opportunities because he’s B.J. and because of the relationship that I’ve had with BJ. You know, his entire career and before that, but I can’t do that again.”
There’s no real controversy there, as it’s pretty unanimous that Penn has no business left inside the Octagon. More interesting is White’s remark that Sage Northcutt should retire as well at just 23 years of age. Transcription via MMAJunkie:
“I would really like to see Sage Northcutt retire,” White said. “I hope he does. (He’s a) good looking, charismatic kid, smart. He was an engineer, taking college to be an engineer. He’s got a lot going on in his life. This isn’t the sport for him. I don’t want to sound like I’m (expletive) all over the guy, because I really like the kid a lot, but this isn’t the sport for him. I would love to see him retire before he seriously gets hurt.”
Perhaps uncharacteristically, White genuinely seems without ill will towards his former
employee contractor, and he isn’t wrong that Northcutt does have more options than most. The Karate kid still has the ability to return to college, makes a mint advertising on Instagram, and is generally likable enough to be on television somewhere.
However, I’ve also had the pleasure of knowing and training with Northcutt. After his loss, we shared a conversation on the logistics of removing surgery staples from your skull (I have unfortunate firsthand experience). “Super Sage” is not a pretender being pushed into this lifestyle like some on the web claim. He’s a genuine fan of learning martial arts, and he likes competing. More to the point, Northcutt is one of the few who is actually being paid quite well to compete. Fighting is always a risk, sure, but there are plenty of athletes with other options who are risking their health for a few hundred bucks rather than six figure checks.
Northcutt had a bad loss to a great striker, and his recovery will take time. If he were to chose another path than active competition, most would understand. But it’s not what I expect for Northcutt, who is likely to look better than ever when he does return to the cage.
Donald Cerrone looks pretty rough on the scale, which isn’t unusual for “Cowboy.”
Both a smile and a sigh as @Cowboycerrone hits 155.5 pounds #UFC238 pic.twitter.com/Tkdnbewtj9— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) June 7, 2019
Will Ferguson salsa dance opposite Cerrone?
A really interesting defensive option to the arm triangle choke demonstrated by Khabib. A slight adjustment can make all the difference!
Imagine being offended by Mercedes Terrell.
When Lucas & I get together we always make an adventure out of a shoot... last night it was running across the Brooklyn Bridge in a bikini right in the heat of tourist selfie hour.— Mercedes Terrell (@mercedesterrell) June 7, 2019
Pretty sure we offended some peeps w/ our brazenness & my , but we still managed to get the shot. pic.twitter.com/mmpay6lBKZ
KSW holds a firm monopoly on giant Polish dudes. I’m pretty Polish myself, but apparently I missed the massive muscle gene...
There she is! The biggest MMA fight happening anywhere in the world this weekend.— Alan Murphy (@AlanMurphyMMA) June 7, 2019
Musician and brother of Mariusz, Krystian Pudzianowski vs. bodybuilder Radosław Słodkiewicz.
God bless Poland pic.twitter.com/wZGf8jNvZY
Luke Rockhold’s top game is perhaps the most devastating mix of ground strikes and submissions... ever. I hope he spends some time actively looking for the takedown at 205 lbs.
Be Like Mike.
Slips, Rips, and KO clips
Goltsov seems like a serious Heavyweight prospect, and he really helped out PFL by knocking Rosholt flat. Hard jab from the Russian!
Welcome to #PFLmma, @denisgoltsov! What a finish by the Russian, who gets 6 points with this 1st-round knockout! #PFL3 pic.twitter.com/IqLhAbikbH— #PFLmma (@ProFightLeague) June 7, 2019
Another finish from PFL’s Heavyweight tournament preliminary round, this time via a Frank Mir-esque kimura.
Mama said knock you out, but she’ll take this 1st-round submission win too! @KelvinTMB is not messing around this season! 6 points for The Mama’s Boy! #PFL3 pic.twitter.com/2Efs6IrXU6— #PFLmma (@ProFightLeague) June 7, 2019
The timing here is pretty spectacular.
This kills the man. Kumandoi executes Phetsuphan with a perfectly timed kick on his way down. pic.twitter.com/J0XT3U3PB1— Yodsanan (@_Yodsanan) June 6, 2019
If you don’t appreciate a left hook to the liver, why are you here?
Devastating Body Shots!— Mikey Thomas (@MikeyThomasMMA) June 6, 2019
⏱- Round 2 KO! (2:50)
YOKKAO 39 & 40!
- Sydney, Australia
This is some Alien-type anatomy.
Moray Eel fires extra jaw out of his throat pic.twitter.com/E7MlFTuurF— 41 Strange (@41Strange) June 7, 2019
I always admire those with a complete disdain for their own mortality.
Music from the making of Midnight Mania! I’m currently working my way through the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die book that sits on my coffee table, so here’s a taste of 1950s Afro-Cuban jazz.
Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.