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Midnight Mania! Jorge Masvidal and Jon Jones could serve as unlikely leaders in battle against UFC

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UFC 246: Ultimate Media Day Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

Talks of unionization have not been fruitful in MMA. In some ways, its contradictory to the fighter mindset. Combat sports are a world where one’s path to the top quite literally involves climbing over 10-20 bodies and shattering dreams in the process. Almost always, a better future is earned by hurting someone else.

As such, talks of unionization, associations, and holdouts are often merely tools used by big name fighters to draw even bigger payouts. Who can forget when Georges St. Pierre — otherwise the most respectable man in the sport — helped found the MMAAA then immediately dipped out when offered his ideal contract?

“GSP” is a definite hero, a man whose harshest words in a long career involved being unimpressed. He’s a stellar role model for fighters and classy symbol for the sport, but he proved himself no leader of any potential uprising.

Perhaps we need something different.

In the last few weeks, the battle against UFC’s complete control of fighter finances and futures has been helmed by Jon Jones and Jorge Masvidal. Currently, those talks are only about the individual: Jones understandably wants more cash to face a Heavyweight in a mega-fight, while Masvidal is unwilling to take a pay cut following a victory.

Both have requested release as a result of the failed negotiations.

Currently, Jones and Masvidal are two of UFC’s brightest stars, champions (BMF in Masvidal’s case) who can draw more numbers than just about anyone who isn’t named Conor McGregor. Right now, we’re less than 24 hours away from a weak pay-per-view card headlined by a title fight in a division that barely exists. A week later, UFC’s planned event is so uninspired that one half of its main event is already being forced to defend herself from complaints.

UFC may be the only show in town (for now), but it needs headliners if the promotion wants to keep fans happy.

Recent polls from The Athletic indicate that a majority of fighters support some type of association effort, but neither Masvidal nor Jones were among their suggested would-be leaders. That’s not surprising: Masvidal is a former street fighter who’s willing to throw down backstage, and Jones seemingly cannot help but get into trouble every six months.

Yet, those two (who share management) currently look like the best hope for real change! Masvidal even posted a common fighter’s union/Ali Act talking point about revenue percentages in response to Dana White’s attempted shutdown of his complaints:

Neither Masvidal nor Jones likely expected to find himself in this type of position, yet all over social media, fighters and sports writers alike are putting the pieces together. If either man (or both!) truly takes the initiative to gather fighters, it would be an unprecedented move.

Masvidal and Jones may have their issues as public figures, but perhaps it takes a controversial figure to bring fighters together. Both possess a certain cunning that would be helpful as well. If nothing else, there’s quite a few UFC fighters from American Top Team (Masvidal’s team) and Jackson-Winkeljohn Academy (Jones HQ).

Collecting even just the members of those two fight teams would represent considerable negotiating force and a chance for change.

Insomnia

This is most certainly a cursed image.

It was the late, great Muhammad Ali’s birthday a couple days ago, so here’s the Heavyweight legend cutting a promo:

This Internet random had some training, but it still didn’t work out for him!

I know social distancing and whatnot is still a major concern in Thailand, but what is Petr Yan doing here? There has to be better exercise options.

Sage Northcutt is here to spread good tidings and jump kick potty mouths.

Ever notice how Weili Zhang seemingly is always outnumbered by coaches/training partners solely focused on helping her improved? Maybe her rapid improvement shouldn’t be such a surprise.

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Fight like #grrrl ✌ ‍♀️ #grrrlarmy

A post shared by Weili Zhang 张伟丽 (@zhangweilimma) on

Slips, rips, and KO clips

It’s pretty hard to argue this “knockout of the century” label. Absolutely nuts!

Some classic Muay Thai action:

Once the triangle from back mount is truly locked in, the finish is as simple as grabbing the trapped arm and bending it in whatever way looks unpleasant.

Random Land

Regardless of how you feel about the current American protests, the ingenuity of Hong Kong protesters is incredible.

Midnight Music: On Your Queen is a Reptile, London group Sons of Kemet blends jazz with African and Caribbean sounds in a protest against imperialism — my personal favorite jazz record of 2018!

Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.