Ok, so this is my fourth and final (?) Midnight Mania. I know that will be music to at least one person’s ears. But, I just want to say I had a lot of fun with this and I’m very thankful for being given this space. I’m also thankful to you all for reading and commenting. It’s been a blast moonlighting with the Mania crew. I’ve taken on some writing here, which is a little out of my comfort zone, but it’s been really neat practicing a new skill and I’m sure my other work will benefit as a result.
So, if this is the end, I wish you all well. If not, see you soon. In the meantime, you can find me on the hated Bloody Elbow.
Now let’s get to it...
By now you know Nate Diaz wants out of his UFC deal. On yesterday’s The MMA Hour special, Diaz accused UFC of holding him hostage, claiming the promotion won’t release him from his contract (which has one fight remaining) or let him fight out of it. He said he implored UFC to book his last fight so he can go on his merry way.
Diaz revealed UFC offered him a clash with rising Welterweight contender Khamzat Chimaev and that he accepted this. However, he claimed that Chimaev turned down the fight.
Diaz admitted to turning down a fight with Chimaev in the past, back when he considered “Borz” a “rookie.” Chimaev has claimed Diaz has turned down at least 10 offers to fight him.
Diaz said this entire ordeal reminds him of the last time he had a contract standoff with UFC. He claimed they were running the same playbook back then in matching him up with a highly touted up-and-comer, someone the promotion thought had a chance to dent Diaz’s market value as a free agent and subsequent drawing power with a new company.
According to Diaz, the previous standoff prompted UFC to offer Khabib Nurmagomedov as an opponent, back when “The Eagle” was “brand-ass new.”
This memory spun Diaz off on a tangent, where he bashed Nurmagomedov’s accomplishments inside the Octagon.
“Khabib’s a f****** little b****, too,” he said (ht MMA Fighting). “Who’d he beat for the title? He got Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje? They’ve both been finished over and over the same way that he beat them.
“You ain’t no good,” he continued. “You’re are a scared fighter, scared of fighting the whole time, and now you’re in the Hall of Fame with them? I was here before the Hall of Fame showed up, actually. Now you’re a Hall of Famer? I don’t even want nothing to do with the Hall of Fame - the Hall of Fame’s a joke, too – but...the Ultimate Fighter right here.”
Diaz won The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 5 back in 2007. He’s had 25 fights in UFC since then. His last win streak with the promotion was in 2015-16 when he beat Michael Johnson via unanimous decision and then choked out Conor McGregor.
Since then, he’s lost a split decision to McGregor, beaten Anthony Pettis and taken back-to-back losses to Jorge Masvidal and Leon Edwards.
Ok, this is cool. Mark La Monica does an update on the Long Island fighters who appeared at the first UFC Long Island back in 2017. Best dressed? Iaquinta?
Before the first #UFCLongIsland in 2017, we gathered the nine LI fighters signed to the #UFC for a photo shoot in Long Beach. Five years later, as UFC returns to the Island, where are they now? pic.twitter.com/w9u7nTk3KX— Mark La Monica (@LaMonicaMark) July 13, 2022
Beneil Dariush is healed up after a leg injury took him out of a fight with Islam Makhachev last year. He’s looking to get back into the cage ... but he’s got no one to dance with.
Beneil Dariush: "I've asked for Dustin [Poirier] or [Michael] Chandler but I'm not hearing a whole lot... At this point, I just need somebody in front of me" pic.twitter.com/QsxIzbebET— Shakiel Mahjouri (@Shak_Fu) July 13, 2022
Kamaru Usman seems intent on moving up in weight after his upcoming fight with Leon Edwards. He’s not going to middleweight, though — due his friendship with Israel Adesanya. He wants to try out 205 pounds instead. How do you think he does there?
"I've been able to get through all of these guys at welterweight and I'm like, you know what, 205 looks kinda good... Because being the pound-for-pound means at any given moment on any given day at any given weight, you can hold your own."— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) July 13, 2022
Full Interview: https://t.co/Bqs7tEd79J pic.twitter.com/hlJDjBEqHN
I did not expect to see this today. BKFC is gonna get some poor guy killed.
The greatest Muay Thai fighter in history has just joined BKFC!— Bare Knuckle FC (@bareknucklefc) July 13, 2022
Welcome to BKFC Buakaw Banchamek! pic.twitter.com/C8BlsWvD4u
Maycee Barber is teasing that she might test free agency. Is this a ploy to generate a bigger offer from UFC or is she legitimately tempted to fight somewhere else?
Our quasi-colleague Ariel Helwani is branching out. His first report on HBO’s Real Sports — covering competitive bird watching — airs on July 19.
Slips, rips, and KO clips
I’m going to share some fights that mean something to me in this section tonight. First up is Spencer Fisher vs. Josh Neer from VFC 7 from 2004. I’m sharing this one because when I interviewed Fisher a few years ago, he singled it out as the one fight of his you have to see. It’s a stunning contest and really takes you back to how MMA looked and felt before WME, ESPN and all the other things which have turned the sport into a mainstream phenomena.
The next fight is David Mitchell vs. Dave Huckaba in West Coast Fighting Championships in 2015. There’s all kinds of backstory to this fight, which I wrote about in a series of longforms. But without all that it’s still a really compelling David vs. Goliath style fight.
Everyone has seen this one already, but I just wanted to re-watch it because it’s one of the fights that pushed me from being a fan to an MMA writer. Like so many other Canadians who now work in MMA, Georges St-Pierre was a big reason why this sport captured—and held—our imaginations for so long.
I cover a lot of Invicta FC events for BE and I can’t recommend the promotion enough. It’s fun, has great characters, excellent production values and the local show vibe is really appealing to me. They don’t have the bloodbath that is Julija Stoliarenko vs. Lisa Verzosa on their official YouTube channel, so here’s another recent-ish fight that I really enjoyed: Karina Rodriguez vs. Daiana Torquato for the Invicta FC flyweight title.
One of the first MMA articles I ever wrote was an interview with Marlon Sims. His fight in the TUF house was way back on season five. This is another one of those moments that got me hooked on a sport that would eventually become my job.
The house prices where I live are going to have me checking out box trucks soon.
I don’t know why I find this so interesting, but I can’t help but binge this guys’ stuff. Also, I once had a t-shirt completely ripped off my back by a river current while tubing in Kelowna.
Another weird obsession. This stuff has a hypnotic quality that, if nothing else, might lull you to sleep if you need it on these late nights.
We got a Vampire movie landing on Netflix soon that stars Jamie Foxx and Snoop Dogg. Day Shift focuses on a hardworking dad who uses his pool cleaning company as a front for his vampire hunting activities. It’s directed by J.J. Perry, a 5th-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do who did stunts on John Wick, John Wick: Chapter 2, The Fate of the Furious and Warrior. It’s written by Shay Hatten (Army of the Dead, John Wick: Chapter 3) and Tyler Tyce.
What’s this? Movies and music? Since the wonderful Andrew Richardson is winging his way back to you after a well-earned break, I’ll leave you in a way that I think he would approve of.
Please enjoy this journey through life, death and the grim beyond.
Rest up Maniacs.