Ah, yes, another article predicting what MMA has in store for its fans for the rest of the year. Or at a minimum, a list of what I feel we can expect from fighters and promoters.
Some of these are tongue-in-cheek and some are for real. I'll be interested to hear some of your picks and predictions for the rest of the year and see how they contrast or agree. Meanwhile, please enjoy my list of 15 bold predictions to close out the year!
In spite of the fact that Dana White complains about there not being enough top quality referees in MMA, Big John McCarthy is no longer licensed in Nevada, nor is he welcome in the Octagon.
But the fans want to see him ref’ing again. He’s their favorite MMA referee, with the exception of Herb Dean, of course. The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) assigned him to ref at the UFC 121 - Lesnar vs. Velasquez event, so it’s just a matter of time before the Nevada State Athletic Commission will cut him some slack, give him back his license and let him start ref’ing again at UFC events in Nevada.
These two have fought each other in two exciting, five-round fights in the past: Thomson won in June of 2008 and Gilbert won the December ’09 fight. Now Thomson is ready to go at it again, pushing for a third fight with Strikeforce lightweight champion, Gilbert Melendez some time next year. I think we’ll hear an announcement for this rubber match before the year is out!
Even though Bjorn Rebney of Bellator is trying, unsuccessfully so far, to goad Scott Coker of Strikeforce, into co-promoting a fight event, I’m not so sure either promotion has enough fighters to keep going strong. Something drastic needs to take place if they want to “keep up” with the UFC.
So I’m going all out here and suggesting that by the end of the year, we’re going to hear some gossip floating around about Strikeforce absorbing Bellator. I wouldn’t mind so much; by pooling their resources it’ll add some depth to Strikeforce’s divisions, and enable us to see some more top-notch female fights.
Let’s face it, Josh Koscheck is a paranoid hot-head. His superiority complex, big mouth, irritating mannerisms and general demeanor combined will lead to his eventual downfall—and Dana White will be forced to let him go.
Why shouldn’t they? In addition to the U.S., they’ve held events in Canada, Germany, the UK, Abu Dhabi and Brazil—way back in 1998. Most MMA fighters practice and train in BJJ (that’s BRAZILIAN jiu-jitsu), and practically half the fighters in the cage come from Brazil, so it just makes sense that Dana White will soon announce the UFC will be staging an event in Brazil.
Look up his stats on Sherdog. Let’s just say I’m hoping to send some good karma his way. The guy in the picture with his hand raised? Yeah—not Mike Suttles.
With their similar physiques and similar stand-up skills, I can see why Brock Lesnar would see Big Country as a challenge and want to fight him next. In fact, my thought is this is where he should have started.
Can you see the similarity betwee the two? At least Lesnar's still sticking with MMA and not going off to meet Kimbo in the boxing ring.
Can you see the resemblance—they're practically twins!
Let’s face it—steroid use in sports is rampant. There’s no way we’ll ever know the extent of that use or who is really using—only time and more stringent tests will tell us in the end.
And lest you think I'm biased—I'm not. Sadly, men are not the only fighters who abuse ‘roids. Carina Damm tested positive for steroids in 2008.
I know that Dana White has said there will never be women fighters in the UFC. But no matter how much of a male chauvinist he is, he’s still a good business man, and if the last few months are any indication—WMMA is coming up in the world.
I think it’s just a matter of time before White decides to showcase some female fighters. His way out is to create an entirely separate promotion just for women—that way he can save face. For example, he’s too late to participate in the Ultimate Women’s Challenge show, but I think it will give him some good ideas!
Ultimate Women’s Challenge is a television show that focuses on 16 female MMA fighters as they attempt to make a name for themselves in the rough and tumble world of professional cage fighting.
In spite of her traumatic loss to Cris “Cyborg Santos” in August 2009, Gina Carano is still adored by her fans, very much in demand and seen as the face of WMMA.
Last year she appeared in a special “body” issue of ESPN magazine, partially nude, and was cast in a movie by Steven Soderbergh. In spite of her year-long hiatus, I think we’ll soon hear an announcement of her return to the cage.
UFC 123: Rampage vs. Machida is coming up on Nov. 20, 2010. This event will be held at The Palace of Auburn Hills in the Michigan.
In typical fashion, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is talking some trash on Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida. But after his loss in May to Rashad Evans at UFC 114, his ego isn’t quite as inflated as it used to be—as hard as that is to imagine. As a result, I see Machida, who’s coming off of his one and only loss to Mauricia “Shogun” Rua, back in May 2010 at UFC 113, to walk away with the win this time.
I’d love to see a rubber match between Machida and Rua, but I suspect that won’t happen ‘til 2011.
Chuck Liddell is a legend in the MMA world, and the favorite of many fans. He has an incredible record, no doubt—but it all started to go downhill when we saw Rashad Evans KO him with that sweet left hook—and Liddell’s never been the same since.
In fact, in his fight against Liddell back in June 2010, middleweight champion Rich Franklin managed to get the win over Liddell, in spite of competing with a broken left forearm early in the match at UFC 115.
He’s got a training center and works with up-and-coming fighters, so except for a personal desire to fight, he really doesn’t need to step back into the ring. I think Liddell will announce his retirement from fighting in MMA—and mean it this time. What the heck—he can always start dancing!
There’s no doubt about it—Cyborg is a force to be reckoned with—just ask any of her past opponents. But as history has shown us, nothing lasts forever, and that includes Cyborg’s reign.
She’s got some holes in her game, though—just as Carano and Finney. In spite of the win against Carano, for example, Gina managed to get some good elbows in on Cyborg during their fight.
And if you watched the Cyborg vs. Jan Finney battle you’ll remember seeing Finney get some really good punches in on Cyborg.
I think we’ll see Cris “Cyborg” Santos suffer her first loss—sooner than later.
Even though Bob Reilly, the New York Assemblyman who's helped to prevent NY from regulating MMA, fought against new legislation, and basically done what he can to make MMA a misdemeanor in NY is expected to beat Republican Jennifer Whalen in New York's 109th District by fewer than 1,000 votes to be re-elected—I think the end of 2010 will see movement towards the sanctioning and regulation of MMA in NY.
Why? Primarily because there’s a change in the air—and not as many people are following Reilly as they once did. Take, for example, Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez, the New York Secretary of State. In this article, she discusses the pros and cons of legalizing MMA in New York with foresight and clear thinking.
One of her boldest statements speaks to the issues we have all been asking Reilly; that is, if MMA is so bad and it won’t help the NY economy, then why have 45 (now) plus states already approved the sport?
Per Ms. Cortes-Vasquez: “I believe this is a reasoned middle ground between retaining the ban on MMA and other "combative sports"—which is economically detrimental to us but beneficial to Connecticut, New Jersey and the other 40 states that have already legalized them—and abandoning that ban. That would open the door to unregulated fights that flout the existence of athletic commissions and the health and safety rules they enforce.”
Try as he might – Reilly is losing ground on this one, and we’re going to start to see some real headway before the year is out.