According to reports, the Holy Grail may be at hand.

The UFC announced, via ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, on Wednesday that it will ramp up its drug testing efforts during the coming months, instituting random, year-round blood and urine screening for a percentage of its nearly 500 contracted fighters.

UFC vice president of regulatory affairs Marc Ratner told Okamoto he’s hopeful the new testing program will be in place by the end of 2014. In the meantime, Ratner said the fight company will meet with “four or five” independent agencies to determine which one might best oversee testing of the UFC’s far-flung stable of athletes.

So, yeah, if you’ve been paying attention during the last few years, that’s kind of a big deal.


It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

When the mad scientists at Zuffa headquarters fired-up their matchmaking supercomputer months ago and asked it to synthesize an awesome card for UFC 177, the machine huffed and puffed, spit out reams of paper and then said in its creepy sentient computer voice: “Optimum main event: Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson.”

That’s how they book these cards, right?

Anyway, it was a nice idea.

We all know what happened: The Jones-Gusty rematch eventually got pushed back to UFC 178. The UFC tried to throw Demetrious Johnson vs. Chris Cariaso on this Saturday’s card, but then Gustafsson got injured and Jones got injured and Johnson vs. Cariaso, too, got moved to UFC 178.

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Really quick, let’s lay out the doomsday scenario for T.J. Dillashaw.

The new men’s bantamweight champion is already getting the short end of the stick on Saturday—slated for a nonsensical immediate rematch against Renan Barao on an otherwise dreadful UFC 177 card.

It’s the sort of booking that can only be justified by the fight company’s constantly increasing menu of live events and its subsequent need to furnish them all with headliners—even if those headliners don’t seem marquee-worthy or remotely defensible from a competition-based standpoint.

Dillashaw beat Barao in every imaginable fashion just three months ago at UFC 173, pummeling the former pound-for-pound poster boy for more than 20 minutes before finally finishing him off in the fourth round.

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Tyron Woodley was on Canfield Drive just two days before Michael Brown was gunned down by police officer Darren Wilson.

"I was a one-minute walk away from where it happened," Woodley says. "It was way too close to home."

Woodley was with his three sons, getting his hair cut. He'd been down Canfield Drive many times, because Woodley is part of Ferguson, Missouri.

He grew up in Ferguson. He attended elementary, middle and high school in the Ferguson school district. He lived in one house in Ferguson for 13 years and then moved and lived in another home in Ferguson for 10 years. He went away for college but then moved right back to Ferguson.

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Tyron Woodley does not care if his ideal next opponent is coming off a loss. He does not care if they are ranked two spots lower than him in the UFC's official rankings.

What Woodley cares about is obtaining the kind of fight that can push him closer to a title shot. As Woodley told Bleacher Report in an exclusive interview, he has the perfect opponent in mind: Matt Brown, who squandered a seven-fight winning streak when he fell to Robbie Lawler in July.

Woodley believes Brown is the perfect opponent for several reasons.

"It's a hard fight. His tenacity, his conditioning. He's like a walking zombie," Woodley said. "He's a top-five welterweight. He was just one fight away from being in the title picture.

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You didn’t think we were going to get through an entire Benson Henderson fight without a little controversy, did you?

Sorry, but that’s just not how he rolls.

Just as they seemingly always do after his fights, opinions differ on Henderson’s knockout loss to Rafael dos Anjos in the main event of Saturday night’s UFC Fight Night 49. Depending on whose social media ramblings you follow, a lot of things may or may not have happened.

Dos Anjos may or may not have stunned Henderson with a flying knee midway through the first round. Henderson may or may not have been out cold after dos Anjos dropped him with a left hook in the ensuing scramble. Referee Big John McCarthy may or may not have been a little quick to stop the fight, as Henderson may or may not have been grappling for position on the ground.

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Maybe it was just the rest of us who were distracted.

Clearly, Jordan Mein was in an unenviable spot Saturday night, fighting Mike Pyle at UFC Fight Night 49 just a day after his father was arrested on sexual battery charges, accused of assaulting a housekeeper at the event’s host hotel in Tulsa, Oklahoma, according to the UFC (via Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting).

The 24-year-old Mein blitzed through the ensuing media storm, decimating Pyle with a barrage of strikes just one minute, 12 seconds into their co-main event bout. Naturally, he said afterward that the allegations against his father didn’t affect him.

“No, not at all,” Mein said, when asked at the post-fight press conference if the scandal altered his preparations, via MMAFighting’s Dave Doyle.

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When Benson Henderson fights, you can usually count on getting comfortable. There's time to secure your popcorn, visit the loo and make sure your stamp collection is in order.

There is no rush, no funny feeling in your stomach, no threat of imminent violence. There's just a man, a fence and a clinch. It's a formula that's led to nine decisions in his last 11 fights.

So you can forgive me for settling in for the long haul Saturday night just as Rafael dos Anjos redrew the lines of an incredibly complicated lightweight landscape with an incredible flying knee. Dos Anjos, it seemed, wasn't willing to wait for one of Henderson's patented controversial decision finishes. It was late, he was hungry and there was no sense in delaying gratification. 

A left hand followed the knee, and Henderson's legs dropped out from underneath him, eyes going googly for just a split second as referee/icon "Big" John McCarthy approached. He had seen more than enough. And, though Henderson would politely protest by running in place immediately thereafter—his faculties returned after McCarthy's timely intervention—it was the right call in the moment. 

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For 23 seconds it all came together for England's Michael Bisping (25-6) at UFC Fight Night 48 in Macau on Saturday; he unleashed a glorious combination of 20 strikes that could have been lifted directly from an MMA textbook. None of them alone was enough to finish opponent Cung Le (9-3), but the cumulative effect was staggering. In the end all Le could do was propel himself backward to the mat and pray for the referee to intervene.

This was Bisping at his best, albeit against a 42-year-old movie star who seemed to think increased musculature would solve the aging process for him.

It did not.

"This is what I’m capable of," Bisping told UFC announcer Kenny Florian after the fight, which he won via TKO in the fourth round. "And believe me I’m capable of better...I want to be world champion. I know I have the tools.”

Despite his best attempts to convince us otherwise, this win puts Bisping back into the ranks of middleweight contenders. While Bisping talked a big game about title fights to come, I suspect few were buying into the 35-year-old's resolve.

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Thursday's postponement of Wanderlei Silva's disciplinary hearing in front of the Nevada Athletic Commission added another layer of intrigue to one of the most controversial subjects in mixed martial arts.

The strange stuff began back in June, when it was reported on UFC Tonight that Silva avoided a random drug test issued by the NAC by escaping through a back door in his gym. He was scheduled to face Chael Sonnen in a long-awaited grudge match at UFC 175, but the fight went up in smoke when Silva ran from his test. Sonnen ended up failing his own test for multiple performance-enhancing drugs, and then failed another a few weeks later for good measure.

Silva appeared before the commission in June. He admitted to avoiding the test and revealed that he'd taken a diuretic that would allegedly help heal a broken wrist. He didn't want to take the test because he was afraid it would show up in the results; instead, Silva avoided the test altogether, which is probably worse than a diuretic in the eyes of the commission.

Silva was scheduled for his disciplinary hearing on Thursday in a NAC meeting at the Grant Sawyer building near downtown Las Vegas. Bleacher Report was in attendance. The UFC Fight Pass team was there to stream the event to subscribers at home. Streaming an event is costly.