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Last fall, Scott Coker surprised just about everybody by announcing that Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar would face off in a headlining Bellator event. 

Two aging UFC veterans, long past their best days, fighting in a main event? It didn't make sense—at least to hardcore MMA fans. They said it was an embarrassment to the sport of mixed martial arts and set the sport back years.

But then the fight happened, and millions tuned in to watch. It was an absolutely terrible bout, but it was also the highest-rated MMA fight on cable TV in 2014. Coker was on to something.

So it should not have surprised a single soul on earth when Coker dipped back into his bucket full o' spectacles and dusted off two fighters even older than Ortiz and Bonnar: Kimbo Slice and Ken Shamrock.


The soundtrack to Ronda Rousey’s UFC career has always been a ticking clock.

Rousey is so special, her talent so glaringly cant-miss, that we’ve always known we couldn’t keep her forever. Someday, somebody’s going to come along and offer her a boatload of money for a job that doesn’t involve getting punched in the face, and then she’ll be gone.

Each time we've watched Rousey defend her UFC women’s bantamweight title—as she will against Cat Zingano on Saturday at UFC 184—we've been haunted by fears that it could be the last time. When she spent a substantial stretch away from the cage during 2013 to appear in a couple of movies, we thought it was the beginning of the end.

But perhaps there's suddenly good news on that front. Leading up to her clash with the undefeated Zingano, there is actually less trepidation about a potential Rousey retirement than ever before.

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Scott Coker seems to have a winning formula for television success.

The formula goes a little something like this: Fill up a card with great prospects and great style fights. Upgrade your presentation with a mixture of World Wrestling Entertainment and PRIDE, tossing in a little bit of rock-concert action on the side. Set yourself apart from the competition by creating custom entrances, lighting packages and music. Give each fighter a memorable and branded identity.

And for the main event, sign two fighters with name value, and pit them against each other. It doesn't matter if they are old. It does not matter if they were never a champion. The only thing that matters is that they have recognizable names.

And not just to the hardcore mixed martial arts community. They'll be watching anyway, because that is what they do. They need to be recognizable to the casual fans who tune in once or twice a year, at most. They need to capture the attention of the people who started watching MMA back in the early days of The Ultimate Fighter, or when Brock Lesnar began pulling astronomical pay-per-view numbers.

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UFC 184 may be limping and exhausted, but at least the finish line is in sight.

At this point, Ronda Rousey’s women’s bantamweight title defense against Cat Zingano will do nicely as Saturday night’s main event. The much-ballyhooed debut of Holly Holm in the co-main won’t be anything to sneeze at, either.

It’ll all be fine, it’ll all be fun, even if it’s not exactly what we expected.

This event was once slated to be a middleweight showcase—featuring the long-awaited title clash between Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort as well as a potential No. 1 contender bout between Ronaldo Souza and Yoel Romero—before injury and unforeseen circumstance had their way.

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Heading into UFC 184, Ronda Rousey is facing two opponents.

First, there's Cat Zingano, Rousey's opponent on Saturday night. Zingano (9-0) is a vicious striker with plenty of power and a bit of a crazy streak, as evidenced by her bloodcurdling scream in the UFC 184 promo commercial. And if Rousey has the best mean mug in the sport (she does), Zingano has to be near the top of the rankings.

Point being, Rousey might have a challenge on her plate. Or maybe not. Odds Shark lists her as a nearly 10-1 favorite, and it is hard to imagine Zingano pulling off what would be considered an all-time upset. As my colleague Jonathan Snowden and I noted, Rousey is the most dominant fighter in UFC history and is on a completely different level in terms of athleticism.

I suppose it is no surprise, then, that the major pre-fight storyline for Rousey has centered not on Zingano, but on one of the bikini-clad women who will carry a numbered placard around the Octagon on Saturday night, informing the public which round is coming up.

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Saturday night's UFC 184 card marks the return of perhaps the biggest current star in mixed martial arts.

Ronda Rousey, the women's bantamweight champion, has never been tested in competition. She has only been pushed past the first round one time, and all 10 of her professional victories have come by stoppage.

Rousey has been so dominant, in fact, that the UFC is now touting her in promotional materials as the most dominant female athlete ever.

To discuss and debate whether Rousey deserves such a lofty place among the elite, our tag team of Jeremy Botter and Jonathan Snowden return with another edition of The Question.

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On a map, it looks like the Dave & Buster's in Manchester, Connecticut, sits along a quintessentially American stretch of blacktop.

Buckland Hills Drive cuts a gentle curve from east to west, just a stone’s throw north of I-84 and a little south of a thin blue pencil line called Plum Gulley Brook. It’s hemmed in on all sides by shopping centers. There’s a Home Depot right there, an Olive Garden, a Sam’s Club.

The restaurant itself sits across the street from a sprawling mall, where a Sears, a Barnes & Noble and a Dick’s Sporting Goods are among the anchor stores.

It seems fine, it seems like suburbia, but it seems impossible that Fedor Emelianenko could ever feel at home there.

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Michael Johnson still has a long road in front of him before he earns a shot at the UFC lightweight title.

Given his forward progress against Edson Barboza at Fight Night 61, however, he seems capable of covering that distance fairly expeditiously.

Johnson’s pressure told the tale on Sunday, as he got in Barboza’s face early and stayed there for three full rounds en route to a unanimous-decision victory (29-28, 30-27 x 2). The win extended his current streak to four, and it will likely move him into the 155-pound Top 10 when the UFC’s official rankings come out next week.

“Edson is a great competitor, but I wasn’t going to stop for 15 minutes …,” Johnson told play-by-play announcer Jon Anik in the cage after it was over. “I’m here for this division. I want the belt by the end of this year, and this is what I have to do to take it.”

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Frank Mir, after spending over 380 days on the sidelines, returned to the Octagon in Brazil on Sunday night to try to put a stop to a four-fight losing streak.

It is surprising that he returned at all. He is well spoken and could have a future as a broadcaster, though the UFC has kept him off of television while cycling in other lesser talents for some unknown reason.

He is the last vestige of a different era in the UFC, making his debut in just his third pro fight at UFC 34 in 2001.

And he has made plenty of money while exhibiting a flair for the dramatic; his submission wins over Brock Lesnar, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Tim Sylvia and Roberto Traven, among others, will never be forgotten by those who care about such things.

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On Wednesday, the UFC announced what may be potentially sweeping changes to its performance-enhancing-drug policy. UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, President Dana White and head legal counsel Lawrence Epstein addressed the media from a ballroom at the Red Rock Casino Resort to announce the changes, which follow a string of high-profile test debacles, including the surprising failure of the legendary Anderson Silva.

What does it all mean? Does it indicate substantive change? Or is it just for show? Bleacher Report's version of Sancho Panza and Don Quixote, lead writers Jonathan Snowden and Jeremy Botter, weigh in with their initial thoughts on what may end up being one of the most important decisions in recent MMA history.


Jonathan: Well Jeremy, the UFC held a press conference Wednesday to announce that it is, indeed, serious about eliminating the scourge of performance-enhancing drugs. Good cop Lorenzo Fertitta, calm, collected and professional, set forth what seems likely to be a sweeping program that will change the lives of his fighters forever. Bad cop Dana White yelled at the media and announced a title fight. 

It certainly wasn't boring.

It also wasn't, once the smoke cleared and the mirrors were put back in storage, super informative. There were scant details provided. The future, though potentially quite bright, can be viewed only through the murky haze of doubt.