Andre Penner/Associated Press

LAS VEGAS—UFC President Dana White would like nothing more than to see testosterone replacement therapy go the way of the dodo.

But White told media during a Thursday luncheon that despite his personal feelings it will not go away until the Nevada State Athletic Commission gets rid of their exemption policy. This includes events in foreign countries that don't have an athletic commission, where the UFC polices and handles their own drug testing.

"We follow the same rules that Nevada does. We follow the same rules across the board. I hate TRT. I don't want it. All it does it cause problems and questions and all of this stupidity. And if you have to take it, you should probably retire," White said.

When asked why White doesn't make a special exception to Zuffa rules that would prevent the usage of TRT, White said it's a complicated situation.

Getty Images

LAS VEGAS — On Wednesday afternoon, Dana White was informed that Rashad Evans, who was scheduled to compete next week at UFC 170 against Daniel Cormier, had injured his knee.

Evans was scheduled for an MRI to assess the extent of the damage. Evans said he still wanted to fight and felt like he could compete against Cormier.

White and his staff waited for the results to come back. Later that night, White was attending his son's basketball game when he got the call: Evans was out of the fight, but he would only be out for four weeks.

Cormier was informed of the injury, and he was upset. He told White he had to fight.

Jane Kamin-Oncea/USA Today

With as many trips as the UFC is now making to Brazil (on a seemingly monthly basis), it would be easy for a few of these free televised fight cards to get lost in the shuffle.

Rightly so. Some of them, as the experts say, are just no good.

But this isn't one of them. Sure, the preliminary card is filled with fighters most of us have never heard of. There are perhaps a couple of unknowns on the main card, as well.

But the importance of those fights doesn't really matter, because the top two bouts on this card? They're both intriguing, and they have the potential to shake up the top of the middleweight division. The division Anderson Silva ruled with an iron fist a year ago could find itself in an even greater state of flux after Saturday night.

Jason Silva/USA Today

It would certainly be no surprise if Lyoto Machida emerged from UFC Fight Night 36 with the next available middleweight title shot sewn up.

In fact, if you’re the kind of person who only reads the headlines, you might think it’s already sort of a done deal.

So long as Machida defeats Gegard Mousasi in Saturday night’s main event, he’ll likely get the nod over the winner of the evening’s dueling 185-pound contender battle between Ronaldo “JacareSouza and Francis Carmont.


Well, maybe.

That was certainly the predominant takeaway from Dana White’s appearance on Fox Sports 1 earlier this week, when the UFC president mentioned Machida as the likely candidate during a wide-ranging eight-minute interview with host Charissa Thompson.

Thomas Mendoza/Associated Press

Daniel Cormier met Rashad Evans during his senior year at Oklahoma State.

Evans was a Michigan State wrestler, and his school dual meet against Cormier's Oklahoma State team. Cormier was wrestling one of Evans's teammates and friends. Cormier was ranked third in the country, and Evans's teammate had a losing record. What probably should not have been a close match ended up being one, and Cormier only won by a single point.

"It was tough, because Rashad never let me live that down," Cormier says.

Cormier and Evans have remained friends ever since. They talk on the phone. They text. Or, they do when they are not training to fight each other, as they will do next week at UFC 170 in Las Vegas. Right now, there is silence between Cormier and Evans. It is a decision made solely by Cormier, who still receives texts from Evans but chooses not to answer them. He is ignoring his friend, he says, because it will be easier to fight him.

USA Today

In retrospect, perhaps we should’ve known things weren’t going to end well for Jessica Eye when she deleted her Twitter account.

Eye abandoned the social media service on Monday after vehemently denying reports that she’d tested positive for marijuana at last October's UFC 166 and amid heated exchanges with fans and the reporter who broke the news.

“Hope we get to meet one day soon so I can personally tell you how I feel,” the UFC women’s bantamweight fighter wrote to Bloody Elbow’s Brent Brookhouse by way of saying goodbye.

At the time it seemed plausible that Eye simply didn’t want to deal with the public criticism as she prepares to fight Alexis Davis at UFC 170 on Feb. 22.

USA today

To understand the depth of MMA’s current obsession with interdivisional superfights, it’s important to remember that Johny Hendricks isn’t even UFC welterweight champion yet.

Hendricks still has to fight Robbie Lawler at UFC 171 in mid-March before we find out who will fill Georges St-Pierre’s shoes as the company’s 170-pound champion.

Yet, a Google search for Hendricks’ name late last week—nearly 40 days before that bout is scheduled to happen—elicited as its top news story a headline from Yahoo Sports asking: (Is) UFC’s Johny Hendricks Targeting Chris Weidman?

Answer: Yes...sort of.

Hendricks is targeting Weidman in the same way many of us “target” going back to school to finish up that degree, quitting smoking or dropping those pesky 20 extra pounds.

Paul Abell/USA Today

UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is a marketable star.

You won't find any MMA-centric brands adorning Jones when he walks out for fight night. He has endorsement deals with Nike and Gatorade, two of the biggest brands available in the sports marketing world.

He is eloquent. He is dedicated to his craft. Sure, he makes some of the same mistakes that other athletes in the spotlight make from time to time—a 2012 DUI incident being the most prominent—but he appears to learn from those mistakes in a way that many athletes do not.

He is an excellent fighter and a great champion. And he is the perfect face to present to a sporting world that still has a bit of trouble accepting the notion of cagefighting as a legitimate mainstream sport.

AP Images

LAS VEGAS—Ben Askren, once and perhaps future free-agent welterweight, sits near a waterfall in the massive Venetian casino.

He is here, in the sin capital of the world, for the World Mixed Martial Arts Awards, a sort of Academy Awards for the face-punching set that takes place Friday night at the Venetian Theater. For now, he is making the most of his time in Nevada by making the media rounds to promote his debut for the Singapore-based promotion One FC. He has done several radio appearances this morning already, and he will do several more this afternoon.

But for now, he is talking to me, and he is talking about being a heel.

A heel, in professional wrestling parlance, is a bad guy. He irks you. If he is good at his job, you will pay money to see someone else beat the stuffing out of him, repeatedly, as he dances all the way to the bank.

USA Today

We’ve known for years that Alistair Overeem marches to the beat of his own electronic dance music.

For a dozen fights immediately preceding his arrival in the UFC, he walked a relatively solitary path, absconding with the Strikeforce heavyweight title to flit between promotions in Europe and Asia.

At times he appeared aloof—as if he could take or leave his MMA career—mixing in the occasional kickboxing tourney and always being more concerned with the bottom line than his place in the sport.

Even now that he’s an Octagon mainstay, Overeem doesn’t seem to get it.