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"We all understand how these things go. The Ultimate Fighter has been around since 2004 or 2005. Nothing like this has ever happened. You have coaches pushing each other. But it's always verbal, and everyone understands the deal. But I don't even share that philosophy, of even letting it get verbal. I'm there to coach, and I've got the gym certain hours. I'm not into pranks or any of that stuff.

"No, I never would've believed it would turn physical."

Chael Sonnen is telling me about the infamous brawl between he and fellow TUF Brazil coach Wanderlei Silva. It has been billed as a watershed moment for the season, at least in hype videos, and it is now available for the world to see on Fight Pass.

Much has been made of this moment. In hindsight, it seems easy to see that Sonnen and Silva would come to blows before they stepped in the Octagon. The pair have a heated rivalry dating back several years, with Sonnen goading Silva and Silva becoming increasingly unhinged.

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Roy Nelson may never be regarded among the UFC's heavyweight elite, but at 37 years old he's still the perfect man to guard the door.

With his long hair braided primly at the base of his skull and the ever-present (but shrinking?) padding around his midsection, he certainly looked the part of gatekeeper on Friday against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

Nelson’s approach is one-dimensional and ponderous, but he remains a tough out for anyone in the division. The best fighters can outmaneuver him, foiling his head-down power punches with better technique and superior strategy, but even for them it can be a painstaking and difficult process.

If you’re not one of the UFC’s top 265-pounders? Yeah, he’s probably going to knock you out.

Gregory Payan

One hopes Roy Nelson's second trip to Abu Dhabi is better than the first.

The last time Nelson visited the city that hosts tomorrow's UFC Fight Night card, he spent most of his time inside conference rooms, news studios and hotels. He was on a UFC-mandated public relations tour. He didn't get to see the Burj Dubai or the ridiculous mall with the indoor skiing slopes. He did not see Ferrari World, where a stadium has been built for the UFC's use on Friday, and where a stadium will vanish into thin air after they leave Saturday.

Nelson saw carpet and walls and cameras, and then he went back to America.

Twenty-five hours later, back in the United States, Nelson discovered the airline lost his luggage. It is easy to believe Nelson when he says he prefers fighting back home in Las Vegas.

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Perhaps the story of Roy Nelson vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is one of lowered expectations—about the fighters and the kind of fight we think of as a UFC main event.

Nelson and Nogueira both come into UFC Fight Night 39 on the heels of losses, bonded by nothing aside from their middling promotional records (6-5 for Nelson, 5-4 for Nogueira) and similarly precarious positions in the heavyweight landscape.

Their matchup smacks of randomness. We expect few surprises. To the extent there are any assessable stakes, this fight shapes up as one that would be disastrous for either to lose while not being overly meaningful to win. It’ll be held on a Friday afternoon in a temporary stadium in the United Arab Emirates at a time when most Americans will be at work.

In other words, it’s strange to think of a fight like "Big Country" vs. "Big Nog" as the marquee attraction on a show booked by the world’s largest MMA promotion.

Photo by Ryan Loco

One could forgive most folks if they forget Gokhan Saki is not, in fact, Tyrone Spong's scheduled opponent for Glory 15.

Saki is the goal, of course. Saki has been the goal ever since he knocked Spong out back in Yokohoma in 2009. Those where the days before Glory, back when kickboxing was the sole domain of those who would stay up late to watch a stream from Japan. It was before Spike TV came along and introduced Glory and kickboxing to the masses.

And it was before Spong began earning his reputation as one of the world's scariest men. He is a great kickboxer with a nine-fight winning streak. This seems impressive on the surface, and I tell him so.

"That is nothing, though, because I once had a 60-fight winning streak," Spong tells Bleacher Report.

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Nate Diaz isn't happy about his treatment at the hands of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and he's not going to take it anymore.

Diaz, who has not competed since a November win against Gray Maynard, had tweeted a request for his release from the company back in February.

Today, the mercurial lightweight went into more detail with MMAFighting's Ariel Helwani. Diaz said a lot of things, and I'm only going to share a few tidbits with you. But I highly encourage you to read the whole thing.

In the meantime, we'll break down a few of his statements. 

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I awoke on Monday morning to the strangest news: Former Strikeforce champion Jake Shields was released from the UFC, per Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com.

Jake Shields, who had defeated Yoshihiro Akiyama, Tyron Woodley and Demian Maia over the past two years. He also beat Ed Herman, though that one was overturned due to a failed drug test.

Jake Shields, who was nearing title contention heading into his UFC 171 bout with Hector Lombard. Sure, Shields lost that bout, and he wasn't excited to do so. But that doesn't mean he wasn't discussed as a potential title contender going into it. He loses the fight, and loses his job.

How does that make sense?

The answer: It does not make sense. Not at all.

Eric Jamison

For a brief period of time on Thursday night, issues between Josh Burkman and his employers at World Series of Fighting seemed untenable.

Burkman expressed his disappointment with vague issues on Twitter, asking to be released from his contract. WSOF matchmaker Ali Abdelaziz responded to Burkman via Twitter, saying the promotion had been good to Burkman and had bent over backward for him.

On Friday, World Series of Fighting executive Shawn Lampman called Bleacher Report from the promotion's Las Vegas office. On the line with Lampman were both Burkman and Abdelaziz. Over the next 20 minutes, the trio shed some light on the roots of Burkman's frustration with the promotion.

Abdelaziz told Bleacher Report that his issues with Burkman had been resolved and that Burkman would face the winner of the title fight between Rousimar Palhares vs. Jon Fitch, which takes place this summer.

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It's not really fair to say MMA standout Cris "Cyborg" Justino lost big at Lion Fight 14 Friday night in Las Vegas. After all, in just her third professional kickboxing match, Cyborg gave Jorina Baars, an undefeated Dutch standout, all she could handle in a thrilling all-action fight on AXS TV.

But life isn't fair. Anyone who says otherwise, to borrow from a great man, is selling something.

For five rounds Cyborg did what she always does—she charged forward with a startling recklessness, looking to end the fight quickly. When Cyborg managed to close the distance and get into the pocket, Baars found herself thrown to the mat or fending off haymakers, hanging on for dear life.

Cyborg was a vicious, snarling animal.

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Mixed martial arts, the velvet painting of the sports world, is coated with a sheen of the ridiculous. Like its artistic counterpart, it's something you're likely to see at a country fair. It's gaudy and awful and you can't look away.

But the colors pop like nothing else, and honestly, who doesn't love the athletic equivalent of dogs playing poker now and then?

Everything about it is lurid and over the top. Vladimir Putin, a cartoon of a man, is a fan for God's sake. The violence is absurd, eight limbs competing to bludgeon, choke and twist. The fighters are a cornucopia of tattooed glory, men with a decided lack of father figures and/or aptitude for more prestigious and lucrative sports. 

Even the authority figures, Dana White in the UFC and Bjorn Rebney in Bellator, are living caricatures of an aging bro and sleazy car salesman, respectively. In this sport, the company president can lie with a straight face and then turn around and direct an expletive-ridden tweet at a fan or reporter. And no one will blink.