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USA Today

Ronda Rousey is getting a massage.

It’s Wednesday afternoon in Glendale, Calif., 11 days before she’ll defend her UFC women’s bantamweight championship against Sara McMann at UFC 170, and Rousey is due for a short break.

All week, reporters and camera crews have been in her gym just outside Los Angeles, peppering her with questions about her future as the face of mixed martial arts, about her budding movie career and, most notably, about McMann.

This physical therapy session at the end of the day is supposed to be her time to relax, but instead she is using it to finish up a few final phone interviews. If the squeals coming from her end of the line are any indication, the massage is also its own special kind of torture.

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Add Nate Quarry to the growing chorus of former UFC fighters who are taking aim at the company on a number of fronts.

Quarry has been out in force with criticisms of his former employer recently, authoring a post on the UG and giving wide-ranging interviews to Bloody Elbow and MMA Junkie on the topics of UFC fighter pay, contracts and the potential of the organization adopting “uniforms” for its athletes.

As former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre continues to speak openly about drug testing in MMA, Quarry’s most recent comments give some added momentum to a few of the sport’s most vexing issues.

It’s always interesting to hear from former fighters, once they feel they have nothing to fear by speaking out about their careers. Too often in professional sports, the active participants fall back on platitudes and clichés to avoid saying anything of substance in public. Once they’ve made a clean break from the industry, they often find they can express themselves more clearly.

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Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Spor

One of the great strengths of the UFC has always been its ability to make sharp turns.

Because it operates largely without concern for modern burdens like corporate policy, decorum or—really—any internal rules, the world’s largest MMA organization is a sleek and supple machine. Even as it trundles out of adolescence and into its early 20s, the UFC power structure remains agile, mobile and occasionally hostile.

Sometimes that’s a good thing, because when—as UFC president Dana White so often puts it—“bad (stuff) happens” the company is able to react quickly to fix the problem, keep its fans happy and keep the train on its tracks.

When you do 46 (or is it 46,000?) shows per year, that flexibility is a priceless luxury.

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Jason Silva/USA Today

Middleweight seems to suit Lyoto Machida.

The former light heavyweight champion’s style will probably never be for everyone, but in the wake of his victory over Gegard Mousasi on Saturday, at least we can conclusively classify his move to 185 pounds as a smashing success.

We suspected as much last October, but Machida’s three-minute, 10-second knockout of Mark Munoz in his middleweight debut was too brief to encourage sweeping pronouncements.

Now we know for sure—he should’ve been here all along.

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Jason Silva/USA Today

Another week, another fight card. 

The UFC returned to Brazil for Fight Night 36, headlined by two fights with more than a little importance to the middleweight division. MachidaMousasiSouza and Carmont—all four fighters had a chance to elevate themselves into the title picture and to perhaps even earn a shot at the winner of the May bout between Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort

What happened in Brazil? Let's find out.

 

Machida Does What Machida Does

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Right?

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.

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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.