IBN MMA Wrap : UFC 199, Lesnar and a disgrace.
posted Jun 06 2016, 12:52PM
story by David Loret
posted in UFC/MMA, Analysis

Time to talk MMA here on IBN Sporswrap. After a barnburner of an event culminating from an epic upset, we have a lot of things to talk about of on and off the cage. Let's get it on.

*UPDATE* : Ariel Helwani's ban has been lifted by the UFC.

Brock is back ... at UFC 200 !

Yup. You're read that right. The man known as the biggest draw in the history of the sport (and despite Connor McGregor's best effort to take this spot) is back in the octagon. Nearly 5 years after his last appearance in an MMA fight and pushing towards 40, Brock Lesnar will fight one more (and one last?) time in the UFC for their marquee UFC 200 event in the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on July 9th. News that leaked an hour (or so) before the official announcement via an UFC 200 trailer, something that cost someone a lot but more on that later, took both the WWE and the MMA world by storm. Rumors have been flying since then ... Who would be his opponent ? How did the WWE and the UFC make this happen ? Why is Lesnar taking this fight a year after saying that he was done with MMA ? Let's answer all these questions one by one.

First of all, how did the UFC and the WWE make this happen, might be the easiest to answer. Of course, it starts with Brock always wanting to come back in the cage feeling that he never really was at 100% during the latter part of his UFC run courtesy of diverticulitis (intestinal disorder). And what Brock wants Brock gets (and it answers the second question). But it might also come with some useful things on the WWE side. First of all, it has been rumored that the UFC would be helping to promote Summerslam during their UFC 202 PPV headlined by Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor taking place the night before. An event that, you probably guessed it, is scheduled to be a big one based on the magnitude of the Main Event and is ALSO scheduled to see the debut of former WWE Superstar CM Punk (the irony is so good on this one, Punk walked out on WWE and they fired him on the day of his wedding). It has then been announced by WWE that Lesnar would be a part of this year's Summerslam, making things tie-up almost perfectly. But you have to also wonder if this "deal" also includes a Ronda Rousey appearance in Vince McMahon's federation. It has been a long rumor concerning both the former champion and WWE and when you consider that Lesnar had to get WWE's approval on an UFC fight (knowing that his current WWE contract doesn't have any "UFC clauses"), maybe it has been a part of the negotiation? It is only speculation of course but there's a real possibility of seeing Rowdy Rousey in a much more entertainment-based kind of fight.

But of course, while all of the above are great things to write about, the main question remains : Who is Brock Lesnar fighting ? On Sportscenter this Monday, it was announced by Brock Lesnar himself that he will fight ... Mark Hunt (12-10-1). Okay. Wow. So before everyone jumps on Hunt's age and record (or ranking if you are being extremely picky), you have to get things straight. Hunt is far from being a can/jobber/whatever you want to call it. He was 5-7, yes, but he since went on a 7-3-1 run winning his last two fight via his trademark KO . His 3 losses? Against Fabricio Werdum, Stipe Miocic and Junior Dos Santos. All former or current champions. Hunt is, in a way, a similar fighter to Lesnar's last UFC opponent Alistair Overeem : a world caliber striker with enough KO power to stop a running car. Seeing Lesnar agreeing on taking this fight is interesting to say the least. Hunt is also quite good as far as takedown defense goes and Lesnar might not be known for having the strongest chin in the sport BUT ... Lesnar is still a great wrestler and a former world champ that holds victories over retired KO artist Shane Carwin, Frank Mir and legend Randy Couture. He has been tested in the octagon, got KO'd, submitted, won and lost everything unlike other pro wrestlers trying to compete in the UFC. While Hunt is a threat to Lesnar, it is also true the other way around, especially if this fight gets to the ground. Of course Lesnar's 5-year layoff will be a HUGE gap to fill and you have to make Hunt the favorite on this one but as we saw Saturday, crazy stuff can happen in the UFC.

 

UFC 199 aka the night Bisping shocked the world again ...

It was a fight that a lot of people slept on but when Chris Weidman got absolutely destroyed in the 3rd round (so badly that everyone was calling for a stoppage which never happened) and finished in the 4th, everything pointed toward the start of the Luke Rockhold era at 185. After all, he only did beat the guy who ended Anderson Silva's reign as the king of middleweight and was undefeated at the time. But it got overshadowed by an Irishman doing the unthinkable : knocking out Jose Aldo in 13 seconds. The rematch was logical despite some contenders lurking in the shadows, or in the swap in the case of Ronaldo "Jacaré" Souza, and when Weidman pulled out of the fight due to an injury ... no one thought that the new contender Michael Bisping would have a chance. And after all, can you blame them ? Bisping was known for never winning the fight that matters. In fact, Bisping lost to Rockhold after one of his best performance of his career against Cung Le. He didn't look great against Thales Leites either. The biggest win of his career against Anderson Silva (and first time shocking the world) ? A fight in which he got knocked the F-out. This main event was supposed to be a one-sided affair while waiting for the much anticipated rematch between Weidman and Rockhold. No one gave the memo to Bisping. His first KO in over two years (the aforementioned Cung Le fight), first English UFC champion, and a shock sent to the entie MMA world. Bisping accomplishing his UFC dream via death by Left Monster Punches after a 10-year tenure and all the up and downs (and on his 26th (!!!!!) UFC fight.) was heart-warming moment regardless of what you can feel about him (I mean ... he is kind of a dick. Here's an example showing both Rockhold and Bisping reactions when both won against each other.). It capped off an incredible card where Dom Cruz ended his heated feud with Urijah Faber defeating him once again. Where Max Holloway, who had the fight won via decision, decided "to bang, bro" with 10 seconds left. Or where veteran/hero/legend Dan Henderson decided to send someone straight to heaven via an elbow shot. Not to mention Dustin Poirer continuing his rise to stardom, Brian Ortega defeating Clay Guida and Beneil Dariush destroying James Vick. And the very first fight on the prelims. Because Marco Reyes and Dong Hyun Kim are nuts. Sadly ... this night will also be remembered for the wrong reasons.

 

... but also the night Ariel Helwani got banned for doing his job.

For those of you who don't follow the MMA scene, here's a quick explanation on who is Ariel Helwani. He is by far the best and most known MMA Journalist in the world today. Plain and simple. Breaking news and providing post-fight and pre-fight interviews at every event with fighters via MMAfighting.com, he has also won the Journalist of the Year award a whopping 6 times at the MMA Awards. His work has also featured some truly incredible longer and more personal pieces with fighters, as you can see here with his 1 hour and almost documentary-esque interview with Jon Jones. You could compare him to our world's Adam Schefter as far as status goes.

And he got banned for life from the UFC on Saturday. For breaking the news of Brock Lesnar's return. For announcing the signing of Diaz and McGregor 2 for 202. A second blow to the reporter after the UFC reportedly cost him his job at Fox for being too critical of the organization handling of the fighter's pay and after banning him for a few events in 2014. The UFC also escorted both of his colleagues out of the Forum. A freaking disgrace. As dumb as Roger Goodell is, you don't see Schefter or other well known NFL reporters get banned for, say, spoiling the Draft Picks, right? Of course you didn't. Because it would be a truly stupid move that would cost the NFL a huge chunk of credibility. And the UFC is not the NFL. They don't have the legality or the reputation, they are still a developing organization in a developing sport. An exciting sport, yes, but an organization apparently willing to operate in a totalitarian kind of environment. Look out if you ask question on touchy subjects. Yuck. The worst part of it ? It's not the first time that the UFC removed press credential of people for shaky reasons or cost them their jobs with Fox. Brendan Schaub comes to mind. As well as Josh Gross, Sherdog or Loretta Hunt. The irony is also clear ... Helwani actually helped promote UFC events day in day out via his work more than anyone else in the sport, he helped them get a professional feel by consistently putting the focus on fighters and that's how the UFC thanks him. By acting like a grumpy child who didn't like not getting all the attention. One thing left to say : #FreeAriel.

David Loret
From Paris. Editor-in-Chief. IBN Senior MMA and WWE Writer....





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