Mailbag: Garcia-Jung an all-time classic, Fedor questions, more mail
Leonard Garcia-Chan Sung Jung delivered an MMA fight for the ages at WEC 48
Even Urijah Faber's hometown paper is calling for his retirement; that's nonsense
Don't look for Strikeforce to make a serious full-court press to retain Jake Shields
Leonard Garcia-Chan Sung Jung was like a KFC Double Down. I know we're all supposed to love healthy, clean, well-prepared food but I'll be damned if two pieces of fried chicken with cheese and bacon in between them isn't just amazing sometimes. Just like how we're all supposed to love highly technical bouts, but sometimes seeing two guys go out and just wing it is fun as hell.
A friend recently raised a good point about the Double Down. If the thing was stuck between two pieces of bread, no one make a big stink, when, in fact, it would be even worse. I guess it's the idea of fried chicken as bread that seems particularly gluttonous.
Anyhow, maybe, just maybe, we all fed at the Garcia-Jung trough on Saturday. It's the voyeur in all of us. OH MY GOD! You know, one of those deals. I couldn't stop myself from laughing. When I interviewed Joe Rogan on Monday for my podcast, he said the same. Is that a healthy reaction? I don't know.
As far as brawls go, Garcia-Jung now ranks among my top five all-time with Griffin-Bonnar I, Frye-Shamrock, Frye-Takayama and Manhoef-Santos.
The WEC show was great fun, but I wish they had kept the old WEC crew for the announcing. The judging in the Garcia-Zombie fight was rotten. No way Garcia won. It was extremely exciting but primitive. Unlike many fighters they went for it.
Primitive is about as good a word as you can use to describe the fight. Anyhow, I scored it for Jung. Realize, please, judges were split with 29-28 tallies. Was this a "robbery"? No, I don't think so. That doesn't mean the decision was correct, but I've seen far worse. I didn't feel dirty after the decision was rendered.
Mark my words Mr. Gross, Josh Grispi will be the one that beats Jose Aldo. Grispi is bigger, stronger, and just as skilled as Aldo.
You Massachusetts guys stick together. He needs to stay healthy, but Grispi (13-1) is certainly talented. At 5-foot-11 he's a gigantic featherweight, and as the 21-year-old matures a move up to lightweight seems inevitable. After ankle surgery, Grispi is finally slated to return from what will be a one-year absence on June 20 against LC Davis. I think you'll get your Aldo fight by 2011, though I'm not buying Grispi being just as skilled as the Brazilian champ.
What's next for Urijah Faber? I see people talking about him dropping to bantamweight. Do you think that's a good move?
Ice and rest.
Less than two years ago, Faber was the best featherweight in the sport. Now a columnist for Faber's hometown Sacramento Bee wants the "California Kid" to retire, which is nonsense. Others say he should drop to 135 pounds.
It doesn't seem like he's eager to do either, with good reason.
If Faber goes to bantamweight -- no sure thing since he worked hard the last couple years to add mass -- he would only get in the way of his teammate Joseph Benavidez, which doesn't seem fair to a really talented fighter a win way from a title shot. I've heard some suggest that a move to 135 clears a path for another Faber protégé, Chad Mendes, to emerge at 145. Benavidez, meanwhile, would drop to 125. But that's all speculation, especially since Zuffa hasn't begun promoting flyweights.
Faber isn't good enough to defeat Jose Aldo. But who is? Does that mean he should slink away, never to be heard from again? No, not yet. Mixed martial artists reinvent themselves more than any other group of fighter. Don't forget, Faber is a month away from turning 31. This is a young guy, still in the prime of his athletic career, who could defeat 99 percent of featherweights out there. I imagine we'll see him back in the cage at 145 by the late summer or early fall.
Does losing Jake Shields really hurt Strikeforce? He might be a great submission specialist but he was also ratings kryptonite for CBS twice. Will Fedor ever fight more than once every eight months?
It can't be good to lose an in-his-prime top-three middleweight, who is also the best welterweight outside the UFC. While Shields has not at this point proven himself to be much of a draw or a compelling personality, Strikeforce should really want to retain him. I just don't think Scott Coker cares to. I've felt that since Shields moved from EliteXC to Strikeforce in 2008. Will an effort be made? Yeah, probably. But I don't think Strikeforce is going to make a full court press for Shields, especially since it appears he's out the door to UFC already.
Losing Shields after his victory against Dan Henderson would call into question the legitimacy of Strikeforce's next middleweight champion, though if there's a division in the company strong enough to handle a defection like that it's 185.
As far as Fedor goes, if he fights twice a year that would be something.
While Jake Shields is clearly an uber-talented wrestler and a great fighter, I'd argue he's terrible for MMA and an awful matchup for either UFC champion at his weight class. It is simply unacceptable for an elite level fighter (and I consider Shields one) to maintain mount for somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 minutes and not finish a fight. Particularly against an opponent willing to hang out in that position for much of the fight. Call it undue or unfair criticism (and maybe it is) but I think I would have been more impressed if Shields hadn't made the ground game look so easy. Hendo's guard was passed so easily it looked like he was sleeping for much of the fight, but Shields' inability to do any significant damage once he gained dominant positions isn't going to bring any new fans to the sport. Wrestling is arguably the best foundation for a burgeoning mixed martial artist, but it must be supplemented with at least capable striking to really shine. Maybe I'm horribly biased but I seem to remember a battered Fitch, Penn and Alves when GSP fought similar fights (sadly, I missed the Hardy fight).
Nice e-mail Mike, thanks. Shields does what he does. If he had the ability to punch with power, I don't think there's any doubt he would have received recognition long ago. He just can't seem to commit to putting his weight behind anything. I think part of the problem is Strikeforce's prohibition of elbows -- a rule I'd really like to see change. With the UFC, he'll have an important weapon to incorporate into his top game.
Putting Fedor anywhere in the pound-for-pound list doesn't make sense. It makes you sound like a lobbyist for a second-rate fighting organization. It's a distraction for me as I look for valid opinion and criticism of MMA.
Fedor Emelianenko remains to this day the best fighter I've ever seen in MMA. Whether he's as dominant now as he was five years ago is something worth an honest debate. But as far as I'm concerned, he belongs in the top five on any pound-for-pound list. Also, I don't care which promoter the Russian fights for, so long as the competition is legitimate and consistent. Yes, I agree there are many attractive matchups for him in the UFC, but that's not possible at the moment. So, we'll need to wait for a fight against Alistair Overeem, presuming the Dutch heavyweight survives against Brett Rogers on May 15.
Let's hope you now drop Anderson Silva out of your top three for P4P best fighter in MMA! The key to being considered the BEST fighter is that you actually fight complete fights. How can a fighter who chooses not to fight half of the rounds and doesn't even attempt to finish MOST opponents be the best the sport has to offer? Fedor, GSP, Machida etc., they go all out and don't embarrass the sport.
I can't quite bring myself to drop Silva out of the top three. Expect a rankings update for Friday. At this point, after Silva's last effort, I'm inclined to drop him down a couple pegs. Give me 1) Georges St. Pierre, 2) Fedor Emelianenko, 3) Anderson Silva and 4) Jose Aldo.
When I was in Iraq, I got to meet Tito Ortiz and spend the day with him. He gave me the strength I needed to keep going during my long deployment. What can I do to return the favor and support him now? Thanks.
I guess, like anyone else, allow him time to let the legal system play out. All eyes are on the Orange Country district attorney's office to see if they'll file formal charges on Ortiz following his arrest Monday for alleged domestic abuse against his longtime girlfriend and former adult film star Jenna Jameson.