Loaded Friday

By: Josh Gross
Mar 9, 2007



These things keep getting bigger and bigger. Over 3,500 words for the latest mailbag, many of which are yours. We find some reflection from readers on Randy Couture's (Pictures) incredible Saturday night. Reaction to UFC president Dana White's comments about PRIDE. A discussion about MMA broadcasters. And much, much more.

Well, like thousands of others I never thought Randy would win his fight with Tim. I felt that what Randy was giving up in age/height/weight would make for a short night. Needless to say his performance was awe-inspiring and it has now opened up so many possibilities in the HW division on a worldwide scale. What do you think of Randy's chances in the following match-ups?

Randy v. Cro Cop
Randy v. Fedor
Randy v. Barnett II
Randy v. Nog
Randy v. Arlovski

Additionally, I think Randy taught many of us a lesson in counting out athletes that are giving up physical attributes but can execute game plans. Does Randy's win change your thoughts on Lindland's chances against Fedor? – Jason Tiefel, Austin, TX


From best to worst on the chances Randy wins: Arlovski; Nogueira; Cro Cop; Barnett; Fedor

Now some explanation.

I think it's pretty clear that Andrei Arlovski (Pictures) is gifted physically. He moves extremely well, and packs a hard punch. But his chin is a question and I think Randy could break him by making it an ugly fight. Anytime he's fought someone with some flash, Randy has come out on top. He simply out-works and out-competes you.

Randy would be fine on the feet against Nogueira, who's a solid boxer but doesn't carry much power in his hands or legs. At this stage, Couture has seen just about everything a sub fighter can throw his way, and you'd expect he'd be prepared to work from the Brazilian's guard. By no means is it an easy fight, but Couture has a shot.

Here is where it gets scary. Mirko Filipovic (Pictures) is faster than Randy, obviously dangerous as you get with his strikes, can stop takedowns (though terrific from the clinch), and has no fear. It would have to take a perfect effort from Couture to win this fight.

Josh Barnett (Pictures) is the worst possible style match for Couture. A large sub-grappler who's aggressive, has a mean streak and can trade strikes? I don't like Randy's chances in this fight.

Fedor is Fedor. For every reason I doubted Randy in the above paragraphs is the reason I don't think he could get past Fedor. Even if Couture put the Russian on his back, I seriously doubt he could contain him.

Lindland is still a heavy dog in my book.

The inevitable comparisons …

After Randy Couture (Pictures)'s win on Saturday, one of our National Sports Television Companies (Sportsnet) compared Randy capturing his UFC heavyweight title at his age to the likes of other great athletes who competed well into their 40s: George Foreman, Gordie Howe, Jack Nicklaus, and Martina Navratilova. Where do you think Randy capturing the Heavyweight title ranks among MMA performances given his age? And given the training and preparation that's involved in MMA, where in sports history do you feel that Randy's performance lies among performances by athletes that are over 40?

Let me close by saying I am huge fan of the show and cannot wait for it to go live. – Paul Fabian, Toronto, Ontario, Canada


The easiest comparison is Foreman, who returned after a long absence to become boxing heavyweight champion at the age of 45 against an opponent he thought he matched up well against.

Nicklaus became the oldest golfer to win a major when, at 46, he captured the Masters. As an avid golfer, I have some understanding as to how great Nicklaus was, but I don't think his age was much of a factor in the Masters win. Golfers skills don't really erode until they're into their retirement years. Plus Jack was maybe the best golfer of all time.

Gordie Howe scored 15 goals for the Hartford Wailers at the age of 51 and Martina won some mixed doubles later in life.

I think a guy like Roger Clemens belongs in the discussion, as does John Elway, who at 38 won MVP honors in beating the Falcons in the Super Bowl. Randy Johnson pitched a perfect game at 40. And, Nolan Ryan tossed a no-no at 44.

As great as Randy's performance was on Saturday, want to know what tops my list? A 46-year-old Ryan going Couture on Robin Ventura, who was 20 years his junior.

Anyhow, I love that MMA is getting referenced along these lines. For this sports fan, it's about time.

Lost in the "mystique"

Dana White expressed the very thing that is increasingly wearing out my interest in any future UFC events. He says Pride is retarded for having Wanderlei Silva (Pictures) go out against Henderson, which destroyed the whole "mystique" and the biggest fight in MMA history with Liddell. This is the kind of crap that the sport of MMA does not need! If Dana had his way the fans would never have seen the awesome show Silva and Henderson put on. The fans will be the losers. It would have been so much better if Dana acknowledged that Henderson kicked ass and maybe it's Henderson that should be in the conversation when talking about Chuck's next big fight. Unbelievable! If the UFC continues down this path we'll see more and more watered down fight cards with consistently high PPV costs … No thanks!

By the way, who was the guy who interviewed Dana? It looked a lot like ass kissing to me … he just had to throw in another comment about Pride's troubles to reinforce Dana's quip … weak. – Jonah, Honolulu, HI


Wandy-Chuck didn't die on Feb. 24. It passed much earlier, when rival promoters, who seemed interested in getting something done, simply couldn't work past their differences to give fans and the sport a fight it deserved.

About the issue of protecting fighters, I agree with you Jonah. Henderson was a serious challenge. Anyone that thought Wandy was going to walk through him was foolish. (Of course I picked Silva to win the fight, but never did I play down Dan's chance.) Dan's win was captivating.

If Chuck gets past "Rampage" in May (and that's the fight that's being talked about according to both camps) and Henderson is still in possession of the PRIDE belt (and PRIDE still exists), then we'll start to hear some chatter about Liddell-Henderson (to join talk of Silva-Henderson).

That said: it is necessary from time to time for fighters to have a relatively easy night. Guys fighting war after war tend not to be around so long. It's just part of fightsports.

As far as the interview, I thought Greg Savage did a fine job.

Calling the shots

1) What's your definition of a downward elbow? And is there a better definition than what is listed in the "fouls" section of the rules on the UFC's Web site? "10. Striking downward using the point of the elbow." I thought I saw elbows striking downward in the Anderson Silva-Travis Lutter (Pictures) fight and again during Hughes-Lytle last night. The forums were ablaze with people arguing the Silva elbows to Lutter, but I haven't seen anything yet about Hughes' elbows. When Hughes had Lytle in the crucifix position it looked to me like he was bringing his elbow from the top of his head downward towards his waist and striking Lytle with the point of his elbow.

Elbow from 12 to 6, ceiling to the floor.

2) What do you guys think about the commentary at UFC events? Doing radio is obviously not the same as television, but you still speak to an audience so perhaps you can better evaluate their performance than I can. Do you think Goldberg and Rogan do well together? Do either one of their comments ever make you scream at the television or mutter curses about how stupid that last comment was? Not to bash Goldberg, he is better at commentary than I am and has a great voice, but don't you think the UFC could find someone better? He mimics Rogan's comments, asks Rogan to back his statements up ("Isn't that right Joe?"), says the same things over and over, and seems like he doesn't know what he's even talking about sometimes. I know they've tried different people in the past and none have been awesome, but would it be worth their while to try some different people on the free broadcasts (Fight Nights, TUF finales, or voiceovers for Unleashed)?

Like Bruce Buffer and John McCarthy, Goldy is part of the UFC brand. There's a reason Zuffa scrambled to re-sign their longtime play-by-play guy in the face of losing him to the WWE.

For my money, there are a handful of quality and competent English-speaking play-by-play broadcasters in MMA, and considering his tenure Goldy has to rank among them. Mauro Ranallo probably tops the list. Though he can be a bit excitable for my taste, Ranallo at least announces in-ring action. (And his call with Bas Rutten (Pictures) of the Fedor-Cro Cop fight was the best I've heard, largely because Ranallo was even keel throughout.) I like Lon McCaren's tone on a broadcast, though his knowledge is limited. And when he did the IFL, Kenny Rice picked it up quick, which should be credited in large part to the fact he had veteran voice and fan favorite, the "Fight Professor" Stephen Quadros to fall back upon.

Which leads me to Rogan. Despite the fact that he's employed by the UFC, he is the least partial announcer I've heard. Rogan generally calls it like he sees it, and that's rather refreshing in an area of MMA journalism that seriously lacks.

Overall, Showtime's broadcast of February's EliteXC card was the best bit of broadcast journalism I've seen in MMA. And I hope that if HBO enters into the sport, it continues its tradition of independent voices in the booth.

3) Do you think Sylvia took this fight too lightly? It looked as if he was almost laughing about this fight in some of his interviews. Also, do you have any further information regarding his back injury going into this fight? – Brian W.

By all accounts, Tim trained hard for the fight. Not sure if you caught Pat Miletich (Pictures) on Beatdown, but he said Tim hurt his back three weeks out from the fight, and that he probably should not have let the "Maine-iac" enter the Octagon. I hadn't heard anything prior, which is pretty surprising considering stuff like this usually gets out.

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