Never let it be said that Sherdog.com readers are a shy lot: a recent round of op-eds on the lightweights, Fedor Emelianenko (Pictures), Frank Shamrock (Pictures), and other topics was met with questions, comments, and the occasional plea to be un-banned from the forums.
I wish I had that kind of pull around here. Maybe one day. In the meantime, enjoy some premium queries and rambling answers, including a question on Royce Gracie (Pictures)'s fate and a drop-in on former UFC announcer Bruce Beck.
Gracie Testing Hot
Is there any indication that Royce Gracie (Pictures)'s win over Kazushi Sakuraba (Pictures) will be overturned because of the drug test, like the Takanori Gomi (Pictures)/Nick Diaz (Pictures) fight in PRIDE? -- Leandre Casselman
According to CSAC Commissioner Armando Garcia, there's virtually no chance Gracie's publicly tainted win will be excised from the record books.
"Unfortunately, our rules do not support a change of decision for positive drug tests at this time," he stated. "I have already drafted a regulation change to resolve this. I anticipate the rule will go into effect later this year."
Since the amendment won't be retroactive, Gracie won't have to worry about the victory -- only the asterisk beside it. His deadline to file an appeal expired on July 13.
More on Fedor
I wanted to inquire about your regard for Fedor Emelianenko (Pictures). Normally, I would agree with you 100 percent … MMA has entirely too many facets, styles, and talented, diverse fighters for even a great athlete to go undefeated.
I think, however, that Fedor is the exception. He has proven that he is human. Kazuyuki Fujita (Pictures) made him see stars. He decided to clinch with Kevin Randleman (Pictures), and he nearly got his neck broken for his troubles. Even Mark Hunt (Pictures) used his much larger frame to hold Fedor down against his will for eight minutes. Be that as it may, Fedor always found a way to win (by submission in all of those cases).
You mentioned a gauntlet of fighters in the UFC heavyweight division. Sure, he has not fought the best of the UFC. But his resume of dispatched fighters is still superb, and it seems to me that you might have forgotten his brutal victories over Antonio Nogueira, Heath Herring (Pictures), Ricardo Arona (Pictures), Renato Sobral (Pictures), Semmy Schilt (Pictures), and even Mirko "Cro Cop" himself.
I will say that we do have some common ground. Since his 2005 victory over Cro Cop, his opposition has been disturbingly weak (no disrespect to Lindland … he was merely oversized). Furthermore, according to recent events, he seems to want to hand-select his opponents. This all tells me that Fedor is falling in love with his own legend, and he might know that his end is near. The very problem with being human (and as I said, Fedor has proven himself human) is that our greatness never lasts. -- James R. Milicevic, esq.
I'm not sure his victories over Cro Cop, Arona, and Schilt could be considered "brutal." They were fairly strategic affairs that saw Fedor dominate position and control the flow of the bout. Impressive, but if you want devastating where those men are concerned, you'd have to look to Gabriel Gonzaga (Pictures), Quinton Jackson (Pictures), and Sergei Kharitonov (Pictures), respectively.
Fedor is undoubtedly an elite force in his division, but someone always has your number. If he can reach an agreement with the UFC -- likely, considering their substantial pay scale and sponsorship potential -- then we'll find out just who that is.
My best guess is that Fedor's downfall won't come via KO or submission, but the stateside rules. Someone who can control Fedor on the mat, even temporarily, has the potential to FedEx some elbows and open up a nice gash on his tissue-paper brow that could get the fight stopped. It may be a maligned victory, but the rules say it's as valid a method as any.
Nice piece on the lighter weights. So you don't think that this season's low ratings for TUF had to do with the fighters being lightweights? I would hate to think that was the case.
What do you think about the Zuffa turning PRIDE into "WEC Asia" or remaking it along the lines of the Bushido series in which lighter weight fighters are the major focus? I've got to believe that all the quality bigger fighters from Pride will be headed to the UFC. -- David Penn
TUF's diminished ratings this season are probably due more to viewers getting a "been there, done that" vibe than disinterest in the lightweights. Even so, their Pulver/Penn live finale drew Spike's second-highest rating (2.6 million viewers) for a fight, second only to the Shamrock-Ortiz groaner.
If September's season six draws meager attention, then I wouldn't be surprised to see the series take the inevitable reality TV tact of altering the format. Producer Craig Piligian recently told me that a woman's edition has already been discussed.
Nog vs. Car
Just wanted to point out that Rodrigo Nogueira getting run over by a truck was no legend. It is a well-known fact, and he has spoken about it in several interviews, including a live TV show in Brazil called Domingão do Faustão. I'm sure you'll find concrete references to the accident online if you research enough. -- Igor de Morais
The constitution needed to be a professional fighter is beyond my comprehension, and often taken for granted by spectators. If you ever run into Josh Gross, ask him to relate the "Bas Rutten (Pictures) Tokyo Crosswalk" story. These guys are another species entirely.
Dana White's waste of airtime had me angry for three days. I lost 90 minutes of my life and all I could think was "Dana White is airing his personal pissing match."
It does appear that Tito Ortiz (Pictures) is being marginalized and there is no reason to do this to a top fighter. -- Mike Molag
White's bizarre smear campaign against Ortiz continued after his fight with Rashad Evans (Pictures) last weekend, where White speculated that he was no longer an elite athlete. This after calling him a "total moron" in interviews.
Ortiz is a caustic, abrasive character, and he's not to everyone's tastes (including mine). But it's inarguable that he was Zuffa's first and only marquee talent; his feud with Ken Shamrock (Pictures) gave them their first signs of life as a pay-per-view entity, and offered a degree of momentum that may have helped save the company.
I think that kind of legacy deserves better than what White is offering.