Cleat Geeks

Weigh-In Wednesday; The Argument for the G.O.A.T.

Demetrious Johnson looked like his typical self and did exactly what everyone except (maybe) Wilson Reis expected him to do, and that is utterly dominate. Although it had the lowest overnight ratings in UFC on FOX history, many were quick to crown him the Greatest Of All Time on social media, TV and radio. While it’s not difficult to overlook his achievements, I don’t think he is deserving of that crown just yet, and I’m not sure he ever will. I think we could all agree that aside from Benavidez and Dodson, he’s not faced the greatest of competition in the UFC. However, I think the other guys in the conversation deserve some criticism for their lack of elite competition as well. Sure, Anderson Silva beat TRT Vitor in his prime, he beat Rich Franklin badly twice, he choked out Dan Henderson, he shut Chael up twice and he made Forrest Griffin look downright silly. Let us not forget, he also defeated the likes of some lesser known guys like Travis Lutter, James Irvin, Thales Leites and Patrick Cote. Yes, I threw Patrick Cote in there because let’s face it, had he not blew out his knee in that fight most people wouldn’t be familiar with him.

I think you could do the same thing when discussing Jon Jones’ level of competition. He defended his title four consecutive times from 2011-2013 against opponents who were, or are now, middleweights. He’s a massive guy at light heavyweight and the UFC put him up against guys he owned a 10-inch reach advantage over. Of course he ran through all of those guys, although he was nearly finished by Belfort and tagged by Machida. When the UFC finally pitted him against someone who he couldn’t manhandle and throw around, he struggled mightily. Alexander Gustafsson was the first person to truly give him problems and I don’t think it’s coincidence that he was also the first person who could match him physically and was also the first person to take him down in the UFC.

When you are looking at the levels of competition they faced, I think you’ve got to give the nod to GSP or Fedor. GSP won 12 fights in a row from 2007-2013 and beat some of the biggest names in the sport. He overcame a lot of different styles of fighters and nullified all of their strengths in the Octagon. I’m not ready to crown him the G.O.A.T. either and I’m not really sure that I could pick one, because they all have issues on their resume. GSP’s only problem was that he was defeated twice fairly early in his career, he was submitted by Matt Hughes with one second left on the clock and he was knocked out by Matt Serra in one of the biggest upsets in UFC history, even today. Anderson Silva didn’t taste defeat in the Octagon until he was beat by Chris Weidman in 2013 and aside from a disqualification for illegal elbows Jon Jones has still not lost in the UFC.

I think it would be unfair to leave out a fighter from outside the UFC when debating over the G.O.A.T. Fedor Emelianenko is quite possibly the best fighter to ever live. Before Pride was dissolved and inherited by the UFC, that is where the elite competition of the heavyweight world lived. Fedor beat the likes of Mark Coleman, Big Nog, Heath Herring, Mirko Cro Cop and Mark Hunt over an 8-year, 27-fight winning streak. Of those 27 defeats, just 6 went to a decision. So not only was he beating the best heavyweights in the world not named Brock Lesnar, he also beat the majority of them by submission or knock out. The fact that he has never fought in the UFC has hurt his legacy a little bit as he isn’t well-known by people only familiar with the UFC. Pride fans and everyone from Russia absolutely love him, and he was one of the most exciting fighters to watch in his prime. He’s holding off Father Time right now and still competing but he’s a shell of his former self.

There’s one more guy I think deserves to be in the discussion for the G.O.A.T. and there are many who would not agree because it may seem premature. I think it’s certainly feasible to put Conor McGregor into the conversation. Maybe not from a record standpoint or truly being the best fighter to ever grace the Octagon, but he’s without question the biggest star the UFC has ever had. He surpassed Chuck Liddell, Brock Lesnar and Ronda Rousey long ago. The question now becomes how long will he be a UFC fighter and how many times will we see him fight? Speculation began yesterday about a rumored UFC 213 match-up between him and welterweight champion Tyron Woodley. Woodley laughed it off according a text message, but wouldn’t that fight make a lot of sense for him? He’s said numerous times he wants the money fight and none of the possibilities he has named thus far compare to Conor McGregor’s star power. He knocked out Jose Aldo in 13 seconds, he beat Chad Mendes on short notice and a drastic change of style, he is the only fighter to hold two belts simultaneously. He’s accomplished more in the past 3 years than most of the guys in the UFC will in their entire careers. He’s taken the UFC to a different level, he’s got the attention of Floyd Mayweather, ESPN and the entire boxing universe. Numbers don’t lie and stats tell a lot of the story, but he’s excelled in all of the other areas listed and his record is incredible. He’s been to decision just twice in his short, 10-fight Octagon career. Like I said, considering him the G.O.A.T. may seem crazy to some, but the UFC has changed from a fighting business to an entertainment and money business and there’s no one who has helped drive that more than Conor McGregor.

If these words and videos provided to you by us at Cleatgeeks are not enough for you hungry MMA fans then check out Pony Keg Sports and the MMA News Podcast. This week they look back at UFC 210 and have 2 interviews; Saad Awad and Llima-Lei Macfarlane.

With all of the names and their accomplishments listed above, it’s easy to look past Demetrious Johnson as the Greatest, but he’s certainly in the conversation. Fortunately for him, his stock will continue to improve while the rest of the names on the list probably won’t be able to do the same. Should GSP unseat Bisping for the middleweight title he could keep his name relevant but I’m not sure that he can and I’m not sure what his plans for the future are. Jones is his own worst enemy outside of the Octagon and I’m sure he will find another way to keep himself out of the cage. Fedor is scheduled to fight Matt Mitrione in a few months at Bellator’s NY PPV, this after he was gifted a decision against Fabio Maldonado after being pummeled. Speaking of being gifted decisions, I think we were all surprised when Anderson’s hand was raised against Derek Brunson a few months ago. He’s now 42 years old and really has nothing left to prove although he continues fighting. Conor seems focused on one thing only, Floyd Mayweather. You can’t blame the guy for the money he will make off the fight should it happen, but if that happens I wouldn’t be shocked if we never see him again in the Octagon.

In conclusion, DJ is not the Greatest in my book and I think he’s still got a long way to go, but he can surpass these guys with a few more impressive victories. He’s only 30 years old and still continues to get better every time we see him in the Octagon. He also showed some fire this past week during the pre-fight talks that he hadn’t shown before. The fact remains that the flyweight division is starving of some contenders, if he truly wants to be the best, he needs some superfights. He needs a win over Dominick Cruz or the bantamweight champion to make it a closer race, and he may do just that.

Weight-In Wednesday; A Few More For Bellator

I have written about how unfair the Reebok deal is multiple times and I really don’t want to beat a dead horse but as long as UFC fighters continue to bolt for Bellator I will continue to point out its flaws. Ryan Bader became the latest free agent to sign with the UFC’s rival promotion. To many, calling Bellator the UFC’s rival would be laughable as they are nowhere near the level of the UFC. However, with the recent wave of signings from former UFC champions and title contenders, they are clearly on the rise while some may argue that the UFC has already peaked and is declining. The purchase last year by WME-IMG changed a lot of things in the landscape of the UFC and MMA promotions everywhere. While the Reebok deal was long before their time, they have not done their part in trying to keep some of the free agents that they’ve let leave.

SAN JOSE, CA – NOVEMBER 19: Ryan Bader cePhoto by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

A lot of the fighters that the UFC has let leave were well past their primes and some of them should already be retired. Whether they are fighting for pride or money, guys like Josh Koscheck and Chael Sonnen should not still be competing professionally. Koscheck was brutally knocked out by Mauricio Alonso in his promotional debut, and no, I’m not sure who that guy is either. Chael Sonnen just got choked out by 42-year-old Tito Ortiz. Not all of the fighters who have bolted are past their primes though, some are still arguably in it. Matt Mitrione put together a solid win streak in the UFC before heading to Bellator, Lorenz Larkin just came off the biggest win of his UFC career, a first-round knockout of perennial contender Neil Magny. As for Ryan Bader, he’s won 7 of his past 8 fights and lost only to former and current title challenger Anthony Johnson, which there is no shame in.

The truth is that guys like Bader and Phil Davis were pretty boring to watch in the UFC. The UFC got behind Bader after his time on The Ultimate Fighter but they were very good about throwing him to the wolves too early in his career. He’s developed his striking well and was one of the most well-rounded guys in the light heavyweight division, but if Uncle Dana doesn’t like you then you are simply on borrowed time. So too was the case for Benson Henderson, a lightweight champion who won multiple controversial split decisions and never could connect with fans.

Ryan Bader was on air with Ariel Helwani earlier this week and became one of the first fighters who was able to actually throw out some statistics on money. Although he said he really didn’t want to throw out numbers, it’s safe to assume that he enjoyed taking a stab at the UFC. He mentioned that even on prelim fights he was making somewhere in the neighborhood of $35,000 per fight from sponsorships. He also said that for the larger fights he made upwards of $80,000 per fight from sponsorships. For comparison sake, he made $15,000 in his last fight off the Reebok sponsorship deal, which was his 20th contest in the promotion. From a third person perspective, how is that fair at all? For a guy who consistently fought 2-3 times per year that is a 6 figure decrease in pay for the year. Why wouldn’t he go to Bellator where he has free reign to wear whatever he wants whenever he wants. He’s not going to get the guaranteed show money and win bonuses he had the opportunity to make in the UFC but with the sponsorship money it’s probably a wash.

Benson Henderson’s disclosed payday for his Bellator 160 fight against Patricio Freire was $75,000 and whatever his sponsors paid him. His disclosed payday for UFC 164 against Anthony Pettis, while he was the lightweight champion of the world, was only $110,000. If his sponsorship money is anywhere near what Bader’s was and I’m sure it as he is more marketable, I think we will continue to see the trend of fighters leaving for Bellator. The UFC does a great job of bullying a lot of the prelim and fight pass fighters into signing contracts that aren’t lucrative but these guys are getting smarter. Dana White isn’t going to lose any sleep over losing guys like Ryan Bader or Lorenz Larking, but we haven’t even discussed Rory MacDonald yet. He seemed like the heir apparent to the welterweight division when Georges St. Pierre left in 2013. He’s a marketable Canadian fighter who trains at Tristar with some of the best in the world, has the personality to sell fights and typically shows up and puts on a good show. The day will likely never come when we see Jon Jones or Conor McGregor in a Bellator ring, but what if the day comes when we see Cain Velasquez or Robbie Lawler fighting for them? It’s not as crazy as it sounds, Bellator doesn’t have a sponsorship deal in place preventing any of their fighters from making supplemental income, the UFC does. Bellator seems to treat their fighters well as you don’t hear their fighters openly complaining on social media, you only hear that from UFC fighters. Bellator will never surpass the UFC in any way, shape or form and I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything otherwise. However, at some point the UFC has to realize that the only people keeping the ship afloat are the guys who they are underpaying.

5 Championship Rounds

Our Championship Rounds continue after a week filled with MMA happenings. We had a main event cancelled, some losing streaks continue, and a couple of really big upsets last week. Some fighters many of you haven’t heard of are making their names known, and some are moving closer to being forgotten. This week’s rounds actually have more news coming from Bellator, as they continue to work their way into the MMA discussion.

Round 1
The UFC has tried for years to bring Fedor Emelianenko to the cage, but it was Bellator that signed “The Last Emperor.” His first fight with the promotion was to be against an always exciting Matt Mitrione. This heavyweight showdown had so much hype and promise, but it never happened. Mitrione had to pull out of the fight just after 3 p.m. on fight day. “Meat Head” was said to have such bad kidney stones that it would require surgery to fix the problem. This fight has been merely postponed, but fight fans missed out on a good one last Saturday due to the unfortunate medical issue sustained by Matt.

Round 2
Who is Brooke Mayo? Bellator surprised everyone again by placing Brooke “The Bully” Mayo on their main card with a record of 0-0-0. Many, including myself, believed that making her pro debut on Spike TV would probably be too much for the California native, but she gave us one entertaining bout. Mayo and her opponent, Veta Arteaga were throwing an arsenal of combinations at one another for the entire fight. Arteaga was taking most of the damage until she landed on the left eye of Mayo. Brooke’s eye swelled so much that the doctor had to stop the fight, fearing that her orbital may be broken. It was tough to see her debut end so horribly, but I have no doubt that she will be back very soon, and will only build on the performance.

Can’t get enough MMA? CleatGeeks has teamed up with Pony Keg Sports to bring their fans another exciting MMA Podcast! This episode features an interview with UFC Heavyweight Tim Johnson. 

Round 3
Johny Hendricks has been on a bit of a down sloap in the UFC’s Welterweight division, so much so that he was forced to join the 185 lbs. Middleweight division due to too many failed weight cuts. He looked very impressive at his new weight, and beat a very scary Hector Lombard. Maybe the forced weight class switch will be a blessing in disguise for the former 170 lbs. Champion.

Round 4
Travis Browne recently suffered another KO loss. He has now lost five of his last seven fights in the UFC. This horrendous run makes some of his early MMA success look like a fluke. Most of his wins came extremely early, or in weird ways after he was very hurt. No other sport on the planet chews you up and spits you out like MMA, and I’m wondering how much more Travis Browne has left in the tank.

Round 5
Georges St. Pierre has officially re-signed with the UFC. A lot of speculation is being made about who his possible return opponent could be. A lot of people believe that he should receive an immediate title shot for a chance to reclaim the belt he held for so many years. If a fight with Michael Bisping doesn’t happen, maybe we will finally see the overdue superfight with Anderson Silva. Analysts have also thrown the Diaz brother’s names in the mix, but whoever signs on the dotted line, may have wished they hadn’t. St. Pierre was one of the UFC’s greatest champions, and hopes to add to his legacy at some point this year.

Bellator 179: Rory MacDonald vs Paul Daley

After Paul Daley knocked out Brennan Ward, I really started to wonder how far would he have progressed in the UFC had he not been fired from the organization back in May of 2010. Daley was let go by the promotion after he struck fighter Josh Koscheck after the fight had ended. Daley was obviously frustrated by how the fight had gone, and he looked like he was going to shake hands with Kos after the fight. Instead of a congratulatory sign of respect, Dale threw a hook to Koscheck’s head, which he luckily blocked. Dana White cut Daley from the UFC, and said he didn’t care if he was the best in the world, you would never see him in the UFC again.

I commend Dana, because Daley has been so electrifying for the Bellator organization, and has expressed interest in returning to the UFC. We may never see “Semtex” fight under the UFC banner, but on May 19th, we will come as close as we ever have to seeing Daley fight current UFC caliber talent. Daley will face former UFC title challenger Rory MacDonald. Rory is, in my opinion, the most talented fighter now on the Bellator roster. This statement will obviously be tested when he tries to stop Daley’s title run.

Rory MacDonald follows other popular former UFC fighters such as Matt Mitrione, Chael Sonnen, and Benson Henderson to the ever improving Bellator. Yesterday many fighters were released from the UFC’s active roster including Lorenz Larkin and Rick Story, who will most likely follow suit. Bellator has also been in contact with former UFC announcer Mike Goldberg, who, if added, would only improve the buzz that this organization is creating. After the Kimbo Slice/DaDa 5000 Bellator event, I vowed to never watch another event, but I have gone back on my word, and I couldn’t wait to watch Chael Sonnen make his MMA return. I also am anxiously looking forward to Matt Mitrione vs Fedor Emelianenko, but nothing is more exciting than Daley vs MacDonald. Scott Coker and Bellator are doing some great things, and are definitely adding fans with each signing.

Give Jason Ellis a Fight

Jason Ellis, host of The Jason Ellis Show on SiriusXM’s Faction Talk (Sirius channel 206 and 136), and replayed on Faction (Sirius Channel 41), has been begging for a chance at CM Punk since the UFC signed the former WWE competitor back in December of 2014. The funniest thing about all of this, is that the fight actually makes sense. Jason Ellis has one professional MMA bout on his record, the same as Punk, but the only difference is that Ellis actually won his debut. Now, it is safe to assume that Mickey Gall is a much tougher opponent than Tony Gianopoulos, but the fact still remains, Jason Ellis has a much more credible mixed martial arts resume than Phil Brooks. Ellis trains under the tutelage of Eddie Jackson (Ambienjackson on Twitter), and is currently training at Saekson Muay Thai. He has stated that he is willing to have a kickboxing bout, muay thai fight, or an MMA fight in any organization that will give him a chance.

Most recently, Jason had a fight for charity at his hosted event in Las Vegas, (Ellismania) where he squared off against a one armed, former UFC Heavyweight Champion Shane Carwin. Ellis gave up a massive amount of weight, and was consequently knocked out by the veteran Carwin, but proceeded to laugh about the fight in his post-fight speech to the crowd. Jason Ellis is a mad man who wants nothing more than to test himself in the greatest way possible. He got his start in this county when he moved from Australia to pursue a career in professional skateboarding. Before retiring from skateboarding, Ellis was ranked 3rd in the world. Some would hold on to such an accomplishment for the rest of their days, but Jason hasn’t stopped since hanging up his board.

In an earlier Ellismania event, Jason had a boxing match with former UFC fighter Gabe Ruediger (18-8 MMA). Ellis won by knockout to the surprise of everyone in attendance. UFC fighters hold a sort of respect in the MMA community, and they aren’t supposed to get knocked out by people who pursue martial arts as more of a hobby than a career. That is why Jason Ellis wants so badly to fight CM Punk. He has stated that after he defeats Punk, he will take the mic and tell everyone that neither he nor Punk deserve to be in the organization with such conditioned warriors, he will thank them for the opportunity, and hope that he has convinced Punk to take this as a wake up call and stop disrespecting the sport by continuing in the UFC. This is not only commendable, but it is also a very humble take by someone who has actually been in there and taken his bruises from some of the very best. He has sparred with the likes of Urijah Faber, Keith Jardine, Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Renato “Babalu” Sobral, and Dominick Cruz, and fared quite well.

This story was covered by BJPenn.com, but I do not believe they gave Ellis enough credit. Of course CM Punk is a draw for a long list of professional wrestling fans to cross over, and buy pay-per-views, but it is pretty apparent that he doesn’t belong in any cage, especially the octagon. Jason recently had Bellator CEO Scott Coker on his radio show, and both parties seemed interested in scheduling a fight in the promotion, against Punk, or another opponent. Jason was in contact with Punk’s trainer Duke Roufus who seemed interested in scheduling the fight, but that decision would rest with UFC President Dana White. Ellis sent a text to White for one more push at setting the fight up, but never received a response. If Dana really wants CM to have a chance in his next fight, and maybe salvage the initial wonder that Punk once possessed, this fight needs to happen. If White puts him in with any other competitor, I’m afraid that we will simply see more of the same from the former professional wrestler.

I am a big proponent of matching fighters up with someone of their caliber.  No one wants to see Andrei Arlovski get KO’ed by Francis Ngannou over and over again. It is much more entertaining when the veterans face off against each other, and MMA newbies get locked in there together. Let’s not forget, the UFC is now owned by a talent/entertainment company. Fights like this make more sense than ever before. If this fight doesn’t happen, Jason Ellis has stated that he would also like to fight Chael Sonnen in Bellator. This fight may seem a bit out of a radio hosts’ league, but Jason’s jiu-jitsu coach says that his talent has passed that of Sonnen’s. Chael recently returned to MMA after a two year layoff, only to lose to Tito Ortiz in his farewell fight.

If Conor McGregor has shown us anything, it’s that your mouth can land you in a very great spot in this sport. Jason Ellis has a great platform to plead his case. Even if he isn’t heard by the men who make the decision, Ellis will have a fight before he retires from combat sports. I’m not sure if we will ever see “The King of the West” in the UFC, or in Bellator, but wherever he lands, I can assure you that he will bring us a must watch fight. This is the closest any normal fight fan will be to seeing something that they themselves could achieve through hard work and discipline. I say Dana White needs to give this man a shot, and then drop CM Punk from the UFC roster, and restore order to the organization. Dana should then vow never to sign a man to the organization that doesn’t deserve to be there. Dana White, or Scott Coker need to put this whole thing to rest, and just give Jason Ellis a fight.

Bellator First Ever Woman’s Title Match

Bellator is going to give Marloes Coen vs. Julia Budd another shot.

The two veterans will square off for the promotion’s inaugural women’s featherweight title at Bellator 174 on March 3 in Thackerville, OK, with the title fight scheduled to headline the event, which will take place at the WinStar World Casino and Resort and air live on Spike.

The title bout was originally booked for last May, however, Budd was forced out of the fight due to an injury and replaced by Alexus. Dufresne would go on to submit Coenen in the first round of their Bellztor Bellator 155 fight, which was one of the biggest upsets of 2016.

Coenen (23-7), the former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion, was scheduled to return to action in November, but was pulled from the card once her opponent, Talita Nogueira, failed to make weight.

Budd (9-2) has won her last seven fights in a row, including three straight in Bellator. Her last loss came in Nov. 2011 against Ronda Rousey.

The title fight will come less than a month after the UFC crowns its first women’s featherweight champion at UFC 208.

Remembering Kevin Ferguson (Kimbo Slice)

Sean-GannonAs an MMA purest, I was annoyed when someone first told me about this street fighting legend on YouTube. After watching all of his posted fights, I noticed something. It wasn’t while watching him KO a bunch of nobodies, but during his only internet loss. Police officer Sean Gannon was the only person to get the best of Kimbo during his notorious reign of internet, bareknuckle brawls. I recognized Gannon because he had earned himself a fight in the UFC because of the hype after his fight with Slice. How could he be given a chance for one good showing, when Kimbo was completely ignored by the masses? When I saw his name resurface with the Strikeforce organization, like many, I paid attention. There were some obvious flaws in the fighting game of Kimbo Slice, but he was able to hold his own.

After he had earned himself some cage victories, the UFC decided they would take a chance on Mr. Ferguson. Kimbo was signed to compete in the 10th installment of The Ultimate Fighter. He was given no credit, or respect from his fellow mixed martial artists. He was thrust into the highest level of martial arts competition, when his greatest accomplishments had come on the streets of Miami, when he heard that someone was looking for a fight. I will not act like I gave him much of a shot against fighters like Roy Nelson, Brendon Schaub, or Matt Mitrione, who were also on the show, but I was immediately impressed at how Kimbo carried himself.

For a former strip club bouncer, Ferguson seemed to be one of the most professional, and respectful competitors that the show featured. It didn’t take long for me to become a fan. This guy had fought for everything that he had ever been given, and that included the respect of the hardcore MMA crowd. The immortalization that this sport seems to create for fighters like Anderson Silva, or Fedor Emelianenko eventually withers away over time. Kimbo had a different kind of persona, but it took this type of exposure for me to realize that he is just a man, like myself.

KimboSliceCloseUpIn some ways, the passing of Kimbo Slice has effected me more harshly than even the passing of Muhammed Ali. Before I upset too many people, I will explain. Ali’s major accomplishments were a little before my generation. As a former boxer, I have come to appreciate, and idolize the sweet science through none other than Cassius Clay. Despite all of the amazing things that Ali accomplished, his battle with Parkinson’s has stripped away what we loved most about the Champ. His passing is a bit easier to swallow at the age of 74. Kevin Ferguson has left us at the very young age of 42. Kimbo did have a positive PED test recently, and the adverse effects that they cause are well known. I am not sure if this had anything to do with his death, but the accumulation of the stress that this sport causes, combined with PED usage cannot be good for a person’s body. Slice’s cause of death is still unknown, but regardless of cause, it was way too soon.

I was in Miami during the height of Kimbo’s popularity, and it was so cool to see the local support that he was given from the city. I remember talking to a couple of guys at a tattoo parlor who could remember when he was nothing more than a whisper on the street for anyone who wanted to test how tough they were. All you had to do was call him out, and he would find you. A career was made from nothing more than the grit that Ferguson possessed. I was actually looking forward to seeing his rematch with James Thompson that was supposed to take place at Bellator 158 in London. The fact that Kimbo was still competing at this level is amazing enough, but he was still getting wins on his record as well. 5-2 will be the number that we associate with Slice’s professional MMA career, but that doesn’t begin to tell of the incredible impact he had on the sport, and its fans. You will be missed Kevin Ferguson.

What We Know & What I Don’t Understand About The Death of Kimbo Slice

So all of you understand. I know this news broke about 24 hours before this article was published. But, as the editor and owner of this site, I do not like to speculate or report 3rd party information as fact just to be 1st on a story or to have the latest breaking news, only to have it be wrong. Sometimes I will do it on certain subjects, but NEVER when it concerns someones death. I have to much respect for the athlete, his or her family and their privacy to do that. I hope you understand.KimboSliceCenter

What We Know- 

According to the Sun-Sentinel Kimbo Slice, whose birth name was Kevin Ferguson, was been admitted to Northwest Medical Center on June 3, complaining of abdominal pain, shortness of breath and nausea. Kimbo Slice had congestive heart failure, a mass on his liver and was being prepared to be flown to Cleveland where he could be placed on an organ donor list in order to receive a heart transplant. The Bellator MMA fighter, who first rose to fame as a street brawler and gained millions of views from YouTube videos, continued to grow an audience as he rose through the ranks of MMA. Died sometime on Monday June 6th at Northwest Medical Center in Margate Florida at the age of 42.

Currently we also know three more facts from the same report that I have the confidence in to report as factual. 1) He had been on a ventilator in intensive care.  2) He had no history of drug usage 3) His death did not come due to trauma or foul play.

What I Don’t Understand-

KimboSliceCloseUpKimbo’s last fight was on February 19th of this year. Do these fighters not have to go through an extensive medical physical in order to climb into a ring that is surrounded by a cage? I would think so, and if so, should those medical professionals not be able to discover either a mass on his liver, the fact that he needed a heart transplant or both?

Plus, the same fight on February 19th, it was revealed that after the fight Slice failed his pre-fight drug test. Lab results found traces of the anabolic steroid Nandrolone. He was also found to have an elevated (T/E) ratio of 6.4 to 1, which is above the maximum allowed limit of 4 to 1. On May 2, 2016, it was revealed that Slice had settled with the Texas Athletic Commission with a fine of $2,500 and a revoking of his license in the state of Texas. The result of the bout has also been changed to a no contest. They may not consider testosterone a drug because it is naturally produced in the human body, but I am pretty sure Nandrolone os a drug. It was reported above that he had no history of drug use. I am not saying the report is fictional, but it does make me wonder what it takes to prove a “history of drug use.”

‘KING MO’ LAWAL: A TRUE FIGHTER’S SPIRIT

KING MO’ LAWAL: A TRUE FIGHTERS SPIRIT

I chose to do this article on King Mo, simply because he deserves the respect for moving up in weight, in an attempt at helping to salvage an event that has been plagued with fighter injuries. He has showcased a true fighter’s spirit and I wish more fighters these days had this type of attitude. It’s what a real fighter is made of and sadly, we’re starting to see a whole lot less of this from the new breed of fighters.

Muhammad ‘King Mo’ Lawal was a NCAA Division II wrestler for the University of Central Oklahoma. He ended 2001 with a 2nd place finish and went on to become the National Champion in 2002. He then moved up to Division 1 for his senior year at Oklahoma State University. There he became a Big 12 Conference Champion and a Division 1 All-American in 2003, where he took 3rd place in the 197lb division. King Mo continued his wrestling career after college at the senior level. He competed for Real Pro Wrestling, a league that produced many notable MMA stars including Daniel Cormier, Joe Warren and Aaron Simpson. Mo became the 184lb champion in 2004. He followed that up by becoming the Senior U.S. National Champion in freestyle wrestling 3 times (2005, 2006, 2008).

kingmoCrownMo started his MMA career in 2008 after failing to qualify for the Olympics earlier that same year. He made his debut in the heavyweight division for World Victory Road at Sengoku 5. There, he scored a first round knockout over Travis Wiuff, who was a 66-fight veteran at the time. He followed this up with three more victories under the WVR banner, defeating Fabio Silva, Yukia Naito and Ryo Kawamura. Mo then defeated Mark Kerr at M-1 Global: Breakthrough, before signing with Strikeforce in 2009. He knocked out Mike Whitehead in his Strikeforce debut,once again competing at heavyweight. He then received a title shot against the Light-Heavyweight Champion Gegard Mousasi. He won the title by way of unanimous decision, only to lose it in his very next match-up, against Rafael Cavalcante. This marked the first loss of Lawal’s career.

Afterward, King Mo defeated Roger Gracie by first-round knockout. He scored his second-straight knockout victory, defeating Lorenz Larkin. Controversy soon followed, as this was later changed to a No Contest, this was the result of King Mo testing positive for an anabolic steroid called Drostanolone. He was then suspended for nine months because of the incident. Soon after, he was released from his Strikeforce contract, due to a vulgar tweet that he sent out, after a hearing with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, in which he called Pat Lundvall a bit**. Mo stated that he was offended by the fact that she had asked him ‘Do you speak English? Can you read?’ This came after he had already conversed in English with her for several minutes. During his suspension, following a surgery to repair his ACL, Mo contracted a life threatening staph infection. This required him to undergo over 14 surgeries.

King Mo and Rampage Jackson.

King Mo and Rampage Jackson.

After finally getting healthy, Lawal signed a multi-fight deal with BellatorMMA. King Mo made his Bellator debut at Bellator 86 on January 24,2013, defeating Przemyslaw Mysiala in the first round via knockout. This came after being out of action for over a year due to the staph infection and the suspension. One month later, Lawal was knocked out with a spinning back fist in an upset loss to the current light-heavyweight champion, Emanuel Newton. He then put together back-to- back wins over Seth Petruzelli and Jacob Noe, defeating the first by KO and the latter via TKO. Afterward, Emanuel Newton once again defeated him. This time by way of unanimous decision, in an Interim Light-Heavyweight title match-up. Lawal won his next match-up and this set up a grudge match against Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson at Bellator 120.

These two had been verbally assaulting each other for several years and as a result, this became a highly anticipated match-up that helped Bellator in putting on their first successful pay-per-view. King Mo was defeated in the long awaited match-up by way of a very controversial unanimous decision. He has since gotten back to his winning ways with two TKO victories. He first defeated Dustin Jacoby before following that up with a win over Joe Vedepo. King Mo currently holds a Bellator record of 6-3 and he’ll have the opportunity to add yet another victory to that record, this Friday night at Bellator 134. This will be a very tough match-up for Mo, as He’ll be facing off against one of Bellator’s top ranked heavyweights, Cheick Kongo. No matter the outcome of Friday’s event, win or lose, King Mo should be respected by every fan of this great sport, for reminding us of what real fighters are made of and putting everything on the line in a match-up that he didn’t have to accept.

Bellator 133

 

 

This Friday night, live and free on Spike, BellatorMMA will hold their second event of 2015. This will also be their second event since changing from the seasonal tournament format to the more modern day monthly events.

Belatour fighter Daniel Weichel.

Bellator fighter Daniel Weichel.

There will be a four fight main card, but I’ll be focusing on the co-main event, as well as the main-event. First up in what should prove to be a very exciting match-up, Daniel Weichel (34-8) will be facing off against the former two-time Bellator featherweight champion, Pat Curran (24-8). Weichel had a very good showing inside the Bellator cage last year as he went 3-0 while winning the season-ten featherweight tournament in the process. This should have secured him a featherweight title shot, but this never came to fruition as Bellator scrapped their tournament format. He will now face off against Curran in what should be a number one contender’s bout. Curran fought twice in 2014 where he won the featherweight title from Daniel Straus, only to lose it in his first title defense to Patrício Freire. Curran is a tough fight for any featherweight on the roster as he holds a Bellator record of 10-3, with three knockouts and three submissions. This should be a very entertaining match-up and I look forward to seeing it. This one is difficult to call but I will say Pat Curran will win via split decision.

Next up, we have the makings for an explosive stand-up battle, as two of Bellator’s hardest hitters will test one another’s chin. Melvin Manhoef (29-12-1-1NC) takes on a Bellator’s former Middleweight champion, Alexander Shlemenko (51-9). Manhoef has gone 1-1 inside the Bellator cage, with both results coming by way of knockout. His Bellator debut saw him score a first round knockout over a very game Doug Marshall. He returned less than two months later only to get knocked out by fellow kick-boxer, Joe Schilling.

Alexander "The Storm" Shlemenko.

Alexander “The Storm” Shlemenko.

He should be very motivated to redeem himself in this match-up against Shlemenko. Shlemenko has compiled a very impressive 11-3 record under the Bellator banner, although he’s winless in his last two Bellator bouts. The first loss was to a much larger Tito Ortiz in a fight in which Shlemenko moved up a weight class to light-heavyweight. Four months later, at Bellator 126, he lost his middleweight championship to Brandon Halsey while attempting to secure his fourth title defense. He has since gotten back to his winning ways as he scored a unanimous decision victory over Yasubey Enomoto at Fight Nights: Battle of Moscow 18. This should be a great night of fights for Bellator fans. Both of these match-ups should be very competitive and could easily go either way. I am very confident that the main event will not be making it to the judges scorecards, so get ready to see an explosive knockout to end a great night of fights. I predict that this fight will end in a knockout victory for Alexander Shlemenko.

 

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