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The Weekly Rundown

(“Opponent as big as me? Don’t care.”)

The past seven days in Mixed Martial Arts was filled with shuffled match-ups, strategic counter-programming moves, face surgery and dancing. If you just arrived during this week in an attempt to stop The Army of the Twelve Monkeys, Fightlinker is here to keep you informed.

Lesnar vs. Carwin
In a move that seemed to spawn from necessity, Shane Carwin was pulled from his October fight with Cain Velasquez to challenge Brock Lesnar in November. The Heavyweight championship match likely came to be after it was decided to keep two challengers in line rather than have one knock the other out of contention. Although the winner of this Saturday’s Randy Couture vs. Rodrigo Nogueira would have also been a viable match up with Lesnar, the proximity to the originally planned Velazquez/Carwin match would have created a long drought for the former WWE superstar – not a good thing considering the wave of publicity he is riding after UFC 100. The decision was almost universally lauded; Carwin is one of very few men who are believed to be equal in size and strength to Brock. A match between the two will likely answer nagging questions, like how much of Lesnar’s success results from his physical gifts rather than skill.

UFC 103 prelims live on Spike
Zuffa brass decided to go for the jugular in the war between boxing and MMA. It was announced that Spike TV would air two preliminary bouts from UFC 103 live and commercial free in an unprecedented maneuver to counter-program the competing Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Juan Manuel Marquez bout. The two matches guaranteed to air on the special are Ultimate Fighter winner Efrain Escudero against Ultimate Fighter competitor Cole Miller and Tomaz Drwal vs. Drew McFedries. Live prelims seem like a tool that should have been utilized in the past (as a promotional tool rather than a smothering chess move), but repeated, future use of such a tactic only benefits fans in a time where untelevised matches are just as packed with talent as the main card.

Anderson talks Heavyweight
UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva had rumors of a permanent leave from the weight class debunked last week, but the talk of changing divisions still lingers. The 34 year old Brazilian recently made clear of his intentions to compete at Heavyweight, with Frank Mir as his desired first opponent. The very thought of a Middleweight entertaining fights with 250+ pound animals like Lesnar, Carwin, Gonzaga, Mir, Hardonk and Herring (not to mention the “smaller” fighters, such as Couture, Velasquez, Kongo and Crocop) is extremely gutsy. Is it likely that he will be competitive against such imposing opposition? Slim to none, but the thought of someone being top ten at Welterweight, Middleweight, Light-Heavyweight and Heavyweight is so outlandish that it can’t help but interest us.

Wanderlei Silva gets plastic surgery
Shop-worn former PRIDE champion Wanderlei Silva underwent an undisclosed facial surgery this week. Nobody has confirmed what the motivation for doing so was, but it’s safe to infer from his amusing appearance that he got the fighter usual – shaved brows, skin grafting to remove scar tissue, nose resetting, etc. Surgeries such as this are vastly beneficial to the career longevity of facially-weathered fighters such as Silva. While the move made the news this time, it’s inevitable that a time will come where procedures like this are common. The New York Times already ran an article about the growing popularity of such moves that spotlighted Marcus Davis and Nick Diaz as MMA’s pioneers of going under the knife. Sooner or later, layoffs to get face surgery will be as common as they are for other typical fighter ailments.

Nick Diaz could be the catalyst for new drug testing rules

[Cesar] Gracie and CSAC Assistant Executive Officer Bill Douglas discussed the possibility of the state agency adopting a “Therapeutic Usage Exemption” program, utilized by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). According to the WADA Web site, a TUE would allow an athlete to take medication that appears on the WADA Prohibited list without facing penalties.

The removal of Nick Diaz from August 15th’s Strikeforce card sparked a fight for his right to use medically prescribed marijuana at any time. It is a federally criminalized drug and should be treated as such, but the obvious abuse of California’s law isn’t a situation that can be fixed in a day. Early discussions by suits at the California State Athletic Commission are leaning towards the acceptance of using certain substances – likely on a case-by-case basis for “legitimate” reasons. Such action does raise competitive flags, though, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Seth Petruzelli beat some guy in Florida. Not much else besides that this week.

DREAM 12 in a cage?
Japan’s slow assimilation to the unified rules could take a large leap forward if the DREAM 12 “experiment” commercial is more than just viral marketing. A coffee and cigarette decorated table is home to a myriad of pictures that seem to be of the UFC octagon. Combining this possible switch with other promotion’s adoptions of the unified weight classes, the possibility of the sport being consistently uniform regardless of promotion or country seems closer than ever before.

Strikeforce All Access
Photography goddess Esther Lin chimed in with a review of Strikeforce’s online event viewing system, aptly titled “All Access”. For a $25, you get a five day license to watch the show as many times as you want (with a multitude of options – including a PRIDE-style referee’s camera with audio). Also integrated are social networking features and a professionally done live chat with other fans watching through the service. Not a bad deal for those unable to watch through Showtime for whatever reasons. Clever option, too.

UFC 105 card coming together
The matches for November’s UK show are being finalized with more than ninety days out. BJ Penn defending the Lightweight championship against Diego Sanchez and Michael Bisping rebounding against Denis Kang are the main events in the works. Also on the card is Nottingham’s Dan Hardy looking to make it four in a row in the UFC against Korean Dong Hyun Kim and Ultimate Fighter 9 winner James Wilks against the extremely tough Matt Brown.

Excuses excuses
Kenny Florian may be too proud for pointing out fouls, but his brother isn’t. Keith Florian has recently commented that champion BJ Penn was less than honorable during his fight with Kenny:

“There are a lot of things that happened during the fight that you may or you may not have seen. Kenny got poked in the eye, which BJ is notorious for,“ he told FightHype. “He did it against Matt Hughes twice in one fight and once in their first fight. He did it against Georges St. Pierre in both fights. He was hitting behind the head all of the time. Kenny won’t say this, but I certainly will.”

When will it ever end? There are no asterisks next to losses on people’s records; just accept defeat. It’s ironic that this is being said about an opponent of BJ Penn, but enough is enough. Tell the referee during the fight if something happens, not the fans afterwards.

Mousasi lacks opponents
There’s no obvious challenger to the newly crowned Strikeforce Light-Heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi after his one-minute-on-the-nose destruction of Babalu Sobral last week. The UFC is purposely picking off available 205ers — such as Vladimir Matyushenko and Rogerio Nogueira — in an attempt to exacerbate the dearth of fighters available to compete against the twenty-four year old Armenian. The DREAM alliance doesn’t do much since Mousasi already has their top Light-Heavyweight, Sodkoujou, in front of him in October anyway. Ricardo Arona and Paulo Filho are the only viable options, but even they should be the last resort because of their respective personal problems and inactivity.

WAMMA still exists
Really, they do. I wonder how many more of their ‘champions’ will refuse their belts. WAMMA is like the bad joke your friend keeps telling despite nobody laughing the first hundred times.

Chuck Liddell on “Dancing With The Stars”
What are the odds on The Iceman accidentally hitting his partner with a crushing overhand right during an inside turn? Oh well, at least this show will open him up to a whole new generation of women to fornicate with: the elderly.

Big John afraid of rejection
John McCarthy has previously come out bashing the UFC and the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which he must believe hurts his chances of getting his referee status back in the state and with the promotion. You have to run before you walk; if he wants his old job back he needs to actually go apply in the state. We need more good referees in the UFC now more than ever, and it seems like fear of rejection is keeping at least one away.

Brawl after KO
After fight rumbles will probably end up needing its own section in the rundown if this pace keeps up. I know this is fighting, but can we all stop the fighting?

– Matt Polly wins in his MMA debut (Yaay!)

– Matt Hughes sells deer ether…or something

– “The Expendables” character names

– Tony Jaa’s application to choreograph the inevitable UFC film

– Mir f’s with da Jesus

What NFL player almost got into a bar fight with Bas Rutten?

Ken Shamrock > Brock Lesnar
Ken Shamrock > Bas Rutten > Vernon White > James Lee > Travis Wiuff > Keith Jardine > Brandon Vera > Frank Mir > Brock Lesnar