Occupy The Throne – Edition #30

In this edition of Occupy The Throne, Samer Kadi and I once again answer fake emails from real MMA personalities.

Should I be banned? – Front kick to the knee

Jeremy Lambert: A week ago I would’ve said yes, but after being yelled at by my partner, I’ve changed my tune a bit. I still think you’re a dangerous move and a number of fighters and trainers think you’re a bit dirty, but instead of blaming fighters for using you, I now blame opponents for not moving enough to avoid you. Jon Jones was able to use this kick effectively against Quinton Jackson and Vitor Belfort because when they move, it’s usually forward, but against Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans, Jones wasn’t really able to throw the kick because Machida and Evans know how to move laterally.

Now when you end a main event fight and someone blows out their knee in the process, everyone is going to be up in arms and the UFC will probably ban you, but until then, you’re legal, so I can’t fault guys for using anything they’re allowed to use.

Samer Kadi: No. You’re definitely a tricky move to handle, uncomfortable to taste, and in some extreme cases, very dangerous. However, you aren’t really any different to a number of other techniques, and your ability to cause serious damage is highly circumstantial.

It’s not like any time a front kick to the knee is thrown, a fighter’s career is in jeopardy. Not only does it require a huge amount of force and weight behind the kick to damage the knee, but the receiver’s leg has to be fully planted on the ground and essentially absorb the whole shot while bending backwards at a bad angle. The amount of force needed to cause such a reaction requires for the initiating fighter to get a lot of pull on his kick, something he is unlikely to manage in a realistic fighting context. The kick is generally used in a quick, snapping motion, rather than in full force, in order to catch the opponent off guard and take time away from him. Trying to get any sort of serious power behind the kick will more than likely allow the opponent to react, thus decreasing a lot of its effect.

At the end of the day, we are not talking about an eye gouge or a low blow. It is a legitimate technique, and like any other, the key to avoid it is to defend it – even if it sounds simpler than it really is. Elbows can cause bad cuts and broken orbital bones, kneebars can cause serious knee injury, and head kicks can cause, well head trauma. This is the nature of this sport, and the hazards are part of the job description. The key to avoid serious injury is to learn how to defend against these techniques (of course that hardly guarantees safety). Let’s keep in mind that fighters blow their knees defending takedowns far more often than they do absorbing front kicks to that area.

“Better chance of winning their next bout: the wild animals in South Africa against me and my guns or me against any top UFC welterweight?” — Matt Hughes

Samer Kadi: I guess your fate against a top UFC welterweight would be slightly less tragic than that of those wild animals you slaughtered, but I’m not sure that’s saying much.

If your competitive spirit is getting the better of you and you feel the need to step inside the Octagon again, then so be it. However, for your sake, you need to be carefully matched up. There is no point in taking on top contenders at this point in your career. For starters, it’s not like you have any realistic title aspirations. Moreover, after all you’ve achieved in your career and years of loyalty to the UFC, it would be unfair for you to get thrown against any top welterweight so they can look good beating you up. You deserve better. You’ve had one hell of a ride and were one of MMA’s first truly dominant champions against elite competition. In my mind, you are among the five greatest fighters this sport has ever seen. You dominated in your heyday like few others, managed to stay relatively injury free, made very good money, and seem to have made the most of it. There’s not much more you could ask for really, and you have nothing left to prove. If you are to fight again, I hope it’s a Renzo Gracie type of novelty fight. But if you want my advice, call it a career, and thanks for the memories.

Jeremy Lambert: I have to give Samer credit for answering this question with class. Mike Goldberg would be proud.

You have a better chance at winning Matt, because those animals stand no chance. They don’t have a clue what hit them, when it’s going to be, or where it’s coming from. At least you have some sort of an idea in your fight and can train yourself to defend the attacks. Maybe you should give the animals a 2 month training camp before hunting them. We can just have hunters shoot paintballs at them for 2 months and Siegfried and Roy can train them how to get out of the way and stuff. Come on Matt, at least give them the same advantages you have heading into a fight. WILD ANIMALS CAN SURVIVE!

Will I survive the Mir layoff? And if not, will Jeremy come up with a new term: “The GSP layoff”? -– Georges St-Pierre

Jeremy Lambert: I’ve already coined the term “GSP layoff.” It applies to my partner Samer Kadi and his dying affection for you. I’m worried that he may not be able to survive the GSP layoff if you happen to lose to Carlos Condit. I’m legit worried that I’ll be doing this column alone after UFC 154. Granted I come up with all the ideas anyway, but there would be a lot more grammatical errors without Samer.

I know Samer is worried for you Georges, but I have faith in you. You’re fighting in Canada and Samer and I will be attendance. A favorite fighter never lets his biggest fan down when he’s in the crowd, right? Oh wait….

Samer Kadi: *Happy thoughts… happy thoughts*

“Are you guys watching this season of The Ultimate Fighter?” — FX

Samer Kadi: There’s a season of The Ultimate Fighter in progress? Sorry FX, I guess that means I’m not watching. But hey, you shouldn’t care, because at the UFC 152 press conference, Dana White assured us that the ratings for TUF have been a “home run” for you. I guess someone needs to show Uncle Dana some Baseball games and explain the rules.

The issues with TUF have been beaten to death. I’m of the belief that at this point in time, the series is beyond repair. They tried to spice things up by changing the format last season, and it didn’t pay off. Even if they have high profile coaches on a future season, it will likely improve ratings for that particular season only, rather than have a long term positive effect on the show (and even that is debatable, considering how poorly the season coached by JDS and Brock Lesnar did on Spike). In short, sorry FX, I don’t care about TUF.

Jeremy Lambert: I’m watching. I couldn’t believe last week’s episode when they had one guy with a pipe fight four dudes. That didn’t really seem fair to me. It was pretty shocking that they killed the guy as well. He was a major character.

Wait. That was Sons Of Anarchy.

No, I’m not watching The Ultimate Fighter, but I am following Roy Nelson on twitter and his tweets burying Dana White, Shane Carwin, and the production are far more entertaining than anything I’ve seen on the show in the past few seasons. Try running his tweets on the bottom line during the show. That can be UFC’s new innovative idea for next season.

“Do you consider me a liar for saying I was healthy enough to fight after my motorcycle injury and then pulling out of the fight a couple weeks later?” — Jose Aldo

Samer Kadi: No. Without getting into the whole debate of whether you should have been on a motorcycle weeks away from your fight (you shouldn’t), I have to say there wasn’t much wrong with the way you and your team handled the situation after that unfortunate accident. Obviously, unless the damage you sustained was too severe, there was no way you could have known with any measure of certainty that you’re out of the fight before getting a couple of days of rest and test it out in the gym. It should be noted that you more than likely informed the UFC the real situation, and they just waited to see how you’d feel in training. After news of your accident initially surfaced, it was normal to try to reassure people that the fight was still on, which at that point, was true. When it became obvious that you wouldn’t be ready in time, the fight was off. Off all the things that get routinely mishandled in MMA, this situation was not one of them.

Jeremy Lambert: If you’re a liar Jose, then Dan Henderson needs to go to confessional for how he handled the UFC 150 situation. You thought you got off with minor injuries that would’ve hinder your performance, and when you started to train, you realized that, while you could still do your daily tasks with no problems, stepping into a cage with a trained professional who wants to beat you up is probably not the best of ideas. I’ll steal this analogy from our own Todd Vote in the SUPER SECRET STAFF FORUMS:

“let’s say little Jeffy was in a bicycle accident. After the accident, he was a little banged up but overall he felt fine. Now if he told his mom that he was fine, but ended up being rushed to the hospital later that evening for severe head trauma, does that make little Jeffy a liar?”

Will the UFC hook a brother up with a title shot? – Michael Bisping

Jeremy Lambert: After you asked so elegantly following your win against Brian Stann, I sure hope so Michael.

I know people are on this Chris Weidman hype train because he beat Mark Munoz, and Weidman is definitely a tough match-up for Silva, but those people don’t understand much about business. Weidman vs. Silva isn’t drawing on PPV because the casual fans still think Weidman is pronounced “Weedman” and instead of taking him serious as a fighter, they just laugh about his name. Whether they like it or not Michael, you’re a draw. People, mainly Brits, want to see you succeed and everyone else wants to see you destroyed. Either way, they’re willing to pay to see you. It doesn’t make sense for Silva or the UFC to headline a PPV with a Weidman or a Tim Boetsch and draw 250,000 buys when Bisping is available to draw at least 500,000.

You’ve paid your dues Mike. UFC is just as much entertainment as it is sport and it’s your time to shine. Come on UFC, HOOK A BROTHER UP!

Samer Kadi: That depends on a multitude of factors, the main one being whether the UFC truly wants to proceed with the Silva-GSP super fight. If that is the case, you will likely have to fight one more time, and most probably against Chris Weidman, thus settling the whole number one contender issue in the process. Personally, I think such a scenario would be perfect. However, in the event St-Pierre loses to Condit or simply doesn’t want to fight Silva, I believe you should be next in line.

While Weidman has arguably done enough to earn a title shot, the UFC will likely give you the nod due to your ability to draw much better on PPV. With him getting up there in age, we don’t quite know how many fights Silva still has in him at this level, so the UFC better make the money fights happen while they still can. While a fight between you and the champion isn’t quite Silva-GSP, it is currently the most marketable fresh fight in the middleweight division. Some might cry foul because you’re only coming off one win, but a loss to Chael Sonnen shouldn’t really erase years of mostly consistent performances in the middleweight division. After all, far less deserving fighters have gotten a crack at Silva’s title.

“Will I finally beat Forrest at something and last longer than he did against Anderson?” — Stephan Bonnar

Jeremy Lambert: Only if you open with a one-two head kick, Stephan.

As crazy is it sounds, Forrest actually lasted over three minutes with Anderson. It may have been the shortest three minutes in Anderson’s life, but it was the longest of Forrest’s. To answer your question though Stephan, I think Forrest beats you again. There’s no denying that you have a better chin, but how many fighters were thought to have iron chins before they stepped into the cage with “The Spider”? Your problem is that you’re too aggressive for your own good and when you move forward throwing your sloppy strikes, Anderson will laugh as he bobs and weaves before knocking you clean out. Maybe because this fight is in Brazil, Anderson will want to give the local crowd a longer look at the greatest fighter of all-time, but those Brazilian’s are blood thirsty animals who just want people to die, so why should Silva prolong the inevitable?

Samer Kadi: Who the hell knows, Stephan? Let’s be honest, you will last as long as Anderson Silva allows you to last. If you go out there, and rush him down immediately, he puts you away instantaneously. However, there is a chance you start a little tentative, in which case, Silva’s reaction tends to be to give his opponents a rope and spend the first round waiting for them to hang themselves, rather than take the initiative and finish them anyway. If Silva’s opponent still doesn’t engage after the first round, that is when he becomes aggressive and pushes forward (the Yushin Okami fight being an example). If that scenario materializes, then you might make it into the second round before meeting your inevitable fate. Either way, good luck… you’re going to need it.

“What do you think of my title hopes at featherweight?” — Clay Guida

Jeremy Lambert: Well, you may actually get a title shot at featherweight, so I guess that’s better than constantly falling short at lightweight.

Unfortunately Clay, you train with that damn sport killer Greg Jackson and he’s turned you from an exciting high energy fighter to a boring guy who just runs away. On your name alone, you probably could’ve gotten a title shot with a win or two at featherweight, but after that Maynard fight, you’re not only going to need to win, you’re going to need to win in impressive fashion. Luckily Clay, featherweight isn’t very deep. If you can beat a guy like Ricardo Lamas or Dennis Siver, you’re immediately “in the mix” and given the fact that UFC needs, not just headlining fights, but fights that can draw for all the PPVs they’re running, you might get the call before someone like Cub Swanson or Erik Koch since you’re still a well-known and recognizable fighter.

Samer Kadi: Your hopes of getting a title shot? Not that bad actually, considering the featherweight division isn’t super deep, the champion has already beaten plenty of the division’s finest, and any recognizable name for a fresh contender would be greatly welcome. You’re obviously good enough to put a good win or two together, so it isn’t far-fetched to see you squaring off against Jose Aldo sometime next year.

As far as your hope of dethroning Aldo however, let’s just say you better hope his motorcycle lets him down again.

I’m really tired of these f—ing fighters turning down fights left and right. It makes me sick. What should I do about it? –- Dana White

Samer Kadi: God forbid fighters have a tiny bit of control over their own destiny.

Let’s be honest, it is generally a positive that UFC is by and large in control of its own match-making. A plethora of high caliber bouts throughout the year is irrefutable evidence. That much is undeniable, and we are better off because of it. However, every now and then, fighters will turn down certain fights and as long as this isn’t too common, and they are justified to do so, then there is no need to make such a fuss about it.

Throwing “Shogun” Rua under the bus for taking a lose-lose fight with Glover Teixeira was uncalled for, and neglects all the factors that went into his decision, but one would never accuse you of not overreacting and being sensible, Dana. Of course, the whole “Shogun” issue wasn’t nearly as bad as the counter-productive sabotaging campaign against one of your top stars, Jon Jones. Just a few days ago, you buried Matt Mitrione for turning down the “golden opportunity” of stepping up and getting destroyed by Dan Cormier on short notice on a Strikeforce event. What part of that opportunity is golden exactly? It is a stylistic nightmare for Mitrione given Cormier’s otherworldly wrestling, which alone, is enough to warrant a full training camp. Moreover, I would truly like to know what is so golden about being reduced to fighting on a Strikeforce show, especially at this point in time.

The fact is, fighters are not puppets. They have families to feed, they have their body to take care of, and in a business where a loss has huge ramifications, every fight counts. For the most part, UFC fighters rarely turn down fights. However, when they do, they generally have decent reasoning. It is admirable that some fighters are always willing to step up on short notice, but it is preposterous to act horrified that some choose not to mindlessly do it. Rashad Evans put it best when explaining his decision to turn down the Glover Teixeira fight:

“I will fight anybody with the proper notice. But after eight years with the UFC and being one of their top earners, why would I take a bad fight? Bad fight meaning not being in shape. Losing is hard enough but I will never serve myself up! If I haven’t been training I won’t fight. I know a lot of you fans may not realize but I don’t walk around ready to fight. No one does. In this sport it takes at least eight weeks to be ready. Fighting another person is much harder than most people think and if I’m not training, it takes time to get ready. There are no easy fights!”

So Dana, do us a favor, and be reasonable for a change.

Jeremy Lambert: Don’t listen to Samer, Dana. FIRE THESE DUDES! THEY DON’T WANT TO BE F*CKING FIGHTERS! A real fighter is ready to go on a moment’s notice no matter who he has to face. You want to eliminate the issue? Fire the next guy who turns down a fight, I don’t care who it is. What other options do these guys have? Go to Bellator for half the money and a quarter of the publicity? You made these guys Dana, you shouldn’t have to ask them to step up, they should be begging you to fight on every single show.

You talk a big game Dana, but I’m tired of you talking. I want to see some action. Don’t worry about cleaning up the sport from drugs or fixing terrible judging. What’s really killing the sport is these selfish fighters. Come on Dana, you’re not above overreacting when something doesn’t go your way. Overreact to these guys being smart and not putting themselves in dumb situations by giving them the pink slip.

And then re-hire them a week later.

I’M BACK…right? –- Dan Hardy

Samer Kadi: Were you ever gone, Dan?

Sure, you might have lost four fights in a row, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is you were putting on one hell of a show every time you stepped inside the cage. Except those times you were out-wrestled, out-grappled, and outclassed. But we all know that’s not your fault. It’s your opponents’ fault for being cowards and taking you down. The fact that your takedown defense was putrid and was a direct result for why those fights were underwhelming does not matter. Of course, there is also that time you got knocked out by Carlos Condit, but as you said in a post-fight interview following your win over Amir Sadollah, you wanted to go out there and see who had the better chin. We’ll just ignore that Carlos Condit had the better skills. At least your fight with Chris Lytle was good, even though once again, you got thoroughly outclassed.

Now of course, during all the time you spent criticizing Jon Jones’ performances against Rashad Evans and Vitor Belfort on twitter, you managed to win two fights. The first one, in admittedly impressive fashion – though we’ll ignore that Ludwig is broken down and way past his prime – while the second one was a pedestrian outing against an average welterweight (with all due respect to Sadollah of course). It was the kind of performance that makes me want to look back at your tweets claiming you would never exchange any of your past performances for Jones’ showings against Belfort and Evans and simply laugh at the irony.

There is nothing wrong with not being a world class fighter Dan. Nobody is faulting you for that. Likewise, nobody is faulting you for the UFC selling you as a legit contender and awarding you a title shot. However, when you believed your own hype, you were brought back down to earth in alarming fashion. And somehow, four consecutive losses didn’t humble you enough to hold back on criticizing a vastly superior fighter who is putting on performances you could only dream of, and against elite competition as well.

Jeremy Lambert: On your back? Yeah, you’ve been there plenty of times.

I really want to like you Dan. You bring a great energy to fights and get a bad rap for things that you had no control over (like getting a title shot when you didn’t deserve it.) But every time you talk or tweet, you make it so easy to dislike you. I don’t think you’re a bad guy, I just think you’re caught up in your own ego. Maybe you’ve only lost to good fighters, but you’ve only beaten poor fighters and most of the time you don’t even look all that impressive. Getting the title shot and not tapping out to St. Pierre was the worst thing that ever happened to you, because it made you believe that you’re tough as nails and that no one could beat you without taking you down. The sad part is, after Condit knocked you out and Lytle submitted you, instead of humbling yourself and recognizing your flaws, you just blamed it on “a lack of focus and dedication.”

You’re the welterweight Brandon Vera. Please don’t take that as a compliment.


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