Posts Tagged ‘Dominick Cruz’

 

Photo by: Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com

Photo by: Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com

By: Jonathan M. King

The best way to describe Chael P. Sonnen’s personality is polarizing. His cantankerous approach and quick tongue leave most people who come across him on one side of the room or the other. Not many  folks find themselves in limbo when asked “What do you think of Chael?” He is charismatic, talented, extremely intelligent, and his fight analysis is as cerebral as anyone in the business. He can also be a dick. A big one! He doesn’t mind playing the bad guy. He understands that in the world of entertainment everyone has a role to play.

These characteristics are the reason he became the face of the UFC on FOX. Simply put, no one else was a better fit. He was the perfect ambassador for the sport. A good looking, witty dude, who engaged the camera as if it were the viewer themselves. Sonnen made you part of the broadcast weather you agreed with him or not, he involved the viewers. His WWE style promos endered fans who once thought him as brash, but now branded him as ‘colorful’.

Most importantly he raised everyone else’s game to his level. He made Karyn Bryant that much better than she already was… His back and forth exchanges with Kenny Florian, were always hysterical, and his presence made the shows fun to watch. Sort of the way Will Ferrel does, Sonnen’s presence commands the room. You never can be sure what you are going to get from him, and that edginess created a ‘Howard Stern-like’ quality that even his detractors had to watch.

Then it all disappeared. Following two failed drug test (for competition in the UFC, not narcotics) Sonnen was released from his position at FOX, the network cited his conduct as their reasoning.

Ever since the quality of the FOX broadcasting of UFC events has been lacking. Sonnen’s chair has been filled with an ever-changing group of fighters that include (most recently) Josh Koscheck, Matt Serra, Chris Lytle, and Jake Ellenberger. All of whom made Sonnen’s absence that much more obvious with less than stellar performances.

Broadcasting and working with other broadcasters is an artform. A talent that Sonnen has displayed naturally. Maybe we miss him now because those who have tried to replace him have been horrible. However I don’t think its about the what the others lack, per say, its more about what Sonnen possesses. Simply put they’re failures are that they are not Chael!

Not everyone is meant to be a fighter. The same can be said about analysts.  Sonnen’s absence from the FOX broadcast team has shined a glaring spotlight on that fact. The void left in his absence is tremendous. It reminds me of what the news must have been like after Cronkite left…There was no news, because he WAS the news!

Punishment and forgiveness go hand in hand. With the circumstances around this case, with the types of drugs he was taking, and the reasons for taking them (coming off of TRT, and fertility treatments for the soon to be father), maybe its time to forgive. Not because he is needed so badly but….well yeah, because he is needed so badly.

Lets face facts ‘The UFC on FOX’ programming is horrible without ‘The American Gangsta’, borderline unwatchable. The last few shows have proven like Cronkite before him, Chael Sonnen is the identity of ‘The UFC on FOX’ programming. Without him, there really isnt much too watch. Its time to stop fixing mistakes with other mistakes. Please, put Chael back on TV.

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Photo courtesy of THE UFC

 

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Commentary:

“He cheated, he did drugs, and he gave himself cancer. Well, instead of saying ‘Hey listen, I cheated and gave myself cancer, don’t be like me,’ he actually made himself the victim and then went out and profited something like $15 million from this ‘Hey, poor me, let’s find a cure for cancer’ campaign instead of just coming clean and saying, ‘Look, here’s what I did, I screwed myself up, and I hope people learn from my mistakes.’

-Chael P. Sonnen on Lance Armstrong

We shouldn’t be surprised or should we? The first failed drug test was an indication, wasn’t it? Or did we just fall for the excuse? The facts are in by using his own words, Chael Sonnen (who recently retired from MMA) is a cheater. The first failed drug test was blamed on his TRT exemption. Since being made illegal, Sonnen claimed his first ‘hot’ test was not a surprise. In fact, he stated he looked forward to enlightening the commision on the proper way to come off of TRT treatment.

The first test, (which prompted Sonnen’s retirement) was blamed on drugs that were necessary to ween himself off of the TRT therapy. Then news broke this week that Sonnen in fact failed another test, that was conducted by NSAC. A test that was performed previous to the earlier test. Results for some reason were just lagging behind. The second test removed all doubt as to Sonnen’s intentions.

The second failure set off alarms because of the presence of EPO and HGH. Both are banned substances, and both cannot be confused for “weening therapy”. EPO has long been used as a performance enhancer, because of its ability to help increase the oxygen load of red blood cells. HGH, which became famous during the Balco scandal, is used to speed up recovery time, and to help build muscle.

Neither can be confused as anything but performance enhancers.

This latest evidence proves that Sonnen’s intentions were to improve performance. Despite what he may want you to believe. The facts are he was taking the same substances Lance Armstrong was using, and the fact that he has hasn’t admitted anything yet; makes him as guilty as the man he villainized.

With Sonnen no longer actively competing in MMA, one must wonder if these latest revelations will prompt some sort of disciplinary action from either The UFC or from Fox themselves. As a commentator Sonnen is one of the best. His brash attitude, and quick wit make him a standout at Fox, not just among fighters, but among main stream sports casters as well.

His status and potential must however be put aside, at least for now. His recent actions have hurt the credibility of the sport, and that cannot be allowed by the UFC or its partners. Although he is clearly the best fight commentator, Dominick Cruz, Kenny Florian and Brian Stann could all adequately fill his shoes, while Sonnen rode out a suspension. However the suspension would have to be a significant one, one that allows time to remove the sting of Sonnen’s betrayal.

 

by Jonathan King: The Clinch Report

SEPTEMBER 22, 2012 / AIR CANADA CENTRE, TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA

The fight card for this event hardly resembles its original incarnation. Injuries have left an indelible mark, and once agian officaials were

Charles Oliveira (16-2 MMA, 4-2-1 NC UFC) vs. Cub Swanson (17-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC))

In the main cards first bout, two dynamic strikers are put face to face to clear up the featherweight division. Since moving too the division Oliviera is 2- 0, with both wins coming via impressive submission. WEC vet Cub Swanson is looking to build off of recent wins over Ricardo Lamas, and Ross Pearson. Swanson also possesses one of the most dangerous guillotine chokes in all of MMA.

Predictions: Oliviera via late first round submission. In a very exciting 4 minute fight.

Matt Hamill (10-4 MMA, 9-4 UFC) vs. Roger Hollett (13-3 MMA, UFC DEBUT)

Matt ‘The Hammer’ Hamill is returning after a brief, and seemingly early retirement from the sport. Re invigorated and excited to be back, ‘The Hammer’ looks to spoil the long awaited UFC debut of Roger Hollett. Hollet the owner of a 5 fight win streak will have to avoid the aggressive wrestling of the seasoned Hamill. He may be able to secure a submission from the bottom, although he would be the first to do so, as Hamill has never tapped in his MMA career.

Predictions: Matt Hamill via 2nd rd TKO

Michael Bisping (22-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC) vs. Brian Stann (12-4 MMA, 6-3 UFC)

This fight has ‘Fight of The Night’ potential. Both fighters possess incredible striking power, with Bisping maintaining an edge on technique, while Stann holds the power advantage. Stann may have an edge in the wrestling department, however Bisping’s ground game is massively improved and incredible under rated. Both fighters are looking to stake their claim to contender status, so that should add to the excitement. The fight should be a great stand up war that displays a power vs technique.

Prediction: Michael Bisping via unanimous decision

Joseph Benavidez (16-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC)vs. Demetrious Johnson (15-2-1 MMA, 3-1-1 UFC) -For Inaugural UFC Flyweight Title

This is another candidate for ‘Fight of The Night’. Both fighters are have great cardio conditioning, so 5 rounds is not an issue for either fighter. Johnson has gone the distance with Dominick Cruz and Ian McCall recently. Benavidez has only lost twice in his career, both losses coming at the hands of Dominick Cruz. Each fighter possess great wrestling and grappling skills, however Benavidez will have a distinct power advantage. This fight may be won in the corners between rounds, with adjustment being the key to victory. Both fighters have been on the verge of title contention for a long time, and finally one will emerge a champion.

Prediction: Joseph Benavidez via unanimous decision

Champ Jon Jones (16-1 MMA, 11-1 UFC) vs. Vitor Belfort (21-9 MMA, 10-5 UFC)- Light Heavyweight Championship Bout

This fight is the most talked about UFC contest in years, for all the wrong reasons. Injuries forced the UFC’s hand and after losing Dan Henderson to a torn knee, the UFC was forced to cancel its first event UFC 151. Many consider this to be a walkover for Jon Jones, being that Belfort is not even a ranked divisional foe (normally Belfort fights at 185lbs, although he has fought in all of the heavy divisions). Jones who has systematically destroyed everyone put in front of him, should be able to do the same against the much smaller Belfort. However, Vitor Belfort is no slouch, and although he may be past his prime he is still a very explosive striker. If Jon Jones gets sloppy, he could very easily get caught in a ‘Phenom’ rush that has knocked out a whose who of MMA elite.

Prediction: Jon Jones via TKO(referee stoppage) rd 2.

by Jonathan King The Clinch Report

With the recent rash of injuries in the UFC, many intriguing match-ups have arisen only to disappear. Jon Jones (16-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) the current light heavy weight champion of the world was offered his title shot because of an injury. When Rashad Evans (17-2-1 MMA, 15-2-1 UFC) was unable to compete against Maurcio ‘Shogun’ Rua (21-6 MMA, 5-4 UFC) because of an injury, Jones accepted the title shot and went on to dominate Rua becoming the promotions youngest UFC champion in history. Since then other opportunities have been offered, some accepted, some refused, but none were as successful as Jones.

Recently with injuries to both Georges St Pierre (22-2 MMA, 17-2 UFC) and Dominick Cruz (19-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) and as in the past, the UFC decided to implement ‘Interim’ champions. Currently both Carlos Condit (28-5 MMA, 6-1 UFC), and Renan Berao (29-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) hold these titles in the welterweight and bantamweight division respectively. Both fighters are obligated to unify their titles once St. Pierre and Cruz are healthy enough to compete again.

The past month has been especially rough with both title contenders and title holders being injured. After Dan Henderson (29-8 MMA, 8-2 UFC) injured his knee and was unable to fight Jon Jones several people had the opportunity to rise to the occasion, only no one did. Fighters only have a small window of time before these injuries take their toll. The cliche ‘better to have tried and failed, then to have never tried at all.” seems to be apropos.

As the UFC roster expands more contenders will surely emerge. Hungry young fighters that would relish the opportunity to reach the limelight are moving up the ranks. Fighters such as Chris Weidman, (9-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) Glover Texiera (18-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC), Steven ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson (6-1 MMA , 1-1 UFC), and Alexander Gustafsson (14-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) are certainly going to be looking for the opportunities that Lyoto Machida (18-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) willing let go. Now that Machida is set to face Henderson, it seems obvious that title shots disappear quicker and easier than they are offered.