A pair of former UFC heavyweights are returning to combat sports, but in very different fashions. While MMA’s premier promotion may not have those fighters available, they’re announcing fights left and right, and are rounding out their 2017 event calendar. Huh?
Finding the proper response to much of the news finding its way into our social media feeds is becoming a tougher task every day. Nothing is surprising, and there’s always more to the story. Leaving us with one reply: “huh?”.
Last week, Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva’s return to combat sports was announced, unfortunately. The former UFC title-contender will be competing in the first kickboxing fight of his career, against Glory heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven in a non-title bout later this year. Former UFC champion Frank Mir is making his return, too. He’ll be fighting under the Bellator MMA banner, once his suspension is up in April of 2018. While we wait for those fights, the UFC has plenty for us to enjoy as we move toward the end of 2017.
The reason “huh?”, in its various forms, is such a quality reply is simple. The word is as versatile as a response gets, and while it may require some explanation, “huh?” is sometimes the only way to react to the news of today. Defined by Merriam-Webster as an interjection that’s “used to express surprise, disbelief, or confusion, or as an inquiry inviting affirmative reply”, “huh” or “huh?” can mean a lot of different things.
Despite some of the follies of human evolution (see: Steve Bannon), the development and growth of “huh” is something we should embrace. To be the change we want to see in the world, here are a few MMA stories last week that made us go “huh?”.
4. Bigfoot Silva is fighting again, and the circumstances are awful
There have been a bunch of fight announcements from various promotions in the month of August, but none received as negative a response as Bigfoot Silva’s return to combat sports. The reason? He’ll be competing in the first kickboxing bout of his career. Huh? Oh, and it’s against the Glory heavyweight champion and all-around badass Rico Verhoeven. HUH?
One of the marquee fighters in the history of the UFC’s heavyweight division, the rise and fall of Bigfoot is one of the most interesting stories in MMA. Unfortunately, as is the case in combat sports, the fall has been anything but graceful. Silva’s recent run results in a record of 1-8-1 in his last 10 fights, dating back to his UFC heavyweight title-loss to Cain Velasquez in May of 2013. In those eight losses, seven are via knockout, with five of those knockouts losses coming in the first round.
That’s not good. Silva’s health issues are well-documented, and getting continually knocked out can’t help much. Walking away from any career is easier said than done, and Silva isn’t the first fighter, and won’t be the last, to make fans audibly groan with each new fight announcement. In any case, Silva is excited for the opportunity headed his way this October in China.
“It’s a new experience for me,” Silva said. “I’m a professional athlete for years and I like to try new things, new challenges. I feel like an amateur going for his first fight, trying to show what he can do, and God willing everything will be alright.” – via MMA Fighting
3. Frank Mir isn’t done fighting either
Everyday Bellator MMA begins to look more and more like the UFC of yesteryear. Their latest addition is former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir. Huh.
Bellator’s heavyweight division needed reinforcements, and Coker and Co. have added Roy Nelson and Mir to the stable of fighters this year. Joined by several other notable fighters, Mir’s signing continues the growth and expansion of Bellator in 2017. But, we won’t see him competing in the promotion until next year. After losing to Mark Hunt in March of 2016, Mir tested positive for banned substances, and was suspended by USADA until April of 2018.
It’ll be interesting to see who Mir gets in his promotional debut, and there are a few solid options. Matt Mitrione and Cheick Kongo are likely the top contenders in the division, which currently lacks a title belt. A rematch with Roy Nelson wouldn’t be the worst idea, considering their last bout came in May of 2011. There’s that Fedor Emelianenko guy, too.
Either way, Bellator seems like a good fit for Mir. At least he’s not kickboxing Rico Verhoeven.
2. So many fight announcements
With a few weeks without an event, and everyone focusing their energy and attention on that one boxing bout coming up this weekend, the UFC is taking advantage of the spotlight. Announcing fights on a daily basis, the premier promotion in MMA is filling in the rest of their 2017 event calendar. Early indications are we’re in for a fun few months of fights in the UFC.
Cards in Rotterdam, Pittsburgh, Japan, Poland, Norfolk, and more have received a handful of fights for fans to get excited about. But the major events have been getting touched-up, too. Huh?
First, the bad news. UFC 215 has had a tricky existence. Originally slated for Seattle in August, then moved to Edmonton in September, the pay-per-view event has a couple of solid title-fights in the main and co-main event slots. Featuring defenses from Demetrious Johnson and Amanda Nunes, the main card looked like a fun one for fight fans. Then, last week, Junior Dos Santos was pulled from the card and his bout with Francis Ngannou, due to failing a test from USADA.
UFC 216, taking place in early-October in Las Vegas, will feature a somewhat surprising main event. Tony Ferguson will finally get his shot at the interim lightweight belt, but will be fighting Kevin Lee, not the apparently still-recovering Khabib Nurmagomedov, which was the plan earlier this year. They’ll be joined by Fabricio Werdum and Derrick Lewis battling on the card, in an interesting matchup for the UFC’s heavyweight division. The usage of Lee, a Detroit-native, two months before UFC 218 (which takes place in Detroit) is also surprising, as he seemed an obvious fit for his hometown PPV.
The promotion may be in another situation where they’re running low on main event options, something we’ve seen throughout 2017. Then, they begin announcing bouts for UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden in November, and the idea of running out of main events starts to make sense. Why? Because they’re looking at doing three (four?) title-fights at MSG.
Currently, Georges St. Pierre’s long-awaited return to the UFC will come against Michael Bisping in the main event of UFC 217. MSG’s PPV will also feature one of the best matchups the UFC can make when Cody Garbrandt defends his bantamweight title against former 135-pound champion TJ Dillashaw. There have also been reports of a strawweight title-fight between Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Rose Namajunas. Oh, Wonderboy-Masvidal is on the card too. Huh.
A couple of former UFC heavyweights have found landing spots outside of MMA’s premier promotion. They are very different roads, but we wish both Bigfoot Silva and Frank Mir the best in their new ventures. While we wait for their next fights, we’ll be treated to a bevvy of bouts from the UFC, including some intriguing PPV events and high-profile title-fights.