Three “Huh?” Moments in MMA Last Week: Bellator’s the Best, Political Punches, and Askren’s a Jerk

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Ryan Bader, Bellator light heavyweight champion Bellator 199
Credit: Bellator MMA

The landscape of the light heavyweight division has shifted, a former UFC fighter wants to fight a politician, and one of MMA’s rising stars is under fire for using a stretcher. 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 anymore, and there’s always more to the story. Leaving us with one reply: “huh?”

Last week, Bellator MMA President Scott Coker said that his promotion’s light heavyweight division is the best around, former UFC fighter and coronavirus denier Vik Grujic said he’s down to fight Australia’s Premier of Victoria, and Ben Askren called out Sean O’Malley for using a stretcher following his loss (and leg injury) at UFC 252. Huh.

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 evolution (see: Baseball’s Unwritten Rules), 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?

Ryan Bader
Ryan Bader Credit: Bellator MMA

Scott Coker: Bellator has the best light heavyweight division

Following Jon Jones vacating his UFC light heavyweight title and heading for the promotion’s heavyweight division, Bellator MMA President Scott Coker believes that his promotions has the best group of 205ers on the planet. Huh.

“Listen, with Jon Jones moving up to heavyweight, I think we have the best 205-pound weight class on the planet with Bader, Gegard wants to move up, we have (Lyoto) Machida, and we have Corey Anderson now,” Coker told MMA Junkie ahead of Bellator 244 on Saturday. “We have a bunch of killers in that weight class.” – via Bloody Elbow

Let’s take a look at the top handful of light heavyweight fighters in each promotion.

Bellator: Vadim Nemkov, Ryan Bader, Gegard Mousasi, Lyoto Machida, Corey Anderson, Phil Davis, Liam McGeary, Alessio Sakara

UFC: Dominick Reyes, Jan Blachowicz, Thiago Santos, Glover Teixeira, Anthony Smith, Jiri Prochazka, Volkan Oezdemir, Aleksandar Rakic, Johnny Walker, Anthony Johnson*

Without the likes of Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier, and Alexander Gustafsson atop the UFC’s light heavyweight division, the debate is a lot more interesting. Toss-in Corey Anderson’s recent switch and Vadim Nemkov’s impressive title-winning performance against Ryan Bader at Bellator 244, and it gets even more interesting.

But, as is usually the case when it comes to comparing the UFC to other promotions, the depth of their roster is the deciding factor. Are Nemkov and Bader arguably among the best few light heavyweight fighters in the world? Sure. But once you get to the top 5-10 range, the UFC’s roster showcases its greatest strength.

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