Guess who’s back, back again, MMA’s back, tell your friends.
Finally, the sport has come back to a cage near you. This past week ended the ongoing drought of MMA action, with Invicta, ONE Championship, LFA, KSW, and the UFC all running shows. With so much going on, here’s a look at a few stories you might have missed (or we might have, frankly!).
Lil Nog to Box Fellow UFC Alum Leonardo Guimaraes
For many years, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, a.k.a. Lil Nog, or Minotouro, was considered one of the best boxers in the UFC. The former UFC and Pride light heavyweight, who retired off a loss to Shogun Rua in 2020, will now make the ring the next stop in his combat sports career.
Nogueira, who won a gold medal at the South American Games boxing in the super heavyweight category in 2006, will face Leonardo Guimaraes, who went 0-2 in the UFC back in 2016. The bout will be part of what sounds like Brazil’s answer to Triller FC, with the event titled Fight Music Show. It will take place in Balneario Camburiu, Brazil, on January 30, per a report by MMA Fighting.
The card is expected to feature both boxing and MMA action, and will be topped by WBO and WBA champion Acelino Freitas (41-2) taking on Brazilian YouTube creator Whindersson Nunes (0-0). Because, much like Florida, in Brazil, anything goes. To drive that point home, Olympic silver medalist Esquiva Falcao (29-0) will face ex-Big Brother Brazil star Yuri Fernandes (0-0) in an exhibition match-up.
Justine Kish Signs on with Bellator MMA
After seven fights in the UFC octagon, Justine Kish is still best known for an unfortunate incident against Felice Herrig, in which Kish had a bowel movement mid-fight.
Kish managed to take the reaction from fans in stride, and good on her for doing so. But after starting her career 6-0 including two wins under the UFC banner, Kish posted a 1-4 record and found herself bounced from the organization off a pair of losses, the most recent coming in April of 2021.
CBS Sports’ Shakiel Mahjouri was first to report the deal. The Bellator women’s flyweight division is currently ruled by Juliana Velasquez, with Liz Carmouche a lock for the next title shot.
Kamaru Usman Loses It on Snapchat
Seems like social media trolls got the better of Kamaru Usman, with the welterweight champ losing his cool as a result. There’s no indication of what, specifically, set “The Nigerian Nightmare” off, but it might be time for a social media break.
Kamaru Usman just violated his Snapchat followers😭💀 pic.twitter.com/WZ0Ki364Hl
— 𝙎𝙡𝙖𝙬𝙨𝙤𝙢𝙚🇦🇺 (@SlawsomeMMA) January 9, 2022
Usman later verified that yes, the posts were his, not a hack.
Kevin Holland Announces Fight Via OnlyFans Rap
Well… that’s one way to announce a fight.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) January 11, 2022
The song is… not great, but better than we could do. And Holland is one of the more entertaining guys in the UFC, personality wise, so it’s neat to see him do this. And do it on OnlyFans, which mainly caters to a female creator/heavily male consumer market (with all the accompanying predatory concerns). At least this proves the site is for more than nudes and lewds.
Holland vs. Oliveira — we’re in. That sounds like a fun fight.
Mark Hunt Says He’s Done With Fighting
In the end, how Mark Hunt’s career came to a close is nothing short of tragic. No return to Japan for one last thriller, no final walk-off KO, no proper send-off by the UFC. Instead, what amounted to a celebrity boxing match — albeit one Hunt says he enjoyed, despite losing — and a seemingly endless, and likely doomed, lawsuit against his old employer.
Mark Hunt deserved better. The guy entertained whenever he fought. Seeing “fans” cry out “he was never that good” or “he doesn’t deserve that kind of money” as Hunt rails against the UFC for failing to protect its fighters from cheaters is all kinds of sad. Mark Hunt’s case centers around the Brock Lesnar fight at UFC 200, but what it boils down to is compensation. Fighters take a huge risk every time they step inside the cage. If the playing field isn’t level, that’s a major problem. And there’s a real question as to whether it’s worth it.
Speaking on The MMA Hour, Hunt both confirmed the end of his combat sports career, and summed the issue he has with the sport up succinctly (h/t MMA Fighting). “I’m the only one here that’s done nothing wrong, so where’s the recourse for this? This can’t be the answer, me just getting screwed and they keep doing this to every other fighter. That’s the problem.”
Yes, the UFC brought in USADA, and good on them for it. They’ll likely never again waive the drug-testing requirement for a fighter like Lesnar coming out of retirement. But that said, what of the fighters who came before? What about the healthcare question? Not to mention, the state of fighter pay in the UFC is abysmal. What’s the starting salary, 12/12 these days? If you fight twice in a year, the best you’re making is $48,000 plus a minimal amount of money from outfitting. After training and other expenses, you might as well take a job at a cell center. You’ll earn as much, and do less damage to your body.
Things aren’t likely to change until the fighters unionize. That may never happen. Anyone discrediting Hunt for his efforts, however, needs to reconsider why they watch the sport in the first place. Because if it’s not for entertaining fighters like Hunt, then why?
DC Doesn’t Foresee Heavyweight Title in Bones’ Future
Disclaimer: Consider the source, people. DC would bet against Jones if Jon was competing in mini-golf against a one-armed man.
In case you missed it, on ESPN’s DC & RC podcast, Daniel Cormier claimed that Jon Jones will not win the UFC’s heavyweight title. Considering Jones has exactly zero heavyweight fights and is seemingly no closer to debuting in the weight class, that didn’t really require a crystal ball. Cormier does believe Jones will fight at heavyweight this year, mind you — just that the time away, and the weight difference, will be too much for him to overcome.
Not So Epic Fighting Championship
Russia is quickly becoming the new Japan in terms of freakshow fights. Epic FC decided to (try) to top them all, allowing an inter-gender bout between two non-fighters at their show on Friday.
dramatic ending to Alexander Pistoletov vs plus size blogger Sasha Mamaha fight! Alexander in dominant position but interrupted by a friend of Mamaha storming the cage, referee resets the fight and Pistoletov gets the finish! #EpicFightingChampionship #popMMA pic.twitter.com/ee497yqqco
— Matysek (@Matysek88) January 14, 2022
There is much nothing you can really say about this. Other than, it’s dumb and wholly unnecessary. Outside interference, a questionable match-up to begin with, and very possibly a rigged ending that saw the female fighter submitted, but allowed to return for a fourth sudden death round. Only to plod forward with little offence and win a decision.