Joe Rogan’s in the news again, Brock Lesnar briefly mentions fighter pay, Dana White tries out the “Shoeyvasa” and more. Let’s get to this edition of the Sunday MMA Quick Hits.
What Scheduling Conflict?
According to Dana White, the story (first reported by TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter) that Joe Rogan had a scheduling conflict which kept him off the UFC 271 broadcast was bunk.
Rogan’s absence from the broadcast booth last weekend stood out like a sore thumb. It felt very much as if the UFC, or perhaps ESPN and parent company Disney, were trying to do some damage control after a number of controversies surrounding the comedian, podcast host, and UFC analyst reached a crescendo.
In other words, “scheduling conflict” felt like a convenient excuse. But few expected Dana White of all people to be the one to confirm that.
“There’s no conflict of schedule,” White said during the UFC 271 post-fight conference (available above). “Joe Rogan didn’t work tonight. Joe Rogan could’ve worked tonight.”
Later, White would call the scheduling story “bullsh*t.”
“I don’t know what Joe Rogan had to do, you guys will have to ask Joe Rogan, but there was no ‘Joe couldn’t work’ or anything like that. I know that came out. It’s total bullsh*t.” And Rogan will be back, well, eventually. “Whenever he’s going to work again, he’ll be working, yeah.”
Of course, that’s not to say that Rogan didn’t have a scheduling mix-up on his end. But given he was clearly watching the main event, texting the broadcast team about a potential Israel Adesanya injury, that seems unlikely.
Khabib Nurmagomedov, Anthony Pettis, and Jorge Masvidal all have their own fight promotions. So too does former Bellator MMA middleweight champ Alexander Shlemenko.
Shlemenko FC 3 took place last Friday, and the main event ended care of a spinning back fist.
— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) February 12, 2022
Shlemenko (61-13, 1NC) himself is still competing, last fighting for Khabib’s Eagle FC in October of last year. He’s 5-1 since his last Bellator fight in 2018.
Nate Diaz Wants Out of the Fight Game
If you listen to Nate Diaz, he wants to fight Dustin Poirier, then head off into the sunset.
Speaking to TMZ ahead of the Super Bowl, the UFC star addressed the long-awaited showdown between himself and “Diamond.”
“I would like to fight Dustin Poirier. Like now,” Diaz told TMZ (via MMA Mania). “Like I’ve been trying to.”
“If there’s any mix-up it’s him, and them, and the game,” he continued. “I want the fight now. What’s up Dana White? Let’s get this retirement fight cracking so I can get out of this fight game. I’m done with it.”
Makes sense, right? Here’s the thing: does anyone truly believe that Nate Diaz will be done with the fight game after scrapping Dustin Poirier? Even Poirier doesn’t believe that. More likely is that Diaz is trying to do what Ngannou wants to do: escape the clutches of his UFC contract to try his hand on the free agent market. The likes of Triller and others would pay major coin for a one-off featuring Diaz, after all.
Sources previously confirmed to Cageside Press that a bout between Poirier and Diaz had been in the works for UFC 272, but Diaz’s contract negotiations stalled that. The promotion would very much like to extend Nate’s deal, to allow for a potential McGregor trilogy as well. So far, Diaz isn’t biting.
Brock Lesnar “Probably Should Have Got Paid More” by UFC
Despite his career being indisputably short even by combat sports standards, former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar had a massive impact on MMA. His nine-fight career, which began in 2007, saw him land in the UFC in 2008 in a loss to Frank Mir, before going on a four-fight run that saw him capture the heavyweight title and defend it twice.
During his time at the top, Lesnar was unquestionably the biggest draw in the sport, and outside of Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey, his success at the box office has been unparalleled.
So it’s interesting to see him state that he probably should have been paid more by the UFC.
“Dana’s all right,” Lesnar told The Pat McAfee Show recently. “I’ve got a lot of money from him. I probably should have got paid more, maybe.”
Lesnar’s comment came when asked about his relationship with Dana White, and how the UFC exec compared to Vince McMahon. “I look at Vince more as a father figure actually. Because I’ve learned a lot of things from him, and I was able to carry those things over and handle business with Dana,” explained Lesnar. “Vince is a self-made person, so is Dana. Took the company and made it public.”
Fighter pay in the UFC has been a hot topic for years now, but rarely have the top stars of the promotion spoken out about it.
Dana Tries the Shoeyvasa
Tai Tuivasa has become synonymous with the “shoey,” an Australian sporting tradition that involves drinking beer from a shoe. So much so that he’s created his own device, the “shoeyvasa,” to make the practice a little more palatable for the general public. All through UFC 271 Fight Week, the heavyweight attempted to get Dana White to give it a try.
He finally succeeded.
You can get your own Shoeyvasa right here!
Kayla Harrison Teases Cut to 135, Immediately Backtracks
The Kayla Harrison sweepstakes continue, and the multi-time PFL champ is the hottest free agent on the market.
She is not likely to make the drop to 135lbs, however, no matter what anyone says. Even herself.
Say what, you ask? ESPN reported Monday that Harrison was considering the cut to 135lbs, adding that she had planned to hire a nutritionist to see if it was feasible. This wasn’t a source report, but an actual interview with Harrison. Given Kayla generally competes at 155lbs and looked pretty lean in her lone 145lb fight, that turned a lot of heads. A day later, she backtracked in a separate interview with MMA Junkie.
“I was kind of talking sh*t being goofy,” Harrison told MMA Junkie. “My goal is obviously not to fight at 135 pounds. … I have to watch what I say from now on. Obviously, I want to fight the best in the world. Julianna [Pena] is now considered a top dog, but I also heard that she would fight me at 145 for the right amount of money, so I probably won’t have to fight 135.”
Frankly, we want to see fighters stop killing themselves to make weight. Kayla looks just fine at 145 and 155lbs, and there’s ample competition at featherweight when promotions actually build the division.
Kevin Holland Spanks Another Internet Troll
There are two marvels to behold in this story: one, Kevin Holland has managed to spank two internet trolls in the gym this year. While “gym challenges” have been around the sport for years, seeing some of the armchair critics learn the hard way what it really takes to be a fighter is wildly entertaining. Two, Holland has found an actual use for OnlyFans as a male fighter.
Check out the highlights below (second page) from his battle with a fan who called him “Derek Brunson” intentionally at a recent autograph signing.
Mike Swick Battling Cancer
UFC Veteran Mike Swick is currently battling cancer. Let’s hope it’s a quick battle, no pun intended. All the best to Swick (and anyone else fighting the disease).