Ask Ant: Pulsing, Picograms and PFL Edition

By Anthony Walker Mar 1, 2019

Paladin asks: What do we do now that has Jones pulsed again? Have you toyed with any ideas on handling this in the future?

What can we do? The repeated long term metabolites of oral turinabol look like they are here to stay for some time. This hasn’t stopped the UFC from going forward with him versus Anthony Smith Saturday night. The Nevada State Athletic Commission is getting in the way either. In fact, NSAC chairman Anthony Marnell very plainly stated they would release the results close to fight night. Such a direct and puzzling statement makes it seem like there were no intentions on interrupting the original plans.

As UFC Vice President of Athlete Health & Performance Jeff Novitsky reminded everyone at the open workout scrum, in order to fulfill the requirements for his conditional one fight license for UFC 235, Jones has to submit to testing from several organizations simultaneously. According to everyone with any authority that has publicly spoken about the matter, he has fulfilled all of those obligations and those no evidence suggesting any new ingestion.

I elect to leave this alone as much as possible because I simply don’t understand the science. Apparently the scientists don’t understand what’s happening either. A wait and see approach seems to be the best option right now. We get to see one of the greatest combat athletes of all time do what he does best.

Europe1 asks: Shock and Awe! PFL has been picked up by ESPN! Wise men of the podcast, please tell us, is ESPN just really into MMA, or are we watching some high-level backroom scheming going on? Is the UFC about to get played?

I highly doubt the UFC is getting played here. I’d even put on my tin foil hat and say that the UFC wanted this. The relationship between the UFC and what eventually became known as PFL seemed cozier than what we’ve typically seen from rival promotions of the past.

Remember when Dana White suggested that Ben Askren go to World Series of Fighting before he could fight in the UFC? I doubt the company was namechecked by accident. Ever notice that a good number of fighters transition to the UFC? Ever notice that we get to see fight footage of WSOF alum in UFC broadcasts?

Despite PFL occupying its own space in the crowded MMA world, you could make an argument for it functioning as a high level feeder league. Look at high profile names like Justin Gaethje and Marlon Moraes as examples. If you excelled in WSOF, the doors opened a bit wider for the UFC. Look at names like Anthony Johnson and David Branch. If you left the UFC, you could find your way back by excelling there.

With the ink still drying on the ESPN broadcasting deal, it would be exceptionally silly for the company to attempt to sabotage its new partner especially after sinking $300 million this year alone for those rights. The idea is even more outrageous when you consider the new subscriptions to ESPN+ and how the platform is still in its infancy.

I’d be very surprised if the bosses at Endeavor were blindsided by Monday’s announcement.

WaylonMercy5150 asks: Did the UFC repo Colby's belt after that cringe fest he pulled today?

Let’s hope so. But really, the UFC can only blame itself if they have any problems with Colby Covington crashing Kamaru Usman’s open workout. The promotion is responsible for feeding into the culture of earning title shots outside of the cage. Covington earned his spot in the cage and they gave him a shiny gold belt to commemorate his efforts. However, when the time came to pair up the undisputed champion with the interim champion they were more interested in the absurd pacing of the schedule than in making the right fight.

The message was loud and clear. Winning isn’t all that matters. Sometimes you have to show up in your MAGA hat and yelling into a bullhorn to get recognized as a No. 1 contender. Considering that both Tyron Woodley and Usman have a genuine disdain for him while recognizing that he should be next in line should be enough. But then again, who knows what’s going on with championship match making these days? So instead trusting that the next step will be a logical one, Covington is still taking matters into his own hands the best way he knows how. Better safe than sorry.
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