Ask Ant: The Whole Picture Edition

Frank McEdgar asks: Any info on the recent Tony Ferguson situation involving his family or was that a big misunderstanding?

Looks like where there’s smoke, there’s fire. When Sherdog founder Jeff Sherwood tweeted a tip he received about something wrong in the Ferguson household -- on March 8, days before any more news emerged -- the lack of a follow-up definitely confused and even angered quite a few people. But it looks like our beloved spiritual leader knew exactly what he was talking about.

As far as the situation itself, it’s hard to offer too much commentary considering how little we actually know. But it is important to note that the reports we’ve seen say domestic disturbance as opposed to domestic violence. So based on the information we have right now, Ferguson hasn’t been accused of laying harmful hands upon his wife.

The reported behavior is certainly disturbing. Destroying a fireplace, suddenly changing locks, throwing “holy water” and paranoid episodes of people living in the walls and implanting microchips in his leg are far from normal and are a great cause for concern. However, let’s be careful about throwing him the same trash bin reserved for War Machine and Julian Wallace. As of now, this behavior seems more harmful to himself than outwardly violent towards those around him. It is a thin line and perhaps as more comes to light on the situation, that line will be crossed. But for right now, let’s hope his family is safe and Ferguson is receiving the help he needs.

Tomas asks: Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jessica Eye, does anybody truly get excited for this? Feel like it’ll be another 5 round one-sided decision for Valentina.

Tomas, you’re probably right. As we get closer to UFC 238 and make official picks, the safe money will probably be on Shevchenko to get her hand raised. Maybe the fight won’t be the most aesthetically pleasing, and maybe you’re not excited about that pairing in general.

Either way, the important thing is that a No. 1 contender has earned the spot and will get an opportunity to challenge for the belt. That’s what I’m excited about.

Shevchenko and Amanda Nunes aren’t meeting somewhere between 125 and 145 for another superfight. Becky Lynch isn’t crossing over into MMA for a one-off spectacle and “Bullet” isn’t dropping the title track on the soundtrack to a new action movie she’s starring in and holding up the division. The champion is simply fighting the next person in line. Even if the names don’t make my temperature go up, that basic concept puts a smile on my face.

We can’t have it both ways. Either we appreciate the integrity of the sport and a comprehensive ranking system (obviously not the UFC’s system) that puts qualified and available challengers in front of the champion, or we want big money fights to reign supreme. While I appreciate a deviation from the norm from time to time, I can’t simultaneously cry foul at Marlon Moraes potentially taking a backseat to a Cejudo-Dillashaw rematch and complain when the exact opposite is happening in the women’s flyweight division.

PastOfPrime asks: If you wrote a book about MMA, what picture would you choose for its cover?

My first two calls when looking for good pictures that capture the spirit of the sport would be our former resident photographer Dave Mandel and his protégé turned legend Esther Lin. Those two have a particular talent for capturing the perfect moment that is simply unmatched. If my calls were unanswered and access to their hard drives was denied, of course I’d turn my attention to some iconic moments that stand out in my mind.

The very first image that pops up in my head is Robbie Lawler with the most disgusting split lip ever after his rematch with Rory MacDonald at UFC 189. That picture says everything you need to know about what mixed martial arts has to offer. The picture that Jon Jones and Alex Gustafsson took at the hospital together after their first meeting wouldn’t be a bad option either. Perhaps Joe Stevenson soaked in his own blood after being defeated by BJ Penn, Fedor Emelianenko stepping away from the lifeless body of Andrei Arlovski or Dan Henderson being hoisted up in victory after defeating Wanderlei Silva for second Pride championship would be good candidates as well.

More recent pictures that would be considered include the impossible buzzer beater elbow that earned Yair Rodriguez a knockout win over Chan Sung Jung and the image of Anderson Silva and Israel Adesanya on their knees bowing to one another. How about we just make it a picture book so I don’t have to choose?
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