It has been a wild couple of months for MMA, in general, and specifically the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Going back to UFC 199 -- an absolute beauty of a show and frontrunner for “Event of the Year” -- we’ve had an unbelievable run of huge fight cards, an old-fashioned Zuffa vs. Media scrap, crazy sale talk that was finally consummated after the UFC 200 mega-card and a ton of PED talk, with both Jon Jones and Brock Lesnar tripping the tainted sample signal in the United States Anti-Doping Agency cave.
All this and we’re about to get a Robbie Lawler title fight, almost always a treat, on Saturday in Atlanta, and everyone’s favorite Irish smack talker is just three weeks away from his rematch with Nate Diaz. I don’t know if we sailed under a lucky star or what, but this has been one of the more memorable runs I’ve seen in my long tenure covering this sport.
With that said, let’s jump into your comments and questions in the latest Postal Connections mailbag. Away we go:
Do you think the UFC purposely didn’t expedite Lesnar’s test knowing he was dirty? They could’ve but didn’t. -- @ZPGIFs
I know there are a ton of conspiracy theories floating around about Lesnar’s sample being returned late. I get it: The company and Lesnar himself made a boatload of Benjamins at UFC 200, but I find it hard to believe that this was a willful decision. Sure, they could put the expedite order on every sample -- something Nevada said it would do after Anderson Silva popped positive in a pre-fight test in 2015 -- but even then, they still won’t have pre-fight results for samples taken in the day or two before the bout.
Should everything be done to ensure a positive result disqualifies a fighter from entering the cage? Absolutely.
The lengths the company is going to spend millions of dollars to implement a one-of-a-kind PED testing program are going to create as level a playing field as possible and indemnify the UFC from any future litigation, and it should be applauded. I know it’s not the hot take of the week, but I fail to see the benefit of purposely delaying the findings. There is just too much to lose.
Also, when you compare the timeline of Jones’ results being returned with Lesnar’s, you can see the chronology is just about the same. Jones is removed because his test was a little earlier, while Lesnar and the UFC were fortunate he was still able to compete.
Where is Lawler’s legacy if he finishes Tyron Woodley at UFC 202? How far away is he from becoming the greatest of all-time at 170 pounds? He has to be closing in on Georges St. Pierre. -- @drill_bit
By now, I’m pretty sure everyone knows how much of a Lawler fan I am. With that said, I’m not sure how close he is to catching St. Pierre as the welterweight G.O.A.T., even if he plants Woodley. He has enjoyed a pretty good run over the last couple of years, but GSP’s resume is really something to behold.
Let’s not forget that GSP, other than his hiccup against Matt Serra at UFC 67, ruled the 170-pound weight class with an iron fist for seven years. He yanked both G.O.A.T. status and the actual title from the waist of Matt Hughes and had to navigate one of the deepest talent pools the sport has seen to remain on top. I know a lot of people thought he lost to Johny Hendricks in his final fight -- I am not one of them -- but aside from that, there were zero fights that were in question when the final horn sounded.
Lawler, on the other hand, has had some seriously spectacular fights since returning to the UFC. He battled Hendricks in two thrillers, broke Rory McDonald’s face in a five-round war of attrition and had an instant classic with Carlos Condit. Other than the McDonald stoppage, you can make an argument the other fighter won.
With all of that out there, I still think Lawler is an amazing fighter and an even better person. He deserves everything he has gotten and more. How this guy isn’t a massive star is beyond me, but perhaps another blood-and-guts battle or two will help everyone who doesn’t know figure it out. The guy is a bridge to the early years of MMA. He was part of the legendary Miletich team around the turn of the century -- man, I feel old writing that -- and is still fighting at the top of the sport here in 2016. I hope people can comprehend just how impressive that is.
While GSP will probably be the greatest welterweight for the foreseeable future, I, and many MMA fans, would prefer to watch old “Ruthless Bob” go out and leave everything in the cage.
Joe Rogan had compliments for Bellator MMA on his new podcast. What are the chances of him and Dana White jumping ship in a year? -- @robbio12
Man, everyone is getting into the conspiracy theory game this week. OK, I’ll play along. There’s about a zero percent chance Rogan or White end up crossing the front lines to join up with Bellator.
Rogan has always been pretty complimentary of the competition. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t been asked to keep his admiration to a minimum, but the guy certainly has his favorites and they don’t always jive with what the UFC marketing machine wants people to hear. We all saw Rogan say he was going to hit the road if the company was sold, but he recently recanted and inked a new one-year deal to continue in his role as color commentator, minus the international shows. If time and travel were major concerns for the comedian, then I can’t imagine calling fights for a rival would be high on his list of options if he bolts the UFC.
As for White, no [expletive] way. I know Spike TV President Kevin Kay and White got along pretty well, but come on; there’s no way I can see him doing his thing with anyone else. White is synonymous with UFC. That and the fact that the new ownership group is headed by the guy, Ari Emanuel, who represented him and the company for years, leads me to believe he will be at the helm of the world’s premier MMA organization for many years to come.
Sherdog.com Executive Editor Greg Savage can be reached by email or Twitter @TheSavageTruth. If you would like to have your question or comment answered in the weekly Postal Connections mailbag, please submit them by Wednesday evening each week.