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MMA Roundup: Chael Sonnen, TUF 13, UFC Signings, Strikeforce Cuts

By on December 11, 2010

Tonight is UFC 124, but the news doesn’t just stop for big fights. Later today we’ll have the preview and picks for tonight’s fights, but in the meanwhile, get caught up on some of the latest happenings in MMA with a special “Welcome Back, Chael Sonnen” edition of the Roundup!

Chael Sonnen back doing what he does back

And that’s talking trash. We had an uncharacteristically quiet fall from Sonnen after his suspension for what appeared to be PEDs in September. However, Sonnen has appealed his suspension, receiving a reduced punishment of six months that will allow him to fight next spring. We’ll go over some details of that in a minute, for now, let’s rejoice: Chael Sonnen is back!

Don’t pretend you weren’t entertained by the increasingly-nonsensical ramblings of Sonnen all last summer. Hell, Sonnen practically fueled this column by himself over a five to six month period, as he fired off hilarious, strange and just plain crazy quotes so fast that at times, it was hard to keep up with them all. Well, now he’s back, talking trash to Wanderlei Silva on the Twitter account that he once said was his, then later said wasn’t his after all. Before the ink was even dry on the commission’s decision to reduce his suspension, Sonnen had sent off this salvo via his definitely-his-but-not-really Twitter account:

“Wand, you might as well fill out your own toe tag. Where [it] says ‘Cause of death,’ just write, ‘I pissed off a Gangster.'”

Wand replied by warning Sonnen about the likelihood of dentist visits if he continues his current path, to which Sonnen made fun of Silva’s broken English. I have to admit, “Maybe you spelled better before Coleman stepped on your head” was a pretty good line, but making fun of a non-native speaker’s English is beneath the abilities of a solid trash talker like Sonnen. Leave that crap to Josh Koscheck, Chael.

So, what’s the deal with the suspension? If you didn’t feel like sifting through all the info before, here’s the Cliff Notes version. Due to a “decreased functional activity of the gonads”, Sonnen has been taking doctor-approved testosterone treatments for two years. The problem is that Sonnen apparently did not follow California’s guidelines for disclosing such treatments. Sonnen believes that he did as much as he could and wasn’t aware that he wasn’t following the guidelines properly, to which the commission was fairly sympathetic.

Now, some have pointed out that one reason why there may be “decreased functional activity of the gonads” would be…steroid use. However, I’m not about to speculate the cause of such gonadal issues, and I’m sure there are other possible causes, as well. The Wrestling Observer revealed that Todd Duffee and Dan Henderson have both been approved for similar treatments by the Nevada State Athletic Commission in the past. One fighter was approved for the same by the commission in California, but the name of the fighter has been kept confidential.

What’s next for Sonnen? Maybe TUF 13?

So, continuing on with our Son-stravaganza, what’s next for the ill-mannered grappler? Rumors are that a coaching slot on the thirteenth season of “The Ultimate Fighter” is likely, and given how fond the UFC is of putting coaches with “bad blood” against one another, it seems likely enough. Since Wanderlei Silva has been recovering from knee surgery, it seems like good enough timing for him, as well.

As an unrepentant Silva fan, I’m not sure what to think about the possibility. It would be good for Silva’s career, and absolutely great if he pulled off the win, but Sonnen is exactly the kind of fighter that can give Silva trouble. There’s no way Silva is going to stay off his back for long, and whether he can get back up or stay vertical long enough to hurt Sonnen is debatable. Furthermore, he’s never shown the kind of aggressive jiu-jitsu that could exploit Sonnen’s biggest weakness- submission defense. Hey, it’d make for a good season of TUF though, right?

UFC signs “Kid” Yamamoto, Omigawa for new divisions

The UFC is really taking the addition of the featherweight and bantamweight divisions seriously. First, they signed Michihiro Omigawa, who’s a top ten-ranked featherweight in my book. Omigawa is slated to face Chad Mendes for his first fight back in the UFC. He originally fought twice in the UFC a couple of years ago, but that was at lightweight, and he was ushered out after losses to Matt Wiman and Thiago Tavares. Since then, he’s gone 8-1-1, with his only loss coming by split decision.

The next day, we found out that the UFC had also signed “Kid” Yamamoto, who may debut as soon as UFC 126, possibly against Demetrious Johnson. This opens the door for yet another “dream fight that happened five years too late”, this time between Yamamoto and Urijah Faber. Joking aside, both signings are exciting, and the fact that the UFC is really going to feature these divisions is good news. Anyone who doubted the effect that adding the divisions would have on the quality of the UFC’s cards is crazy: look at UFC 126, which will not only include Miguel Torres facing Antonio Banuelos, but now possibly Yamamoto as well. All of a sudden, that card could look like this:

Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort (Middleweight Championship)
Forrest Griffin vs. Rich Franklin
Ryan Bader vs. Jon Jones
Miguel Torres vs. Antonio Banuelos
Kid Yamamoto vs. Demetrious Johnson
Sam Stout vs. Paul Kelly

How could anybody not love that? It makes most of this weekend’s card look like amateur hour, honestly.

Strikeforce cuts Joey Villasenor, Joe Riggs

Strikeforce is doing its best UFC impression, finally trimming down some notable names from its roster, even though it isn’t planning on signing any UFC castoffs in the near future.

Joey Villasenor has been cut after two straight losses, while Joe Riggs is no longer going to fight in the organization, despite going 6-1 in his last seven fights. To be fair, Strikeforce isn’t really cutting Riggs, just choosing not to re-sign him.

Quick Shots

–Props to Alistair Overeem, who represented MMA by winning the K-1 Grand Prix just last night. Overeem defeated Tyrone Spong, Gokhan Saki and Peter Aerts to win the tournament. Wait a minute- Peter Aerts? Isn’t he like 60 years old? Still, it’s quite a feather in Overeem’s cap, and before you send me hate mail, I do like Aerts. He beat Semmy Schilt in the semifinals, so obviously he’s still legit, even though he probably started kickboxing back before color television was invented.

–On Cesar Gracie’s website, a mock press release was put up to poke fun at Jason “Mayhem” Miller, who has supposedly refused to face Nick Diaz at 178 pounds, even though he called out Diaz for not wanting to fight at 183 pounds, which is closer to Miller’s native weight class.

Sigh. Come on, guys. Surely five measly pounds can’t keep you two from settling this in the cage. When have you ever known Nick Diaz to let someone talk smack about him with impunity? And as far as Mayhem Miller goes, this dude jumped him on national TV! You’re gonna let five pounds get in the way of giving him some payback? Perhaps this is the case of two fighters getting cold feet because they know that one of them isn’t going to be able to back up the massive amounts of shit that they’ve been talking?

E-Mail Jon Hartley

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