After a busy few weeks in MMA, things are slowing down as we get ready for a bunch of action in December that will feature nearly every major MMA promotion. The fallout from UFC 123 continues, as Dennis Hallman goes on record with his thoughts on rematching Matt Hughes. Furthermore, another injury has yet again caused a change in Strikeforce’s Dec. 4th card. Catch up on all the news and happenings in this edition of the MMA Roundup!
Hallman plays hardball on possible third Hughes fight
I mentioned last week that Ken Pavia, who manages Dennis Hallman, was not too keen on a third fight between Hallman and Matt Hughes. Hallman, of course, has submitted Hughes twice in a total of 37 seconds. Well, now Hallman has spoken out with his thoughts on a potential third fight with the former UFC welterweight champion.
“I really don’t have anything to gain from the Matt Hughes fight. I beat him twice,” Hallman said on Sherdog.com’s “Savage Dog Show”.
Confirming my suspicions that this cool response to such a high-profile fight may be at least partially a bargaining tactic, Hallman did indicate that he would be interested if the money was right. “If it’s financially appealing to me, then for sure,” Hallman continued. “But just for another fight for him, it’s not really at the top of my list.”
Now, this doesn’t exactly make me Nostradamus, as it doesn’t take a genius to know that most fighters will fight anyone for the right amount of money. Hallman and Pavia are just being smart about this, as Hallman would not only lose his current momentum but have his previous wins tarnished if he was to falter against Hughes. Furthermore, as Hallman himself noted, it’s not as if Hughes is the only opponent Hallman can face to continue rising up the welterweight rankings.
If anything, Hughes needs this fight more than Hallman. He doesn’t want to jump into the actual fray for a title shot, and there are few fights with a good story that would make sense for him at this point. Who knows, though? Maybe he doesn’t even care to face Hallman again.
Injuries continue to hurt Strikeforce as Valentijn Overeem goes down
Overeem, the brother of Strikeforce heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem, has had to pull out of his December 4th bout with Antonio Silva because of an elbow injury. This setback is the third for the card, though not many fans are too worried about the others, which included Jesse Finney having to drop out due to an eye injury and Herschel Walker having to miss the event because of a cut that he sustained in training.
While it’s not exactly a huge bummer to miss out on another installment of MMA Amateur Hour with Herschel Walker, Overeem-Silva would have been a good bout. Here’s hoping that there is someone crazy enough to step in there with Silva on short notice.
More UFC roster cut drama
Matt Brown was the most recent fighter to be cut from the UFC…or was he? On ESPN’s MMA Live, it was stated that Matt Brown had been given his walking papers after a third straight loss at UFC 123, but Ariel Helwani confirmed with sources within the UFC that Brown had not been cut, after all.
Now, I think it’s great that Brown wasn’t actually cut, because he’s a talented fighter and belongs in the UFC. Really, it’s silly that fighters ever get cut due to a set number of losses, regardless of the skill levels of the opponents faced or any other factors.
Of course, since he’s not cut, it makes the release of Gerald Harris even more ridiculous, as Harris posted a 3-1 record in the organization, won multiple “Knockout of the Night” bonuses and even cracked the top ten plays on SportsCenter with his classic slam KO of David Branch.
OK, Devil’s Advocate, get your say in: “So let’s get this straight, Hartley. If they cut Matt Brown, it’s a dumb move because he belongs in the UFC, but if they don’t cut him, it’s a dumb move because he deserves to be cut if Harris was cut? Damned if they do, damned if they don’t, huh?
Well, not exactly. More like “damned if they cut Gerald Harris after just one loss.”
Oh, and in other news, Dana White wins this week’s Captain Obvious Award with this quote: “It’s a dog eat dog world. There’s so many good guys out there. You’re literally fighting for your UFC life every time you fight.” Yeah, I think that’s already pretty clear. Although there needs to be an asterisk with the disclaimer “*unless you have met nonsensical, secret conditions that allow you to lose multiple times and retain your roster spot.”
Couture’s fighting career officially on hold
In what has become at least a bi-weekly feature here on the Roundup, Randy Couture has given us another update on the status on his fighting career, which is now officially on hold.
Citing his busy filming schedule (he’s doing a short part in a movie with Bruce Willis, as well as filming “The Expendables 2” in the spring), Couture says that he doesn’t have another run at a title in him. He still won’t shut the door on an eventual return for an interesting fight, though: “You never know what [the UFC is] going to throw at me. We’ll see, and if it’s interesting, I might not be able to walk away from it.”
Well, maybe the only thing that can keep Couture from fighting into his 60’s is Hollywood. Not like we can get our feelings all hurt due to him going Cung Le on us, though: the guy is 47 years old. If he can capitalize on a lifetime spent in the gym by making some money without getting punched in the face, more power to him.
–Speaking of fighters who continue to be employed by the UFC for reasons that escape me, Phil Baroni will be facing Thiago Tavares on a UFC 125 card that is looking very strong, despite the disappointing loss of new UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo from the proceedings.
Baroni, who was brought in coming off of a loss in Strikeforce, has lost his only UFC fight since coming back, a defeat by decision to Amir Sadollah that took place a year ago. Think Gerald Harris will be shaking his head about this one?
–One last thought on the issue of UFC roster cuts: why isn’t Strikeforce gobbling these guys up? Look, I understand that Strikeforce doesn’t want to be cast as the landing spot for guys who couldn’t cut it in the UFC, but talent is talent. You’ve got Todd Duffee, Efrain Escudero, Gerald Harris just sitting there doing nothing. Sign these guys!