Every time I think I’m going to get a slow week of MMA news, the fight gods smile upon me and bless us with more wonderfully weird tidbits on which we can chew on until the next UFC event – which is this Saturday – UFC Fight Night: Hall vs Strickland.
Let’s take a look at a few headlines from UFC and even – gasp! – boxing!
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COVID strikes down the UFC Lioness Amanda Nunes
Fans will have to wait a bit longer to see the “Lioness” in the Octagon again.
Amanda Nunes, the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion, was forced to withdraw from her UFC 265 title defense against Julianna Pena after testing positive for COVID-19. The fight was supposed to be the co-main event for the event taking place on August 7 in Houston, Texas. The fight has not been rescheduled so far.
In an update, Nunes’ wife Nina Ansaroff confirmed that the entire family, including their young daughter had contracted the coronavirus.
Nunes (21-4) is currently on a 12-fight win streak, last stepping into the cage to defeat Megan Anderson via submission in March. Pena (10-4), the No. 5 bantamweight will have to wait just a bit longer for her first title shot.
UFC champ Weidman to undergo second leg surgery
Former UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman has hit a snag in his recovery from a broken leg and will need a second surgery.
Weidman (15-6) sustained the gruesome leg injury against Uriah Hall at UFC 261 in April and had emergency surgery the next day to repair a broken tibia and fibula, but noted that “the bones aren’t healing” in the right way when he spoke to SiriusXM Fight Nation earlier this week.
Weidman, 37, plans to keep fighting but gave no timetable on his eventual return to the cage.
Belfort, De La Hoya and now…Holyfield?
Vitor Belfort, the frightening MMA knockout artist, is pushing all his chips in on his new boxing career.
Belfort told ESPN that he’s already got his next boxing opponent lined up after he steps into the ring with former champion Oscar De La Hoya. The next man up? One Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield.
The former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion stated that after his contest against De La Hoya on September 11 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, he wants Evander Holyfield in December. He also expressed a desire to face his former MMA teammate and foe, Anderson Silva down the road.
Of course, all of this is currently talk as the details of his multi-fight contract with Triller has yet to be revealed and pen has yet to be put to paper. Belfort, known for his sometimes outlandish outbursts and beliefs, said he’d like to fight YouTubers-turned-boxers Jake and Logan Paul on the same night.
Please Xenu, I don’t ask you for much but please let this happen.
Lamar Odom to fight Riddick Bowe because the Mayans got the calendar thing wrong
Technically this doesn’t have anything to do with UFC, but I’m going to write about it anyway because of how absurd it is and also how normal it is for 2021.
Former two-time NBA champion and one-time Kardashian husband Lamar Odom will face off against former undisputed heavyweight boxing champion Riddick Bowe in a boxing match on October 2 in Miami because this is the end of days.
Bowe, 53, was once the baddest man on the planet, twice defeating Evander Holyfield, who retired with a stellar 43-1 (1 NC) record in boxing. He’ll now face off against Odom, 41, in what looks like a mismatch on paper but could be closer than many think.
boxing entertainment event is taking place under the Official Celebrity Boxing banner and will also feature former two-division world champion Paulie Malignaggi (36-8) taking on TikTok personality Corey B. Don’t ask us who that is, ask your kids, they’ll probably know.
The pop star formerly known as Aaron Carter, who was knocked into the shadow realm by Odom in June, has apparently returned and will box on the card as well.
If the Mayans had been right about the end of the world in 2012 we wouldn’t be chatting about this but no. How hard is predicting the end of the world?! C’mon!
Colby Covington is out here causing Chaos
UFC Welterweight title challenger Colby ‘Chaos’ Covington is once again kicking the hornet nest.
While chatting with Submission Radio Covington claimed that current UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman has been using EPO throughout his entire career. Now, this is a bold and wholly unsubstantiated accusation from Covington but he has made a career out of not being the most likable guy in the building.
“He’s been doing EPO his whole career,” Covington said. “It’s so obvious. His chemical imbalance, his body. He’s got the pimples all over his back, all over his face. You’re a 35-year old man, you’re not going through puberty like you’re in your teens anymore. You should not be having that chemical imbalance and that breakout. That’s from his testosterone being out of whack, and his estrogen and his testosterone levels being out of whack. So, he is the CEO of EPO. I’ve heard firsthand from some people that he trained with, some people that I might’ve went to wrestle in college with that said the same thing. They could verify that he has done EPO and he’s injected in his ass. So, he’s the CEO of EPO, he’s ‘Marty Juiceman.’” [H/T to MMA Fighting]
There has been no love lost between Usman (19-1) and Covington (16-2) since their 2019 showdown which Usman won via TKO in the final round. Usman also broke ol’ boy’s jaw. That only slowed down Covington’s trash talk for a short time.
Covington and Usman are rumored to be in the mix to face each other again on Nov. 6 at UFC 268.
Finally… T.J. Dillashaw was victorious but is it enough?
T.J. Dillashaw made a successful return to the Octagon last weekend where he defeated Corey Sandhagen by unanimous decision.
Dillashaw (18-4) spent two years on the sidelines while serving out his suspension for using EPO (boy, this stuff is popular. Allegedly.) but didn’t show any signs of slowing down by downing a streaking Corey Sandhagen. The win vaulted the former bantamweight champion to the No. 2-ranked position in the division.
While his return is a boost to the division, his apology fell a little flat. In the Instagram video below T.J. Dillashaw owned up to his cheating and vowed to come back better than ever (which he did) and apologized to everyone except the opponents he stepped into the cage with.
Yes, we can’t prove that he had been using EPO at any period before he got popped (after his failed flyweight title shot against Henry Cejudo) but he didn’t even offer that up.
Do I expect the man to grovel? Nah. Do I expect a fighter to beg? Absolutely not. He served his punishment for his crime. But to apologize to everyone except the man he tried very hard to cheat? To me, it seems like a bit of PR and lip service.
And I’m not alone here.
Current UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling echoed my thoughts a little bit when he said that it’s a bit of a stretch to say that Dillashaw “came clean” about the whole incident. He didn’t. He got caught trying to cheat. That’s not coming clean. That’s getting caught.
And to apologize to a list of people and exclude the one guy he tried to steal from is a bit… disingenuous.
Will anything come of it? No. It’s already yesterday’s headline and MMA fans are very a “bleed for me now” fan base so this won’t even register beyond some idiot calling me a “casual” who is trying to “bully” a fighter.
I’m not. I like Dillashaw and he’s a hell of a fighter. But when these fighters find themselves in this position (and more will) it would be best served to include in the apology, whether genuine or something that the public relations department hands down, a sincere ‘my bad’ to the other people that you’re trying to punch in the face.