Injuries becoming a real problem for UFC

We just can’t have nice things.

There is a serious issue going on with the UFC as of late – injuries.

This past week, the scheduled super-fight between Jose Aldo and Anthony Pettis for later this summer was scrapped when it was discovered that Pettis injured his knee.

I can’t tell you how disappointing it was to hear this news. I was looking forward to this fight as much as I have any other fight, ever.

The styles of both men would have made for a tremendous chess match and exciting battle.

But, alas, it is not to be.

I can’t say that I didn’t see it coming. There has been a rash of injuries that have cancelled fights in recent years for the UFC.

Even yesterday’s UFC had to go with a replacement main event when interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao had to back out of his title fight with Eddie Wineland due to an injury.

Prior to that, UFC 160 had its co-main event change to Junior dos Santos vs. Mark Hunter after Alistair Overeem was injured.

It seems like every announced PPV card ultimately gets changed due to injuries.

The UFC implemented an insurance plan for its fighters that cover training injuries a few years back. The plan is a great idea and something the organization needed to do. But, since that plan came into place, more injuries seem to be taking place in training.

I am guessing the amount of injuries isn’t increasing in training, simply the fighters are more willing to pull out of a fight because their medical care will be covered. Prior to that, a fighter needed to compete in order to receive that medical coverage. So, if a fighter was hurt in training, he needed to grit it out and fight in order to get his injury repaired after his bout.

The coverage plan can’t change, but the intensity of training can. Fighters need to be smarter in how they prepare. Their grappling and wrestling practices are causing too many injuries. Fighters need to do what they can to be ready for a fight, but they can’t do it at a risk of injuring themselves and having a fight be cancelled.

There are plenty of exciting fights that could take place in the UFC, including a super-fight like Anderson Silva vs. Jon Jones. But, what are the odds we will ever see it take place where both men will stay injury free in order to fight?

Like it or not, Griffin and Bonnar belong in UFC Hall of Fame

Image ALT text goes here.Lost in the madness of another UFC PPV weekend was Forrest Griffin announcing his retirement from MMA.

Griffin hadn’t fought in over 10 months and was battling injuries. Given that he wasn’t much of a contender in the light heavyweight division, he decided to call it a career.

What was even more lost in all the news was Dana White telling the media after UF 160 that the UFC will be inducting Griffin and Stephan Bonnar into the UFC Hall of Fame together, later this year.

To me, this is a no-brainer. To others, they think either Bonnar, or both, don’t deserve the honor.

Griffin has a strong case in his own right. He was the first winner of The Ultimate Fighter reality series and went on to win the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. His record, 19-7, isn’t awful and he had a number of memorable fights.

Bonnar is another story. His record was just 15-8 and he lacked a victory against an elite-level opponent during his career. Essentially if you are going to put Bonnar in based on his win-loss record, you would also have to include fighters like Shane Carwin, Frank Trigg and Joe Stevenson.

But, this induction isn’t about overall bodies of work. This induction is about one thing and one thing only, their war in the initial Ultimate Fighter Finale.

That bout was the first time the UFC aired live fighting on Spike TV and its importance cannot be understated.

It wasn’t a technical masterpiece, but it was two men fighting with every ounce of energy they had for 15 minutes. It was everything Dana White and the UFC management wanted to showcase about its sport.

That three-round war, that classic did more for the UFC than any other fight in its history. That fight, along with the enormous audience it drew as it played out, set the stage for the UFC to branch out nationally and has been the foundation for The Ultimate Fighter to continue its operation to this day.

The UFC Hall of Fame wouldn’t be relevant if it weren’t for that fight.

Sometimes a singular moment transcends a sport and those involved are elevated forever in the eyes of the fans and management. This fight is representative of that and Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar should be in the Hall of Fame for this season. You can’t talk about the greatness of the UFC without bringing up that fight.

Velasquez vs. Dos Santos: The trilogy the UFC needed

Image ALT text goes here.There was a time when two men ruled the UFC heavyweight division.

Those men were Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski.

The two had established themselves as the best heavyweights in the UFC at the time, and had a trilogy of fights for the UFC to capitalize on.

At that time, it was also clear that there were better heavyweight fighters out there, mainly in PRIDE, thus the trilogy didn’t have that feel of greatness.

Now, years later, the UFC finds itself with the heavyweight trilogy that it always longed for.

There is no question that heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and top contender Junior dos Santos are the top two heavyweight fighters in the world. They verified as much on Saturday with their knockout wins over Antonio Silva and Mark Hunt, respectively.

Now, the UFC is able to market a rubber match between the two after each one has decisively beat the other.

Velasquez and dos Santos have provided a legitimacy to the heavyweight division that has been lacking for a long time.

Sure, there have been some impressive fighters over the last decade, but none that were as technically skilled as Velasquez and dos Santos.

Brock Lesnar was a draw, and a physical freak, but he proved he wasn’t a fighter when he cowered in a ball at the first body kick he took.

Velasquez and dos Santos would have dominated the UFC in the early 2000s and the winner of this upcoming trilogy fight could rule the roost for quite some time.

The UFC finally has its mega heavyweight fight, and it is Velasquez vs. Dos Santos III.

UFC pound-for-pound rankings

Image ALT text goes here.It has been a while since a pound-for-pound rankings has been done on this site, but there is no time like the present. Here we go:

1. Anderson Silva (33-4) – Silva is still the pound-for-pound king due to his dominance in the middleweight division and his ability to finish his opponents.

2. Jon Jones (18-1) – I put Jones ahead of GSP because Jones really hasn’t lost yet. His one loss was a DQ where he essentially finished his opponent. Jones has shown well-rounded skills, winning with strikers, submissions and wrestling. He has truly dominated a division that was stacked a few years ago, the 205-pound division.

3. Georges St. Pierre (24-2) – St. Pierre has been on top of the 170-pound division for five years now, but his inability to finish opponents has gotten tiresome. St. Pierre has great wrestling and striking, but he doesn’t have the finishing ability of the top two on this list.

4. Jose Aldo (22-1) – Aldo can start making an argument to move up this list if he beats Anthony Pettis later this year. A win there may earn him a lightweight title fight. Aldo has tremendous striking, but he has shown the ability to fatigue over 25 minutes. That could be a problem as he starts fighting elite-level fighters.

5. Cain Velasquez (11-1) – The heavyweight champion is very light on his feet and he pushes a pace that can’t be matched in the division. He may not be the top striker, but that didn’t matter against Junior Dos Santos, as he constantly forced JDS to use energy. Velasquez never tired, but JDS did quickly.

6. Benson Henderson (19-2) – Henderson has some great skills, but he also isn’t overwhelmingly winning his recent fights. He isn’t losing them either, but his razor-thin decisions hurt his ranking on this list.

7. Renan Barao (30-1) – Barao doesn’t get a lot of credit for being as impressive as he has been. He is arguably the bantamweight champion, since Dominick Cruz has been out for so long. Sure the 135-pound division isn’t filled with a lot of big-name talent, but Barao has dominated all of the would-be contenders, including Urijah Faber. Barao hasn’t lost since 2005 and has 20 finishes since that time.

8. Demetrious Johnson (17-2-1) – Johnson is the fastest fighter in the UFC and he has great wrestling and conditioning. The 125-pound division doesn’t have a lot of superstars yet, but Johnson is the king of that hill and has looked impressive on top.

9. Gilbert Melendez (21-3) – Melendez gave a good accounting for himself in his UFC debut, nearly beating Henderson for the lightweight title. After a lengthy run as champion in Strikeforce’s lightweight division, Melendez looks to be a real force in the UFC’s 155-pound division.

10. Johny Hendricks (15-1) – Hendricks doesn’t have the look of a dominant MMA star, but he keeps beating the big names that get thrown before him. A great wrestler already, Hendricks has developed the most powerful hands in the welterweight division and he has now cleared out the division, leaving himself and St. Pierre on top. The two will meet later this year and that should be an epic fight.

After loss to Jon Jones, Chael Sonnen should call it a career

nullChael Sonnen has done a good job running his mouth, but now, his mouth may not be able to support his fighting career.

After losing to Anderson Silva in an underwhelming performance back at UFC 148, Sonnen was stopped in 4:33 against UFC light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, on Saturday night at UFC 159.

Sonnen didn’t really deserve a title fight in the first place. He hadn’t fought at 205 pounds in the UFC in over six years, yet somehow got an immediate title fight with Jones.

Sonnen can sell a fight, but even his promos are outdated and tiresome. If you really want to know where Chael Sonnen gets his material, watch tapes of pro wrestling from the 90s.

I will give credit to Sonnen for being one of the best at 185 pounds, but he had no business competing against Jones on Saturday night, and with an unimpressive loss in the first round, he finds himself without any direction for his career.

A rematch with Silva isn’t in the cards and he certainly isn’t going to talk his way into a rematch with Jones after failing to put forth much offense on Saturday night.

Sonnen should do what he does best and that is sell fights, but not for himself, for the UFC. He should stick to being a broadcaster and realize that he had a successful career, despite not winning a title.