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Earlier this week the UFC dropped a pretty surprising news bombshell on us: BJ Penn would not only be returning to fight again, but it would be against Frankie Edgar (for the third time) AND at 145 pounds. On the Ultimate Fighter. Yep, that’s a lot to digest. Here’s Dana White explaining WTF:

So we’re putting together the Ultimate Fighter coaches for this season. It was gonna be Urijah Faber and Frankie Edgar. Urijah Faber is at 135 pounds, Edgar is at 45. Edgar didn’t want to go to 35 and Urijah Faber wasn’t crazy about going to 45. They were talking about a catchweight fight, I don’t like catchweight fights. So this thing was all in limbo and then all of a sudden I get a text from BJ Penn.

BJ Penn texts me and says “Hey Dana, I wanna fight Ben Henderson.” And my question is always to BJ is ‘Why?’ Why, you’ve accomplished so much. You won the title two times in two different weight classes. You’ve been around forever, this that and everything else. And he says the reason why is because “I think if I beat Benson Henderson you’ll give me the fight I want which is Frankie Edgar.”

I’m like Frankie Edgar? He says “Frankie Edgar, I can beat Frankie Edgar, those two first fights were BS. I want that fight again. I wanna beat this guy so bad it’s all I want.” You know how BJ is. So then I start thinking well that fight’s at 145, BJ. He’s a 145 pounder. He says “I wanna move to 145, beat Frankie Edgar, and fight for that title.”

Say what you will about catchweight fights, but Urijah Faber vs Frankie Edgar was still a pretty compelling fight between two of the top lighter weight fighters in the sport. This BJ Penn fight just seems like a mess across the board – we just spent all of 2010 watching Frankie and BJ fight and then fight again. What strange alternate dimension is Dana White’s twitter feed picking up where people are crying out for not only another fight, but an entire season of BJ and Frankie on TUF?

On the non-negative Nancy side of things, BJ is back. And if he decides to stick around and keep fighting after Frankie (probably) beats him again, we all get to enjoy seeing more of his patented Hawaiian blitz n jitz. And that’s pretty damn okay.

Virgil Zwicker got F’d in the A

This site here is supposed to be something of a comedy site, which is why I feel bad for bumming you all out lately with so much talk about how a lot of the fighters passing through the UFC seem to be leaving worse off financially than when they went in. I don’t really blame you if you don’t feel bad for Matthew Riddle – he kinda FUBAR’d his own career – but check out this nightmare story from Strikeforce fighter Virgil Zwicker:

Their doctor basically said that they found blood clots in my brain, so I actually had to spend thousands of dollars of my own money getting cleared. Strikeforce did not help me, and none of the Zuffa people helped me pay for anything -Virgil Zwicker

Strikeforce gave me the opportunity to be the main event of a card, and they sent me to a doctor to go and do my medicals. Their doctor basically said that they found blood clots in my brain, so I actually had to spend thousands of dollars of my own money getting cleared. Strikeforce did not help me, and none of the Zuffa people helped me pay for anything, so I had to go spend $15,000 – $16,000 on about 20 different doctors and 15 different x-rays to prove to them that their doctor was wrong and there was nothing wrong with my brain.

They didn’t help with anything. I had to go do every test, step by step, myself. I almost had to do celebrity golf tournaments just to bring in money for myself, because I was broke. An MRI costs anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000, and I had to do 15 of them just to get cleared, because they made the decision to send me to some broke doctor who had some old x-ray machine with diluted film rolls. It was one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever dealt with in my career.
Continue after the Jump ››

(Not the interview referred to in this post but one I think you might enjoy watching anyways for reasons that will quickly become apparent)

Jason David Frank is a lot of things: the former green Power Ranger, a long time martial artist, a big beef slab of a man, and occasional MMA fighter with 1 pro and 4 ammy wins. All those came in 2010, and since then Frank hasn’t stepped into the cage again. But he still has opinions about the sport, as shared with Brazilian site UOL during a tour for the Power Rangers’ 20 year anniversary (aaargh, I’m oooold):

Why not face Anderson Silva, considered one of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport?

“I would love to face him. I’m not going to fight to prove my worth, I just want to meet who is really good. I like Anderson Silva because his Muay Thai is some of the best. When he takes things seriously, he wins. A great fighter,” he says.

But when the dispute is between the superheroes Power Ranger and Spider, Jason changes the speech and believes in another outcome. “The Ranger wins because his super powers are the best,” he jokes.

And it deceives those who think that the next goal of the actor is part of the select group of fighters in the UFC. Jason admits he is not a fan of Dana White and how the fighters are treated. “The Hollywood industry does not care about you, they only value you if you’re on top. The UFC is like that. Every industry is like that. Dana White is terrible, it pays very poorly in the UFC.”

Damn, what is the world coming to when a guy who made a career wearing green spandex on a kids show is shit talking your sport’s pay structure? I wonder if Dana will bust in on an episode of iCarly and dispute the Power Ranger’s take on the UFC’s pay structure. I imagine he’d then diss Frank’s post-Morphin career. “How’d that work out for you, you dumb fuck?” he’d smirk.

Renzofightpose

Watch out, UFC fighters! Renzo Gracie is talking about competing in the UFC again.

“Believe it, there’s nothing that I want to do more than to be back in the cage, to be back fighting. I just love doing that. Life has been pushing me everywhere but in that direction, but now I’m getting so tired and frustrated with everything else that I’m going to just bury myself into a mat and train the whole day, and do what I love, which is training and fighting. For sure, I’ll be fighting again… Man, I’ve just begun training again and I’m feeling good. I had a few problems in the family and now I got everything tuned up, everything is getting better. So I’m looking to be in top shape in three or four months from now, and from there I’ll set up a date.”

I don’t think there’s a person who reads this that thinks another fight in the UFC would go well for the 46 year old Gracie. Fortunately this isn’t the first time Renzo has talked about coming back for another fight ‘in a few months.’ My bet is he’s been telling people this same thing on and off for the past three years. The fact that he said it on a big platform like The MMA Hour doesn’t make it any more likely to happen … it just means more press outlets have ended up reporting his words for pageviews and profit.

This is what I like to call non-news news: stuff that ain’t gonna happen (and we all know it ain’t gonna fucking happen) that gets covered anyways because hey, it’s a sexier headline than any of today’s real but boring news. Now let’s ignore any more Renzo fighting talk and concentrate on amusing Renzo anecdotes instead. A great one about Renzo outsmarting an oversized bully after the jump.

Continue after the Jump ››

When we reported last month that the UFC had signed fighter Benjamin “The Hooligan” Brinsa, who had a pretty clear Google trail connecting him with neo-Nazi activity in Leipzig, Germany, I kinda wondered how something like this could happen. I mean, if people who call themselves Potatoes are the ones who have to come up with this information, then it seems like the UFC needs a Vice President of Fighter Googling. Dana White himself seems to double as Twitter Maven, but it seems like the UFC might be content to let this job outsource itself to the ranks of dubiously qualified (or in Fightlinker’s case, only qualified to shit on ourselves) bloggers. Now, over a month later, whatever investigation the UFC undertook is complete, and the promotion has decided to cut ties with Brinsa instead of booking him for a fight.

Nevertheless, after CagePotato broke the story of Brinsa’s alleged neo-Nazi connections, Brinsa flatly deined being a neo-Nazi. Occasionally sensitive to legal liability and/or fairness, UFC President Dana White initially took a level-headed approach, promising not to “jump the gun.” Now that the UFC has officially weighed in on the side of “he’s a Nazi,” it would be interesting to hear exactly how the call was made. Was there an actual thought process, or was a knee-jerk reaction simply delayed for a few weeks to avoid the appearance of summary execution?

In the end, this all makes me wonder exactly how close of ties someone needs to have with certain groups in order to be excluded from the extremely reputable job of cage fighter forever. I’ve wondered aloud about this before in the case of Brandon Saling, a fighter who was a white supremacist AND registered sex offender AND lied about it. In that case, the decision to not allow the fighter to compete anymore was easy, because Saling had lied about his criminal record on his fighter license application. But is it fair to exclude a professional fighter from making a living simply for having been associated with a certain group at one point in his life? What if he made mistakes in his youth but has since reformed himself?

It’s hard to see where the truth lies here, because even though the allegations against Brinsa centered around him being “associated with” certain people or “a member of” certain groups, pictures did surface of him hanging out with some people who sound like true assholes. Would it be right to insist that the UFC welcome anyone into the fold, regardless of the reason? No, not really, because the UFC is a company with a public image to worry about. But is it right to ostracize people from society in a quest to advocate politically correct ideals? That might make them less likely to stop being dicks in the future. Even though it would send a complicated message if the UFC were to promote Brinsa, it might actually increase ratings if Brinsa hammed it up and became a Nikolai Volkoff/Iron Sheik-type villain. In fact, that might be the UFC’s only remaining option to prop up its failing ratings.

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