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Now before I continue, let me remind you that HBO rejected a deal with the UFC over who would get to produce the show. They felt that they wanted control of the product so as not to ‘cheapen their brand’. With that fact in mind, try to fathom this: HBO is broadcasting the IFL on their Latin American channel.

The anticipated announcement is very interesting because while HBO is only committed to televising the IFL on its Latin American channel, they still elected to go with IFL programming as opposed to other options that were available to them. One would think that if HBO decides to televise MMA on its English-language channels that the IFL has a bit of an edge.

As Sam Caplan implied, this could very well be the precursor to a full deal with HBO. And why not? The IFL’s new Emperor Jay Larkin ran Showtime’s boxing division for over a decade and gave HBO a run for it’s money. If anyone knows what Larkin is capable of accomplishing, it’s HBO. And I have no doubt that Larkin is perfectly happy giving HBO carte blanche to do whatever the fuck they want to do. The IFL is also in a ring, which is sure to comfort the old fucks running HBO.

Anyways, all this is speculation on my part but the more I think of it, the more it starts to make sense. Although I can’t help thinking Dana White will be peeing his pants with glee if HBO picks the IFL.

We already know that UFC 82 is going to be on March 1st in Columbus Ohio. I think most of us were assuming that UFC83 would be in Fightlinker’s backyard of Montreal on April 19th. But now we have news that the UFC may be planning another UK event between those two dates, and it will be UFC83:

Ready to devote himself fully to MMA from now on, the BJJ black belt told Sherdog.com that he will return to the Octagon at UFC 83. He knows that he will not have an easy time.

“MMA to me now is a road without return,” Maia explained. “I go back in UFC 83, in March, in England. I think they will give me some tough guy.”

Seems like the deluge of events in January and February isn’t going to slow down any time soon. Which is great, because events are the fuel that keeps this clunker of a site rolling through the poop that is the MMA news grind.

Let me tell you, it’s not always that easy being the prick of the MMA blogosphere. We love mixed martial arts, we’re fans of the fighters and we’re fans of a lot of the other guys out there running websites too. There’s rarely a post we put up that I don’t look at wondering “Have we gone too far with this? Are we past being funny and now just being petty and spiteful?”

Don’t worry, though. We’re not going ‘soft’ any time soon. But I’d like to think that our constant self-evaluation manages to keep us relatively in check. We never want to become a celebrity tabloid-like site which shits on people regardless of if they do good or bad. And we don’t want to single out or hound anyone past a few days worth of irrelevant blabber mixed with a joke about horse cocks. In short, we really do try to keep things fun and light around here.

With that being said, we’re not so far up our own asses that we aren’t willing to admit when we’ve ‘gone too far’. And I will say that we probably did just that with our post about Ryan Gracie’s death. I’m not apologizing for it because of what other people think. I personally just feel a bit off about it.

Anyways, I dunno really know where I’m going with this … I suppose the main gist of it is that we churn out a buttload of content and we try to keep it all up to a certain standard of quality and a certain twisted but nonetheless valid form of morality. We don’t always succeed, but I just wanted to put it out there that we do TRY.

Shit, it’s HDNet day here at Fightlinker. All stories relating to HDNet, all day! I should make Mark Cuban cut me a check or something. For this bit of HDNet news, we have our favorite whipping boy Sam Caplan from Five Ounces of Pain on this week’s Inside MMA show. Overall it was relatively entertaining, but I think they really need to tighten the show’s format. Do a news desk, then do a roundtable. Don’t try to mix all that shit together, it just felt like a bad MMA version of Entertainment Tonight.

One quote of interest from Sam during the show was his opinion on Rio Heroes:

I have a major problem with it, it takes MMA back to the dark ages, you know. MMA for so long was socially unacceptable and now you’re going back to that ruleset … it’s not good for the sport.

While I’m glad to hear that Sam shares my feeling on this subject, I’m a bit surprised. As we mentioned on Friday, Five Ounces of pain is a Rio Heroes affiliate … while they didn’t run banners for Rio Heroes, they did link back to the show with an affiliate URL in order to make money.

I’m interested to know if this is just the result of Sam not knowing what his writers are up to or if this is another case where he’s trying to ‘keep it real’ while selling out via the backdoor.

For an event with very little sizzle on the card, HDNet Fights sure is making up for it by whipping up some decent news. Tucked into one of the dozens of articles on Randy Couture’s interview comes this:

Another embattled UFC heavyweight was a guest at the HDNet Fights show, as former champion Andrei Arlovski was present at the show and post fight press conference.

“I will fight very soon,” Arlovski stated about his fight career.

Sources close to the fighter confirmed to MMAWeekly.com that Arlovski is also waiting out his UFC contract which according to them expires in April and at that time the Belarus native will look to move on to another organization.

Well shit. When the UFC bought Pride, everyone thought it was heralding the dawn of a new era for their heavyweight division. Instead we’ve got Nog and Crocop floundering, no Barnett, no Hunt, and we’ve lost Randy. And now possibly Andrei too? Fucknuggets.

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