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Sam Caplan pointed out something kinda odd … tucked in at the bottom of Steve Sievert’s Brawl Sports article on Nate Marquardt is this interesting paragraph:

In the meantime, Marquardt waits for his next opportunity to get in the cage. He has one fight left on his current UFC deal, and, according to his agent, the promotion has yet to contact Marquardt to make that fight or initiate discussions on a contract extension.

Okay, we’re the first people to admit that Nate Marquard has less personality than most people in a persistent vegetative state. His fights aren’t exactly setting the world on fire … the only interesting bout I’ve seen him in was was only great because Anderson Silva beat the shit out of him in it.

That being said, beggars can’t be choosers and right now the UFC is hitting urine-stained beggar status with their shitty middleweight division. Their TUF prospects keep dropping the ball and their grizzled veterans are either recovering alcoholics or in a permanent state of injury. If the best they can field is a couple snorefest fighters like Okami and Marquardt, then so be it.

If the UFC lets Marquardt go, that’ll be yet another mistake they’ve made in babysitting their middleweight division back to health. The UFC needs guy like him and Yushin Okami to be legitimate middle of the pack threats to bounce their marketable contenders off of. Never mind the fact that these guys are boring! At least keeping them around as token fighters keeps your Middleweight top five from being laughably littered with Ultimate Fighter washups.

Sam Caplan is reporting that the IFL live show drew a .4 rating on Saturday night:

It’s believed that the company considers the show a success because the numbers were a 20% increase from the previous week’s taped broadcast. MyNetworkTV was also able to sell out the ad inventory for the hour and there was additional press coverage of the IFL leading up to the first live telecast.

Right now a plan is being put in place to secure a two-hour live telecast on MyNetworkTV for the World Grand Prix finals on Dec. 29. that would start at 8 p.m. ET. The lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, and heavyweight titles would be decided with the idea of the show serving as an unofficial lead-in for the UFC 79 pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET.

MyNetworkTV might consider 0.4 a success, but to put things in context, the first three weeks of IFL Battleground drew a 0.7, 0.6, and 0.8 rating. To me, the current ratings they’re getting are pretty dismal because instead of representing the 0.4 that watched, it really shows how many viewers they’ve lost and can’t get back even with the promise of live shows.

This just confirms that there’s no quick fix that will make things better for the IFL … a lot of people have already made their minds up regarding the quality of their product and are sick of wasting their time on it.

I hope new head honcho Jay Larkin pushes his ideas through and makes a very clear distinction between this season and the next one, because if I didn’t have to cover the IFL on account of running this site, I wouldn’t bother coming back unless there were major obvious changes.

After soundly defeating Matte Kessler on Saturday night, Joe Calzaghe and his manager threw down the gauntlet and challenged Bernard Hopkins to a fight. Not knowing a lot about boxing past the fact that it’s generally fucked up, I doubted we’d get to see this fight any time soon. But it looks like Hopkins is willing and eager to fight as well:

“He said after the fight that he would fight me anywhere, even in my backyard, but I’m not asking him to come to Philadelphia,” Hopkins said. “I wouldn’t ask him to come to anywhere but Yankee Stadium. Hopefully for boxing, and for our legacy, it will happen.”

Hopkins is keenly aware of the storied boxing history of the fabled building that will close in 2008. Legends Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali, among others, all fought at Yankee Stadium, and Hopkins wants to be part of a final fight there.

“How great would it be,” Hopkins said. “This is a big fight. What a great promotion. The Brits will come. They got a direct flight from there to New York City. So am I interested in the fight? Absolutely. Do I feel I can give him his first loss? Yes. Can I neutralize the best weapon my opponent has and use it against him? Yes. His best weapon is that he throws a lot of punches. I know how to adjust to any style out there.”

This sounds pretty damned good. Is it just me or has boxing finally gotten it’s head out of it’s ass and started showing some damned good fights. With the help of Mayweather/De La Hoya, their PPV revenues have hit a new record, and that’s without several other big PPV fights over the course of the next two months.

As I’ve said before, I’m not a huge boxing fan. But if the quality and quantity of main events stays up like this, I might have to change my stance on the sport.

Holy shit! We’ve recorded an epic Low Blow which clocks in at 90 fucking minutes! That’s right! It’s a FightOpinion length expedition the likes of which we’ve never recorded before. As we promised, this episode is all about the fucking mailbag, except for the first ten minutes which is devoted to two girls and one cup.

33 questions were asked and 33 questions were answered. You can download the show here, or stream it using our handy dandy talkshoe applet. For those of you into that kinky shit, we’re also available on the iTunes.

So the big news over the weekend was that Fedor released a statement saying he wanted to fight on NYE in Japan. The statement was full of really gay engrish rhetoric like “Your wishes come true when you ask for it come New Year’s Eve” and left most people in America scratching their heads. But hey … this wasn’t really for us. This release was for the Japanese.

Open letters saying you want to fight generally don’t work that well, even if you are one of the top fighters on the planet. But in Japan, you’d be surprised at how they get sucked into this kind of shit. I’ll bet you a couple million yen ($4 worth to be exact) everyone in the Japanese fight industry is lactating over Fedor’s message. At this exact moment red faced execs are bowing at eachother and shouting for a “GREAT DECLARATION FOR FEDOR’S MAGIC WISH”.

Zach Arnold says the old Dream Stage guys are trying to put together a show by backpacking it in the same arena as their super retardo HUSTLE NYE show. So that’s one possibility, I suppose. K1 is always a possibility although rumor has it Fedor’s ‘wish’ comes with a pricetag that makes it financially unaffordable. Apparently K1 only likes to burn one huge pile of cash a year, and this year that pile was the US Dynamite show.

If this was anyone other than the Japanese, I would say there’s no way in fucking hell Fedor will be fighting on NYE. But the Japanese are weirdos, and god knows if there’s honor or spirits or destiny involved, anything is possible.

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