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It’s funny how small events can make big differences in the MMA world. A young rising star named Brandon Vera (or his manager depending on who you believe) holds out on the UFC for more moneyz. Truth got to get paid, son! Anyhows, this changes the heavyweight game plan for the UFC : originally Brandon was supposed to face Tim Sylvia at UFC66. Because of the contractual struggle, that wasn’t about to happen. I’m sure Dana was already working on all of the signings which have now been revealed … Herring, Crocop, Nogueria, Werdum, etc. So he wasn’t about to cave for the guy who’s biggest win was against a flabby Frank Mir. The only issue was what to do about UFC66. Enter Randy Couture, who turned things on their heads by beating Tim Sylvia.

Now things are completely different. Where Brandon Vera was once at the top of the UFC heavyweight food chain, now he’d be lucky to be considered in the top 5. Who knows how many extremely difficult opponents he’ll have to face before getting back to the spot he occupied a mere six months ago by proxy. It’s too early to say if Vera will live up to the hype and initial promise he’s shown, or if he’ll be exposed as a nothing more than a middle talent fighter who did well in a weak division. But one thing is for sure : Brandon Vera had a window of opportunity to become the UFC heavyweight champion, and he lost it. The relatively easy path that once lay before him is gone, and now he’s going to have to claw his way back to the top.

“ESPN News” is going to be showing the UFC71 weigh ins live. At the same time ESPN.com will be showing a streaming video of Greg Savage eating 200 tacos. Is ESPN News even a real channel? Is that better or worse than ESPN8 – The Ocho?

I don’t know if it can get any worse for Gracie Fighting Championships. With all the problems they’ve been having, the only possible explanation is some sort of vile gypsy curse. The latest woe to befall GFC is the loss of yet another fighter, some unknown guy named Jeff Monson who was headlining the show or something. This marks the 513th time graphic designers have had to go back and change all the promotional material for this show. At this point, the only original guys from the main card left are Emo-Fonz lookalike Thomas Denny and grappler Ronaldo Jacare. If I was a ticket buyer I’d be fucking pissed. This is like buying Fruit Loops and finding out the box is full of All Bran.

Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for more changes to the GFC card, followed by the canceling of the entire show, followed by the ritual seppuku of the show’s promoters.

(above image: UFC’s middleweight contenders as laid out on NBC Sports.com)

Included in a short article about Jonathan Goulet fighting Travis Axworthy at TKO29 is the fact that Goulet is going to fight at middleweight until he’s back in the UFC, where he will return to welterweight.

I’ve already mentioned this a few times in the past, but I have no idea what the fuck anyone is thinking trying to crack the UFC welterweight division right now. Any advantage you would get as a large fighter cutting hard into the welterweight division is immediately lost. Why? Because you’re facing a long list of the most skilled and dedicated fighters in mixed martial arts. In comparison, the UFC middleweight division is so weak for talent and personality that the current contenders list consists of Rich Franklin, Rich Franklin, Rich Franklin and Rich Franklin. The rest of the division is jam packed full of easy prey … TUF fighters who are still developing and would be a cakewalk for someone of Goulet’s skill and experience.

So why the hell is Goulet thinking of going back to welterweight if he gets a call from the UFC? Why the hell would anyone want to fight in that division? Here’s where some classic martial arts philosophy would be useful : Take the path of least resistance, idiot!

Those who have been keeping up with Evan Tanner understand that he’s a few sides short of an octagon. Tanner left the UFC over a year ago in order to spend more time on Myspace and to grow what he hoped would become the world’s largest beard. Now he’s now apparently getting ready to stage his return. No word yet on if he’ll keep the beard, but I hope so. Also no word yet on if he’ll be the same Evan Tanner of the past who crushed people’s skulls and drank the delicious goo held within. A lot of his myspace blogs have a bunch of spiritual hippy shit about turning the other cheek and respecting your fellow man. So I guess we’ll have to wait and see if our man has gone soft, or if he’ll fight like the bearded stallion he is!

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