There was no UFC last week, but that didn’t stop the ever-moving news cycle of MMA to keep spinning. It’s been an interesting week that entails the arrival of a potential Superstar and some controversy around the UFC Apex this weekend.
It’s been a long time since a prospect has taken the combat sports world by storm the way Bo Nickal has. He hasn’t even made his official UFC debut yet and many are predicting him to be a future UFC Champion. Nickal won his 2nd fight in Dana White’s Contender Series this past Tuesday where he finished Donovan Beard in 52 seconds. This was Nickal’s 2nd win in 7 weeks on the Contender’s Series which earned him a UFC contract. Nickal walked up to Dana White immediately after the fight and told him he wanted to fight in December.
Less than 48 hours after earning a UFC contract, the UFC booked Nickal in a fight against Jamie Pickett at UFC 282 this December. Nickal opened as an astronomical favorite at -1800. It’s unprecedented for the UFC to book a winner of DWCS in a fight this fast, but that’s the speed Bo Nickal wants to move at. He’s only 3-0, but he’s already talking about becoming the pound-for-pound #1 fighter in the world and is calling for a fight against Khamzat Chimaev.
Bo Nickal has every reason to be confident. He grew up in athletics as both of his parents were college athletes. Nickal is a former 3x NCAA Division 1 National Champion and the 2019 winner of the Dan Hodge Trophy which recognizes the most outstanding collegiate wrestler in the United States. He’s no stranger to the bright lights, as he’s wrestled for National Championships at a sold-out Madison Square Garden and has had media attention throughout his collegiate career as a Penn State wrestler.
When you have a promising prospect that says he’s going to be the pound-for-pound #1 fighter in the world by July of 2024, you have to pay attention. That’s Bo Nickal.
Of all the fighters on the UFC roster, Conor McGregor is the only one that hasn’t been tested by USADA in 2022. All UFC fighters are subject to year-round testing and can face suspension if they refuse to be tested. A fighter like John Hathaway who hasn’t competed in the UFC since 2014, which was one year before USADA started testing UFC fighters, has been tested in 2022 while Conor McGregor hasn’t.
TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter reached out to the UFC and McGregor’s management team about the matter, but both declined to comment. McGregor hasn’t competed since shattering his ankle in July of 2021 against Dustin Poirier at UFC 264. It’s unclear when McGregor will return to action, as he’s currently filming the remake of the 1989 movie Road House alongside Jake Gyllenhaal.
It’s important to note that McGregor has always been an advocate of a clean sport and has been vocal against fighters that have used performance-enhancing drugs. Why he hasn’t been tested yet remains a mystery.
It was reported earlier this week that the UFC Apex would be closed to media and the public for UFC Fight Night: Dern vs. Yan. No reasons were provided as to why this would be a closed event. On Tuesday, the UG’s John Morgan asked Dana White why the event was being closed. Dana smiled and refused to answer.
The next day, Ariel Helwani reported that the UFC closing its doors to media and fans was something to do with Mark Zuckerberg. The headliner for this weekend’s card, MacKenzie Dern then said in an interview that Zuckerberg rented out the Apex for Saturday's event. Zuckerberg has become a huge MMA fan over the past few years and has said that his wife’s favorite fighter is MacKenzie Dern, so it’s not surprising that he’d want to watch her compete in person.
After Dern revealed these details, the internet blew up with this story which led to Dana White tweeting that the news of Zuckerberg renting out the UFC Apex was ‘total bullsh*t’. Is Dana telling the truth? Did MacKenzie Dern have false information? Or is the UFC about to enter the Metaverse? We’re about to find out on Saturday.
The Professional Fighters League announced this week that their 2022 Championship event will be on PPV through ESPN+ in the United States. The event will take place on November 25th at the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden. Not since Bellator 120 in May of 2014, has an MMA promotion outside the UFC attempted a PPV event. The price of the PPV hasn’t been announced yet.
This is shaping up to be the PFL’s biggest card in history, with 6 Championship fights headlined by Kayla Harrison along with a special feature fight between Shane Burgos and Marlon Moraes. There have been talks of the PFL adding another featured fight on the card between two notable fighters.
Khamzat Chimaev calls out Colby Covington.
Maryna Moroz becomes the first fighter in UFC history to be featured on a Playboy Centerfold.
John Hathaway is returning to MMA after an 8-year absence.
Kelvin Gastelum will headline the first UFC card of 2023 against Nassourdine Imavov.
Scott Coker is interested in making Anderson Silva vs. Fedor Emelianenko.
What did you think about this edition of OverUnder? Let us know by sending us a DM on Twitter or Instagram. We answer everyone back. Remember, we're bringing you the best stories in combat sports every Friday at 8 AM ET. Tell a friend.