It’s shaping up to be a big year in the world of combat sports and there was a lot of news that dropped this week to confirm that. From Conor McGregor to Jorge Masvidal, we discuss it all in the 21st edition of OverUnder.
Paradigm Sports filed a lawsuit against Manny Pacquiao.
Nick Diaz is appearing in a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie.
Alex Pereira called out Jamahal Hill.
Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor are now Instagram buddies that DM each other.
Islam Makhachev confirms Khabib won’t be in his corner at UFC 284.
John Hackleman retires from cornering after trying to call off Teixeira vs. Hill.
Dan Hooker vs. Jalin Turner is set for UFC 285.
Royce Gracie's son Khonry will fight at Bellator 293.
Joe Pyfer vs. Gerald Meerschaert is set for UFC 287.
Valerie Loureda’s professional wrestling debut match airs tonight.
John Kavanagh is ‘very, very confident’ Conor McGregor fights in 2023.
Sage Northcutt will return to fighting in May after a 4-year layoff.
Jorge Masvidal says a fight announcement is coming soon.
MMA is a lot different than conventional sports because it involves the highest highs and the lowest lows. When you have a bad performance in a baseball game, you get a chance to make up for it the next day. When you have a bad performance in MMA, your physical health could be compromised for the rest of your life. We live in a time where making fun of athletes has become normalized. It’s why it’s imperative for combat sports fans to think twice before making fun of a fighter that gets beaten into unconsciousness. A lot of fighters have to deal with serious consequences, and that’s nothing to make fun of.
While it’s imperative for MMA fans to think twice, it’s essential for media publications not to make fun of fighters. While that seems obvious, that wasn’t the case for Barstool Sports this past weekend. They published an article titled “Terrance McKinney Gets Knocked Out Cold Just Hours After Claiming Barstool Didn't Know Sports”. The article’s author, Robbie Fox wrote that McKinney was “STIFF AS A BOARD” and compared McKinney going down to a Ric Flair faceplant, with a GIF included.
It started when McKinney tweeted “Barstool isn’t known for actually knowing sports” after a Barstool employee picked his opponent Ismael Bonfim to win at UFC 283. The Barstool employee made the correct pick, but that wasn’t enough for Barstool. They made an entire article about how they were right and rubbed it in McKinney’s face. This upset McKinney, who discussed the issue in an Instagram post. Barstool is usually tongue-in-cheek with their sports coverage, and their employees don’t take themselves too seriously, but that’s where the conflict arises. This is a serious sport with serious consequences. There's nothing tongue-in-cheek about this.
On Wednesday, Conor McGregor revealed on Instagram that he’s been offered a role to coach on the upcoming season of the Ultimate Fighter, and it looks like he's interested. This is a familiar spot for McGregor, who coached the 22nd season of TUF against Urijah Faber in 2015. He initially hesitated to take the role, as filming started immediately after he defeated Chad Mendes at UFC 189. After the show ended, McGregor was happy that he got to experience it.
Now 8 years later, it’s possible we’ll see McGregor back as a coach. His life is much different now than it was 8 years ago. At the time, McGregor was a hungry fighter in the midst of one of the most historic runs in UFC history. He now has a net worth of $200 Million and doesn’t need to fight again. He doesn't need to but he still wants to. Being surrounded by a bunch of young and hungry fighters he's coaching might be the best thing for McGregor at this stage of his career. It could bring him close to the same mindset he had when he finished Jose Aldo in 13 seconds after coaching the Ultimate Fighter. McGregor knows he has to be fully immersed in the sport in order to succeed.
Since the return of TUF in 2021, Dana White said that the show will run once per year. The coaches of last year’s season were announced on February 4th, 2022. If the UFC plans on running this year’s season on a similar timeline, an announcement could be imminent. If McGregor is indeed coaching, there will be a sweepstake for the opposing coach. One possible option is Michael Chandler.
For years, Francis Ngannou has expressed interest in competing for a Heavyweight title in the world of professional boxing. This dream could soon be a reality now that Ngannou is officially a free agent. After Tyson Fury defeated Dillian Whyte in April of 2022, he brought Ngannou into the ring and discussed a possible fight with him. They discussed competing in a fight with hybrid rules. It would be a boxing match with MMA gloves on. However, the discussion of a possible fight stopped after that day. Tyson Fury didn’t bring it up again and turned his attention to other Heavyweight boxers.
Earlier this week, Fury brought Ngannou back onto his radar, saying that if a fight against Oleksandr Usyk doesn’t materialize, he wants to fight Francis Ngannou for the title of the baddest man on the planet. Fury mentioned that the fight would be contested under the classic Queensbury rules of boxing but with MMA gloves and would take place in a cage to make the fight more interesting.
Competing in a boxing fight with MMA gloves would certainly add a new dynamic to the fight as MMA gloves can’t block punches the way boxing gloves can. The visual of Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou standing in a cage with MMA gloves on would be wild. The lineal boxing Heavyweight Champion vs. the lineal UFC Heavyweight Champion.
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