Chat with Jon Anik
A new episode of MMA Live, which debuted on ESPN.com and ESPN Mobile TV in May of 2008, airs every Thursday at 3 p.m. ET. MMA Live can also be seen whenever it fits your schedule. Just head to the MMA Live video hub on ESPN.com. Anik is joined on the show by two lead analysts: Top UFC Lightweight contender Kenny Florian, and MMA writer Franklin McNeil. Suggestions for the show? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Anik started at ESPN in February of 2006 working for ESPN Radio, before moving over to the digital media platforms early in 2007. An avid MMA advocate and fan, Anik has hosted a boxing radio show in Boston for the last four years, covering more than 25 championship fights in Las Vegas and throughout the United States.
Send your questions now and join Anik in chat every Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET!
Jon Anik (2:26 PM)
Hello MMA Nation! We are back for another MMA Live chat. Then, be sure to check out the newest episode of the show. I've got a 1-on-1 with Kimbo Slice, and we break down the entire EliteXC: Heat main card. Let's vent.
With Henderson and Franklin fighting in January at 205 likely removing them from consideration and assuming that Bisping is the UK coach, who do see as the US coach for TUF9?
Jon Anik (2:30 PM)
Sorry for the delay...technical difficulties. I am not sure the Hendo-Franklin fight necessarily eliminates those guys from TUF9. I think Henderson could still coach, as long as he beats Franklin. Otherwise, I don't think there is an obvious 185-pounder to coach alongside Bisping. And, there's still no guarantee Bisping gets by Leben.
Tim (Wilmington, NC)
First off Jon how'd you like that call of Hendo vs. Franklin from last week?? But seriously how good is UFC 92 gonna be with three fights of Main Event quality. I gotta ask which UFC are you looking forward to more, 91 or 92.
Jon Anik (2:31 PM)
You called it, Tim, as did several others. But nice going. UFC 92 is definitely the better card, top to bottom. But...with Couture-Lesnar, and my man Florian at UFC 91, I would say I am more looking forward to that one. And, I will be there.
I've spoken to a few people in the inner MMA circle who are convinced that performance enhancing drugs are a major issue in the current MMA Landscape. Have you heard any of these rumors? It would make sense in a sport like this.
Jon Anik (2:32 PM)
I think performance-enhancing drugs are an issue in MMA, just like other sports. Until there is a viable, non-invasive test for human growth hormone, I expect it will remain an issue. I do think steroid usage is down, however.
Hey Jon, Do you think Shamrock fights it smart vs. kimbo this weekend and takes it to the ground, or will his ego get in the way again? Also who you got in this fight?
Jon Anik (2:34 PM)
I am absolutely shocked that the betting line has closed considerably in recent weeks. I think Shamrock has virtually no chance. He says he wants to exchange with Kimbo on his feet, which is a mistake. It's not gonna be pretty.
Nathan (Columbus Ohio)
Ken Flo does a great job on the show and I like the way he fights. That being said I really feel like Joe Daddy dominates this fight. Thoughts?
Jon Anik (2:35 PM)
Other than his fight with Sean Sherk, I think this will be Kenny's toughest fight to date. Stevenson prevents far more challenges than Roger Huerta.
Jon what's happening? - after Jake Shields is victorious on Saturday, and with KJ Noons not fighting Diaz - and the possibility of a Diaz/Alvarez fight fading (because IMO Eddie should fight Hellboy next) - could we see Shields/Diaz for the WW strap next? I mean we all know Diaz can fight at WW....just for a marketable fight?
Jon Anik (2:36 PM)
Hey pal. It could happen. But, according to my sources, I think it is more realistic that Shields will fight Matt Lindland in a co-promoted event between EliteXC and Affliction.
Mark (Mount Pleasant, MI)
Has there been any information regarding the nature of the UFC's international expansion? We just had the even in Manila, how long til a show there? How long until we see similar events in Germany or Spain?
Jon Anik (2:38 PM)
All I can say on that front, Mark, is that international expansion remains a huge UFC priority. Lorenzo Fertitta has been all over the world in recent months. Philippines show is lined up for next summer, and several other new destinations should follow. I would guess the UFC touches down in Germany before 2010.
Joe (St. Louis, MO)
I'm right on time today, Jon! Why put Franklin against Hendo at 205? Shouldn't we be building 185lb contenders to fight Anderson Silva? Henderson has already said he wants another shot, and in my eyes, is the only man capable of beating Anderson. What do you think?
Jon Anik (2:40 PM)
Nice to have you as always, Joe. I think the UFC doesn't want to see Franklin fight Anderson Silva again. So, were he to beat Henderson, or even Bisping, at 185, he would become the top MW contender, a scenario the UFC is seemingly trying to avoid. But I think Henderson can beat Franklin, and then return to 185. I agree that Henderson may be the only UFC middleweight capable of beating Silva.
Jon - isn't it amazing how we have seen nothing in an article, speculated, etc. about a UFC event in Rio? Imagine the atmosphere - - -
Jon Anik (2:41 PM)
It is strange that Brazil hasn't been mentioned. But I'd think it would only be a matter of time.
Leo (Boston MA)
Jon any chance of a Lidell vs Lyoto matchup?
Jon Anik (2:42 PM)
I think the UFC would rather Chuck's next fight against a more beatable opponent. But someday, sure.
D. Barros (Cape Verde)
Hey Jon, HUGE fan of the show. Heard you interviewed Kimbo. Do you think that within his "character" that he truly fears deep inside that Shamrock could expose him on the ground?
Jon Anik (2:44 PM)
Thanks, D. We've got Kimbo on the show today, and there will also be an extended interview with him available at espn.com. As for fearing Shamrock, I don't think Kimbo is taking him lightly. But fear of being exposed on the ground? Nope.
Stephen (south carolina)
Wanderlei Silva vs Rampage III has been confirmed for UFC 92 along with Forrest Griffin vs Rashad Evans. Who do you think will win. This card is stacking up very nicely.
Jon Anik (2:47 PM)
UFC 92 is loaded. I'm still a bit uneasy with Rampage's training situation. Wolfslair is highly regarded, but we don't even know exactly who Jackson's trainer is. Right now, several months removed from the fight, I like Wanderlei to beat him for a third time. And, as stated prior, I will not pick against Forrest Griffin until he loses again. Been burned too many times.
Leroy Jenkins (DA BRONX!!!)
are we ever going to see Kimbo Slice fight someone who either isnt past there prime or a person who looks like they can fight but actually has the cordination of a newborn baby deer
Jon Anik (2:49 PM)
I see they've got a lot of time on their hands in Da Bronx without any Yankee playoff games. I did see Derek Jeter in a G2 commercial, though. As for Kimbo facing a legit opponent, I feel your pain. But I think Brett Rogers is a legitimate mixed martial artist, and that is who I expect will be Kimbo's next opponent.
So - if EXC and Affliction co-promote and event - would Strikeforce and DREAM be represented as well? There would be some wonderful matchup all-around.
Jon Anik (2:50 PM)
It's definitely exciting to think about some of the potential match-ups. A lot of the fighters involved have non-exclusive contracts that allow for crossover.
Kimbo Slice vs Brett Rogers? How about Kimbo Slice vs Andre Arvovski? Are these fights possible?
Jon Anik (2:51 PM)
There is no way EliteXC would allow Kimbo, at such a green stage of his career, to get in the ring/cage with Arlovski. Anything is possible, but Kimbo ain't fighting Arlovski anytime soon. And, AA has bigger fish to fry anyway.
Tim South Dakota
Jon Just curious why do it seems all the current fighters like Mir, Florian and others pick Randy over Brock. I just don't see Randy being able to handle Brocks size speed agility and power how do you feel and why do these other fighters think Randy is going to win even though he has much more experience
Jon Anik (2:53 PM)
Well, not all of the fighters I have talked to are picking Randy. But I also think it's hard for some of the current fighters to go (on the record) against an MMA legend, such as Couture. I know Mir holds Lesnar in high regard, and was a bit surprised at the conviction behind his prediction.
Actually Jon I just signed a contract with Elitexc to fight Kimbo if he gets by Shamrock.
Jon Anik (2:53 PM)
Chris (Harrisonburg, VA)
Jon, Bisping vs Leben. Do you think Bisping has enough power to drop Leben or do you think he's better off trying to out point him? Or Leben for the win?
Jon Anik (2:54 PM)
Bisping is much more dangerous at 185. One of our MMA Live producers insists that Leben will win. I think Bisping wins a methodical fight, and takes it via decision.
Kris Kopper (Kellyport, Maine)
Jon, I like the way people style their hair and dress on your show. Have you considered adding facial hair to your wardrobe in order to "toughen up" a bit since you are representing a combat sport?
Jon Anik (2:57 PM)
From your post to my bosses' ears! They let Florian do whatever he wants, and I've got to be clean-shaven every day. It's far easier to pick up women with a little scruff.
With the Pitbull on the Elite XC card headlined by Ken Shamrock and Kimbo Slice! How good to you expect the ratings to be on Saturday?
Jon Anik (2:59 PM)
Good to have you again, Mikey. Firstly, I would say I don't expect the addition of the Arlovski-Nelson fight to lead to a ratings spike. The hardcore fans would've tuned in anyway. I think the rating will be okay, but below a 4.0, and it certainly won't be as successful as EliteXC's first CBS show.
How bout a huerta/Nate Diaz fight in the near future??
Jon Anik (3:00 PM)
First I've heard of that possible match-up, and I like it. The UFC is trying to figure out what to do with Huerta. I believe he has just one fight left on his deal.
Buy/Sell Fedor - Overheem before Fedor - Barnett?
Jon Anik (3:01 PM)
Good question. Sell. I think Barnett could very well get Fedor in January.
Seth (Augusta, Ga)
Lets just hope Joe Son remembers his cup. Jon- who do you see Brian Bowles fighting next in the WEC? He seems to be the next in line to fight the Torres/Tapia winner. Does he sit on the sidelines until then or take a chance and fight? At such an early stage in his career seems like he needs some more cage time.
Jon Anik (3:02 PM)
I've been impressed with WEC's Bowles. That said, I do not think he's ready for Torres. Perhaps he could fight Tapia, if Tapia loses.
Mike Wichita, Ks
I like the attention Kimbo Slice is bringing to the sport of MMA. I have heard people knock him for cursing in interviews. Who cares really. Dana White curses all the time. If Kimbo insists on calling out fighters much more experienced then him why wont EXC let him fight them? Whos trains Kimbos submission game?
Jon Anik (3:04 PM)
Mike, we definitely had to pluck a few cusses out of Kimbo's responses. But I agree. Not a big deal. I swear entirely too much when I'm not on-camera. As for Kimbo bringing attention to the sport, you're right. The hardcores get all bent out of shape, but like it or not, Kimbo Slice is the most recognized mixed martial artist in North America. Press is press.
Marc (Malden, MA)
We have all seen questionable decisions over the years. But boxing has 12 rounds in which to correct a mistake, where MMA fights are only 3 or 5 rounds. As a way to combat that, has there been any thought to increasing the number of judges from 3 to 5?
Jon Anik (3:05 PM)
We get asked that question quite a bit. The margin for error is certainly greater in MMA because of the length of the fights. But, for a variety of reasons, I just don't see them adding more judges.
Props to my home state boy KenFlo...no one has mentione the return of Shogun at UFC 93, how do you like him against Coleman and does a win put him back towards the top of the LHW division?
Jon Anik (3:07 PM)
Yes, Kevin. I know some people aren't all that enamored with the Shogun-Coleman rematch at UFC 93. But I do think Rua will be back in the mix with a W.
The Vera v Jardine fight is interesting to me. When/if Vera wins where does that put him in the scope of the 205 division in your opinion.
Jon Anik (3:08 PM)
Answering this question...while still trying to get the bad taste of my mouth from Vera's uninspired win over Reese Andy. I think Vera is several wins away from contention at 205.
Jon, sorry I am late to this chat. I am a rabid fan of MMA and your delicious show. Anik, my brohan automatic, who do you think Randy Couture fights if he beats Lesnar?
Jon Anik (3:10 PM)
Well, if Randy wins, it would seem to me that the UFC should go follow through and complete its mini heavyweight tournament. That would see Couture face the Mir-Noguiera winner. But, if a Fedor fight can be made, I just don't think anything will stand in the way, whether Couture wins or loses.
I read today that Affliction is going to move it's January date based on the UFC running a PPV head to head with it. Does this mean that all Dana has to do is schedule a show everytime they have one and they will never have another PPV.
Jon Anik (3:12 PM)
What the UFC is doing remains good business, but it's just not good for the sport. I hadn't read that Affliction was now going to move its show. If that's the case, it's too bad. Also, ask yourself this: If I was Dana White/UFC, would I be doing the same thing? With the UFC's overloaded pool of talent, it's hard to argue with their methodology.
Arnie Enfield, CT
Diego Sanchez will knock out Thiago Alves, prediction right here, what do you think?
Jon Anik (3:12 PM)
Florian and I were going back and forth on this fight today. I lean towards Sanchez right now, but I will wait until the week before the fight to go on the record with a prediction.
Arsad Hussein (Daytona Beach)
Jon, sports like NBA have strict rules based on if a player bleeds, he has to leave the game for one play or until the wound is cleaned and closed to prevent the passing of blood born illnesses. Why are fighters in combat sports willing to take this chance?
Jon Anik (3:14 PM)
Given the nature of combat sports, I would think fighters would undergo more testing to make sure they are clean. But blood is just part of the sport, and something fighters get acclimated to.
Mike Wichita, Ks.
What do you and the other MMA Live guys think about the WAMMA? Do you think MMA needs an official ranking system like this?
Jon Anik (3:16 PM)
I have proposed to the powers that be that we come up with our own MMA Live rankings to use as a consistent reference point on the show. I was shot down, at least for the time being. I communicate with some of the guys who vote on the WAMMA panel. So, even though the UFC does not recognize it, I do. And when I'm looking at rankings, WAMMA is my first stop. Sherdog.com a close second. Although they don't have Florian as a top ten lightweight, which is a mockery of a travesty.
Seth (Augusta, Ga)
I'm not sure anybody is ready for Torres at 135, guys a beast. But its still a fight you have to take given the circumstances. With that said...what are the chances of seeing a Faber/Torres fight soon? Perhaps at a catch weight of 140. I'd buy that fight on PPV!
Jon Anik (3:18 PM)
It's a fight that the masses always clamor for. So...I think it will happen. Many believe Faber is more likely to move up to 155, as opposed to down to 135. But that may not be the case. Not sure Urijah is in any huge rush to join the ranks of the UFC lightweights anyway. I know he'd like the $$$$ associated with a BJ Penn fight, but there are a lof of tough outs at 155.
Chris (Harrisonburg, VA)
Jon, is it just me or does KenFlo look like Ben Stiller?
Jon Anik (3:19 PM)
You wouldn't be the first to tell him that.
Manny (Sylvester, HI)
Aloha brah. What's good in your neighborhood? I have to ask you Jon, the Gracies are known for two things: 1) inventing what we know now as MMA and 2) constantly procreating. With those two facts in mind, why haven't they produced a viable UFC contender in a long, long time considering how many kids they have and nephews and spawns.
Jon Anik (3:20 PM)
Hi Manny. I like the question. I don't have a great answer. I'm sure someone in MMA Nation will chime in. Who is the best up-and-coming Gracie? I don't even know.
Hanky (West Haven, CT)
All I ever hear is hype about how good this guy Cung Lee is? Why is he never on national TV or in the UFC if he is this good jon?
Jon Anik (3:21 PM)
Cung Le is awesome. Problem is, his life doesn't revolve around MMA, at least right now. He's got a movie career, and just doesn't fight all that often. I expect 2009 to be a huge year for Cung Le. He's a terrific fighter, and marketable.
ryan -- maine
i know you thought junie browning was a beast, but does his personality in the house discourage you from being a fan? he's a cross between leben and jeremy may!!
Jon Anik (3:22 PM)
Personality is certainly part of the equation. More thoughts next week. I DVR'd last night's episode.
Marc (Malden, MA)
Anderson Silva says he's bored. Dana White doesn't like guys to get bored. Next for Silva: title shot at 205?
Jon Anik (3:23 PM)
I think Silva is just politicking for more money.
Jon Anik (3:24 PM)
Guys, I hate to cut it short, but I'm being summoned to tape an interview with Ken Shamrock. And, it should be up on espn.com later today. MMA Live will also be up shortly, as will my 1-on-1 with Kimbo. I promise to chat longer next week. Enjoy the show. -JA