Chat with Brett Okamoto
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com mixed martial arts writer Brett Okamoto stops by to chat about the news from the octagon.
Okamoto joined ESPN.com in December 2010. Previously, he was the boxing/MMA writer for the Las Vegas Sun newspaper and has also worked with Sports Illustrated magazine and CNN.com.
Send your questions now and join Okamoto Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Brett Okamoto (1:04 PM)
What's up chatters. Thanks for joining me as always. Another Wednesday chat ... let's see in terms of fights coming up ... a UFC event in Abu Dhabi with a Friday North American start time and Bellator 116. Nothing too crazy, but there are some fights to talk about. We've also got Pacquiao/Bradley on Saturday which I'll be attending, so feel free to float some questions about that if you have them.
Cam, Los Angeles [via mobile]
How about Holm vs Cyborg for the number one contender match while Ronda takes on Carano? I know it would eliminate one contender for Ronda but heard one of Holm's option was going to Invicta and could fight Cyborg at 135. I'm sure if your the ufc you rather have that match in the ufc so they need to sign them asap. Btw, how about Bruce Lee being in the new ufc game aren't you excited?
Brett Okamoto (1:06 PM)
Hmmm, a few thoughts. If you're managing Holm's career, why put her in a fight (anywhere) against Cyborg? The $$ fight is Ronda. And despite the fact Holm would stand no chance against Ronda, there is a little bit of steam behind that matchup. The best thing that could happen to Holm is that she stays undefeated (doesn't matter who she fights) long enough to cash in on a Rousey fight. Maybe she goes back to the boxing ring to pick up a paycheck in the meantime. Cyborg, by the way, still needs to prove she can make 135 period. After observing her last weight cut personally, I don't know. I don't play the UFC game to be honest. How can you simulate MMA in a video game? The answer is: you can't.
Jean Claude (Vermont)
If Jake Shields signs with WSOF, we could potentially have a title match of Shields vs. Fitch. How exciting!
Brett Okamoto (1:07 PM)
Give me Shields/Askren in an online ONE FC ppv by the end of the year. Seriously, done and done. I would be crazy intrigued to see that fight.
Ant (PHX) [via mobile]
Hey Brett how many more fights till Bendo gets another title shot even if they are close decisions he cant be to far away
Brett Okamoto (1:09 PM)
Two? He's "in the mix" but everybody knew he wasn't getting a title shot coming off that win over Thomson and he won't get one if he beats Rustam Khabilov. But one more after that and yeah, probably. I mean, the UFC has to give him a fight that makes sense and if he's coming off two wins at that point, the only opponent you could match him up against would be another potential No. 1 contender.
Shawn New Mexico [via mobile]
Hey Brett big fan of your chats . Who do you think Nate Diaz fights next ?
Brett Okamoto (1:12 PM)
Appreciate it ... not sure. What's going on here is Nate is unhappy because he sees what Gilbert Melendez is going to be making in his new deal, in his mind he's just as talented of a fighter as Gil is, and yet he's making a fraction of that. That is a legitimate concern ... but to just throw out a tweet here and there and now finally the comments he made to MMAFighting.com ... that's not going to be enough for the UFC to renegotiate his deal. He's kind of stuck. Unless he wants to band together with a bunch of other fighters in a similar position or goes on a media crusade to really push his point, I don't see much changing for Nate. Hard to guess his next opponent though, because who knows how long he'll sit out?
timon berlin [via mobile]
Hey brett what do u think about a match-up between diego sanchez and joe lauzon! Makes a ton of sense plus it will be fotn!
Brett Okamoto (1:13 PM)
Yeah, not a bad fight. There are a billion different good fights that involve Diego Sanchez.
Sean Orlando fla [via mobile]
What's up Brett how do you see the Ronda drama playing out and when do u think she'll fight next
Brett Okamoto (1:15 PM)
Gina Carano is meeting with Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta today ... I still just can't see how anything comes of that. How does she make 135? If the UFC makes a catchweight fight between her and Rousey, I mean, that's almost indefensible. They've said that won't happen, so that only leaves a fight at 135 and I just don't see it. Either way, Rousey fights sometime in early fall ... and I think she fights Cat Zingano.
Pete Houston [via mobile]
Brett my man when and who do u see nick Diaz fighting next ?
Brett Okamoto (1:17 PM)
Last time I spoke with people who know him, he's really thinking about nothing short of a title shot. I just don't see how you can even come close to justifying that if you're the UFC. I don't see it happening. So, then it's back on Nick. What fight will he agree to? You would have thought he would have taken a fight against Carlos Condit in Dallas that would have made him a No. 1 contender, but he didn't.
Jr P Oakland Park, FL [via mobile]
Hey Bret, do you think that Machida is seeking to avenge his good friend outside of the cage and fellow Brazilian Anderson Silva in this upcoming fight against Weidman? Or more so all business in terms of getting back into the same position he used to be in the UFC primarily at the top at one point
Brett Okamoto (1:17 PM)
All business. He's doing it for him, not Anderson.
So Shields gets cut after winning 4 in a row before Lombard, but Marquardt who got cut by the UFC and made his return by getting knocked out twice gets to main event a card? I'd be upset if I was in New Zealand. I like this sport because I like seeing the best martial artists in the world. How can they consider themselves "the major leagues" if they don't have all the best guys? If Askren never gets his chance in the UFC it would be extremely sad. Enough ranting, I would like to know your opinion on this.
Brett Okamoto (1:20 PM)
Those are good points. I guess to sum it up I would say that in the overwhelming majority of cases, the UFC signs the top fighters, that's why they are the "major leagues." In certain cases, they don't and that's because of business reasons. Lorenzo Fertitta is a businessman. He's a fan of the sport, too, so I don't mean to say he looks at fighters with zero humanity, but they are business assets to his company. Shields didn't fit the UFC's business model anymore.
Marc T (Sherman Oaks)
All though it has the potential to be an entertaining fight, in terms of importance the Big Nog/Big Country bout is fairly meaningless. I mean the loser should be just about done and the winner is no where near being a contender. Just two old, middle of the road fighters (at this point in their careers).
Brett Okamoto (1:21 PM)
True. This is not an important fight in the heavyweight division, but it's a fun fight. I'm not going to hate on it and I'm halfway excited to watch it, but I'm not going to sell it as something it aint. And it aint an important fight in terms of rankings or title conversation.
Anthony (Salem, OR)
Any word on Bones' health going into the Texeira fight? There's been a lot of cryptic talk regarding his toe never fully healing from the Chael fight and the full extent of his injuries from the Gus fight. Any insight into how the champ is feeling heading into this fight?
Brett Okamoto (1:23 PM)
I missed out on a media day at Jackson's last week, so I haven't gotten the chance to see him in person. I will talk to him at some point before the fight and ask him about the long recovery (from the toe and the Gus fight) but if he tells me he feels great, I mean, what do we really expect him to say. I will tell you I haven't heard anything real negative about his health, no.
Is the oversaturation out of control? UFC 174 is just 2 months away & ufc.com has just 3 fights listed as booked(not including Rory/Woodley). THEN, you have a FN headlined by TeHuna/Marquardt.
Brett Okamoto (1:26 PM)
I still don't think so. Think about other sports ... do you watch EVERY single game? Do the ratings of every MLB and NBA game fly off the charts? Some events are stronger than others. This is the future of the UFC. That New Zealand card is the first ever in the country, I'm assuming it will sell well despite what would be considered a weak main event here in the U.S. and it's a way to promote the sport of MMA and the UFC brand in that region. This is what global expansion looks like.
Please define 'relevance' however you see fit--especially in the HW division. But how relevant do you expect the winner of Big Nog/Big Country to be moving forward into their next fight?
Brett Okamoto (1:27 PM)
Are Roy Nelson and Big Nog "relevant" in the sport of MMA? Yes. Fans know them. Nogueira is deserving of the "legend" tag. Nelson has always been a character, he gets people to care. But is the winner of this fight relevant in terms of sorting out the division and finding a No. 1 contender. 100% no.
@ParoleeProud (Rochester, New York) [via mobile]
Some potential fights is like to see in the near future, your thoughts?? Khabib vs Bendo (if they both win), Trujillo vs Masvidal/Healy winner or Lauzon, Latifi vs Clint Hester, Niko Musoke vs Alex Garcia
Brett Okamoto (1:30 PM)
I like it. You put some thoughts into these didn't you? No obvious, "Jones vs. Cain!" suggestions here. Latifi/Hester though, aren't they in different weight classes or did I miss Latifi announcing a drop in weight or something? I do like Hester though, is it too soon for him to fight a guy like CB Dollaway?
How long before we see a fighter's union?
Brett Okamoto (1:30 PM)
I still think it's a pretty long ways off, but I will say it looks far more possible now than it did even 1-2 years ago.
Chuck (Once of the 303)
Brett, what concerns you more: The Rockies bullpen against any decent batter, or Dan Henderson's chances against Daniel Cormier?
Brett Okamoto (1:32 PM)
Ha, thanks for the question Chuck. Quite frankly nothing concerns me more than the Rockies bullpen against any decent batter. Communicable disease scares me less than the Rockies bullpen. I personally would have never called for Hendo/Cormier, but Hendo is ranked in the Top 10. I think that fight could go very south for Dan, but you can't really coddle a guy in the UFC who is coming off a knockout win over Shogun Rua ... doesn't matter how old he is.
C. Mindenhall wrote about "an arthritic adventure seeker" a few days ago and I am finding myself more interested in the Hendo/Cormier fight than I already was.......
Brett Okamoto (1:34 PM)
I'm not, personally, because I don't see much of a path to victory for Dan but rankings-wise the fight makes sense so you make it.
Paul [via mobile]
I feel like Alves would own Diaz do you agree
Brett Okamoto (1:35 PM)
No. Not saying he couldn't beat him, but Diaz typically does well against a guy like Alves. I'd pick Diaz in that fight.
Why don't you ever talk about Glory events?
Brett Okamoto (1:35 PM)
I don't get many questions about them.
Tommy (Video Game World)
Well press X to punch and O to kick, etc. It's actually quite a fun game, you should try it! I wonder if any real fighters have played as themselves?
Brett Okamoto (1:35 PM)
I'm assuming a ton of them have.
Toran. Florida [via mobile]
If Anderson can't do much cardio with his leg injury, does that mean his first return fight would be at LHW?
Brett Okamoto (1:36 PM)
If Anderson can't do cardio, how can he fight a mixed martial arts fight? Once he's ready to get back into the cage, you would assume he won't have limitations on any cardio he could do.
Jose R (Orlando, FL)
In 5 years do you see The UFC still on FOX, another major network or it's own network on TV. Do you see Bellator and ONE FC growing as well as far Network TV deals?
Brett Okamoto (1:39 PM)
Man, it's kinda tough for me to predict TV-related questions like that when you're talking about 5 years. Things are changing fast these days. I mean, live sports is the safest bet you can make when it comes to television. Even with all the "cord-cutting" going on, live sports on network television seems like it will be the last thing to go. That's at least my limited-expertise take when it comes to television in general. I think the UFC/Fox partnership will exist longterm. Will there come a day when the UFC signs deals with multiple networks? Probably.
Andy [via mobile]
This weekend a fight pass card?
Brett Okamoto (1:40 PM)
If you could only order 1 ppv which one would you order:Alvarez/Chandler 3 & Rampage/MoOR:Barao/Dillashaw
Brett Okamoto (1:41 PM)
It doesn't sound like UFC 173 is completely finished yet. As of now though, if you put Alvarez/Chander III and Rampage/Mo up against Barao/Dillashaw and Ellenberger/Lawler ... hmmm ... that's pretty tough call to me ... probably Alvarez/Chandler but barely.
Ali B. (Dagestan) [via mobile]
Who do you think will be the man to finally dethrone Minnie Mouse??
Brett Okamoto (1:42 PM)
Best chance at 125 pounds is probably John Dodson. I don't think Ali Bagautinov is the guy. I thought Benavidez had a real good shot to be the guy, but doesn't look that way anymore. Either Dodson or nobody.
Daniel Portland, Or [via mobile]
So, what's next for Hector Lombard? Doubt Diaz will fight him so does he get the winner of Brown vs Silva?
Brett Okamoto (1:45 PM)
Probably. He was healthy coming off the Shields win. The UFC won't match him with someone coming off a loss, so even though Demian Maia needs an opponent ... I don't think they'll make that fight. Never know though, rankings-wise it would make sense. Matt Brown vs. Lombard would be pretty awesome.
Abram Valdez (Dallas)
With Nate Diaz's vocal dissatisfaction the UFC and asking to be released over Twitter, and with the WSOF's Josh Burkman also bringing up his dissatisfaction with WSOF over Twitter what are your thoughts on fighters' using it as a forum for future contract negotiations? Also, isn't Joe Silva a genius for staying off of Twitter?
Brett Okamoto (1:47 PM)
It's a great forum. Movements are created on Twitter. What % of news these days breaks on Twitter? It's great. I still don't think it matters how many RTs a guy like Nate Diaz gets regarding his contract status, though. He's early on in his deal, the UFC is not going to renegotiate with him at this time. Even if you're on Diaz's side of the argument, he accepts responsibility for signing his current deal.
Assuming Rory-Woodley is the co main, any idea what the main event will be at 174? I don't see the ufc putting Demetrius-Ali as a headliner, and supposedly Mendes has had visa troubles and can't get into Canada so he cant fight Aldo. The UFC has to be worrying about this card. I have a gut feeling they are going to pull a UFC 151 and cut the whole thing
Brett Okamoto (1:49 PM)
Ha, they won't cut the whole thing. Woodley just signed his bout agreement to fight Rory yesterday. Johnson-Ali ... man, no. Not strong enough to headline at all. This summer is struggling due to injuries to champions, no doubt about it.
Jerry (Cortland, IL)
If there were a legitimate MMA Hall of Fame, who would be in your inaugural class? No more than five in the first class.
Brett Okamoto (1:52 PM)
Let's go fighters only ... obviously there would be the influential non-fighter inductees but first five fighters to me would be ... Royce Gracie, Chuck Liddell, Fedor Emelianenko, Randy Couture ... and I probably have to go Anderson Silva.
Brett Okamoto (1:54 PM)
Alright, that'll do it for today. Thanks for the questions. Enjoy the fights this weekend and join me again next Wednesday to break down the big UFC events later in the month. See ya.