Ask Ant: Tainted Love Edition

By Anthony Walker Nov 30, 2019
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Editor’s note: The views and opinions expressed below are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Sherdog.com, its affiliates and sponsors or its parent company, Evolve Media.

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Vincentsky - Is it worth buying tickets and booking flights and hotels to New York if Khabib vs Tony gets made, even though it’s a cursed fight?

If you want to book your travel arrangements this far in advance, be my guest. You’ll save a ton of money planning ahead. Just don’t get too emotionally attached to the long-awaited and perpetually cursed Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson fight. In fact, don’t get attached to any fight that’s announced in the coming months.

To add a personal Touch To this, I’ll tell you a little story of mine: The first event I attended after moving to the West Coast was UFC 184. I was excited. The original lineup was intended to be one of the most stacked cards of the year. In addition to Ronda Rousey and Cat Zingano, Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort were expected to meet one another. Ronaldo Souza-Yoel Romero was scheduled. Frank Mir and Antonio Silva were penciled in on the main card as well. I was ecstatic. There I was, fresh to the greater Los Angeles area missing my friends and family on the East Coast and the MMA Gods decide to do me a solid drop this bombshell of a card just a short trip down the highway from me.

But little by little, things started changing. A Jacare illness here, a Weidman injury there, and some reshuffling transformed the mega event into a fairly solid one. I had a great time at UFC 184 and saw some of the best names in the business, including the aforementioned “El Cucuy.” It just wasn’t what I thought it would be.

At this point we know the routine. A bout is announced and somebody gets hurt in training. Or pops for a banned substance. Or trips over a cord in a television studio. So, my best advance is to go ahead and buy those tickets to New York. Get your hotel situation in order and have a great vacation. Just be prepared to not see some of the matchups you had your heart set on. You’ll still have a great time and still see some great fights.

europe1 - Do you think USADA's "certified supplement" idea is workable considering what a rinky-dink industry that is? And how would it function in non-US countries where such companies most likely don't even operate such as Brazil, China or Russia?

Nope, I have very little faith in a certified supplement program. As you alluded to, that industry is loaded with nonsensical claims, unethical practices and flawed manufacturing. If the program consists of a simple list of products that have a USADA seal of approval of them, then it really doesn’t mean anything more than a pre approved group of potentially contaminated whey protein and creatine tubs.

In order to ensure the integrity of the products, the powers that be will have to take a hands-on approach in every step of the process. That includes sourcing the raw materials and overseeing the factories. The raw materials have to be treated with the right care. Plants and their soil have to be handled properly. Animals can’t be fed steroids, etc. At the factories, the equipment has to be properly cleaned and shouldn’t be multitasked into the creation of other products. In other words, there’s a lot to monitor and it’s an expensive undertaking.

I’m just not sure how dedicated the UFC is to becoming a player in the supplement world. And that’s what it will take to do this properly. Endeavor certainly has pockets deep enough to make those sort of moves, but does it have the willpower and dedication necessary?

With its quiet handling of Nate Diaz’s adverse test (that is until Stockon’s beloved little brother pulled the pin of the grenade on Twitter) the almost silent change in acceptable thresholds, and the UFC 232 debacle, it seems that the company isn’t above doing things absent of transparency. Combine that with the time-honored tradition of companies trying to spend as little money as possible and it becomes even more unlikely that this supplement program will be done properly.

One really undesirable consequence of this could be an even tougher time for fighters to make money outside of the cage. Reebok and the mandated uniforms have already cut the sponsorship market greatly. Nutrition and supplement brands will be much less likely to pay a fighter for his name and likeness if said fighter can only use something with that UFC/USADA stamp of approval. Perhaps I am being too cynical, but I need to know more before giving this a thumbs up.

As far as fighters in Brazil, Russia, China, etc., there shouldn’t be any real issue. The UFC could easily just ship whatever supplements they approve to fighters outside of the reach of its Las Vegas headquarters.

Fahcough - Are we any closer to getting rid of WMMA? Or sending it back to Irrelivicta?

I cannot say we are any closer to getting rid of women’s MMA. It looks like we’re not any closer to getting rid of bigoted morons in this sport, either. As WMMA evolves, the action becomes more refined and the technique advances. Amazingly, if you pulled your head out of your ass and looked at these women as fighters and martial artists worthy of respect, you’d see what great things are happening in the cage. Bellator is quietly amassing some intriguing names at featherweight. Additionally Ilima-Lei Macfarlane is one of the best and consistently exciting fighters on the roster. The UFC’s strawweight division is loaded with talent and keeps raising the bar. Shannon Knapp magically pulls rabbits out of hats and keeps unearthing women worth watching in Invicta.

If you don’t like to see the ladies fight, it probably says more about you than them. But, I’d dare you and any other armchair tough guy who has something stupid to say to poke your chest out as proud as you can. Chug whatever light beer you like. Say it to the face of any of these women who professionally fight for a living. Be safe out there. Advertisement

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