I’ll be attending a family function today but I submitted a few stories via time-release delay. Before I took off, I wanted to leave some pre-UFC 84 rantings for you.
— Steve Cofield posted on his Mr. Sunshine blog two different versions of Friday’s weigh-in. The live version was recorded for YouTube and shows Tito Ortiz dressing down and revealing is “Dana is my Bitch” t-shirt. The version that the UFC delivered to ESPN does not show Ortiz wearing that shirt. When it’s time for Ortiz to dress down for his weigh-in, it simply skips ahead. It’s an interesting development but personally, I can’t find fault with either party in this situation. I think after all that White has said about Ortiz and his girlfriend, Jenna Jameson, it’s well within Ortiz’s rights to make a political statement on his way out the door. At the same time, I can understand why the UFC would object to Ortiz trying to demean one of the company’s key officials. And because we’re all products of the Internet, sometimes we lose sight of the fact that the word “bitch” is actually one many people find offensive.
— I think Machida vs. Ortiz could be the most exciting boring fight that we’ve seen in quite some time. Their styles don’t mesh well but the drama should be really good. And the Vegas crowd is a smart crowd so they’ll go nuts even when Machida stuffs a takedown because they know what’s at stake if Tito takes Machida off his feet.
— Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer points out that White was not only absent from the weigh-ins, but also the pre-UFC 84 press conference and Friday’s “Ultimate Fighter” media day. Meltzer goes so far as to say “Obviously something major is wrong.” If there is something wrong, I’m dying to know what it is.
— In case you missed it, I changed my prediction for the Penn vs. Sherk fight. Instead of Penn winning via TKO in the fourth, I am manning up and predicting Penn to finish the fight late in the first round. I just don’t think Sherk is on Penn’s level when Penn brings his A-game. And I don’t see any reason why Penn wouldn’t bring his A-game tonight.
— The question I have is if Penn beats Sherk in a decisive manner, what do you do with Sherk after tonight? Might it be possible that the UFC cuts his contract? I know Sherk is tight with Dana White, but the UFC is making cutbacks right now and Sherk is a mid-level salary guy in a division with a ton of depth. His style of fighting isn’t the most exciting either. What are you going to do, pay Sherk $30,000-60,000 per fight to be a gate keeper and steal the momentum of the company’s up and coming fighters? I find Sherk’s style boring at times, but the guy is good. You put him in there with Roger Huerta, Gray Maynard, Frankie Edgar, Tyson Griffin, Mac Danzig, and Thiago Tavares, — and Sherk beats them all.
Hermes Franca asked for his release but the UFC was willing to give it to him because he fought for the title and lost. There wasn’t much they could do with him besides bury him on their undercards. I see Sherk in a similar situation; if he’s not in title contention, what’s his value to the company in a time of downsizing? I understand the friendship that exists between White and Sherk but if Sherk were to become a free agent, he’d garner strong offers from the competition. I have no info to support Sherk getting cut — it’s merely conjecture on my part. What I am saying here is that if Sherk is unimpressive tonight, would you be surprised to learn next week that Sherk is leaving the UFC?
— Wanderlei Silva is a sentimental favorite of mine, but I have to call it like I see it and I don’t see him overcoming Keith Jardine’s reach advantage.
— There were those in recent months that tried to pass of a claim that Shane Carwin might not be able to make 265 lbs. Well, he not only made the weight, but he made it rather easily, clocking in at the low-250’s. You can’t believe everything you read on the Internet.
— I’m still waiting for someone to explain to me why Kazuhiro Nakamura vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou isn’t being televised tonight.
— Minor tidbit for those who might be interested: In spite of now being affiliated with Sports Illustrated, Josh Gross still has not been credentialed by the UFC.
— I want to wish everyone in the U.S. a Happy Memorial Day weekend. If you’re traveling this weekend, please be extra cautious. There are a lot of irresponsible partiers out there who have no hesitation about getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. Also, I want to thank the families of the departed who served this country during military action. I would also be remiss not to thank those who might be reading this that have served in the past and or are currently serving now.
— I also wanted to publicly welcome Paul Balsom back to the 5 Oz. staff. Paul had to take some time away from posting because of real life.
— Remember to check back for all of our post-UFC 84 goodness.