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Snowden’s Five Things: Carwin the Fraud, Kirill the Cheat, and Jardine the Contender

Every week it feels like we’re being bombarded by a endless succession of MMA news stories. Promotions are starting up (and all too often) folding. Fighters are vowing to vanquish their foes. Others are explaining away an ugly loss. All too often, someone is making an excuse for why they’ve failed a drug test, lost an important fight, or slathered themselves in Vaseline. It’s hard to follow it all, so every week I intend to pick out the five most important events, people, and stories.

Five Things:

1. Kirill Sidelnikov fails his steroid test…

“Baby Fedor” did little to make anyone remember his name after a lackluster performance against Paul Buentello at January’s Affliction PPV. Kirill seemed destined to slink back to Russia, never to be heard from again when suddenly, after failing a CSAC drug test, the pudgy Russian is suddenly the talk of the sport. Performance enhancing drug use never surprises me anymore. There’s so much money involved in professional sports, it seems intuitive that athletes will do whatever they can to get the smallest edge.
Seriously though: Kirill Sidelnikov? The guy looked like Fedor after about a thousand McDonald’s Apple Pies. Why is it that the heavyweight steroid failures have all been guys with less than stellar physiques? Josh Barnett, Tim Sylvia, Kirill Sidelnikov: all need to get their money back.

My favorite part of this whole scandal was the e-mail M-1 sent to try to diffuse the test failure, essentially using the Russian’s flab as an excuse.

“For those that are skeptical of this explanation, we believe Kirill’s account is true based in large part to his physique. If he had been using large amounts of Stanozol on a regular basis, we believe that the frame of his upper body would have contained leaner muscle that had more definition.”


2. Keith Jardine…

Too many fans are treating the Quinton Jackson fight with Keith Jardine as a glorified tuneup. If Jackson is looking ahead to a title shot, it could be the biggest mistake of his career. Well, of anyone else’s career. Jardine is a tough matchup for Jackson, specializing in the kind of leg kicks that Rampage just can’t seem to defend.

Jardine’s career has been a series of ups and downs. He’s beaten Forrest Griffin and Chuck Liddell to propel himself into contention, but lost to nobodies like Houston Alexander to send his status crashing back to earth. Jardine can’t handle a fighter that comes at him hard and overwhelms him with punches early. Luckily for Team Greg Jackson, Rampage is a counter fighter just like Jardine. That will allow Keith to attack from range, cracking Quinton’s range while Jackson waits for his time to strike. I see Jardine in a three round decision-and Dana White pulling Joe Silva’s hair out when Jardine refuses to fight his teammate Rashad Evans.

3. Mike Brown…

Appropriately, the face of the WEC is as non-descript as your average investment banker. Brown is an amazing fighter, but when I’ve seen him at the UFC events in Las Vegas he’s gone entirely unrecognized. It’s a shame that the WEC reaches such a small audience. If some of Brown’s wins had happened on the main card of a PPV, or even better in the main event of an Ultimate Fight Night, he would be a rising star. It may be time for the UFC to do a better job of cross promotion, or risk throwing away the primes of potential superstars like Brown and Urijah Faber.

Or, maybe it is time to fold the WEC into the UFC and call it quits. The promotion got its spot on Versus as a way to prevent the IFL from getting a solid television deal. It has served its purpose, and the resources would be better off helping bolster some of the weaker UFC cards.

4. Jens Pulver back in the boot…

Pulver has long been a Zuffa favorite. Even when he left the company high and dry for a world tour, despite being the lightweight champion, there was never any bad blood. When he returned he was immediately given a prime spot as an Ultimate Fighter coach.

It’s strange in this hostile business, but the UFC brass really cares about Pulver. That’s why they asked Frank Mir to step back so they could insert Pulver in the WEC broadcast booth. No one wants to see Pulver fight again, but they recognize he needs money to get bye. If he is cut by Zuffa, he’ll find fights elsewhere. This is a nice way of keeping him busy and out of the cage for his own good.

5. Will the real Shane Carwin please stand up?

Shane Carwin is an enigma, a fighter built by the UFC hype machine and billed as a potential world title contender. He’s a gargantuan wrestler, packed with muscle, the kind of fighter that Zuffa loves to get behind. But is he a real fighter? Will he be the next Mark Coleman, a dominating and powerful wrestler who can beat anyone on a good night? Or will he be the next Ron Waterman, an overly hyped journeyman who looks the part but can’t fight a lick? Because of the parade of nobodies he’s been carefully fed by Joe Silva and the Zuffa machine, no one knows for sure. He’s never been out of the first round and has never fought anyone approaching the WAMMA top 20, let alone the top 10. He’s a mystery, but a mystery that will soon be revealed to the world. We’ll all know after this weekend, because Gabriel Gonzaga is the real thing.

You remember Gonzaga right? He’s the vaguely Cro-Magnon looking Brazilian who catapulted to fame after knocking out the legendary Mirko Cro Cop with a high kick for the ages. Gonzaga is a monster, an all-round fighter with good standup and great jiu jitsu. It seems likely to me that Gonzaga will either submit Carwin after a big takedown, or knock him out after Shane gasses. If I’m wrong, and Carwin imposes his will on the mentally weak Gonzaga, we’ll know who Shane Carwin is: a title contender.

  • garth says:

    Jardine’s not fighting for a title shot.

    You’re right about Brown, too. A little coaching, a little exposure, and he’s a big-time star. He’s got a great personality, he just doesn’t seem to have the media experience. Talking to the guy at WEC 38 was a blast, he’s fun and easygoing.

    Let’s all hope the Gonzaga who curled up against Wedum doesn’t get anywhere near the cage…that would seriously suck. Let’s see ape-man Gonzaga!

  • KTru says:

    The whole write up on Carwin makes no sense to me.

    Asking for the real Carwin to stand up? Has he shown anyone up to this point that he is not what he seems? This is not a one way or the other situation. To myself, this is his coming out party.

    The hype machine is not his own doing. Are you trying to make this guy look like he is evil? What has he done to be labeled a “Fraud”?

    Enigma? What confuses you about Carwin? How is he contradictory to anything he has done is career?

    All questions I have about your accusations about Shane Carwin. The rhetoric and word usage should be a little more careful on the subject that we know very little about.

    As for the rest of the article, it was spot on.

  • Cathedron says:

    I agree 100% about Brown and the WEC. The WEC should just be folded into the UFC. Just because they are smaller fighters doesn’t mean they deserve to be in smaller shows. Faber, Brown, Garcia, Torres, et al are fantastic fighters who deserve the full respect that the UFC could offer. Plus, it would seriously fill out the UFC’s PPVs and Fight Nights. As it is, the WEC really doesn’t have enough depth to do PPV on a consistent basis.

  • Stan says:

    “Because of the parade of nobodies he’s been carefully fed by Joe Silva and the Zuffa machine, no one knows for sure.”

    Can a parade be made of 2 guys? I guess so. Unless you’re blaming Joe Silva for Carwin’s opponents prior to joining the UFC. The guy has 2 UFC fights, in his 3rd fight he’s going up against one of the top 3-4 guys in the organization. You can complain about him being overhyped for sure, but not everyone is famous when they sign their UFC contract and get to fight for the title after going 1-1.

    I agree with people overlooking Jardine though. I think it has more to do with Rampage’s complete inability to check a leg kick though.

  • JOe K. says:

    “Or, maybe it is time to fold the WEC into the UFC and call it quits. ”


    Put the WEC on Spike then give them 3 hour events so they can show undercard fights and actually build their rosters popularity.

    WEC has some really exciting match ups and the Featherweight division is becoming more and more stacked. I’m sure after the Featherweight tournies in Japan there is going to be even more lighterweight talent migrating over.

  • Jak says:

    “Because of the parade of nobodies he’s been carefully fed by Joe Silva and the Zuffa machine, no one knows for sure.”

    Does Mr. Snowden know that Shane Carwin has only fought 2 fights in the UFC? That’s hardly a parade.

    I believe knowing such information or researching a fighter prior to submitting an article might help.


  • egad81 says:

    I like the idea you had of FOLDING the WEC.

    They could just run it as UFC VERSUS and do it up similar to TUF Finale type show.

    There is no doubt in my mind that the guys fighting below 155 deserve a place in the UFC.

  • CMT says:

    Kirill Sidelnikov – Your “Baby Fedor” nickname has been revoked. You will now be know as Kirill “Sidelinedandoff” Sidelnikov.

  • fightingwords101 says:

    1. false positives for steroids have been PROVEN to occur, even when athletes use approved/non-banned suplements/etc. i’m not saying i think baby fedor didn’t cheat….i’m just saying it doesn’t fit with the MO of the other red devil fighters, and a positive test does not guarantee guilt.

    Mike Brown – the WEC represents the lighter weight classes, which the UFC will need to make its foray into the Japanese scene where they routinely have die hard followers of the lower weight classes (ala Yamamoto et al).

  • ace328 says:

    I don’t think the WEC needs to be folded into the UFC because that will further limit the number of fighters the UFC can have under contract. They need to get on a different network to gain more exposure. I think Spike already pays the UFC a lot of money and may not be able to afford to broadcast them. Showtime would’ve been perfect but they need to go somewhere that fits the fan demographic and is either network tv or basic cable.

    I think it would be wise for a major network like NBC, ABC, Fox, or ESPN to take a chance on them. They’re owned by a reliable promoter (Zuffa) and can probably be broadcast on the cheapside for easy Friday or Saturday night ratings. I think getting a major television contract wouldn’t raise fighter purses a whole lot but it would drastically increase their sponsorship opportunities.

  • nigelzackit says:

    i don’t get it. how is the wec supposed to get reliable ratings for someone else when they don’t do it now for versus? i just don’t think people are banging down doors to have some japanese flyweight mma people on their network. sorry bros

  • ace328 says:

    A lot of people don’t Versus. I didn’t have it until two weeks ago when I upgraded to digital cable. Put them on Espn or Espn2 and they would easily do better than the reruns of old sports games and possibly even the poker tournaments they broadcast. The product is excellent but Zuffa needs to advertise and hype their events up more.

  • screwface says:

    jardine already said a dozen times or more that he would have no problem fighting rashad if asked to by ufc. its rashad that has the problem with it. but money talks, friendship walks.

    on another note Carwin doesnt really deserve to be questioned at this point. hes delivered so far.

    also wec is just fine the way it is. and if they promoted events before they aired anymore then already did id scream. mike brown is good, but i had no idea who he was till his ko on faber. garcia isnt exactly the best of the best either. that division really needs some more talent. seems like the same 5 fighters fighting then repeats.

    lastly, i still wanna see pulver fight, just with a better training camp ( one with some champions in their stable )


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