Alexander Gustafsson decided to end up relationship with Alliance MMA based on a few factors. For one, traveling between Sweden (his home) and San Diego (the gym’s location) a few times a year was costly and kept him away from family more often than he liked. For another, fellow contender Phil Davis has been part of Alliance for a long time and initially accepted Gustafsson into the group after beating him as a means of each helping the other grow. Now that they’ve blossomed accordingly, there’s no reason for Gustafsson to stick around. However, I’m not huge on him isolating himself in Sweden, since he can still improve as a competitor and isn’t likely to do so as quickly when he’s training with a small, hand-picked group instead of an elite-level crew. Former heavyweight champ Mir is clearly in touch with reality, recently admitting he could be released if he loses to Alistair Overeem in February. As such, Mir is prepared to retire if pink-slipped. If such does come to pass, Mir should be commended for exiting MMA at the right time instead of hanging on too long. He’s already lost three straight scraps including two via TKO and odds are good Overeem would add another knockout to the list if he does indeed beat Mir based on skill-set. Don’t feel too bad for Mir though. He’s smart and excellent in front of a camera, so he has a career in the sport outside of the cage (not to mention a loving family). Wanderlei Silva’s decision to confront Sonnen at a recent expo drew a number of headlines, thanks in large part to “The Axe Murderer” deciding to tape it for his YouTube channel. Sonnen has since addressed the subject and recently told Sherdog things would have gotten physical if Silva had touched him, shuddering at the possibility based on his aversion to “street fighting”. There’s no question some of Sonnen’s response was as scripted as his trash-talk typically is. However, he’s definitely on point in terms of criticizing Silva’s actions. Being passionate is one thing, but Silva’s decision to plan a self-promotional event potentially spilling over into something physical was an ill-conceived idea. The sport and its athletes are still trying to shed the reputation of being bloodthirsty thugs. There’s no need to risk reinforcing their ignorance. With a successful training center and plenty of other business opportunities, it seems strange the 46-year Gracie still wants to fight. Of course, if you have a basic understanding of his personality, it makes a lot more sense. Gracie loves competition and has little if any fear of being in a fight. He wants to challenge himself and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. However, he has no place in the UFC. If Gracie’s sights are truly set on fighting, not drawing a paycheck, there are lots of landing spots out there other than the Octagon. Brown recently blasted President Obama for the federal government shutdown’s effect on American troops, specifically criticizing the Armed Forced Network pulling MLB/NFL programming as a result of the situation. However, what Brown failed to grasp is that the protest of politicians upset over policy is behind the change in AFN programming rather than Obama himself. Clearly, Brown needs to keep his focus on belting opponents, not the Beltway. Askren recently boasted he could take UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre down with ease and have his way on the ground, a bold claim considering GSP’s wrestling ability. While St-Pierre’s background on the mat doesn’t compare to Askren’s in the least bit, his performance in the cage speaks volumes about how he’d fare against Bellator’s top 170er. I don’t doubt Askren could put St-Pierre on his back if the two faced off but he’s kidding himself if he genuinely believes he would outclass “Rush” to that extent. Rather, it seems more like Askren is attempting to stir the pot and earn a UFC offer now that he’s a restricted free agent. Bellator’s newest heavyweights, Kongo and Johnson, made their much anticipated debuts under the organization’s banner. Johnson looked particularly bad, getting knocked out in 23 seconds, while Kongo picked up a TKO but started things out slowly before taking advantage of his overmatched opponent. Clearly, Bellator’s decision to bring in UFC cast-offs is a means of trying to bolster their roster with name value. However, it’s a short term fix to a long term problem, and doesn’t do a lot of good for their brand. If anything it shows the UFC brass knows what they’re doing when it comes to releasing fighters. “Mega Megu” hung up her gloves for good last weekend, retiring at the age of 39 with a record of 26-3 including nineteen wins by way of submission. Unfortunately, she fell on the scorecards to Jessica Aguilar in her final fight, but Fujii’s reputation was hardly tarnished by the performance. Though her diminutive size kept her out of Strikeforce/UFC, meaning a lot of fans probably aren’t familiar with Fujii, those in the know understand she will go down as one of the finest fighters the sport of MMA has ever seen. Good news surfaced this week when it was revealed UFC heavyweight Stefan Struve had been given a green light to go back to the gym after an enlarged heart caused concerns about his future as a fighter. Apparently, the treatment Struve received after being initially diagnosed worked. However, it should be said he is still undergoing evaluation and his career is still up in the air. Regardless, it’s great news if for no other reason the fact it means the 25-year old Dutchman should have a healthy life even if he does have to call it quits on his career. Tonight’s lineup for UFC Fight Night 29 is solid from top to bottom. There are a handful of unbeaten competitors on tap, some truly competitive clashes, and more than one match-up all but guaranteed to entertain. Storylines to watch include the “must win” meeting between Thiago Silva-Matt Hamill, who emerges as a potential title-contender between bantamweights T.J. Dillashaw-Raphael Assuncao, the beautifully brutal brawl sure to go down between Joey Beltran-Fabio Maldonado, and whether or not Demian Maia is as an elite welterweight as some fans feel.
Wednesday has rolled around again and, as expected, the 10-Point Must is back! Every week I’ll give my thoughts on ten topics from the past seven days with hopes the readership will contribute their takes as well in the Comments section. This time around, subjects range from a few eye-opening statements made by MMA stars to retirement talk to a quick glimpse at tonight’s lineup for
. (Photos by USA Today Sports Images) UFC Fight Night 29