Check out our UFC 232 preview and picks.
A funny thing happened on the way to Las Vegas.
The Jon Jones and USADA situation hasn’t turned into a fiasco. It’s already what it was. This latest part is just the cherry on top of the mud sundae.
If you took a non-fan and showed them the UFC press conference from the other day, they’d either think it was a fake pro-wrestling angle, or that Jon was flat out lying. To me, Jones came off Trumpian in that he couldn’t explain coherently what he thought he could explain and anything he couldn’t explain, he shot down.
Even before this latest angle to the Jon Jones saga where he once again failed another steroid test only to have USADA overturn it for reasons they’ve never overturned a positive test before, there was a stench on the fight from Jones being able to escape his two-year minimum suspension from his last failure. Because of everything that’s happened, there’s a stench on Jones’ entire career.
Gustafsson can’t do anything other than accept the terms of what it is and go out and fight because it’s the biggest payday of his career.
I think the new attention to the fight will only help out the buy rate. But what I find interesting is that a lot of people who consider themselves MMA fans are in the “I’ve stood all I can and I can’t stand no more” stance today. Whether that lasts or not is unknown, but the UFC has really tried their best to alienate that fanbase that helped them grow to what they are today.
My friend Ryan Frederick is in the upper echelon of people I know who watch the UFC. He’s one of the biggest UFC/MMA fans there is. And here’s what he tweeted.
It’s real hard to support the UFC these days. Their actions show they have no regard for the majority of their fighters and their fan base. And this comes from someone who has watched or attended every single event since 2001.
— Ryan Frederick (@ryanjfrederick) December 27, 2018
Yes, we know that rankings don’t matter and we know the biggest fights will be made no matter what. It’s all about the money, and that’s understandable. But at least let us know that Tom Lawlor’s case is going to be treated the same as Jon Jones’ case when it comes to governing the sport. Then again, this happens in all of sports.
Like I mentioned on The Fight Game Podcast with my co-host John LaRocca, the coddling that Jon Jones receives from the UFC today will end at some point. It will end if he loses a couple of fights and it will end once he stops drawing. And then he’ll have to fend for himself like most everyone else.
Our FGB crew swung heavily toward Gustafsson, probably more in hopefulness that he’ll become a hero to the fighters who had to redirect their life all because of Jon.
The heartbreak kid, David Rubio (@a20somethingguy) was adamant that we’ll see an upset victor for Gustafsson.
Three questions surround the main event for me. Was the first fight as close as it was only because Jon had an off night? Is Jon Jones a smarter and more mature fighter today than he was five years ago before the drama? Will Jon be able to sidestep karma once again in the octagon?
I don’t anticipate this fight going the full five again. There will be a finish and in the end, I think we’ll get our answers of no, no, and no.
Only myself and the great Heidi Fang went with Jones, though Alex Goff, who leads the entire crew in pick percentage this year, switched from Jones to Gustafsson after originally taking Jones.
I think Jones still has all the advantages in this fight, though I admit that Gustafsson’s length provides an issue for Jones. In a sense, Jones is fighting a mirror of himself from a size perspective. And plus, he’s being able to fight with Turinabol in his system which was more than likely used for training and weight cutting. They’re called performance enhancing drugs for a reason.
You can see all of our picks for the top seven fights at UFC 232. Only one of us is going with Amanda Nunes in her attempt to go up in weight and conquer the unconquerable Cyborg. The rest of the fights have picks going both ways.
For the year, with just one card to go, here are the pick standings:
Cactus Jim: 46-23