Liberal sports writers and opinion makers exploded in outrage after the Mayweather-McGregor press tour, decrying Conor McGregor's racially insensitive taunts with some branding him an outright racist and all bemoaning the existence of The Joint Business Venture™ to begin with. It becomes very difficult to tell when accusations of racism are for real with the frequency with which they are leveled nowadays. I don't know what is in Conor McGregor's heart or mind and I doubt any of these pundits do either. I will say this though - McGregor's pathetic excuse that he can't be racist because he loves black culture and listens to hip-hop all the time sounds an awful lot like the outlooks of many, many virtue signaing left-wing white milennial writers, for example almost everyone who works for the Ringer. Those people are all more prejudiced than they understand so who knows?
Of course the most glaring insult is that the people who willed this into existence are the very sports media hacks now decrying it. With 24 hours of content to fill, they all latch on to loudmouths like Conor hailing him as the greatest fighter ever to walk the Earth, mostly because he tells them he is so they don't have to do the resarch and watch the actual fights themselves. they elevated him and made his wishes reality and now that he has offended their sensibilities they're determined to debase and discredit him.
Colin has no perspective on MMA and does not do his research. He claims that Conor is the best fighter in the UFC. No, he is the most famous. Jon Jones and Demetrious Johnson are both head and shoulders above him in those sorts of accolades. Tony Ferguson is a nightmare matchup for him which is probably why he'd rather fight Khabib upon his return. Cowherd says Conor has lost three times in the UFC. He's lost once - the three are in his career overall. The nuance is important MMA records are toptally different from the type of boxing records to which he was equating with. He says Conor does not KO most of his opponents. In the UFC he has KO/TKO'd 7 of 10 opponents, in his career overall 18 of 24 a rate of 70% and 75% respectively. That sure sounds like most to me. If you cannot get basic facts right why should anyone listen to your presuppositions?
Colin also contends that Dana White is the face of the UFC and we should all bow down and be eternally thankful for that. Bro do you not realize that the non-competing promoter being the bulbous, red face of his fighting organization is a BAD thing? It means he is not doing his goddamn job which is literally to "promote" them. Wacky idea, I know. Finally, he equates Mayweather vs McGregor as Duke vs Coastal Carolina in NCAA Basketball, a #16 vs #1. My analogy would be it's more like Nike & Adidas vs Lavar Ball, another guy you grossly overexposed and with that in mind I'll repeat his catchphrase back to you: "Stay in your lane".
Picks after the jump.
Now that I think about it, there is one thing Colin has right - Conor sold his soul by accepting every aspect of the fight on Floyd's terms. If there were any MMA elements included at all then there would be a bit of a spectacle, then maybe you could have a debate. But no, it's just a straight boxing match in a boxing ring with boxing gloves. A pure cash grab, great for him, shit for everyone else.
[C] Daniel Cormier vs  Jon Jones
The one thinbg I don't really understand is the hate for DC and adoration for Jon Jones. Some call DC fake. First of all I don't really see it that way but secondly why do you care? He's trying to be a TV personality so he'll have a bit of fun with it. Here's the other thing... when he calls Jon Jones a bad person, he's right! He says the only way that Jones will become a better person is to lose to him on Saturday night. I don't think it will happen though. Jones refuses to admit he is an addict, not really and he is enabled by the many sycophants who surround him and assure him that his talent is the only thing that matters in his existence. It's one way to live but I don't think it's a way in which martial arts are honored and that's a shame.
[C] Tyron Woodley vs  Demian Maia
At long last after much begging and decimating of hapless top contenders, Demian Maia is finally rewarded with a title shot. Unfortunately for him, he has barely a month to prepare for the worst matchup imaginable. Dana White and the UFC obviously want no part of a Demian Maia title reign so no doubt they have done everything they could think of within a modicum of reason to obstruct his path.
Woodley has a tendency to fight very cautiously and wait for hard counters. Against Maia who will surely do everything he can to drag the fight to the ground Woodley will be waiting for those takedown attempts and his squat physique and very strong wrestling ought to prove a near insurmountable hurdle for the BJJ wizard to clear. Once tired, Woodley will be able to pick him apart at leisure and the heavy strikes will take their toll. What a story it would be for Maia so late in his career to honor the memory of Chester Bennington, entering to Linkin Park song "Numb" claiming UFC gold at last but unfortunately I don't see it happening and I don't anticipate an attractive fight to watch either. Just pain from beginning to end.
Cris Cyborg vs Tonya Evinger
Many people who aren't media suckups continue to believe that with better diet management, Cyborg could make 135lbs. With Holly Holm having already returned to that weight and Germain de Randamie imminently returning, the only other Women's Featherweight signed to the roster is Megan Anderson who is unable to fight for rumored *reasons*. Why does the UFC keep rushing to try and establish this belt? To appease Cyborg? To appease "feminists"? It seems really unnecessary.
There are those that accuse Ronda Rousey of being a can crusher but beyond Marloes Coenen and Gina Carano, who has Cyborg ever beaten? I'm not doubting her assumed status as the best women's fighter of all time; with her long string of KO wins she's proven that much. But the UFC owes her nothing and did not need to create a very underwhelming and unmarketable division on her behalf. Especially when she did not put in the real work to force a fight with Rousey to happen.
Tonya Evinger is popular more because she is fun to listen to rather than because she is fun to watch fight. In Invicta she has feasted on a succession of inexperienced and/or undertalented opponents. She lost conviningly to every UFC quality fighter she has ever faced and while she has improved over time I don't believe she has the size or werewithal to grind down Cyborg. Even more disappointingly for her, she won't have Laura Sanko to ogle in the cage post-loss either.
 Robbie Lawler vs  Donald Cerrone
This should be a very fun fight to watch for as long as it lasts with both contenders willing to throw hands, knees and kicks with reckless abandon. Robbie Lawler has not fought in a year since losing his belt to Tyron Woodley at UFC 201. He has been working with new coaches including Henri Hooft since departing American Top Team so it will be interesting to see what, if any changes he has made. "Cowboy" last fought in January when he got pummeled by Jorge Masvidal. This fight was originally scheduled for UFC 213 but got postponed after Cerrone suffered a blood infection.
All that just reinforces my view that Lawler will win by KO/TKO - Woodley's one huge power shot aside he has shown remarkable recoverability in all his prior wars and come strong, hard and fast once the chips are down. Cerrone will give as good as he gets and it will be terrific to watch but I think his chin will hold up in face of such massive aggression. That's a shame because I was hoping for another shameless Budweiser or Monster energy plug in his post-fight itnerview just to piss off James.
 Jimi Manuwa vs  Volkan Oezdemir
I don't have a strong feeling about this fight one way or another but I think it's ridiculous that either of these guys are ranked as highly as they are. As Brett Okamoto notes, we are not in the Golden Age for Light Heavyweights. Manuwa is popular and publicly backed because of his enormous punching power which he uses to fell many fighters more diverse but it becomes a crutch, especially for someone with as many weaknesses in the rest of his game as he has.
Oezdemir's surprise flash knockout of Misha Cirkunov has also led people to overrate him a little. HJowever, I don't think as a score of overall talent he is so far different from Manuwa and as such +185 presents major value. I think he can wear down and at a minimum decision Manuwa and hopefully put a stop to ridiculous notions of a crossover fight with David Haye. We don't need more of that nonsense.
I pick: Jones, Woodley, Cyborg, Lawler, Oezdemir
Chris picks: TBA