Welcome to the Monthly June wrap up! Here is where I breakdown some of the biggest headlines from the month and provide insight and opinion on it. I would love to hear what you think so please leave a comment down below. You can find May’s wrap up here.
1. Jon Jones vs. the UFC:
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones (26-1, 1 no contest) got into a spat with UFC boss Dana White regarding his wages. It went as far as him relinquishing his title for the near future. This all started when negotiations turned sour for Jones who was looking to compete in a super fight against heavyweight Francis Ngannou (15-3). Jon claimed that the UFC would not compensate him more for the risk and what would surely be a pay per view box office hit. Both Dana and Jon went back and forth to the public about how the conversation went and goaded one another to publish the text messages but neither did so.
Surely it’s an issue when the pound for pound best fighter on the planet and future hall of famer feels like he is being underpaid and under valued. Even Dana White has admitted that Jones is the greatest of all time. That does not mean he is willing to pay him anymore currently. This sparks up a whole new can of worms regarding fighter pay. It is reported that the UFC revenue split with its athletes is roughly 20% where in all other major North American sports it is closer to 50%. I do not want to delve deeper into this topic and more so focus on Jones’ situation.
I understand that currently there is a pandemic and the UFC is spending a lot of money on Covid proofing their events. But to say that Jones should be paid the same to fight Ngannou as when he fought Dominic Reyes (12-1) is preposterous to me. The pay per view will surely sell better, have a lot more promotion behind it which is also bide more of Jones’ time, and it is a far more challenging task. Jon deserves more money and I respect that he will hold out sometime until he gets it. As a fan I would love to have him back sooner, but he is obviously doing what is best for himself and his family. Hopefully, the UFC can sort things out sooner, as things are always more exciting with him around.
2. UFC 250:
UFC 250 is the second pay per view event to take place since the break from the pandemic. In the main event we saw Amanda Nunes (20-4) take on the durable Felicia Spencer (10-2). Amanda was defending her featherweight title for this time. Felicia proved to be incredibly tough, but Amanda proved to be light years ahead of the competition and dominated for the entirety of the fight showing no weakness. This has been the consistent narrative with Amanda, she has taken out all challengers without a blip. It is becoming increasingly difficult to to see who can put up a good fight.
Amanda with long time wife Nina Ansaroff (10-6) are expecting a child this year. Amanda has mentioned that he will need a lot of time off to prepare and be there for her family. Hopefully by the time she is ready to come back a new contender will emerge.
Cody Garbrandt (12-3) and Sean O’Malley (12-0) competed for best knockout. Sean had a great technical finish against Eddie Wineland (24-14) while Cody had a last second bomb against Raphael Assuncao (27-8). I personally thought that Garbrandt’s finish was more impressive. Cody was coming off a three-fight losing streak and needed to prove he still belongs in the upper echelon of the bantamweight division. He did so in emphatic fashion against someone who was ranked higher, right at the buzzer with 1 second left on the clock. Add in the shock value of having Raphael out cold instantaneously. With that Cody proved to be a top contender in the bantamweight division.
Speaking of the bantamweight division, Aljamain Sterling (19-3) proved to be the next in line to challenge for the title when he submitted Cory Sandhagen (12-2). Sterling was already regarding as the top contender by fans and media alike, but the UFC chose Jose Aldo (28-7) under the assumption that it would result in more pay per view purchases. Sterling made sure that he gets the winner of Petr Yan (15-1) vs Aldo to challenge for the title. He did so by submitting Cody in a minute and a half of the very first round. I would be appalled if Aljamain does not get the next shot, he undoubtedly deserves it.
3. Connor McGregor Retires Again:
Is Connor McGregor (22-4) really retired or is he just looking to put himself in media headlines and trend on Twitter? That is the real question. Connor once again announced his retirement for the third time but who knows if it will stick. He has certainly has enough money to not need to fight anymore but as a fighter in his prime and coming off a win, it probably won’t stick. McGregor sited that the opportunities and fights do not appeal to him at this time. I am also assuming that the UFC possibly is not offering him enough money and is just looking for some attention from the fans. I do not believe that this is a real retirement. So I look forward to seeing him back as soon as he is ready, and the circumstances are right for him.
4. UFC on ESPN: Eye vs Calvillo:
This UFC was admittedly a bit of a weak one, especially on paper in my opinion. It lacked star power and fighters known for exciting fights. Regardless we saw Cynthia Calvillo (9-1) make her flyweight debut against former title challenger Jessica Eye (15-8). To add controversy into the mix, this was the second time in a row that Eye had missed weight. She also referenced how proud she was to get close to making it as she was 0.25 pounds away. That does not really make sense to me. I saw online if she had cut her hair, she would have made it. She looks awful on the scale anyways which would probably explain her performance. Calvillo ultimately won by unanimous decision which now makes her a top contender in the women’s flyweight division. Not quite ready for the champion Valentina Shevchenko (19-3) but hopefully she will get there soon.
5. UFC on ESPN Blaydes vs Volkov:
Curtis Blaydes (14-2) did what Curtis Blaydes does best in this match up. He used a heavy grappling game plan to take a unanimous decision win over Alexander Volkov. Which was not surprising by any means, Curtis even tweeted that he would do that. For whatever reason Dana White was surprised and upset with how it turned out. My assumption is he overreacted because Blaydes spoke out about fighter pay. After this victory, he mentioned he wants to wait for a title shot. With the rubber match set between Champion Stipe Miocic (19-3) and Daniel Cormier (22-2), and Francis Ngannou the most deserving next contender. Curtis might be waiting a long time before he gets his crack at the title. He can wait if he wants to, but I think it might be best to get another win to solidify his standing.
6. UFC on ESPN Poirier vs Hooker:
Following a fight of the year candidate between Josh Emmett (16-2) and Shane Burgos (13-2) from the week prior, we got another fight of year candidate between Dustin Poirier (26-6) and Dan Hooker (20-9). Dan started the fight incredibly well winning the first two rounds. Dustin showed his veteran savvy and came back to take the unanimous decision win. The fight was an all-out war and incredibly entertaining. Dustin is a star in the lightweight division. He can be relied upon to always put on exciting fights, and headlining events. With Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0) being his only loss in 8 fights, Dustin still belong in the top of the division. A match up against Tony Ferguson (24-5) would be incredible.
This is the June wrap up! Let me know what you thought, and what stories I might have missed out.