Welcome to Midnight Mania!
In less than 24 hours, “The General” of Team Alpha Male (TAM), Urijah Faber, will return to the cage for the first time in two-and-a-half years, taking on talented up-and-comer Ricky Simon.
While it came as a surprise to many that Faber would return from retirement while busy with many other obligations — such as parenting a new baby girl, coaching, real estate, and having a hand in a dozen local businesses — those close to Faber aren’t shocked. “The California Dad” never removed himself from the USADA testing pool, a firm bit of evidence that his retirement was never intended to be permanent.
Unfortunately, that also meant random house calls at 5 A.M. from USADA officials at any point in the past 30 or so months. In an example that boggles the mind, ESPN’s Marc Raimondi uncovered a telling case of bad timing from the drug testing group while writing about Faber’s return.
Faber’s fiancée Jaslyn Ome told me she knew it was inevitable he would return to UFC, because he stayed in the USADA pool. In fact, USADA came to the hospital on the day their baby was born looking for a urine sample. With Ome in bed, in labor, Faber granted their request.
— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) July 12, 2019
While I am definitely pro drug testing and in favor of cleaning up the sport, the USADA situation does seem ridiculous at times. Is it really appropriate for an agent to show up at the hospital while an athlete is becoming a father? There’s no way to delay a few hours or a day? If nothing else, it continues to call into question how fighters can be considered independent contractors when they are always responsible for answering USADA’s call.
On a more light-hearted note, a USADA rep showed up at the Team Alpha Male morning practice today, presumably to test one of the team’s UFC fighters. There’s only one problem: a majority of the team’s active UFC members are fighting tomorrow, meaning they were all at the early morning weigh-ins rather than practice. Seems like something a USADA agent would be aware of, right? That poor agent was forced to leave the gym without any new urine or blood in hand.
At any rate, Faber was probably too chill to actually be perturbed by their intrusion, so let’s wrap this up with some WEC highlights.
“Wonderboy” is destroying the local youth in dodge ball.
Ladd looked near death at the weigh-ins. Without getting into too much Sacramento drama, her gym does have a reputation for bulking fighters up too much and consequently having issues with the weight cut.
Pretty sure McGregor only made his retirement tweet so he could post a crummy commercial on Instagram.
The Rock gave Masvidal props for his wild flying knee knockout.
Poirier working on his cardio ahead of what’s sure to be a war of attrition with Khabib.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk is getting back into fight camp mode at American Top Team.
Slips, rips, and Bellator clips
High kicks from the clinch are always awesome.
Ed Ruth returned to the win column in a big way.
Ed Ruth (7-1) makes it look “EZ” against Kiichi Kunimoto, slamming a knee into the UFC and RIZIN vet to get the ball rolling on a second-round stoppage. The three-time NCAA D-I wrestling champ has finished six, each by knockout and four in round two. #Bellator224 pic.twitter.com/PmjxTi2BAe
— Kyle Johnson (@VonPreux) July 13, 2019
Beautiful body shot started the finish for the kickboxer.
Toes digging into the mid-section seriously hurt.
A flurry of hooks saw Amir Khan’s hand raised in Saudi Arabia.
Pretty sure this is the Coca-cola secret recipe: just a bunch of colorful sugar dissolved in some water.
Midnight Music: There’s just something about Sacramento and guillotines! Well not really — no one from the team has actually guillotine choked anyone in the UFC in years, but Mike Goldberg and/or Joe Rogan bringing it up during every single TAM fight for a decade helped cement the legend anyway.
Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.