This Week in MMA (3/6-3/13): Slice, Shamrock Fails Drug Tests, Justin Gaethje Retains Title at WSOF 29
This week in MMA was admittedly a bit slow in terms of news, but WSOF 29 delivered some solid action, and there were still a reasonable number of developments for fans to enjoy. Let’s take a look!
Kimbo Slice, Ken Shamrock Fails Drug Tests Following Bellator 149
It was revealed that Ken Shamrock, who controversially fell to Royce Gracie, and Kimbo Slice, who squeaked by Dada 5000 at Bellator 149 failed their post-fight drug tests. Based upon the age and physique of Shamrock, the news doesn’t come as much of a surprise. For Slice, though, the development is incredibly worrying.
Frankly, if Kimbo Slice performed this poorly with the assistance of PEDs, there is no telling how he will look without them—he barely fended off exhaustion long enough to finish this latest contest!
For both men, the failed tests simply add insult to the injury inflicted by their careers as a result of their latest performances (this point relates to Slice more than Shamrock). Additionally, they demonstrate a massive failure on the part of their coaches and trainers, who at the very least, in all honesty, should have helped their fighters to properly cycle the drugs (if they were going to cheat, they should have at least done so intelligently; time is of the essence for both men).
Both men will meet the NSAC in a disciplinary hearing at a date that has yet to be determined. In all likelihood, fans have seen both men compete in a regulated MMA cage for the last time.
WSOF 29 Delivers as Gaethje Defends His Title in the First
Despite a disappointing end to the highly anticipated main event, WSOF 29 still delivered some solid action for fans to enjoy.
This main event, while it lasted, was as exciting as most fans expected it to be. Brian Foster and Justin Gaethje threw caution to the wind and traded leather—action which certainly pleased the crowd and viewers. In the process, though, Gaethje landed a series of his notably powerful kicks to the knee of Foster, who eventually buckled from the strikes. After the fight, Foster reported that he was disappointed but healthy, although the extent of the damage to his knee has yet to be revealed.
Hopefully, he’ll recover soon, and as Gaethje noted in his post-fight interview, a battle between himself and Jason High would be smart to book next. After that, a rematch with Foster may be a possibility as the action before the injury was certainly fun.
In the co-main event of the evening, UFC, Bellator, and RFA veteran Josh Copeland made good on his WSOF debut and clearly dominated his opponent, Mike Hayes, over the course of three rounds. It was fun to watch Copeland utilize his stand-up skills, which are vastly improved from his UFC days. The pace that both men kept was impressive, but the jab and mobility of Copeland appeared to fluster Hayes.
In the featured fight of the night, Louis Taylor won in dominant fashion as he bested Cory Devela in less than thirty seconds, via guillotine choke. Devela is a solid and experienced competitor, a point which makes the win even more impressive for Taylor. It will be interesting to see where both talented middleweights go from here.
The main card kicked off with an interesting contest between Kris Hocum and Josh Cavan. The razor-thin bout saw Cavan try time and time again to implement his wrestling. He was largely unsuccessful, and both ground-based fighters fought most of the fifteen minutes standing. The split decision did well to reflect the closeness of the fight, which realistically could have gone either way. Once again, it will be interesting to see where both men go from here.
Patricky Freire versus Derek Campos Headlines the MMA Portion of Bellator 152 in Italy
Bellator officials rightfully didn’t hesitate to get Derek Campos back to action, as he will battle promotional-mainstay Patricky Pitbull in the main event of Bellator 152’s MMA portion. Campos is fresh off of a vicious knockout of Melvin Guillard at Bellator 149, while Pitbull has been on the shelf for a bit longer, having KO’d Ryan Couture at Bellator 148 in similarly devastating fashion. Both men are skilled, both men are committed to fighting in exciting fashion, and both men should deliver an awesome contest at 152.
The only downside to the event, however, is that it will air in the US via tape delay; the kickboxing portion of the card won’t even be broadcast until after the following Bellator event. Still, the international look is pretty cool for Bellator—especially since there is so much strategy and calculation behind it, and the action of 152 should once again be enjoyable.
Derrick Lewis vs. Gabriel Gonzaga, Rashad Evans vs. Glover Teixeira Announced
The UFC announced two replacement match-ups this week, which frankly, are equally as or more interesting than the original fights.
First, Ruslan Magomedov’s injury prompted Derrick Lewis to be booked as the replacement against Gabriel Gonzaga, in what should be a fun fight. Roy Nelson is also standing by to step-up should Lewis or Gonzaga suffer an injury.
Then, Shogun Rua’s injury prompted Glover Teixeira to be booked as a replacement against Rashad Evans, in what is a more interesting fight for fans and an honestly tougher fight for Evans.
Lewis and Gonzaga will meet on April 10th in the UFC’s Croatian debut while Evans and Teixeira will meet on April 16th in Tampa, Florida.
Chris Leben’s Bellator MMA Career Halted by Heart Issues
In an upsetting development, it was revealed that TUF and UFC veteran Chris Leben was diagnosed with a serious heart condition, and would accordingly be unable to compete in MMA with any promotion. It appears as though Leben has a number of treatment options available to him; hopefully, he can sit down with a reliable doctor, make the best decision, and heal and recover as quickly and fully as possible.
This week in MMA wasn’t the best, but next week is set to be awesome, as Mark Hunt will battle Frank Mir at UFC Fight Night 85. Stay tuned for all of the best MMA results and developments, and remember to enjoy the fights!