McGregor/Cerrone Reaction; Rich Eisen Remembers Stuart Scott
It's Stuart Scott Day at ESPN, so Ariel welcomes Scott's most well-known SportsCenter partner-in-crime, Rich Eisen, to reminisce about the beloved anchor, who succumbed to cancer in 2015. Then, Ariel and ESPN's Marc Raimondi discuss if Cowboy Cerrone is the right matchup for Conor McGregor, if McGregor's decision to fight at 170 is the correct one, whether Jorge Masvidal could be McGregor's next opponent, McGregor's reputation, the excitement surrounding the Khabib Nurmagomedov/Tony Ferguson fight and more (35:21). And before "TST's Minimalist Tip of the Week" (1:14:58), Ariel reveals the four UFC fighter contestants who will take part in next week's Nose World Order Trivia Championship in Las Vegas (1:07:49).
Tony Ferguson, Adesanya, Shevchenko, Overeem, El Patron, More
Ariel begins by explaining why Donald Cerrone is the perfect matchup for Conor McGregor's return fight. Plus, Ariel's thoughts on the Tony Ferguson/Khabib Nurmagomedov lightweight title fight, set for April 18 in Brooklyn. Then, the founder of Fortis MMA, Sayif Saud, talks about the growth of his Dallas-based gym and his approach in training the next wave of MMA stars (27:28). Plus, Saud discusses his training with Mavericks forward Kristaps Porzingis and Saud's own hopes of winning the 2019 Helwani Nose Award. Next, UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko talks about her role in a Halle Berry movie and why Katlyn Chookagian poses the best challenge to her belt in February (48:09). After that, Alberto El Patron discusses Saturday's Combate Americas matchup against Tito Ortiz and why this will be his last MMA fight ever (1:04:48). Israel Adesanya, the UFC middleweight champion, then joins Ariel for "Matzah Ballin'" to talk about the origins of his name, Nigerian food traditions, life in New Zealand, practicing gratitude and much more (1:28:52). Then, Tony Ferguson discusses how the Khabib fight came together, why they're holding it off until April, his training camp strategy, what it would feel like to beat the undefeated lightweight champion, if he expects he'll speak with Khabib before the fight and more (2:09:18). After that, UFC heavyweight Alistair Overeem reacts to the troubling news surrounding Walt Harris, whom he was supposed to fight this upcoming weekend. Instead, he'll fight Jairzinho Rozenstruik, who he and Ariel discus (2:33:27). Lastly, "The Haggis Hunter" Robert Whiteford on his next Bellator fight, if he plans to return to the UFC and more (2:48:08).
The Business of MMA
In a special episode devoted to the ins and outs of growing MMA all throughout the world, Ariel first speaks to Martin Lewandowski, the co-founder and CEO of KSW, Poland's leading fight organization, which Lewandowski says easily exceeds the UFC's popularity in the country. But he explains how difficult it was to grow the league from its origins up until now, where he says fighters routinely make over $1 million per fight. Then, fighter-turned-trainer-turned-manager Tiki Ghosn talks about his career arc, Instagram's role in changing how much fighters make and the potential UFC champion he has waiting in the wings (28:15). Lastly, brand builder Hans Molenkamp discusses his direct work with the athletes and agents, including the difficulties of parting ways with fighters he admires. And, he explains how he inked a deal with Monster Energy and how even the top fighters can cost themselves large sums of money by failing to market themselves properly (46:45). Plus, the latest on Khabib vs. Ferguson (1:14:02) and TST's Minimalist Tip of the Week (1:20:30).
Gina Carano, Dillashaw, Whittaker, Weidman, Rockhold, More
In a history-making episode of the show, former UFC champion Chris Weidman looks back on his "devastating" loss to Dominick Reyes last month. With a Jon Jones matchup likely awaiting him had he beaten Reyes, Weidman tells Ariel whether he looked past Reyes and also if he feels any pressure to retire now. After that, Jairzinho Rozenstruik -- who will fight Alistair Overeem next week in place of Walt Harris Jr. -- discusses his possible path to a UFC heavyweight title shot and what it's like fighting under such circumstances (27:39). Then, former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold rejoins the show to discuss his recent travels, new business ventures, bull-wrestling experiences and why he doesn't feel compelled to rush back to fighting (45:46). Next, one of the all-time greats, Randy "The Natural" Couture describes how he's feeling physically and emotionally after suffering a heart attack last month (1:04:20). After that, MMA coach Edmond Tarverdyan - former coach of Ronda Rousey - talks about the development of a potential up-and-coming UFC star: Edmen Shabazyan, the 21-year-old middleweight who knocked out Brad Tavares at Madison Square Garden earlier this month (1:20:33). Then, after largely staying silent for the past seven months, former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw explains why he took the substance that landed him a two-year suspension from USADA, how he's spent his time away from the sport and why he feels it's important to be transparent about the entire situation (1:40:06). Plus, he reveals the fight he wants when he eventually makes his return. Then, in her debut appearance on the show, female fighting pioneer Gina Carano tells Ariel why she's been ducking him for the last eight years (2:02:20). In the interview, Ariel thanks Carano for sparking one of the biggest turning points in his career before the old friends talk about her indelible impact on MMA, her gut-wrenching 2009 loss to Cris Cyborg, the stunning story behind the UFC deal and Rousey fight that never happened, if she ever thinks about fighting anymore, why she's thrown herself into acting, her new role as Cara Dune in "The Mandalorian" on Disney + and so much more. Lastly, another former UFC middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker, discusses his loss to Israel Adesanya at UFC 242 and who and where he hopes to fight next (3:02:20).
Gareth A. Davies Talks Recent Heart Attack
Veteran combat sports reporter Gareth A. Davies joins Ariel to talk for the first time about his recent heart attack and how he's feeling. He also discusses his visit with Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury's flirtation with MMA, Ben Askren's retirement, Conor McGregor Watch and this weekend's Bellator Europe card.