Sean Wheelock excitedly introduces the two new hosts of Lineup MMA: former Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren, and former Bellator featherweight and former bantamweight champion Joe Warren.
Warren and Askren sharply disagree on the idea that Demetrious Johnson is the best “pound for pound” fighter in MMA. Warren exclaims, “Hell no, if you put me at that weight I would crush people.” Askren challenges Warren to “find someone else with a better resume” if he believes Johnson is not the best. Askren adds, “The only two you could put up against him are Dominick Cruz and Jon Jones.”
A very intriguing situation unfolding is the potential boxing match between Connor Mcgregor and Floyd Mayweather. Wheelock and Askren believe this would be an “easy” fight for Mayweather, but Warren is not convinced. “I don’t know man,” Askren laments, “I’m on the same page as you guys, but the more I think about it he’s such a bigger guy.” Warren counters “Mcgregor can’t even outbox Nate Diaz,” there is no way he could even contend with Mayweather, but both hosts agree it would be great to watch.
Askren has an interesting perspective on the potential sale of the MMA “They may just want to sell a portion to a Chinese group because it’s so hard to get onto Mainland China,” according to Askren. “After seven years of fighting in Asia, the UFC is still not onto Mainland China, and the market is enormous… If you’re thinking the UFC doesn’t want a part of that market, you’re crazy.” Warren disagrees saying, “I think if it goes the whole thing is going to go,” and adds that the value of the league “went from $2 million to $4 billion. It’s gone, baby.”
The future role of current UFC president Dana White is brought into question. “They’ve been putting a muzzle on Dana throughout the sale process,” according to Askren, because “Dana says a lot of idiotic shit” and “some of his antics won’t be tolerated by a new ownership group.” Wheelock believes that in professional sports when ownership of a franchise changes hands, the new owners “like to put their own guys in there,” and he believes that will happen with White and the UFC.
Warren and Askren are heated up when talking about USADA (U.S. anti-doping agency) and BJ Penn’s UFC suspension. “USADA is not here to help the athletes,” according to Warren. “There needs to be a leniency to rules outside of PED’s like the IV use.”
“It’s dumb,” said Askren,. “He told them he took it. What’s the big deal?” Warren believes USADA was out to get him while he was on the Olympic wrestling team.
This week’s poll question, “Do you believe UFC will have a new majority owner by the end of the year?” is a hot topic for the hosts. Askren believes it will be “hard for leaders in the MMA like Dana White to let the league go.” Wheelock commented, “it’s not a matter of if, but when the UFC sells.”