Australian-born Anton Minenko is the first and only Australian to ever win a medal (bronze) at Abu Dhabi Professional World Championship 2019 at the Adult Black Belt level.
It looked like it was going to be amazing. For UFC 146, the UFC constructed the biggest card in terms of poundage in the organisation’s history.
Five main card bouts, ten heavyweights, headlined by a mammoth championship bout between champion Junior Dos Santos and the reigning K-1 World Grand Prix winner and Strikeforce champion, Alistair Overeem.
It was something that the UFC had never done before and it wasn’t meant to last.
On April 4, it was announced that Overeem had failed a pre-fight drug test due to elevated levels of testosterone. To say no one saw this coming would be a bit stupid. You just have to look at Overeem to know that he probably has more testosterone than your entire family tree put together.
When Overeem decided to go up to heavyweight, accusations of performance enhancing drugs immediately surfaced. For many the transformation from a string bean light-heavyweight to a 260-pound man mountain virtually overnight didn’t ring true no matter how many horses Overeem claimed to have eaten.
There were of course the believers who backed the idea that Overeem was finally just allowing himself to fill in his six-foot-five-inch frame, and over time this became the line we all followed.
Overeem’s arrival onto America’s heavily regulated soil brought an end the accusations, as it was reasoned if ‘The Reem’ was able to pass a drug test then he must be clean.
Now the performance-enhanced cat is out of the bag and it’s not so much shock we feel as disappointment.
We were happy to forget that Overeem managed to somehow lose his neck overnight in favour of the fact he was now able to fold someone in half like a lawn chair with one of his knees.
We’re just disappointed that Ubereem was not able to meet his omega in Dos Santos. Our early suspicions have finally caught up to us and we have been denied our King Kong versus Godzilla moment.
The ever reliable Chael Sonnen made a point of reminding us what we all seemed to have forgotten when he tweeted, “I’m shocked.. Has the body fat of a tooth brush, looks like the guy on Street Fight FIGHTER. My mind is blown, just blown.”
The search for a replacement opponent is now underway. Former champion, Frank Mir put his hand up to fill in and he looked like the most worthy and logical choice, but that was shot down pretty quickly by UFC president, Dana White.
Mir will instead continue training and preparing for his bout with the also not considered Cain Velasquez.
Amazingly, Mark Hunt has been given the vote of confidence by a large section of the online fan-base with a #RallyForMarkHunt trend being started on twitter.
Hunt isn’t one to put his name out there but he wouldn’t turn it down if it was offered. But the whole thing seems pretty ludicrous when you remember that the guy only just regained a positive record (eight wins, seven losses) and that if you mentioned the idea of it just six months ago you would have been laughed out of town.
Suggestions of a last minute deal to lure former PRIDE heavyweight champ and the long time bane of Dana White’s existence Fedor Emelianenko to the octagon was doused pretty quickly when Fedor opted to sign to fight a middling opponent in Russia in mid-June.
Title hungry Dan Henderson has also put his hand up, but I believe the dark horse and probably the best bet to fill in is Fabricio Werdum. He is coming off the brutal beating he gave Roy Nelson in his UFC return, he was the first person to ever beat Fedor and he has history with the champ, Dos Santos.
At UFC 90, Dos Santos made his UFC debut and was expected to be cannon fodder for the number one contender Werdum, but instead starched him with a brutal uppercut that exploded Dos Santos’ career and brought Werdum’s to a screeching halt.
The fanboy in me would be giddy to see a Mark Hunt and Dos Santos bout, but I think the best bet now is for Werdum to fill in. No matter who they get though, when UFC 146 rolls around I’ll probably still find myself thinking about the main event that could have been, but in hindsight should never really have been.