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ESPN’s Jon Anik Talks UFC 132, Nate Marquardt, UFC on ESPN, and More

Jon Anik, the host of MMA Live on ESPN, recently talked to to Kicking N Streaming to preview today’s UFC 132 event, but not before touching on a few major MMA subject matters.

Below are some notable quotes from the interview, including Anik’s opinions on the Nate Marquardt situation, the finish to Cheick Kongo vs. Pat Barry at UFC on Versus, and the liklihood of the UFC partnering with ESPN.

On Nate Marquardt’s use of testosterone replacement therapy and his subsequent firing from UFC:

“I don’t think it was an overreaction by Dana White at all. I think testosterone replacement therapy and these therapeutic use exemptions for these therapies is a huge issue in MMA and I’d really like to see UFC come up with a film policy that does away with all of these exemptions for cases like this. I think it’s definitely a loophole. I think there are so few fighters that actually need testosterone replacement legitimately.

“As plainly as I can put it I think Marquardt was using it as a loophole. I think he was cheating and I think he deserves the punishment.

“The overall issue is great than Nate and I think the UFC needs to be proactive about it. Anything short of a previous diagnosis of something like testicular cancer, I just don’t believe that fighters should be granted therapeutic use exemptions with testosterone replacement therapy, I really don’t.”

On the finish of the Kongo vs Barry fight:

“I think Dan Miragliotta is one of the best refs we have in MMA but it is a line he’s walking. He did touch Barry and had there been any hesitation on the part of Barry and had Barry backed out at all then Miragliotta would have had no choice than to stop the fight. I think as an official you have to be so careful that you don’t make any contact with the fighter because, you’re right, his mannerisms were such that he almost was moving in to stop the fight and then sort of backed up. I think ultimately he read the situation perfectly but had Barry hesitated at all, I think the fight would have been stopped.”

On Ben Henderson vs Jim Miller:

“For Jim Miller, there were some rumblings we were hearing that maybe they entertained moving him to Strikeforce to challenge Melendez for the belt. It doesn’t appear that that is now going to happen but I really think Jim Miller has really already earned a UFC title shot. He’s not going to get it yet but if he gets through Ben Henderson he will absolutely be the number one contender in my eyes. I’m leaning towards Ben Henderson and I think the winner of that fight is definitely going to find themselves in line for a title shot in the next six to eight months.”

On UFC ever striking a deal with ESPN:

“I would imagine there are talks between ESPN and UFC because Dana White says he is talking to everybody. But as you might expect, as simply the host of an ESPN show I am kept so far removed from any of those conversations so I really can’t speak to that specifically. I think the UFC needs their own network and maybe needs is the wrong verb, but wants their own network.  I also just think they have so much programming that there is a place for a UFC network. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them acquire G4 and turn it into the UFC network, it’s already in 60 million homes, and sort of get the ball rolling that way.”

On what is standing in the way of UFC getting on ESPN:

“I would say the violence and more so the blood, that superficial violence caused by a bloody canvas is one of the big issues. We are owned 80% by Disney and I think there is so much risk involved when you put a fight night on ESPN2. That’s why you know if you’ve talked to me or seen my posts on twitter that I am against elbows on the ground, as much as Kenny Florian hates that I go on that soap box. I think rarely do they finish fights and all they do is cause blood and scare away TV executives.  I think certain rule modifications might help but I do think there is a long way to go in terms of a TV deal getting done between ESPN and UFC.”

On the fight he is looking forward to the most at UFC 132:

“To me it’s Condit and Kim, two guys with tremendous MMA records, both coming in with a lot of momentum in the welterweight division. The “Stun Gun” of course remains undefeated and Condit really had as good of a 2010 as anyone, finished the year with a couple knockouts, including one of the knockouts of the year against Dan Hardy. I think Condit is a guy who could find himself in a title fight against GSP really quickly here if he can get the knockout against Kim, all due respect to Nick Diaz who faces GSP in October. That’s the fight I definitely have my eyes on and I do think Condit has the chance to get the finish here and is a name that we will be talking about as a number one contender pretty soon.”

To listen to the complete episode click here and stay tuned to for the latest MMA news.

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