Columnist for @USAToday & @MMAJunkie, fiction enthusiast, part-time podcaster.

The Speed Bag: With WSOF champ Rousimar Palhares, you are this close, man — WSOF welterweight champion Rousimar Palhares pulled off yet another masterful leg-lock submission, but as MMAjunkie's Ben Fowlkes discusses in his latest edition of "The Speed Bag," the champ is this close, man. This past Saturday in the NBCSN-televised WSOF 16 headliner, Palhares (17-6) defended his title and submitted Jon Fitch (26-7-1), but he was again criticized for not immediately breaking hold of a kneebar.

How Nate Diaz and the UFC could both learn from a bizarre week — For a guy who doesn't "move the needle," according to his boss, UFC lightweight Nate Diaz sure had a lot of people talking this past weekend.

Trading Shots: On fighters and brain trauma, Joe Rogan gave us all something to consider — In this week's Trading Shots, retired UFC/WEC fighter Danny Downes joins MMAjunkie columnist Ben Fowlkes to consider the lingering lessons of Joe Rogan's podcast discussion with UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaub, especially in the wake of a night of brutal heavyweight beatdowns at UFC on FOX 13.

WSOF 16 video stream and live results (6:30 p.m. ET) — Watch a live video stream of today's WSOF 16 preliminary card and get official results here beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET (3:30 p.m. PT). Today's event, which takes place at McClellan Conference Center in Sacramento, Calif., then shifts to a main card on NBCSN at 9 p.m. ET.

Video: Nate Diaz misses weight vs. Rafael dos Anjos at UFC on FOX 13 — PHOENIX - Much has been said about Nate Diaz in the more than a year since he last fought. And he's said a bit, himself. Included in there was his lengthy outburst on Thursday, when he told MMAjunkie what he thinks about the UFC signing Phil "CM Punk" Brooks.

TUF 20 Finale’s Charles Oliveira promises no weight issues for Stephens — As much of a spin as anyone wants to put on it, there's really no sugarcoating what happened to Charles Oliveira the last time he had a UFC fight booked. Oliveira badly missed weight for a fight against Nik Lentz at UFC Fight Night 50 in September.

Nate Diaz slams UFC’s CM Punk signing: ‘F-ck him, f-ck the whole situation’ — PHOENIX - The UFC's recent signing of former WWE star Phil " CM Punk" Brooks has been polarizing, to say the least. Nate Diaz 's opinion is pretty clear: "It's horrible for the sport."

As UFC title shot awaits, Rose Namajunas relying on lessons from fiance Pat Barry — Former UFC heavyweight Pat Barry has no trouble recalling the first time he realized that his fiancee, Rose Namajunas, might be a special fighter. "I knew it after the first punch she hit me with in practice," Barry tells USA TODAY Sports and MMAjunkie. "I was like, whoa, wait a minute.

In Rogan’s remarks to Schaub, an attempt to solve a conflict as old as combat sports — On Monday UFC commentator Joe Rogan said to Brendan Schaub all the things we've all thought about saying to one pro fighter or another, only he said it on a live podcast to a friend who'd just suffered his second consecutive loss at UFC 181 two days earlier.

Askren calls UFC’s CM Punk signing ‘strange,’ but it could be a blessing in disguise — Ben Askren was backstage at UFC 181 when he heard the news. As he was sitting in the locker room of Roufusport teammate and UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, the TV monitor showed the UFC's newest acquisition, former pro wrestler Phil " CM Punk " Brooks, who, at 36, has no MMA fights to his credit and little more than some recreational jiu-jitsu experience and a huge fan base to recommend him for the job.
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Dec 17, 2014

I'm so glad my daughter created this game where she covers me in stuffed animals and then I fall asleep. This ought to be America's pastime.

Dec 17, 2014

RT @chaddundas: Our podcast continues to be full & drunk on the largesse of our fans. Thanks for the beers, @ICGordon!…

Dec 17, 2014

Last chance to get in on this week's Twitter Mailbag...

Dec 17, 2014

@RothwellFighter They were going to rank you higher but then I told them about this.

Dec 17, 2014

@RothwellFighter Rankings? You want to talk to me about rankings?!? Maaaaan.

Dec 17, 2014

There's law in Montana after all. RT @LaurenB_NBCMT Jury finds Markus Kaarma guilty of deliberate homicide #kaarmatrial

Dec 17, 2014

All the other ones in existence. RT @dudemanchubaca what are the prelim podcasts?

Dec 17, 2014

Yes. But it's free. RT @dafunk1184 Read your stuff & listen to the podcast. Won't I risk overexposure (like Fight Pass) signing up for BoC?

Dec 17, 2014

@cdcgratefl We train them, though probably not as much as we should. Some guys attempt them more than others (*cough* @samyboi911 *cough*)

Dec 17, 2014

Step one: Get bent. Step two: Go spit. RT @maggiehendricks How do I submit questions for the mailbag?

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