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

The Speed Bag: Lesson to be learned from Bellator 131 and Tito Ortiz — Why can Tito Ortiz do such a big number for Bellator and Spike TV - on the same night as a UFC pay-per-view? In his latest edition of "The Speed Bag," MMAjunkie columnist Ben Fowlkes talks about MMA brand names vs. fighter name star power.

Twitter Mailbag: On Swanson’s big moment, Chandler’s uncertain future, and more — In this week's Twitter Mailbag, a look ahead to UFC Fight Night 57, and some frank discussion on gym bullying in the martial arts scene. Got a question of your own? Tweet it out to @BenFowlkesMMA. That's a tough one.

What we need now — After three days of testimony and a few hours in the cloistered deliberation room on the second floor of the Missoula County Courthouse, my fellow jurors on a recent rape trial kept saying they wanted more.

The (impossible) case against cutting weight — Recently I was talking to a pro fighter about one of the most brutal weight cuts of his career, one that ended with him lying uselessly on the floor, half out of his mind, muttering over and over to no one in particular, "This is so stupid."

Rose Namajunas explains why she spoke out about Roufusport concerns — To hear Rose Namajunas tell it, she wasn't exactly relishing the chance to speak out about what she perceived as a dangerous gym culture at Duke Roufus' Roufusport gym in Milwaukee. It was only when she saw video of the fight that cost amateur kickboxer Dennis Munson Jr.

Duke Roufus responds to team members’ allegations, as other fighters chime in — A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story about the death of Roufusport amateur kickboxer Dennis Munson Jr. set off a firestorm of criticism aimed at head coach Duke Roufus this weekend, as former fighters such as UFC women's strawweight Rose Namajunas and former UFC fighter Eric Schafer described a toxic atmosphere of abuse, both verbal and physical, at the Milwaukee gym that serves as the home to top fighters such as UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, among others.

Fabricio Werdum gets a UFC belt, but no denying Cain Velasquez is still king — (This story appears in today's edition of USA TODAY.) For a man who essentially ended up in the same place he started, Fabricio Werdum sure had to do an awful lot to get there. In the process, he might have strengthened a case that didn't need much strengthening, and turned a much anticipated UFC heavyweight title fight into a must-see affair.

Ex-UFC champ Georges St-Pierre regrets not voicing anti-PED stance earlier in career — TORONTO - Former UFC champion Georges St-Pierre still has no idea if he'll fight again. But if he does, he said random drug testing must absolutely be involved. "If I ever come back and fight again, (random drug testing) is mandatory," St-Pierre told MMAjunkie this past weekend in Toronto.

Trading Shots: Did Leslie Smith’s mangled ear warrant a stoppage? — In this week's Trading Shots, MMAjunkie columnist Ben Fowlkes and retired UFC/WEC fighter Danny Downes discuss Leslie Smith's gruesome injury at UFC 180, plus the questions raised by the stoppage that awarded the victory to Jessica Eye.

Bellator 131 salaries: Tito Ortiz’s $300K tops payroll $633K event payroll — Main-event winner Tito Ortiz was the big earner at Saturday's UFC 180 event and accounted for $300,000 of the $632,600 disclosed payroll. Ortiz defeated fellow light heavyweight Stephan Bonnar, who earned $100,000, in the Spike TV-televised headliner at Valley View Casino Center in San Diego. The California State Athletic Commission released the figures (via Sherdog).
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Nov 23, 2014

That's just mean, Frankie. You mean, mean man.

Nov 23, 2014

Can they not do these interviews in a quiet room backstage? Is that just an insane idea?

Nov 22, 2014

Dustin Ortiz, you're better than I thought you were. But I still give it to Benavidez.

Nov 22, 2014

Some clever transitions in the grappling game from Wiman. Go on with your bad self.

Nov 22, 2014

RT @3ammma: is this one of those optical illusion things where you're supposed to see a vase or Joe Silva's face in the middle

Nov 22, 2014

When you think about it, it is weird that you can legally poke your opponent in the eye with your toe, but not your finger. #deepthoughts

Nov 22, 2014

Narvaez asks for Fight of the Night. I guess he didn't see Paige VanZant get down?

Nov 22, 2014

Solid defense by Luke Barnatt. I thought he was done, but he stayed calm and stayed alive. Could make things interesting here.

Nov 22, 2014

The photo on Nick Hein'z sponsor banner seems to have been shot on a lonesome desert highway. That's a new one.

Nov 22, 2014

Yves Edwards, one of the nicest dudes in the business, about to do it yet again. I never get tired of seeing him.

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