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  • Dana White blows up Josh Koscheck's phone after new Bellator MMA fighter ... - MMAmania.com
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Posts Tagged ‘future’

SportsBlog.com (blog)
Retired future Hall of Famer B.J. Penn talks about potential UFC comeback
One of the greatest to ever step foot inside the Octagon, B.J. Penn, retired from mixed martial arts (MMA) after losing to Frankie Edgar via third-round technical knockout at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 19 Finale on July 6, 2014. The loss marked "The
Meet MMA's Mr. HydeSportsBlog.com (blog)
No Homecoming For Clarke at UFC SaskatoonTop MMA News
Justin Faux' top five dream fights that never materialisedMMA Kanvas
LowKick MMA
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UFC Berlin / Bellator 138 Post-fight Patterns: The Future of MMA
Bloody Elbow
MMA as a whole has, by most metrics, been slowly deteriorating in popularity from its height in 2009. This isn't necessarily the doomsday scenario that many have it as: most things have peaks and troughs. Negative perceptions of how damning this fade
Erick Silva vs. Rick Story to co-headline UFC Fight Night on Aug. 23ESPN
UFC Fight Night 74 in Saskatoon adds Story vs. Silva, Cote vs. Burkman, and MMATorch

all 11 news articles »

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Dan Weichel isn’t just fighting for a title at Bellator 138. He is fighting for his sport.

Weichel, you see, is the best mixed martial artist in Germany, a country where mixed martial arts is only barely legal. Germany has actively worked against MMA in years past, with the sport being kept off national TV for a long while and children being barred from attending live events. Politicians have only recently begun thawing to the idea of cagefighting, which creates both danger and opportunity for Weichel.

Set to face Patricio Freire for the featherweight belt, he has the chance to elevate the sport in his home country by becoming the first German to capture the title of a major promotion. Weichel took the time to speak with Bleacher Report about his past, present and future in combat sports and what this fight means to him.

How did you first get into martial arts?

At first, I was inspired by martial arts movies like Bloodsport and Bruce Lee movies, and I was always fascinated by the technique and the sport. I kept asking my parents if I could start doing martial arts, and one day I saw a poster in my school for beginner classes, and I asked if I could do it.

Finally, they sent me over there. From the first moment I set foot on the mats, I knew this would be my life.

And how old were you when you first started training?

Thirteen when I started martial arts. Jiu-jitsu I started about one year later. A friend of mine was training there, and he invited me to a class, and it was a real passion for me. I really loved it.

Tell me about your early days in MMA. How did you get into it? Where were you fighting? What was the environment like for you at the time?

I was training more jiu-jitsu than anything else. I was not really training in wrestling or striking very much. I started to compete at amateur Shooto in Holland…and after that, they asked me if I wanted a pro fight and started my career with Shooto Holland. From there on, I went into qualification fights to fight in Japan, and I flew over from there, and then I started fighting all over Europe in European Vale Tudo in Sweden and Cage Warriors in England, and I just kept going.

When Bellator announced that they were getting away from tournaments, given that you won a tournament in 2014, how did you feel about that? And how was it taking another non-title fight against Pat Curran?

I felt they were going in the right direction, and they’re doing a great job promoting shows now. I’m very glad I got to have the experience of fighting in a tournament. It was a really intense experience in my life and career. I’m very happy I was there.

Fighting Pat Curran was a very big fight for me. He’s a former champ and has a very good resume with Bellator, and he’s one of the best featherweights in the world, and that’s one of the guys I wanted to compete with. I’m very happy that it got me that title shot right now.

How do you think you match up against Patricio Freire at this point?

I think I match up perfectly with Patricio. My team and I have worked on the perfect game plan, and I feel so comfortable right now. The last three or four weeks, I’ve felt ready. I feel great with our game plan, my body moves the way I want it to move, I feel no flaws in the techniques I’m trying to do. I think it’s a good matchup, and it should be a hell of a fight.

In general, how is MMA looked at in Germany right now? When the UFC first went there, it was banned from television, and children were barred from entering the arenas. Has it changed much? And how does it effect you? (Note: the TV ban was lifted earlier this year.)

The MMA scene is slowly growing in Germany, I would say. Right now, it’s not at all on TV, and that makes it hard to show people what MMA is all about. They just hear about it or see things on the internet, so they don’t really get MMA. But I also see through social media that MMA keeps growing, and more and more people are talking to me on the streets saying, “Oh, I saw you fighting in the United States on the internet,” and that’s really nice.

Still, for most people, I have to explain what MMA is all about, especially the ground fighting. They’re not used to jiu-jitsu, and they don’t understand why people can punch on the ground. They don’t understand that the person on the bottom can finish fights with submission techniques. It’s a lack of understanding. If it was on TV, it would be awesome for the German MMA scene.

Do you feel like that adds a bit of pressure to your fight? When I spoke with Chan-Sung Jung ahead of his UFC featherweight title fight, he said that he wanted to be the guy to make MMA mainstream in Korea. Are you feeling that way?

I don’t feel pressure. I feel excited for that. I feel excited that I can be the person to make MMA more popular in Germany. I don’t feel pressure, I just feel happy about that. I take that positive energy with me into the fight.

Switching gears, how does fighting in America feel for you in terms of jet lag? How do you deal with long travel before a fight?

We basically fly over a week before the fight. I feel good with that. Traveling is always a little bit stressful, but normally when I arrive I normally get a good sleep, and the next day is just a normal day. I start my training routine with my coaches. It’s harder when I travel back than when I travel to the states.

What has been the toughest fight in Bellator thus far?

I would say Pat Curran, definitely. I felt if, for one second, I had a lack of concentration, he would take advantage. In the second round, for one moment, I lost my concentration, and he took me down. I wasn’t expecting it that moment. I felt like I had to keep my concentration very high to win that fight, and so it was a very tough one. I knew for every moment and every second of that fight, he was dangerous. That was a tough fight for me.

I have to say, when I fought in Salt Lake City with Matt Bessette, that was a very tough fight for me as well. I underestimated the high altitude, and I had to fight through the conditions and fight against myself. It was a different kind of fight for me.

Pat Curran is obviously a very different fighter from Patricio Freire. Are you more confident heading into this fight than you were then?

I definitely think they’re two completely different styles. Pitbull is way shorter than Curran is, but he is more explosive and moves forward and mixes things up. But I’m ready for that. I think I know what kind of fighter I’m facing right now, and I’m ready.

How do you think the fight is going to pan out?

This fight can go anywhere. He’s a complete fighter, I’m a complete fighter and it’s all about who mixes things up better and who has more heart that night. This fight will be a pure war, anywhere. Striking, wrestling and on the ground. For MMA fans, this is a fight to watch.


 All quotes obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report unless otherwise noted.

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Henry Cejudo entered MMA with well-deserved fanfare. After all, he is a former Olympic gold medalist. But is he the future of the 125-pound division?


Cejudo is immensely talented. We need not talk about his outstanding wrestling credentials, and he has solid boxing with knockout power. He has all the tools to become the champion of this division, but he’s not the future.

He is 28 years old. He is not a spring chicken. When we discuss fighters being the future of a division we are talking about young guns who will start a new era. Georges St. Pierre was the future of the welterweight division, and he fulfilled that prophecy. Cejudo is not the future at flyweight.

The biggest reason he is not the future of the division is that Demetrious Johnson is far and beyond Cejudo technique-wise. Mighty Mouse is lightning fast, a stellar striker, and possesses astonishing level changes and underrated jiu-jitsu. He is the complete package. He is the prototype for future mixed martial arts fighters—Cejudo is not.

Cejudo has great skills, and those skills could see him topple Johnson in the future. But as an all-around fighter, he isn’t there yet. He is not who everyone will point to as the example; Johnson is. Everything Johnson does is textbook for MMA. Cejudo has individual skills that can be broken down on tape to show the future fighters coming up through the ranks, but you wouldn’t show a full Cejudo fight as a picture of perfection.

On top of that, Cejudo has been slightly unprofessional in his short MMA career. He has missed weight on several occasions trying to make flyweight. He finally successfully did it at UFC 185, but can someone really be the future if he continues to have issues making the classification? He isn’t getting younger, and the weight will only become more difficult to shed.

Cejudo is still making strides in his career. His two UFC wins were dominant performances, but they weren’t dynamic. He will meet Chico Camus at UFC 188 in another fight he should dominate. It is a question of how much growth we will see.

Additionally, the gold medalist hasn’t had a finish to his credit since 2013. His past four wins have all come by decision.

We still need to see much more from Cejudo before anointing him.

The others contenders, John Dodson and Joseph Benavidez, would be stiff tests for Cejudo. He has yet to take on the elites of this division. The dynamic athletes in the upper echelon of 125 could bring Cejudo‘s stock crashing back to Earth, or he could prove he is worthy of all the gold he wears in his fights. We see the raw talents and are enamored with his pedigree, but we honestly haven’t seen him prove enough to call him the future.

Time will tell.

Cejudo should win his fight at UFC 188. He is an elite talent, and could be fighting for the title sooner than later. But he is not the future of this division or the sport. He is simply another outstanding talent we get to enjoy.

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It’s truly not cockiness. Lance Palmer is just being honest. 

The World Series of Fighting (WSOF) featherweight champ talks about his upcoming tilt against longtime veteran Chris Horodecki with a tranquility more fit for a stroll around the neighborhood than for a trip inside the steel cage. 

Palmer is relaxed and prepared, and he sees nothing in Horodecki that makes him want to change his demeanor. 

“I feel like I’m better everywhere,” Palmer told Bleacher Report. “He’s just been around for longer. I’m just going to go out there and perform. If I perform, I don’t think he can touch me, and that’s what I plan to do.” 

Palmer’s confidence is rooted in reason. A four-time All-American wrestler at the Ohio State University, Palmer transitioned to MMA four years ago, shacking up with Sacramento’s esteemed Team Alpha Male to round out his game. 

His rapid improvements led him to the WSOF featherweight title in short order, and now he looks to add a championship defense to his already cluttered mantle. Against Horodecki, Palmer doesn’t see a path of least resistance to achieve this goal. 

He just plans on owning the Polish fighter everywhere. 

“I know his main thing is striking, but his last few fights he’s won by taking guys down,” Palmer said. “Whatever he wants to do is fine with me, but I’m going to dictate the pace, dictate the pressure. Whether I take him out on the feet or on the ground, it doesn’t matter to me as long as I get the finish.”

Horodecki, who has been known as a striker with crafty submissions throughout his career, has recently begun to add a wrestle-heavy attack to his arsenal, notching his last two wins via unanimous decision through control and patience. 

Against, Palmer, however, this will not work. The amateur wrestling stud embraces this grinding style as well as anyone in the sport today, and Horodecki will not be the man to best him at it. 

I’d like to see him try to take me down,” Palmer said. “I think if he wants to go there with me, that’s his mistake. But I’ve trained for everything. Just because you’re a wrestler doesn’t mean he won’t try to shoot in on you.

“If you’re getting tagged on the feet, most guys dive in or try to set up a takedown, so I train for the fight to go everywhere and trained for 25 minutes. I’m going to keep this belt and come away with the victory.” 

After Horodecki, the WSOF featherweight roster is thin. Moving down to bantamweight to continue this title reign, Palmer notes, is definitely not an option. 

“I think 145 is the lowest amount of weight I’ll ever make in my life,” Palmer said. “To make 135, I’d have to cut something off.” 

Taking a trip up to lightweight is more reasonable, he said, but even then, he puts his faith in the promotion to bring new bodies into his own weight class. Moving around is possible—he just doesn’t want the situation to come to that. 

“I could [go to 155], but as long as I go out and do well in this fight, I’m the champ at 145, so I think 145 is my home,” Palmer said. “I could fight at 155, I could fight at 170 and not cut any weight, but that’s not my weight class. I think 145 is where I feel comfortable. I’m sure they’ll sign some guys.”

For a fighter like Palmer—a standout collegiate athlete with world-class training partners and dedication to his craft—the cloud of the UFC looms large. Fans and critics will always compare the best fighters in the world to those competing under the UFC banner, a point Palmer recognizes. 

The company’s recent partnership with Reebok has suddenly made the promotion less appealing in the eyes of some fighters, though—including fighters currently under UFC contract. 

To Palmer, however, the UFC is still the big show. The Reebok deal isn’t perfect, and he’d make less sponsorship money to step inside the Octagon, but he still recognizes the promotion for what it is. 

“The UFC is the biggest show there is, and it’s been around forever,” Palmer said. “I think they’re going to continue to be the big show for a long time, but it is what it is. I know a lot of the UFC guys aren’t happy with it. Even a lot of the champions have spoken out that they’re not happy with it.”

“Reebok’s had deals with the NFL and stuff like that, so I’m sure there’s going to be some sort of compensation,” he continued. “People try to compare the UFC deal to the NFL deal, but it doesn’t compare at all. It’s not the same, because you’re going out there and you’re playing a game of football. The UFC guys rely on that sponsorship money when they go in the cage. It’s nothing like the NFL. The NFL was never a sport where you could wear your own sponsors on your clothes when you went into a game. I think something will change, though. I think [UFC President] Dana [White] and [UFC CEO] Lorenzo Fertitta will figure out a way to keep the guys happy.” 

For now, though, Palmer has a job to do. He likes the way the WSOF featherweight strap feels around his waist, and he intends to keep it there. 

First Horodecki, then it’s open season in the featherweight division. He’s thinking about future title defenses, but he’s not looking past his opponent. 

He’s just being honest. 

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Fight Path: With MMA roots around him, Trevor Ward sees big move in future
Even though Trevor Ward had been around his stepfather's MMA training and gyms since he was 5 years old, by the time he went to college, he had split from the sport. His mother's divorce from his stepfather made him focus more on soccer, and he was

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John Makdessi, the lightweight fighter who lost by TKO to Donald Cerrone Saturday at UFC 187, underwent surgery to repair his fractured jaw, even as he wondered about his future as a fighter.

Makdessi‘s manager, Hector Castro, confirmed the operation was a success in a report published Monday evening by Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting.

“John is very emotional right now,” Castro said, according to the report. “He is very upset with his performance. He wanted to put on a better show for the fans but will bounce back from the experience stronger.”

It is unclear how long the injury might keep Makdessi on the sidelines. His jaw will be wired shut for six weeks, during which time he will be forced to stick to an all-liquid diet.

In a message posted on Makdessi‘s official Facebook page, the 30-year-old Canadian wrote that he was unsure about his next step.

In regards of my career I’m 30 years old now I’ve been competing since the age of 6 and turned professional at the age of 23 … I have to be smart I take to [sic] many risks fighting bigger guys, but I know it’s a business no ego involved. This fight I took a lot of damage. Never in my life took so much damage. Have to sit down with myself do a lot of thinking a lot of healing and see what I’m going to do next. 

Known for possessing legitimate knockout power despite being relatively small for the 155-pound lightweight division, Makdessi (13-4) took the fight with Cerrone on short notice after original opponent Khabib Nurmagomedov withdrew because of a knee injury sustained in training. The fight came less than a month after Makdessi‘s previous fight, a first-round TKO win over Shane Campbell.

The 6’1″ Cerrone held substantial height and reach advantages over the 5’8″ Makdessi. A series of brutal punches, knees and kicks led to the jaw fracture, and in turn led Makdessi to verbally retire at the 4:44 mark of the second round.

After the win, UFC officials indicated that Cerrone may be in line for the next shot at lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos. Cerrone has now won eight straight fights, with his last loss, interestingly, coming to dos Anjos back in 2013. 

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In an MMA landscape populated by over-puffed chests and disingenuous verbal barbs, there’s something refreshing about UFC heavyweight Mark “The Super Samoan” Hunt. 

The 41-year-old striker from New Zealand is a beautiful contradiction of power and restraint, of confidence and modesty. To see him on the street, with his dyed hair and his intricate tattoos from his neck to his ankles, you may peg him for an artist or a musician. His appearance is colorful—literally—and you expect that bravado which permeates the MMA world to gush from the levee when he opens his mouth. 

But it doesn’t. 

Instead, you get the words of an honest, humble man, a man who has forged a 25-year professional fighting career from scratch and who knows he is fortunate to be where he is today. 

He’s thankful and respectful inside and outside the cage—his walk-off knockouts are a testament to the former—and he filters the funk from the substance with apparent ease.

Heading into his UFC Fight Night 65 bout against Stipe Miocic May 9 in Adelaide, Australia, Hunt is in prime form. He has a full training camp behind him, and he’s ready to work his way back into the heavyweight title picture. 

“I want to be the world champion,” Hunt told Bleacher Report. “I want to at least fight for the world title again, you know? Things like this are motivation for me, and I look forward to them.” 

Rewind the tape of Hunt’s fighting career to the beginning, and mentions of a world title would seem delusional at best. The Kiwi kickboxer didn’t find fighting so much as fighting found him, and one particular scrap outside a night club changed his future forever. 

As the story goes, Hunt knocked out multiple people outside a club shortly after being released from jail for the second time in Auckland, New Zealand. An onlooker noticed Hunt’s power and potential and invited him to compete in an upcoming muay thai bout taking place right there at the scene of the brawl.

Hunt had four days to train. 

“I’m someone who doesn’t have a pedigree in any martial art…I was outside a club on that occasion and that’s how I started fighting,” Hunt said. “The next week I was inside the same club fighting a muay thai fight. You know, 25 years later on, I’m still competing, I’ve already won my world title in my chosen sport and now I’m chasing another dream in another different sport…It’s just crazy to think. But this story is true, mate.” 

Twenty-five years later, Hunt is the No. 5-ranked fighter in the heavyweight division of the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization. He will serve as the main event close to home in Adelaide Saturday evening when he takes on Miocic, and he’s not overthinking things heading into this crucial bout. 

Fighting, to him, was simple when it started—he relied on his instincts and natural power outside the club—and it remains simple today as he faces the highest-level fighters in the world. 

Fighting’s simple, man: If I can rock this guy, if I can put a lot more hits on this guy than he puts on me, then I’ve won,” Hunt said. “My game plan is simple all the time: If I can whoop your ass before you whoop my ass, then you’re done. That’s basically it. I’m not trying to be arrogant. That’s just the way things work.”

What’s not so simple, though, is maintaining the confidence and drive to move forward, especially in a volatile sport like MMA that frequently tosses fighters to the mud without warning. 

While Hunt is currently beloved by fans across the globe for his personable demeanor and fan-friendly fighting style, The Super Samoan’s stock was not always so high.

“Oh, yeah, everybody loves Mark Hunt,” Hunt said. “People just love the stories…They didn’t love me when I was frickin‘ losing. When you lose, it’s, ‘That Mark Hunt, he’s a piece of s–t.’ That’s just life and the way things are. I accept all this. I accepted it a long time ago.”

Hunt had to confront these sentiments head-on when he joined the UFC. He came into the Octagon on a five-fight losing streak, and matters only got worse from there.

In his debut at UFC 119, he was submitted by heavyweight journeyman Sean McCorkle in the first round, leaving him with seemingly nowhere to go. The UFC reluctantly absorbed his contract after buying Pride in 2007, and now it was stuck with a one-dimensional, washed-up kickboxer on a six-fight losing streak. 

Hunt, however, knew this wasn’t the case. He didn’t dwell on the past. That was done. His losses were marked, and he’d have to move on. 

“If I worried what everyone else was thinking, man, I’d still be in bed. The only [things] that matter to me [are] what my family thinks and that I can provide for them—that’s what matters to me,” Hunt said. “It’s not an easy thing to lose all the time or to come off losses, especially after coming off six losses in a row when you’re building yourself up all the time then people say, ‘You’re not s—t,’ you know? 

“I’ll shake it off. I’ll restart what I’m doing. I’ll refocus, then I go at it again. If I fall over in a hole, I’m not going to sit in the f—–g hole. I’m going to get out of the f—–g hole. I’m not going to sit in there. In fighting, it’s the same thing. Exactly like life. It’s all the same. You fall down, you get back up.”

Presently, Hunt stands among the best in the game, and he hasn’t just stood back up—he’s risen to his feet and then climbed the ladder in MMA’s deepest heavyweight division, where he can presently see the glint of gold ahead. 

A win over Miocic may net Hunt the opportunity to challenge for the UFC heavyweight championship, perhaps later this year at UFC 193 in Australia, and The Super Samaon would greet the opportunity with excitement and pride. 

“It’d mean everything to me [to win the UFC championship],” Hunt said. “It’d mean everything to this side of the world, being the first guy to do it. For my career, I’m the only K-1 fighter outside of Europe that’s ever won it from this side of the world, and I want to do the same thing for the UFC, to be one of the first fighters to win it. It’s good news for Mark Hunt the fighter.

“Fighting at home is like, you know, you’re not going to beat me on an easy basis in my backyard. There’s no way. He’s going to have his work cut out for him coming to Adelaide, will Stipe.”

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UFC President Dana White has admitted Jon Jones has “got some work to do” after being suspended by the organisation for his part in an alleged hit-and-run accident that left a pregnant woman with a broken arm, as reported by Luke Augustus of MailOnline.

Jones was stripped of his light heavyweight title and indefinitely suspended after turning himself in to police, per Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com. White told ESPN’s SportsNation (h/t Shaun Al-Shatti of MMAFighting.com) that Jones needs to seriously knuckle down if he’s going to make a return:

A lot of people know, Jon’s had a lot of chances. This one was his last chance. He’s got to handle his business outside of the Octagon and then we’ll see where he goes from there.

Obviously he’s one of our biggest stars. He was on his way to becoming one of the greatest ever, and he’s got some legal problems he’s got to deal with now. So we suspended him, stripped him of the title, and he’s got some work to do outside of the sport. Then we’ll decide when he comes back.

As reported by MMAWeekly.com (h/t Yahoo Sports), drugs were allegedly found in the fighter’s car: “But more than just being involved in the accident, Jones was said to have fled the scene with a ‘large handful of cash,’ leaving behind marijuana paraphernalia with marijuana in it.”

Jones was ranked the best pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC before his suspension and has been removed from the listings. His May 23 title defence against Anthony “Rumble” Johnson has been cancelled, with the No. 1 contender now lining up to face Daniel Cormier for the interim belt, as confirmed by White on Fox Sports Live (h/t Mike Bohn and Matt Erickson of MMAJunkie.com).

Former light heavyweight competitor Chael Sonnen believes White’s decision to leave the door open is incorrect.

He spoke to Tatame (h/t Lucas Rezende of Bloody Elbow) and suggested a permanent expulsion should be put in place; otherwise, there was no point in acting at all.

Taking away his belt was one of the options on the table, but I don’t think it was well thought through,” said Sonnen. “What will they do to Jon Jones now? Put him on preliminary cards? It’s weird. You either cut the guy completely or shut up.”

Jones’ camp remains quiet, per UFC Tonight:

It’s unlikely the UFC will pair Jones with a much weaker opponent if he does return. In fact, the organisation could benefit from his reappearance somewhere down the line. If Jones misses a significant amount of time, many fans will be excited to see him step into the octagon once more.

Having won 12 straight before being suspended, per ESPN.com, Jones would likely work himself back into title contention quickly. His situation poses a real dilemma for the UFC, especially as the organisation is moving forward with stricter drug-testing regulations and punishments.

Although Jones’ alleged crime doesn’t necessarily fall into this category, taking a lenient approach could show weakness on the UFC’s part. Permanently cutting a huge moneymaker such as Jones would provide a warning that nobody is bigger than the company, but White seems committed to giving Jones an opportunity to work through his issues.

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Now former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has been stripped of his title and suspended indefinitely. Daniel Cormier will fight Anthony Johnson at UFC 187 for the title. Mayweather vs. Pacquiao is Saturday. We’ll talk about all of these things on today’s Promotional Malpractice Live Chat, episode 136 with Luke Thomas.

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