Thanksgiving is a time to feast. We gorge and drink until we're ultimately quite merry then take the time to sit back and show gratitude for what we have. Well a lot has gone on in the world of MMA that fans can be thankful for this year, as well as some things we'd all rather not make an appearance again. So with no fights of note taking place this week, here is Fox News Latino's MMA Thanksgiving list of thanks - for the fans.
Thanks for GSP
He was out for 19 months with a blown knee then came back and surgically removed Carlos Condit last Saturday. What more could you ask for from one of the biggest stars in the sport? He delighted the rabid and hysterical masses in Montreal and in the process his boss Dana White. Why? Well other than one of this most bankable stars making a welcome return to the ring, St-Pierre showed White that the Canadian welterweight would be more than a match for the only star bigger in the UFC - Anderson Silva. Assuming Silva is not serious about his long hiatus until the end of 2013, fans can look forward to one of the biggest fights in UFC history, with White looking at Cowboys Stadium as the perfect venue. The return of St-Pierre could be a jewel in the crown of next year.
No thanks - PEDS
This week Thiago Silva was suspended for 6 months after he tested positive for marijuana. Now, while many could wittily argue that Silva's drug of choice is very much a performance dehancing, there is not doubt that the world of MMA is suffering from a PED problem much in the same way that it's boxing counterpart has been struggling in the last few years. Therapeutic exemptions for testosterone, positive steroids tests, as well as lax testing pretty much anywhere you go, point to a problem that is very much a reality. Here's hoping it's something that doesn't blight the coming year.
Merci for Rousey
Cristiane Santos was the face of women's MMA for a good long while. That was until she got suspended for steroid use. So what happened next? Well, Ronda Rousey decided to come in and change women's MMA forever. No women in the UFC? Not a problem. Rousey just became the first. Another case of style over substance? Don't think so. Not with all those first round knockouts and an Olympic medal as a reminder of her stacked resume. An ESPN The Magazine Body Issue cover was the cherry on top the crossover pie for Rousey, who in the space of a few months has become a phenomenon and will only get bigger.
No thanks - Cancelled cards
The UFC's deal with Fox has done nothing but wonderful things for UFC the brand. Watch a game of football, then watch some UFC, it's all there on wonderful basic cable. Not so wonderful of course is when injuries force cards to be cancelled or heavily reconfigured because too many fighters got injured. The UFC's move to Fox has done wonders for bringing a sport that in it's current form is only just over a decade old to the mainstream. But more cards mean more fighters are needed, otherwie you have on your hands what's known as a diluted product. Cancelled cards are generally not what fans like. Nor do they like their favorite stars such as Anderson Silva, fiighting retired guys like Stephan Bonner who have been given around two weeks notice.
A Little Thanks
A big thanks to the smallest of guys in the world of the UFC. Flyweights have been around for a while, but a belt for those same guys? Not so much - at least not in the world of Dana White. That was until two months ago when Demetrious Johnson defeated Joseph Benavidez for the the UFC's inaugural belt. Flyweights are fast, blurring dervishes in the octagon and fans should be thankful that one of the most exciting divisions in the sport will now get a platform worthy of them.
Igor Guryashkin is a freelance journalist whose extensive work on combat sports has been featured in ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com. He splits his time between New York and Louisville. Follow him on Twitter: @iguryashkin.