Monday, December 24, 2007
1. Eddie Alvarez/ jumps the sinking Bodog ship./ Boss Calvin Ayre weeps. 2. Poor, poor IFL -/ their Grand Prix is a big mess./ Sell your stock soon bro! 3. Fedor will fight a/ tomato can. Surprise! Pride/ never really died. 4. Big John McCarthy/ finally calls it quits. There/ goes a legend, folks.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Accessibility. That's what it's all about when it comes to fighters competing in NYC's Underground Combat League instead of trekking across the Hudson and taking a sanctioned bout in New Jersey (where the MMA scene is huge). So who competes at these shows? Aside from the random street fighter, wrestling champ, or ringer who's racked up dozens of jiu-jitsu privates and practiced them on his roommate, there are a number of schools who've made their presence known. Here are some recent offenders: New Generation Karate- Don't let the name fool you. These "karate" guys have proven to be badass submission grapplers, as evidenced by 172-pounder Josh Camdon and 204-pounder Lance McDwyer totally handling their opponents before tapping them out. Vamos Jiu-Jitsu- 174-pound James Funaro was smooth as hell this past Sunday, which is a good indication that these guys are doing something right at this Long Island school. PIT/Katsugo-Ryu/Musuko- These locals all come to scrap, and are responsible for some real crowd-pleasing battles - especially at the last event, where the 158-pound Angel Flores went to war. Rhino Fight Team- Do I really need to say anything about one of the top MMA teams in the Northeast? Team United/Kaizen Karate-Do- Headed by 185-pounder Mike Mullero, these dudes have stepped up and faced some tough fighters, proving that they're there to scrap no matter what. Of course there are others, like the boys from American Freestyle or the KTFO gym, but you get the point. New Yorkers in the hizzouse!
Monday, December 17, 2007
The UCL's latest incarnation, "Black Sunday", featured nine bouts in a packed venue. It's safe to say this underground show was the best one yet.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
EliteXC is coming to the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on January 25th. So, who among the ranks of competitors in the Garden State MMA scene is worthy of busting some heads in one of the biggest promotions outside of the UFC? Who could dethrone 160-pound champ KJ Noons, put a hurting on Murilo Rua, or send Paul Daley back to England with his teeth in a glass of milk? (See MMA Journalist's November 13th post "Who Should Jake Shields Fight?" on who would kick Shield's ass.) Without question, grappling studs Jim Miller and Deividas Taurosevicius would have little trouble tearing off Noons' arm and beating him over the head with it. The same can be said for recent ROC tournament champion Brian McLaughlin - and I'm going to go out on a limb and add Jim Bova and Tim Troxell to that list (although Troxell might be a little light). As for "Ninja" Rua, well, ROC tournament winner Ricardo Romero, slugger Josh Rhodes and wrestler-turned-brawler Tim Boetsch could all pound the crap out of the Brazilian wherever the fight goes. And Daley? That one's a no-brainer: Lyman Good would out-strike and out-grapple the Brit. Mr. Daley would literally have no teeth left after three rounds. Yes, the EliteXC matchmakers should have no trouble finding suitable opponents for their roster of fighters.
Monday, December 10, 2007
-Despite a far from memorable season, these "Ultimate Fighter" finales can really deliver when it comes to action and excitement. Is there a way we can just skip the boring TUF episodes and go straight to the finales? -Mac Danzig defeated Tommy Speer to become this season's Ultimate Fighter. God, I miss the days when those TUF bouts were even remotely competitive. -Clay Guida is the most talented and skilled Neanderthal to ever set foot in the Octagon. When he learns to use complex tools (such as the speed bag and the double-ended bag), he will be a major threat to the more-evolved UFC fighters. -Roger Huerta is the real deal. I don't really have anything witty or sarcastic to add to that statement. -Sean Sherk is officially stripped of his belt and officiating icon Big John McCarthy announces his retirement. And what was the grand announcement Dana White made at the end of the show? Apparently, White saved a ton of money on his car insurance by switching to Geico.
Friday, December 7, 2007
New Jersey wrestler-turned-mixed martial artist Tom Gallicchio will be facing Rory Markham at the December 29th IFL Grand Prix Finals at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut. Gallicchio, who will be replacing Dan Miller for this preliminary bout, is an accomplished fighter from the Garden State circuit, and sports a shiny Battle Cage Xtreme championship belt thanks to his grappling and ground-and-skills. Expect the Rhino Fight Team scrapper to put the Miletich-trained fighter on his back early and beat on him mercilessly.
It's hard sometimes to capture what the true story is, especially when the facts are big and ugly and slap you in the face. Sam Vasquez's death had big, ugly facts slapping you in the face - he died as a result of a sanctioned MMA bout, making him the first MMA death on US soil. But veteran journalist Josh Gross over at Sherdog.com got it right. In his article "Ronin's Angel", Gross goes to great lengths to paint a picture of how Vasquez lived, not how he died. And it's a tribute worthy of the first fallen warrior in this still relatively-new sport. Check it out.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
On Friday, Brian McLauglin, Charlie Brenneman, Mike Massenzio and Ricardo Romero kicked ass and took home championship belts in each of their respective weight classes at the ROC 17: "Beasts of the Northeast" tournament. But something needs to be said about the men they beat to earn those top honors, something like, "Damn, Dave Sachs sure was tough." Or, "Jesus, Mark Berraciol took a lickin' yet kept coming back for more." For while there's usually no recognition for taking second place in an MMA bout, there's certainly no shame in it - especially when that competitor who came away defeated put up one hell of a fight. Sure, Lance Everson and John Doyle fell short, but they crushed everyone en route to that final bout. And Everson and Doyle, as well as Sachs and Berraciol, will most certainly be crushing people again when they return to the ring.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Sam Vasquez - the Texas-based fighter who lapsed into a coma after his October 20th Renegades Extreme Fighting bout - died on Friday, becoming the first MMA competitor to die as a result of a regulated MMA event. MMA Journalist expresses its deepest condolences to the Vasquez family.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Despite whatever impression the IFL has given you, take my word for it: team-based MMA events can work. Really. Of course no one's going to care about a fabricated team like the Arizona Chipmunks or the St. Louis Marmosets. Why should they? But if you make it simple, maybe make the line of demarcation national - well, then you have something. Take for instance the Mixed Fighting Championship shows that were big in Atlantic City a couple years back. "USA vs. Russia" and "USA vs. Japan" rocked, and though the events may have lost money (blame excesses in fighter payroll and production, and poor marketing for that), an American kicking ass or getting his ass kicked got the crowd fired up. A good promotion requires a lot of moving parts and a lot of puzzle pieces fitting together perfectly, as well as a strong concept or brand. And team-based MMA - when done right - is a strong concept.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Say what you want about former UFC welterweight champ Matt Hughes - he's a bully, he's a primadonna, he's a godawful coach - but the man deserves respect. When Matt Serra pulled out of their much-anticipated and well-hyped UFC 79 match-up with a back injury, Hughes could've sat this one out, or let himself get paired up with some scrub and collect a paycheck. But no, Hughes grabbed the bull by the horns and requested a fight against the last person to royally kick his ass: George St. Pierre. Wowsers. This is a fight Hughes could very well lose, which could mean no more title shot against Serra, but damn, the man has got balls. And that's the trait of a champion.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
MMA Journalist would like to take this moment to send out some positive vibes to three members of the MMA community who need them. Sam Vasquez, a fighter who was hurt at a "Renegades Extreme Fighting" event on October 20th in Texas, needs prayers. He's in critical condition, and has been unconscious due to a head injury sustained in his bout that night. Also in need of prayers is New Jersey scrapper Lionel Cortez, who was in a motorcycle accident this weekend and sustained head injuries. Cortez has been battling in the ring since 2000, and has always proven to be a tough dude. Finally, New York fighter Kaream Ellington needs some positive vibes sent his way. His wife was murdered on November 7th, leaving him to raise his son alone. Life has never really been easy for Ellington, but regardless of whether he's been on top raining down punches or on the bottom covering up, he's always been a warrior.
Monday, November 19, 2007
With some solid calls and a ton of cage presence, Dan Miragliotta made his first appearance in the Octagon this weekend, flexing his muscle as one of the most experienced referees in the business. Who is Dan Miragliotta? Standing close to seven feet tall and weighing over 350 pounds, New Jersey-native Miragliotta used to promote the old BAMA FightNight shows, and he gained notoriety as a ref when he officiated a match between a charging rhinocerous and a rampaging elephant at the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange (the elephant won a split decision). Since that infamous bout, he's gone on to oversee hundreds and hundreds of matches - and it shows. On Saturday night there were no bad restarts, no quick stoppages, and no deaths. Miragliotta knows his job. And he knows it well.
On paper, it promised to be lackluster at best. In reality, it was a crapfest. UFC 78 came to Newark this Saturday with no notable marquee bout in Michael Bisping versus Rashad Evans, a sad co-main event in Thiago Silva versus Houston Alexander, and a card full of fighters that obviously had contracted bouts that needed to be fulfilled. The only high points of the night - Frankie Edgar's trouncing of the tough Spencer Fisher and Joe Lauzon's destruction of a tomato can - were overshadowed by the cold realization that, yes, Zuffa hates the East Coast. What have we done to deserve this? And does the UFC brass not understand that half-hearted shows like this, while generating profits in the short-term, also serve to generate ill-will? The UFC brand is strong, but not that strong, and a substandard product like UFC 78 only helps to give rise to a different approach to promoting fights: the boxing business model.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Get ready for UFC 78: "Valuation", Zuffa's nine-bout magnum opus slated for Saturday at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Featuring none of the star match-ups of other UFCs, and a marquee bout between two uninspiring "The Ultimate Fighter" winners in Michael Bisping and Rashad Evans, it's an event that's sure to place a definitive worth on the company's TUF assets. Can Bisping and Evans sell out a venue? Is the public ignorant of their intrinsic value? How little can Zuffa spend on an event to turn a profit? All of these questions will be answered on Saturday night. Stay tuned!
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Larry Hazzard, Commissioner of the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board and one of the men most responsible for the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts and the widespread acceptance of the sport, was fired by the state Attorney General yesterday according to a report by the New Brunswick Home News Tribune. Hazzard is highly respected in boxing and MMA circles, and has been at his post for over two decades. MMA Journalist would like to take this moment to say: "Holy crap".
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Jake Shields - the man, the myth, the grappling stud and EliteXC welterweight star. This past weekend Shields dispatched Mike Pyle in less than a round, and further established himself as one of the top 170-pounders not fighting for the UFC. So who should Shields fight next? I can think of three East Coast badasses... 1. Eddie Alvarez: A wrestler with heavy, heavy hands, this former BodogFIGHT champ has only one chink in his armor, and that's taller, lankier opponents with accurate striking. In other words, Alvarez probably wouldn't have much of a problem with Shields. 2. Lyman Good: Insanely well-conditioned, and possessing dangerous skills both on the feet and on the ground, Good absolutely handled Mike Dolce at a recent IFL - much like Good has handled every opponent he's faced. And he'd probably handle Shields, too. 3. Chris Ligouri: Rock-solid grappling mixed with rock-solid boxing and Muay Thai. That's Ligouri, who's been in the game practically forever (he even fought in the UFC back in 2003) and has survived many a war. Ligouri will be venturing into the lightweight division at the next Ring of Combat, but win or lose, he'll always be the same scrappy welterweight who'd make Jake Shields eat leather.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Do you like to urinate in other people's beds? Do you drink to excess and throw furniture in pools? Do you have at least three tattoos, a social disorder or an undiagnosed neurosis? Then the open casting call for the seventh season of SpikeTV's "The Ultimate Fighter" is just the thing for you! Come on down to the Newark Airport Hilton Hotel in Newark, New Jersey on Monday, November 19th and a shot at ignominy and ridicule can be yours. Dana White and representatives of SpikeTV will be on hand to evaluate middleweights only, and the start time is 8:00am sharp. Good luck!* (*No fighting experience or MMA training required.)
Sunday, November 11, 2007
-The Nick Diaz that fought last night was nothing like the one that battled against Diego Sanchez, Sean Sherk and Robbie Lawler. Diaz is a great fighter, but he needs to lay off the staph-laced marijuana for a while. -I don't blame Bo Cantrell for getting hit by Kimbo twice and tapping out. If I were in his shoes, I would've tapped out after the referee had us touch gloves. -Jake Shields and KJ Noons looked impressive in victory. However, Gary Shaw has suggested that for their next fights they will both face Kimbo simultaneously, and I'm not sure I like their odds. -My dog is a fan of Goldberg, and whenever the ex-wrestler was on screen he'd bark and wag his tail. Unfortunately, whenever Stephen Quadros was on screen, my poor dog would yelp and hide behind the couch.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
1. No dice for ShoXC/December 7th NJ show./ProElite forsakes us. 2. Cali commission/postpones the steroid hearing./Sean Sherk really screwed. 3. Zuffa signs Lesnar./Does anyone actually care?/I sure as hell don't. 4. Rio Heroes gives fans/some old-school NHB bouts./But their video sucks. 5. Kimbo Slice and Nick/Diaz fight on Saturday night./Not each other though.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Lou Neglia's Ring of Combat, an MMA mainstay here on the East Coast that has served up quality events for years, and Mark Cuban's HDNet Fights, a newly-launched league that airs on the high-definition channel, have hooked up, according to a recent ROC press release. The press release confirms what many already suspected, as the two organizations were seen chatting each other up at a party, and left "to get some fresh air" after downing a few cocktails. What does this mean for the jealous Art of War promotion, who HDNet Fights was officially seeing? That's unclear at this time, although what is clear is that ROC's November 30th "Beasts of the Northeast" tournament finals will be broadcast on the channel.
Friday, November 2, 2007
ShoXC, the WEC-esque version of EliteXC's brand of global MMA, is coming to town on December 7th to spread tidings of good cheer ("town" being the Collins Arena at Brookdale College in Lincroft, New Jersey, and "tidings of good cheer" being a great opportunity for some local fighters to kick ass on the Showtime cable network). Combat in the Cage promoter Ed Hsu is working point on this one, and he's alluded to a headlining bout between Cage Rage veteran Paul Daley and hometown boy Jose Rodriguez. Want to see an event where the live audience goes beserk? Curious about what happens when an event erupts into a riot? Since Rodriguez is known as a big ticket seller in the Garden State, and he lives about five minutes from the venue, this will definitely be the show for you.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
It's been a busy week for news. Here's a brief recap of a few of the week's more important MMA-related events, courtesy of the hard-working staff at MMA Journalist. The Couture/Zuffa Breakup Gets Uglier- Another day, another press conference, this one featuring Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta describing how they would cook and clean all day only to face a cold and distant Randy Couture at dinner time. Was Couture cheating on them? Were they too clingy? It's hard to tell, but things are going to be awkward at the next dinner party. Din Thomas Arrested- Want to throw a little unsanctioned smoker in your gym? Maybe you want to give your students some experience fighting in front of a crowd? Well, if you live in the sunny state of Florida - AND YOU'RE BLACK - watch the fuck out. I'm just saying... A Change in the IFL Product- Newly-minted IFL president Jay Larkin says the league is going to shift from their current city-based team motif to teams based on actual fight camps. Also, to attract more fans, competitors will be allowed to use chainsaws, swords and axes, and an agitated and hungry lion or bear will be thrown into the ring in bouts that make it to the third round. Sean Sherk's Steroid Appeal Postponed- Yesterday's California State Athletic Commission hearing on the appeal of the steroid-based suspension of the UFC Lightweight Champ ended in a postponement to November 13th. Credit goes to CSAC administrative assistant Lucy Sanders, who had to get her hair and nails done and totally forgot to circulate the defense's brief. Oopsie!
Monday, October 29, 2007
Back in September, MMA Journalist gazed into its crystal ball and tried to get a handle on the November 30th final round of the Ring of Combat "Beasts of the Northeast" tournament. Well, it turns out Eddie Fyvie would bang up his knee and have to drop out, Joe Aviles couldn't stop Charlie Brenneman's takedowns, and Marc Stevens failed to out-hustle Lance Everson. Go on. Say it. My crystal ball sucks. However, it doesn't take a crystal ball to see how things will play out now that the final match-ups have been determined. For example, in the lightweight bracket, Dave Sachs will test his ground game against Brian McLaughlin. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that McLaughlin will remove one of Sachs' limbs and beat him over the head with it. In the welterweight bracket, Mark Berraciol will square off against Charlie Brenneman. There will be no lay-and-pray in this one; expect Brenneman to put Berraciol on his back and pound on him for the duration. In the middleweight match-up, Mike Massenzio will take on the aforementioned Everson. Considering that Massenzio is a well-credentialed wrestler who walks around at about 300 pounds and cuts to 185, Everson will have his hands full. Rounding out the tournament, John Doyle will meet Ricardo Romero at light-heavyweight in a battle of mean dispositions. Whoever wins this one will most likely eat kittens and steal Christmas presents after the show. Fault the MMA Journalist crystal ball all you want, but you can take these predictions to the bank!
When Tom Velasquez and Anthony "Guido" LaDonna have a battle that ends up being the Ring of Combat 16 fight of the night, a wealth of jokes spring to mind. I mean, come on! Velasquez versus "Guido"? But MMA Journalist won't go there, because that bout - which saw Velasquez put LaDonna through the submission ringer in Round One, and LaDonna tear Velasquez up on the feet in the second round before getting caught with a lightning-quick heelhook in the third - should get nothing but praise. No satire, no sarcasm, no snarkiness. Just praise. Velasquez and LaDonna fought with heart, and their efforts when the chokes, armbars, fists and shins were flying deserve a heaping portion of accolades and a healthy serving of respect.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Yesterday's M-1 Global press conference in New York City was like many press conferences announcing the "next big thing". This time around it was Fedor Emelianenko being showered with roses and accolades, and there was the obligatory "we're all about the fighters" sweet talk mixed with promises of match-ups transcending organizations - all of which was tempered with a dash of "no TV deal as of yet". If you've been to one you've been to them all, and history shows us that these big-talkers always start strong and end up worse than the Hindenburg (a Hindenburg fueled not by hydrogen but by wildly-excessive fighter salaries and other combustible expenses). Yet one gentleman's presence gave me pause: M-1 Global's president and CEO, Monte Cox. Yes, the same Monte Cox who has managed dozens upon dozens of top-ranked fighters, and who has promoted dozens upon dozens of Extreme Challenge events (and even co-promoted a UFC). He's the real deal, and a shrewd-as-hell businessman - which tells me that M-1 Global isn't something that should be dismissed outright. Last night I heard talk of reverse-mergers to raise capital, financial backers in Mother Russia and an MMA version of "Rumble in the Jungle", and saw Gary Shaw of ProElite and Gareb Shamus of the IFL shaking some hands, but the real news? Monte Cox is driving this zeppelin; there's a good chance this one might actually fly.
After a tumultuous week that saw negotiations for Pride champ Fedor Emelianenko go down the crapper and the sudden resignation of UFC champ Randy Couture, Saturday night's UFC 77 seemed to be business as usual for the flagship promotion - with virtually no mention made of the two lost stars. In lieu addressing the news that had dominated the headlines leading up to the Cinncinatti event, Zuffa instead repeatedly cut to shots of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira giving the camera a "thumbs-up", and alluded to a possible match-up against former champ Tim Sylvia. It was a Jedi Mind Trick of the first order. In fact, when commentator Joe Rogan attempted to broach the subject, a cloaked and hooded Dana White waved his hand and said, "Randy and Fedor aren't the heavyweights you're looking for. Move along. Move along." Rogan complied, declaring with enthusiasm, "Tim Sylvia is an animal! That man is my hero!" Some of us, however, aren't so weak-minded.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Rich Franklin returns to the Octagon at UFC 77 to rematch with Anderson Silva and reclaim his belt, and he's determined to brutalize the champion with the same technique that very nearly finished the Brazilian in their last outing: headbutts to the knees. Yes, it's been over a year since UFC 64, when Franklin put his 185-pound title on the line and met the Muay Thai-specialist's dangerous striking with attacks aimed at Silva's shins and knuckles. That night, however, it was Franklin's headbutts to his opponent's knees that saw the most success - and you can bet that Franklin will employ that technique with fervor on Saturday night en route to snatching back his middleweight crown.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Watching Carlos Moreno fight is like watching a clip from "World's Scariest Police Chases". Why? Because no matter what happens, you know someone is about to get fucked up. This Saturday, at Battle Cage Xtreme III in Atlantic City, Moreno will turn on the siren and flashing lights, and his DWI-speeding-riding around in a pickup truck with two tires blown out and sparks cascading off the rims-opponent will be UFC vet Kevin Jordan. How's this one going to end? Well, Moreno's only loss was to a Matt Serra-trained submission specialist - and Jordan is no Serra-trained submission specialist. You can bet the dangerous Rhino Fight Team slugger won't be the one rolling his vehicle six times before it crashes into an embankment and bursts into flames.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Randy Couture, legendary competitor and current UFC heavweight champ, announced today that he is resigning from the promotion - a move that includes giving up his title, his gig as a commentator, and foregoing the last two bouts on his contract. It's a turn of events that comes as a shock to fans worldwide, and coupled with the news that the highly sought-after Pride champ Fedor Emeliankenko signed with M-1 and not the UFC, it's undoubtedly a blow to the uber-popular MMA organization. However, Couture's departure is neither unprecedented, nor entirely unexpected. In 1998, he left the organization (then owned by SEG, not Zuffa) over a contract dispute, returning to the Octagon in 2000, and he retired briefly in 2006 only to return in 2007. Also, at a recent press conference, Couture attempted to ask UFC president Dana White a question, but was assaulted by security guards wielding tasers. Besides acting and coaching, what's next for Couture? Where does this leave the UFC and how will they fill their now-vacant heavyweight champion slot? Sadly, for fans of the athlete and the promotion, only time will tell.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Contract renegotiations can be a real bitch, as the IFL found out recently when it came time to re-sign heavyweight star Ben Rothwell and light-heavyweight Mike Whitehead for the 2008 season. Apparently, this Monte Cox character is a tough customer in terms of managing fighters, and Rothwell and Whitehead did not sign on the dotted line at the appointed hour - prompting IFL head honcho Kurt Otto to go to "Plan B" and proclaim that he wouldn't let his November 3rd IFL Grand Prix event be held hostage. Mr. Otto, welcome to the business of mixed martial arts. With the loss of Rothwell and Whitehead, as well as the announcement that Andre Gusmao and Mark Miller are out with injuries, the much-anticipated Grand Prix has become more of a Petit Prix. Here's hoping the live one-hour broadcast goes off flawlessly.
Monday, October 8, 2007
The latest edition of the Underground Combat League - NYC's only MMA event - was last night. A film crew from Channel 2 News was there to capture all the fun.
Friday, October 5, 2007
Like the Galactic Empire, the New York State Athletic Commission has done its best to rule with an iron fist, quashing upstart MMA events wherever they can with Unconsolidated Law 8905(2) - the statutory equivalent of the Death Star. But the Rebel Alliance has survived thanks to the few promoters who have kept up the fight. Their efforts have helped countless aspiring fighters test themselves, as well as enabled jiu-jitsu black belt Emerson Souza, IFL heavyweight Bryan Vetell and UFC rising star Frankie Edgar get their first tastes of combat. How soon until the Death Star explodes while a million Ewoks watch and cheer? Sadly, that will take some wrangling in the Imperial Senate. But if the MMA event that took place on an Indian reservation in Upstate New York last weekend is of any indication, the NYSAC continues to remain powerless and impotent in the face of those who are truly passionate about mixed martial arts.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Despite what you might have heard, Kimbo Slice is not dead. After the Cage Fury Fighting Championship released a fight poster containing the image of a barefoot Kimbo walking with a priest, an undertaker and a gravedigger (see inset), rumors began circulating that the legendary streetfighter had passed away. However, MMA Journalist has confirmed with a CFFC spokesman that Kimbo - who is scheduled to face David "Tank" Abbott at the promotion's October 12th Atlantic City show - is indeed alive and kicking. The event, to air live on the Internet, features the "Kimbo vs. Tank" marquee bout as well as the long-awaited return of Ricardo Almeida and the MMA debut of kickboxing stars Duke Rufus and Derek Panza.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Frank Shamrock, hot on the heels of a dominant performance against Renzo Gracie and a victory over an injured Phil Baroni, dazzled fans with his razor-sharp wit at Saturday's "Strikeforce at the Mansion" - and proved he's still every bit as edgy and relevant as he was years ago. The old-school UFC champ pulled no punches when he declared Josh Thomson to be the first "openly gay fighter" in the sport. It was a remark that was comedic gold, and it enriched what would have otherwise been a mediocre Internet broadcast of the MMA event held at the Playboy Mansion. MMA Journalist tips its hat to Shamrock, a man who continues to be beacon of class in a sea of douche bags.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Zack Lynch did not sneak into a dressing room before a show to slip crystal meth into Jerry Spiegel's water bottle, nor did he hide in the bushes outside Joe Lauzon's house for three days or set fire to a hotel and snap pictures of the fleeing fighters. Lynch, part-time FCF lensman and full-time camera-ronin, did not do any of these things for the sake of a good photo opportunity. Yet. But give the man - who's a cross between Ansel Adams, Dennis Hopper's photojournalist character in "Apocalypse Now", and the paparazzi that may or may not have played a role in Princess Diana's death - some time. Until then, check out his work at mmaphotography.com.
Controversy continues to dog mixed martial arts. Earlier this week, the California State Athletic Commission announced that Pride veteran Kazuhiro Nakamura tested positive for marijuana for his UFC 76 bout, resulting in a three-month suspension and a $500 fine for the colorful judoka. However, the failed drug test has done more than just polarize a sport already in turmoil over allegations of steroid abuse and witchcraft. The Nakamura incident has shined a spotlight on the sport's dark underbelly, and raised an all-important question: how good is the weed in Japan? I mean, is it like the legendary grass they have in Hawaii? Does it compare to the grade-A herb of Amsterdam? I doubt it, because when I think of Japan, I picture stodgy businessmen drunk on sake and Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson wandering through back alleys - not epic doobers of Cheech and Chong-level ganja. Stay tuned while MMA Journalist chases down an answer.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
The second episode of "The Ultimate Fighter: Season Six", which aired last night on SpikeTV and featured coach Matt Hughes practicing witchcraft, has left the MMA world up in arms over what many perceive to be a gratuitous mixing of sports and religion. In the episode, the former welterweight champ sacrificed a goat in the Octagon while chanting over a smoking cauldron. Did Hughes go too far? By encouraging his team to dance around a bonfire blazing within the UFC Training Center, was Hughes imposing his beliefs on the aspiring fighters? "I felt a little uncomfortable but I didn't have a problem saying no," said TUF 6 competitor Mac Danzig in a phone interview. He was seen foregoing the rituals, and in a subsequent training session was forced to wear a crown of thorns. "Yeah, that sucked," said Danzig. With last night's episode, Hughes joins former TUF coaches Ken Shamrock (who suggested his charges eat babies) and Randy Couture (who led his team on a Las Vegas crime spree that resulted in two bank robberies and a carjacking) as controversial reality TV personalities.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Will the IFL shit the bed? The answer to that question has been postponed indefinitely thanks to the announcement that their November 3rd World Grand Prix opening round will air on live television. Featuring match-ups between the league's best fighters, it's a show that promises action - and it should be just what the doctor ordered for the promotion with the godawful quarterly financial statements. Just how important are live fights? For a heavily-branded organization struggling to reshape the market in their favor, broadcasting live can mean the difference between 10,000 team jerseys collecting dust in a warehouse in New Jersey, and 10,000 team jerseys on the backs of IFL fans throughout the country. And every business needs revenue.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Fantastic jiu-jitsu. Unorthodox striking. Amazing toughness. That's Deividas Taurosevicius, and last night's armbar upset over IFL star Bart Palaszewski at the league's 2007 Finals let the world in on what many of us here on the East Coast already knew: this dude's name is really hard to pronounce. Yes, from Reality Fighting to Mass Destruction to CFFC, ring announcers have been butchering his name relentlessly. And while "DT" has been submitting opponents left and right, losing only to Frankie Edgar and Mike Acosta via decision (the Acosta bout was back in 2002), things have yet to improve. Will it ever get better for the Lithuanian who helped the Pitbulls win the championship? Or, when DT inevitably steps into the Octagon, will Bruce Buffer maul his name too? Sadly, in terms of pronunciation, Taurosevicius' future looks bleak. But at least he'll be kicking ass.