Thursday, August 30, 2007

ROC 15: You Will Never Find a More Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy

The September 7th Ring of Combat 15 event at the Tropicana Casino & Resort will mark the opening round of the "Beasts of the Northeast" tournament, and it features an ambitious 16-bout card spanning four weight classes. However, a closer look at the roster reveals that promoter Lou Neglia has done more than just assemble some of the East Coast's toughest fighters. Here's what MMA Journalist has uncovered:
Brian McLaughlin- Competing at lightweight, this Hudson Valley Jiu-Jitsu instructor is the most technical and dangerous grappler in his weight class. He's also a prime suspect in the murders of Care Bears "Tenderheart" and "Funshine".
James Gabert- Nicknamed "the Angry Snowman", Gabert is a well-rounded Team Serra/Longo welterweight capable of winning on the feet or on the ground. His moniker comes from his days as an enforcer for the Domino Sugar cartel.
Mike Massenzio- A middleweight wrestler and ground-and-pound specialist, this Ironhorse MMA representative is a known cattle rustler. Wait, does New Jersey even have cattle?
Jordan Pergola- A heavy-handed brawler who wrestled at Hofstra before honing his striking at Bellmore Kickboxing Academy, this middleweight did time at Fulsom Prison. According to the police report, Pergola shot a man in Reno - just to watch him die.
Sean McCann- This Team Endgame light-heavyweight is a sprawl-and-brawler with knockout power in his hands. He's also wanted for tearing off the "DO NOT REMOVE THIS LABEL" tags on mattresses.
With a line-up like this, you can expect the NJSACB to be watching the event closely!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Babalu-San Dishonors Clan; Seppuku Imminent

Great shame and dishonor was brought upon the Sobral house this weekend, as light-heavyweight warrior Renato "Babalu-san" Sobral soundly defeated David Heath at UFC 74 and, despite the referee's admonishings, refused to release the finishing Anaconda choke. Although Heath was only rendered unconscious, and was ultimately unharmed, the code of Bushido demands a strict adherence to the rules of combat - rules which Babalu-san ignored when he dismissed the referee and continued with the hold. Immediately after the incident, Emperor Kizer of the NSAC was said to be "most displeased", and a portion of the offender's purse was withheld pending an inquiry. It is expected that the disgraced Babalu-san will commit seppuku, although there is no word on when the ritual suicide will take place.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Rise of the Rockstar

Rumor has it the winner of the Joe Stevenson/Kurt Pellegrino bout at UFC 74 will be in line for a title shot if beleaguered lightweight champ Sean Sherk is stripped for juicing. Sure, Stevenson is some West Coast submission hotshot, and a King of the Cage champ before winning TUF 2, but I can tell you one thing that he's not. He's not a rockstar. And without a doubt, Pellegrino - who parlayed a wrestling background into an MMA career before getting his BJJ black belt - is a bonafied rockstar. While honing his skills on the East Coast circuit, the man known as "Batman" fought in everything from Reality Fighting to Ring of Combat, the MFC and the AFC, and his style and presence was such that he simply could not fight without female fans rushing the apron and throwing their panties into the ring. Do you know what it's like to see young girls faint as he makes his entrance? Do you have any idea how disconcerting it is to have ladies go into a frenzy, or cry, or beg for Batman's autograph when you're trying to take notes? I kid you not, at MFC 4, when Pellegrino defeated Sergei Goliaev via choke, some woman actually asked him to sign her breasts. Can you fathom how distracting that is? In terms of skills, Stevenson and Pellegrino match up nicely. But in terms of rockstar status... well, how many women out there have a picture of Stevenson tattooed on their ass? Enough said.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Nick Lembo: Consigliere Della Famiglia

Kissing the ring of NJSACB Commissioner Larry Hazzard may go a long way towards getting your professional combative sports license approved, but the "family business" is handled by Nick Lembo. Consigliere to Hazzard's Don Corleone, Lembo is a man of compassion, willing to help a scrambling show survive - and a man of principle, unafraid to void an inequitable management contract. How many corrupt promoters have awakened with a bloody horse's head in their bed? How many inept fighters now sleep with the fishes? Things such as this are not spoken of, suffice to say: it's not personal. It's strictly business.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Big, Steaming Pile of Global Fighting Championship

I was walking my dog the other day - a cute beagle named "Bogie" - and, I don't know if you know this, but New York City has a law about cleaning up after your pets. Something like a fine of a few hundred bucks, or you get sent to Riker's Island - I'm not sure which. Anyway, I'd forgotten to bring a plastic bag to, you know, pick up after him, and so of course Bogie makes a big, steaming pile of GLOBAL FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIP on the sidewalk. Well, I didn't know what to do. Should I kick it off the sidewalk and sully my brand new Keen shoes? Or should I just ignore the nasty mess? Luckily, no one was around, so I had no problem pretending it didn't happen and I promptly took my dog home.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

"Life Ain't Nothing But Bitches and Money"

Growing up on the mean streets of Compton, California, Randy Couture probably never envisioned himself an elder statesman. But time, and a career spanning two platinum records and a multitude of shiny UFC belts, has made "Easy-C", a.k.a. "the Natural" one of the most recognized and respected persons in both gangsta rap and mixed martial arts. From the time his seminal rap group N.W.A. released their controversial single "Straight Outta Compton", Couture seemed destined for greatness - a greatness soon realized when he captured his first heavyweight championship title. Fast forward nearly ten years to August 25th, when Couture will once again be stepping into the Octagon a champ, defending his crown against upstart Gabriel "Ice Cube" Gonzaga. Yet win or lose, the UFC Hall of Famer's place in history could not be more secure. For the man who gave us "Fuck tha Police", and who crushed the likes of Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell and Tim Sylvia, it's about "legacy" - and Easy-C's legacy is an enduring and impeccable one. Word.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sherdog: Volleyball Powerhouse

A few weeks ago, Dana White shot a barb at Jeff Sherwood and the folks at, saying they were fanboys who'd never done anything athletic in their lives. Not true. At the annual MMA media picnic, Team Sherdog has won the volleyball tournament the last three years in a row - although I'd wager that has more to do with fear than anything else. You see, the night before UFC 42 (which took place in Miami), a group of MMA journalists were out galavanting around South Beach with Josh Thomson and the boys from American Kickboxing Academy when some street thugs tried to re-enact a scene from "The Warriors". That night, while others ran, Sherwood, and his reporter Greg Savage, fought alongside Thomson and AKA, clobbering one fool with a chair and kicking another in the teeth. That sounds pretty athletic to me. Regardless of whether you agree with their opinions or not, Sherdog's been on the frontlines. They've done more than enough to earn some respect. Also, Josh Gross has a killer overhand serve.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Mark Kerr to Serve Up Another Big Helping of Suck

The Global Fighting Championship will debut on August 17th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut, and Mark Kerr is slated to take on Sean O'Hare in what promises to be a barnburner. Not. Seriously, how is Kerr still finding work? From 1997 to 2000, he was a dominant competitor in the UFC and Pride, but it's been nearly seven years since he earned a "W" - or seemed like he even gave a shit. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the great fighter he once was. I was at the HBO screening of "The Smashing Machine" back in 2003, and shook Kerr's hand and thanked him for doing the film. But he's been phoning in his performances for a while now, and it's an insult to the other hardworking athletes on the August 17th card - athletes like Jeff Monson, Edwin Dewees, Ruben Villareal and Nuri Shakir - to share a marquee with someone not even trying. Is it possible that Kerr has perfected the Jedi Mind Trick? I can think of no other reason as to why matchmakers keep using him.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Dana White: Douche Bag or Not?

Dana White, the president of the UFC and one of the driving forces behind MMA going mainstream, is many things. But is he a douche bag? Allegedly, if your website provides a rival promotion with too much coverage, White will pull your UFC credentials. Allegedly, if you've earned a bonus for "fight of the night", White will try to slip you the money behind your manager's back. Allegedly, if you're a promoter and your headlining bout features Frank Shamrock against Caesar Gracie, White will prompt the athletic commission to question the matchmaking and the veracity of Gracie's record. Is there any truth to these allegations? Honestly, it doesn't matter. White is a businessman and this is all part of doing business. Sure, he doesn't really have to crap in anyone else's cornflakes, but he didn't have to swallow his pride and bring Tito Ortiz back to coach TUF 3, either. Nor did he have to fly old-school UFC veteran Fred Ettish out to UFC 45 to stand alongside the Hall of Famers. Nor did he have to hold private press dinners, or fund the UFC 38 after-party, or bend over backwards to get the commission-suspended Nick Diaz into the building at the TUF 5 Finale so Diaz could see his brother Nate fight. At the end of the day it's all about the Benjamins, and douche bag or not, White's dogged belief in the sport has put food on the table for a lot of people.

Back in 2003, there was a joke among industry insiders that went something like, "How do you lose millions of dollars? Make Dana White the president of your company." With the UFC suddenly a true financial empire, I wonder who's laughing now?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Will the IFL Shit the Bed?

A fellow journalist asked me this as we sat watching the IFL's semi-finals at the Continental Airlines Arena last week, and I'm not sure if he heard my answer over the din of the 7,077 people in attendance. Amidst a sea of fans wearing a variety of IFL team jerseys, I told my cohort that it's a race against time. Can the relatively new promotion reshape the MMA market with its team concept before it runs out of capital? Or, as the published quarterly statements might imply, has it been hemorrhaging money? As men, women and children alike clamored by to ask for Deividas Taurosevicius' autograph or shake Chris Horodecki's hand, I pointed out that the IFL business model seemed somewhat sound - more so than that of the failed WFA or Ultimate Athlete. Obviously, the IFL would like the teams to matter more than the individual fighters to consumers. But, I said, as the ring announcer hyped the weekly TV show and the crowd cheered the unusually large number of local competitors populating the card, it really boils down to whether the general public accepts - or rejects - the IFL brand. Again, I'm not sure if my colleague heard me, as just then a team mascot in a furry pitbull suit blew a trumpet in our faces and we were showered with confetti.

The First Rule of Underground Combat League

The first rule of NYC's Underground Combat League: do not talk about the Underground Combat League. The second rule of the Underground Combat League: DO NOT TALK ABOUT THE UNDERGROUND COMBAT LEAGUE!

Monday, August 6, 2007

The WEC: Same Great UFC Taste, but with Half the Calories

Have SpikeTV reruns got you down? Are you thirsty for some UFC but unwilling to wait a month until the next pay-per-view? Then try the new and improved World Extreme Cagefighting on the Versus channel! With a faint hint of the top tier thanks to Paulo Filho, Carlos Condit and Urijah Faber, plus a big serving of journeyman in Jamie Varner, Tiki Ghosen, and John Alessio, the Zuffa-owned WEC gives MMA fans a boost while providing eight essential vitamins and minerals. Try some WEC today!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Lyman Good Crushes His Enemies, Sees Them Driven Before Him, and Hears the Lamentation of Their Women

He's undefeated, with dangerous grappling, fearsome striking and unmatched conditioning. He's Team Tiger Schulmann 175-pounder Lyman Good, a.k.a. "Lyman the Terrible", a.k.a. "Lyman the Barbarian", and at the recent IFL semi-finals event in New Jersey, he met Team Quest's Mike Dolce on the field of battle and emerged victorious. Few can withstand what Good brings into combat, and fewer still can bear what defeat at his hands may bring. For their losses at Ring of Combat 9 and Ring of Combat 10, Adam Fearon and John Zecchino were sold into slavery, while it's rumored that Dolce returned to Team Quest's kingdom in Gresham, Oregon to find the city pillaged and burning. Is there none out there who dare meet the challenge of this conquering warrior? Someone who won't wither under the cold steel of his lead roundkick, or falter under the fury of his razor-sharp flurry? Perhaps there is. Or, perhaps there isn't, and we all shall soon be calling him "Lyman the King".

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Tim Boetsch Proves He's Got Balls the Size of Grapefuit, Maybe Bigger

At the IFL's semi-finals event tonight at the Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey, the Michigan Squirrels will square off against the South Dakota Prairie Dogs, and the Maine Lobsters will take on the New Mexico Armadillos. Or something like that. Anyway, the big news is local light-heavyweight Reality Fighting, Extreme Challenge Northeast, and USKBA champ Tim Boetsch stepping in to face Vladimir Matyushenko. For those who don't know, "Vladdy" is a heavy-handed wrestler and a four-time UFC veteran, with his losses to Tito Ortiz in 2001 and Andrei Arlovski in 2003 two of the only three blemishes on his 18-3 record. Yes, folks, Vladdy is one bad dude. Which makes Boetsch's getting in the ring with him the act of either a raving lunatic, or the act of someone with a huge set of balls. Having seen Boetsch fight, and dominate, and pull out the win even when he himself was getting dominated, I'm more inclined to believe it's the latter. Matyushenko is a huge step up in competition, and Boetsch deserves a ton of respect for even considering it.