Friday, September 28, 2007

MMA Paparazzi Zack Lynch Not Afraid to Run You Off the Road for a Good Photo Op

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

Nakamura's Failed Drug Test at UFC 76 Raises Important Question

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

Uproar as TUF 6 Coach Matt Hughes Practices Witchcraft on Show

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

IFL to Stave Off Bed-Shitting with Live Broadcast

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

Deividas Taurosevicius a Nightmare for Opponents and Ring Announcers Alike

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.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Observations from My Couch: UFN 11

-Watching a UFC bout without audio commentary is strangely soothing. Watching Joe Rogan hold a plastic spine, gesticulate and soundlessly move his lips made me wonder if I was on drugs.
-Pete Sell and Nate Quarry are warriors, and in a past life, fought valiantly and were carted off the field of battle on their shields. Sell required an extra person to carry his decapitated head.
-If one of my sisters had ever brought Nick Diaz home, I would have disapproved. If they had brought Nate home, I would have spent the afternoon playing XBOX with him.
-Chris Leben appears to have matured into a calmer, more-grounded person. He still scares me, though, and I would not let him babysit my kids.
-Din Thomas' knee injury is somehow related to his afro. I'm not sure how, but it is.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Din X to Win By Any Means Necessary

Brothers and sisters, when top-ranked UFC lightweight Din Thomas, a.k.a. Din X, takes on Kenny "White Devil" Florian at tonight's UFC Fight Night, you can expect two things: Din X will free himself from the shackles of the White Devil's oppressive jiu-jitsu game, and Din X will win by any means necessary. For Din X fears not the lashes of any man's Muay Thai elbows, and in orchestrating this bout, Dana Shabazz and the prophet Elijah Silva have given the Nation of ATT warrior a chance to show the world that fighting is about more than just 40 acres (with a win bonus of a mule). No, brothers and sisters, it's about pride. As a cloud of confusion hangs over the 155-pound class thanks to Sean "the Man" Sherk's NSAC troubles, and as BJ Penn is in need of an opponent for UFC 78, Din X's time is now. Brother and sisters, his time is now!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Once a Champ, Always a Champ

Once a champ, always a champ. That's how I see it for someone who's managed to climb to the top of the UFC mountain, and that's how I see it for someone like Ricco Rodriguez, who years ago defeated Randy Couture to earn the heavyweight belt then lost it to underdog Tim Sylvia the next time he stepped into the Octagon. On Thursday, September 20th, Rodriguez will return to action to face Ben "Bad Motherfucker" Rothwell at the IFL. It will be the former champ's toughest test in years and Rothwell's toughest opponent ever. It's also a masterstroke for the promotion, as they've finally matched up their untouchable star against someone who could very well kick his ass. Bravo for all involved. Back in February of 2003, I was writing an article called "A Tale of Three Fighters", and I had gotten the before-, during- and after-bout perspective from three competitors who were at very different stages of the fight game. Rodriguez was my champion's perspective, and he was friendly and more than happy to talk about everything leading up to his UFC 41 rendezvous with Sylvia. Then his reign as king came to an abrupt end, and after the bout, the only thing Rodriguez had for me was, "Sorry Jim, but no interviews at this time." I respected that. He had been the UFC champ - he deserved all the respect in the world. And it doesn't matter if he wins or loses against Rothwell, as he will always deserve respect.

Tamdan McCrory Facing Either Japanese Fighter or STD

Undefeated Bombsquad badass Tamdan McCrory, who made his UFC debut a successful one when he submitted veteran Pete Spratt back in June, is either facing Akihiro Gono at UFC 78 or he's fighting gonorrhea. I don't know which. Too much rock and roll over the years has damaged my hearing. McCrory is a stud, though, so it could be either one. Or both. I don't know. But either way, my money is on McCrory because he's aggressive and well-rounded and more than capable of defeating the Pride: Bushido veteran, and also because a shot of penicillin is supposed to clear up the clap fairly easily. Note: I didn't get a lot of sleep last night.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Gina Carano Good Enough to Defeat Top Female Fighters

Based on the crisp stand-up and stellar submission skills we've seen from her thus far, EliteXC star Gina Carano has proven that she's good enough to defeat top fighters such as BodogFIGHT champ Tara LaRosa, Laura D'Auguste, Amanda Buckner, Carina Damm, and Kelly Kobold (if, by "defeat", you mean "get her ass royally kicked by"). Who in the ever-increasing female MMA talent pool can withstand Carano's deadly offense (if, by "deadly", you mean "laughable")? Who can penetrate her rock-solid defense (if, by "rock-solid", you mean "paltry")? Who should she face next? Only time will tell. But you can rest assured: EliteXC will test her (if, by "test", you mean "feed her a tomato can").

Rhino Fight Team Most Chillaxin Team on East Coast

The Rhino Fight Team, which came away with four championship titles at this weekend's Battle Cage Xtreme II in Atlantic City, has proven to be one of the most dominant and "chillaxin" teams on the East Coast. When asked to comment about his team's top-level chillaxin-ness, submission stud Kevin Roddy, who scored a championship belt after his 54-second armbar victory over Cory LaPlant, replied, "Dude." "Dude," said Tom Gallicchio, who smoked Brian DeMuro to get a welterweight belt for himself. Added Steve D'Angelis, who took home featherweight honors after laying opponent Matt Zaccaria on the mat, picking out all the seeds and stems, and rolling him tightly before lighting him up: "Dude." From exciting UFC 155-pounder Frankie Edgar to crushing heavyweight Carlos Moreno, the New Jersey-based team has long been considered a force - and with their talent pool, work ethic and ability to just chill, they're likely to remain a force for a long time to come.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

*photo courtesy of Matt Donovan*

Friday, September 14, 2007

EliteXC Primed and Ready to Kick UFC in the Nuts

The MMA market dust has settled, revealing ProElite's EliteXC as one of the frontrunners in the world of UFC competitors. Airing on Showtime, and scooping up top talent like Robbie Lawler, Murilo Rua, Jake Shields and Nick Diaz, the MMA conglomerate (they recently gobbled up KOTC and Hawaii's ICON in a fashion similar to that giant space ship-eating thingy on the old "Star Trek" TV series) has become a true global force. Promotions like the IFL may be nipping at Zuffa's ankle, but EliteXC looks to be the one that will soon kick the UFC in the nuts.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

UFC 75 on SpikeTV Most Watched Show on Floor of My Apartment Building

UFC 75, which featured UFC champ Quinton Jackson squaring off against Pride champ Dan Henderson on a tape-delayed show airing on SpikeTV, was the most-watched television program on the floor of my apartment building on Saturday night, according to David Schwartz of SpikeTV. The UK-based event was viewed in four out of seven apartments, which included the gay man in 4L, the Turkish student in 4K, and the Asian couple in 4M. For the eagerly-anticipated main event, even the elderly woman in 4H tuned in (although it's unclear if she actually knew what she was watching). Said UFC president Dana White: "Not only did UFC 75 showcase the bout that unified the 205-pound Pride and UFC titles... wait, do you want to be a fucking fighter?"

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Florida State Boxing Commission Atones for Past Sins, Saves Man's Life

They could have just as easily allowed it, and if they had, a man would surely have died. But the Florida State Boxing Commission put their foot down and denied the proposed match-up between Pitbull Jamal Patterson and Silverback Ben Rothwell for the IFL 2007 Finals (scheduled for September 20th in Hollywood, Florida). Thank God. There's no question Patterson is some kind of rabid jiu-jitsu animal. He is, however, a light-heavyweight with just four fights to his record. Rothwell, on the other hand, is... well, let's just say this 32-5 heavyweight knockout artist has "Bad Motherfucker" printed on his leather wallet. I have long held it against the Florida Commission that they'd licensed an incompetent referee like James Warring, and I've always felt they should've shot infamous "promoter" Jamie Levine on sight, but they did right in this instance. Now the question remains: who suggested this bout to the Commission, and why do they want Patterson dead?

Monday, September 10, 2007

UFC's UK Poster Boy Only Slightly More Articulate Than Deaf Opponent

Michael Bisping, TUF 3 winner and the UFC's current UK poster boy, proved that he's only slightly more articulate than deaf opponent Matt Hamill on Saturday. After garnering a questionable decision victory following three rounds of combat, Bisping asked Joe Rogan "D'ya like dags?" during the post-fight interview, and was heard muttering something about a "perrywinkle blue caravan". While Bisping is usually considered nowhere near as unintelligible as fellow countrymen Lee Murray and Ross Pointon, Saturday's incident most likely damaged his image. It's unclear on how this might affect his poster boy status.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

A Look into the Crystal Ball for the November 30th ROC Finals

Friday's Ring of Combat 15 event marked the opening round of the "Beasts of the Northeast" tournament - the only three-round Grand Prix-style MMA tournament in the US - and it proved to be a night of excitement, thrills, and tons of trauma-induced medical suspensions. As MMA Journalist is the proud owner of a crystal ball (hey, a distant great-great-uncle on my mom's side was a gypsy), a glimpse into the future reveals this about the November 30th finals: -In the lightweight division, events are cloudy. But it appears submission stud Brian McLaughlin and the ultra-talented and dangerous Eddie Fyvie will wage war. Due to massive collateral damage to the Atlantic City area, New Jersey Governor John Corzine will request federal aid for disaster relief and the rebuilding efforts.
-In the welterweight division, tough Jungle Gym fighter Joseph Aviles will win the 170-pound belt due to being the most "street". This is established after he shanks his opponent in the semi-finals.
-The future is uncertain in the middleweight division due to the high skill level of the remaining four competitors, but the crystal ball favors ROC Champ Marc Stevens and his ability to go from calm and friendly dude to the "Incredible Hulk" in the span of two seconds. Stevens is quoted as saying "Marc smash!" during each of his bouts.
-John Doyle will win the light-heavyweight title by eating his opponents' souls in the semi-finals and finals - just like he did at the opening round on Friday night. Tune in for more glimpses of the future courtesy of the MMA Journalist crystal ball.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

From the Mailbag: "Your blog sux!!! LOL1!!!"

"Yo, hook me up with a fite bro. I m 230-0 on da streeet with some boxing and grapplin I seen UFCs and could kick Chuck Leddles AZZ!!! wurse then that Rampage cat. I talked to Dana Wite he siad I was too good for Ultimate Fiter show, gess he scarred I will kill some one cuz I m too REALL!! PS. Your blog sux!!! LOL1!!!" - NJBouncer23

Thanks for the kind words, NJBouncer23. If you're looking to compete, promoter Ed Hsu will have an Extreme Challenge Trials amateur MMA event on September 15th at the Rahway Recreational Center, while Carl Mascarenhas will have a New Breed Fighters amateur MMA event at the House of Blues in Atlantic City on September 28th. Also, Kipp Kollar has begun having amateur bouts at his Reality Fighting events, although there's no word yet on his next New Jersey show.

Observations from My Couch: WEC 30

-Great jiu-jitsu is a beautiful and inspiring thing to behold. It’s also not enough to win you a WEC Bantamweight Championship belt when Chase Beebe is your opponent.

-Brian Stann is a real American hero, and should have a GI Joe action figure modeled after him. His action figure counterpart in the Cobra organization would be a villain named “Tomato Can”.

-WEC Lightweight Champ Rob McCullough is exciting, dangerous, and one of the best 155-pounders not good enough for the UFC.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Rich Crunkilton is a Tough Son of a Bitch

The Korean War soldier who beat back a division of Chinese with just an entrenching tool. The hiker who sawed off his own arm with a pocket knife when it became trapped under a boulder. Rich Crunkilton, who had his elbow completely wrecked by a Hermes Franca kimura, yet kept fighting until time ran out in their UFC 42 bout. History is full of tales of absolute badassery, of stories that highlight the indomitable will that man can sometimes summon, and these tales serve to inspire us. At tomorrow's UFC Lite - excuse me, WEC 30 - Crunkilton takes on lightweight champ Rob McCullough, and the skilled AKA grappler will certainly have his hands full against the deadly Muay Thai stud. But win or lose, one thing is irrefutable: Crunkilton is a tough son of a bitch.