Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Team-Based MMA Can Work. Really.

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

How Do You Spell "Matt Hughes"? R-E-S-P-E-C-T

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

Some Positive Vibes

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

Who Was That Mysterious Tan Fellow in the Octagon? Dan Miragliotta, That's Who

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.

Zuffa to East Coast: "We Hate You"

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

UFC 78: "Valuation" Set to Place A Definitive Worth on TUF Assets

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

Breaking News: Larry Hazzard Fired

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".

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Who Should Jake Shields Fight?

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

TUF 7 Open Casting Call - 11/19 in New Jersey

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

Observations from My Couch: EliteXC "Renegades"

-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.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Collection of News Hiaku

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

ROC and HDNet Fights Have Hooked Up, Possibly Dating

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 is Coming to Town to Spread Tidings of Good Cheer

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

The Week in Review

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!