Friday, March 28, 2008
California State Athletic Commission Executive Director Armando Garcia defended his decision to have fighter Nick Diaz removed from Saturday's EliteXC/Strikeforce event at a Sacramento press conference yesterday, citing Diaz's "obvious lack of respect for his elders" and vowing to take a stand against "hooligans and whippersnappers". Waving a cane and shaking his fist, Garcia promised to clean up MMA in California, and angrily proclaimed, "No more tattooed fellows, no more cussing and no more damn Mexicans!" The always dapper "Gentleman" Drew Fickett will now take Diaz's place on Saturday night's televised main card.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Brian Stann defeated Cobra Commander by first-round knockout at last night's WEC in Las Vegas, utilizing a solid left hook and kung fu grip to earn himself the WEC Light-Heavyweight Championship. Stann (GI Joe codename: "Ka-Bar") wasted no time mixing it up with the leader of the worldwide terrorist organization, trading wildly until Cobra Commander dropped. The win puts Stann atop a division that includes plenty of potentially dangerous opponents. "This belt represents all my GI Joe comrades and friends who couldn't be here right now," said Stann after the bout. "And it doesn't matter if I'm fighting against the international arms deal Destro or the ninja Storm Shadow - I will defend it with everything I've got."
Thursday, March 20, 2008
It's time for a history lesson. Today's topic: promoter Tom Hafer's Ring of Fury 3, the third installment in a series of top shelf events that featured the best New England had to offer. The first two took place at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell, Massachusetts, but on May 3rd, 2003, ROF 3 came to a nightclub in Boston, and the pulsing music and flashing lights made for an atmosphere akin to John Lewis' WFA in Las Vegas. Local superstar Jorge Rivera headlined, patiently waiting to make his UFC debut and taking out last-minute replacement Solomon Hutcherson with a first-round knockout. Rivera's teammate Keith Rockel (who'd pledged to donate his fight purse to help with a member of the MMA community's son's hospital bills) fell prey to up-and-comer Denis Kang's sharp boxing, while jiu-jitsu stud Marcus Aurelio totally handled wrestler David Gardner before submitting him with a triangle in the third, and the late Shelby Walker needed only five seconds to tag Angela Wilson on the chin and send her into dreamland (Wilson would be seeing stars for quite some time backstage after the show). It was a good event - the best of all three ROFs - and sadly, it would be ROF's last. They say those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Well, for the quality product it was, repeating something like Ring of Fury wouldn't be such a bad thing.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Nothing gets fans going like two skilled female competitors giving their all in the ring. Really. The crowd went wild when Laura D'Auguste beat on Shannon Logan at Reality Fighting 2, and when D'Auguste defeated Del Greer at RF 3 they went beserk. The highlight of MFC 6 was Tara LaRosa's war with Roxanne Modafferi, and it was a pretty big deal when LaRosa submitted Kelly Kobold last year to become the number one 135-pounder in the world. Even EliteXC jumped on the train, fielding mid-level fighter Gina Carano and feeding her cans. Well, it's now almost spring of 2008, and the question arises: what ever happened to women's MMA? The collapse of BodogFIGHT - the last major MMA player to truly give a shit about who is the best female fighter - is what happened. Sure, BodogFIGHT is still skulking around in some form, but pairing LaRosa up with someone not even remotely at her level on a co-promoted HOOKnSHOOT show pales in comparison to the top talent that fought in Costa Rica and St. Petersburg. Amanda Buckner, Shayna Baszler, Carina Damm, Rosi Sexton - BodogFIGHT let the world see just how exciting and badass top female fighters are, and it's a damn shame they're all being squandered.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
WEC middleweight title holder Paulo Filho was forced to withdraw from his March 26th rematch against Chael Sonnen last week, with the Brazilian reportedly battling depression and substance abuse issues and checking himself into a rehabilitation center. Industry insiders have long speculated that the undefeated Filho suffered from an addiction to Twinkies - a rumor verified by his manager Ed Soares. "The Twinkie is one of America's best-known and most-loved snack cakes," said Soares. "Paulo has always had a difficult time resisting this golden sponge cake with creamy filling, but we're proud of him for stepping up and recognizing his problem." According to the official WEC website, some tomato can will now step in to face Sonnen.
Black Entertainment Television (BET) enters the MMA fray tonight with the debut of their "Iron Ring" reality show, a 13-episode series that follows six teams from the tryout process to their clashes at the finale. With each team led by such urban celebrities as boxer Floyd Mayweather and rappers Lil Jon, Nelly and Ludacris, and fighters competing for "props" and a trunk full of "bling", it's believed that Iron Ring will be to MMA what Tiger Woods was to golf: black in a white world. "I've previewed every episode and I can safely say that Iron Ring is chock full of action and excitement," said BET Vice President of Programming Robert Francis McElroy III. "We believe this show will finally give the sport the 'street cred' it so desperately needs." Added McElroy: "Um, word."
Friday, March 14, 2008
According to a Battle Cage Xtreme press release, the marquee bout for BCX 4 will feature Ridiculously Big Dude taking on Ridiculously Big Dude in an event slated for April 19th at the Tropicana Casino & Resort in Atlantic City. It's an intriguing match-up, and as these ridiculously big dudes are an IFL veteran and a former pro-football player, respectively, it will definitely be a bout that provides action. Also on the card, Much Smaller Dude will defend his Much Smaller Dude belt against another Much Smaller Dude, while Really Small Dude will take on Really Small Dude.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Hot on the heels of EliteXC's deal with CBS and the recent news that Strikeforce and NBC have entered into a broadcasting arrangement, the UFC is expected to announce a strategic partnership with the Public Broadcasting Service later today, a partnership that will enable the MMA leader to finally break into network television. At this time, few details of the UFC/PBS deal have been revealed, although it is rumored that PBS will air four live two-hour UFC events in the coveted time slot following Sesame Street and preceding rerun episodes of "This Old House".
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Like dew on a morning flower after a night's hard rainfall, Dana White is a man of contrasts. The UFC president is at times brilliant, and as spokesman for the sport, he is at times coarse and abrasive. He is all. And nothing at all. If one looks, one can see the philosophical path blazed by the man at the helm of MMA's flagship organization, the yin and yang to everything he says and does. MMA Journalist would like to take this moment to reflect on the tao of Dana White. -"Everybody thinks that the mixed martial arts market is so hot right now. The UFC is hot right now."- Oh Dana. The crowds who pack grassroots shows like the UCL or regional shows like Ring of Combat would say otherwise. It's undeniable that the UFC has experienced phenomenal growth in recent years, but so too have many other promotions. Really, only the ones that tried to operate with faulty business models have failed. -"I'm after all the best fighters in the world... I'll have Fedor someday."- Is Fedor one of the best or isn't he? Make up your mind, Dana, because in a subsequent interview, you stated: "People think he's the best - I don't." Does he become one the best once he signs a UFC contract? -Zuffa and White saved MMA by adding rules to protect the fighters- Ah yes, the infamous "Zuffa myth", which is still being propagated by ill-informed journalists today. Zuffa did indeed save MMA from "extreme sports" ignominy, but credit for the Unified Rules should go to the NJSACB and the IFC, which employed those rules at their New Jersey events before Zuffa even bought the UFC. -"Bud Lite tastes great."- Does it, Dana? Or is it less filling? Hmmm...
Monday, March 10, 2008
Thursday, March 6, 2008
With one of the strongest Northeast fight cards ever assembled, the Ring of Combat 18 event tomorrow night promises a ton of action and thrills. Who will come out on top in the battle for the ROC lightweight belt? Which fighter will snag themselves the USKBA middleweight title? MMA Journalist has taken a close look at the roster and compiled the following predictions (which you can take to the bank!): -Chris Liguori vs. Jim Miller- In this rematch of their hotly-contested ROC 17 bout, someone is going to use grappling to their advantage. Believe it. -Tom Gallicchio vs. Igor Gracie- In this bout between a wrestler and a jiu-jitsu specialist, there will be clinching. At some point. Maybe. -Mike Guerin vs. Dan Miller- Watch for the takedown attempt. It could be a single-leg, it could be a double-leg, it could be an ankle pick. But it will be attempted by someone. -Jose Rodriguez vs. John Howard- Punching. Lots of it. -Alexis Aquino vs. Lyman Good- The ref is going to play an important role in this one. He'll either stop the fight because a fighter is unconscious, tapping out, taking too much punishment, or if it goes to the judges' scorecards, he's going to raise the arm of the winner. Definitely. -Nick Catone vs. Lance Everson- Since a 185-pound belt is on the line, either Catone or Everson is going to be sporting some shiny new hardware before the evening is done. No doubt about it!
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
The announced UFC 87 match-up between pro-wrestling crossover Brock Lesnar and UFC 10 champion Mark Coleman is set to answer some important questions - namely, can the UFC create the bigger MMA spectacle and can Lesnar establish himself as "the man capable of beating anyone who hasn't fought in the UFC since 1999"? Obviously hungry for a bigger piece of the "spectacle pie", and still reeling from the promotion's failure to stop the rival EliteXC from building a name off the notoriety of bare-knuckle sensation Kimbo Slice, the UFC has shifted its focus from being the "Superbowl of Mixed Martial Arts" to "Please buy our pay-per-views and ignore those free events on CBS". Will it work? And will Lesnar, who got handled by Frank Mir in his UFC debut, find victory against one of the sport's pioneers? Only time will tell. But you can bet that these important questions will be answered at UFC 87 in August.
Hot on the heels of Anderson Silva's destruction of top contender Dan Henderson at UFC 82, the California State Athletic Commission announced today that it will allow the UFC to match its invincible middleweight champ against two fighters simultaneously. According to sources within Zuffa, Silva will face off against both former champ Rich Franklin and TUF 3 winner Michael Bisping in a title bout slated for UFC 88 (tentatively called "Double Team") in Sacremento, California. In the unlikely event that Franklin and Bisping win, they will split the belt. Said the Zuffa source, who spoke on the condition that he remain anonymous: "We're really out of options. If Silva beats two guys at once, what are we going to do? Have him fight a rhinocerous? Hey, wait a minute..."