Friday, May 30, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
When WEC featherweight champ Urijah Faber squares off against Jens Pulver this Sunday, it won't just be one of the smallest fighters in the world taking on another equally small dude. No, when Faber throws down, it will mark the collaborative efforts of coaches and training partners - and even a nutritionist. MMA Journalist caught up with Hans Fitzel, the man who feeds the incumbent champ, and got his perspective. Tell us about Faber's diet. What does he eat when training for a fight? During a training cycle, Urijah eats what any highly-active mammal of comparable size would eat. Namely, fresh vegetables, seeds and insects like grasshoppers. When his training cycle winds down, we try to supplement his protein and carb intake with a few grams of hamster food. You know, just to make sure he peaks energy-wise. What will he eat the day of the fight? Generally, the skin of fruits such as apples or pears - to keep his blood sugar up - and maybe some whole grain oats. Urijah often carries food in his spacious cheek pouches, so he'll mostly eat from that. Do you advocate any energy drinks or Gatorade for your fighter? Absolutely not. Urijah's tiny nervous system isn't equipped for the shock an energy drink would give him, and he has a water bottle attached to his cage that's more than enough for replenishing his fluids. What about for his post-fight celebration? Urijah seems content to munch on a gram or two of cheese. Interesting. Well, thanks for your time. Thank you.
This Saturday, EliteXC makes __(noun)___ with their live network debut on CBS - the first ___(noun)____ to reach primetime television. The ___(noun)___ is headlined by Kimbo Slice, considered by many to be one of the most ___(adjective)___ heavweights in the ___(noun)____. Opponent James Thompson, on the other hand, is ___(simile)___ , and will no doubt ___(metaphor)___ once the cage door shuts. Also on the card is Phil Baroni, the ____(superlative)____ warrior ___(preposition)___ the East Coast, taking on ___(adverb)____ Joey Villasenor, while Gina Carano __(verb)___ to mix ___(anaphora)___ up with Kaitlin Young. Says EliteXC Grand Poobah Gary Shaw, "___(onomatopoeia)___ this Saturday. With Dana White ___(slang)___ and ___(expletive)____ , we're going to ___(rhetoric)____ and ____(hyperbole)____ the competition."
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Saturday and EliteXC and CBS and Kimbo Slice and Newark and blah, blah, blah! Okay, now that that's out of the way, there's actually another MMA event in New Jersey this weekend. It's called the World Fighting Championships, and whereas most promotions like to go the highly-publicized route, the WFC is coming to the Tropicana Casino & Resort in Atlantic City on Friday in full-on stealth mode. Good for them! Screw potential ticket buyers knowing of your event! Who needs 'em anyway! As the Florida-based WCF has done such a bang-up job getting their event out there, very little is known about the card other than Kit Cope, Andrew Montanez, Eric Henry and Hercules Benjamin are fighting. Maybe. Or maybe you'll get a cloth sack thrown over your head and a healthy dose of baseball bat love if you show up to the venue. Who knows?
Thursday, May 22, 2008
"Strikeforce on NBC", NBC's weekly Strikforce compilation program that airs on Saturday nights at 1:30am, is a ratings hit according to industry sources. A recent ratings breakdown indicated that Strikforce on NBC is the most-watched show in the coveted vampire demographic, with the program also scoring consistently high among insomniacs as well as in the meth addict and zombie demographics. "We're pleased to see our product do well with the soulless and other creatures of the night," said Strikforce CEO Scott Coker. "We're looking forward to delivering more action-packed programming to NBC viewers - be they living or dead - throughout the year."
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Two months out and Affliction's debut MMA event is already off to a strong start. According to a report in USA Today, the July 19th Fedor Emelianenko/Tim Sylvia-headlined event at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California has seen strong pre-show concession sales, with fans purchasing over $200,000 worth of hot dogs, $225,000 worth of beer, $75,000 worth of cotton candy and $25,000 worth of nachos from the venue in anticipation. By comparison, UFC 83 in Montreal - which sold out not long after tickets became available and ended up setting a North American attendance record of over 21,000 spectators - saw huge pre-show concession sales, with fans purchasing over $150,000 in hotdogs, $200,000 in soft pretzels and $75,000 in ice cream Drumsticks prior to the April event. If this trend continues, Affliction's future certainly looks bright.
It seemed brilliant at the time. When inaugural lightweight champ Jens Pulver departed due to a contract dispute in 2002, the UFC was left with no clear heir to the 155-pound throne. So why not have jiu-jitsu master Matt Serra, Shooto champ Caol Uno, fighting phenom BJ Penn and well-rounded warrior Din Thomas battle it out? On paper, the four-man tournament stretching over two East Coast shows should've made for one heck of a compelling storyline - both for the weight class and the inevitable champ. Unfortunately, reality made for something much less interesting. At UFC 39, Penn won an uninspiring decision over Serra while Uno barely squeaked past Thomas, and at UFC 41 Penn and Uno fought to a draw. Not quite the dramatic turn anyone had been hoping for. The UFC brass put the 155-pound belt on ice soon after, and it would remain there until Sean Sherk claimed it as his own in 2006 (when there were enough events annually to sustain the division). It seemed brilliant at the time, but the UFC's infamous 2002 lightweight tournament was a colossal failure.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Last night was another stellar installment of the Underground Combat League - NYC's only MMA show. There were six fights and one grappling match, and a reporter from the New York Post was on hand to see what all the hype is about. Veterans Mike Mullero and Terrence Shourts kicked some serious butt, and in the main event, heavyweight wing chun kung fu stylist Sean Obasi wrecked a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu representative. (Note: these pics were taken with my phone's camera, hence the quality.)
Friday, May 16, 2008
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. - In a conference call, EliteXC Grand PooBah Gary Shaw denied rumors that he is in talks with Mike Tyson and soon-to-be-free agent Tito Ortiz, but admitted that he would be more than happy to get fabulously wealthy from the revenue created by bouts with either of those fighters. - On this week's episode of "The Ultimate Fighter"... zzzzzz... *snore* ...zzzzzz. - TUF alum Brad Imes is slated to take on IFL heavyweight champ Roy Nelson tonight at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. The outcome of the bout promises to shake the very foundation of the world heavyweight rankings. Or not. - The pre-UFC 84 trash talk between BJ Penn and Sean Sherk has begun to heat up. On a recent SpikeTV special, Penn referred to the former lightweight champ as "short", while Sherk called the current champ "Hawaiian".
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Though most fans know of Eddie Alvarez from his exploits in the ring, few are aware of the slugger's career outside of mixed martial arts. Prior to his entrance into the Dream Lightweight Grand Prix in Japan, Alvarez was a superhero and crimefighter based in the Philadelphia area, with his acts of heroism taking him all over the world (and beyond). Here's a list of just a few of the former BodogFIGHT champ's more notable accomplishments: 1. Infiltrating Dr. Klaw's secret mountain lair and deactivating not one, but two doomsday devices. 2. Foiling bank robberies in London, New Delhi and Buenos Aires - all in the same night. 3. Forcing Doctor Octopus to tap out due to strikes. 4. While vacationing on Mongo, instigating a rebellion that eventually overthrew Ming the Merciless. 5. Disabling Sir Hugo Drax's space station, thereby saving the human race from extermination via nerve gas. 6. Working as a training partner for Godzilla for the giant mutant lizard's rematch against Mechagodzilla. 7. Saving over two dozen cats stuck in trees. 8. Talking the Incredible Hulk out of a rampage - and then KOing the Abomination.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
The UFC has tapped interim heavyweight champ Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and former champ Frank Mir to be coaches for the upcoming eighth season of "The Ultimate Fighter" - a season that promises to be SpikeTV's most unwatched ever. Aside from their world-class grappling and top-level competition experience, each coach brings something new to the table: Nogueira an outstanding command of the English language and Mir some kickass motorcycling skills. Expect SpikeTV producers to exploit both those traits in an effort to attract viewers.
As rumors of the IFL's demise flew last week, the ailing organization announced that they'll now rely on dark gypsy magic to lure fans. Dubbed "The Hex", the new initiative will allegedly put a curse on all who choose to watch TUF, Strikeforce or the Iron Ring over the IFL's weekly FSN episodes. Said IFL High Priest Jay Larkin, "Hey man, at this stage we're willing to try anything."
Monday, May 12, 2008
Fans who made their way to Ring of Combat 19 at the Tropicana Casino & Resort this past Friday were treated to another stellar performance by Doug Gordon. Fresh off his come-from-behind win over Gregor Gracie - which produced a picture-perfect high-kick knockout broadcast live on HDNet Fights - Gordon has become one hell of an exciting fighter. And dangerous, too, which ROC 19 opponent LeVon Maynard can attest to. Maynard fell to a well-placed right uppercut two minutes and 15 seconds into the first round. Who's next for the Master of the "Wow!"?
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Hot on the heels of yesterday's announcement that UFC lightweight Frankie Edgar and EliteXC lightweight Chris Liguori would be joining Ricardo Almeida's MMA team comes a spate of other sudden fight camp defections. Professor Almeida announced in a press release that he was merging his cadre of elite competitors with Team Tiger Schulmann, while MMA Journalist learned earlier today that Team Endgame founder Eddy Rolon would be pairing up with grappling beast Justin Garcia and the Serra/Longo Competition Team to form the "Jungle Brothers". Also, the Rhino Fight Team announced a strategic partnership with Atlantic City MMA and Bellmore Kickboxing, with training sessions to take place on a barge floating off the southern coast of Long Island. Not to be outdone, the Bombsquad has joined forces with Miletich Fighting Systems, the Anthracite Combat Club and American Top Team, creating a camp called "BombMileAntracATT". Given these dramatic changes and alliances, now no one from the Northeast MMA circuit can fight each other. Stay tuned for more.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
With heavy hitters Kimbo Slice, Robbie Lawler, Scott Smith, Phil Baroni, Joey Villasenor, Brett Rogers and Jon Murphy on the card, EliteXC is pulling out all the stops for their May 31st show - and rightly so, as the event will air live on CBS. But fans who forego the network TV extravaganza and instead make the trek to Newark, New Jersey to see it all in person will be treated to an undercard full of some serious talent. Carlton Haselrig, the ex-NFL player who just steamrolled over IFL veteran Shane Ott, will be taking on IFL veteran Bryan Vetell. Does that do anything for you? What about Nick Serra - the "Mad Monkey" of jiu-jitsu - taking on up-and-comer Matt Makowski? How does that make you feel? In a pair of guaranteed fast-paced fisticuffs, featherweight Brazilians Andre Soares and Wilson Reis will face Zach Makovsky and Justin Robbins, respectively. Even perennial local star Chris Liguori is stepping into the cage, taking on grappling stalwart Jim Bova. "Saturday Night Fights" is shaping up to be the most awesomest show ever, and it's enough to make a true MMA fan weep with joy.
Monday, May 5, 2008
A well-crafted piece of legislation can be a work of art, akin to a Van Gogh oil painting in its legal nuances or a Renoir portrait in its details. If that's the case, then the proposed bill that would amend the law that bans pro MMA in New York is a fingerpainting done by a circus clown on the tail end of a five-day crystal meth binge. As the current law reads, professional "combative sports and exhibitions" are prohibited, with an exception made for martial arts sanctioned by an outdated list of organizations (the US Tae Kwon Do Union, the USA Karate Foundation, the North American Slapfighting Association, etc.). This is followed by the magic words "the [athletic] commission is authorized to promulgate regulations which would establish a process to allow for the inclusion or removal of martial arts organizations from the above list." There are two issues here: the giant loophole in the law that allows for unregulated amateur MMA and the phrase "authorized to promulgate regulations" (which, when translated into English, means the athletic commission has no obligation to do anything but sit around and drink coffee from styrofoam cups). The proposed bill makes MMA an exception to the definition of combative sport, but it does nothing to address these issues. It even throws in a "the commission is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations" for good measure. Very scary. There will always be an Underground Combat League regardless of whether the amateur MMA loophole is sewn up or not, but New York is a big state with plenty of room for what the USKBA has going in New Jersey. Will the new law allow for a Proving Grounds or New Breed Fighters or Asylum Fight League here? And will the proposed bill permit the NYSAC to tackle MMA regulating with the same fervor as when it took on the "approved martial arts organizations" list? (Note: in eleven years, nothing was ever done in regards to changing that list.) New York State deserves a big UFC at Madison Square Garden, more Vengeance at the Vanderbilts and a half dozen amateur events holding shows from Buffalo to Albany to Long Island. Hopefully a half-assed piece of legislation doesn't screw all that up.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
The Nevada State Athletic Commission's new policy of random drug testing throughout the year has netted its first violators. In a report issued by Executive Director Keith Kizer, four people tested positive for drugs of abuse: Milwaukee janitor Clarence Daniels, San Diego claims adjuster Alice Sienna Chamberlain and Wilkes-Barre high school student Lance Dingler each tested positive for marijuana, while Orlando crossing guard Candice McMullin tested positive for cocaine. All four were approached by NSAC representatives in the early morning and forced to provide urine samples. "Anyone who fails to meet Nevada's stringent standards will have their license to compete here revoked - no question," said Kizer, who went on to note that thus far no actual fighters tested randomly have failed their drug tests.
Dante Rivera took Brandon Sene to a decision on last night's episode of TUF, and while the East Coast fighter came away with the unanimous decision, it wasn't the most awe-inspiring performance ever. Well folks, having seen 11 of his 15 pre-TUF fights, I can honestly say that Rivera is better than that. Much better, actually. A jiu-jitsu brown belt under Ricardo Almeida, Rivera's bread and butter is his grappling game, and around these parts he's been putting away some seriously tough cats for years. From Jose Rodriguez to Erik Charles to Alexis Aquino to Nissim Levy, Rivera has shown he can ground-and-pound, nail submissions and trade strikes with almost anyone - and he can do it before a cheering crowd of thousands. Rivera is one badass dude. Give him a chance and he'll show you.
Even with the massive MMA Journalist staff working full-time to bring you the latest news, the sad truth is that a calendar jam-packed with fight shows means some things will inevitably fall through the cracks. Case in point: the New Breed Fighters amateur events held at the House of Blues in Atlantic City's Showboat Casino - events that MMA Journalist has not yet had a chance to check out. The NBF league has been going strong since December of 2006, has provided scores of rookies their first taste of cage combat, and has produced tough pro fighters like Mark Berraciol, Mike Medrano and Lester Caslow. Want a well-run amateur show to pop your fighting cherry? Want an early glimpse at tomorrow's MMA stars? Then by all accounts, the almost-monthly NBF's are definitely worth the trip.