Monday, June 30, 2008

ROC 20 Notes

Friday's Ring of Combat 20 did not feature Team Tiger Schulmann star Lyman Good wrecking opponent John Howard as promised (Howard apparently self-wrecked days before and couldn't compete). But despite this match-up getting scrubbed there were still two other marquee bouts atop a stacked card of locals. Some notes: -Vasilica Goian vs. Joey Camacho- It was Romanian national wrestling champ against Division 1 wrestler, and Camacho was getting the better of the switches and scrambles. Unfortunately, Goian did a great job tying him up when on the bottom. The split decision could've gone either way. -Dom Stanco- For Godsakes people, don't stand and trade with this guy. He. Will. Kill. You. -Ryan LaFlare, Eddie Fyvie and Costas Phillippou- Very, very bad dudes. -Nick Catone- Tough and skilled, but he still needs to be tested. -Tom Gallicchio vs. Doug Gordon- Two very talented fighters, with Gallicchio's dominant performance stealing the show. I want to see Gallicchio in EliteXC or in a WEC. I could see him ground-and-pounding the holy hell out of Carlos Condit for the WEC belt.

MFC Promoter Mark Pavelich Wants His Dignity Back

It's always amusing to watch a promoter lose his head. Case in point: the Mark Pavelich/Drew Fickett conflagration, which erupted this weekend when the Maximum Fighting Championship promoter blasted Fickett for even considering taking a Strikeforce fight five weeks before the UFC veteran's scheduled MFC bout. Would Fickett have been in breach of his MFC contract if he'd accepted the Strikeforce bout? Did the contract stipulate a five-week pre-fight prohibition? Who cares! Pavelich - who's been accused of douchebaggery in the past - went ballistic, and Fickett aired all the dirty laundry, including a purported Pavelich voicemail, online. Isn't the Internet great?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fraternal Twins to Rematch at ROC 20

Fraternal twins Tom Gallicchio and Doug Gordon, who were seperated at birth and raised by different families, are set to clash at Friday's Ring of Combat 20 at the Tropicana Casino & Resort in Atlantic City. The bout, which pairs up two aggressive and experienced fighters for the USKBA welterweight title, is a rematch of their Cage Fury Fighting Championship 4 bout last year - a bout Gordon won via third round guillotine after a hard-fought battle. Most siblings refuse to fight each other. Why such a strong effort from these two? "Siblings are often very competitive," says psychologist Avry Ibrahim. "Whether they are competing for a parent's love, the last piece of chicken at the dinner table, or a mixed martial arts championship belt, brothers can - and will - push themselves harder to win. It's human nature." When Gallicchio and Gordon meet at ROC 20, fans can definitely expect more of the same this time around.

EliteXC Treads Dangerously Close to Credibility with July 26th Match-Ups

EliteXC's second primetime CBS extravaganza will tread dangerously close to the realm of credibility with the announced match-ups for their July 26th show. The number two MMA organization in the US revealed in a press release that, in addition to the Robbie Lawler/Scott Smith rematch for the middleweight belt, welterweight star Jake Shields will take on BodogFIGHT champ Nick Thompson for top 170-pound honors while Antonio Silva will scrap for the heavyweight belt (against Pride veteran Sergei Kharitonov, according to Whether this sudden and shocking change in direction by EliteXC matchmakers is indicative of a shift from the organization's Kimbo-centric "freak show" business model to one of legitimacy is unknown, but Gary Shaw offspring Jared gave the following statement on his Myspace page: "Lolz!!1 I rulz! Eat dat Dana u bald bich!!@"

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Website Shout Out

Last week MMA Journalist mentioned a few websites the staff frequents for news. Add a few more to the list:,, and is an article link dump similar to, while focuses on (duh!) the Japanese MMA scene. Veteran journo Dave Meltzer's rambling but informative Wrestling Observer is posted every week at f4wonline, and last but not least, is a newcomer aimed at everything in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Check them out. Or don't. I don't care.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Most Depressing TUF Finale Ever

Saturday night's TUF 7 finale, which saw newcomer Amir Sadollah inexplicably armbar CB Dolloway again to capture the title of "Ultimate Fighter", also featured one of the most depressing bouts in UFC history. In the headliner between Evan Tanner and TUF 3 winner Kendall Grove, a tired and spent Tanner took three full rounds of punishment en route to a loss via unanimous decision. For fans of the former champ it was no doubt a sight that was hard to take, but to make matters worse, Tanner was taken behind the shed out back and shot immediately following the show - a move decried by many as heartless, as he could conceivably have been put out to pasture to stud. "He had a good run," said UFC matchmaker Joe Silva. "But it was his time. It was his time."

Friday, June 20, 2008

What's the Value of a TUF Contract Nowadays?

The seventh season of "The Ultimate Fighter" is in the books and the finale is slated for Saturday night. Unfortunately, market saturation and an increasingly stale product has turned what was once a prestigious and coveted title and contract into something far less appealing. What does it mean to be a TUF winner nowadays? What's the current value of a winner's contract? First-season victors Forrest Griffin and Diego Sanchez each garnered six-figure salaries and free Mustang GT convertibles for their efforts, while subsequent winners Rashad Evans, Joe Stevenson, Kendall Grove and Michael Bisping received a moped, a scooter, a skateboard and a pair of roller skates, respectively. But a steady decline in ratings saw TUF 5 winner Nate Diaz's prize reduced to a used 3-speed bicycle (with responsibilty for a newspaper delivery route attached), while TUF 6 winner Mac Danzig is now contractually obligated to work part-time in a Las Vegas car wash. And what will contestants Amir Sadollah or CB Dollawayget get when one of them wins on Saturday? According to sources within Zuffa, the winner of TUF 7 becomes an indentured servant and property of Dana White.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

New York State Puts MMA Bill on Backburner in Favor of More Underground Shows

Taking a stand against the sanctioned MMA bouts that New Jersey, Nevada, California and others have embraced, the legislature in New York yesterday moved to the backburner the bill that would have allowed professional incarnations of the sport back into the state - a move that paves the way for more underground shows until the next legislative session in January. Why has the Empire State thus far resisted Zuffa's efforts to lobby for a lift on the pro MMA ban? "We're not ready to accept the economic benefits mixed martial arts events would bring," said Assembly page Alvin Kringle. "A UFC or an EliteXC or even a Ring of Combat would bring too much revenue to Madison Square Garden and various other venues, and it would create too many jobs within the Athletic Commission. Quite frankly, New York just isn't ready for the extra money."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Promoting 101

"Godz of War" is the latest upstart to shit the bed, which, after a glance at their proposed card and venue choice, should come as no surprise to anyone with even a passing knowledge of the industry. Come on, all you kids out there looking to put on an MMA show. You should know better! And if you don't know better, here are some simple rules.

Rule #1: Local fighters sell tickets. Regardless of your PPV deal, your big revenue stream is going to come from ticket sales. Period. And no one at your Atlantic City event is shelling out dough to see Joe Doerksen fight; therefore, his airfare, hotel, meals and purse are going to cost you more than you will make on him. No offence to Doerksen, but far more people are going to buy tickets to see local karate school owner Roger Dingbat compete than an accomplished UFC/IFL/WEC veteran. It's sad but true.

Rule #2: Don't spend more than you make. D'uh. If you fly in fighters from American Top Team, Brazilian Top Team, MFS or wherever, odds are that you're paying more for them than they will earn for you (see Rule #1). If you pay for a band to play in between fights, or some aspiring rappers, or some coke-addled dancing girls, is that really adding value to your show? Are those pyrotechnics really necessary?

Rule #3: Brand recognition only works for the UFC. The UFC could put together a card full of homeless men and orangutans and people will come to see it based on the UFC name alone. You are not going to have that same luck. Really. No one gives a crap that your show is called the "Mega Awesome Combat League" or "Totally Radical Championship". A small percentage of people will buy tickets because they want to see fights and the rest will buy tickets to see fighters they care about. That's your audience. Try to remember that.

These are just three basic rules, but there are more. To their credit, the folks behind Godz of War cancelled before their show, thereby saving themselves a ton in inevitable losses. Hopefully, if they come back, they'll approach things a little smarter - and keep these rules in mind.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

From the Mailbag: "Dude, are you for real?"

"Dude, are you for real? Some of the things I read on your blog are way out there. You have some cool bits about the history of MMA and underground shows and stuff, but most of the time I can't tell if you're joking or not. Are we supposed to take you seriously or what?" -SanJoseUFCfan1968 Thanks for the email, SanJoseUFCfan1968. Yes, MMAJournalist is real. Your Internet browser took you to an actual webpage, didn't it? Geez. Listen, if you're looking for news, go to,, or - that's where I go when I want up-to-date info. But if you want a different perspective on the sport, a perspective rife with sarcasm and wit, well... you're screwed. So you might as well keep coming here.

Only One Winner in the Escalating War Between Promotions

In the old days, when Abraham Lincoln was president and getting eaten by a dinosaur was a very real threat, the UFC was the only game in town offering up MMA to fight-hungry consumers. My how times have changed. Case in point: the star-studded July 19th Affliction card on pay-per-view. Sherdog reported yesterday that the UFC might be putting together serious counter-programming on SpikeTV to combat Affliction's "Banned" debut, with Wanderlei Silva one of names thrown into the mix. Is this a dirty tactic on the UFC's part? Or is it just a smart business move? A free UFC on SpikeTV will undoubtebly sink Affliction's PPV buy rates, and maybe inflict a mortal wound on the fledgling promotion, but one thing is clear in this escalating war: the fans are going to win. Yes, in terms of having more MMA on TV, the fans are going to win big.

Monday, June 16, 2008

CBS Wants EliteXC to Cobble Together Another Show in Six Weeks - Who Should Fight?

Hungry to capitalize on the mojo created by "Saturday Night Fights", EliteXC's masters at CBS want another primetime brouhaha despite EliteXC's expressed desire to push their network TV return back (in an effort to allow Kimbo, Carano, et al. some time to recover). But what CBS wants, CBS must get. Logistical issues aside, who could EliteXC field that would make for some good TV-worthy combat on just six weeks notice? The following is a list of potential ass-kickers for the July 26th show. Yes, they're exciting. No, they're not all the best. Not yet at least. 1. Matt Makowski, a welterweight striker who's young, hungry, and on the rise. 2. Wilson Reis, a featherweight jiu-jitsu machine. "Fast-paced" is his middle name. 3. Chris Liguori, a well-rounded lightweight capable of ending things on the feet or on the ground. 4. Steve DeAngelis, a well-rounded featherweight sprawl-and-brawler. 5. Jim Miller, an IFL fighter, grappler extraordinaire and the best 155-pounder in the Northeast. 6. Doug Gordon, a 170-pounder who can submit people or knock them the fuck out (see Gordon's fight against Gregor Gracie). 7. Tom Gallicchio, a welterweight ground-and-pounder. 8. Lyman Good, a bad, bad, bad dude with serious striking skills and serious grappling skills. 9. Dan Miller, a submission specialist and IFL middleweight title holder. 10. Josh Key, an extremely strong well-rounded lightweight who fought and won on BET's Iron Ring. This list is by no means a complete one, but it's a good start. With the Robbie Lawler/Scott Smith rematch headlining the card, any of these fighters are scrappy enough to fit right in.

Observations from My Couch: EliteXC "Return of the King"

-Rafael Feijao and Dave Herman have looked very impressive in the cage thus far, taking out their opponents with violence and fury. Too bad I still have no idea who they are. -Tony Bonello is apparently that little guy who gets drunk at parties and picks fights with the biggest, baddest people he can find. Murilo "Ninja" Rua hates parties. -Nick Diaz ain't no bitch. He ain't no weight-cutter, either. -KJ Noons defeated Yves Edwards faster than you can say "champion slowly but surely legitimizing the depth of talent in EliteXC's relatively new roster with wins over quality opponents".

Friday, June 13, 2008

Trump Not the Only Billionaire Getting into MMA

With the recent news that business magnate Donald Trump is an equity partner in the new Affliction promotion, MMA Journalist has learned that other well-known billionaires are considering taking the MMA plunge. Among those joining Trump are: -Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who is expected to unveil his Martial Arts Combat (a.k.a. "Mac") organization this summer. Competitors will alegedly fight in the "iCage" for stock options. -Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, who is starting a promotion for the lighter, nerdier weight-classes. His fighters will allegedly be incompatible with Job's Mac organization and more prone to viruses. -Media mogul Oprah Winfrey, who will promote a female-orientated league geared towards women above the age of 40, as well as a monthly "Oprah's Fighter Club". Stay tuned for more.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hey Kids, Want to Watch an MMA Promotion Die?

Observe, if you will, the death throes of the International Fight League. Beleaguered for its contrived teams and hemorrhaging money thanks to a faulty business model, the once-promising place where B-level fighters could get national exposure is now barely clinging to life. A press release from the promotion disseminated today reads, "International Fight League decides against August 15 event in New Jersey; organization working on financial situation". That says it all right there. And if you were a fan of MMA fights, or one of the many employees cut from their staff in recent months, well... you have MMA Journalist's deepest sympathies.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Overweight Alves Strikes Blow for Fat People Everywhere

Corpulent Brazilian Thiago Alves defeated welterweight superstar Matt Hughes via TKO at Saturday's UFC 85 in London - a win made all the more impressive by that fact that Alves failed to make the 170-pound weight limit. Utilizing his paunch and an effective sprawl to counter Hughes' takedowns, Alves established dominance early, and with his flab and striking had his opponent on the ropes in the second round. Says Humphrey Gordo of the National Fatty Association, "We're very proud of Thiago. Not only did he defeat one of the legends of the sport, he did so in the cage and not at the buffet. *Chewing sounds* Say, are you going to eat those french fries?"

Friday, June 6, 2008

Underwhelming UFC 85 Lacks Hair Power

After an historic last weekend, which saw the EliteXC/CBS "Saturday Night Fights" network TV debut and an awe-inspiring WEC on the Versus channel, comes an underwhelming UFC 85 at the O2 Arena in London. Originally featuring Chuck Liddell against Rashad "Afroman" Evans, "Bedlam" had a ton of hair-power when first announced. But an extraordinary number of injuries and bald-headed replacements has made this UK UFC installment a lacklaster one - moreso thanks to Kimbo's beard, Urijah Faber's cornrows, Brett Rogers and Jens Pulver's mohawks, Joey Villasenor's lone forehead curl and Miguel Torres' Mexi-mullet. Who on tomorrow's Matt Hughes/Thiago Alves-headlined card will provide more than a short-buzzed fuzz? Who will captivate fans with their long, flowing locks? Sadly, Bedlam has no one.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Referee Dan Miragliotta Under Fire for Role in Baby Fighting Ring

New Jersey referee Dan Miragliotta, the third man in the cage for the Kimbo Slice/James Thompson fight on CBS and a veteran official for UFCs, IFLs and a multitude of Garden State events, came under fire this weekend when it was revealed that he played a role in an underground baby fighting ring recently uncovered by police. Unlicensed baby fighting, in which two children below the age of 2 are pitted against each other in a crib or playpen while adults wager on the outcome, is a growing problem in daycare centers across the country, and authorities have been quick to prosecute all those involved. According to preliminary reports, Miragliotta oversaw dozens of bouts and specialized in the heavier "toddler weight class". The New Jersey State Athletic Control Board, which employs Miragliotta for adult MMA events, declined to comment.

Monday, June 2, 2008

EliteXC A Success According to Preliminary Ratings; Enraged Dana White Has Four Zuffa Employees Killed

In the wake of the release of preliminary ratings for EliteXC/CBS' "Saturday Night Fights", which point to the first-ever primetime network TV MMA show as a resounding success, MMA Journalist has learned that UFC Tribal Leader Dana White - acting in a fit of rage - ordered the deaths of four random Zuffa employees. The identities of the employees are not yet known, although sources indicate two were beheaded, one was strangled and one was repeatedely run down and backed over by White's official UFC Hummer. Stay tuned for more as the story develops.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

EliteXC/CBS "Saturday Night Fights" Media Meal a Disgrace; Show Pretty Damn Good Though

The EliteXC/CBS "Saturday Night Fights" event, which played out before a live audience of 8,033 and was broadcast on CBS, featured a media meal of hot dogs, oversized cookies of varying types, and large bowls of kettle-cooked potato chips - a disgraceful selection and an abomination to the world of free food. Yes, there was a fully-stocked refrigerator with cans of soda and bottles of water, all of which was well-chilled, but it did little to offset the bad taste left in the mouths of those forced to dine on frankfurters mired in sauerkraut. To add insult to injury, the production crew's buffet was opulent with chicken breasts and vegetables and assorted desserts of the fruit tart, eclair and napolean variety. Does EliteXC think so little of the freeloading media? Is this how they hedge their bets against possible bad reviews? I sincerely hope not. In other news, the rest of the EliteXC/CBS event - from the fights on down to production - was pretty damn good. Stellar, in fact.