Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ken Shamrock: "Kimbo is a Whippersnapper"

Just days away from EliteXC's October 4th magnum opus on CBS and already the pre-fight trash talk has begun to heat up - this time courtesy of Ken Shamrock. In an interview conducted at the Lion's Den Retirement Facility in Ocala, Florida, "Old Man" Shamrock blasted his opponent for being a "disrespectful punk". "Kimbo is a whippersnapper," said the UFC 1 veteran. Hunched over his walker with a glass of Metamucil in hand, he added: "That youngster is in for a lesson he'll never forget. I have bowel movements tougher than him." Stay tuned to MMA Journalist for a rebuttal from Kimbo Slice.

The Only Game in Town?

Are you a pro fighter in the New York/New Jersey area looking to get a fight or two in before the new year? Well, unless you make it on to Ring of Combat's November 21st card at the Tropicana Casino & Resort in Atlantic City, you're out of luck. Battle Cage Xtreme, New Jersey's other regional show, doesn't return until maybe February of 2009, and promotions like Combat in the Cage and Reality Fighting - which were once staples of the Garden State circuit - are on permanent hiatus. Suddenly, ROC is the only game in town. Is this a sign of the economic downturn hitting East Coast MMA? Or is it just a confluence of scheduling snafus? Who knows. But one thing is sure: ROC's November line-up should be killer.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Underground Profile: James Funaro

When sanctioned amateur MMA leagues finally make it to New York, there's no question James Funaro should be a contender for some 175-pound championship belt. Hailing from Vamos BJJ and sporting an amateur record of 6-3, he's got solid wrestling, smooth jiu-jitsu, great conditioning and enough striking skill to knock opponents the hell out - and aside from a 19-second TKO loss to stud Josh Candon, Funaro has been kicking serious butt in the Underground Combat League. Case in point: last night's highlight-reel worthy high-kick KO, which came just two days after an armbar victory at a smoker on Long Island. Funaro clearly likes to fight, and he's getting pretty damn good at it.

Underground Combat League: "Capital Punishment"

Last night saw another installment of the Underground Combat League, this one at a new location and called "Capital Punishment". Vamos BJJ stud James Funaro went to war with ground-and-pound ace Kirkland Campbell, scoring a second-round knockout with a picture-perfect high kick to Campbell's head. Also victorious were Shawn Obasi, Peter Storm and Alejandro Richardson.

Observations from My Couch: ShoXC 9/26

  • Erik Apple handily defeated the game Matt Makowski via rear naked choke in the second round. As a consolation to Makowski, Apple allegedly gave him two porn stars at the afterparty.
  • Jaime Jara, bedecked in a variety of tattoos that includes the word "hate" across his chest, out-pointed Giva Santana for the win. Jara will now return to his full-time job running a day care center for young children.
  • Malipet is living proof that Thais with one name are serious badasses on the feet. He's also living proof that Thais with one name suck on the ground.
  • Wilson Reis went five rounds with Abel Cullum to snag the EliteXC Bantamweight Championship. After the event, Reis dragged the belt back to his burrow, where it will sit with his winter supply of acorns and nuts.

Friday, September 26, 2008

WEC Succumbs to Wall Street Crisis and Downsizes

The crisis on Wall Street has hit the world of mixed martial arts, with the WEC announcing today that they are officially abolishing their middleweight and light-heavyweight divisions to cut costs. The downsizing, which will leave 185-pound fighters such as Paulo Filho, Chael Sonnen and Tim McKenzie and 205-pound fighters such as Doug Marshall and Steve Cantwell unemployed, allows the promotion to focus completely on the smaller weight classes and save money that would normally be spent on actual human-sized athletes. "It's just dollars and sense," says Head Midget Wrangler Reed Harris. "Someone like Brian Stann is going to want to stay in a room at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and eat energy bars and fruit backstage, whereas we can just keep Urijah Faber in a small cage and feed him crickets. It's just dollars and sense."

HDNet to Buy IFL for "MMA Bloopers and Practical Jokes" Television Show

Mark Cuban's HDNet is moving to buy the remaining assets of the IFL promotion for the sum of $650,000 according to a recent SEC filing. At the heart of the potential acquisition is the failed promotion's extensive video library, which will purportedly be the focal point of a new HDNet television show called "MMA Bloopers and Practical Jokes". The IFL, which woefully tried to divide a roster of B-level fighters amongst contrived teams such as the "San Diego Sea Anemones" and the "Milwaukee Marmots", filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

TUF 8 Analysis: Episode 2

The second episode of TUF 8: "Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir" graced our television screens last night, with the selection process in full swing and an assortment of hopefuls scrapping for a slot in the TUF house. Thankfully, Dana White's profanity and Minotauro's subtitled dialogue was kept to a minimum.
  • Is Frank Mir shouting instructions for both fighters during the fights? Holy confusing, Batman!
  • Ido Pariente is the highest-profile fighter Israel has produced. For choking Pariente out, Efrain Escuadero can expect a visit from Mossad sometime soon.
  • John "Huggy Bear" Polakowski apparently has no qualms about embracing another man in times of happiness and celebration. Mir, on the other hand, employs a rigid three-second rule. Expect hilarity in upcoming episodes with Polakowski running around the gym with open arms and Mir hiding under the Octagon.
  • The preview at the end of the episode provided brief glimpses of the rest of the season, including drunkenness (surprise!), rowdiness (no way!) and Dana White telling the cast to "beat each other off". It looks like TUF's heterosexual leanings will remain intact.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ex-UFC Champ to Face IFL Champ at EliteXC/CBS Show; Enraged Dana White Kicks Dog

Former UFC heavyweight champ Andrei Arlovski will square off against IFL heavyweight champ Roy Nelson at the October 4th EliteXC event, according to a report on Sherdog.com . As Arlovski is under contract with Affliction, the bout, which is purported to be slated for the live CBS prime time broadcast, is a joint EliteXC/Affliction affair. Upon hearing this news, UFC Tyrant Dana White allegedly became enraged, and promptly kicked a dog.

Wholesome Matt Makowski to Battle Unsavory Erik Apple at ShoXC

Richie Cunningham. Sir Lancelot. Jesus. History is full of virtuous men, men who've made their mark on the world while staying true to all that is pure and good. Now MMA has one such man in wholesome Philadelphia welterweight Matt Makowski. A Muay Thai specialist with a very solid ground game, Makowski has a taken out the likes of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts Nick Serra and Julio Cruz - all while holding fast to the morals so lacking in society today. By contrast, the unsavory Erik Apple, who often consorts with pornographic movie stars when not frequenting dens of sin, is everything Makowski is not, which should make for an interesting clash when the two meet at the upcoming ShoXC. Who will triumph when good battles evil? Who wins when "Mr. Nice Guy" faces "Mr. Promiscuous"? ShoXC's upcoming event airs live on Showtime on Friday, September 26th, and will also feature an eagerly-anticipated EliteXC Bantamweight Championship match-up between Wilson Reis and Abel Cullum.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Gegard Mousasi Joins Team Up-Kick

What do Renzo Gracie, Murilo Bustamante and Gegard Mousasi all have in common? They all like like their scotch aged and their steaks medium rare! Also, they've each won big with up-kicks! In fact, Mousasi won the DREAM middleweight grand prix in Japan earlier today with an up-kick knockout over jiu-jitsu deity Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza (thanks to Sherdog.com for the play-by-play). Who knew that when Gracie put Oleg Taktarov to sleep with the technique and Bustamante sent Jerry Bohlander to dreamland with the move that they'd be paving the way for an Armenian warrior to counter world-class grappling with a well-timed foot to the face whilst lying on his back?

MMA Market Analysis: Same Old, Same Old

Rumors abound concerning EliteXC's dire financial straits, Afflictions impending doom, the demise of the newssource FightNetwork and what-have-you. But this is really nothing new. Like the stock market, the MMA market cyclical, and after every boom comes a period of economic downturn. Back in 1996, when the UFC's original incarnation was pulling in Earth-shattering pay-per-view buy rates, the industry was flush with money and people angling for a share of it. Remember Extreme Fighting and the World Combat Championship? I do. They were nice, big alternatives to the UFC that bled money like crazy. A market downturn killed them off, enabling the strong to live on. In 2001 Zuffa bought the UFC and began making strides in getting the sport back on track, and the industry took off again. Remember the WFA? Or Ultimate Athlete magazine? I do, and I remember the inevitable market downturn once more rearing its ugly head. The Ultimate Fighter came along in 2005, providing yet another infusion of consumer dollars which in turn prompted the creation of the IFL and BodogFIGHT. Are you sensing a pattern here? You should be. It's the "same old, same old", and if the market demands that EliteXC folds (doubtful), Affliction dies (likely), or that the FightNetwork goes bye-bye (see ya!), well... that's just part of the cycle. Trust me, MMA will get "huge" again - and flush with fools and faulty business models just like it always does.

TUF 9 to Feature Sharks vs. Jets

With more seasons left on their SpikeTV contract but clearly running out of ideas, the powers that be behind "The Ultimate Fighter" have concocted a new angle for the ninth edition of the long-running reality show. Dubbed "TUF 9: Sharks vs. Jets", the up-coming installment will feature two teams, each comprised of American and Puerto Rican competitors, and in addition to the training segments and scenes within the infamous TUF house, there will be songs and intricate dance numbers. Said UFC Chief Profanity-Spewer Dana White: "I'm really excited for it. It's the best season ever. So much happens, you're not going to believe it... Huh? We haven't filmed it yet? Uh, then it will definitely be the best season ever. Believe it, motherf*%$er!"

Monday, September 22, 2008

Rumor: Anderson Silva to Retire from MMA to Pursue Quilting

In the grand tradition of superstar Michael Jordan leaving basketball to pursue a career in baseball and boxing great Mike Tyson leaving the ring to pursue a career in jail comes a rumor that untouchable UFC champ Anderson Silva might be contemplating a jump to the world of competitive quilting. Quilting is a sewing method where, using a needle and thread or a sewing machine, two or more layers of fabric are joined together - often to create intricate patterns. In competitive quilting, all sewing is done by hand. "Anderson will honor the fights left on his UFC contract," says manager Ed Soares. "He's been a great champion in mixed martial arts. But it's time the quilting world learns just how talented Anderson really is."

Manager Mark Dion Screws KJ Noons Out of an MMA Career

EliteXC stripped KJ Noons of his lightweight championship belt on Friday, the sad result of a dispute involving Noons' refusal to rematch against Nick Diaz and Noons' manager Mark Dion insisting that he alone should pick and choose his client's opponents. As some may remember, Dion was Brandon Vera's manager, and his efforts at playing hardball with the UFC left Vera on the sidelines for months until Vera wriggled free of Dion's clutches. Now, it's apparently Noons' turn to get screwed, as the Diaz rematch - which was initially offered as a headlining bout on a live CBS show and then on a Showtime card - would have a provided Noons with more exposure than ever. Hopefully, the promising lightweight's career will recover from this setback.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Rumble on the Rez

The second of the aforementioned under-the-radar New York State shows took place last night, this one on an Indian reservation outside of Buffalo. Dubbed "Rumble on the Rez", the event was a mix of professional bouts and amateur bouts, and featured the likes of former BodogFIGHT headliner Matt Lee taking on kickboxer Peter Kalejevic (Lee won the decision), veteran warrior Andrew Montanez rematching with BCX champ Pat Audinwood (Audinwood won the split decision), and the Northeast's top-ranked bantamweight Steve DeAngelis squaring off against Josh Pearson (DeAngelis won via rear naked choke at 2:22 of the first round). Close to 500 spectators came out to watch the action, making this well-run event a nice addition to the Empire State's growing collection of MMA organizations.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Is the Northeast a Breeding Ground for Badasses?

Dan Miller needed only a minute and a half to choke the hell out of his opponent in his Octagon debut at UFN 15. Mike Massenzio damn near ripped Drew McFedries' arm off at the same event. Phillipe Nover sent his TUF foe packing in impressive fashion, and by all accounts Brian McLaughlin was kicking ass until an illegal knee earned him a win by disqualification. What do Miller, Massenzio, Nover and McLaughlin all have in common? They're the cream of the crop in the New Jersey fight circuit, and after spending years honing their skills in events like Reality Fighting, Ring of Combat, and the now-defunct IFL, they're sharp as hell and experienced enough to win at the highest of levels. For the longest time, MMA hotbeds like the West Coast and the Midwest were cranking out the toughest mixed martial artists, but no longer. Is the Northeast a breeding ground for badasses? With a wealth of shows and talent and solid schools focused on MMA, it sure is now.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

TUF 8 Analysis: Episode 1

Last night saw the season eight premiere of "The Ultimate Fighter" on SpikeTV, a season dubbed "Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir" that requires captions whenever the Brazilian coach speaks. Excellent. I think the Zuffa and SpikeTV are prepping viewers for a future season where no one speaks any English and contestants live in a big hut deep in some distant jungle. A few things gleaned from the first episode:

  • There are rumors that when the DVD of this season comes out, viewers will be able to remove the blurriness that obscured Jason Guida's junk when he was rolling around in his towel.
  • Krzysztof Soszynski is an IFL veteran with an 15-8-1 according to Sherdog.com. Does this guy really need to be on TUF facing noobs like Mike Stewart? I think there's a SpikeTV producer out there pulling the strings, and he's got a very dangerous sense of humor.
  • Phillipe Nover fainted not from the heat or dehydration, but because he was in the presence of Dana White. Nover has a history of fainting in the presence of superstars; he was backstage at a Barbara Streisand concert and accidentally ran into Babs herself by the vending machine. Boom! Out cold.
  • Why you got to knee Brian McLaughlin in the grill when he's on the ground? Not cool, man. Not cool.
  • Junie Browning vs. Jose Aguilar was a battle between the douchebag and the dipshit. The fans lose in these match-ups every single time.

Observations from My Couch: UFN 15

  • Houston Alexander is built like an action figure and always seems one punch away from knocking someone out. Unfortunately, he needs to be told that mixed martial arts involves at least some grappling, and that he therefore must train in it.
  • Alan Belcher looked impressive out-striking and out-working Ed Herman, but who the heck thought it was a good idea for him to wear that diaper? Is he incontinent?
  • Mac Danzig had nothing on Clay Guida's relentless offense. It may be time for that steak, Mac.
  • Nate Diaz was composed as all hell and very Kazushi Sakuraba-esqe in his transitions and escapes. However, I'm left with a burning question after his bout last night: does the kid eat? Nate, I don't know what Zuffa is paying you, but if you need food I will totally buy you a case of ramen noodles or something.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Nate Diaz Likely to Utilize Some "Jiu-Jitsu" at UFN 15

Tonight's Ultimate Fight Night 15 on SpikeTV features a headlining bout between TUF 5 winner Nate Diaz against Josh Neer - a lightweight contest that in all likelihood will see Diaz utilizing some Brazilian-style "jiu-jitsu". A scrappy, rough-and-tumble youngster from Stockton, California, Diaz has been known to fight from positions called "the guard" and "the mount", and at times has employed fancy moves like the "guillotine" and the "triangle choke" to force his opponents to tap out. Does Neer have the wherewithal to avoid these fancy-schmantzy techniques? Or will he fall prey to that which he does not understand? That's any one's guess, but either way, expect Diaz to impress.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Why Do People Keep Fouling Glen Sandull?

At this past Friday's ROC 21 Glen Sandull took on Ricardo Romero for the light-heavyweight title, and in the heat of battle Romero soccer-kicked the wrestler-turned-fighter in the dome when Sandull was on all fours. The result was a win via disqualification for the AMA Fight Club/Team Renzo representative, a shiny new ROC championship belt, and an exit from the cage on a stretcher. But this was, unfortunately, not the first time Sandull's been fouled in an MMA bout - Carlos Cline repeatedly up-kicked Sandull in their October of 2004 Reality Fighting bout, and Sherman Pendergarst whacked him over the head with a two-by-four in their April of 2006 Sportfighting bout. What is it about Sandull that makes opponents want to disregard the Unified Rules of MMA when fighting him? "He's just so... foulable," says Braden Bice, who faced Sandull at Combat in the Cage in September of 2006, losing in the third round due to exaustion but running Sandull down with his car in the parking lot. "I mean, nothing against the guy, but when he's taking you down again and again, pounding on you like a red-headed stepchild, you just have to break the rules."

Mac Danzig May Hate Meat, But He Hates Cavemen and Dinosaurs Even More

Noted vegetarian Mac Danzig may hate meat, but he hates cavemen and dinosaurs even more, and at Wednesday night's UFN 15 Danzig will face famed dino-rider Clay Guida in a match-up that guarantees fireworks. "I really don't like any carnivores," said Danzig between bites of raw cauliflower. "And as a prehistoric man, Guida is definitely an extreme carnivore. I'm going to kick his ass and the ass of that triceratops he rides around on." The Pride FC vet and lightweight TUF 6 winner, who trains at Xtreme Couture and eats things like radishes and zucchini in lieu of hamburgers and hot dogs, has yet to be tested in the Octagon. Guida should prove to be a tough opponent.

Anthony Johnson Loses Appeal Due to Excessive Blindness

UFC fighter Anthony Johnson, who was blatantly eye-gouged by opponent Kevin Burns at their UFN 14 clash but lost the bout via controversial TKO thanks to a referee's bad call, has had his appeal rejected by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. According to NSAC High Exalted One Keith Kizer, the reason behind the rejected appeal was "excessive blindness", as Johnson was unable to see the requisite forms to properly fill them out. Johnson has since undergone surgery for his damaged eye, and currently uses a prosthetic eyeball as well as an eye patch.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Affliction Teams Up With Golden Krust

Hot on the heels of the postponement of their October "Day of Reckoning" show, Affliction has announced a partnership between themselves and Caribbean bakery giant Golden Krust. In a press conference on Saturday, head seamstress Tom Atencio described the alliance as "ground breaking" and promised that it would "change the mixed martial arts industry forever". No word yet on what this means for the promotion in terms of breaking into the Las Vegas market or selling tickets to shows not headlined by Fedor Emelianenko, but Golden Krust is the world's leading producer of Jamaican beef patties, and its flavorful jerk marinade is heralded as the best jerk around.

Jon Koppenhaver Cut from UFC for Being "Too Classy"

According to preliminary reports, the UFC has released TUF 6 alum Jon Koppenhaver from his contract for being "too classy". Nicknamed "War Machine", Koppenhaver was recently praised for his moving Myspace tribute to the late Evan Tanner, and his tireless volunteer work in the community has left many wondering if he'd one day snag a Nobel Peace Prize. "He's really not what we're looking for in a fighter," said UFC Vice Dictator Joe Silva. "Nice doesn't sell fights. We're all about scum and villainy."

Empire State Warriors Challenge: "Bike 'n' Brawl"

This past weekend saw one of the aforementioned New York State underground shows come to fruition with the Empire State Warriors Challenge, a long-running promotion near Albany that uses amateur MMA rules akin to New Jersey's. Aptly dubbed "Bike 'n' Brawl" (the event took place at a biker rally), the card featured over a dozen bouts that paired fighters with backgrounds in traditional Japanese jujitsu and the like with fighters from actual MMA-focused gyms. "Basically, if you trained, you won," says Hudson Valley Jiu-Jitsu honcho Brian McLaughlin, whose student, John Incledon, won via kimura on Saturday night. McLaughlin is quick to point out that the event was big on fighter safety, was well-run and organized, and the rules meeting even included instructions on where to meet if the bikers rioted. In terms of helping the sport grow in New York, MMA Journalist definitely puts the Empire State Warriors Challenge amongst the good guys.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Underground Profile: Harley Flanagan

Don't let the road map of tattoos and the "crazed killer" appearance fool you - Underground Combat League veteran Harley Flanagan is really a nice guy. Albeit, a nice guy who likes to throwdown and punch people in the face. Well-known in hardcore punk rock circles as the front man for the band the "Cro-Mags", the 41-year-old took the MMA plunge last year, and though the Renzo Gracie-trained jiu-jitsu purple belt wound up battered and bruised, he was all smiles. Win or lose, Flanagan clearly loves the sport.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

MMA Continues to Thrive in New York

Worried about the prospect of never seeing mixed martial arts in New York? Concerned over the Zuffa-promoted bill that legislators pushed to the backburner earlier this year? Afraid that the sport will never take hold in the Empire State? Fear not! There are no less than three under-the-radar amateur MMA shows on tap for the near future, and the events - scheduled for three different parts of the state - are sure to provide enough action to satisfy any action-hungry fan's appetite. Stay tuned to MMA Journalist for more on these underground shows after they happen.

Notes from EliteXC's Kimbo Slice/Ken Shamrock Conference Call

EliteXC hosted a conference call this afternoon for their upcoming CBS "Saturday Night Fights" card, and on hand were main event fighters Kimbo Slice and Ken Shamrock. While both men remained courteous and gentlemanly throughout the telephonic meeting, there was a distinct pallor of tension in the air, as evidenced by the following select quotes:
  • "Mister Slice is, I daresay, a formidable foe, but my skills at pugilism will prove superior." - Ken Shamrock
  • "We are in for a donnybrook, chaps. A right donnybrook." - Kimbo Slice
  • "The world shall see a Shamrock well-trained and well-prepared. I am feasting on plates of beef steak and roasted chicken daily." - Ken Shamrock
  • "He may have his finely-prepared meats, but I have my diet of freshly-baked bread to rely on." -Kimbo Slice
  • "Mister Slice and esteemed coach Bas Rutten are in for a surprise, for no amount of training can prepare a man for the fisticuffs Mister Slice and I will engage in." - Ken Shamrock
  • "Best of luck to you, old chap. Best of luck." -Kimbo Slice

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Affliction Postpones Second Show After Fighters Refuse to Accept T-Shirts as Payment

Affliction's second pay-per-view event, slated for October 11th in Las Vegas and dubbed "Day of Reckoning", has been postponed to January. According to industry insiders, the postponement is a result of the promotion's roster of fighters collectively refusing to be paid in T-shirts, a move which no doubt will have lasting financial repercussions on the fledgling organization. Said Affliction head seamstress Tom Atencio: "I don't understand it. Each of these intricately designed shirts - such as the 100% cotton, red river lava wash 'Sketchbook Reaper' tee and the 100% cotton, black lava wash 'Eagle Shield' tee - accurately portray the rebellious spirit of men today. Fighters like Josh Barnett and Andrei Arlovski should appreciate them more than actual money. Am I right?" The venue for the January event will now be the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

TUF Profile: Phillipe Nover

The eighth season of "The Ultimate Fighter" debuts on SpikeTV on September 17th, and amidst the motley collection of lightweight and light-heavyweight contestants is one fighter East Coasters know well: Phillipe Nover. Yes, the same heavy-handed Nover who first fought at Reality Fighting five years ago, knocking opponents silly when he wasn't submitting them. Yes, the same Nover who hails from Brooklyn, comes to the cage wielding a sword, and who worked as a nurse at Coney Island Hospital whenever he wasn't wrecking people. Normally a welterweight, Nover looks to be cutting down to lightweight for this show - and unlike the inevitable scrubs the producers put into the TUF house like chum dumped into a shark tank, the man definitely belongs there. Watch out for him.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Rich Franklin Finds Home at 205 Beating Up the Handicapped

Rich Franklin, the UFC middleweight champ until Anderson Silva beat him effortlessly and mercilessly two years ago, has found a new home for himself in the organization's 205-pound division. Defeating some deaf dude by TKO at UFC 88, Franklin seemed to have regained the fire Silva had stomped out of him - and he appears to have carved out a niche for himself as the "go to" light-heavyweight opponent for all handicapped fighters. "He looked great in there," said UFC Vice President of Talent Exploitation Joe Silva. "The fans responded to his win against that guy who can't hear anything. I think I'm going to put Rich in against a blind guy next, and then maybe someone in a wheelchair."

Rest In Peace Evan Tanner

Former UFC middleweight champ Evan Tanner was found dead in the California desert yesterday, the likely victim of exposure and dehydration. Known for his heart in the cage and his adventurous and untamed spirit outside of it, the 37-year-old Tanner was on a solo camping trip and had recently blogged about the perils he was going to face. His last venture into the Octagon was on June 21st, where he lost a split decision to Kendall Grove. Rest in peace, Evan Tanner. You will be missed.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fox 5 News to Expose "Secret Fight Club"

Fox 5 News, a local New York City news affiliate, will air a segment on the Big Apple's Underground Combat League tonight. The segment, called "Secret Fight Club", was filmed at the last UCL event - an event that saw two decapitations as well as one fighter ripping out another's spine and yelling "Fatality!" Expect a fair and balanced report with absolutely zero sensationalism.

God Declares WEC an Abomination, Sends Hurricane

Taking a stand against what He describes as an "abomination of little people fighting", God has sent Hurricane Ike to the South Florida/Gulf Coast region, forcing the postponement of September 10th's WEC 36 event at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida to November 5th. "This isn't the first time this has happened," says WEC chief midget wrangler Reed Harris. "God sent down a plague of locusts and made it rain frogs when we did shows in Lemoore, and he turned the water at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas into blood. We just reschedule and keep going." WEC 36 will feature champion hamster Urijah Faber defending his belt against leprechaun Mike Brown, as well as a rematch between Paulo Filho and Chael Sonnen.

Liddell Succumbs to a Lifetime of Strippers and Group Sex

A lifetime of indulging in strippers and group sex has finally caught up to Chuck Liddell. At UFC 85 on Saturday night, the former light-heavyweight champ fell to TUF 2 winner Rashad Evans' overhand right - a shocking end to a bout most thought the mohawked warrior should have won. "It was the sex," said a source within the Liddell camp that asked to remain anonymous. "Chuck was focused, in great shape, and down to having intercourse with only two women a day. But right before the show we found him in the shower with four groupies, a Penthouse Pet and a cheerleader for the Atlanta Falcons. It was all downhill from there." No word yet on where Liddell goes from here, but it's clear his bid for the UFC's 205-pound title has been delayed.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Bouts to Watch at Ring of Combat 21

Lou Neglia's Ring of Combat 21 is almost upon us. The event, slated for September 12th in Atlantic City with a live broadcast on HDNet Fights, will feature welterweight and light-heavyweight championship contests, but there are definitely a few other bouts on the card worth a closer look. Who is destined to shake up the Northeast rankings? Who will emerge as the East Coast's next big star? What match-up is going to rock your world? Man, how should I know. Just keep an eye on these fighters and fights:
  • At light-heavyweight, IFL vet Brendan Barrett will be taking on striker Constantinos Phillippou. Barrett's got an impressive resume and a wealth of skills in all areas, but Phillippou is part of Team Serra/Longo's next generation of badasses - and he came really close to earning a decision against 205-pound top dog Ricardo Romero in his MMA debut. Expect these two to trade some serious leather.
  • At welterweight, BCX champ Greg Soto returns to action (he's been sidelined with a shoulder injury for a while) to face Doug Gordon. Soto is a wrestling machine, a capable jiu-jitsu guy, and a handful for anyone, whereas Gordon is strong as hell, not shy about dispensing a beating, and by far Soto's toughest test to date. This one is going to be all about who can stay on top and impose their game plan.
  • At middleweight, Team Serra/Longo vet James Gabert returns to battle Team Tiger Schulmann brawler Nissim Levy. Both men are skilled on the ground, but if they were presented with a buffet that included big plates of armbars, leglocks and chokes, they'd choose healthy portions of "punches to the face" and go back for seconds and thirds.
  • At welterweight, New Jersey MMA pioneer Jose Rodriguez will square off against ROC Tournament of Champions winner Marc Stevens. Rodriguez has heavy hands, Stevens has great wrestling, and by the end someone is going to wind up bleeding or unconscious. Maybe both.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The UFC Really, Really, Really, Really Wants Brock Lesnar to Be Champ

During yesterday's UFC-hosted conference call announcing Randy Couture's return to the organization, High Exalted One Dana White announced a November 15th match-up between the fighting legend and relative MMA newcomer Brock Lesnar for Couture's heavyweight belt (with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira's interim title apparently worth as much as a cheesy paperweight bought at a retired postal worker's yard sale). The message here is clear: the UFC really, really, really, really wants Lesnar to be champ. No, like REALLY wants him to be champ. Nevermind that he was 1-0 before entering the UFC, that he lost to Frank Mir in his Octagon debut, and that he only had to defeat Heath Herring to earn his shot at the belt - the "Superbowl of Mixed Martial Arts" wants Lesnar to have every possibly opportunity to be their star heavyweight. And regardless of how many other more-skilled, experienced and worthy contenders there are, you must not question it.

Chuck Liddell Hopes to... No, No, I Can't Do It

What the heck is the deal with all the lame article titles nowadays? Has the creative well run dry in the world of MMA sportswriting? A brief glance at the main pages of a few top newsites yields such gems as "Fighter Ready for Other Fighter", "Dude Ready for Dude", "So and So Looking to Win at UFC Whatever", and my personal favorite, "Ridiculously Obvious Statement as Title". Is this what it has come to? Or are the regular staff writers on vacation and the interns in charge at the office? Someone, please fix this. Jake Rossen over at Sherdog.com does a fine job cranking out some thoughtful pieces, but when it comes to thinking up titles he's king. The same with Josh Gross over at Sports Illustrated. Is it too much to ask that everyone else at least pretend to give a crap?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

WEC to Ditch Human-Sized Weight Classes and Focus on Anything Hobbit-Sized and Smaller

The WEC, home of champion hamster Urijah Faber and some of the best "little fellas" in mixed martial arts, will reportedly be getting rid of their heavier 185-pound and 205-pound weight classes some time in the future. This means the following changes will be implemented:

  • Middleweight champ Paulo Filho and light-heavyweight golden boy Brian Stann will migrate to the UFC, where they'll promptly be killed by legitimate competition.
  • The cage will be fitted with a giant magnifying glass so viewers can better see the action within and the combatants.
  • Two new divisions - the microscopic division and the molecular division - will be added.
  • Events will be hosted at the Hard Rock Hotel in Munchkinland, Oz. Also, the Shire.
  • Frank Mir will no longer interview the bout winner then turn around and eat the loser.

Rumor: CBS Wants to See Other People

A New York Post article this weekend put forth the rumor that CBS is unhappy with EliteXC and maybe wants to see other people, a rumor that stems from that party CBS and EliteXC threw in July where EliteXC totally got drunk and put a lampshade on its head and threw up in the downstairs bathroom. CBS was apparently pretty displeased that night and promptly friended the UFC on Facebook, and the two have been flirting online ever since. No word yet on how much truth there is to all this, but one thing is for sure: CBS is one fickle wench. All it takes is an awesome Kimbo Slice/Ken Shamrock shindig and the Tiffany Network would go back to holding EliteXC's hand in public and letting the promotion feel it up in the back row of the movie theater.

Couture Back with UFC Thanks to Failure of Scorpion King 2 at Box Office

According to published reports, UFC heavyweight legend Randy Couture will return to the UFC with a new three-fight deal, and may be facing Brock Lesnar in his first bout back. Couture left the promotion last year to focus on his acting - specifically, a starring role as "Sargon" in "Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior" - with the idea that his popularity as a fighter would translate into popularity on the big screen. It did not, and Scorpion King 2's failure at the box office has apparently forced Couture back into the arms of "Dana White and Lorenzo Fertita - the only people who really understand me". A press conference for the official announcement is slated for this afternoon.