Friday, January 30, 2009

Nations Collide At UFC 94

UFC 94: "St. Pierre vs. Penn II" is this Saturday night, and as the title indicates, it's all about two nations colliding in the main event. Rematching after their exciting UFC 58 bout ended in a split decision are welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre from the northern country of Canada and lightweight champ BJ Penn from the Republic of Hawaii. It's a bout that promises action, errant elk and pineapples hurled with reckless abandon. "I will crush 'im again," says St. Pierre between gulps of maple syrup. "Count on it. Mr. Penn may worship a volcano and surf to and from the office every day, but his weird Hawaiian ways are no match for my sexually ambiguous relationship with my moose, Matilda." UFC 94 will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and will air live on pay-per-view.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rest In Peace Helio Gracie

The Brazilian magazine TATAME is reporting that Grandmaster Helio Gracie, the 95-year-old patriarch of the Gracie clan and the founder of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, has passed away. No details on the cause of death have been released. It is because of Grandmaster Helio's innovations and accomplishments in vale tudo that we have mixed martial arts today, and though we have lost a great warrior, there is no denying his legacy will live on forever. Rest in peace, Grandmaster Helio. And thank you.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bellator Fighting Championships Signs Diego Marquez

Bellator Fighting Championships, the Latin-based mixed martial arts promotion that will air on ESPN Deportes, has just signed Diego Marquez to its eight-man lightweight tournament, according to a statement released by the fledgling organization. Marquez, the older cousin of Dora the Explorer, now joins the ranks of Eddie Alvarez and Jorge Masvidal in the 155-pound division. Amongst that level of competition, he will have his work cut out for him. "Diego Marquez is an eight-year-old rough and tumble action-adventure hero on the go," says Bellator FC CEO Bjorn Rebney. "An Animal Rescuer with an intense love of animals, Diego invites preschoolers to help him race to the rescue with a host of amazing gadgets and vehicles. Go, Diego, Go!" Expect the prerecorded BFC episodes to air in April.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Update: Saturday's Amateur Show in New Jersey Cancelled

That super-secret amateur show in New Jersey scheduled for Saturday, the CounterStrike Fighting Championship, has been cancelled. No reason has been given for the cancellation, although the event's lame name most likely had something to do with it.

Rumor: Phil Baroni Fighting in Ring of Combat in April

From the Unsubstantiated Rumor Department: Phil Baroni will return to action at Ring of Combat's April 17th event at the Tropicana Casino & Resort in Atlantic City. Lou Neglia is the promoter of ROC, and Baroni actually made his MMA debut at one of Neglia's shows - the now defunct Vengeance at the Vanderbilt on Long Island - about 50 years ago. No opponent has been named yet.

A Collection of News Haikus III

It's haiku time!
  1. The UFC is/ planning to open gyms now. Please, /God, just kill me now.
  2. Hermes Franca is/ out of his UFN bout./ He feared Lauzon's ears.
  3. Affliction's payroll / was so huge, they now need a/ government bailout.
  4. Fedor barely trained/ for his Affliction bout. Sucks/ to be Arlovski!
  5. Amir Sadollah/ is injured again. I guess/ he ain't that TUF, huh?
  6. Jen Pulver thinking/ of retiring? Don't do it,/ Jens. You're still the man.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Another Super-Secret MMA Show Coming Up

This just in: MMA Journalist's network of spies and clandestine operatives has just informed me of a super-secret amateur MMA show coming up. The event is the CounterStrike Fighting Championships, and it's slated for Saturday, January 31st at the Rahway Recreation Center. What's the card look like? Beats me! All the available info is here: .

Observations From My Couch: WEC 38

  • Jose Aldo is emerging as top contender and all around bad dude in the featherweight division. No offense to Rolando Perez, but Aldo deserves a step up in competition.
  • Danillo Villefort looked good, but whenever I see WEC welterweights in the cage I can't help but think they're all disappointed they're not in the UFC.
  • I hated seeing Jens Pulver lose like that. Is he still relevant? Of course he is. Who else is the WEC going to feed to their 145 pounders to make them look good?
  • Urijah Faber. Meh.
  • There is nothing more disconcerting than a fighter twisting his own nipples off right before a bout. Thank you, Donald Cerrone, for making me grossed out.
  • Jamie Varner. Still the best lightweight out there not good enough for the Octagon.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Observations From My Couch: Affliction's "Day of Clobbering"

  • Bobby Green really, really, really hates nuts. Like, really.
  • Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou. Living proof that judo's submission game has only a third of the calories of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, yet with just as much flavor.
  • Vitor Belfort didn't just knock Matt Lindland the heck out, he knocked Lindland back into infanthood. For a while there I thought the ringside physicians were going to have to change "The Law's" diaper and give him a pacifier.
  • Gilbert Yvel proved he sure could take a beating. Josh Barnett proved he sure could dish one out.
  • There are other more spectacular ways Andrei Arlovski could have lost to Fedor. I cannot, however, think of a single one of them.

Proving Grounds Postscript

Solid event. Jamie Torres, Ryan Castillo, Rex Ocorr and Chris Wing stood out. Watch for them in the future.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Liveblog: Proving Ground Part 6

Chris Wing of Wing MMA doesn't need long to defeat Jason Somers of Pitts Penn, getting the tap out via guillotine in a minute. Wing is definitely one to watch. Mike Bannon of Tristate Fighters and Justin Tischler of Wilkie's Warriors are now scrapping. Tristate Fighters seems to be a Pennsylvania-based team, and Bannon has a sizeable cheering section. Good for him. I wouldn't drive to or from Pennsylvania for anyone. It's just too far. Where was I? Oh yeah, Bannon wins with a guillotine. Last bout and it's Alex Mhatsakanov of Jersey FC against Eddie Lenoci of Serra/Longo. The two stand and trade and Lenoci comes away with the win by KO. And I'm spent.

Liveblog: Proving Grounds Part 5

Team Hoodlum's Estaban Garcia and Serra/Longo's Ryan Castillo are now going at it. Both these guys are showing a lot of skill on the ground. Not so much on the feet, though. It doesn't matter. Castillo nails the triangle in Round 2. At this point I'd like to add that the concession stand is selling fresh popcorn, dodgy looking hotdogs and warm Gatorade. Woot. The heavyweights are up, with Mike Blodgett of Jersey FC and Nick Allowe of TNT Wrestling going at it like there's food at stake. Blodgett proves to be hungrier (see what I did there?) and he KOs Allowe with a punch to the body at the bell. More heavyweights now, with Chris Bretton of Team Wreckless putting Chris Winiarski out with a guillotine in 22 seconds. Wait a second. Team Wreckless? Does his team lack wrecks? Do they avoid sunken ships, car accidents and junkyards?

Liveblog: Proving Grounds Part 4

Jamie Torres of D'Arce BJJ is smooth like butter, and he needs only a minute and one second to armbar Adam Penberthy of Tristate Fighter. Keep and eye on Torres as a future spokesman for Land o' Lakes. Next is Mark Setaro of Jersey FC against Steve Sierra. Setaro keeps shooting in with his head down, and in the second round Sierra catches him in a guillotine. World Gym is repping hard tonight, as Rex Ocorr keeps feeding Andrew Espling of Pitts Penn fists until Espling is out cold. Very impressive performance.

Liveblog: Proving Grounds Part 3

Ryan Vaccaro of Jersey Fight Club and Jason Reid of New Jersey Combat are now mixing it up. I predict the fighter from New Jersey will win this one. Hey, I was right. Vaccaro via guillotine at 2:11 of Round 1. Matt Beriloff of Serra/Longo and Matt Augustein of Amerikick are going at it, with Augustein learning from his teammate and not forgetting his cup. Unfortunately, Augustein keeps forgetting the rules, and after elbowing and punching his opponent to the head while on the ground, he's disqualified. Ah, kids these days. It's David Slater of Wilkie's Warriors and Kyle Malone of World Gym's turn to rumble, and they're rumbling harder than when the Fonz and Richie Cunningham took on those leather-clad degenerates in that bar (you know the episode - the Fonz broke a stool just by tapping on it. Remember? No? Screw you.) Anyway, Malone gets the decision.

Liveblog: Proving Grounds Part 2

The opening bout will be a match-up between Jay Perez of Amerikick and Thiago Carfi of Gold Team Fighters. However, there seems to be a delay because Perez has forgotten to wear his cup. How do you forget your cup? That seems like the first thing I'd put on. Anyway, Carfi snags the armbar at 1:11 of Round 1. Next up is Lewis Rumsey of Team Vicious and and Chris Howard of Advanced Martial Arts. Just how vicious is Team Vicious? Well, Rumsey just bit his cornerman if that's any indication. The fight goes the distance, with Rumsey getting the unanimous decision.

Liveblog: Proving Grounds Part 1

MMA Journalist is cageside again, this time for promoter Lou Neglia's amateur MMA show "Proving Grounds" at Essex County College in Newark. There are 15 bouts on tap from such notable gyms as Serra/Longo, Jersey Fight Club, Wilkie's Warriors and Pitts Penn. Nick Serra is wandering around, Ray Longo is here, and New York State Athletic Commissioner Melvina Lathan is in attendance. She seems very optimistic about MMA in New York, and the simple fact that she's here in the trenches speaks volumes on her interest in the sport. Hopefully the referees will instruct the fighters not to kill or maim while she's watching.

Extreme Challenge "War at the Shore" Postscript

Good show. Tara LaRosa's still got it. Zach Makovsky is very ready for the WEC. Sidemar Honorio... wow.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Liveblog: Extreme Challenge Part 8

It's main event time. Alexis Davis is about to take a crack at top dog Tara LaRosa, and the Garv is quoting with a "How can she slap?" reference. Oh the humanity. Anyway, LaRosa gets a warm reception from the crowd, and she drops Davis with a left in the first round and works some ground and pound. Round 2 sees Davis sink a tight triangle that LaRosa guts her way out of, while the third and final round has LaRosa battering the hell out of her and cutting Davis above the eye. The doctors stop it when Davis is too much of a bloody mess. And I'm spent.

Liveblog: Extreme Challenge Part 7

Kamal Shalorus is squaring off against Jonathan Evans now. Evans hails from the Rhino Fight Team and is a UCL vet, but Evans' gritty street style is no match for Shalorus' British ways. He falls to Shalorus' poor dental hygiene in 35 seconds. Next is Edward O'Daniel against Charlie Brenneman. Expect a takedown at some point in this one. Yes! I totally called it. Brenneman has O'Daniel on his back in no time, and is giving him the "pedophile in prison" treatment. (What did you say? Brenneman always takes his opponents down? Quiet you!) Brenneman gets the TKO in Round 2 after he puts O'Daniel in a crucifix and rains down punches.

Liveblog: Extreme Challenge Part 6

Heavyweights Josh Barnes and Sherman Pendergarst step into the cage after a brief intermission. I'm hoping the Garv will ask them their thoughts on the Kawajiri fight. Alas, he does not. And Barnes needs only 32 seconds to tag Pendergarst with punches then fall back into a guillotine for the tap. Next up: Justin Robbins against Zach Makovsky. Robbins has Robbie Lawler in his corner. An interesting aside about Lawler is that he got his "Ruthless" nickname from the way he plays the boardgame Monopoly. Regardless, Makovsky's superior wrestling has him snagging the rear naked choke in Round 2.

Liveblog: Extreme Challenge Part 5

Honorio and Powell are really blasting each other on the feet in Round 1 and the crowd is loving it. They love it even more when Honorio finally finds a home for his high kick and puts Powell away. Best fight of the night thus far. There's some sort of intermission now as Eddie Alvarez's DREAM fight against Kawajiri is played on the big screen. I guess this is for those who don't have YouTube? I don't know. Excellent. The Garv is in the cage reading Sherdog's write-up on the Kawajiri fight. And now some soldiers in uniform are brought into the cage. What do they think of Alvarez's fight against Kawajiri? Please tell us!

Liveblog: Extreme Challenge Part 4

Dan Stittgen vs. Greg Killian is up now. Killian trains with Team Pellegrino, and some of you diehards out there might remember that he fought in Ring of Combat about 30 years ago. Anyway, this will be his second pro fight. I asked him before the show why he took such a long layoff, and he informed me that he entered a seminary and became a priest. Okay, not really. But the crowd loves him. They do not, however, love Stittgen, and when Stittgen wins by rear naked choke and then proceeds to jump atop the cage and scream, "Fuck you, I'm the man!" they love him even less. Sidemar Honorio and Mike Powell are now in the cage.

Liveblog: Extreme Challenge Part 3

There will be nine fights tonight, and first up are Jon Meyer and Craig Kaufman. This match-up is an interesting one, as Meyer is from Ohio and Kaufman is from Illinois and absolutely no one on the East Coast gives a crap about either fighter. In fact, despite the decent back-and-forth grappling battle going down within the cage, from my seat I can see one audience member filing her nails and another audience member doing his taxes. Meyer gets the tap out via heelhook in the third round. Also, I think that audience member doing his taxes is getting a sizeable return. Next up is Nat McIntyre from Minnesota vs. Tuan Pham from somewhere close enough for people to care about him. Of course, it helps that Pham wrecks McIntyre in 40 seconds.

Liveblog: Extreme Challenge Part 2

Monte Cox truly is the Godfather of MMA. He's holding court in a dressing room, sitting in a big chair while people come in, kneel, kiss his ring and beg for favors. I think I overheard the Garv asking Monte to have someone killed. Ugly, ugly business that.

Liveblog: Extreme Challenge Part 1

MMA Journalist is here at cageside for the Extreme Challenge "War at the Shore" event in Atlantic City. The event was originally supposed to be headlined by Philly superstar Eddie Alvarez, but a freak ice skating accident put him on the sidelines. The main event mantle then shifted to EliteXC champ Wilson Reis, but he tested positive for lycanthrope in his prefight medical screening, so now Tara LaRosa is at the top of the card. In attendence are Alvarez, Monte Cox, Robbie Lawler, Kurt Pellegrino, a bunch of ring card girls wearing sequined eveningwear, and the usual New Jersey MMA crowd. The cafeteria features breaded chicken cutlets, salmon, boiled potatoes and something resembling vomit. I don't know, maybe it is vomit.

Liveblog: Ring of Combat 27 Part 1

MMA Journalist is cageside for Ring of Combat 27 in Atlantic City, promoter Lou Neglia's long-running pro show and the home of nearly every Northeast badass around. There are 13 bouts on the card, with a ton of well-known local veterans mixed in with new blood, and first up is a preliminary bout between Julio Rosario of Semper Fi MMA and Ryan Vacarro of BJJ Shore Academy. Round 1 sees Vaccaro manage a takedown and try to work his ground and pound, but Round 2 is all about Vaccaro hugging Rosario to death against the cage and Rosario pounding the ever-loving crap out of Vaccaro while trying to stay on his feet. Unfortunately for the Semper Fi MMA rep, he's docked a point for grabbing the fence - which turns what would normally be a draw into a decision win for Vaccaro.

Predictions for Affliction: "Day of Reckoning"

Wow. Affliction is actually having their second show. Who'd have thought? Well, here's some predictions:
  • Jason High, who squares off against Jay Hieron on the main card, will face extra scrutiny from the California State Athletic Commission - especially when it comes to his urine sample. Because, you know, his last name is...
  • Matt Lindland will, at some point, try to dry hump Vitor Belfort.
  • Renato "Babalu" Sobral and Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou will pause during their bout, look around at the production, venue and crowd, and sigh in unison over the fact that they're not good enough for the UFC.
  • Gilbert Yvel will, without fail, try to cheat.
  • Josh Barnett will, without fail, kill him for it.
  • In the main event, the man from the former socialist republic will win.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Weekend Schedule

Get ready for a jam-packed weekend full of fighting. On Friday, Extreme Challenge's "War at the Shore" event goes down in Atlantic City, while on Saturday there's Affliction: "Day of Reckoning" on pay-per-view, Lou Neglia's amateur MMA event "Proving Grounds" in Newark, and a Muay Thai kickboxing show at the Fighthouse in Midtown Manhattan. Then, on Sunday, WEC 38 airs live on the Versus channel. Expect MMA Journalist to liveblog Friday's Extreme Challenge and Saturday's Proving Grounds event from cageside.

Chris Horodecki Out of Affliction After Being Told Holding Ropes Not Allowed

Citing a strategy that involves "a lot of kickboxing and a lot of cheating", former IFL lightweight Chris Horodecki has dropped out of Saturday night's Affliction event, the result of being told that he will not, under any circumstances, be allowed to hold the ropes to prevent takedowns. "Man, the IFL didn't mind that I clung to the ropes like a coward," said the baby-faced fighter. "Why is Affliction giving me a hard time? Don't they know I lose when I'm on the ground?" Horodecki was scheduled to face skilled grappler Dan Lauzon. A replacement has not yet been named.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Top Five Spectator Brawls in the Northeast

Over the years there's been a plethora of memorable fights within the ring in the Northeast. But a memorable fight is what you'd expect when two skilled athletes meet - it's what prompted us all to gather there in the first place, eyes trained on the combatants as the referee flits about. However, a spectator brawl outside of the ring... well, that's another story. Most of us don't go to an MMA event expecting to see drunks in the audience scrap. Most of us don't go thinking we'll witness a rumble between fight teams in the parking lot. No, those sorts of things are never planned. They're always spur of the moment, often quick and sudden and ugly, and when the dust settles and security has regained control, fans are a left with the knowledge that tonight - and tonight only - they got a little something extra. Anyhoo, here are the top five Northeast spectator brawls MMA Journalist has been lucky enough to see:
  1. Cage Fury Fighting Championship 5 - 6/23/2007 - Dante Rivera and Alexis Aquino had a nice, heated battle on the Kimbo Slice/Ray Mercer under card, and if you know Aquino, you know the guy fights with clenched teeth and a heart full of rage. Things took a dramatic turn after the bout, though, when a victorious Rivera gave Aquino's coach the push-face. In the blink of an eye, the cage filled up with members of Rhino Fight Team and Ricardo Almeida's team, and the ensuing Mexican standoff was reminiscent of that scene in "Braveheart" where the two armies meet and lots of people get hacked to pieces. Fatalities: zero.
  2. Ring of Combat 6 - 4/24/2004 - Fight Factory rising star Eddie Alvarez met up with Pitts Penn badboy Adam Fearon at the Rexplex Center in Elizabeth, New Jersey in an event headlined by a rematch between Chris Liguori and Pete "Drago" Sell. The Philadelphia slugger needed about two minutes to force Fearon to tap out from strikes. However, their respective Fight Factory and Pitts Penn supporters needed slightly more time when the groups clashed in the parking lot after the show. I think someone got smoked by a car, which just proves that whoever brings a motor vehicle to a street tussle wins. Fatalities: zero, but I'm pretty sure getting run over sucks.
  3. Reality Fighting 7 - 10/16/2004 - Alvarez has tons of fans. So, too, does Chris Schlesinger, and when the two met for the RF 7 main event, those fans were straddling the edge of sanity from the get-go. It was all over between Alvarez and Schlesinger in about a minute, but outside the ring Schlesinger's supporters started going bananas, and one thrown chair later saw security laying down a beating. It was... pretty entertaining. Fatalities: zero, although someone's shirt got ripped and their cigar got stomped.
  4. UFC 45 - 11/21/2003 - David "Tank" Abbott and Wesley "Cabbage" Correira are just two dudes who like to scrap. Unfortunately, when their bout ended a little over two minutes into the first round, the action continued in the Octagon with both Tank and Cabbage's camp throwing kicks and punches and water bottles at each other. This brawl owns a special place in my heart because it's the only time I've ever seen an audience member brazenly climb into the cage, punch Tank Abbott, pat Cabbage on the shoulder, and escape anonymously into the audience. Credit goes to the Mohegan Sun Casino security for allowing that to happen. Fatalities: only the Mohegan Sun security team's credibility.
  5. Mass Destruction 3 - 8/4/2001 - Nuri Shakir and John Frankl were engaged in a hotly-contested war when someone threw a chair and a brawl broke out in audience. All eyes turned to watch the throwdown in the crowd, and even Shakir and Frankl (who were clinched against the ropes) stopped to watch. When the brawl was over, the fight in the ring was restarted. Now that's an MMA show! Fatalities: none. Yet.

MMA Article in Today's New York Times

There's an article on the legalization of mixed martial arts in the Empire State in today's edition of the New York Times. Check it out online here: . Local fighters and instructors Bryan Vetell, Carmine Zocchi and Christian Montes have quotes, as does UCL promoter Peter Storm. According to the piece, we may see some movement toward lifting the ban in June.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Kevin Roddy and Steve DeAngelis: Our First Line of Defense Against the Brazilian Invasion

The World Cagefighting Alliance debut event suddenly got pretty damn intriguing with the announced match-ups of Kevin Roddy vs. Charles Oliveira da Silva and Steve DeAngelis vs. Felipe Medeiros Arantes - bouts that are pitting top New Jersey featherweights against two potentially dangerous Brazilians. Who are Oliveira da Silva and Arantes? According to the Gold Team Fighters website, they're a pair of "fresh off the boat" dudes with a 6-0 record and a 4-1 MMA record, respectively, and Oliveira da Silva is credited with four grappling championship titles to his name. Are Roddy and DeAngelis ready for two opponents with Chute Boxe lineage, opponents who've been paying their dues in hardcore vale tudo style back in Brazil? Hopefully. But either way, time will tell.

Scenes from an Affliction Press Conference

Affliction press conference at the Trump Tower in Manhattan. Tito Ortiz was there, as were Fedor and Donald Trump. The free food selection was lacking.

The MMA Exchange Program

When I was a youngster dabbling in various martial arts in the pre-MMA era, I would sometimes visit a school and meet folks whose sole presence there - at that school, in this city, and even in this country - was to train, train, train. Get to the academy early and maybe you'd catch them rolling up their sleeping bags, or if you were one of the last students out the door maybe you'd witness them giving a far corner of the mat an extra wash because that's where they'd soon rest their head. There were Japanese kids here to study aikido or judo, there were folks from the West Coast staying for the month, and when BJJ came to town there were Brazilians crashing on the mats at Renzo's. Forget your usual semester abroad program - this was the version where you got ringworm in lieu of hooking up with chicks in the dorm, but damn did you get good at your art. Nowadays, the proliferation of fight promotions has spurned the growth of the "MMA exchange program", where fighters are brought in from far off lands to mingle with the local talent. Thanks to Renzo's ties with Gracie Barra back in Brazil, chaps like Delson Heleno and Fabio Leopoldo have competed here in the States, and when I interviewed Vitor "Shaolin" Ribeiro at his NYC school a couple weeks ago he mentioned bringing in some boys from Nova Uniao as well. And now we have Jorge "Macaco" Patino's Gold Team Fighters, which has a school out in Newark and is stocked with all sorts of vale tudo dudes from the old country. We on the East Coast have been blessed with some tough homegrown fighters who've mixed high school or college wrestling chops with submission savoir faire and striking. But with the MMA exchange program now in full effect, the status quo looks like it's about to get seriously shaken up.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Scenes from a Fedor Meet-and-Greet

Fedor dropped by an MMA gym in Queens today to shake hands, have his picture taken with adoring fans and smirk while basking in the knowledge he could kill us all if he but clapped his hands together. Here are some photos:

Observations From My Couch: UFC 93

  • Marcus Davis and Chris Lytle sold their MMA souls for a $40,000 bonus. Please, someone - anyone - submit them. They need to be reminded which sport they're competing in.
  • Tom Egan? Really? That's the best Ireland has to offer?
  • Denis Kang is now a card-carrying member of the League of Pride Fighters Who Crapped Out in the Octagon. His membership entitles him to 15% off at the UFC's online merchandise store, plus there are semi-annual brunches at CroCop's house.
  • It's good to see that former UFC champ Murilo Bustamante has found work within MMA, even if it's just as an interpreter.
  • Mark Coleman looked like a shadow of his old self. Shogun looked like what that shadow leaves behind when it goes to the bathroom.
  • A headbutt and an eye gouge. I guess Dan Henderson's Krav Maga training is coming along well.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fedor Coming to Town Spreading Tidings of Good Cheer

Russian heavyweight extraordinaire Fedor Emelianenko is coming to New York City on January 19th and 20th for some meet-and-greets and a press conference. On Monday the 19th, the Pride champ will being conducting some sort of mini-seminar (I don't know, maybe sambo? It could very well be ping pong) at a gym in Queens, then he'll dash on down to Brighton Beach in Brooklyn to shake hands with fans at the St. Petersburg Book Store. Tuesday the 20th will see Fedor at Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan for an Affliction press conference. Expect MMA Journalist to be on hand with a camera and snarky comments.

Predictions for UFC 93: "Franklin vs. Henderson vs. Leprechauns"

UFC 93: "Franklin vs. Henderson" goes down tomorrow night in Dublin, Ireland - the land of Guinness, floozies, leprechauns and floozies. Woot! Here are some predictions:
  • A takedown will, at some point, be attempted in the Mark Coleman/Mauricio "Shogun" Rua match-up. Yeah, that's a given.
  • As a devout Christian, Rich Franklin is bound to mention God if he wins. As a Native American heathen savage, Dan Henderson's victory speech will mention Great Spirit.
  • Rousimar Palhares will be kept in a cage in the locker room before his bout, and regardless of whether or not he wins or loses, he will return to that same cage afterwards. Because, you know, he's well-trained (poo-flinging aside).
  • If, by the third round, it seems that Marcus Davis and Chris Lytle's "Fight of the Night" bonus is in jeopardy, the two have agreed to simply just charge each other and butt heads like rams. This will end up happening, and the true loser of the event will be the janitor who has to clean that mess up.
  • Someone in the audience will get drunk. And throw up. Hey, it is Dublin after all.

Fight Factory Stud Competing Tonight in NYC

Judah Ciervo, of the Fight Factory clan out of Philadelphia, will be competing in a Muay Thai bout at Friday Night Fights in New York City tonight. A link to more info is here: . Although he sometimes competes in MMA, the likeable Ciervo's true bread and butter is Muay Thai, and his bout against Eric Utsch is the co-main event for this long-running amateur boxing and kickboxing promotion. The event is worth checking out.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

BJ Penn Confused, Thinks GSP Fight is to the Death

UFC lightweight champ BJ Penn, who is slated to rematch against welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre at UFC 94, is apparently confused about which rules he and the Canadian will be competing under. On the"UFC Primetime" show on SpikeTV, Penn is quoted as saying, "We're going to go to the death" - an erroneous assumption on the Hawaiian's part, as the January 31st match-up at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas will follow the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, and the Unified Rules list "murder" as an illegal technique. "Yeah, we're going to have to address that," said Nevada State Athletic Commission Grand Pooba Keith Kizer. "We don't do 'to the death' here. BJ is confusing us with New York." UFC 94 will also feature Stephan Bonnar, Nate Diaz and a whole bunch of other guys that won't be fighting to the death.

Lou Neglia's "Proving Grounds" Amateur MMA Show to Feature Some Scary Dudes

Promoter Lou Neglia's "Proving Grounds" amateur MMA show returns on January 24th, this time at Essex County College in Newark, New Jersey, and the event will feature some scary dudes from some scary camps. According to the preliminary card, Team Serra/Longo will be well-represented, as will Jorge "Macaco" Patino's Gold Team Fighters, Pitts Penn and Alex Wilkie's boys Wilkie's Warriors. Check out the flyer over at . Fighters to watch out for include "Big" Jim Kasyjanski and Frank Oyague, who handled their opponents like pros at the last show; Jay Somers, who looked good laying down some clobber until he was disqualified (too much clobber - it is amateur, you know); and Chris Wing, who's trained at Matt Hughes HIT Squad. MMA Journalist will be cageside to liveblog the event.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Assemblyman Bob Reilly Wants MMA Banned in NYS; Also, Crocodiles and Exclamation Points

Assemblyman Bob Reilly has become one of the most vocal dissenting voices in the push to get MMA legalized in New York State. At last month's legislative roundtable he blasted the sport because it "promotes violence", and his rhetoric has bled out into whatever interviews and editorials he can manage (check out for his latest diatribe). But this isn't the first cause that Reilly has championed, and a little digging into official state records reveals the following legislative history:
  • In 2004, Reilly sponsored a bill to ban crocodiles, citing them as "nefarious, untrustable creatures who eat my luggage".
  • Also in 2004, Reilly sought to allow Westchester County to secede from New York State and the United States, effectively making it a country.
  • In 2006, Reilly tried to ban the exclamation point. According to Grammar Committee minutes, he believed the exclamation point to be "too violent". His proposal involved replacing it with a smiley-face emoticon.
  • In 2007, Reilly attempted to knight a constituent. This involved attacking the constituent with a sword.

From his history, it's clear that MMA could very well remain banned in New York State. Um, not.

UFC 93 Fun Facts

On Saturday, January 17th, the UFC returns to Ireland for UFC 93: "Guinness-Flavored Vomit" (cue festive Irish jig music). Anyhoo, here are some fun facts concerning the Dan Henderson/Rich Franklin-headlined event:
  • In the build-up to the main event, Dan Henderson and Rich Franklin have played up the fact that they're indifferent toward each other. In fact, they've never met, and for years Franklin thought Henderson was Matt Lindland.
  • Mark Coleman and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua are rematching after their Pride fight ended with Shogun badly dislocating his elbow. Their respective corners will also be rematching afterwards backstage, with someone standing on Wanderlei Silva's neck and Silva threatening to beat up Phil Baroni, Quinton Jackson and anyone else nearby.
  • Denis Kang is really a future version of Doctor Doom. He's here in this timeline thanks to a time machine.
  • Rousimar Palhares was raised in the jungles of the Amazon by a clan of uacari monkeys.
  • Marcus Davis and Chris Lytle have a gentleman's agreement to only punch each other in the face until they're concussed and brain damaged.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tom Atencio: "Rumors of Poor Ticket Sales Are Untrue. In Fact, I've Bought Thousands of Them."

Affliction Head Seamstress Tom Atencio, confronting rumors about lackluster ticket sales for the January 24th Affliction: "Day of Reckoning" show, issued a statement yesterday in an effort to stave off naysayers heralding the promotion's doom. "Rumors of poor ticket sales are untrue," said Atencio to a variety of fashion and MMA-related Internet forums. "In fact, I've bought thousands of them." Atencio went on to describe the boxes and boxes of tickets littered about his condo, and how he's almost maxed out money man Donald Trump's credit card with these and other purchases. Day of Reckoning will take place at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, and will air live on pay-per-view. A bout between Fedor Emelianenko and Andrei Arlovski headlines.

Monday, January 12, 2009

How Soon Until the Arrival of American Luta Livre?

BloodyElbow has a fantastic article up about the art of Luta Livre at . In case you've been living under a rock or only began following MMA since TUF or Kimbo on CBS, Luta Livre was essentially a poor man's jiu-jitsu in Brazil. See, buying a gi and taking jiu-jitsu lessons is expensive - more so if you're some broke kid in the favela - so why not study no-gi submission grappling at that ghetto-looking gym in the 'hood for a fraction of the cost? That's essentially what Luta Livra was, and like all those boxing gyms you see in inner-cities around the US, these places were dens of combat where dudes trained hard and ugly. So... how soon until we see an American version of Luta Livra spring up? I'm not talking about Eddie Bravo's brand of no-gi grappling either, nor am I talking about whatever no-gi jiu-jitsu classes are around. I'm talking about true, hardcore, no-frills submission wrestling. Personally, I think it's only a matter of time.

Massachusetts Reality Fighting Show to Feature Two Tough New Yorkers

On January 17th Reality Fighting will have its two billionth show, and the Plymouth, Massachusetts event features two hard-as-nails fighters based out of New York (and who usually fight in New Jersey). At the top of the card, ROC Beasts of the Northeast tournament winner Brian McLaughlin will take on Rene "Dead Man Walking" Nazare, and on the under card Team Tiger Schulmann brawler Nissim Levy will take on Sean "I Hope I Have Good Health Insurance" Holmes. For those who don't know, McLaughlin's signature move is an armbar executed in such a fashion that he actually detaches the arm from the body (he gives it back, though), while Levy favors an overhand right that leads to convulsions and chronic bouts of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Plymouth is too far for MMA Journalist to drive to, but if you're in the area on Saturday night you should definitely check the event out.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Roger Huerta Forgoes UFC Contract to Star in Mexican Soap Opera

UFC lightweight star Roger Huerta announced this week that he will not be re-signing with the organization. Instead, the man who's waged many a war in the Octagon (and even graced the cover of Sports Illustrated) will pursue a career in acting, and his first role will be as a giant anthropomorphic bumblebee in the telenovela Roger la del Barrio. Said Huerta, "All my life I've watched these programs on Telemundo and now I get to star in one. It's a dream come true." Roger la del Barrio is the story of a bumblebee trying to find love in South Central Los Angeles, and will air weekday afternoons. Check your local listings.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Best Female Fighter in the World Capable of Making Weight Returns

The best female fighter in the world capable of making a contracted weight, a.k.a. Tara LaRosa, returns to action on January 23rd at Extreme Challenge: "War at the Shore". Her opponent will be Alexis Davis, an overmatched chick from Who Cares, Idaho. Known for a well-rounded skill set and having extensive experience, LaRosa was BodogFIGHT's 135-pound champ when that organization crapped the bed, and although she hasn't fought in over a year, LaRosa is still widely believed to be at the top of the food chain in women's MMA (despite possessing a fraction of the notoriety held by the zoftig and rubenesque Gina Carano). Expect the Fight Factory warrior to trounce Davis, sending her back to her job as a hostess at Denny's in defeat.

Quinton Jackson Pleads Guilty to "Driving While a Minority"; Will Receive Nightstick Beating at Later Date

Former UFC light-heavyweight champ Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, who in July led police in Costa Mesa on a wild, high-speed chase in a vehicle bearing his likeness, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of "driving while a minority" yesterday - a lesser charge than the felony "evading" and "reckless driving" offenses he was originally charged with. It is believed that, in agreeing to the plea bargain, Jackson will ultimately avoid extensive jail time. He will be sentenced at a later date. In California, the crime of driving while a minority usually results in a beating with a nightstick, although some offenders have been handcuffed and shot in the back.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Ring of Combat Bans UCL Competitors

MMA Journalist just received this release from promoter Lou Neglia, the man behind Ring of Combat:

To Whom It May Concern:

I have the best wishes in mind for the entire mixed martial arts community for the new year.

I have great hopes for the continued growth of the sport in my home state of New York and nationwide.

With that in mind, I must announce that I will no longer permit contestants to compete in my event (Ring of Combat) if they still choose to compete in unregulated, unsanctioned or illegal events. For example, if a contestant chooses to compete in a UCL event, they will no longer be welcome to compete on future events that I promote.

There is no valid reason for a contestant to compete in an unsafe and unregulated atmosphere. Those who choose to do so are not acting in the best interests of the future growth and acceptance of this sport.

This policy will go into effect as of the date of this writing.


Louis Neglia

Promoter, Ring of Combat