Friday, February 27, 2009

WEC 39 Fun Facts

The "Little League World Championships of Mixed Martial Arts" (a.k.a., WEC 39) is Sunday night on the Versus channel, and the Corpus Christi, Texas event features featherweight champ Mike "Holy Cow I Beat Urijah Faber?!" Brown defending his belt against Leonard Garcia. Here are some fun facts MMA Journalist has compiled concerning the event:
  • Garcia's success in the sport has led to a dramatic rise in his popularity within the drug mule community. There's even a dusty and trash-strewn path through the New Mexico desert named after him.
  • Brown still can't believe he defeated Urijah Faber. To remind himself, he's had the side of his van painted with a colorful mural depicting the WEC 36 TKO win - although in the mural Brown is dressed as a wizard and Faber is a giant dragon wearing a nameplate that says "Urijah".
  • Bart Palaszewski's last name is actually a shortened version of his family name. On his birth certificate, his last name is listed as "Palaszewskidgnsklnaseit93^%O)kd".
  • Rob McCullough has never seen an adult video.
  • Jose Aldo's striking is so feared, the trainer who holds his focus mitts must attend therapy three times a week.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Random News & Notes

  • Tim Sylvia will be facing Ray Mercer in a boxing match at Adrenaline's May 30th Atlantic City show. Did you honestly think the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board would sanction the two for an MMA bout?
  • Tara LaRosa announced today that she'll be fighting at Extreme Challenge's March 28th show at Trump Marina in Atlantic City. No opponent has been named, but it's assumed it will be a female.
  • Check out . The author really sounds like he knows his stuff. Do you think he was actually there?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rich Crunkilton Injured Trying to Pronounce Bart Palaszewski's Name; Replaced by Ricardo Lamas

Florida-based fighter Rich Crunkilton, scheduled to face Bart Palaszewski at WEC 39, has injured himself trying to pronounce his opponent's name and is now unable to fight. His replacement will be Ricardo Lamas, grandson of B-List actor Lorenzo Lamas. "Igh urt mah tugh," said Crunkilton in a phone interview. "Dah doctahs tink ib bwoken." At this time it's unclear how long the veteran fighter will be out with this injury. Sunday night's WEC 39 will be headlined by a featherweight championship match-up between title holder Mike Brown and challenger (and former drug mule) Leonard Garcia, and the Corpus Christi, Texas event will be broadcast live on the "Versus" cable channel.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Top Five Backstage Food Spreads

Ah, the backstage food spread... the yardstick by which a promotion's success or failure can be measured. A press credential usually gives you access to wherever you want to go, and through the years where MMA Journalist has wanted to go is where the free grub is at, where one rule has emerged immutable: the more extravagant the selection, the more doomed the organization. (Something about spending money on unimportant things, like feeding the press, being directly proportionate to loose finances. Or something. Who cares?) MMA Journalist regrets never having partaken in Pride's alleged epic epicurean ensemble, but there have been quite a few winners Stateside, so here are the top five.
  1. The World Fighting Alliance - July 5th, 2002 - When John Lewis was running the show, the venue was the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, where your press credential got you access to the hotel's staff cafeteria. Was the food good? It was outstanding, and entree selections were changed three times a day. Plus, as the hotel employed paid "beach goers" to populate their pool, the place was littered with bikini-clad babes getting their lunch on. That's always a plus.
  2. BodogFIGHT: "Alvarez vs. Lee" - July 14th, 2007 - Sliced roast beef, steamed potatoes, mixed vegetables, plus a table stocked with fruit, juice and granola bars for snacking throughout the night. BodogFIGHT really pulled out all the stops to feed people. Where are they now?
  3. EliteXC: "Heat" - October 4th, 2008 - Ken Shamrock and Seth Petruzelli may have conspired to destroy the organization that Kimbo Slice called home, but nothing can detract from this press room buffet. Hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, desserts and more, yet the icing on the cake was the endless supply of drinks (cans of soda and water). Yeah, baby.
  4. UFC 32: "Showdown in the Meadowlands" - June 29th, 2001 - The organization may be the very model of success now, but don't forget that Zuffa was bleeding money for years. Case in point, this bad boy in New Jersey, which featured a pre-show dining extravaganza that saw everything from cocktail shrimp to a carving station in play. Oh how I miss the good old days!
  5. UFC 37: "High Impact" - May 10th, 2002 - Zuffa still hadn't figured out the whole "not necessary to feed the reporters" thing, so they were still hosting press dinners at this point - which were small affairs where UFC brass would mingle with us scribes at high-end hotel restaurants. I remember the filet mignon as if it were just yesterday. Oh how I really miss the good old days!

Pennsylvania Sanctions MMA; Amish Fighting Championship Set for April

Mixed martial arts is now legal in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. According to a press release from the Pennsylvania Department of State issued yesterday, the Keystone State - following regulations drawn up by the State Athletic Commission - will sanction mixed martial arts events, a move that brings the land of cheese steaks and the Liberty Bell up to speed with the likes of New Jersey, Nevada and California in terms of embracing the sport. The first scheduled MMA show will be the Amish Fighting Championship in April, which will feature local competitors squaring off in the "Barn of Doom".

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ultimate Warrior Challenge: "Man 'O' War" Report

MMA Journalist's Adam Butterworth and Jake Blanton were at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia for the Ultimate Warrior Challenge: "Man 'O' War" show, which, despite Chase Beebe's absence, ended up being a pretty solid event. "I was pumped for that fight," says Butterworth. "But the rest of the card made up for it. John 'the Magician' Dodson had the best fight against a very, very tough opponent." Dodson defeated Jose Villarisco via unanimous decision, while local superstar Mike Easton submitted Justin Robbins, female fighters Felice Herrig and Iman Acchal had a battle, and Ron Stallings scored a KO. The action, and the over 6,200 fans in attendance, definitely made for a successful show. Congrats to the UWC. (Pics courtesy of Jake Blanton)

From the Mailbag: "I Love You And Want To Be You."

"Dear MMA Journalist: I read your blog everyday and I think it's insightful and hilarious and a breath of fresh air in a world of stale blogs. It's great that you go to all those shows both big and small, and your refined talent and comedic ability is enough to make any heart quiver. MMA Journalist, I love you and want to be you, and if you ever need a writer, or intern, or even just someone to talk to late at night during Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network... well, I could be that person." - CRS

Uh, thanks for the kind words, CRS. I think. MMA Journalist is always interested in hearing from new voices and seeing things from a new perspective, so anyone who wants to submit something - be it a short, witty article or some pics from a local fight show - should feel free. Send it to and maybe I'll post it. Also, CRS, please, no more nudie pics.

Chase Beebe Suffers Vagina Injury, Misses UWC; DREAM Tournament Appearance in Jeopardy

Former WEC champ Chase Beebe has suffered an injury to his vagina, causing him to no-show the Ultimate Warrior Challenge event this past weekend in Northern Virginia and possibly jeopardizing his participation in DREAM's featherweight tournament on March 8th. The extent of Beebe's vaginal injury is unknown, although it is believed to be severe enough to warrant his screwing over of the UWC (Beebe was supposed to headline the February 21st event with a bout against Mike Easton) and then refusing to answer their phone calls. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Beebe at this time," said a spokesperson for the Washington, DC-area promotion. "He's a tough and honorable man, and no one with even the slightest injury to their vagina should even consider stepping into the cage against someone of Mike Easton's caliber."

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Observations From My Couch: UFC 95

  • It's been a long time coming, but it was good to finally see Mike Ciesnolevicz in the Octagon.
  • Per Eklund, Evan Dunham, Stefan Struve, Junior Dos Santos... I had no idea who they were before UFC 95, and after seeing them fight, I still have no idea who they are.
  • What language was Terry Etim speaking? Romulan? Please don't put a microphone in his face again.
  • Josh Koscheck. The best welterweight fighter out there capable of getting knocked out by anyone.
  • Demian Maia looked great, but how much of that was Chael Sonnen sucking?
  • Bravo to Dan Hardy for keeping the mohawk alive. Rock on, punky.
  • Diego Sanchez had a decent win, but it wasn't awe-inspiring. His nickname should no longer be "the Nightmare". "The Fitful Dream" would be more apt.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009

Liveblog: Ring of Combat Part 6

A middleweight championship bout between Alexandre Moreno and Rafael Sapo is up next. Sadly, I have never seen either fighter fight nor heard of them, so I am unmoved that these guys are fighting for a championship belt in an organization I follow closely. However, for the sake of the sport, I will pretend to care. Woo! The one Brazilian just threw the other one! Now they're up again, fighting as if a plantation full of acai is up for grabs! They're back down again! Oh the humanity. Will someone please think of the children! Ooh, a close triangle choke attempt. Wait, the waiter is coming by with some delicious-looking meat on a sword, and as I ask for some the one Brazilian lands a right hook that stuns the other Brazilian and it's all over. Uh, the announcer says that it's Sapo who scored the KO. Wahoo! Ahem. Okay, now it's time for the heavyweight title bout between Joe Abouata of Alex Wilkie's Scary Motorcycle Gang against Bret Kohan of Ricardo Almeida's Den of Jiu-Jitsu. This bout I care about, as both Abouata and Kohan are very relevant. Yikes, Kohan is large and in charge from the get-go, landing a variety of strikes and finishing Abouata with a knee to the body that drains the life from Abouata almost instantly. That's all, folks.

Liveblog: Ring of Combat Part 5

Get ready for a striking war, as Aaron Meisner and Costa Phillippou are up. Meisner can run hot or cold sometimes - he's straight up slain opponents with his Muay Thai, and other times he's just been steamrolled (a bout in Mexico, his TUF 7 bout that would've gotten him into the TUF house). We'll see which one shows up tonight. Wow, okay, well, Phillippou threw one punch, a blazing right cross, at about the 15-second mark that sent Meisner to the canvas, and when Meisner rose up on autopilot, the Serra/Longo rep casually stepped behind him, pulled him down, and slapped on the rear naked choke. Meisner resisted for a while, but eventually tapped out 2:27 into the round. Phillippou threw one strike. One. And it was enough. Matt Makowski, one of the best fighters out of Daddis FC, against Ricardo Almeida-trained Sergio Vinagre is next. Round 1 has Makowski picking Vinagre apart like a Thanksgiving turkey in an orphanage, but for his part Vinagre is giving him hell, swinging wildly and often. Round 2 sees Vinagre on his back eating shin and Makowski ax-kicking him in the balls. After a restart, Makowski's Muay Thai clinic continues, and every strike in the book is thrown (and each one connects). The only way to describe this bout is "slaughter". However, Vinagre has more heart than anything, and he refuses to stay down for long. Round 3 ends with Makowski a million miles ahead on the scorecards, but damn did Vinagre show that he had heart. It's time for Brendan Barrett and Ricardo Romero to determine who gets to fight for the ROC 205-pound championship belt next. Ace reporter Eric Joza is reminding me that Glen Sandull is the ROC 205 champ, which he earned when Romero fought him and got DQ'd for an illegal kick on the ground. Ah yes, that must have happened while I was incarcerated. Round 1 has Romero imposing his will with takedowns and some positional dominance, but Barrett is all dangerous, all the time, and very capable of landing that one strike that would turn the tide. That strike never comes. In Round 2 Romero gets him down, takes his back, and muscles on the rear naked choke for the tap out. It's all over 44 seconds into the round. This was a very impressive win for Romero. Barrett is a tough, tough fighter.

Liveblog: Ring of Combat Part 4

Now for the long-awaited pro debut of Al Iaquinta, who amassed an amateur record of 11 billion wins and no losses before deciding to make the jump. His opponent: Rhino Fight Team's Mervin Rodriguez, who, uh, unless he has superpowers, might have some trouble ahead of him. Yeah, Iaquinta takes him down, softens him up with some heavy leather, then slaps on the Anaconda for the tap. It's all over at 1:05 of the first. Tyler Venice of BJJ Shore Academy is taking on Tiger Schulmann's MMA stud Jimmie Rivera next. I like Rivera's skillset - he can strike and he's got great positional control on the ground - but it sometimes seems like he's gunshy, like he could end fights sooner if he only believed in himself more. Anyway, Round 1 is pretty much all about Rivera delivering knees to Venice's body and out-scrambling the bejeezus out of the jiu-jitsu guy, and in Round 2, after Venice kicks him in the junk, Rivera gets him down, takes his back, and puts him to sleep with a rear naked choke. Venice is left unconscious at 1:13 of the round. Again, Rivera looked good, but he could be a stone-cold killer if he wanted to. It's Greg Soto and Shawn Forman's turn now. Soto is a bad, bad dude who can wrestle, submit fools and even throw some leather. Forman helped his uncle George develop a popular electric grill that can cook meat and chicken while the grease drains harmlessly off - an electric grill that cleans easily and stores easily. Round 1 almost ends quickly, and surprisingly, as Soto shoots and Forman comes perilously close with a deep guillotine attempt. But Soto escapes, and reverses from bottom position to top position halfway through the round. The bell rings with Soto standing over Forman, dodging upkicks. Round 2 sees Soto dominate with some ground and pound, and at 3:44 of the frame he passes Forman's guard and slaps on the Anaconda choke for the tap. Nice performance for Soto's first fight back after a lengthy hiatus.

Liveblog: Ring of Combat Part 3

Garrett Carmody from Pitts Penn is now taking on Anthony Abatelli of Serra/Longo. Carmody is one tough hombre, and though fighting for the first time at welterweight, is definitely one of the better guys coming out of Pitts Penn, whereas Abatelli is making his pro debut, lost an underground fight to James Funaro, is a Sagittarius and likes long walks on the beach. Credit to Abatelli for taking on someone of Carmody's caliber. Round 1 sees them come out and wail on each other, until Abatelli scores a takedown and tries his best to punish Carmody below him. Carmody has a close armbar attempt that Abatelli has to slam his way out of, but nothing much else happens, although in Round 2 Abatelli gets Carmody down early and keeps him there - and this time around his ground and pound efforts are a little more successful. Round 3 plays out like Round 2, and when time runs out there's no question Abatelli has taken the unanimous decision. Now it's time for Jeff Lentz vs. Jay Isip. Lentz just got his purple belt from Carmine Zocchi, while Kurt Pellegrino has been feeding Isip a steady diet of raw meat and 1,000 volts of electricity, so we'll see how this one goes. Round 1 is all Isip, as he gets on top and methodically picks and chooses his punches for the entire period. Round 2 sees Isip pick Lentz up and slam him, but after a referee stand-up Lentz puts his hands around Isip's head and pulls it down into his knee. Isip goes down and is too stunned to recover, and the ref waves the bout off. Tough loss for Isip - he was winning that one until the stand-up. Jeff Pender is in the cage now ready to take on Roger Mamedov. Mamedov has Ricardo Almeida and some Gracie in his corner, so I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that Mamedov might be inclined to grapple. Yup, I'm right. Mamedov gets him down, mounts him, and rains down punches until the ref steps in at :55 of Round 1.

Liveblog: Ring of Combat Part 2

First bout of the evening is a prelim match between Jim Tomczuk of Ricardo Almeida's Den of Jiu-Jitsu and Howard Longus of Alex Wilkie's Scary Motorcycle Gang. As predicted, Longus seems more than capable of taking his opponent's head off with punches, while Tomczuk seems more than capable of getting it to the ground and forcing a tap out via rear naked choke in about a minute. Reubens Lopes of Gold Team Fighters and Chris Weidman of Serra/Longo are next in the cage. Lopes is another one of those Brazilian ringers who have been popping up lately here in New Jersey, but Weidman has got something very few Brazilians have an answer for: a monster Greco-Roman lateral drop, which he uses to send Lopes flying. Weidman's subsequent kimura ends it at 1:05 of the first round. Now it's time for Randy Durant to take on Bellmore Kickboxing's Gian Villante. Those out there with any sort of memory (or access to Sherdog's fighter database) might know Durant as a dude who's been fighting since the age of the dinosaur, but he's more experienced than that. He actually trained with Cain before Cain's biblical bout against Abel. Unfortunately, Durant seems to have peaked about 1,800 years ago, and Villante needs only 35 seconds to toss Durant around and bloody him the heck up for the TKO.

Liveblog: Ring of Combat Part 1

MMA Journalist is cageside for Ring of Combat 23 here at the Tropicana Casino & Resort in Atlantic City. The card is set at 14 bouts and it's reportedly a sold-out show, so already the night is shaping up nicely. As Dan Miragliotta and Kevin Mullhall are off to officiate the UFC in London tomorrow, Ohio-based ref Mark Matheny has been brought in, and he's been instructed by the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board that all bouts on the main card are to the death. So, yeah, tonight should definitely be interesting. In attendance are East Coast MMA alumni Pete "Drago" Sell and Kurt Pellegrino, Jay Silva (wearing a Gold Team Fighters shirt - I guess as a consolation prize for that decision that he was robbed of two weeks ago), Long Island bad boy Chris Schlesinger and the usual collection of Jersey Shore ruffians and bandits (Tom Gallicchio, Steve DeAngelis, Kevin Roddy, Lester Caslow). Lyman Good is here, too, and apparently his Bellator FC fight may be in the second week of April - and it could be held locally. The cafeteria features fried chicken that looks like it was cooked three days ago, boiled potatoes, some potentially deadly pasta and mixed vegetables.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Predictions for UFC 95: "Ultimate Joe-Silva-Not-Even-Trying-Anymore"

Man, the excitement for Saturday's UFC 95 star-studded gala event just builds and builds. MMA Journalist has popped a few Xanax to calm down and has formulated these predictions for the mega-super-ultra-uber-event:
  • Josh Koscheck and Paulo Thiago are going to go at it and go at it hard, and I'll probably take this time to sit on the toilet and read the rest of "Blood in the Cage" by L. Jon Wertheim. Maybe I'll take a shower.
  • Demian Maia and Chael Sonnen will battle. I think I'll use that time to watch an episode of the "West Wing" on DVR.
  • Wilson Gouveia and Nate Marquardt should be a contest of wills and clash of styles. Another episode of "West Wing" on DVR, thank you very much.
  • Dan Hardy and Rory Markham will square off in what could be an utter war. Chances are, though, that I will stare at the TV for about 20 seconds, realize I could be eating that leftover pad thai in the refrigerator, and remedy the situation.
  • Diego Sanchez vs. Joe Stevenson could be a big ball full of "wow!" so I might actually watch this one at normal speed and not fast-forward (remember: I have DVR). We'll see. I might surf the Internet instead.

Carmine Zocchi: New York's Unsung Jiu-Jitsu Coach

You won't find an academy bearing a sign with his name on it. There isn't one. But if you live in the Northeast and you've fought at a grassroots-level show - or even just watched one - chances are you've witnessed Carmine Zocchi's handiwork. He's the guy who was brought into schools like Combined Martial Arts, Thaisport and New York Sanda to teach grappling, and he's the guy who helped diversify their training programs into the MMA-heavy entities we know today (Combined Martial Arts is the home of New York's Rhino Fight Team; Thaisport is now MFS NY). He's taught all over. And while he's won some and lost some in the ring in events like BAMA Fight Night and Ring of Combat, there's no denying the black belt under Marcelo Mello has got skills, as well as a wealth of wisdom to impart. With their massive schools, giants like Renzo Gracie, Alliance, Ricardo Almeida, the Serra brothers and Alexandre "Soca" Freitas may dominate the jiu-jitsu instruction scene, but there is someone very capable teaching submission escapes at that karate school down the street or teaching guard passes at that judo school in Queens. His name is Carmine Zocchi.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Free UFC 95 Card Worth Every Penny

This Saturday is UFC 95, another magnum opus from London, England broadcast for free on SpikeTV, and based on the line-up alone, this baby will clearly be worth every penny. In the main event, Diego Sanchez will pit his top-level submission skills against those of Joe "Worst Jiu-Jitsu Ever" Stevenson in what promises to a barn-burner (that is, a barn that you're currently living in, and when it catches fire all the animals panic and trample your stuff as you make your escape). In the co-main event... heck, I can't even tell which bout is the co-main event. They're all so worthy of that title! Josh Koscheck is fighting no one of importance, Rory "I've Only Fought in the UFC Once" Markham is taking on one of the Hardy Boys (I think it's the one with the long hair that fooled around with Nancy Drew on that class picnic), and Wilson Gouveia and Nate Marquardt are set to clash in a donnybrook that should determine who gets to eat at Applebee's for the next month and who's stuck eating ramen noodles. And the under card... wow. Just wow. The mere thought of fighters I've never heard of, like Stefan Struve and Evan Dunham and Brian Cobb, getting a crack at their share of Octagon glory... I'm so excited about it I can barely think straight. Hey, I know this UFC is free, but is there someplace I could just mail a check to? I'm going to feel like I'm robbing Zuffa on Saturday, and I don't know if I can live with that.

UFC 97 in Montreal Still On But With Key Concessions

Canadian newspaper La Grande Merde is reporting that an agreement has been reached between UFC brass and the Quebec athletic commission, and that UFC 97 on April 18th will go on as planned - albeit, with some key concessions. The event was in jeopardy thanks to Stephane Patry's Strike Box debacle and the commission subsequently wanting to ban knees and elbow strikes, but after emissaries from Zuffa were dispatched to salvage the situation, things have apparently been ironed out and the show will go on. The concessions the UFC had to agree to are:
  • Georges St. Pierre's beloved moose "Matilda" will be honored in a ceremony before the Anderson Silva/Thales Leites main event.
  • All fighters exiting the locker rooms and making their way to the Octagon to compete must wear flannel.
  • Water bottles must be diluted with maple syrup. Yummy maple syrup.
  • Announcer Bruce Buffer must end every sentence with "eh?"
  • Fighters will be penalized for cross-checking, high sticking and slashing. Penalty shots will be awarded.
  • Commission officials will operate from an igloo set up cageside. No one is allowed to make fun of the igloo. No one!

Mike Easton to Wear Speedos, Maybe Less

This Saturday the Ultimate Warrior Challenge returns to the Patriot Center in Virginia, and the event is headlined by Mike Easton - perhaps the best MMA fighter to ever come from the Nation's capital - taking on former WEC champ Chase Beebe. It'll be Easton's toughest test to date, but with his ultra-deadly striking and sharp-as-hell grappling, he should be ready. And as usual, he will be wearing his Speedos. Maybe even less. "I want to show my fans the best of me," said the Lloyd Irvin-trained phenom, who's knocked out opponents in Brazil while wearing hardly anything and won hard-fought wars in the States in practically just his birthday suit. Pending approval from the Virginia Boxing & Wrestling Commission, Easton may even wear only a thong this Saturday, although for now it's too soon to know for sure. "I've got more to offer than Chase," said Easton. "A lot more. You'll see. Everyone will see." The UWC's "Man 'O' War" event will also see local bruiser Antwain Britt taking on Team Renzo Gracie jiu-jitsu stud Jamal Patterson, a whole bunch of lesser known dudes fighting each other, plus a battle between two chicks I've never even heard of. MMA Journalist's Adam Butterworth should be on hand to capture the magic.

ROC 23 Bouts to Watch

Ring of Combat 23 is this Friday night at the Tropicana Casino & Resort in Atlantic City. Woot! Anyway, the 14-bout card features some seriously intriguing match-ups so MMA Journalist has a compiled a list because... because... well, because that's what I do.
  • Jay Isip vs. Jeff Lintz - What more can I say about Isip except that he's exciting as hell? Hopefully he'll dish out more ass-kicking than he'll receive, but either way there should be some sparks.
  • Al Iaquinta vs. Mervin Rodriguez - Iaquinta's pro debut has been a long time coming, as he was a killer as an amateur. Keep an eye on this guy. He could be the future of the sport around these parts.
  • Greg Soto vs. Shawn Forman - Soto was another killer amateur, and his transition to pro was pretty seamless. Though a wrestler and jiu-jitsu dude, he ended up winning a Battle Cage Xtreme belt via knockout, so he's more than capable of banging.
  • Aaron Meisner vs. Constantinos Phillippou - Not only are these guys two awesome strikers, but they're two awesome Muay Thai strikers who function best in the clinch. Anyone sitting too close to the cage is getting splattered with blood in this one. Count on it.
  • Sergio Vinagre vs. Matt Makowski - Vinagre is a solid jiu-jitsu guy and Makowski is an ace striker with a great sprawl. Both are coming off of bad losses (Vinagre was on the other end of that Soto knockout and Makowski got handled by Erik Apple at a ShoXC on Showtime) so this should be a good gauge as to who's bounced back the most.
  • Brendan Barrett vs. Ricardo Romero - Two of the best light-heavyweights in the Northeast. What's not to like about this bout?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Stephane Patry Screws Pooch; UFC Stuck with Vet Bill

Longtime shady character Stephane Patry seems to have screwed the pooch with his disastrous Strike Box event in Montreal, and the subsequent athletic commission backlash is jeopardizing Zuffa's UFC 97 Quebec show scheduled for April 18th. The heart of the matter centers around Patry's attempt to hold an unsanctioned striking-only affair, but things went awry when British behemoth James Thompson brutalized some hockey star, causing fans to go bananas. Now the commission up there (called Les Poissons du Chats et Souris ou Fromage - or something like that) is forbidding the use of knees and elbows, which, given that UFC 97 is supposed to be headlined by Anderson Silva and has 12 other strikers on the card, sort of throws a monkey wrench into the works. What's going to happen? One of three things, most likely: UFC Vice President of Being Old and Respected Marc Ratner is going to talk the commission down from the ledge, UFC 97 is going to be held somewhere else, or UFC 97 is going to be cancelled. Either way, the UFC is stuck paying a veterinarian bill that Patry is responsible for. One thing is for sure, though, and that is that this is seriously going to effect Patry's complimentary VIP tickets to UFC 97.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

More "Return of Macaco" Photos

More photos from Saturday night's "Return of Macaco" event, courtesy of photographer Stephen Reiss. This was Reiss' second MMA show; his first was the WCA the night before.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Notes from Strikeforce Conference Call

Yesterday's Strikeforce media conference call featured promoter Scott Coker, Showtime programming executive Ken Hershman and fighter Frank Shamrock discussing their new broadcasting arrangement and hyping the Shamrock/Nick Diaz bout for their April 11th Strikeforce/Showtime event. Here are some highlights from that call courtesy of MMA Journalist:
  • Scott Coker: "Is this thing on? Is this thing on? What does this blinking light mean? God, why did I ever buy an iPhone..."
  • Frank Shamrock: "Hello? Hello? Hello?"
  • Ken Hershman: "Yes, Showtime is very happy to have this arrangement with the International Fight League. We believe mixed martial arts is the sport of the future..."
  • Frank Shamrock: "Hello? Hello? Hello?"
  • Ken Hershman: "...Excuse me. BodogFIGHT. Showtime is very happy to have this arrangement with BodogFIGHT..."
  • Scott Coker: "I mean, everyone was saying how cool an iPhone is, but I can't get this damn thing to work at all. It's a piece of junk!"
  • Frank Shamrock: "Hello? Hello? Hello? Is there anybody on the line?"
  • Ken Hershman: "No? The AFL? World Combat Championship? Battleship? Am I close?"
  • Scott Coker: "Seriously. It sucks. The only cool thing it does is this application where I can make it sound like a lightsaber. Hehe. That is pretty cool, though."
  • Frank Shamrock: "Hellllllooooooo? Hello out there."
  • Ken Hershman: "Give me a hint. I know it's not that turd EliteXC."
  • Scott Coker: "But other than that, it's nothing more than a damn paperweight. And I'm stuck with it! They talked me into a lifetime contract!"
  • Frank Shamrock: "..."
  • Ken Hershman: "It's called what? Strikeforce? Okay then. Showtime is very happy to have this arrangement with Strikeforce, and, uh... yeah."
  • Scott Coker: "Screw it. *Lightsaber sounds* Tehehe! *More lightsaber sounds* Luke, I am your father!"
  • Frank Shamrock: "Honey, can you show me which end I'm supposed to talk into? I forgot."

New Corner Rules For UFC; Fighters No Longer Allowed to Cheat

The UFC, working in conjunction with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, has adopted new rules in regards to fighters and their corners and what goes on between rounds. Stemming from the UFC 94 debacle involving champ Georges St. Pierre's erotic use of K-Y Jelly against challenger BJ Penn and Joe Lauzon's use of gasoline at UFN 17, fighters and their corners will no longer be allowed to cheat. "No more illegal substances, no more banned substances, no more unfair advantages and no more 'shockers'," said UFC Vice President of Being Old and Respected Marc Ratner. "We're cracking down." When asked what a "shocker" was, Ratner held out his fist, then extended his index finger and pointer. "This. And it hurts."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Karo Parisyan Tests Positive for Armenian

UFC welterweight Karo Parisyan, who eked out a split decision victory over Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 94, has tested positive for Armenian according to a report released by the Nevada State Athletic Commission today. Parisyan's almost meteoric rise and then steady decline has been well-documented within the fight world. In his Octagon debut at UFC 44, the accomplished judoka threw veteran fighter Dave Strasser around like a rag doll, and after a loss to Georges St. Pierre, he went on a win-streak that included star performances against Nick Diaz, Chris Lytle, Matt Serra and Nick Thompson. Unfortunately, losses to Diego Sanchez and Thiago Alves, as well as issues with depression and "panic attacks", have turned the former 170-pound top contender into a case study in "what might have been". "We suspected for a while now," says NSAC Chief Urinanalyst Keith Kizer. "You know, with the excessive body hair and the constant use of the word 'bro'. So we administered a test, and yes, Karo Parisyan is indeed Armenian." No word yet on what this means for Parisyan's career, or if the results of any of his past fights will be overturned.

Strikeforce Showing Us How It's Done

Rumors are trickling in as to who will be fighting on the new and improved Strikeforce's April 11th Showtime card. Frank Shamrock and Nick Diaz have signed on the dotted line and will be facing each other, Benji Radach and Scott Smith are throwing down, Robbie Lawler may be rematching with Joey Villasenor, Gilbert Melendez is fighting, Josh Thomson may be fighting, and maybe, just maybe, Gina Carano and Cristiane Cyborg might be in the mix. You know, for the past few months there's been a void left behind thanks to EliteXC's demise, and fans have been stuck with about ten versions of the same UFC a month plus the rare Affliction event. But with Strikeforce's new contract with Showtime and CBS, things have suddenly changed, and changed in a big way. We now have options when it comes to seeing intriguing and captivating fights, and our heroes - like Diaz, Radach, Lawler and Carano - can once again return to battle. It's a good time to be a fan.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Curious Case of Nuri Shakir

MMA Journalist caught up with old school Northeast badass Nuri Shakir this past weekend (Shakir was cornering friend and teammate Matt Lee at the WCA). For those whose memories extend back only to the first season of "The Ultimate Fighter", Shakir is considered one of the more talented pioneers of the sport in New England, and on his record are wins over Steve Berger, Marcus Davis, Edson Diniz and Nick Serra, as well as losses to top dogs like Tamdan McCrory, Jim Miller and Jorge Masvidal. Shakir can scrap, and the fact that he hits hard (I once saw him break a fighter's jaw in the opening seconds of a bout) and that he's been at it a long, long time make it difficult for the 29-year-old to get fights. As of now, Shakir may have a bout lined up in Boston on March 14th at the World Championship Fighting 6, but whether that pans out or not, the fact remains that he's stuck in the netherworld of being too tough for an up-and-comer, and too much of a risk for an experienced name fighter. I mean, would you want to fight him?

If I Were a Promoter...

Saturday night's modest Return of Macaco event in Newark illustrated a point I've made in the past, specifically, that nation vs. nation MMA events can work if done correctly. At Return of Macaco, the vast majority of the few hundred in attendance were clearly Brazilian, and their fevered shouting in Portuguese and their cheering whenever a Brazilian competitor threw down in the cage took me back to when the Mixed Fighting Championship held those "USA vs. Russia" cards or "USA vs. Japan" cards. Those MFC events were marketed heavily to local Russian and Asian communities, and the resulting crowds made for some seriously passionate bouts. Sadly, those MFCs were held at the Taj Mahal and Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, so venue costs far exceeded ticket sales, but if a mass of screaming Russians can make a bout like Vadim Kulchitskiy vs. Joey Brown seem as frenzied as Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock I, then there's something there that promoters can't ignore. On Saturday night, thanks to Newark's well-represented Brazilian community, the Return of Macaco made the gymnasium of Essex County College feel like downtown Sao Paulo. It was awesome. And when New York opens up to the sport, you can bet the first promoter to hold a USA vs. Russia show in Brighton Beach, a USA vs. Korea event in Flushing Chinatown, or a USA vs. Guidos event on Long Island is going to make a mint.

Observations from My Couch: UFN 17

  • Anthony Johnson's kung fu is powerful, but like "The Toad" from the Shaw Brothers classic "The Five Deadly Venoms", his weak spot will always be his eyes. Poke out his eyes and you will defeat him!
  • Like "The Scorpion", Josh Neer can utilize his strikes to sting and stun, and can use his submission techniques to trap an opponent like a scorpion holds its prey with its pincers - as TUF 6 winner Mac Danzig learned on Saturday night.
  • With his hands emulating "venomous fangs" and his legs like the "stinging whip of a rattling tail", Dan Miller is the embodiment of "The Snake". Jake Rosholt's kung fu was no match him!
  • Cain Velasquez sucked.
  • Joe "The Centipede" Lauzon attacked Jeremy Stephens so quickly and vigorously, it was as if the Massachusetts native had a hundred arms and legs. Stephens didn't stand a chance.
  • Poison Clan rocks the world!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

NYC Submission Shootout Postscript

Liveblog: NYC Submission Shootout

MMA Journalist is here at the Fighthouse in Midtown Manhattan, where Rene Dreifuss and Jerry Mendez are hosting the first NYC Submission Shootout (a no-gi grappling event). Over 100 competitors are battling it out on 6 different mats, and the place is pretty packed. A lot of well-know schools are being represented, including NY Combat Sambo, Scarola Jiu-Jitsu, Marcos Santos, ITC, and Serra just to name a few. Sambo Steve is here and he just explained the rules to me. Apparently there are no points, only submissions, and if you don't get the job done in five minutes you're heckled and ridiculed and pelted with garbage. This is making for some frenetic yet exciting matches.

Return of Macaco Postscript

Thanks to a crowd of berserk Brazilians cheering their heroes on, this event ended up kicking ass. Jay Silva was robbed of a decision, Anthony Montanaro looked awesome, and Flavio Alvaro knocked Bill Hill the heck out.