Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mitch the Intern's TUF 9 Recap: Episode 5

*Editor's note: Mitch the Intern is an NYU undergrad whose favorite Wednesday night pastime includes the TV in his dorm room, a green beanbag chair and two hits of acid. Enjoy.*

Close up of Dana White, martini in hand as he stands on a balcony overlooking the Bellagio. Below, the famous choreographed fountain, and as a gentle breeze dances past he looks back at those gathered around him: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Michael Bisping, token Asian dude and some old man. "Gentlemen, I have a plan to knock over the vaults in three casinos," says Dana. "Do you want to be a fucking thief?"

Cue Elvis Presley song remix.

Back at the TUF house, Team America: World Police fighter Cameron Dollar-Dollar-Bill-Y'All tries desperately to overcompensate for something. What could it be? "I've humped 70 or 80 girls, man," he says, effeminately stroking himself while humming bars of ABBA's "Dancing Queen". "I don't even know how many girls I've humped," he says as he wraps a pink feather boa around his neck. "I even humped my best friend's wife." A pause as he dons a pair of purple, rhinestone-studded sunglasses. "Seriously, fellas, I am so not gay."

The next day a fight match-up is chosen - Santino DeBrainAneurysmo and Andre The Weiner. These two must not be interesting at all because we get almost no backstory or build-up. One minute they're chosen to fight, the next minute they're fighting. Which, in this instance, is Santino DeBrainAneurysmo once again applying his "go fetal" technique in the hopes that somehow his opponent will leave him for dead and focus on something else, and then... bam! Santino DeBrainAneurysmo attacks him! But no, Andre the Weiner isn't fooled, and the Brit pounds on the American until referee Moustache Mazagatti yells "Where's my moustache?"

Then Cameron Dollar-Dollar-Bill-Y'All grabs Mark Miller's butt and nervously repeats, "Screw you guys, I'm not gay. Not gay, not gay, not gay!" And he does a ballet pirouette and sprinkles his teammates with gold sparkles.

Meanwhile, Don Cheadle buys an enormous drill and starts digging a tunnel under the Golden Nugget, while George Clooney compliments Catherine Zeta-Jones on her snappy outfit as the two sip mojitos poolside at Mandalay Bay. At the Hard Rock, Michael Bisping - wearing a bell hop uniform circa 1920 - delivers the luggage of an elderly couple from Wisconsin to their room.

"Guys, we have to stop sucking," says the Queen of England (also known as "Dan" - still no explanation why) to her Team America: World Police charges. Since there are still castmembers with no interesting backstory whatsoever, another fight is arranged for the episode - the Marquis de Johnson against the British Mr. T. Again, there is zero build-up. One minute their match-up is declared, the next they're in the cage.

Meanwhile, Matt Damon trades witty banter with Brad Pitt. Token Asian dude and old man pop out of a box and release fleas into a hotel room in the Luxor. Michael Bisping finds himself within a casino vault, decked out in SWAT gear and talking to Andy Garcia on a cell phone. "Awright geeza! So, I loved winnie da pooh in da 'Godfarfer', but Lord Fauntleroy did Sophia Coppola stink. Sorted mated." Like most humans, Andy Garcia can't understand a word Michael Bisping says, and in frustration he throws his cell phone on the floor and smashes it repeatedly with his cane. The Brit leaves the casino vault with bags of money tucked under each arm.

In the Octagon the Marquis de Johnson and the British Mr. T fight. "I pity the chap who fights me!" declares the British Mr. T, and he takes the Marquis de Johnson down and promptly taps out to a triangle choke. Afterwards, everyone wonders why coach Bisping missed the fight.

"In nine seasons of 'The Ultimate Fighter' a coach has never missed a fight," says Dana with a grin. The camera pulls back, revealing him to be surrounded by piles and piles of money.

The end.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fedor Defeats Aoki in Grappling Match, Declared #1 Lightweight by WAMMA

Heavyweight superstar Fedor Emelianenko defeated top-ranked lightweight Shinya Aoki in a grappling exhibition match at DEEP/M-1 Challenge in Japan today, besting the crafty and popular Japanese submission specialist with an anklelock. After his victory, the Russian sambo champ - who's defeated the likes of Andrei Arlovski, Tim Sylvia and various bears and Yetii in unarmed combat - was awarded the World Alliance of Mixed Martial Arts (WAMMA) lightweight championship belt. "We feel that Fedor's accomplishments as lightweight merit it," said WAMMA executive Joe Bloggerstein. "He's the WAMMA heavyweight champ and now he's also the WAMMA lightweight champ, making him the man to beat in both divisions." Through the aid of a translator, the crestfallen Aoki added: "What's a 'WAMMA'?"

Feared Bounty Hunter Tom Gallicchio Travelling to Ohio to Capture Marcus Ajian Dead or Alive

Feared bounty hunter Tom "Boba Fett" Gallicchio will be travelling from New Jersey to Ohio this weekend to compete at some event in Akron called UMMAXX and capture opponent Marcus Ajian either dead or alive. This will mark Gallicchio's first venture out of the Garden State while tracking quarry, although it won't be the first time the dangerous Team Pellegrino representative has faced someone as purportedly submission-savvy as Ajian (to this day, Gallicchio still wears the pelt of vanquished foe Igor Gracie). Said local Imperial officer Admiral Piett of Gallicchio's impending visit: "Bounty hunters. We don't need their scum."

A Piece of MMA History: Sportfighting's "Bragging Rights"

Most know Brian Cimins as the man behind Grapplers Quest, the popular and long-running grappling tournament that has seen thousands upon thousands of would-be submission specialists hone their ground games on its mats throughout the years. But for those lucky enough to find themselves at the Marist High School gymnasium in Bayonne, New Jersey, on November 9th, 2002, Cimins was the promoter of Sportfighting's "Bragging Rights" - an MMA event that saw the humble debuts of Dante Rivera and Deividas Taurosevicius, Muay Thai and jiu-jitsu ace Nakapan Phungephorn scrap with sambo specialist Vlad Koulikov, and Team Renzo rep Mark Colangelo armbar Jon Weidler in a quick and surprising upset. Back then these were our Northeast up-and-comers and stars, and with just two Reality Fighting events and one Ring of Combat in the books, and BAMA Fight Night's schedule irregular at best, Sportfighting was the only other place one could see these fighters in action. Sadly, three years would pass before Cimins promoted another installment of his MMA brand, and he's since focused exclusively on Grapplers Quest. Meanwhile, Rivera went on to TUF, Taurosevicius went on to the IFL, and many of the other names on the card have gone into either teaching or obscurity (and in September, 2005, event referee Joe Priole died of cancer). However, on that November night in 2002, Sportfighting was king.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fun with Laws

The bill to legalize MMA in New York State is on the front burner now getting scrutinized by the Tourism, Arts and Sports Development Committee (where it was stalled last year). If it survives, it gets voted on in the State Assembly and State Senate and then signed by the governor. Then it's "Yay. Woo. Party time. Pro MMA returns to New York." When the bill passes, credit should go to Zuffa and their regulatory guru Marc Ratner for getting all their legislative ducks in a row, but also to people like Jeff Blatnik, Brian McLaughlin and a ton of others who took the time to educate legislators whenever they could. So what are some of the more salient points of the current incarnation of the bill (a bill that's been re-written a few times already)?
  • An 8.5% gate tax on all gross revenues generated from ticket sales. This is sort of hefty, and more than anything would be discouraging to mid- and lower-level promoters than to someone like the UFC or Strikeforce.
  • A 3% tax on gross revenues from broadcasting, with a cap of $50,000 (i.e., the State maxes out on 50 large).
  • The New York State Athletic Commission has to add martial arts organizations to its "approved list", which means blokes representing the United States Naked Oil Wrestling Federation and the International Karate and Coffee-Enema League might now have a chance at putting on sanctioned events - provided those organizations are viable and meet NYSAC standards.
  • A "professional combative sports participant" is any fighter who competes for money, or teaches, or "pursues or assists in the practice of mixed martial arts as a means of obtaining a livelihood or pecuniary gain". Um, doesn't this sound like anyone connected to MMA, including journalists and fight gear and clothing salesman, would now be considered a participant?
  • A "professional combative sports match or exhibition" is now any bout where participants receive anything for their troubles or admission is charged to the event. This pretty much sews up the loophole that allowed events like the Underground Combat League.
  • Gyms teaching MMA are subject to licensing by the NYSAC.
  • There's a three-year sunset clause on the bill, meaning that after three years the law is automatically repealed. Really, think of this just as a mandatory review clause to encourage tweaking if things aren't working out as planned.

UWC "Capital Punishment" Pics

Monday, April 27, 2009

UWC "Capital Punishment" Report

From on site reporter Adam Butterworth (pics to follow): "Fights were good, lots of short fights. Kris McCray keeps getting better and if you blinked you missed the finish - 39-second fight."

"The oddest fight was 'The Pistol' Villarisco, who was a far better striker but showed no urgency during the first two rounds. He lost both on the cards because he was on his back a lot... then completely took over in the third. Everyone thought they stopped the fight (they should have - he was destroying him), Villarisco jumped on the cage arms raised. Then they went to the scorecards! So time must have run out before they stopped it. He lost a decision. He's got serious stand-up skills but needs some sense of urgency and better takedown defense."

Did Mike Easton steamroll over his opponent? "I wouldn't say steamroll. Easton is actually a very patient fighter, and had he not sunk that choke the round was even. Plus, he got it from his guard. He has an excellent guard."

"[Damian] Dantibo looked excellent in knocking out fan-favorite and one of my favorites - Ron 'ChoirBoy' Stalling - in 13 seconds."

The Northeast's Top Ten Badasses Gone

The history of MMA is full of temporary superstars, guys who could headline a card and promise excitement but for some reason or another are no longer competing. Gone, yes, but not forgotten - not by MMA Journalist, at least. Here are, in no particular order, the top ten badasses from the Northeast who were total studs for a time and have since hung up the gloves:
  1. Jay Coleman - A muscular ex-wrestler with heavy hands, Coleman had the uncanny ability to knock out other wrestlers (something about timing and rhythm and a deadly right hook). Early on he pounded out a win against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Leo Dalla, and he went up against Philippe Nover in a ROC tournament, where he lost via kimura.
  2. Carlos Moreno - Moreno was the epitome of heavyweight knockout artist, a ROC champ and one of the most feared competitors in his day. He took his last bout on about a week's notice, a losing effort against Carlton Haselrig on the undercard of EliteXC's first show on CBS, and he hasn't fought since.
  3. Tom Muller - A Matt Serra protege and highly-skilled grappler (duh), Muller handed Moreno his first loss back in 2004... and never stepped into the ring again. Did he lose interest in fighting and take up bobsledding? Who knows. But the dude was a machine.
  4. Travis Roesler - The Philly-based Roesler was a skilled grappler like Muller, and very capable of hanging with the big boys. His last fight was a split decision loss to John Doyle back in 2006. Wherefor art thou, Travis?
  5. Elvis Garcia - Garcia was Team Tiger Schulmann's first MMA star, and with big punching and a strong top game, the guy was like a mini Fedor. He pounded out Nardu Debra to win the ROC belt and his last fight was a quick KO over Christian Montes in 2006. I believe Garcia went on to just focus on teaching at TSMMA schools full-time. He was the man back in the day, though.
  6. Laura D'Auguste - Hailed by all as the best 135-pound female fighter of her time, D'Auguste went undefeated taking on killers like Amanda Buckner, Roxanne Modafferi and Megumi Yabushita, and she even went to Japan and won a Smackgirl tournament. What happened? Marriage happened. But at least D'Auguste went out on top.
  7. Jo-Jo Guarin - Sporting one of the best guards I've ever seen, Guarin was a dangerous jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai practitioner and an instructor at Sean Alvarez's school just north of New York City. His last sanctioned bout was a 2005 decision-loss to Elvis Garcia in a fight he took on about three days notice, and he was at the BET "Iron Ring" tryouts, where he suffered under piss-poor officiating (Guarin had his opponent in a choke and a know-nothing traditional martial artist referee stood them up).
  8. Baba Shigeyasu - A durable and versatile lightweight with a ton of heart, Shigeyasu had enough grappling skill to go the distance with Wilson Reis - and even give Reis a hard time. This Japanese kid was pure toughness. His last bout was a decision win against Anthony Montanaro in 2007.
  9. Daniel Akinyemi - Another well-rounded fighter, Akinyemi went from successful amateur to a stint on the Iron Ring, where he was featured slamming his opponent unconscious and suffering a dislocated shoulder as a result (he was awarded the win, though). Akinyemi was in contractual limbo with BET last I heard.
  10. Alexis Aquino - Good old Aquino fought with his emotions most of the time, which made for some passionate-as-hell beatdowns. Yet he was also skilled, which meant excitement even when he lost. His only defeats were at the hands of Dante Rivera, Lyman Good and David Branch, who are three highly-skilled fighters themselves.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Kyle Maynard Somehow Not Submitted with Armlock or Leglock in MMA Debut

Congenital amputee Kyle Maynard made his MMA debut last night at Auburn Fight Night in Alabama, and while the storied wrestler with no shortage of heart came up short via unanimous decision loss, Maynard earned the moral victory by somehow not getting submitted via armlock or leglock. For three rounds Maynard stalked his foe around the cage, while opponent Yuri Castanov at first looked horrified then seemed mostly perplexed (and for punting Maynard out of the cage like a soccer ball in Round 2, Castanov was docked a point). "Credit to the little guy," said Castanov, a Russian Sambo master, afterwards. "He is very tough." In the end it was Castanov who had his arm raised, but by all accounts Maynard received more than a few standing ovations for his gutsy display.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Weekend Schedule

MMA Journalist's Adam Butterworth will be on hand to cover the Ultimate Warrior Challenge's "Capital Punishment" at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia on Saturday night. There's also an Asylum Fight League in Sayreville, New Jersey on Saturday - if you're in the neighborhood, those are always worth checking out.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mitch the Intern's TUF 9 Recap: Episode 4

*Editor's note: Mitch the Intern is an NYU undergrad whose favorite Wednesday night pastime includes the TV in his dorm room, a green beanbag chair and two hits of acid. Enjoy.*

In this week's episode, the very fabric of space and time is threatened, plus more Brits speak with accents so thick they don't even understand themselves.

Tanned, rested, well-coiffed and friendly like a soccer hooligan is friendly, Michael Bisping greets his wards and puts them through their paces in a hard training session. His coaches are introduced - someone named "Sucker" to teach grappling, some unassuming bald guy to teach striking - and his team of countrymen/aspiring UFCers sweat and grunt and then hug each other and drink tea from porcelain cups, their pinky fingers jutting out as they say "jolly good" and "know wha' ah' mean, gov'nor?"

Then the Queen of England (also known as "Dan" - still no explanation why) trains her Team America: World Police, and introduces her coaching staff, which includes someone to teach boxing, someone to teach kickboxing, someone to teach grappling, someone to teach conditioning, someone to teach hygiene, someone to teach manners, someone to teach calligraphy, someone to teach mathematics, and someone that is apparently the Queen's oldest friend and helped her build sandcastles when they were but wee children spending holidays at the seaside. The Queen asks her team who sucks and who doesn't. Mark Miller raises his hand, so he gets to fight first against someone named Nick Ostrich.

It's then that the universe and all within it are put in jeopardy. For some reason, Bisping and his coaches watch the second TUF episode of the season on TV - which in turn was watched by editors at SpikeTV before being watched by us. That's people watching a TUF episode watching a TUF episode watching a TUF episode. Somewhere on Earth Stephen Hawking grows uneasy, while in the parallel universe known as "UI-8669a-Beta", the Overlord's Royal Guard's stand ready at the Gate Between Worlds, their Energy Lances held aloft. Why you gotta play us like that, Michael Bisping?

Back at the TUF house there are pranks. Tame, non-gay pranks. A Brit's t-shirt is defaced. And back at the gym, a Brit's shoes are written on. In the control room, a producer with a headset watches the dailies and shakes his head. Says to a young production assistant: "Nope. Not gay enough." The production assistant nods. Says to the editor: "Cue up the 'Meat Missile' clip."

Mark Miller looks into the camera and declares himself a 'Meat Missile'. All targeted demographics are hit.

It's fight day, and Miller and Ostrich enter the cage. They kick and punch and roll around, and late in the second round Ostrich makes his British teammates proud by planting his shin upside the American's head. Miller drops to examine a spot on the canvas that has suddenly become very interesting to him.

Later, the Queen of England confronts Miller. "I thought you said you didn't suck?" she says.

"No, I was one of the ones who did suck," comes his reply.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Viginia Commission Considering Special Rules for Easton/Ferguson Bout

The Virginia Boxing and Wrestling Commission, bowing to pressure from local "right to life" activists, is considering allowing special rules for Saturday night's Mike Easton/Josh Ferguson bout - a headlining match-up that will see one of the Washington, DC-area's best mixed martial artists take on an up-and-comer from Kentucky at the Ultimate Warrior Challenge in Fairfax, Virginia. "Due to the nature of the match-up and the comparative abilities of the athletes, we might allow Mr. Ferguson to use a weapon," said Commission Chairman Edward Finberrie. "You know, like a bat or chain, or a plank of wood with a nail in it. Because, really, the Virginia Boxing and Wrestling Commission is all about fairness and, of course, the safety of the fighters." No word yet on what, if any, weapon Ferguson will choose. Also on the card for this UWC: "Capital Punishment" event are TUF vet War Machine, Ron Stallings, Binky Jones and a number of other competitors in no danger of getting killed.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Babalu Out of Strikeforce Bout with Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante; Who Should Replace Him?

Renato "Babalu" Sobral is out of his scheduled June 6th Strikeforce bout against Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante (a spikey-hair injury is rumored to be the culprit). Who should replace Babalu in this light-heavyweight title fight? The Northeast's top 205-pounder, of course, which would be Ricardo Romero. Romero just fought at ROC 24 on Friday, easily dispatching Greg Jackson-trained James McSweeney with the kind of wrestling and ground game dominance that would translate into Feijao eating more than a few face-fulls of leather before the night is through. And while the Brazilian definitely has some heavy hands himself - as evidenced by his KO and TKO wins in EliteXC and the IFL - those heavy hands would be swinging while Feijao is lying flat on his back, as Romero's wrestling has been used to get every single one of his opponents to the ground and keep them there. Ricardo Romero, therefore, gets my vote as Babalu's replacement.

June 13th Ray Mercer/Tim Sylvia Caged Boxing Bout in Alabama Set to Rock the Fight World to its Core

Um, not.

Anderson Silva Should Be Traded to Strikeforce

We have yet to enter the age where contracted fighters are traded from one organization to another, but never before has a promotion been stuck with an ill-fitting athlete in such a high-profile spot. That's right, I'm talking about UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva. Rightfully hyped as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, and dangerous like a lit stick of dynamite wrapped in barbed wire and covered with razors is dangerous, Silva is now at the level where he's beaten everyone who may have been a threat to him. The only possible opponents left are people with no chance who know they have no chance, so fans are stuck with bouts best described as "boring pieces of doggy crap". The solution: trade Silva to Strikeforce. Does anyone honestly think Strikeforce middleweights like Cung Le, Robbie Lawler, Scott Smith and Benji Radach are going to butt flop against Silva? Of course not. Everyone of these 185-pounders would swing for the fences and go out on their shield (or get lucky and land a golden knockout). What would the UFC get out of the deal? Aside from a fighter worthy of the Octagon, they'd get their middleweight division back. Because right now, the UFC's middleweight division belongs to Anderson Silva... and he's not giving it up anytime soon.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Last Salvo Between MMA Journalist and Shady Promoter's Attorney?

After some back and forth via email, with Shady Promoter's Attorney wanting Full Contact Fighter magazine's mailing address but also expressing a desire to talk on the phone, MMA Journalist received this: "I have provided you information via email and by letter. The letter has been mailed to Full Contact Fighter. Your unethical, egregious, and despicable behavior indicate that a phone conversation would be inappropriate and contrary to my client's and my best interests. I consider this matter concluded."

In turn, I responded with: "No problem. I'm glad to have helped educate you on the law."

According to an automated response, the Shady Promoter's Attorney now blocks my emails. Did a newbie lawyer get in trouble for sending out frivolous cease & desist letters from his daddy's law firm? MMA Journalist can only wonder...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Observations From My Couch: UFC 97

  • That main event was a stinker. But how much can you really blame Anderson Silva? It's not his fault people are petrified of engaging with him.
  • Nothing sadder than seeing a once-great fighter decline. Nothing sadder. Chuck, you've had a great run, but it's time to hang up the gloves and bang strippers full-time.
  • Matt Wiman may have lost a decision (that he deserved), but at least he looked biblical.
  • Antoni Hardsuck.
  • Brian Stann and Steve Cantwell - living proof that the WEC is to the UFC what Little League Baseball is to Major League Baseball.

ROC 24 Postscript

Good show with great action, but very weird with all the decisions and draws. Andy Main and Ricky Lee was a huge crowd-pleaser, Will Martinez was impressive as hell and I still can't believe Dom Stanco lost.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Liveblog: ROC 24 Part 7

Charles Oliveira de Silva of Gold Team Fighters makes his way to the cage to some soft-rock Brazilian tune that old people in Sao Paulo must play in their Lincoln Continentals as they drive to and from the early-bird special at their local rodizio. Dom Stanco of Bellmore Kickboxing comes out to rap, which is a pleasant contrast. Wow. Okay, I didn't see this one coming. The fight opens with Oliveira de Silva getting Stanco down and controlling him, very nearly sinking the rear naked choke. Stanco reverses to drop some leather, but the Brazilian sweeps him, takes his back, and this time the rear naked choke is successful. Stanco taps at 3:33 of the first round in what is definitely an upset. Props to Oliveira de Silva, as he's now the USKBA East Coast Lightweight Champ. James McSweeney of Greg Jackson's School of Nipple Tweaking is up and facing Advanced Martial Arts' Ricardo Romero in a heavyweight bout. Romero is one of the best in the Northeast so hopefully he reps us well. And... he does, dominating the Brit with his wrestling and tapping him out with a rear naked choke at 2:27 of Round 1. Last bout of the night is Team Renzo's Rafael Sapo against Gold Team Fighters' Plinio Cruz - a match-up that pits Brazilian against Brazilian. Somewhere back in their homeland, two rival Sao Paulo gangs have gathered around a laptop with an Internet connection, awaiting the result of this one like old 1920s boxing fans gathered around a radio. Anyway, Round 1 sees Sapo stuck on Cruz's back working for the choke and Cruz escaping late and swinging for the fences. Round 2 has more grappling dominance by Sapo, as evidenced by his rear naked choke victory at 3:13. And I'm out.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Liveblog: ROC 24 Part 6

Human highlight reel Sean Salmon steps into the cage to take on John Doyle. As everyone knows, Salmon specializes in getting knocked out and Doyle is a ground and pounder, so, uh, we'll see how this one goes. Round 1 has Salmon wrestling Doyle to the mat and beating on him for the duration, and Round 2 has more of the same. You know, it's a shame Salmon's original opponent Constantinos Phillippou fell through. Salmon would've been stretchered out by now and we'd be onto the next fight. Anyway, Doyle has a ton of heart and makes it to the end, but Salmon's in control on the ground throughout and the UFC vet best known for eating Rashad Evans' shin is awarded the unanimous decision. Next up are Lamont Lister of Fight Firm and Dante Rivera of Ricardo Almeida's School for Gifted Youngters. Both Lister and Rivera have vocal supporters cheering for them, with Rivera seeming to have the hotter females rooting for him. The two engage and Rivera reaps out Lister's leg for the takedown, and after a scramble the Ricardo Almeida-trained fighter snags the guillotine for the tap out at 1:25 of Round 1.

Liveblog: ROC 24 Part 5

Andy Main of AMA FC/Renzo and Ricky Lee of Fight Factory enter the cage. Fellow reporter Eric Joza informs me that Main is some kind of knockout specialist based on his bouts in the amateur leagues, but Lee's got some hands as well, as he and Main trade and rock each other repeatedly (think: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Robots). Lee goes down at 3:58 of the first round; however, he gave Main a beating supreme - he just ate one punch too many. Good fight and a real crowd-pleaser. Heavyweights Paul White of Rhino Fight Team and Gian Villante of Bellmore Kickboxing are up now. White is one big, scary black dude, while Brendan Barrett (who's sitting next to me) says Villante was a prospect for the New York Giants. What that all translates to is Villante getting White down, dropping leather and then snagging the rear naked choke at 1:46 of the first round.

Liveblog: ROC 24 Part 4

It's time for Chris Weidman of Serra/Longo to take on Mike Stewart of Jungle Gym. Weidman seems to have brought half of Long Island with him, and he makes the most of it by wearing down a game Stewart and eventually overwhelming the turtled Jungle Gym rep with punches. The TKO stoppage - the first stoppage of the night - is at 2:38 of the first round. Next are Shawn Forman of Rhino Fight Team and "Crazy" Chris Schlesinger of Bellmore Kickboxing Academy and Sanitarium. Round 1 is a dominant one for Crazy Chris, as he gets Forman down and keeps passing the Rhino rep's guard to pound on him. Round 2 starts off pretty much the same, with Schlesinger very nearly getting a kimura and an armbar and Forman eventually escaping to go for two D'Arce chokes. Round 3 is all about Crazy Chris beating on Forman from top position, plus two chicks in the audience on the opposite side of the cage throwing down. Time runs out and Schlesinger takes the unanimous decision. Meanwhile, those two chicks are escorted out and forever branded as "classy".

Liveblog: ROC 24 Part 3

The Showroom at the Tropicana is now packed, and the first main card bout is Al Iaquinta of Serra/Longo against Fight Factory's Will Martinez. These two met as amateurs, with Iaquinta coming away the winner via decision. How much has time evolved these two? Apparently a whole hell of a lot. Round 1 sees Martinez stuff some seriously deep takedown attempts and pepper Iaquinta with knees and punches, establishing right off the bat that he's not going to get steamrolled by the lightweight juggernaut. Iaquinto does, however, get two takedowns, which may have tipped the crazy-close round in his favor. Round 2 is more face-punching as both make their make their cases as to who's the baddest, and Round 3 sees Iaquinta take charge by securing top position on the ground. Time runs out and the judges go to work, and when the scores are announced it's revealed that Iaquinta had a point deduction in Round 2 for grabbing the fence. The result: a 28-28 unanimous draw. There is no doubt Iaquinta and Martinez are meeting in the cage once again. They fought their hearts out and showed a ton of skills. Matt McManmon of Modern Martial Arts and Jay McClean of Advanced Martial Arts are up. This is an interesting match-up, as it should tell us which is better: modern? Or advanced? Based on Round 1, modern may have the edge, although that may be a function of McManmon's height and reach advantage and propensity for firing off knees from the clinch. Modern once more proves to be killer as McManmon spends most of Round 2 affixed to McClean's back with the figure-four and hunting for the choke. Advanced rallies in the final round, with McClean rocking McManmon early with strikes, but McManmon recovers to dominate position. The round ends with McClean employing a tight guillotine, yet it's too late for the change in momentum to sway the scoring. McManmon is awarded the unanimous decision. So far every bout has gone the distance. We're due for a finish. Will TSMMA jiu-jitsu instructor Fernando Bernardino vs. AMA FC/Renzo's Joey Camacho give us a decision as well? Camacho and Bernardino pick and choose their punches throughout the first, travelling the circumference of the cage and exploding every few paces in a round that's too close to call. Camacho's wrestling enables him to dictate where the fight goes in Round 2, as he hits two takedowns, and while his ground and pound is pretty much neutralized, he's able to avoid Bernadino's sub game. Round 3 is a carbon copy of the second, and once again time runs out and a decision is rendered. The winner: Camacho via split decision.

Liveblog: ROC 24 Part 2

First up are the preliminary bouts, with Chris Aquino of Real Fighting taking on Louis Gaudinot of TSMMA. I've personally seen Gaudinot lop off someone's head at an amateur event, so this one could get bloody. Round 1 unfolds with Aquino exploiting his height and reach advantage on the feet and Gaudinot harnessing the power of his Hulk-green hair to slam Aquino and pound on him against the cage. Round 2 is more of the same, with Aquino almost getting his opponent's back after Gaudinot missed with a spinning backfist. Meanwhile, Gaudinot kept it up by nailing two more slams. Time runs out and Gaudinot is rightfully awarded the unanimous decision. Next up are Dave Church of Pellegrino MMA and John Salgado of Inner G Systems (with the "G" standing for "gangsta"). Church starts out with a successful takedown and nearly snags an armbar from the bottom, but Salgado doesn't like that so he stomps on Church's head. For such an egregious foul Salgado is docked two points, which means despite his hellacious battering of Church on the ground, the Pellegrino MMA fighter takes the round (Church does have some damn close armbar attempts though). The war escalates in the second round, as both men doggedly trade blows on the feet. Time runs out and they're really blasting each other, and when the scores are tallied it's declared a draw (in other words, if not for that two-point deduction, Salgado would've won it). Impressive performance by both men. The last prelim is TSMMA's Jose Villanueva against Joshua Montoya of Undisputed Fitness. Montoya scores with a lateral drop and Villanueva reverses rains down bombs that Montoya miraculously survives. Round 2 plays out in similar fashion, and when the final bell rings there's no question Villanueva has earned the unanimous decision. In his pro debut, the bantamweight Villanueva already looks like a force to be reckoned with.

Liveblog: ROC 24 Part 1

MMA Journalist is cageside for promoter Lou Neglia's Ring of Combat 24 at the Tropicana Casino & Resort in Atlantic City. There are 15 fights scheduled with some of the match-ups off the scale on the intrigue-o-meter (Dom Stanco vs. Charles Oliveira da Silva, Ricardo Romero vs. James McSweeney, Al Iaquinta vs. Will Martinez, etc.). UFC light-heavyweight champ Rashad Evans is here for his teammate McSweeney, plus there are all the usual Northeast MMA suspects in attendance (the Rhino guys, Kurt Pellegrino's Posse of Awesomeness, The Ricardo Almeida Clan). The only let down thus far has been the cafeteria selection, which included mystery fish, ziti with sauce, boiled potatoes and mixed vegetables. I really feel like the cooks here are phoning in their performance. What happened to taking pride in one's cooking?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mitch the Intern's TUF 9 Recap: Episode 3

*Editor's note: Mitch the Intern is an NYU undergrad whose favorite Wednesday night pastime includes the TV in his dorm room, a green beanbag chair and two hits of acid. Enjoy.*

Team America: World Police is not yet complete, as four angry young men have to fight to fill the last remaining two slots, plus we haven't yet seen the TUF house and the dorm room-on-steroids decor that will ultimately be destroyed. So zoom in to the house, in a quiet Las Vegas neighborhood powered by the endless energy produced by Dana White's F-bombs. A pool table stands proud. A mural struts gayly. And as Team America: World Police enters, no one takes notice of the six-feet tall anthropomorphic chicken sitting with his legs crossed in a chair in the corner, reading a copy of tomorrow's New York Times. The chicken ignores them. For now.

Team UK enters the house and they're greeted warmly. The Pikey bareknuckle boxing champ known as James Wilks makes a beeline for the silverware and starts stealing. Right-O-Old-Chap speaks incomprehensibly. The American known as Junie Browning's Little Brother sees the free alcohol and furiously begins guzzling it. Soon, when everyone meets on the basketball court outside, Junie Browning's Little Brother starts lobbing eggs - a cry for attention for sure, but also a cry for love. "Love me," he seems to say. "Please. Love me."

The chicken looks up from the newspaper. His eyes narrow. He shakes his head.

Back outside and the accent-heavy Brits and embarrassed Americans make some sort of accord. Thanks to loose bodily fluids, last season scored well in the gay fetish demographic. They vow to avoid that. Then, inside the house, Junie Browning's Little Brother begins threatening people, hitting them with eggs and pleading in his thick Southern drawl, "Please, just love me."

The chicken scowls. Turns the page of his New York Times.

The next day comes and they train, Team America: World Police with the Queen of England and her wrestling, Team UK with Michael Bisping. (When Bisping enters he blames his late arrival on visa problems, which is British slang for "a few days at the spa with Dana, laughing through seaweed wraps and dual-massages".) In the kitchen of the TUF training center Bisping speaks garbled Olde English to the Marquis de Johnson, which aggravates the Marquis de Johnson as Olde English died out with the Anglo-Saxons and no one speaks it anymore.

Back at the house again, and the four who must fight to... get into a house they're already staying in? Remain in a house they're already staying in? Drink more free alcohol? I don't know. But the four who must fight speak of their lives and motivations and need for love. Meanwhile, the giant anthropomorphic chicken reads Nietzsche, glances at Junie Browning's Little Brother, scowls.

Then they are fighting. Someone from California squares off against someone... from Iowa... who talks... incredibly... slow. They wrestle and grapple and punch, and then the slow... talker... from Iowa... bangs his head against the floor of the Octagon until he is unconscious because he'd prefer to be asleep for his opponent's kimura attempt instead of countering it. The referee stops the bout and... Mr Iowa... asks... what... happened... then... concludes... that he... beat himself... If that were the case, then wouldn't "himself" get into the TUF house?

Finally Junie Browning's Little Brother fights, which consists of him curling up into a ball in a corner, covering up and saying "Please love me! Please love me!" over and over again. His opponent is awarded the TKO win. Now Team America: World Police is set.

And back at the TUF house, the chicken goes back to his Nietzsche book, his face revealing no expression at all.

Response to Shady Promoter's Attorney

"Thank you for your timely response. Please convey to your client Rick Huddleston that for the sake of fairness and truth I am eager to get his side of the story. The other interviews I've conducted, as well as the public records concerning his legal history, certainly don't paint him in a favorable light and I would like the mixed martial arts community to have as accurate a story as possible.

As for your assertion that claims made by myself on my blog are false, your simple declaration that they are false does not make it so - especially when the statements of the injured parties connected to the March 21st Kansas City-area Close Quarter Combat event are considered. Mr. Huddleston did not pay the fighters and the check he wrote to the venue bounced. That sounds like a prima facie "screwing" to me, and clearly not a violation of the "actual malice" standard put forth in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan. Please explain how it is not a "screwing" and I will be happy to post a retraction.

Concerning your assumption that Sullivan does not apply to Mr. Huddleston as he "is not a public official or public figure", I could point to Associated Press v. Walker, Curtis Publishing Company v. Butts, Time, Inc. v Hill, Hustler Magazine Inc. v. Falwell, Rosenbloom v. Metromedia and Philadelphia Newspapers Inc. v. Hepps, which expanded Sullivan's standard to include prominent business leaders and sports figures, affirmed that matters of public interest are a form of protected speech, and placed the burden of proof squarely on your shoulders in proving the alleged falseness of any claims I may make. I could go on but will instead refrain, suffice to say that I still relish the chance to engage Mr. Huddleston and your firm in a battle over First Amendment rights and issues of "freedom of the press".

I look forward to speaking to you - to "clear the air" as you've suggested. Information on Full Contact Fighter is widely available on the Internet.

MMA Journalist"

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

More From Shady Promoter's Attorney

"I have placed a call to my client regarding your interview. He will not be speaking to you directly. However, I will make a few comments on his behalf if he authorizes me to do so. I feel that it is very important to clarify a few points.
  1. Shady Kansas City Promotion Trying to Screw One of Fred Ettish's Fighters. (FALSE)
  2. "A shady Kansas City-based promotion called CQC, which held an event in the KC area on March 21st, is trying to screw one of Fred Ettish's fighters." (FALSE)

These are both false statements and I have duly notified you, through my cease and desist letter, that these statements are false. I'm glad you cited New York v. Sullivan in your email dated April 6, 2009. That case stated: public officials cannot recover in a defamation suit unless he/she can show the statement was made with "'actual malice' - that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not." I am telling you for the second time that Rick Huddleston is not trying to screw any fighter. If you continue to publish articles stating that he is, you will be making statements in "reckless disregard of whether it was false or not." Furthermore, New York v. Sullivan is only relevant in regard to "government and public officials." Rick Huddleston is not a public official or public figure. He is a private individual.

Ultimately, I would like to speak to you, on behalf of Mr. Huddleston, to clear the air. While I am not at liberty to discuss much of the factual information relating to this case, I have some information that I would like to provide for you. This information should be quite helpful to you in your search for the "truth" in this present matter. I don't know if you have spoken to Mr. Francis or Mr. Kuny (Francis' attorney), but I do not believe it would be ethical for me to reveal all facts relating to the present breach of contract dispute.

In closing, I would like some information from you, in return for the information I will be providing you. You are the editor for Full Contact Fighter Magazine. I would like some information about this publication. Corporate office? Address? Number? In case I ever need to contact you directly.


Shady Promoter's attorney"

MMA Journalist on Radio Show Last Night

Check out the Ground & Pound Radio show, which featured MMA Journalist rapping about UFC 97. Link here: .

Scott Coker Explains Strikeforce's Payouts

The California State Athletic Commission released the official payouts for Strikeforce's "Shamrock vs. Diaz" magnum opus at the HP Pavilion in San Jose last weekend, and the numbers have managed to raise more than a few eyebrows. MMA Journalist contacted Strikeforce High Priest Scott Coker for an explanation on some of the purses and the veteran promoter was more than forthcoming with his responses.
  • On Frank Shamrock receiving $369,790: "Frank is a pioneer and a legend in the sport. However, his best days are behind him and now he fights because he needs the money. So really, we're giving him the money so we hopefully don't have to see him fight much more. Boy, did his performance the other night suck or what?"
  • On Nick Diaz receiving only $39,950 for defeating Shamrock: "Actually, that's the amount of cash Nick was paid. He was also given a bale of marijuana, which was part of his contract. He's pretty happy."
  • On Cris "Cyborg" Santos getting paid $18,000 while Hitomi Akano only made $1,450: "They were paid by the pound."
  • On Shingo Kohara and Jeremy Tavares making only $940 each: "Dude, do you even know who they are? I still don't, and they fought on my show!"

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

ROC 24 Bouts to Watch

This Friday is another installment of promoter Lou Neglia's Ring of Combat (ROC 24, to be exact), and as regional MMA shows go, this one is looking pretty killer. Here are a few match-ups to keep an eye on:
  • Dom Stanco vs. Charles Oliveira de Silva - As previously mentioned on this blog, Stanco is a big puncher from Bellmore Kickboxing and Oliveira de Silva is a Gold Team Fighters jiu-jitsu/Muay Thai specialist. This bout can go one of two ways: Stanco will either knock Oliveira de Silva out or Oliveira de Silva will submit him, and because Stanco has been doing this a while and trains with some solid jiu-jitsu guys himself, I'm leaning toward the former happening before the latter.
  • Ricardo Romero vs. James McSweeney - Romero is one of the best in the Northeast at light-heavyweight and heavyweight, whereas McSweeney has been in the cage with the likes of Mustapha Al Turk and Neil Grove. This should be a slight step up in competition for Romero, and a decent test for his wrestling and ground-and-pound skills.
  • Dante Rivera vs. Lamont Lister - Two game and experienced dudes going at it. This one should be a crowd-pleaser.
  • Will Martinez vs. Al Iaquinta - Iaquinta may have beaten Martinez when they were amateurs, but since then Martinez has been at Fight Factory working out with folks like Eddie Alvarez and Steve Haigh. Will he be able to derail the Iaquinta train?
  • "Crazy" Chris Schlesinger vs. Shawn Forman - Schlesinger's got skills and fights at a frantic pace, while Forman is a young up-and-comer with an extensive amateur record before turning pro. No one will be laying and praying in this bout.
  • Louis Gaudinot vs. Chris Aquino - TSMMA rep Gaudinto nearly decapitated some wrestler with a spinning backfist at a recent Asylum Fight League event, so he will always have my attention. Watch out for his striking.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Top Five Most Unprofessional Journalists in Press Row

Press row. That sacred space where sharp minds watch and analyze all that transpires so fans can gain a fresh perspective on the action in and out of the cage. In theory at least. The truth is, reality is usually far less glamorous. Since 2001 MMA Journalist has been sitting in press row (at underground shows, that means you're the guy standing next to the ring with the notebook; at a UFC, EliteXC or IFL, you're just a few feet too far to be able to catch a fighter's errant tooth), and in that time I've seen some very talented individuals, as well as some complete tools. Here are the top five most unprofessional "journalists" to ever grace press row (and yes, the names have been withheld to protect the not-so-innocent):
  1. UFC 42, April, 2003 - Almost any clown could get a press pass in Zuffa's earlier days. Such was the case with the idiots sitting behind me at UFC 42 in Miami who were writers for some Florida-based men's fitness newsletter, a pair that guzzled beer nonstop and shouted for Duane "Bang" Ludwig to "kick that chink's ass" when the KOTC veteran was fighting Genki Sudo. Impartiality, douchebags - do you speak it? Curiously, after this event Zuffa began circulating rules as to how journalists were expected to act.
  2. IFL, April, 2007 - Networking is fine when amongst your peers, and sportswriters can be pretty social creatures by nature. However, trying to hawk your cheesy old school martial arts magazine during a show? Very not cool. I'm there to write, not be a potential investor in something.
  3. Bellator FC, April, 2009 - Screaming for the referee to "stand them up" because the fighters are on the ground is unprofessional. Not being able to recognize that one fighter is back-mounted on the other and working for a choke, and that the two are furiously battling for wrist control, well, that's just lame. Also, declaring that the pair in the cage "suck" and that your out-of-shape middle-aged self could kick their asses - super lame.
  4. Cage Fury Fighting Championships 5, June, 2007 - You may be a sportswriter who covers boxing, but you're at an MMA show. Ultimately, that means spewing nonsense about how MMA sucks compared to boxing is a good way to get yourself choked out by a sportswriter who covers MMA - which, incidentally, is what would happen if a boxer faced an MMA fighter.
  5. Nearly MMA event ever - If you're a member of the mainstream press and you ask for a spot in press row, you better show up at some point. Or don't. When I see your empty chair I signal my blogging friends a few rows back to move up and take it. At least then the seat is taken up by someone who gives a shit.

A Defeated Frank Shamrock Climbs into His Time Machine to Return to the Past, Taking His 1999 MMA Skills with Him

Frank Shamrock is gone. Fresh off his crushing defeat at the hands of modern MMA competitor Nick Diaz at Saturday night's Strikeforce event, the legendary fighter climbed into his time machine parked under a San Jose overpass to return to the past he'd been visiting us from - a past where the former UFC champ's abilities are still considered cutting edge and groundbreaking. "I've done all I can here," said Shamrock from his seat in the cockpit of the saucer-like contraption. "But I am a man out of time, in the wrong place with the wrong set of skills, so now I must go home." For Shamrock home is 1999. In that era, his melding of kickboxing, submission proficiency and top-notch conditioning sets him apart from the rest of the world's MMA athletes. Today those traits are commonplace. "So long, 2009," said Shamrock, suddenly bathed in the blue glow of a timewarp bubble. "I've got some Australian named Elvis Sinosic to fight." A blinding flash of light later and both Shamrock and the saucer had disappeared.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Observations From My Couch: Strikeforce's "Shamrock vs. Diaz"

  • I liked EliteXC and thought the organization was a solid alternative to the UFC brand. Strikeforce is ten times better.
  • There was absolutely no shame in Abongo Humphrey's performance. He managed to hang in there with a super-dangerous Brett Rogers. As for Rogers, it's a crime he's been sidelined so long. He could've been knocking out UFC heavyweights all this time.
  • Cris Cyborg looked good beating on someone not even remotely her size. Gina Carano is going to kill her.
  • Benji Radach vs. Scott Smith was an incredible bout and a candidate for "fight of the year". Warriors like these two men are what MMA is all about. I guarantee Dana White watched that fight, dialed Joe Silva's number and cursed him out for ever letting Radach and Smith go.
  • Gilbert Melendez. Meh.
  • When he's healthy, and he doesn't have to cut a retarded amount of weight, Nick Diaz is one of the best in the world. No doubt about it.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Bellator FC Postscript

Decent show. The production was top-notch, a few of the bouts were "meh", but they did right by having stars like Wilson Reis and Lyman Good on the card.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Liveblog: Bellator FC Part 5

And now the moment most of the Northeast has been waiting for... Lyman Good vs. Hector Urbina. As Good makes his way to the cage he's showered with roses, dollar bills and small children. The bout begins and Good inadvertently knees Urbina in the junk. They restart after a brief recovery period, and Good rocks Urbina on the feet then takes him down and methodically pounds on his from top position. Round 2 opens with Good planting a shin upside Urbina's head, chasing him with flurries and taking him down. They scramble, with Urbina almost taking Good's back, but Good outmaneuvers him and soon has his arm snaked around Urbina's neck with his hooks in. Urbina doesn't tap, and he's left unconscious on the mat at 3:22 of the round. The crowd goes ten different shades of berserk. It's time for EliteXC champ Wilson Reis vs. Henry Martinez of Greg Jackson's School of Nipple Tweaking. Martinez defies logic and reason right off the bat, trying to take jiu-jitsu master Reis down and... God, who knows what he's planning to do. Reis of course goes for the high-level submissions we've come to love him for, and Martinez manages to avoid them until the bell. Round 2 is more of the same, and while Martinez does get some licks in, he's just a submission waiting to happen. Miraculously, Martinez hasn't tapped when time runs out in the third - despite Reis stuck to his back punching him vigorously. Regardless, there's no question Reis has earned the unanimous decision. Last fight of the night is Chris Simmons against Josh Laberge, two New Englanders who I have no knowledge of. They battle back-and-forth on the ground for all three rounds and I resent them for keeping me here this late. Laberge wins the decision. And I'm spent...

Liveblog: Bellator FC Part 4

Eric Reynolds vs. Thomas Schulte are on deck - two men whose names sound curiously non-Spanish. Indeed, when they enter the cage it's clear these guys think Taco Bell is the height of Latino cuisine. Anyway, this one is a total clash of styles, as Reynolds is clearly some striking ace fully capable of plastering Schulte with punches whereas Schulte is a grappling specialist capable of coming really, really close to landing submissions. Unfortunately, "really, really close" doesn't cut it, and after escaping Schulte's best on the ground, Reynolds blasts him on the feet until Schulte drops. Referee Mullhall steps in at 4:18 of the first round after Schulte is left a quivering mess of humanity on the canvas. Who are Aaron Romero and Jorge Ortiz? I have no idea, but they're next. Round 1 has the two swinging wildly, with Romero displaying more power at first but Ortiz landing more and more until Romero is all backpedal, all the time. The boxing match continues throughout the second round, and in the third the tedium goes on unabated until the final bell. Ortiz gets the unanimous decision, plus a case of Dos Equis beer and a goat.

Liveblog: Bellator FC Part 3

Mikey Gomez and Jesse Juarez are up. Gomez has Renato "Babalu" Sobral in his corner, and like Babalu, Gomez has his hair spiked and looks like he just woke up from a nap. Just kidding. Only Babalu looks like that. Juarez represents Team Bodyshop from Los Angeles... Bodyshop? Like the store that sells lotions and stuff? Round 1 opens with Juarez scoring a takedown and working his ground and pound like a pro. Gomez fires back with a few half-hearted omoplata attempts, and then late in the round the two scramble and Juarez winds up on the Babalu/Gracie Barra fighter's back. He flattens Gomez out and beats on him for the TKO win at 4:23. A pinata is lowered into the cage and Gomez punches it, showering all with Jolly Ranchers and Gobstoppers. After a lull in the action, Omar De La Cruz and Victor Meza take to the cage. Meza is cornered by TUF 9's Santino Defranco, while De La Cruz sports a brilliant 70s-style afro. The first round sees Meza pound on De La Cruz from top position, and De La Cruz play the role of constant threat with an armbar attempt, a rear naked choke attempt and a close omoplata attempt. It's all De La Cruz in the second frame, as he affixes himself to Meza's back and works for a rear naked choke from the beginning of the round to the end. Someone in the audience shouts for "Buckwheat" to put Meza away. The afro is greater than anything Buckwheat could've mustered. Round 3 begins and Meza knees De La Cruz in the chops while De La Cruz is on the ground. He's penalized by referee Senior Miragliotta, given 40 lashes and a jalepeno pepper is forced down his shorts. For the rest of the bout De La Cruz lays and prays atop Meza, cruising to a unanimous decision.

Liveblog: Bellator FC Part 2

Willie Gates and Jimmie Rivera are making their way to the cage. The arena is about half full, but this is the first bout of the evening so maybe it will fill up more. Rivera is a Tiger Schulmann MMA representive from New Jersey, so as expected he's getting a nice bit of fan reaction. Meanwhile, Gates - the son of Bill Gates - is getting a lot of scowls and hisses. I guess people are still bitter over the last bug-ridden version of Windows or something. Anyway, Round 1 sees Rivera his usual tentative self in the beginning, but once he gets going he's controlling Gates on the ground, transitioning like a beast and hunting for two rear naked chokes. Gates survives, but Round 2 is more of the same with Rivera getting a nice double-leg, slamming his opponent to the canvas and pounding on him intermittently from the mount. The beating continues into Round 3 until Rivera mercifully rolls from mount into a triangle choke. Gates taps at 3:17 of the round. Rivera is showered with chalupas by the ring card girls. Next up: Aaron Tregear vs. Matt Makowski. Tregear hails from Ontario, Canada and is sensitive to jokes about maple syrup and improper relations with moose, so I shall refrain. Makowski is one of the best fighters to come out of Philly and has the kind of striking skills that make people like Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva go "Damn!" The opening round has Tregear muscling Makowski around at first with heavier punching, and Makowski turning the tide with a wealth of a kicks to Tregear's body that echo throughout the venue. Tregear is still in it, though, and in Round 2 he drops Makowski twice with a pair of well-timed crosses that gives him the round despite the Philly son's body-kick onslaught. Makowski resumes his assault in Round 3, and when time runs out he gets the unanimous decision.

Liveblog: Bellator FC Part 1

MMA Journalist is cageside at Mohegan Sun for Bellator Fighting Championships Week 2, the second edition of the world's first Latino-centric MMA promotion. Strangely enough, the atmosphere is more like a sporting event than an episode of Iron Ring on Univision, i.e., there are no gangster-rapper-comedians in bumblebee suits. Which, um, is a good thing. On deck are local favorites Lyman Good, Wilson Reis, Matt Makowski and Jimmie Rivera. There's a wealth of media here, both MMA and mainstream, and the backstage food spread is an epic, BodogFIGHT-level assortment of egg rolls, sweet and sour chicken and other Chinese classics. The first bout is slated for 8pm.

Mitch the Intern's TUF 9 Recap: Episode 2

*Editor's note: Mitch the Intern is an NYU undergrad whose favorite Wednesday night pastime includes the TV in his dorm room, a green beanbag chair and two hits of acid. Enjoy.*

Dana White greets us in his sacred homeland of Las "F-Bomb" Vegas, where he's assembled what will soon be an army of assorted goons and ruffians to confront the invading Brits. And by "assorted" I mean "motley", and by "goons" I mean "tough guys", and by "ruffians" I mean "men that would steal your lunch money and leave you stuffed inside a locker". And by "confront", I mean "live in a house under 24-hour surveillance, while over the loudspeakers Dana's voice is played on a continuous loop of curse words and techno music", and by "Brits" I mean "people that speak in foreign languages and require subtitles for us to understand them". Anyway, Dana says hi. And drops F-bombs. And introduces the Queen of England (also known mysteriously as "Dan" - I guess Rich Franklin is dead?) as their coach for Team America: World Police.

Right away fighters are discarded like human refuse. Someone named My God I Have Herpes On National Television And I'm Never Getting Laid Again is booted, but not before Dana says the word "herpes" about 50 times and brands him with a hot iron and makes him wear a scarlet "H" on his shirt. Someone else is deemed too fat.

Close up of Dana: lost, alone without his British "friend" Michael Bisping. A single tear streams down Dana's cheek. "This is the worst start to the season in the history of the show," he says, but what he really means to say is, "Michael... Michael... I miss you."

Then there are fights. Dana and the Queen of England make two brothers face each other in the cage, and the brothers do, stumbling each other with punches until one of them drops. The winner, Mark Miller, is then forced to cut his fallen sibling's throat, shoot him with a derringer, and back over him with a VW Jetta. Mark is sad but all the while Dana laughs. The perverse laugh of Satan, sitting in a recliner in Hell on a lazy Sunday afternoon, drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon while sins are replayed in slow-motion on a big LCD television.

Comedian Carrot Top enters the cage sans props. He defeats some dude of no memorable characteristics whatsoever.

Close up of Dana, this time with music - slow, wistful music. "I... I miss you, Michael..." Dana mutters, but the Queen of England ignores him, maybe a little embarrassed at Dana's confession.

Someone with a brain aneurysm named Santino Defranco gets into the cage. He apparently wants to fight in the UFC before he dies, but no one has told him that fighting requires him to punch back, as the first round sees him lay down against the fence and let another man beat on him relentlessly. In between rounds Defranco's corner lets him know that he can, in fact, hit back, so he comes out and destroys his opponent. His brain aneurysm pulses. Threatens to explode.

Someone named Steve Berger fights. Steve fought in the UFC back in 2002, so he gets to fight in the Octagon again because the Statute of Limitations has expired or something like that. He loses. Some punk rocker fights, gets beat on, then chokes his opponent out before time runs out. Someone named The Marquis de Johnson defeats Ray Elbow. The canvas is eventually stained crimson with Ray Elbow's blood.

Dana cackles maniacally, but inside he aches. "Michael... my Michael," he says, and adds some solemn F-bombs.

Team American: World Police is almost complete. However, two more potential members still have to fight, and they'll battle it out against some other yahoos next week.

Another tear streams down Dana's cheek. Fade to black.