Friday, July 31, 2009

A Collection of News Haiku

  • Dana says he wants/Fedor in the UFC./Also, the man's soul.
  • Tito is back. Um,/does anyone really care?/I sure as hell don't.
  • Belfort will return/to the Octagon. Now that/is worth applauding.
  • This week the press got/played by Zuffa like a horn./So what else is new?
  • Jay Hieron to Strikeforce/to face Nick Diaz for title./All hail Scott Coker!
  • Vadim Finkelstein - /Isn't that a funny name?/Go on, just say it.
  • Barnett's B sample/came back positive. Guess that means/he's a damn juicer.

Predictions for Affliction: "Trilogy"

(The following is a news report from Bizzaro World.)

Affliction's third show is tomorrow night, and the world waits with bated breath to see how "Trilogy" will play out. Will Fedor meet his match in Josh Barnett? Is Gegard Mousasi ready for the likes of Babalu? Is Dana White ready to eat his words for saying Affliction was a doomed piece of crap? Here are some predictions!
  • Fedor and Barnett will wage a war of epic proportions. The Russian will prevail, but based on his performance and seemingly limitless heart, Barnett will be hailed as a hero for his courageous effort.
  • Renato Sobral will have his hands full with Mousasi, yet he'll find the sub in later rounds.
  • Vitor Belfort will do to Jorge Santiago exactly what Chris Leben did, i.e., knock him silly.
  • Deividas Taurosevicius will submit Mark Hominick so fast, Canada will revoke Hominick's citizenship.
  • Chris Horodecki will cling to the ropes in a panic. Unable to get the little rascal down, Dan Lauzon will instead submit him right there with a standing rear naked choke. Horodecki will fall unconscious, but not before uttering "Mommy!"
  • Gilbert Yvel will attempt to eye-gouge Paul Buentello, but will only succeed in getting his finger stuck in Buentello's burrito. And by "burrito", I mean a flour tortilla wrapped around a filling of meat, rice, refried beans, pico de gallo and cheese - which Buentello carries around with him at all times.
  • Affliction will announce that it will never die. Ever. It will be around until the end of time.

Fred Ettish To Return To Fighting on August 15th

UFC 2 veteran Fred Ettish will return to mixed martial arts competition on August 15th at a small show in Minnesota - a newsworthy tidbit because Ettish is 0-1, 53-years-old and a well-respected member of the MMA community. For those who came into this sport because "The Ultimate Fighter" looked cool or because they loved watching Kimbo Slice on CBS, Ettish entered the Octagon wearing a karate gi and wielding a traditional martial arts background, and in the minds of many, his subsequent loss made him the embodiment of all that didn't work in an actual limited-rules fight. But nothing could have been further from the truth, and in the 15 years since, Ettish has molded himself into a cross-trained Miletich Fighting Systems instructor and a very appreciated part of MMA history. MMA Journalist certainly wishes him luck, but win or lose, Ettish will always remain a warrior.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

UFC Partially Leaks Terms Offered To Fedor, Neglects To Mention Fine Print

Yesterday's Fedor Emelianenko press conference failed to deliver any great revelations other than that he will be starring in a Russian version of the video game "Pong", but the media-manipulating machine that is the UFC was quick to leak to Carmichael Dave of "The UFC Shill" radio show the "very generous offer" they'd presented to the free-spirited heavyweight. Those terms included a six-fight deal/$30 million contract, an immediate title shot, a share of the pay-per-view sales, the right to wear as many "M-1 Global" logos as he wants, and permission for Fedor to compete in his beloved art of combat sambo. What the UFC did not leak, however, was the fine print contained within the contract - clauses which no doubt factored into Fedor and his management team's reluctance to sign on the dotted line. Thankfully, MMA Journalist has obtained a copy of that contract through anonymous sources, so here is the crux of the "fine print":
  • If Fedor loses at any time during his six-fight contract, he can be released from the UFC's roster at the sole discretion of the UFC.
  • Fedor must sign over all rights to his likeness to the UFC, who will hold those rights forever.
  • Fedor must sign over all rights to his children and grandchildren to the UFC, who will hold these right forever or until they sell them off.
  • If Fedor defeats UFC champ Brock Lesnar and the Russian has only one more fight on his contract, Fedor must lose to Lesnar in that last fight.
  • Fedor must live in the TUF house. With no translator. Also, he can't compete while living there, but must instead clean the house and perform menial chores.
  • Win or lose, at the end of every bout Fedor must declare to Joe Rogan, "Russia sucks - Dana White the best."
  • Fedor must never, ever even think about making money for anyone other than the UFC.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fedor To Hold Press Conference Today To Discuss How Awesome Affliction Is

The number-one ranked heavyweight fighter in the world, Fedor Emelianenko, will be holding a press conference today in Anaheim, California in the DoubleTree Hotel. The reasons behind the press conference remain cloudy, but there are a few likely possibilities, which include...
  • He wants to talk about how awesome Affliction is. He totally loves them and considers them the most viable alternative to the UFC.
  • He wants to discuss the many ways he will defeat Josh Barnett. Barnett is tough but he's just a man. Besides, it's not like the Baby-Faced Assassin uses steroids or anything.
  • He plans on addressing his grievances against the UFC, and outlining how he and the organization can come to terms.
  • He is going to confess that he's not Russian at all. As the vast majority of his body parts were made in a cybernetic-construct factory from a scorched and war-torn future that knows no national boundaries, he's really just a Terminator.
  • He's going to retire.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tom Atencio: "Affliction Is Here To Stay"

(The following is a news report from Bizarro World.)

Addressing rumors that his organization may be faltering under the weight of exorbitant salaries and out-of-control production costs, Affliction Head Seamstress Tom Atencio held a press conference today on the steps of the Anaheim Police Headquarters, taking "haters, fear-mongerers and lackeys of Dana White" to task for what he claims to be "outright lies". "Affliction is here to stay," said Atencio. "We have taken a thriving t-shirt business and turned it into a mixed martial arts empire, and as our 'Trilogy' event on Saturday will prove, we have the best fighters in the world who are worth every penny we're paying for them." When asked if this would be Affliction's last outing, Atencio was quick to respond. "No way. In a year from now, we'll have had a total of six shows. And Fedor will probably be fighting Randy Couture. And Brock Lesnar. At the same time. Because that's what the fans want and we're willing to pay out a billion dollars of ours and everyone else's money to make that happen."

Saturday's Affliction: "Trilogy" event is set to feature Fedor Emelianenko taking on Josh Barnett, as well as a bunch of other fighters who will compete and then get paid for their work.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Top Five Promotions Who Crapped The Bed

EliteXC. The IFL. Affliction. The dead continue to pile up like insurgents by a Baghdad highway, struggling to set up an IED while a Special Forces sniper picks them off from a rooftop 1,200 meters away. Meanwhile, the UFC races ever onward, and in a few months time the general public will barely recall those who fought courageously for what they believed in (72 virgins, Allah, lame teams named after animals, t-shirts for douche bags) and got their heads blown the heck off. But MMA Journalist will never forget! So here, in no particular order, are the top five wannabe MMA promotions that crapped the bed:
  1. Extreme Fighting - The UFC's first competitor, EF was where studs like Marcus "Conan" Silveira, Maurice Smith, John Lewis and Igor Zinoviev threw down back in 1996-97. This John Peretti-run organization was way ahead of its time, employing three five-minute rounds when the UFC was using a single 12-minute round, and finding competitors among Olympic wrestlers. Unfortunately, everything came to a crashing halt when New York banned MMA and pay-per-view providers decided to give "human cockfighting" the boot, which killed EF's planned Brooklyn show and dried up all avenues of viable revenue generation.
  2. Pride Fighting Championships - In late 1997 the yakuza and some Japanese businessmen teamed up to create the UFC's arch-enemy, and until its death in 2007, the organization put on some epic events, not the least of which were the tournaments that crowned Mark Coleman, Wanderlei Silva, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Fedor Emelianenko as champs. Sadly, that whole yakuza thing came around to bite Pride FC in the ass, and after two forays into the American market the organization was bought by the UFC and picked apart like a leftover Thanksgiving turkey.
  3. EliteXC - As promotion's go, this upstart accomplished a lot in its 2006 to 2008 run. It managed to be the first MMA organization to do a live primetime TV event on a major network (CBS), it brought Kimbo Slice and Gina Carano to the masses, and it managed to make waves and provide a viable alternative to anything Octagon. But this bad boy was insanely mismanaged by a boxing promoter named Gary Shaw and his offspring J-Diddy, and when Kimbo collapsed at their "Heat" event thanks to a Seth Petruzelli jab to the beard, so too did EliteXC. But hey, at least Kimbo got back up, right?
  4. International Fight League - Here's a great idea: let's make teams out of B-level fighters, give the teams contrived names (the Minnesota Marsupials, the Phoenix Flagellum), and put on shows packed with overzealous branding throughout the country regardless of where the best markets for live MMA are. How does that sound? Wait, it sounds like the IFL, which lasted from 2006 to 2008 and went belly up? Well, that's because it is. Hey, the next time a comic book mogul and a real estate developer come up to you and pitch their idea for an MMA organization, please, kick them in the groin.
  5. BodogFIGHT - Billionaire Calvin Ayre apparently had some money he wanted to throw away, so in 2006 he put together an MMA promotion that shipped fighters to distant locales like Costa Rica, St. Petersburg, Russia and Vancouver, British Columbia, had them battle it out before TV cameras, and then put the resulting television episodes on a Christian network that no one ever watched. Then Ayre had even more money to burn, so he held pay-per-view events where Fedor beat on an overpaid Matt Lindland - no one watched that one, either. Things came crashing down when, in 2008, Ayre's accountant showed him the books and Ayre immediately had the accountant killed.

An Open Letter From Kimo Leopoldo

Following last week's "Beau Taylor Is An Incorrigible Midget Debacle", where it was reported that old school UFC veteran Kimo Leopoldo had died of a heart attack and the news spread unabated on the Internet, comes this press release from Kimo. Note: the Hawaiian fighting legend is clearly a member of the undead now - most likely a zombie, although status as a ghoul or other type of cursed spirit should not be ruled out.

"Oooohhhhhh... Aaaaaahhhhh... Mnnnnnhhhhh... Aaaaaahhhhh... *Moaning sounds* Aaahhhhhh... Mnnnnhhhhhooooohhhhhh! *Gurgling sounds*"

While it's unclear what this press release means, the one certain thing is that Kimo still walks among us. So, um, watch your flesh.

Fighters Totally Ready For Affliction: "Trilogy"

(The following is a news report from Bizarro World.)

The fighters assembled for Affliction's third event - a star-studded affair dubbed "Trilogy" and scheduled for Saturday, August 1st - are set and ready for war. In the main event, Fedor Emelianenko, the most feared heavyweight on the planet, is scheduled to take on top-ranked contender Josh Barnett in what is sure to be a battle to remember. Who will emerge the victor in this contest between the heavy-handed sambo master and the submission specialist? Also on the card is the pairing of UFC veteran Renato "Babalu" Sobral and Dream tournament winner Gegard Mousasi, the Brazilian Phenom Vitor Belfort against American Top Team star Jorge Santiago, and knockout artist Paul Buentello versus Dutch kickboxer Gilbert Yvel - three bouts guaranteed to provide fireworks galore. Said Emelianenko: "I am honored to be competing for such a stable organization. Dana White can kiss my Russian butt."

Affliction: "Trilogy" will also feature a killer under card, a rock-solid business plan, and a focus on providing fighters with steady employment for a long time to come.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Top Five Heavyweights Who Are Their Own Worst Enemy

Wow. Josh Barnett and steroids. Geez, did the guy learn nothing from his 2002 debacle? He was the UFC champ then, having convincingly defeated Randy Couture only to have the belt stripped for a failed drug test, and that was the last time he would grace the Octagon. Now he's screwed himself out of a bout with Fedor - a bout he very well could have won. And for what? Anyhoo, here's a nice handy-dandy list of the top five heavyweights who've proven to be their own worst enemy. Of course, number one is...
  1. Josh Barnett - the man has submission skills, can bang when he has to, and has long been considered one of the best in his division. Unfortunately, on the eve of his match-up with the man considered the best heavyweight in the world, Barnett screws himself and his considerable number of fans out of what should have been his crowning achievement: a win over Fedor. Damn you, athletic commission, for your random drug screenings!
  2. David "Tank" Abbott - the ultimate slugger who elevated not training into an art form. Tank was the sport's first heel, alternately loved and despised by one and all, and came thisclose to winning a UFC belt. Alas, it was never meant to be. Damn you, lungs, for needing oxygen!
  3. Bobby Hoffman - a talent-rich heavyweight from the Miletich camp, this guy had knockout power and could compete in the Octagon with the best of them. He was also apparently crazy as a loon, and on the night of his last UFC loss, he beat on his new bride and wound up in the slammer. Damn you, brain chemistry, for needing regulating!
  4. Tim Sylvia - a dangerous and capable striker with the charisma of a test tube full of Ebola, this guy lost the UFC belt the first time around for testing positive for steroids, and when he lost the belt again - to Couture at UFC 68 - his blaming of his loss on nagging injuries made his stock plummet even further. The icing on the cake, however, is his stellar performance against aged boxing legend Ray Mercer last month. Damn you, ex-boxing champ, for remembering how to throw a punch!
  5. Brock Lesnar - ugh. Dude, please don't talk. Please.

KAPMMA Amateur Show in Newark Tonight

Just an FYI in case you're in the area: tonight is Karriem Abdallah Production's amateur MMA championships event at the Essex County College Gymnasium in Newark, New Jersey. A bunch of belts will be contested in the cage, so, um, yeah. Check it out.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Josh Barnett Tests Positive For Anime; Bout with Fedor Off

In what can only be described as a crushing blow to the upcoming Affliction: "Trilogy" card, heavyweight Josh Barnett has tested positive for anime in a California State Athletic Commission pre-fight screening. As a consequence, his August 1st bout against Fedor Emelianenko is off, leaving Affliction promoter and head seamstress Tom Atencio scrambling for a replacement to face the Russian. According to published reports, the specific anime Barnett tested positive for include "Fist of the North Star", "Cowboy Bebop" and "Vampire Hunter D". The former UFC champ also allegedly tested positive for "Akira", but California does not ban "classic anime" for its fighters. No word yet on who might step in to help salvage the suddenly-stricken event on such short notice.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"Kimo Dead!" Says Midget Wrestler

World-renowned Midwest Midget Wrestling Champ of the World and Dairy Queen parking lot denizen Beau "One Man Army" Taylor is reporting that Hawaiian fighting legend Kimo Leopoldo has died of a heart attack, according to every cheese-eating blog and headline-starved newsite on the Internet. A veteran from the UFC's early days, Kimo burst onto the scene with a gutsy performance against Royce Gracie at UFC 3, and despite troubles with drug addiction, the charismatic heavyweight managed to return to MMA numerous times, defeating the likes of Paul Varelans, Tim Lajcik and Tank Abbott, and losing to Ken Shamrock twice. One Man Army, meanwhile, was once voted "Most Likely To Be Unable To Ride The Rollercoaster Because He Is Only This Tall". As of this writing, no one credible has determined if the rumor of Kimo's death is true. Stay tuned for more as the story develops.

From the Mailbag: "What Amateur Loophole?"

"You mentioned in your post on the history of New York underground shows something about an 'amateur MMA loophole in the law'. What amateur loophole?" - R. Davis

I'm going to let you in on a big secret, Mr. Davis. The reason certain underground shows have remained untouched throughout the years is because they've exploited a loophole in the way the law banning MMA in New York State was written. The law, part of the New York Unconsolidated Laws, under the chapter titled "Boxing, Sparring and Wrestling" (Google it you lazy bastard), explicitly bans "combative sports", a.k.a. pro MMA - but it makes no mention of amateur MMA. In fact, later on in that chapter come the words "The provisions of this act... shall not be construed to apply to... any such contest or exhibition where the contestants are all amateurs".

Yeah, you read that correctly. The law that has kept the UFC out of the Empire State since 1997 does not apply to amateurs. And back in 2003, Jerome Becker - who at the time was a New York State Athletic Commissioner - confirmed as much to me over the phone. "We have no jurisdiction over amateur events," he said. "We only have jurisdiction over events where the competitors are paid." An attorney for the New York Department of State agreed, as did an NYPD rep from their Community Affairs office.

When NYSAC General Counsel Hugo Spindola began his crusade to stamp out anything not boxing or wrestling or an "approved martial art", he did so with Cease & Desist letters threatening the gyms hosting the events (note: boxing gyms must get licensed by the commission, and who wants to jeopardize their license for some "underground ultimate fighting" show?). If that didn't work, the State Liquor Authority would step in if the host venue sold liquor, threatening to revoke liquor licenses thanks to a law that banned selling booze at combative sports events of both the pro and amateur variety. At no time has anyone come after promoters of amateur MMA directly. How could they?

This will, of course, all change soon. The new law slowly trudging its way through the State Legislature sews up the loophole by making it all about whether an admission was charged at the door, not if the competitors were paid. But that's progress for you. And anyway, it was a fun ride while it lasted.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Michael Bisping: "I'm Going to Kick Henderson's Ass at UFC 100"

Middleweight Brit and TUF 9 coach Michael Bisping assured fans this past weekend that he'll emerge victorious when he faces Dan Henderson at UFC 100, apparently unaware that the event was a week before and that he'd fought and lost via devastating knockout. According to an interview in the Manchester Times, Bisping declared: "I'm going to kick Henderson's ass at UFC 100. That bloke's got nothing on me. He can't submit me, and he sure can't knock me out." The interviewer avoided addressing the fact that Bisping was, in fact, knocked out - although the article later goes on to quote one of the amnesia-stricken Brit's coaches. "Yeah, he's off his nut," said Paddy McPunchface. "Ain't been the same since." Bisping is tentatively scheduled to compete at UFC 105 in England, although no opponent has been named.

What Now For New Jersey Amateur MMA?

With the loss of Paul Rosner, whose USKBA played a huge role in overseeing amateur MMA in New Jersey, comes the question: "What happens now?" Referees and officials sporting USKBA patches are a fixture at the multitude of Garden State amateur promotions. Will another sanctioning organization step in? According to the NJSACB's Nick Lembo, there's no need, as the commission itself will carry on with training and licensing the inspectors, judges and referees. In other words, it will be business as usual. Rosner may be gone, but his work - and crowning achievement - will live on.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Rest In Peace Paul Rosner

The Northeast MMA community has lost another one: United States Kickboxing Association president Paul Rosner passed away. Rosner worked alongside NJSACB's Nick Lembo to develop the amateur MMA rules that are used today, and the USKBA has sanctioned countless kickboxing and MMA bouts over the years. Every amateur who steps into the cage owes a debt of gratitude to Rosner. He will be missed.

A Brief History of Underground Shows in New York

Yesterday's Gladiator Martial Arts show in Brooklyn was a bust ("organization issues" cited the promoter), so as a consolation prize, MMA Journalist will instead delve into the history of unsanctioned underground shows in New York. Yay!

A little background: New York State banned professional MMA in 1997. However, when approached, the New York State Athletic Commission's official opinion on such fights was "as long as it's not the UFC, we don't care. Do what you want." This led to a pair of tournaments at Borough of Manhattan Community College, organized by kung fu legend David Ross, where competitors wore pads and headgear. It also led to promoter Lou Neglia judiciously placing MMA bouts on some of his kickboxing cards (bouts labeled as "exhibition grappling"). These were USKBA sanctioned, took place at Vengeance at the Vanderbilt and at a one-off event in New York City called "Battle on Broadway", and curiously, when the athletic commission reversed its position, a law banning alcohol at shows with MMA bouts was used to push Neglia's non-kickboxing endeavors out of state (which, more than anything, speaks of the amateur MMA loophole in the law). And so, the timeline:
  • International Fight Night - promoted by Gene Fabrikant in the heart of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, this 2001 series of events had fighters like Christian Montes, Nardu Debra, Vlad Koulikov and Brazilian Rodolfo Amaro taking on Russian fighters in a nightclub before an audience of Russian high-rollers. Montes described it as the most surreal of experiences, as he'd hop on the subway, change at a waiters' station and then fight, and it was like he was in Moscow. Allegedly, Amaro was offered money by the promoter to take a dive against his crowd-favored foe; he refused, and won by armbar. Fabrikant's unsanctioned New York efforts bit the dust when he tried to run a pro eight-man kickboxing tournament in 2002 and city agencies lined up to shut it down.
  • Vengeance at the Vanderbilt - Neglia's seminal MMA event, which ran from 1998 to 2002, saw Matt and Nick Serra submit fools left and right, Phil Baroni pound on opponents, and fighters like Joe Scarola, Rodrigo Gracie, Jon Weidler, Pete Sell and Jose Rodriguez rack up wins. This was also where future MMA fighters like Luke Cummo and Elvis Garcia would polish their kickboxing skills in Muay Thai bouts. Note: the name "Vengeance at the Vanderbilt" came from the name of the venue, a Long Island nightclub called the Vanderbilt.
  • Battle on Broadway - Neglia's New York City show in 2002. At the lone Battle on Broadway event, which took place in the ballroom of a hotel in Times Square, Nardu Debra submitted Brad Daddis.
  • Underground Combat League - Peter Storm's long-running vale tudo underground show began in 2003, the result of a political climate that had the athletic commission actively trying to shut unsanctioned events down. The UCL still holds events to this day, has garnered the attention of the New York Times, Newsday, the Daily News, the New York Post, Fox 5 News, film producers and documentarians, and has seen the likes of UFC lightweight contender Frankie Edgar, IFL heavyweight Bryan Vetell, and fighters like Andrew Montanez, Kareem Ellington, Jay Coleman and Rob Guarino compete in its ring.
  • Aggressive Shoot Championship - an event orchestrated by Jerry Mendez in 2005, this one was a pretty successful outing that followed shootfighting rules (no closed-fist strikes to the face, no strikes to the face on the ground, one rope-escape allowed). Carmine Zocchi, Tom Velasquez and JA Dudley were among the winning competitors who later went on to fight pro.
  • Empire State Warrior Challenge - an upstate New York event that's been holding events since 2007, the Empire State Warrior Challenge is where schools with legitimate MMA programs go to prey upon traditional martial arts schools who are curious about this whole MMA thing. And I mean that in a good way. The amateur rules and medical precautions have done well in ensuring no one has gotten hurt.
  • Clash in the Cage - a Long Island-based monthly smoker, this one is more hush-hush than most and doesn't like the attention, so all I'll say about it is that it's a good place for aspiring grapplers, kickboxing and MMAers to get their feet wet in a cage.
  • Martial Arts Madness - a Brooklyn-based promotion, this bad boy had a lot of bells and whistles attached to their event a few weeks ago (a staff, concessions, ring card girls, etc.). Competitors wear pads and headgear, and seem more like the YouTube generation in the ring, but given time some real gems might emerge.

I've left out an Eastern Long Island show that held a couple events last year before folding (its name escapes me, but when I spoke to the promoter he seemed like a well-intentioned guy). I've also left out the events organized by Michael Tome, aka "Snake", on an Indian reservation in upstate New York; the athletic commission has no sway over what happens on reservations.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Preliminary Lineup for Saturday's Brooklyn Underground Show

Here's the lineup for tomorrow's Gladiator Martial Arts event, an underground MMA show in the deepest, darkest recesses of Brooklyn. This is from info I've gleaned online; whether this version of the card comes to fruition is another story entirely.
  • Rafi (kickboxing and BJJ-165lbs) vs. Mighty Mouse (Krav Maga-145lbs)
  • Greg (grappling-168lbs) vs. The Bully (streetfighting-155lbs)
  • Braveheart (jujitsu-150lbs) vs. Malik Saldana (Muay Thai-150lbs)
  • Lionheart (Muay Thai and MMA-125lbs) vs. Knightwing (Muay Thai-130lbs)
  • J-Roc (Hulk Combat-170lbs) vs. Antonio "The Beast" Ramchelawon (wrestling and MMA-172lbs)

Apparently Joe "Heavy Hands", a 260-pound boxer, is still looking for an opponent.

Normally, I'd be concerned about the weight difference between Rafi and Mighty Mouse, which spans two weight classes. But as Mighty Mouse is a cartoon character from the 1940s with invulnerability, super-strength and the power of flight, he should be okay.

MMA Journalist will likely be there to liveblog the event.

Informative Article on MMA Magazines

Veteran writer and lensman Keith Mills has an informative article up at ADCC News analyzing the current crop of MMA magazines on the market. Mills' longtime day job has been in bookstores, so he knows the magazine publishing industry pretty well. Check it out here : .

July 2009 Independent World MMA Rankings

July 17, 2009: The July 2009 Independent World MMA Rankings have been released. These rankings are independent of any single MMA media outlet or sanctioning body, and are published on multiple web sites. Some of the best and most knowledgeable MMA writers from across the MMA media landscape have come together to form one independent voting panel.

These voting panel members are, in alphabetical order: Zach Arnold (FightOpinion); Nicholas Bailey (MMA Ratings); Jared Barnes (Houston Chronicle); Jordan Breen (Sherdog); Jim Genia (Full Contact Fighter, MMA Memories, and MMA Journalist Blog); Jesse Holland (MMA Mania); Robert Joyner (MMA Payout); Todd Martin (CBS Sportsline); Zac Robinson (Sports by the Numbers MMA; Leland Roling (Bloody Elbow); Michael David Smith (AOL Fanhouse); Jonathan Snowden (Author of "Total MMA: Inside Ultimate Fighting"); Joshua Stein (MMA Opinion), Ivan Trembow (Freelance); and Dave Walsh (Total MMA).

These rankings are independent of any single MMA media outlet or sanctioning body, and are published on multiple web sites. The rankings are tabulated on a monthly basis in each of the top seven weight classes of MMA, from heavyweight to bantamweight, with fighters receiving ten points for a first-place vote, nine points for a second-place vote, and so on.

The rankings are based purely on the votes of the members of the voting panel, with nobody's vote counting more than anybody else's vote, and no computerized voting. The voters are instructed to vote primarily based on fighters' actual accomplishments in the cage/ring (the quality of opposition that they've actually beaten), not based on a broad, subjective perception of which fighters would theoretically win fantasy match-ups.

Special thanks to Eric Kamander, Zach Arnold, and Joshua Stein for their invaluable help with this project, and special thanks to Garrett Bailey for designing our logo.

Inactivity: Fighters who have not fought in the past 12 months are not eligible to be ranked, and will regain their eligibility the next time they fight.

Disciplinary Suspensions: Fighters who are currently serving disciplinary suspensions are not eligible to be ranked.

Changing Weight Classes: When a fighter announces that he is leaving one weight class in order to fight in another weight class, the fighter is not eligible to be ranked in the new weight class until he has his first fight in the new weight class.

Catch Weight Fights: When fights are contested at weights that are in between the limits of the various weight classes, they are considered to be in the higher weight class. The weight limits for each weight class are listed at the top of the rankings for each weight class.

July 2009 Independent World MMA Rankings
Heavyweight Rankings (206 to 265 lbs.)
1. Fedor Emelianenko (30-1, 1 No Contest)
2. Brock Lesnar (4-1)
3. Josh Barnett (24-5)
4. Frank Mir (12-4)
5. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (31-5-1, 1 No Contest)
6. Randy Couture (16-9)
7. Alistair Overeem (29-11, 1 No Contest)
8. Shane Carwin (11-0)
9. Brett Rogers (10-0)
10. Andrei Arlovski (15-7)

Light Heavyweight Rankings (186 to 205 lbs.)
1. Lyoto Machida (15-0)
2. Quinton Jackson (30-7)
3. Rashad Evans (13-1-1)
4. Forrest Griffin (16-5)
5. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (18-3)
6. Rich Franklin (25-4, 1 No Contest)
7. Keith Jardine (14-5-1)
8. Dan Henderson (24-7)
9. Renato "Babalu" Sobral (32-8)
10. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (17-3)

Middleweight Rankings (171 to 185 lbs.)
1. Anderson Silva (24-4)
2. Yushin Okami (23-4)
3. Dan Henderson (25-7)
4. Nathan Marquardt (28-8-2)
5. Demian Maia (10-0)
6. Jorge Santiago (21-7)
7. Robbie Lawler (16-5, 1 No Contest)
8. Gegard Mousasi (25-2-1)
9. Vitor Belfort (18-8)
10. Thales Leites (14-2)

Welterweight Rankings (156 to 170 lbs.)
1. Georges St. Pierre (18-2)
2. Jon Fitch (19-3, 1 No Contest)
3. Thiago Alves (16-4)
4. Jake Shields (23-4-1)
5. Matt Hughes (43-7)
6. Josh Koscheck (12-4)
7. Martin Kampmann (15-2)
8. Mike Swick (14-2)
9. Carlos Condit (22-5)
10. Paulo Thiago (11-0)

Lightweight Rankings (146 to 155 lbs.)
1. B.J. Penn (13-5-1)
2. Kenny Florian (11-3)
3. Shinya Aoki (20-4, 1 No Contest)
4. Eddie Alvarez (17-2)
5. Joachim Hansen (19-7-1)
6. Tatsuya Kawajiri (24-5-2)
7. Diego Sanchez (21-2)
8. Frankie Edgar (10-1)
9. Gray Maynard (7-0, 1 No Contest)
10. Satoru Kitaoka (25-8-9)

Featherweight Rankings (136 to 145 lbs.)
1. Mike Brown (22-4)
2. Urijah Faber (22-3)
3. Wagnney Fabiano (12-1)
4. Jose Aldo (15-1)
5. Hatsu Hioki (19-3-2)
6. Leonard Garcia (12-4)
7. "Lion" Takeshi Inoue (16-3)
8. Dokonjonosuke Mishima (19-6-2)
9. Raphael Assuncao (13-1)
10. Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto (17-2)

Bantamweight Rankings (126 to 135 lbs.)
1. Miguel Torres (37-1)
2. Brian Bowles (7-0)
3. Takeya Mizugaki (11-3-2)
4. Masakatsu Ueda (9-0-2)
5. Joseph Benavidez (10-0)
6. Akitoshi Tamura (14-7-2)
7. Will Ribeiro (10-2)
8. Rani Yahya (14-4)
9. Damacio Page (11-4)
10. Manny Tapia (10-2-1)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Lest These Good Quotes Go to Waste...

Here are two quotes from New Jersey's Nick Lembo, quotes which didn't make the cut for an upcoming FCF article I just wrote but were too good to go to waste. The first is in response to why the Garden State hasn't had a big show recently. "The UFC has a difficult time finding an open date at the Prudential Center or Boardwalk Hall, which are really New Jersey's only two big venues. We do not have a lot of big-scale venues in New Jersey. Even Affliction had difficulty obtaining a desired open date at the Prudential Center. The WEC and Strikeforce have not come anywhere on the East Coast to date."

The next quote is in response to the question of if New York legalizing MMA is going to impact the number of New Jersey events. "I don't think it will hurt. More events and more venues will only make the sport grow. Boxing is legal in New York and that has no effect on the number of New Jersey boxing events."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Liveblog: Strikeforce NYC Presser Part 3

"What role do you think your size and power will play in the fight?" someone asks Cyborg. She then rips out that person's spine a la Mortal Kombat. Someone else asks Carano about how she got into MMA. Her answer contains nothing about whether or not Kit Cope has a sex tape with her. A reporter then asks Cyborg if she feels any added pressure due to the magnitude of the bout. The Brazilian eats her translator. There's going to be some sort of open workout outside after the presser, but I have to get back to the office.


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Liveblog: Strikeforce NYC Presser Part 2

Gina Carano and Cris Cyborg are called to the podium individually, like they were coming to the cage for their fight. Carano gets the bigger pop from the crowd, but Cyborg clearly has her fans (werewolves, demons and other creatures that prey upon humans). Both fighters are cordial to each other, and even share a laugh when the Showtime exec sprays them down with a garden hose for the wet t-shirt contest. Nothing Earth shattering is said when Carano gets the microphone. She pretty much thanks everyone she's ever met. Cyborg, meanwhile, eats the microphone and urinates on the podium.


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Liveblog: Strikeforce NYC Presser Part 1

MMA Journalist is here at the Strikeforce presser at Madison Square Garden. Maybe a little over 100 fans have turned out, with industry luminaries The Garv, Matt the Fight Nerd, Eddie Goldman and John Moody adding credence to the festivities. NYSAC Chairwoman Melvina Lathan is here. I asked her about MMA getting legalized here and she says she's more optimistic than ever. In terms of refreshments, there's cans of soda, coffee and tea. It's not the opulant spread of an Affliction presser, so maybe that means Strikeforce has a future.

Strikeforce "Carano vs. Cyborg" Presser in NYC Today

Strikeforce is holding a press conference at Madison Square Garden today for their upcoming San Jose show, a show headlined by Gina Carano and Cris "Cyborg" Santos. MMA Journalist will be there to liveblog, with a focus on whatever free schwag and/or food is provided, so stay tuned.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Underground MMA Show in Brooklyn This Coming Saturday

Another weekend, another underground show - this one in Brooklyn and called Gladiator Martial Arts. No clue on what it will be like, although a preliminary fight card seems to have a Krav Maga dude taking on a kickboxer, a grappler taking on a streetfighter, a jiu-jitsu guy taking on a Muay Thai guy, and who knows what else. Expect MMA Journalist to liveblog the whole affair. Unless I'm killed en route. Then expect nothing.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Observations From My Couch: UFC 100

  • The robbery perpetrated in the rendering of the decision for the Yoshihiro Akiyama/Alan Belcher fight was so blatant and egregious that Akiyama now has a felony on his record.
  • Dan Henderson may have landed a huge, crowd-pleasing knockout, but he did fans everywhere a great disservice. No way are we going to be able to understand what Michael Bisping says now.
  • Next on Ultimate Grip Fighting Championship: Jon Fitch vs. Paulo Thiago. Who will come out on top in the meticulous and pain-staking battle to do nothing but place their hands on various strategic parts of their opponent's body? Stay tuned!
  • Georges St. Pierre looked dominant, but that groin injury he sustained was inevitable. No one can dry hump someone for 25 minutes without injuring themselves. No one.
  • Coors Lite and banging your wife, eh? Brock, are you telling us this because you feel insecure about that dingling tattooed on your chest? Methinks the wrestler doth protest too much.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Mac Danzig to Become First TUF Winner Booted from UFC

Noted vegan and gross underperformer Mac Danzig is slated to become the first TUF winner to be cut from the UFC's roster, as the TUF 6 veteran will be facing New Jersey grappling stud Jim Miller in a lightweight undercard bout on Saturday night's UFC 100 event - a match-up Danzig is destined to lose via submission. The loss will be Danzig's third in a row, bringing his Octagon record to a dismal 1-3 and painting him as the clear-cut winner in the Danzig/Joe Stevenson/Kendall Grove "Race to Suckville". When asked about the honor to be bestowed upon him as the first TUF winner given the boot, Danzig replied: "Guys, please, meat is murder. Team Tofu all the way."

Based on Statement from Sketchy Agent, Anthony Johnson Arrested for Murder, Treason and Human Trafficking

Anthony "Rumble" Johnson has been arrested, and while details of the situation remain murky, a statement issued by his sketchy agent, Ken Pavia, indicate that the UFC fighter may be facing charges of murder, treason and human trafficking. The statement reads in part, "On June 27 Mr. Johnson was arrested in Hayward, California, and charged with misdemeanors stemming from an alleged altercation with an ex-girlfriend." As this comes from Pavia, a well-known silver-tongued vampire often found lurking in the rafters of UFC events waiting to prey upon the innocent, it can be inferred that Johnson was in fact arrested for crimes most serious. The statement further reads, "These charges are completely outside the realm of Mr. Johnson's character" - a sure indication that the man who defeated Tommy Speer, Kevin Burns and Luigi Fioravanti in the Octagon was a ticking timebomb set to explode at any time, and perhaps even a criminal mastermind responsible for the deaths of countless of hapless victims. MMA Journalist will have more as this story develops.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Predictions for UFC 100: "Ultimate Actually Worth the $44.99 for the Pay-Per-View"

UFC 100 is nearly upon us, and the event - dubbed "Ultimate Actually Worth the $44.99 for the Pay-Per-View" - might actually be worth the clams shelled out to watch the damn thing. There are about two and a half main events, with Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir squaring off, Georges St. Pierre and Thiago Alves doing their thang, and Michael Bisping and Dan Hend... zzzzzz. Ahem, anyway, predictions!
  • Brock, oh Brock. Brockety-Brock. Brock-brock-brock-bakaw! Brock-the-house, brock-brock-the-house. Brock-and-roll forever, baby!
  • Oh yeah, Mir by submission.
  • As Alves is more of a striker than a grappler, St. Pierre's technique of slathering himself with Vaseline, baby oil, raw petroleum and margarine will avail him naught. Alves by TKO, and St. Pierre will leave the Octagon a broken man, comforted only by the loving snorts of his moose, Matilda.
  • Dan Henderson is getting old but is still tougher than a $2 steak. Bisping's greatest moment was his gritty portrayal of Pikey Number 4 in the movie "Snatch". Hendo by split decision.
  • Congratulations Paulo Thiago, you've defeated Josh Koscheck! Your reward: a fatal beating at the hands of Jon Fitch! Yay!
  • Yoshihiro Akiyama by JUDO CHOP! Hiyaaa!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Brock Lesnar Revealed to be "The Juggernaut" and Promptly Arrested; UFC 100 Bout in Jeopardy

Heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar, whose massive frame was set to grace the Octagon on Saturday night to face interim champ Frank Mir, has been revealed to be "The Juggernaut", a notorious criminal wanted for an assortment of bank robberies and the wanton destruction of millions of dollars in property. The revelation - a shock to those within the MMA community - has since led to Lesnar's arrest by Las Vegas authorities. This has left the Lesnar/Mir UFC 100 match-up in jeopardy, and leaves Zuffa brass in the awkward position of having to post bail or else lose their main event. As the Juggernaut, Lesnar has clashed with the outlaw band of mutants the X-Men a number of times, and has even faced off against the Incredible Hulk, with his invulnerability and seemingly limitless strength making him an extremely difficult villian to battle against. When detained by the Las Vegas Police Department and asked to identify himself, Lesnar's response purportedly was a curt "I'm the Juggernaut, bitch". Stay tuned for more as this story develops.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Article Link

Instead of watching SpikeTV's "100 Greatest UFC Fights of All Time as Decided by the UFC", check out this article by Bleacher Report. It's part one of a series.

Dana White to Be Inducted Into UFC Hall of Fame Twice

UFC Chief Megalomaniac Dana White announced last night via Twitter that he will be inducted into the UFC's Hall of Fame twice, with a formal ceremony taking place at UFC 100 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Saturday night. The tweet, which read "!@#&*%$#!@?/&*%$!", put to rest months of rumors and speculation about who was worthy of those two coveted Hall of Fame spots, and for his role as center of the MMA universe, it should come as no surprise that "The Bald and Vulgar One" would get the nod. Previously inducted Hall of Fame members include Dana White, Dana White, and a bunch of fighters who think that Dana White is awesome.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Destitute WEC Champs to Borrow Money from Bellator FC Champs to Pay Rent

WEC champs Mike Brown and Miguel Torres, as well as former featherweight champ and poster boy Urijah Faber, have announced their intention to borrow money from Bellator Fighting Championship title-holders Joe Soto, Eddie Alvarez, Lyman Good and Hector Lombard, with the cash being used for rent, food and to purchase items like clothes and toothpaste. The move comes as no surprise to those aware of the pay disparity between WEC champs and Bellator champs. For winning three bouts in their respective weight class tournaments, Soto, Alvarez, Good and Lombard each earned $175,000; for their efforts in the Zuffa-owned WEC, Brown, Torres and Faber were paid a can of baked beans, a torn sweater and a half-used pack of Camel-brand cigarettes (non-filtered). "Really, what can you do?" said Brown from a cardboard box beneath the I-95 overpass in Miami, where he spends most of his time talking to imaginary friends and sipping Boone's Farm. "We bust our asses for a top-level promotion and make peanuts. Those Bellator guys? They're making bank!" Added Torres from his spot around a flaming garbage can in an abandoned lot in Chicago's South Side, skewered rat in hand: "My mullet's gotta eat."

Friday, July 3, 2009

Rest in Peace Billy Craparo

Northeast MMA has lost one of its pioneers, as former Pitts Penn fighter Billy Craparo has passed away. A capable slugger and competent grappler, Craparo once waged a stand-up war with Fight Factory's Judah Ciervo at BAMA FightNight and later submitted Rhino Fight Team's Jay Coleman at a Ring of Combat - two promotions that pretty much covered the spectrum of the Garden State MMA scene, and two examples of how Craparo was a part of it all along. It's a tight-knit community out here, and Craparo will be sorely missed.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Plug for the Wiseass Sites Out There

I'm not ashamed to say this blog was inspired by the snarkiness of , and I would be lying if I said I didn't read every day. But a site called is angling in on that inherent wiseass aspect of human nature too. I dig it, and it's worth checking out.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Deividas Taurosevicius to Test Mark Hominick's Ability to Enunciate

IFL veteran and all around Northeast stud Deividas Taurosevicius has signed on to face Mark Hominick for the August 1st Affliction: "Trilogy" card, and the Lithuanian-born grappling ace is sure to test the Canadian kickboxer's ability to enunciate. Sporting a moniker that has felled the likes of Bart Palaszewski, Savant Young and Dan Lauzon, Taurosevicius has proven to be tough as nails with a razor-sharp submission game - a game matched only by his nigh-inarticulable name in terms of dangerousness. "We're pleased to set up this featherweight match-up," said Affliction Head Seamstress Tom Atencio. "Mark Hominick and Deivi... Deivid... urk!" Atencio then suffered a fractured tongue. No word yet on his condition.

Inaugural UFC 100 Brochure Hits Newsstands

The inaugural "UFC 100" brochure has hit the newsstands, and like any piece of great journalism, this homegrown publication doesn't shy away from tackling the issues and asking the hard questions. In this edition (the first of what could be many such informative brochures if the public is willing to pay for them), readers will learn:
  • Why the UFC is the best organization ever.
  • Why Dana White is the coolest guy around. You only wish you could be like him. Go on, shave your head and curse a lot. You know you want to.
  • Other organizations suck. We hate them. Strikeforce? Affliction? Phooey!
  • Fighters under contract with the UFC are the best in the world. Fighters not under contract with the UFC stink. If they didn't stink, they'd be under contract with the UFC.
  • Fedor isn't real.
  • Lorenzo Fertitta - the man, the myth, the legend.
  • "Give me cheeseburgers or give me death" - the Joe Silva story.
  • UFC 106 to feature just a whole bunch of senior citizens thumb wrestling; why it's worth your pay-per-view dollars.
  • Isn't Brock Lesnar great?
  • Why the UFC is the best organization ever - part II.

In addition, the UFC brochure is packed with quotes, tips and photos from all your favorite Dana White moments - plus a pull-out centerfold of the man himself. Buy now!