Monday, August 31, 2009

Randy Couture: Now With More Old!

Saturday night saw the unveiling of the newest version of Randy Couture: the "old man who's inspiring just by being in there". Yes, "The Natural" is a fighter able to get into the cage to give opponents a hard time and drive pay-per-view sales (hence the nice six-fight contract extension the UFC rewarded him for being 46-year-old and popular and an all-around swell dude), but he's no longer capable of beating the best. Not by a longshot. Is the multi-time champ worthy of another Octagon appearance? Sure. He could probably defeat a fair number of the scrubs out there. But thanks to his performances against Brock Lesnar and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Couture cannot be considered one the killer elite. Now, everything he does (like win) or doesn't do (like win) is overshadowed by the fact that he's the oldest guy in the cage. Randy Couture: now with more old!

Observations From My Couch: UFC 102

  • Brandon Vera won because of his vastly superior striking skills, but he also had the advantage over Krzysztof Soszynski because of his name. Seriously, who doesn't prefer saying "Vera" over "Soszynski"?
  • Who was that Jake Rosholt? He was a lot more exciting and capable than the one-dimensional Jake Rosholt we'd seen previously.
  • By the way he came in throwing kicks and got totally messed up by a single punch, you could tell Demian Maia is a fantastic jiu-jitsu guy.
  • Todd Duffee seems tough, but he needs to face someone who won't get knocked out by a jab.
  • Ed Herman: the next in a long line of TUFers who belong in the minor leagues.
  • How on Earth was Evan Dunham vs. Marcus Aurelio a split decision? That one wasn't even close.
  • It's time for the "Dean of Mean" to hang up the gloves and go back to academia.
  • Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira looked great - maybe the best ever. Randy Couture looked old - maybe the oldest ever.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Liveblog: Carmine Zocchi's New School

Local jiu-jitsu black belt Carmine Zocchi opened a new school today in Ridgewood, Queens, and MMA Journalist was on hand to snap a couple pics and listen to some tales from Carmine's early days training under Marcelo Mello. Apparently back then it was commonplace for Mello to field challenges from streetfighting or karate yahoos who were unaware that grappling was an essential part of fighting, so Carmine was his inadvertant enforcer, injecting jiu-jitsu into fistfights while honing his craft. It is of course a kinder, gentler jiu-jitsu now, with Carmine playing the role of teacher and his new digs here in Ridgewood serving as the BAMA FightNight and ROC vet's homebase. Incidently, there appears to be a boxing/kickboxing gym downstairs, so his facilty has it all.


Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone with SprintSpeed


Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone with SprintSpeed

Saturday, August 29, 2009

With UFC 102 Win, Minotauro Hopes To Finally Move Out Of Labyrinth

To most, tonight's UFC 102 match-up between Randy "The Natural" Couture and Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira may at best be fan candy and at worst be past-its-prime matchmaking, but to the Brazilian with the head of a bull and the body of a man, the bout means a lot more. Consigned to living in a labyrinth in his South American homeland, Minotauro hopes a victory over Couture will provide him with enough money to finally move into better living quarters, like perhaps an apartment over a grocery store or into someone's unused garage. "I really don't eat virgins anymore," said Minotauro. "Plus, living in a labyrinth... that's very difficult. You cannot get comfortable. Where is the bathroom? Where is the kitchen? I wake up in the middle of the night to use the toilet or get a snack from the refrigerator and I end up lost for hours." According to oddsmakers, Minotauro may have his work cut out for him when he tangles with the Natural. But tall odds or not, for the sake of new digs, the Brazilian is going to do his best.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone with SprintSpeed


Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone with SprintSpeed


Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone with SprintSpeed


Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone with SprintSpeed


Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone with SprintSpeed


Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone with SprintSpeed


Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone with SprintSpeed


Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone with SprintSpeed

Liveblog: Fedor at TSMMA Manhattan

MMA Journalist is here at the Tiger Schulmann's MMA school in Manhattan, waiting patiently for some Russian dude named Fedor who is scheduled to visit the facility. For those who don't know, TSMMA is an organization encompassing 48 schools in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Florida, and their fight team is a key player in the Northeast MMA circuit. Their star player is Lyman Good, who won Bellator FC's welterweight tournament on ESPN Deportes; Good is actually here now teaching a grappling class (there are three classes being taught simultaneously - this place is huge). Anyway, Fedor is due to arrive in a few minutes. I asked if Fedor's visit is an indication that we'll see some TSMMA fighters in Strikeforce soon, maybe at an East Coast Strikeforce installment, but the folks here are feigning ignorance. Hmmmm...


Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone with SprintSpeed

Fedor To Appear At Manhattan TSMMA School Today

Yeah, so MMA Journalist missed the Fedor press conference yesterday at the Fighthouse where it was announced the Russian deity would be facing Brett Rogers at some upcoming Strikeforce show. However, Fedor is still in town, and will apparently be making an appearance at the Manhattan Tiger Schulmann's Mixed Martial Arts school tonight at 6:15. The school is at 39 West 19th Street, and as this won't create any conflicts with my day job, I will definitely be there to snap some pics this time. Woot!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Predictions for UFC 102: "Senior Citizen Throwdown"

UFC 102 is this Saturday, and the event is headlined by a match-up between 46-year-old wonder Randy Couture and 33-year-old Brazilian senior citizen Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Why is this bout happening? Hell, if the IFL could bring back every "name" fighter from yester-year and squeeze some viewers out of them, why can't the UFC? Anyway, predictions:
  • Brandon Vera against Krzysztof Soszynski? Please, God, let the man with the pronounceable name win. Please.
  • Whether he's juiced up to the gills or not, Chris Leben should have no trouble knocking Jake "I Shoot In For Takedowns Without Protecting My Head" Rosholt unconscious.
  • In the battle between Nate Marquardt and Demian Maia, hopefully the jiu-jitsu master Maia wins. Why? Because we've already seen Anderson Silva destroy Marquardt. If Silva's going to destroy everyone in the UFC, the roster is deep enough for him to go through the list once before wrecking those who want seconds.
  • Keith Jardine is still around? Boy, that guy gets like zero push from his employers. I thought he'd left to join the French Foreign Legion or something.
  • Couture is one battered individual, while Nogueira is crumbling before our very eyes. Expect "The Natural" to clobber "Minotauro", then leave the Octagon abruptly to make the early bird special at the Excalibur buffet.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

WEC 43 Postponed After Realization That No One In Ohio Cares About WEC 43

WEC 43: "Cerrone vs. Henderson", which was slated for September 2nd in Youngstown, Ohio, has been rescheduled for October 10th at a new, soon-to-be finalized location. The move comes with the sudden realization by Zuffa that no one in Ohio actually cares about headliners Donald Cerrone and Benson Henderson, nor any of the other little guys populating the card, as evidenced by dismal ticket sales and zero media interest. "Yeah, they don't appreciate us there so screw 'em," said a source within the WEC organization. "We're going to go where we always sell out - like the Munchkin Land Amphitheater or the Leprechaun Stadium in Ireland."

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fedor Meet & Greet In NYC On Wednesday

Fedor is coming to New York City for a meet & greet on Wednesday. The venue is the Fighthouse, which is in Midtown Manhattan, and it's anticipated that he'll do a little grappling then answer questions pertaining to his upcoming book "Why I Like Soups Made With Beets: The Fedor Emelianenko Story". MMA Journalist will likely be there to snap some pics.

VFL's Cage Combat at the Capitol Review

MMA Journalist's ace photog Jake Blanton attended the Valley Fight League's "Cage Combat at the Capitol" in Washington, DC this weekend, and according to Blanton the event kicked ass. "The fans could never look away," says Blanton, who puts attendance for the 15-bout show at around 800 (an almost sell-out crowd). "There were dominating victories (congratulations Jaren Williams, Matt Dean, Adrian Belcarris, and Chris Stanton) and come-from-behind shockers (great heart displayed by Danial Merritt, Josh Haskins, and Nicole Hess). The decisions were both unanimous and split, the submissions were varied (four armbars, two guillotines and a rear naked choke), belts were won and lost, and there was never down time between fights." Blanton credits Robert Conner's unanimous decision win over Brad Wright as "fight of the night". Some pics:

August 2009 Independent World MMA Rankings

August 21, 2009: The August 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 (Fight Opinion); 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 (Freelance); 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).

Joachim Hansen is not currently eligible to be ranked due to the fact that he has been inactive for 12 months; and Josh Barnett is not currently eligible to be ranked due to his recent positive drug test.

August 2009 Independent World MMA Rankings Ballots collected on August 18, 2009

Heavyweight Rankings (206 to 265 lbs.)

1. Fedor Emelianenko (30-1, 1 No Contest)

2. Brock Lesnar (4-1)

3. Frank Mir (12-4)

4. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (31-5-1, 1 No Contest)

5. Randy Couture (16-9)

6. Alistair Overeem (29-11, 1 No Contest)

7. Shane Carwin (11-0)

8. Brett Rogers (10-0)

9. Andrei Arlovski (15-7)

10. Fabricio Werdum (12-4-1)

Light Heavyweight Rankings (186 to 205 lbs.)

1. Lyoto Machida (15-0)

2. Quinton Jackson (30-7)

3. Rashad Evans (13-1-1)

4. Anderson Silva (25-4)

5. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (18-3)

6. Forrest Griffin (16-6)

7. Gegard Mousasi (26-2-1)

8. Rich Franklin (25-4, 1 No Contest)

9. Keith Jardine (14-5-1)

10. Dan Henderson (25-7)

Middleweight Rankings (171 to 185 lbs.)

1. Anderson Silva (25-4)

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. Vitor Belfort (18-8)

9. Chael Sonnen (23-10-1)

10. Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-1, 2 No Contests)

Welterweight Rankings (156 to 170 lbs.)

1. Georges St. Pierre (19-2)

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 (11-1)

Lightweight Rankings (146 to 155 lbs.)

1. B.J. Penn (14-5-1)

2. Shinya Aoki (21-4, 1 No Contest)

3. Eddie Alvarez (17-2)

4. Kenny Florian (11-4)

5. Tatsuya Kawajiri (24-5-2)

6. Diego Sanchez (21-2)

7. Gray Maynard (7-0, 1 No Contest)

8. Frankie Edgar (10-1)

9. Josh Thomson (16-2)

10. Mizuto Hirota (12-3-1)

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 (20-3-2)

6. Leonard Garcia (13-4)

7. "Lion" Takeshi Inoue (16-3)

8. Raphael Assuncao (13-1)

9. Dokonjonosuke Mishima (19-6-2)

10. Josh Grispi (13-1)

Bantamweight Rankings (126 to 135 lbs.)

1. Brian Bowles (8-0)

2. Miguel Torres (37-2)

3. Takeya Mizugaki (12-3-2)

4. Masakatsu Ueda (9-0-2)

5. Dominick Cruz (14-1)

6. Akitoshi Tamura (14-7-2)

7. Joseph Benavidez (10-1)

8. Will Ribeiro (10-2)

9. Rani Yahya (14-4)

10. Damacio Page (11-4)

The Independent World MMA 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.

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, or who have been denied a license for drug test or disciplinary reasons, 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.

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.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Skinny on John Doyle

The folks at M-1 Global circulated a press release the other day stating that Nick Thompson was injured and would be unable to fight French fighter Karl Amoussou at their August 28th M-1: "Breakthrough" show, and that Thompson would be replaced by veteran Northeast competitor John Doyle. Who is John Doyle? A quick glance at his record and one sees an awful lot of losses - six recent ones in row, in fact. But there's more to the Pennsylvania-based wrestler than that.

When Doyle debuted back in September, 2006, he was raw as hell. Yet no one could stop his takedowns or impede his dogged ground and pound, and when it came down to it, no one could match his heart. He ended up winning a Combat in the Cage championship belt at light-heavyweight. Unfortunately, talent alone doesn't cut it when you start facing the likes of Ricardo Romero, Rafael "Feijao" Custodio and Costa Phillippou - guys who are top-level fighters. Add to that equation that fact that Doyle has sometimes been inconsistent with his training, and has taken too many fights on short notice, and it's easy to explain the downward slide. But the dude is tough, and if he goes down, will invariably go down swinging no matter what. Keep that in mind on August 28th.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

More People Watch Stuff On Free TV Than On Premium Channels, According To UFC Press Release

More people watch stuff on free TV than on premium channels, according to a statement released by the UFC. Citing the ratings disparity between last Saturday's SpikeTV re-broadcast of UFC 100 and Showtime's live broadcast of Strikeforce's "Carano vs. Cyborg", which drew 2 million viewers to 526,000 viewers respectively, the statement attempts to imagine some sort of fantasy involving a recycled UFC product being worth more than Strikeforce's fresh, new product. It's a fantasy that ignores the fact that more people have access to SpikeTV (which is usually part of a basic cable TV package) than Showtime (which cable TV providers charge extra for), and hints at both a deep-rooted fear of competition and a low opinion of the media's analytical reasoning skills. Said a spokesman for the UFC, "The UFC is the best. People will watch whatever we put on SpikeTV over anything on Showtime." When asked about what will happen when CBS starts broadcasting Strikeforce events, the spokesman then broke down and wept.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mitsuhiro Ishida Accuses Gilbert Melendez Of "Letting His Soul Glo"

Japanese fighter Mitsuhiro Ishida, who was stopped via third-round TKO at Saturday night's Strikeforce event, has accused opponent Gilbert Melendez of using illegal hair products - namely, the banned substance known as "Soul Glo", which is used to maintain the Jheri curl hairstyle. According to the product manufacturer, Soul Glo leaves the user "feeling ole so silky smooth" and enables the soul to "shine through", two traits that would have given Melendez an advantage in his bout with Ishida. Said a spokesperson from the California State Athletic Commission, "These are very serious accusations. Once Mr. Ishida files a formal written complaint, we will investigate the matter thoroughly." Neither Melendez nor the staff at his hair salon, the Cesar Gracie Academy of Luscious Locks, were available for comment.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Congrats To Fred Ettish

UFC 2 veteran Fred Ettish scored a win in his comeback fight in Minnesota on Saturday night. The 53-year old karate and Miletich Fighting Systems instructor won via tapout due to strikes, and has now avenged the only loss on his record. Congrats Fred!

Observations From My Couch: Strikeforce's "Gina Got Her Ass Kicked"

  • Fabricio Werdum's jiu-jitsu looked solid. It's possible that his skill-level will enable him to survive maybe 30 seconds with Fedor before he's killed.
  • Kudos to Gilbert Melendez for keeping the Jheri curl alive and in the public eye.
  • What Gegard Mousasi did to Renato "Babalu" Sobral cannot be considered fighting. That was some grassy knoll-sniper stuff right there. Babalu never even had a chance.
  • Cyborg crushed Gina Carano to become the 145-pound champ. After watching that bout, WEC featherweight champ Mike Brown reportedly called his management to discuss a move out of the weight class. It took them an hour to make the terrified Brown understand that he'd never have to fight Cyborg, as she fights in the women's division.

Friday, August 14, 2009

UFC To Stymie Strikeforce By Recycling All Their Own Discarded Trash

In the latest round of the imagined (or is it?) UFC/Strikeforce conflict, Dana White and company have decided to stymie Scott Coker's recruitment efforts by recycling all of their own old, discarded trash. First up on the recycle list are "New York Badass" Phil Baroni and Dennis Hallman - two fighters who, before Strikeforce signed Fedor and became a major player in the MMA promotion business, couldn't even get UFC matchmaker Joe Silva to take their phone calls. Now Baroni and Hallman are the recipients of a pair of juicy UFC contracts. Expect more Octagon detritus and debris to be scooped up by Zuffa in months to come.

Memorable Moments in Northeast Female MMA History

In honor of Saturday's highly-anticipated Gina Carano/Cris "Cyborg" Santos epic - the biggest fight in female MMA history - MMA Journalist has compiled this handy-dandy collection of the biggest moments in Northeast female MMA. Curiously, the Northeast has at times been a comparative hotbed for fighting femmes, with top talent like Amanda Buckner, Laura D'Auguste, Tara LaRosa and Roxanne Modaferri (before she moved to Japan) calling this part of the world home. Anyway, the list:
  • Laura D'Auguste vs. Shannon Logan, Reality Fighting 2, 11/02/02 - The first female MMA fight in the Northeast saw a Tiger Schulmann Karate rep in D'Auguste take on a Team Renzo blue belt in Logan, and it was like watching Chute Boxer Pele Landi Jons against Jorge Patino in Brazil circa 1996 (i.e., D'Auguste beat on Logan mercilessly). The crowd inside the Wildwood Convention Center went absolutely nuts - the first inclination that skilled women were viable competitors and just as exciting as men.
  • Laura D'Auguste vs. Del Greer, Reality Fighting 3, 2/8/03 - The audience was much bigger for this one, and when D'Auguste managed to defeat the larger Greer despite a weight disadvantage, the whole place erupted. This was the first time a female bout was the main event, and no one left the Bayonne High School gymnasium disappointed.
  • Shelby Walker vs. Angela Wilson, Ring of Fury 3, 5/3/03 - A Boston nightclub played host to Ring of Fury 3, and when the referee said "go!" Wilson charged right into Walker's fist. Walker got off another punch and that was all she wrote. At five seconds, it remains the fastest KO in women's MMA history.
  • Laura D'Auguste vs. Roxanne Modafferi, Ring of Combat 8, 3/19/05 - When Jennifer Howe was considered the best female fighter in the world, Modafferi kicked her ass, then kicked her ass again in the rematch. And though a loss on a Smackgirl card in Japan marred her record, "Roxy" was considered the new chick to beat at the time. So in the dank depths of the Asbury Park Convention Hall that's just what D'Auguste did. After ROC 8, D'Auguste went on to win a Smackgirl tournament in Japan - a win which had nearly everyone in the industry pegging her as the top female fighter in the sport.
  • Tara LaRosa vs. Roxanne Modafferi, MFC: "Boardwalk Blitz", 3/4/06 - Matchmaker Miguel Iturrate knew full well the appeal of women fighting, so he wasted little time in putting such bouts on his Mixed Fighting Championship cards. At this one, LaRosa - considered to be top contender - took on Modaferri in a grueling three-rounder.
  • Amanda Buckner vs. Shayna Baszler, MFC: "USA vs. Russia", 6/3/06 - Another Miguel Iturrate special. When Buckner and Baszler threw down at Boardwalk Hall, they really threw down, and pics of the donnybrook made the cover of the New York Times the next day.
  • Tara LaRosa vs. Kelly Kobold, BodogFIGHT: "Alvarez vs. Lee", 7/14/07 - BodogFIGHT wanted to crown a 135-pound female champ, and after pitting some of the best against each other for their weekly TV show, it was clear LaRosa was one half of the equation. Unfortunately, D'Auguste (now a full-fledged jiu-jitsu student) injured her ankle in training, so undefeated Midwesterner Kobold stepped in. LaRosa won via fourth-round armbar, and since then she's been the queen of the 135 pounders. D'Auguste, meanwhile, got married and retired from fighting.
  • Tara LaRosa vs. Alexis Davis and Sally Krumdiak, Extreme Challenge's "War at the Shore" and "Mayhem at the Marina", 1/23/09 and 3/28/09 - While Carano was making waves on national TV, LaRosa returned to action to prove yet again that she's the best by taking on all comers and dominating. She remains one of the best and most accomplished unsung heroes in MMA.

Predictions for Strikeforce: "Carano vs. Cyborg"

  • Jay Hieron will be declared the winner by disqualification when, after seeing opponent Jesse Taylor stumble, slur his words and vomit three times on the way to the ring, officials determine that Taylor is intoxicated to the point of blacking out.
  • Renato "Babalu" Sobral and Gegard Mousasi will wage an absolute war over the Strikeforce light-heavyweight belt. But no matter what the outcome, Babalu's finely-coiffed hair will remain pristine.
  • Utilizing world-class jiu-jitsu, Fabricio Werdum is going to get Mike Kyle down and mount him. Kyle will then produce a taser and stun the Brazilian, and when he's disqualified for cheating, he'll claim it was just "a heat of the moment thing".
  • Gilbert Melendez and Mitsuhiro Ishida are just going to wrestle. That's it. Just wrestle.
  • Gina Carano will defeat Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos after a long, protracted battle. She will, unfortunately, sustain a bite in the bout, and during the next full moon will temporarily transform into a feral Brazilian jungle cat.

UFC's Strikeforce Counter-Programming To Include Brock Lesnar Sex Tape

The UFC's anti-Strikeforce effort is in full-swing with the announcement that SpikeTV will air an alleged Brock Lesnar sex tape at the same time as Strikeforce's "Carano vs. Cyborg" event on Showtime on Saturday night. The Lesnar tape is rumored to include the UFC heavyweight champ's recent antics with a giant inflatable Coors Lite can, his molestation of the Minnesota Vikings' mascot "Viktor E. Viking", and clips of his bachelor party, where strippers reportedly frolicked in over 1,000 pounds of carp. "You want to take my Fedor from me?" crowed Chief UFC Cry Baby Dana White. "Scott Coker, I play for keeps!"

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Breed Fighters Event This Weekend To Feature "Wilkie's Warriors Against The World" Challenge

New Breed Fighters has been churning out amateur MMA events in Atlantic City for a while now and New Jersey MMA pioneer Alex Wilkie has been churning out fighters, so it was only a matter of time before a fight card came along that pitted competitors from a number of different camps against Wilkie's best up-and-comers. Well, that scenario is going down on Saturday night at the Resorts Casino with NBF's "Wilkie's Warriors Against the World". The fight card here - - and a quick glance reveals Wilkie's students will be facing representatives from Team Carmine Zocchi, MFS, Kassaki Kai Karate, Team Emerson Souza and NYC BJJ, among others. How confident is Alex Wilkie in his team? He's apparently offering a $150 gift certificate to Gallagher's Bar & Grille (which is in the casino) to anyone who defeats one of his guys. That's pretty cool. MMA Journalist will be home watching Strikeforce that night, but if you're in Atlantic City, this NBF installment is definitely worth checking out.

Kenny Florian: "I Was Winning Until BJ Beat The Piss Out Of Me"

Lightweight contender Kenny Florian may have been defeated in his UFC 101 scrap against BJ Penn, but according to a recent radio interview, the Massachusetts native feels he was ahead on the scorecards until they actually started fighting. "I was winning until BJ beat the piss out of me," said Florian, who for four rounds managed to batter the Hawaiian's fists with his head before succumbing to a choke. "I mean, up until when the referee said 'go', I was kicking his ass. You could see it on BJ's face." The night ended with Florian tapping out. But the TUF 1 veteran insists that before that, and before the referee even said 'go', he was in Penn's head and on the verge of victory. "Honestly, I had him right where I wanted him, right where we'd planned on him being. I mean, if not for the hellacious beating I took on the feet for the duration of Rounds 1 through 3, and the takedown and dominance he exerted over me on the ground in Round 4, I would've at least gotten the decision."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Strikeforce Replaces Unrepentant Stoner With Unmitigated Drunk

Strikeforce has replaced an unrepentant stoner with an unmitigated drunk for their "Carano vs. Cyborg" event on Saturday, abandoning the pairing of Nick Diaz and Jay Hieron and instead matching Hieron up with Jesse Taylor. According to the California State Athletic Commission, Diaz refused to put down his bag of Cheetos and get up from his couch to take a pre-fight drug test, thereby killing his chance at getting licensed in time. Without missing a beat, Strikeforce matchmakers scoured local bars and drunk tanks and came up with TUF 7 veteran Taylor, whose wrestling and hard-charging style, plus the fact that he was booted from "The Ultimate Fighter" for a booze-fueled rampage, makes him a decent opponent for the Xtreme Couture-trained former IFL champ. "We're pleased with the Jay Hieron/Jesse Taylor match-up," said a Strikeforce spokesman. "After Nick Diaz failed to get licensed, we considered finding Mr. Hieron a heroin or crack addict, but Mr. Taylor was too much of a mess to pass up." Strikeforce's Saturday show will also feature a lot of sober fighters, too.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Nick Diaz Too Stoned To Take Pre-Fight Drug Test, Inadvertantly Urinates Into Bong

Nick Diaz was reportedly too stoned to be able to take a California State Athletic Commission-mandated pre-fight drug screening on Friday, with the welterweight star inadvertently urinating into a bong and attempting to hand CSAC representatives that as his sample. The urine collection procedure, which must take place in the presence of a commission inspector and go into a sterile plastic cup, has been rescheduled for today, but Diaz's actions have cast doubt on whether his promised match-up against Jay Hieron for Saturday's Strikeforce: "Carano vs. Cyborg" may actually happen. When asked to comment, the Gracie-trained fighter said, "Dude, I... wait, what?"

Observations From My Couch: WEC 42

  • Leonard Garcia was choked so hard by Jameel Massouh, the former drug mule puked up two cocaine-filled balloons (which had to be cleaned up by the WEC ring janitor in between rounds). The dude's a badass for surviving and pulling out the win after that.
  • Jeff Curran just cannot catch a break. Is there no room in this sport for our storied veterans and pioneers?
  • The best thing about two wrestlers engaging in a striking contest is that, when one gets hit like Ricardo Lamas did, they get messed up big time.
  • Joseph Benavidez got handled. Plain and simple.
  • Brian Bowles knocked out Miguel Torres? No! Mullet power never die!

Observations From My Couch: UFC 101

  • Kurt Pellegrino earned a solid win over a decent opponent in Josh Neer, and "Batman" managed to do it without using his air-powered grappling-hook gun, his forearm brace that shoots throwing stars, or any of the other nifty inventions the Dark Knight often employs.
  • I love Ricardo Almeida and believe he's an icon, but against Kendall Grove the man was a human hug-machine and blanket. I miss the smooth submission master.
  • Maybe Amir Sadollah's bout was stopped too soon, maybe it wasn't. Either way, he needs to learn to intelligently defend himself at all times.
  • Aaron Riley vs. Shane Nelson was like a man fighting a boy. Nelson needs to hit puberty fast if wants to be competitive against the other lightweights.
  • Anderson Silva didn't just defeat Forrest Griffin, he owned him. Griffin is now Silva's manservant and must do his new master's bidding without question.
  • Regardless of whatever happens at welterweight, BJ Penn is the absolute king of the lightweights. Who can possibly challenge him? Diego Sanchez? Frankie Edgar? Gray Maynard? Maybe if they all fought him at once...

Friday, August 7, 2009

More On This Strange WEC Rumor

So there apparently really is a secret WEC event going on this Sunday night, some sort of stealth/ninja/under the radar affair involving bantamweight champ Miguel Torres, Jeff Curran and Leonard Garcia. As this WEC 42 event has nothing to do with Strikeforce, Fedor or the UFC's Philly event, it's gone largely unnoticed. But MMA Journalist is on the case! Here are some predictions:
  • In the title fight between 135-pound mullet master (yes, his mullet weighs 135 pounds) Torres and challenger Brian Bowles, Bowles is going to get creamed and then fade back into tiny-fighter obscurity. Ultimately, he may return to his old job as a part-time lawn jockey.
  • Jeff "Big Frog" Curran and Takeya Mizugaki are set to do battle, and regardless of the outcome, the Japanese warrior is destined to emerge from the bout with warts. Because, you know, the whole frog thing.
  • Joseph Benavidez vs. Dominick Cruz - the Spanish guy will win.
  • Ricardo Lamas against Danny Castillo... seriously, where does the WEC find these people and why the hell are they on the main card? Shouldn't the recognizable names - like Javier Vasquez, Rani Yahya and Garcia - get TV time? This bout has DVR fast-forward written all over it.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Notes From Strikeforce/Fedor/M-1 Global Conference Call

  • The UFC lied about what they offered to Fedor.
  • Fedor is willing to fight anyone for his first fight in Strikeforce.
  • Brett Rogers is a more worthy opponent for Fedor than Brock Lesnar, as Lesnar is only 4-1 in MMA.
  • The whole Gegard Mousasi/UFC offer thing was fabricated BS by the UFC.
  • Brock sucks.
  • Vadim Finkelstein either owns a dog, or was driving during the call and ran a dog over.
  • Strikeforce will aim to do pay-per-views six to nine months down the road.
  • Fedor is kept fully abreast of the decisions being made on his behalf. He even receives financial reports.
  • Someone please feed that dog.
  • The UFC's offer to Fedor was miserable. If it really was for $30 million, he would've signed the contract for sure.
  • No immediate plans for a tournament, but Scott Coker likes the format.
  • Is that a car alarm?
  • Vadim, please roll up your window.
  • Dog again. Is he someone's attorney?
  • Closing statements, and everyone agrees this conference call was "different". Different? This was a Monty Python sketch. And I can't wait for another!

Predictions for UFC 101: "Ultimate No Eddie Alvarez"

The UFC comes to Philly - the land of cheesesteaks, aggressive football fans and restaurants where smoking is allowed - and strangely enough, the card lacks fighters from Pennsylvania. Wait, that's not true. Undercarder Matt Riddle was born in Allentown before moving to New York. But other than that, it's doubtful that anyone competing on Saturday night could even find the state on the map. Why the shortage on homegrown talent? Was there no one local worthy of setting foot in the Octagon? I wonder... So, wahoo! UFC 101 predictions!
  • It's easy to assume that BJ Penn is going to slaughter Kenny Florian, especially since Penn hasn't lost at lightweight since UFC 35 (and even then it was a close decision). But I give Florian a lot of credit for making himself into a skilled and dangerous fighter, so I'm going to go out on a limb and say Penn will merely massacre the New Englander.
  • Forrest Griffin's got a lot heart - which will be proven when Anderson Silva rips it out of the TUF winner's chest and holds it up for all to see.
  • Amir Sadollah - does anyone really remember who he is or what happened during his season of TUF? I sure don't. In fact, when he gets into the cage and faces off against Johny Hendricks, Hendricks is going to snap his fingers and say, "Oh, now I remember who you are! You're my pizza delivery guy!"
  • If Kendall Grove survives Ricardo Almeida's early, first-round submission assault, Almeida will be mentally broken and become easy prey for the Hawaiian's... whatever it is he does. Clinch and knee game? Dirty boxing? Who knows.
  • Josh Neer vs. Kurt Pellegrino? That match-up has staph infection written all over it! (Get it? 'Cause they're both grapplers? Heh.)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Unsubstantiated Rumor of the Day

From the Unsubstantiated Rumor of the Day Department: there may or may not be a WEC scheduled for this Sunday, with 135-pound champ Miguel Torres versus Brian Bowles headlining the card. Granted, this rumor has nothing to do with Fedor and Strikeforce and UFC 101 in Philly, so it might not be relevant (or even interesting) to MMA fans. But the rumor is floating around regardless. Stay tuned while MMA Journalist looks into the matter.

Strikeforce Pairs Up With DREAM; Defacing Of Scott Coker's Lawn Continues

Strikeforce has initiated a strategic alliance with the Japanese promotion DREAM, an alliance that increases the amount and level of talent available for the US-based organization's Showtime cards, as well as enabling the likes of popular overseas fighters Shinya Aoki, Joachim Hansen and Melvin Manhoef to compete live for American fans. Consequently, UFC Head Tantrum Thrower Dana White has ordered a step up in the attacks on Scott Coker's lawn, with a bulldozer reportedly crushing a section of picket fence, a kiddie pool and a swing set outside of the Strikeforce promoter's San Jose home. "When will this carnage end?" said the teenager down the block, who was once paid $25 to mow Coker's lawn but is now left unemployed.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

UFC 101 in Philadelphia Still Woefully Short on Eddie Alvarez

Saturday's UFC 101, which is slated for the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, is still woefully short on Eddie Alvarez - a man considered by all to be the greatest MMA fighter to ever emerge from the "City of Brotherly Love". The card, the organization's first in Pennsylvania, will feature lightweight champ BJ Penn defending his belt against Kenny Florian, while in the co-main event 185-pound champ Anderson Silva moves up to light-heavyweight to take on Forrest Griffin. Unfortunately, Alvarez, who has established himself as a top ten 155-pound wrecking machine and has seen success in DREAM and Bellator FC (the latter of which paid him $175,000 for his recent tournament-winning efforts), will be nowhere near the Octagon on Saturday. Said a randomly called resident of Philadelphia, "Who is this? What do you want? Don't ever call here again."

Monday, August 3, 2009

Fedor Signs With Strikeforce; Dana White Has Scott Coker's Lawn Defaced

According to a press release issued by Strikeforce, the organization has now signed the elusive Fedor Emelianenko to a multi-fight contract, with the Russian's first fight to air on Showtime in the fall. No word yet on specifics, such as date, location or opponent, but upon hearing this news UFC Chief Grudge Bearer Dana White reportedly ordered minions to deface Scott Coker's lawn in a fit of rage. The Strikeforce promoter's San Jose home was then allegedly assaulted with bags of flaming manure while a Honda Civic spun donuts on Coker's well-maintained turf.

A Piece of MMA History: "Battle at the Boardwalk"

Once upon a time (actually, February 18th, 2006), an Ed Hsu-run multi-discipline martial arts event came to the Atlantic City Convention Center. The event had everything - point karate matches, choreographed demos, boardbreaking, guys with foam katanas and naginatas beating on each other - and for MMA aficionados, there was a pro fight show at night. But history was made during the day, when Battle at the Boardwalk hosted New Jersey's first sanctioned amateur MMA event. From his seat cageside, USKBA grand pooba Paul Rosner coordinated the inspectors and judges, while within the cage, fighters like Greg Soto, Andrew Montanez, Derek Hopkins, Tim O'Connor and John Salgado threw down using new rules designed to make MMA more palatable to those aspiring fighters willing to step up. The experiment worked. Fifty billion events later and it seems that the whole amateur MMA industry has surpassed the pro side in terms of sheer volume (Kipp Kollar's Reality Fighting held an amateur event in Wildwood, New Jersey this past weekend; New Breed is holding a "Wilkie's Warriors vs. the World" event in Atlantic City in less than two weeks). That's a good thing. MMA is MMA, whether the competitors get paid or not, and today's amateur stars could be the pro superstars of tomorrow. And it all began with Battle at the Boardwalk.

Worthwhile Links

Some worthwhile links for you:
  • Places like Massachussets, Vermont and New Hampshire are too far to drive, so I like to check out . It used to be, but they changed a while back. Good site for getting a report on the shows up there.
  • Peter Storm's official UCL website is . You won't find anything on when and where the next show is - that info goes out via text - but you will find info on past events.
  • Anil Melwani is the official UCL photog and his site is here - .
  • I've noticed a new trend in fight shows advertising on Facebook. This includes some under-the-radar events. It may merit a look-see if that's your thing.

A Review of "Welcome to the Underground"

Director Nick Oddo has completed his documentary on Peter Storm and New York City's Underground Combat League, and MMA Journalist attended a private screening on Staten Island yesterday. The film, called "Welcome to the Underground", covers a wide swath of UCL history exploring the promotion's origins and growth, and it doesn't shy away from delving into Storm's perspective and personal life along the way. It's at its most compelling when it centers around the underground fighters and their fights, and the events' behind-the-scenes happenings. I've been to every UCL except for one (hey, I was in Thailand getting married - cut me some slack), but I had no idea Kirkland Campbell actually talked. Or that Sekou Mau-Mau (the man with tattoos all over his face and a chin made of glass) was so delusional about his own abilities. Or that draining a cauliflower ear could be so gnarly. The documentary covers it all. At this stage, it's unclear where it will end up (maybe HBO, maybe Sundance, maybe somewhere else). It is, however, worth checking out wherever it lands.

Observations From My Couch: Affliction "Trilogy"

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

  • Despite a gutsy performance by the heroic Josh Barnett, which saw the Baby-Faced Assassin attempt every submission in the book while weathering a storm of punches from above, the God-like Fedor Emelianenko proved yet again why he's the best in the world. He pounded on Barnett relentlessly, convincingly earning the unanimous decision and prompting Randy Couture - who was ringside - to weep and shower the Russian with rose petals.
  • Renato "Babalu" Sobral not only put Gegard Mousasi to sleep with an Anaconda choke, but he held it on for at least ten minutes. It took five ring officials, eight corner men, an announcer, a crowbar and the Jaws of Life to pry him off.
  • Vitor Belfort needed only .7 seconds to unleash a flurry and knock Jorge Santiago out. To the naked eye, it looked as if the referee said "Go!" and Santiago just fell over; only when the instant replay aired in slow-motion did viewers realize what had happened.
  • Heavyweight knockout artist Paul Buentello was successful in stunning Dutch kickboxer Gilbert Yvel, and in his stunned state, Yvel went on to eye-gouge the referee and his trainer.
  • Takanori Gomi lost. Because he sucks.
  • Overall it was an amazing event, and afterwards Head Seamstress Tom Atencio thanked the fans and promised that the best is yet to come.