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.