Monday, August 3, 2009
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.
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.
Some worthwhile links for you:
- Places like Massachussets, Vermont and New Hampshire are too far to drive, so I like to check out www.northeastmma.net . It used to be MassMMA.net, but they changed a while back. Good site for getting a report on the shows up there.
- Peter Storm's official UCL website is www.SaveValeTudo.com . 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 - www.MMA.us .
- 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.
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.
(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.