Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Definitive "Best of Northeast MMA in 2010" List

As 2010 draws to a close, it’s time to reflect upon the year that was.  And while everyone and their mother is going to be compiling “best of” lists involving some UFC heavyweight champ’s rise and fall or a dominant Strikeforce fighter, few – if any – will turn their lenses toward regional, grassroots mixed martial arts.  Well, screw ‘em.  Here’s MMA Journalist’s definitive “Best of Northeast MMA in 2010” list, in no particular order.

  • Tom Gallicchio vs. Aaron Meisner, M-1 Global “Selection”, August 7th – In the semifinals of the M-1 Global welterweight tournament in Atlantic City, veteran scrapper Tom Gallicchio had the toughest fight of anyone in the division when he took on Muay Thai ace Aaron Meisner (who looked the sharpest and deadliest of his career).  For two rounds “Da Tank” ate an assortment of knees and fists, but he refused to fall, and in the final round he snagged a takedown, took Meisner’s back, and choked him out.  Gallicchio had one more bout to go to win the tournament.  Compared to this semifinal contest, though, it was a cakewalk.
  • Chris Weidman vs. Uriah Hall, ROC 31, September 24th – In just a few fights, TSMMA’s Uriah Hall had established himself as a monster striker, so when Team Serra/Longo rep Chris Weidman challenged him for his ROC middleweight belt, few expected the stud wrestler to throw leather.  But he did, and after clipping Hall on the chin and sending him to the canvas, Weidman earned himself the TKO win and the title.
  • Munah Holland vs. Kim Couture, ROC 32, October 23rd – Although it was her MMA debut, TSMMA’s Munah Holland was no stranger to the art of putting knuckles to people’s faces – and it showed when she took on the infamous Kim Couture.  For three rounds Holland blasted her foe, and when time ran out there was no questioning who had earned the unanimous decision victory and who had gotten beaten up.
  • Joe Aviles vs. George Sheppard, ROC 33, December 3rd – Supposedly, Joe Aviles is really good at judo and jiu-jitsu.  But we haven’t seen that yet, as he’s been utterly crushing opponents on the feet before it can even get to the ground.  At ROC 31 Aviles shocked the crowd with a flying knee-KO of Mike Medrano.  However, it was his too-fast-to-see knockout of George Sheppard at ROC 33 that deserves top honors.  They swung and connected with right hands simultaneously, but it was Sheppard who wound up unconscious, and it took numerous views of the instant replay to figure out what had happened.
  • Jimmie Rivera vs. Abel Cullum, KOTC: “No Mercy”, September 17th – TSMMA star player Jimmie Rivera made the trek on up to the Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut to square off against King of the Cage 135-pound champ Abel Cullum, and goddamn if Rivera didn’t go the distance with the DREAM veteran and take his belt.  In the end it was a split decision victory, and after teammate Lyman Good’s Bellator strap, Rivera became the second TSMMA rep to snag a national MMA title.
  • Nick Pace vs. Steve DeAngelis, ROC 30, June 11th – As the old adage goes, “To get into the UFC you have to beat someone tough.”  In taking on longtime badass Steve DeAngelis, and submitting him with a slick D’Arce, TSMMAer Nick Pace did just that.  He’s since fought in the WEC and the UFC, but the thrilling first-round win over DeAngelis was without a doubt the stepping stone to get there.
  • John Cholish vs. Hitalo Machado, UCC 2, May 14th – Watching an up-and-comer ascend to greatness is always fun to see, and Team Renzo exponent John Cholish’s climb is no exception.  At the second Urban Conflict Championship in Jersey City, Cholish found himself evenly matched with Hitalo Machado in the jiu-jitsu department, so he switched things up and Muay Thai’d the hell out of Machado’s legs.  The TKO win came halfway into the fourth round when Machado could no longer stand.
  • Gregor Gracie vs. Mariusz Linke, Brick City FC, October 2nd – With the last name “Gracie”, the bar is set pretty high for Gregor.  That’s why, when he fell to a Doug Gordon kick back at ROC 18 in 2008, it was somewhat of a stunner.  It took two and a half years for Gracie to get back on the MMA horse, but with the Brick City Fighting Championship in Newark as the backdrop, he lived up to his family name by utilizing smooth strikes and seamless jiu-jitsu to dominate and submit Mariusz Linke.  Gregor was back.
  • Chris Wing vs. Geidrius Karavackas, ROC 30, June 11th – Though making his pro debut at ROC 30, Chris Wing already had a decent amount of hype behind him.  And with good reason, as he sported a substantial (and successful) amateur record, plus there was talk that he could punch out a bison.  But not everyone can transition to the pro leagues smoothly.  When facing the tough Geidrius Karavackas, would Wing crumble?  Um, nope.  Wing needed a little over six minutes of combat to KO his foe, and with another knockout win since, the world now knows what to expect when the welterweight steps into the cage: pure, unbridled fury.
  • Ryan LaFlare vs. Justin Haskins, ROC 28, February 19th – Bellmore Kickboxing MVP Ryan LaFlare was undefeated when he took on WEC vet Justin Haskins for the ROC belt, and it didn’t take long to see why.  Combining aggressive grappling with aggressive striking, LaFlare is a handful – or a fistful, which was the case when Haskins took one too many on the noggin and started dozing.  The welterweight division is pretty deep in the Northeast, but with this win, LaFlare proved he’s among the best.

Coalition to Legalize MMA in NY to Hold Rally

The Coalition to Legalize MMA in New York will be a holding a rally across the street from City Hall in downtown Manhattan on February 8th, according to a press release circulated by organizer Sambo Steve.  The rally is slated for noon, and the address of the gathering is 250 Broadway.  Anyone with even just a passing interest in sanctioned MMA in New York State is encouraged to attend, and as the idea is show legislators - and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in particular - that the general public cares about the issue, it is expected that the rally will be both respectful and peaceful.  (The siege catapults will come later.)   

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Gray Maynard: A Retrospective in Blankets

Undefeated.  The number one lightweight contender.  The only man to defeat UFC champ Frankie Edgar.  Gray Maynard is all of these things, and aside from a shocking nine-second knockout of some scrub, he’s also the closest thing a human can come to emulating a blanket without actually being made of a cotton/polyester blend.  At UFC 125 on Saturday night, the fighter who embodies falling asleep in a hammock will rematch Edgar with Edgar’s 155-pound title on the line.  What’s in store for the champ?  Well, if you’re a submission ace, Maynard will lay on you.  If you’re a wrestler, Maynard will lay on you.  And if you’re a well-rounded jiu-jitsu black belt and competent striker, Maynard will lay on you.  But there’s more to his technique than just smothering warmth.  Consider: the evolution of Gray Maynard, as told by a variety of blankets.

  • Ultimate Fighter Finale 5, Rob Emerson vs. the Knitted Quilt – Grandmothers spend a lot of time and effort knitting something meant to be functional but ultimately with lots of holes in it – which pretty much describes Maynard’s participation in TUF 5 and his subsequent performance at the finale.  All that time wasted in the TUF House, and for what?  A double-knockout and “no contest” when he tries to slam Emerson?  Classic.
  • UFC Fight Night 11, Joe Veres vs. the Electric Blanket – It took nine seconds for Veres to walk into Maynard’s fist and render himself unconscious.  It took longer for the referee to convince Maynard to stop lying on top of the fallen fighter.  Sadly, it took athletic commission officials only 30 seconds to realize there was an extension cord running from Maynard’s back to an outlet in his corner, so that was the last “electric” performance we’ve seen from him.   
  • UFC Fight Night 13, Frankie Edgar vs. the Down Comforter – When it comes to retaining heat and promoting a restful slumber, a comforter filled with goose feathers tends to beat all.  Such was the case when frenetic up-and-comer Edgar met Maynard in the Octagon back in April, 2008.  Then, Edgar couldn’t resist the comfort, and spent the duration of their bout sipping herbal tea and reading a Danielle Steel novel.  Now, however, with the New Jersey-based fighter focused more on being champ and less on his “Book of the Month” membership, things may play out differently.
  • UFC 96, Jim Miller vs. the Bedspread – Combining warmth and decorative effect, the bedspread is what you leave on your bed when you know your parents are coming over and you don’t want them to think you’re a slob.  For Miller – who thus far has only ever lost to Edgar and Maynard – this translated into a stifled ground game, a decent night’s rest, and Maynard’s family members leaning into the cage to say things like “Nice place you got here” and “Oh, you cleaned up for us.  You shouldn’t have.”
  • UFC Fight Night 20, Nate Diaz vs. the Duvet – In “Fight Club”, Tyler Durden bemoaned the fact that men nowadays know what a duvet is and that it was useless knowledge, so I’m just going to pretend I’m ignorant.  Bottom line: Diaz lost, but just barely, and the fight stunk.
  • UFC 118, Kenny Florian vs. the Slanket – A blanket with sleeves?  For people who live outside, people who live in houses with no heat, and people who live in biblical times, that’s pure genius.  Unfortunately, for people interested in seeing explosive action in MMA bouts, that’s raw suck right there.  Here’s hoping that at UFC 125 Edgar can keep the blanket – and his many forms – at bay.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

From the Desk of Nick Lembo: New Jersey MMA Stats

New Jersey State Athletic Control Board consigliere Nick Lembo has just released some stats re: Garden State MMA in 2010. This year the commission oversaw 19 pro MMA shows, 20 amateur MMA shows and five Muay Thai events. There were a grand total of 180 pro bouts during the year, and 314 amateur bouts. Also, referee Keith Peterson received four more tattoos, judge Doug Crosby enraged 9,198 UFC fans, and Dan Miragliotta used 36 gallons of tanning lotion to maintain his distinct skin color.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ferrid Kheder: "I Can Beat Any Fighter That Faces Me at Xtreme Vale Todo"

Hot on the heels of his miraculous win against Hermes Franca in Costa Rica, rising star Ferrid Kheder has issued a bold statement to the MMA competitors of the world. "I can beat any fighter that faces me at Xtreme Vale Todo," said the Frenchman, who managed to earn a decision against the UFC veteran on Sunday night despite being out-struck and out-grappled for three rounds. Of course, the outcome of that bout has managed to stir up controversy, with Franca publicly decrying the results as something that made him "really upset" and "sad." But Kheder, who once won an Xtreme Vale Todo bout by submission despite being knocked out, and won another by split decision even though he was unable to answer the bell for the second round, has remained unfazed - and steadfast in his belief that he could emerge from any Costa Rican fight with his arm raised in victory. "I don't care who you are or where you've fought," said Kheder. "If our fight takes place at Xtreme Vale Todo, I will defeat you."

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Piece of MMA History: ROC 2

Lou Neglia's venerable Ring of Combat promotion may currently be up to thirty-something installments, but back in December of 2002, ROC was a fledgling organization putting on its second show. The venue was the Meadowlands Expo Center, and the card featured five MMA bouts intermingled with kickboxing offerings - a rare occurrence now, yet not an uncommon mixture then. In terms of local heroes on the roster, there were few, like the maddeningly-methodical grappler Steve Anshelewitz (his guard and his pace were dangerous, capable of putting both opponents and audience members alike to sleep). There was also Elvis Garcia, Team Tiger Schulmann's version of Fedor Emelianenko, who would ground and pound foes into oblivion and shatter his hands almost every time. But if there was one standout at ROC 2, it was up-and-coming Team Serra/Longo rep Pete "Drago" Sell. On that night in December, Sell squared off against Ted Govola Jr., a tough wrestler, Mass Destruction veteran and undefeated badass from New England. To Northeast fight fans, it would be the first true test for the Matt Serra protege, and the first real gauge of his ability. For Sell, it was just another day at the office. Which isn't to say it was an easy bout for the future ROC champ - it wasn't, and they battled back and forth throughout - but after an extremely close kimura attempt plus dominant position after dominant position, it was clear when time ran out who deserved the decision. In the contest between the kid from Long Island and one of the Massachusetts circuit's best, Drago was victorious. Nowadays, Sell's only trips into the cage are during ROC intermissions, when Neglia calls distinguished alumni forward for a round of applause. Back then, though, at ROC 2 in 2002, it was all about fast and furious combat and a fistful of glory.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


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Friday, December 17, 2010

To Fight in the UFC or to not Fight in the UFC - That is the Question

Here’s a fun game to play: with the WEC/UFC merger and the overlap of fighters, there will obviously be some 155 pounders without a job real soon.  Let’s predict where certain WEC lightweight fighters will be in a year based on their WEC 53 performances.

  • Kamal Shalorus – If he can squeak by with another win, he just might find himself in the Octagon swinging wild punches in a dark prelim match.
  • Bart Palaszewski – Working a double-shift at his family’s kielbasa factory in Chicago, reminiscing about the good old days.
  • Shane Roller – Facing someone like Joe Stevenson or Mac Danzig, with the presumption that Stevenson or Danzig need any easy win on some SpikeTV-broadcast undercard bout.
  • Jamie Varner – Breakdancing on a flattened-out piece of cardboard in downtown Phoenix.
  • Donald Cerrone – Battling furiously against Kenny Florian for top good-fighter-but-not-quite-champion-level status.
  • Chris Horodecki – A part-time motivational speaker, sweating profusely and living in a van down by the river.
  • Zhang Tie Quan – If the UFC still wants to break into the Chinese market, he’ll be fighting cans.  If the UFC gives up on their Asian expansion ideas, Quan will be working a station at the Bellagio buffet.
  • Ben Henderson – Giving Evan Dunham, Sean Sherk, Edson Barbosa and Charles Oliveira fits.
  • Anthony Pettis – Reveling in the residual glory of his Matrix-like kick from WEC 53… and sad, because no matter he did, Frankie Edgar still kicked his ass.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

On the Eve of the WEC's Swan Song, a Fond Look Back

After nine years, it all comes to an end.  Tonight’s WEC 53: “Henderson vs. Pettis” marks the final World Extreme Cagefighting event ever, with the Zuffa-owned promotion folding into the UFC and dozens of lighter-weight fighters wondering if they’re going to have a job in the coming months.  But now is not the time for pondering such employment issues.  Now is the time for nostalgia, for a trip down memory lane and a fond look back.  Granted, as MMA Journalist is an East Coast-based blog and I’ve never seen a live WEC event in person (the first WEC I saw was broadcast on Versus), this collection might be a bit esoteric… but hey, the last WEC ever, man.  Just go with it.

  • WEC 30: “McCullough vs. Crunkilton”, September 5, 2007 – “Razor” Rob McCullough out-struck Rich Crunkilton to defend his 155-pound belt and Chase Beebe nullified the jiu-jitsu of Rani Yahya to keep his bantamweight strap, but what sticks out the most about this night was the debut of my new television, a 52-inch Sony XBR LCD.  As our prior TV set was a 13-inch black and white Panasonic we found discarded on the sidewalk, this was indeed a step up.
  • WEC 36: “Faber vs. Brown”, November 5, 2008 – At the time it was considered an upset when Mike Brown TKO’d Urijah Faber and Leonard Garcia abruptly clobbered Jens Pulver.  However, the only thing I was considering was the food being served at Phillipe Nover’s TUF 8 viewing party, a season he figured prominently in.  As this WEC event was broadcast on a Wednesday night and preceded The Ultimate Fighter on SpikeTV, all of us at the recreation center in Brooklyn for Nover’s gathering watched it on the multitude of TVs while we drank and ate.  Mmmm, chicken tenders.
  • WEC 51: “Aldo vs. Gamburyan”, September 30, 2010 – Yeah, yeah, Jose Aldo is a dominant champ.  The best part of this event was my 2-year-old daughter, who walked into the living room, saw what I was watching, then took a running jump onto me exclaiming, “Dad, let’s wrestle!”
  • WEC 52: “Faber vs. Mizugaki”, November 11, 2010 – This time my daughter waited until I was walking into the kitchen, where she ambushed me with a kick to the shin and a flurry of punches to my thighs.  “Dad, let’s fight!” she said.
  • WEC 45: “Cerrone vs. Ratcliff”, December 19, 2009 – Not a lot of star power on this card, but what made this installment memorable for me was the realization that I can watch an entire event on fast-forward and still get the gist of it.  DVR, that’s what’s up.

MMA in New York Crusade, version 2011

The 2011 crusade for sanctioned MMA in New York State has begun, and one of the men spearheading the movement is Sambo Steve, a Manhattan-based sambo instructor and longtime fixture in the Big Apple scene.  Here's a clip of Sambo Steve in action - - and here's an email he sent around:

"Hi all,
As friends, members, and supports of the American Sambo Association, you have often come to our aid with many projects in the past. Now, I have a VERY CRITICAL favor to ask all of you who love the sport of MMA and want to see MMA legalized in New York State.

Do you want to see Mixed Martial Arts at Madison Square Garden?
Do you want to see Mixed Martial Arts at Nassau Coliseum?
Do you want to see Mixed Martial Arts at the HSBC Arena?
Do you want to see Mixed Martial Arts at the Blue Cross Arena?
Do you want to see smaller local shows in your town?
For years now, we have sat back and let the lobbyists do our work for us with little result. It is time to admit that pettitions don't work, lobby dollars only go so far, and that the only way our elected officials will act is if we tell them to act...ourselves!

Below are links to letters which I strongly encourage you to download, print out, fill out and mail to your NY State Senator AND Assembly person. THEY NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU DIRECTLY!

If you are a business owner, gym owner, promoter, or just a fan there is a letter for you. Please do not ignore this.
Gym owner's letter:
Business owner's letter:
Promoter's letter:
Fan's Letter:
To find out who your local Senator and Assembly person is and where to mail your letters, visit the following links:
If you are not a New Yorker, but still would like to see MMA legaized in New York, please use these letters as a guide and mail one to Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo. (currently) (in 2011)
Thank you in advance for all your support!
Stephen Koepfer
President, American Sambo Association
Head Coach, New York Combat Sambo
PO Box 5773
Long Island City, NY 11105"

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bellator to MTV2; What Next for Other Smaller Promotions?

Bellator Fighting Championships, formerly of ESPN Deportes, FoxSportsNet, the MSG channel (if you live in New York), and the Home Shopping Network, announced today that they’ll be airing live on MTV2 for the next three years. Hooray for wider viewership! Hooray for no more pre-empted events! And hopefully this union will be more fruitful than when the IFL signed with UPN and BodogFIGHT showed up on the Christian network ION (editor’s note: ha!). Anyway, the door is now open for other smaller promotions to make the leap onto television. In fact, MMA Journalist has been keeping track of who’s been in talks with whom, and I’ve compiled this handy list. Enjoy.

· Tachi Palace Fights to Nickelodeon – Sure, TPF has been providing quality regional action to those who trek to the casino in Lemoore, California, but the organization known for its focus on the smaller weight classes will now be moving to a network geared towards smaller viewers. That’s right, Nickelodeon will be airing TPF fights, and losers in all championship bouts will be doused with green slime. Gross!

· JEWELS and Valkyrie to Lifetime – Two all-female promotions to an all-female network. Really, this needs no more explanation.

· DREAM to LOGO – Struggling Japanese organization DREAM is considering a move to the channel whose regular programming includes “The ‘L’ Word” and anything with RuPaul. This isn’t a knock against DREAM, but desperation does breed strange bedfellows.

· Extreme Challenge and King of the Cage to VH1Classics – The place where old music goes to die is the perfect spot for long-running promotions Extreme Challenge and KOTC, which often feature castoffs such as Tim Sylvia and Ken Shamrock in performances sadder than any Bananarama and Poison video.

· M-1 Global to the Syfy Channel – The concept: Fedor Emelianenko will adhere to a contract he’s signed and regularly face legitimate opponents. Seriously, only a science fiction-themed television station could pull that off.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Observations from My Couch: UFC 124 "Ultimate Lack of Head Movement"

  • Sure, maybe that was the best Thiago Alves ever. But where the hell was that version when he took on GSP?
  • Mac Danzig knocking out Joe Stevenson was akin to two death row inmates getting violent over a Slim Jim. Sure, one defeated the other, but ultimately does it matter? Both their asses will soon be dead anyway.
  • You know where Jim Miller was when Charles Oliveira was winning the Ring of Combat lightweight title? Already in the UFC, racking up wins. Enough said.
  • Great performance by Mark Bocek. Now he's only about 11 wins away from title contention.
  • Matt Riddle quite possibly has the worst stand-up in the history of mixed martial arts.
  • Stefan Struve vs. Sean McCorkle is the kind of co-main event you get when you've spent all your money on paying the main event fighters. Thanks, Dana.
  • Yes, Georges St. Pierre has a decent jab. But it's nothing without Josh Koscheck's complete and utter lack of ability to move his damn head out of the way.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Schedule for the Weekend

I heard there may be a UFC on pay-per-view this weekend, but details are sketchy.  Some George guy is fighting… possibly… who knows. 

There is, however, a bit of local action going down.  Tonight, there's some kind of exclusive benefit dinner going on at Cipriani's on Wall Street.  "Fight for Humanity" is the name, and there's going to be about half a dozen Muay Thai bouts - some of them featuring MMA fighters (like Rick Screeton and Joe Sampieri).  Tickets are $2,500 each, so, yeah, maybe you should wait for the DVD or something.

On Saturday night, Ring of Combat is offering up a hefty amateur installment at the Raritan Center in Edison, New Jersey.  There are 15 bouts scheduled, and notable participants include Mike Fischetti, and, um, a bunch of guys I don't know.  ROC's amateur shows tend to feature some real up-and-coming badasses, though, so it's worth checking out.

Also on Saturday is another Muay Thai extravaganza from Take On Productions in Flushing, Queens.  Some of the best kickboxing schools in the TriState area take part in these events, and if you like watching fighters knee and kick each other into oblivion, it's always a good time.

Finally, on Sunday there's an event out in Brooklyn called "Budokai: Way of the Warrior".  The West Brooklyn Community High School is the venue, first bout is at 2:00pm, and there will be full-contact karate, sport jujitsu and san da matches.  This is relevant to your interests because some UCL veterans are competing.  Expect a fair amount of stabbings and/or a riot if things don't go as planned.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Kids These Days...

Book Update

Okay, so it looks like it's going to be called "Raw Combat: The Underground World of Mixed Martial Arts".  There is, apparently, some science involved in publishing, and having the words "New York" in the title might discourage a Tap Out-wearing kid in Idaho from buying it.  Hey, who am I to argue?  Publishers know publishing.  I just know underground fighting in New York and sanctioned MMA in New Jersey.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Message from Mike Constantino

From Mike Constantino, Grand Poobah of the AMA Fight Club (who obviously loves exclamation points):
"UFC 124 Montreal Prize Package - From AMA Fight Club - 2 tickets to UFC 124 at the Bell Centre Sit in the Friends & Family Section of the fighters on the card! Then join us at our official after party at 1234 Club in Montreal with Jim Miller, Dan Miller, Charles Oliveira, Sean Pierson, & many more fighters ALL Fighting on the 124 Card!!!!

In order to win you must follow @AMAFIGHTCLUB On Twitter & join our Facebook fan page AMA Fight Club Fan Page post why YOU should win & it’s as simple as that. Best story wins! Winner picked by Mike Constantino, Jim Miller & Dan Miller directly.

Runner Up Prizes Include:
Dan Miller Autographed Walkout Shirt UFC 124!
Jim Miller Autographed Walkout Shirt UFC 124!
One Signed Fight Worn Glove signed by both Miller Brothers!
Please announce, post, talk about, retweet, help us get this out there!!! If we double our followers after this contest I will do it again at UFC Fight For The Troops, then Again at UFC 126 SUPERBOWL WEEKEND in Las Vegas February 5th!!!

Thank You!!!!"

Monday, December 6, 2010

How Bad Did Strikeforce Crush the UFC on Saturday Night?

Yeah, so, there were two events on TV on Saturday night – a UFC on SpikeTV and a Strikeforce on Showtime.  One of these offerings featured a slew of not-ready-for-primetime players who provided decision after decision, and the other gave us enough thrilling knockouts to send a significant percentage of viewers in seizures.  Can you guess which major MMA organization gave us which?  If you guessed that it was the UFC’s TUF 12 live finale that was the stinker, you guessed correctly!  Within the Octagon we got to witness Nam Phan have a pretty decent scrap against Leonard Garcia before getting robbed by the judges, and then we got crap that was best watched on fast forward.  Strikeforce, meanwhile, gave us Robbie Lawler decapitating Matt Lindland, Paul Daley removing about three years from Scott Smith’s life, and Dan Henderson utterly smashing Renato Sobral.  Ratings disparities aside (SpikeTV is premium cable channel offered in more homes; Showtime is a subscription-based channel), it’s clear that the House of Coker won the battle Saturday night.  But how bad did Strikeforce crush the UFC?

  • At the UFC event, the fighters and their respective camps watched the Strikeforce show on monitors in their locker rooms.  And they wept.
  • After the press conference for the TUF 12 Finale was over, Dana White reportedly went backstage and punched Joe Silva in the stomach.
  • After the punch, Joe Silva said, “Thank you.  I deserve that.”
  • Scott Coker instructed Lawler, Daley and Henderson to invoice the UFC for “knockout of the night” bonuses.  And the UFC is considering paying.
  • Upon watching both events on their TIVOs/DVRs, a large number of fans burned their official UFC gear and merchandise.  Also, those who’ve been claiming to train in the “UFC-style” of fighting announced they’ve switched over to “Strikeforce-style”.  “Bro, it’s so much better.”
  • Dana White thanked God, Allah, Zeus, Neptune and Odin.  Why?  Because if Saturday night’s Strikeforce had aired on CBS instead of Showtime…  Well, let’s just say his world would be a lot more complicated today.

Another Happy Customer

From the mailbag:

"Love your 'Mitch the Intern' TUF spoofs!

And so GODDAMN MANY of them!

No captions! No descriptions. They are worthless and they SUCK!

Okay, we get it it, you're all underground, you go to fights that know one else knows about, so you're the martial arts equivalent of foodie eclecticist Alton Brown.

You're special because you know about them, and I'm not.

But I'm not *learning* about them, either, because there's no context to those pics.

Who are they? What's the story? Are they not important enough to find any more about them?

The pics are nothing to admire in the first place. If there's nothing more to be gleaned from them than "oh, look, I was at a fight and it was a secret", then...kinda pointless, Jimmy boy.

Posting a pic with no caption or context isn't journalism."

Evolution "Holiday Havoc" Postscript

Nothing finer than traveling a half hour from your house to see a sanctioned MMA show.  Nothing finer.  As for the fights, Abdul Beyah definitely had a plan (sprawl and brawl) and he executed it well, Greg Quarantello's got some decent hands on him, and if Rob Fabrizi can nail down that cardio he's going to be a force.  The "stud of the night" award, though, definitely goes to Jimbo Hoffman.  Expect big things from him when he turns pro.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

ROC 33 Postscript

With so many fights - and so many good ones - it's hard to pick the standouts. But I shall try... James Jenkins has shown a lot of promise in just two ROC appearances; Mervin Rodriguez looked rock solid and his new camp (Pellegrino MMA) might be a great fit for him; Tom DeBlass continues to climb up the division; Justine Kish looked amazing, both in her confidence and her technique (when Holland had her pressed up against the cage she was literally crawling up Munah to put her in a guillotine); and, Costa Phillipou was his usual deadly self. As for the championship bouts, Sean Santella, Chris Weidman and Gian Villante came off as top-level guys about one or two fights aways from competing in the UFC. But if the night belonged to anyone, it belonged to Joe Aviles. Thus far we have seen only spectacular knockouts from this Jungle Gym rep, and that's the kind of trait that makes him worth his weight in gold to any organization. Fighters like Weidman and Villante will sell a lot of tickets because they're good at what they do and they have a lot of family and friends that like to come out and support them. Someone like Aviles, however, will have people buying tickets (or tuning in or purchasing the pay-per-view) just to see who and how he will kill next. Like I said, that's gold right there.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


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Liveblog: Evolution Part 4

The first of two title fights and it's Jared Gordon of New York Jiu-Jitsu/Renzo vs. Robert Fabrizi of Vendetta at 160 pounds. Fabrizi proves himself to be a competent sprawler and brawler early on, and in the waning seconds of Round 1 he stuffs a Gordon takedown and slaps on a D'Arce. Gordon makes it to the bell, and in Round 2 Fabrizi keeps up the pressure. However, in the final frame Gordon does get the takedown, and he spends the duration looking for an opening. Is it enough to sway the judges? Nope. Fabrizi takes the split decision. Last bout and it's Kenneth Rivera defending his 145-pound belt against Jimbo Hoffman. Wow. Okay, well, we knew Rivera was fast, but Hoffman is faster - and smooth, as he jumps into an arm-in guillotine and puts Rivera to sleep at 1:05 of Round 1. And that's it.


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Liveblog: Evolution Part 3

It's time for Greg Quarantello of Shore Academy BJJ vs. Vincent Sinclair of Universal Martial Arts. Well, apparently Quarantello's got some hands, 'cause he uses them to chin-check Sinclair three times in rapid succession. After going down the last time, Sinclair is done, and the ref waives it off at 1:43 of Round 1. Ramy Awad of Codella MMA and Billy Mac Nair of BBMMA square off for some 175-pound action. It seems like Awad trained for an MMA bout and Mac Nair trained for a wrestling match, because once Mac Nair's attempts at tying up are foiled, Awad gets on top and puts him through the submission ringer. In Round 2 Mac Nair survives a close rear naked choke and a triangle, and he survives a choke in the third, but surviving ain't winning. Awad takes the unanimous decision. Mark Agnew of Street Fit and Gladstone Allen of NY San Da enter to do the dance of combat. Allen and Agnew come at each other swinging, but Agnew lands a left that sends his foe tumbling. The Street Fit rep follows it up with a rear naked choke, and Allen is asleep at 51 seconds.


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Liveblog: Evolution Part 2

First bout of the evening and it's a 147-pound pairing between Pat Kelly of the Jungle Gym and Chung Yeung of New York Jiu-Jitsu. The opening round is about 25 percent kickboxing and 75 percent clinch-work - a recipe that seems to favor Yeung. But thanks to the expert tutelage of coach Justin Garcia, Kelly changes things up and instead makes it a ground battle. He slips on the D'Arce and puts Yeung to sleep at 1:06 of Round 2. Next is Brayan Moncada of Cerebus against Tim Fowler of Renegade at 154 pounds. Round 1 plays out as a classic "guy who likes to kick the legs" vs. "guy who likes to punch the face" match-up, with Moncada the leg-kicker and Fowler the head-hunter. It turns into a grappling match in Round 2, though, as Fowler ends up on top working some ground and pound and nearly getting a triangle from guard. Perhaps sensing that his fortunes lie on the feet, Moncada comes out for Round 3 trying to punch Fowler's head off - and he nearly succeeds. But Fowler survives, and an exhausted Moncada spends the rest of the round backpedaling. Moncada takes the unanimous decision. Max McGarr of Team Renzo and Abdul Beyah of Universal Martial Arts step into the cage for a 190-pound pairing. McGarr's got Renzo in his corner. Jeez, no pressure there. Round 1 has Beyah establishing one thing early: he hits hard. This little tidbit suddenly makes it all about McGarr trying desperately to get it the the floor (although when he is successful, Beyah slams his way out of an armbar). McGarr manages another takedown in the latter half of the second, but never really gets to do anything with it before time expires. The final round is a contest to see who can keep it in their realm, and with a few well-timed punches it seems like Beyah might do it. But McGarr is relentless, and when he gets Beyah down he takes his back and flattens him out. Beyah takes the split decision when time runs out.

Liveblog: Evolution Part 1

Another day, another MMA show - this one amateur and called Evolution "Holiday Havoc". Steve Katz is the man making the magic, the venue is the Schuetzen Park nightclub in North Bergen, and there are eight bouts on tap, including a title fight between Kenneth "Buck" Rivera of Rhino Fight Team and Jimbo Hoffman of Team Vendetta. Schools represented tonight include Team Renzo, New York Jiu-Jitsu, Universal Martial Arts, Jungle Gym and New York San Da - a nice cross-section of NYC schools compared to some of the other amateur organizations' New Jersey-centric cards.


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Liveblog: ROC 33 Part 6

MMA Masters rep Valdir Araugo is challenging Serra/Longo middleweight Chris Weidman for his belt. Will he succeed? Both men come out swinging and maintain a fast pace, but Araugo begins to slow halfway through Round 1 - which enables Weidman to out-wrestle him and drop him with a punch. Although Weidman drops him again in Round 2, Araugo rallies and threatens with a close leglock and some grappling back and forth, making the frame a close one. It doesn't get any easier to judge in Round 3, as both swing hard and wrestle hard. But when time expires a decision is made - Weidman unanimously. Last bout and it's Gian Villante of Bellmore Kickboxing defending his belt against Joseph Kenneth Reyes. Well, this one doesn't take long. Villante comes out, gets on top of Reyes, and simply carpet bombs him. The TKO comes at 1:03 of Round 1. Adios.


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Friday, December 3, 2010


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Liveblog: ROC 33 Part 5

Title fight #1 and it's AMA FC 125-pounder Sean Santella against Tran-Lovato MMA's Mickey Lovato. Round 1 has Santella taking Lovato's back early, Lovato working his way on top, and Santella threatening with about 200 sub attempts. The AMA FC rep keeps up the pressure in Round 2, and at 2:56 he snags the armbar for the win. Now up for the featherweight strap: BJJ Shore Academy's Ryan Vaccaro and Nova Uniao's Marcos Pereira. In the epitome of back-and-forth, Pereira starts off by getting top and absolutley blasting Vaccaro. But the American deftly escapes, and in turn beats on the Brazilian for the second half of the round. Round 2 is all Pereira, who lands more and scores the only takedown, while Round 3 has him large and in charge from beginning to end. Pereira takes the unanimous decision and 145 strap. Now, for the lightweight title, are Jungle Gym's Joe Aviles and MMA Institute's George Sheppard. Clearly cognizant of Aviles' dangerous striking, Sheppard tries his damndest to be the Jungle Gym rep's new coat. It doesn't work, and Aviles lands the right hook for the crushing KO at 4:21 of Round 1.


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Liveblog: ROC 33 Part 4

The ladies are up, and it's TSMMA's Munah Holland vs. Ryan Hoover's Extreme Karate rep Justine Kish. From the outset Holland tries to bullrush her foe into the cage to smother her, and Kish replies by deftly climbing up the cage and slapping on the guillotine (think: Renzo vs. Pat Miletich). Staying one step ahead in Round 2, Kish turns Holland's aggression into a pit trap of submissions, with the bout-ender a triangle at 2:53. Next: George Sullivan of Pellegrino MMA and Erik Oganov of Alpha Omega MMA. Oganov wisely wants none of Sullivan's deadly striking, so he gets Sullivan down and tries to punch. But the Pellegrino MMAer sweeps him and drops fists of his own, and Round 1 ends with him on top. No such joy for Sullivan in Round 2, though, as when the Russian gets him down, he's just stuck there. Luckily for him, there's a Round 3, which sees him score a reversal with a kimura attempt from the bottom and pound on Oganov throughout. Sullivan takes the unanimous decision. Team Serra/Longo's Costa Phillipou takes to the cage to face Aung La Nsang of Crazy 88. Crazy 88 of Kill Bill fame? God I hope so. Nsang comes out aggressive and throwing kicks, but he's sloppy and Phillipou drops him with a right and a left and finishes him with punches on the ground. The TKO comes at 11 seconds of Round 1.


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