Sunday, October 31, 2010

Zoila Frausto: Proof That God Watches MMA and He Has a Sense of Humor

She was supposed to lose to Rosi Sexton at Bellator 23, proving to the world that Sexton had the goods to be a force in the upcoming 115-pound tournament.  Instead, she KO'd Sexton in two minutes with a knee, then took the Brit's slot in the tourney.  And then she won it.  In case there was any doubt, God does watch MMA, and he has a huge sense of humor.  After all, how else can you explain Zoila Frausto - heretofore no great shakes as a female fighter - out-pointing Jessica Pene, squeaking by Jessica Aguilar with a gift split decision, and then beating the unbeaten Megumi Fujii to take Bellator's inaugural women's MMA title at last week's Bellator 34?  In the grand tradition of Toby Imada spoiling things for Jorge Masvidal, Pat Curran squashing Roger Huerta's title run, and the dozen other fighters who derailed the best laid plans of mice and Bellator matchmakers, Frausto did what she had to do win (which, in her case, is avoid getting taken down and bust people up with her striking).  Now she's the champ.  Congrats to her.  And this is why tournaments are awesome.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mitch the Intern's TUF 12 Recap: Episode 7

*Editor's note: Mitch the Intern is an NYU undergrad whose favorite Wednesday night pastime includes the TV in his dorm room, a green beanbag chair and two hits of acid.  Enjoy.*

Often, when there's no inherent drama in a situation - like when a supposed villain isn't that bad at all or when a Canadian doesn't know enough English to merit a speaking role - a SpikeTV producer must inject something into the scene to add spice.  Sometimes it means the cast stumbles upon a cache of automatic weapons or a suitcase full of mob money.  Sometimes it means telling cast members that their relatives have died (whether they have or not is irrelevant).  And sometimes it means adding characters.  But first!

There's one semifinal match-up left, and by the process of elimination we can surmise that it's going to be Team Josh Kosh B'Gosh's Armenian Fighter Wannabe # 34 vs. Joe Native American.  Everyone agrees that Joe Native American sucks, from Dana White to Georges St. Pierre to Joe Native American to the janitor, and they voice their opinions in candid one-on-ones with the camera.

"Native American versus Armenian?  No contest," says Dana White.

"I meed sure 'is fight was last bee-cuz 'ee sucks as a figh-terr," says the welterweight champ.

"Oh man, I suck," says Joe Native American.

"Jesus Christ," says the janitor, mop in hand.  "Spencer the Page break the damn toilet bowl - again!"

The scene switches to the obligatory training montage.  Joe Native American has pretty much gotten no screen time in the prior six episodes, which leads us to believe he's got zero personality and nothing about him worth talking about, so drunken French Muay Thai master Jean-Claude Van Hairy is thrust into the spotlight.  You know, to add spice. 

Says Jean-Claude Van Hairy after drinking a six-pack of Zima and half a bottle of Gordon's Gin: "Ah, oui…"  There's retching sounds and then vomiting, and the kicboxer wipes off his chin.  "Oui.  Bien sur."

Meanwhile, in the Armenian Fighter Wannabe #34's life, there's talk of gunshot wounds, gangs and sweaters knitted out of the copious body hair an Armenian female generates in a year.  There's also judo in there, studied since week nine in the womb, and we're led to believe that Joe Native American is in trouble.  Grave trouble.

Unfortunately, none of this is moving the needle in the "Interesting-O-Meter", so a SpikeTV producer gets central casting on the phone.

Central casting: "Hello?"

SpikeTV producer: "Yeah, I need someone menacing.  Someone not really a fighter, but who you'd think would be capable of fighting.  But nothing too obvious - no prison escapees, no assassins, no crazies.  What do you got?"

Central casting: "Hmmm… Menacing?  Fighter but not a fighter?  And nothing too obvious?  How about a big black guy who works in the medical industry?"

SpikeTV: "Fantastic!  Send him down."

And so there you have it, the reason why a heretofore unseen character is thrust into the cauldron of conflict, the reason why Josh Kosh B'Gosh walks into the TUF Training Center and starts beefing with the opposing team's "medic". 

"So, you're the, uh, 'medic'?" says Josh Kosh B'Gosh, taking cues from someone off-screen.  Someone probably the producer.

"Yes, I am the medic," says the new guy, his voice a monotone as he reads his lines from an index card in his palm.  "And I will take no crap from you, Mr. Josh B'Kosha… K'Boshi…Kosh-Kosh-"

"Josh Kosh B'Gosh!" comes an urgent whisper from off-camera.

"Mr. Josh Kosh B'Gosh," says the new guy.

And then it's time for the coaches' challenge.  That's right, that special time when the two opposing MMA fighters at the helm of each team must compete in some activity so inane and unrelated that the word "comedy" doesn't even come close to describing it (usually "tragedy" is more accurate).  Once BJ Penn and Jens Pulver had to ride a bucking bronco (together - same bull).  Another time Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz had to perform open-heart surgery (both patients died).  Well, this time Georges St. Pierre and Josh Kosh B'Gosh must hit baseballs.  Oh the insanity!  The hijinks!  Ah, who am I kidding, it's lame.  Georges St. Pierre doesn't speak a lick of English and he's never seen a baseball bat in his life, so of course Josh Kosh B'Gosh kicks his butt.  There's a stack of money involved and it goes to the American, but if any of that is meant to add additional spice to the proceeds… um, fail.

Fight time, and Joe Native American and Armenian Fighter Wannabe #34 mix it up against the cage for most of their bout, Joe Native American trying for a guillotine and somehow, someway using dark magick to avoid the perils of the Armenian Fighter Wannabe #34's alleged judo prowess.  He still gets beat on, just not as badly.

"Wow, Joe Native American's not getting his ass kicked," says Dana White from his perch cageside.  "As 'not getting your ass kicked' is a part of the judging criteria, he may actually win this!"

But it's not, and he doesn't, and Armenian Fighter Wannabe #34 takes the decision after two rounds.

Afterwards, Dana White gathers the two coaches in his lair.  With clipboards in hand, they discuss which fighters should get a second chance and compete in the wildcard match-up.  Both coaches agree that Brit Eye-run Wal-king Some deserves another shot (despite him being pretty battered and bruised from his scrap with Chris Rock on Steroids).  But for slot number two Josh Kosh B'Gosh thinks Marky-Marc and the Funky Bunch should be the man; Georges St. Pierre wants Joe Native American.  "Sum-times I do tings dat dee-fy logic an' ree-son," says the Canadian.  "For een-stance, I agreed to coach when I do not speak En-glish so well."

Dana White shakes his head. 

"See what I have to work with?" Josh Kosh B'Gosh says in exasperation.

So Eye-run Wal-king Some and Marky-Marc it is!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

DaMMAge Fight League Shaping Up Nicely

There’s Ring of Combat, M-1 Global, Urban Conflict Championships and Brick City Fighting Championships, and soon New Jersey will have the DaMMAge Fight League.  Debuting on November 24th at the Taj Mahal and brought to you by Carl Mascarenhas, DaMMAge is what you get when the promoter of the ultra-successful Asylum Fight League amateur events decides to cast his hat into the world of pro shows.  Which is to say, unbridled awesomeness.  Consider the following scheduled match-ups:

  • Chris Liguori vs. John Salgado – Liguori’s been one of the best for a while, whereas Salgado has long skirted the line between “dude who gets beaten by the best” and “dude who somehow beats the best”.  M-1 Global had high hopes for Renato Migliaccio before Salgado kicked his ass, so one has to wonder if Liguori is going to take him lightly and end up with the “L” on his record.
  • Tara LaRosa vs. Takayo Hashi – Two losses – including her most recent outing against Strikeforce ex-champ Sarah Kaufman – in over a dozen fights means Hashi is one tough hombre (er, hombra?).  LaRosa is one of the best unheralded female fighters out there.  Of all the fight results that will stem from this card, I guarantee you that the outcome of LaRosa/Hashi will be the one retweeted the most.
  • Claudio Ledesma vs. Tom McKenna – I don’t know McKenna but I do know Ledesma, whose relentless aggression and propensity for feeding opponents leather usually results in someone suffering a brutal beating.  And that someone isn’t Ledesma!
  • Felipe Arantes vs. James “Binky” Jones – Arantes looked absolutely demonic with his Muay Thai and jiu-jitsu at the last UCC, but Jones is a veteran with a capital “V”.  This pairing should be a real test for both men.  Or not.  Maybe one will just steamroll over the other.  Who knows?
  • Kevin Roddy vs. Rafaello Oliveira – Oliveira may have gone 1-2 in the UFC in his last three bouts and is hungry to rack up more wins, but Atlantic City is Roddy’s town.  RODDY’S TOWN.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Observations From My Couch: UFC 121 "Ultimate Brock is Dead - Long Live Brock!"

  • Patrick Cote, Tito Ortiz and Gabriel Gonzago are all glaring examples of the fact that getting old in the Octagon does not look pretty.
  • Court McGee: takes a licking…  That’s it.  He just takes a licking.
  • I bet Matt Hamill isn’t really deaf.  I bet he just pretends he is so he can get in an extra strike at the bell.
  • That wasn’t Diego Sanchez in there.  That was some kind of superhero.
  • “Jake Shields, I eem not eem-pressed wid your performance.” – Georges St. Pierre.
  • Yes, Brock Lesnar got his ass kicked.  But what truly sucks is he was just starting to become likeable.
  • As part of his victory celebration, Cain Velasquez announced that he was going to drink Corona and lay on top of Lesnar’s wife.  And he could because he’s the champ!

ROC 32 Postscript

Not a bad show, although everyone involved - from the staff right on down to the media - was out of their comfort zone working in the midst of the expo.  Oddly enough, Kim Couture had a few fans rooting for her, and she put up a decent fight against Munah Holland (who was as good in her debut as everyone thought she'd be).  Claudio Ledesma's aggressiveness was like a force of nature, Liam Kerrigan looked smooth as hell, and John Cholish is a stud.  Watch for him to move on up to one of the big shows soon.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


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Liveblog: ROC 32 Part 5

TSMMA boxing ace Munah Holland is up next, making her MMA debut against Kim Couture, formerly of the Las Vegas Coutures. Round 1 is spent with Holland pressing Couture against the fence, bloodying her with a short punch but not really dominating. They exchange a bit more in Round 2 when both grow more comfortable and confident, and Round 3 turns into a real slugfest - that is, until Couture fails a throw, which allows Holland to get on top and plaster her. Holland takes the unanimous decision when time runs out. Last bout and it's John Cholish of Team Renzo vs. Rich Moskowitz of Wai Kru for the ROC 155-pound belt (yes, the belt actually weighs 155 pounds). These guys are pretty evenly matched, as evidenced by each taking a turn on top in Round 1 to work their ground-and-pound mojo. Despite having to scramble out of some close guillotines, Cholish manages to edge ahead in Round 2 when he gets on top and let's loose with some fury. Cholish and Moskowitz let it all hang out in the home stretch, and after knocking each other silly, Cholish locks in the reverse-triangle at 3:05 of the round. Adios!


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Liveblog: ROC 32 Part 5

Marc Berrocal of BJJ Shore Academy and Rob Connor of MMA Institute are up next, Berrocal a pretty salty veteran and finalist when ROC did an eight-man tournament eons ago. Unfortunately, this night belongs to the young buck, as Connor shoulder-throws Berrocal to the canvas, gets on top, and when Berrocal gives up his back Connor sinks in the rear naked choke. The official time of the tap out is 2:10 of Round 1. Now it's time for Team Serra/Longo star precision striker Costa Philippou to take on Marcus Finch. Round 1 is a lot of wall-and-stall, with the only notable exchange ending with Finch land a hook that puts Philippou on his butt. Philippou can seem to stop kicking Finch in the junk, however, and when he does it in Round 2 Finch literally needs a break and a doctor consultation before he says he can't continue. It's ruled a no contest at 2:47 of Round 2.


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Liveblog: ROC 32 Part 4

Brendan Barrett and Randy Smith are up in a heavyweight match-up that has no shortage of bad blood attached to it. Mindful of Smith's size and reach advantage, Barrett takes his opponent down about a minute in and batters him without mercy. Smith survives the round, though, and he's able to keep it on the feet and put his hands on Barrett much more throughout the second frame. It's just a complete dogfight in the third round - each blasting the other until they're too exhausted to care. When time runs out the judges call it a draw, and it's hard to disagree with that. Josh Key and Russian Erik Oganov (of Alpha Omega MMA) take to the cage for a welterweight bout. Well, this one is a letdown. The two go at it hard for about a minute, and when Key is turtled Oganov lands an unintentional hammerfist to the back of his head. He can't continue, and at 1:01 of Round 1 the bout is declared a no contest.


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Liveblog: ROC 32 Part 3

Liam Kerrigan of Tong Dragon returns after a hard loss to Ed Guedes, and his foe is Evan Chmielski of Xtreme MMA. Kerrigan is like a runaway locomotive for this one, meeting Chmielski head on in an attempt to wrestle him to the ground. Though he winds up on bottom, the Tong Dragon rep slips on the omoplata, and when Chmielski defly work out of it, Kerrigan has the triangle locked tight. Chmielski goes to sleep at 1:51 of the first round. TSMMA's Mike Murray enters the cage to take on North Jersey MMA's Claudio Ledesma. Murray winds up on the bottom early, and though Ledesma lands some hard punches from above, the TSMMA bantamweight comes insanely close with a deep armbar and deep triangle. But Ledesma wisely stays out of submission range in Round 2, choosing instead to stand within Murray's guard and drop leather. Round 3 plays out in similar fashion, and though Murray manages to snake out onto Ledesma's back in the dying seconds of the fight, the North Jersey MMA rep escapes and takes the unanimous decision. AMA FC's Tim Troxell and MMA Institute's George Sheppard are now squaring off for a lightweight contest. These guys are content to strike and it's pretty even for about the first two and a half minutes. But Sheppard lands a right cross that stuns Troxell, and the ensuing follow up of fists has the ref stepping in at 2:33 or Round 1.


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Liveblog: ROC 32 Part 2

First up at bat is TSMMA rep Melissa Bopp, who's making her MMA debut against Ashley Nee of Top Notch. Is she top notch? Or is Bopp going to bop her and she goes down? People, these jokes practically write themselves. Round 1 is mostly a Muay Thai battle as the two clinch and trade knees. But Bopp edges ahead with a lateral drop and some ground and pound. Round 2 is a carbon copy of the first, and it becomes evident that Bopp's biggest advantage is her takedowns and ability to punish from above. She continues with the ground assault in the third and easily cruises to a unanimous decision win. Next up is Chris Connor of MMA Institute vs. Giedrius Karavackas of LINK. When last we Karavackas he was getting laid out by red-hot prospect Chris Wing, but he's since won the Bellator tryouts, so we'll see if his momentum is truly angling towards the "win" zone. Round 1 is all about Karavackas throwing a kick and slipping and Connor seizing the opportunity to get on top. Time runs out with the two more or less stalemated on the ground. Karavackas makes no such mistake in the second though, and after some furious scrambling Karavackas gets on top and completely brutalizes Connor's ribs with punches and elbows. To his credit, Connor comes out swinging in Round 3, but it's the Karavackas Show, and the Lithuanian throws him to the canvas, beats on him, and secures an armbar with his legs at 2:46 of the round. A very dominant win.

Liveblog: ROC 32 Part 1

MMA Journalist is here at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City for ROC 32 - a bastion of legitimate martial competition in a sea of kung fu, body building and what I think is a tanning contest. That's right, folks, there's some sort of expo going on here, so for every skilled true believer in the MMA way strolling by, there's about six lunatics who think their chi or a well-timed flex of their glutes will stop a takedown. In short, it's marvelous. Anyway, hold tight for 11 MMA bouts featuring the likes of John Cholish, Tim Troxell, Munah Holland and Melissa Bopp (and then maybe a post-show brawl where 22 MMA fighters kill a thousand kung fu dudes).


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Friday, October 22, 2010

Mitch the Intern's TUF 12 Recap: Episode 6

*Editor's note: Mitch the Intern is an NYU undergrad whose favorite Wednesday night pastime includes the TV in his dorm room, a green beanbag chair and two hits of acid. Enjoy.*

Thanks to the spirited performance of former School of Visual Arts student and Ecstasy dealer Banh Mi, Team Josh Kosh B'Gosh finally has a win to call their own, so they celebrate. There's champagne spraying everywhere, there's strippers, and at one point an assistant coach dons pagan robes and sacrifices a goat to Cthulhu. Is it excessive? Hey, anytime there's a sacrifice to Cthulhu and the sky is not torn open and giant tentacles do not emerge from the rift to lay waste to the Earth, well, I'd say hey, that's cool and no, it's not excessive. But some members of Team Georges St. What The Hell Is He Saying take great umbrage over it.

"Man, Josh Kosh B'Gosh and his team sucks," says Chris Rock on Steroids after being denied free healthcare in the locker room. "If this were Canada I'd be getting all the backrubs I want," he says, and it's then that we know he's gone completely over to the Canadian Side.

Back at the TUF House and Chris Rock on Steroids and his teammates are out back, barbecuing up some mope with a side of grilled glum. Team Josh Kosh B'Gosh is inside, still partying like it's 1999 (Banh Mi is dancing around wearing a raspberry beret - the kind you buy in a second-hand store). They're soon joined by their coaches, and together they go out to the deck to rub Team Canadia's face in their Satanic rituals and belief in Norse mythology.

"Man, you suck," says Chris Rock on Steroids to the opposing coach.

"Maybe I do," says Josh Kosh B'Gosh with a mischievous grin. "But at least I have personality and people can understand me when I talk."

"I'm a one-trick pony," interjects Spuds McKenzie, his low, plodding voice betraying either years of Oxycontin abuse or Down Syndrome. "I can do a guillotine."

Everyone stares at Spuds McKenzie blankly - even his own teammates. Eventually Josh Kosh B'Gosh nods his head and says "okay".

Thanks to Banh Mi, picking the next match-up is the responsibility of Josh Kosh B'Gosh. He chooses his best guy, Marky-Marc and the Funky Bunch, to face Spuds McKenzie. The two fighters square off for the staredown, and though Marky-Marc bears a confident smirk, his opponent bows his head and makes a face that looks like a combination of a grimace and a desperate need to use the toilet. When the staredown is over, Spuds McKenzie puts his finger to Josh Kosh B'Gosh's nose and implores him to smell it.

"Dude," says Josh Kosh B'Gosh.

And now it's time for a life lesson from Mr. Incomprehensible, Georges St. Huh? Today's topic: Christ, I don't know. Dealing with bullies? Absorbing insults? Given the welterweight champ's absolute disdain for speaking in a language American viewers can understand, it's difficult to say. But there's lots of "eets" and "ree-speck" and other mauled words in there, plus he gets up and gesticulates wildly. One has to wonder if the man actually understands himself.

Time for a little training montage and personal insight into the two competitors. Marky-Marc kicks a heavybag and mentions his love of K.D. Lang music; Spuds McKenzie says that he sucks at everything related to MMA but he knows that guillotine. As if to accentuate the obvious, Team Josh Kosh B'Gosh assistant coach Dave Chameleon instructs Marky-Marc to "avoid that guillotine. Avoid it. It."

Then it's fight time, and the Spuds McKenzie runs across the cage waving his arms and kicking his legs out like a bug having an epileptic seizure. Out of reflex Marky-Marc ducks his head and shoots in for the takedown - and Spuds McKenzie sinks in the guillotine. Marky-Marc is asleep before 20 seconds have elapsed.

Cageside, Josh Kosh B'Gosh looks stunned. He turns to the camera, stares, and says matter-of-factly, "my tummy hurts."

But wait, there's more.

As Spuds McKenzie and Marky-Marc's saga lasted only half an episode, there's time enough for another match-up.

On the Muppet Show everyone knew that Kermit the Frog was a frog, Miss Piggy was a pig, and the Swedish Chef was Swedish. But what the heck was Gonzo? According to later films (which are considered Muppet canon), Gonzo was some kind of alien. Well, this season of TUF has it's very own alien, a wrestler and jiu-jitsu guy named Jonathan with long blond hair, green skin, antlers, dreadlocks, scales and a tail.

As coach Georges St. Pierre now has the baton, he chooses his ward, Jonathan, to take on the Armenian Wonder.

Cue 30-second montage: Jonathan, meditating. Doing yoga. Picking flowers. Practicing calligraphy with a brush and a small bottle of ink. Meanwhile, the Armenian Wonder is smashing television sets with a baseball bat. Setting fire to a kennel. Going to expensive hotel rooms at the Bellagio and dumping a jar of bedbugs out onto the carpet.

And then they're fighting, and Jonathan - scales, antlers, green skin, tail and all - leaps onto the Armenian Wonder's back and chokes him out.

Boy, it sure does suck to be on Team Josh Kosh B'Gosh, eh?

The end.

Bellator 33 Postscript

It's weird going to a show where the main event fights happen in the middle of the card, but such is the life of an organization with a television broadcast deal. Deividas Taurosevicius looked gun-shy, Rick Hawn showed a lot of promise, and Roger Huerta was all heart. Lyman Good and Ben Askren were seriously beaten up after their bout, which is a testament to both fighters' mettle and toughness. What can you say about Eddie Alvarez that hasn't already been said? He was a superstar years ago and he's only gotten better. Overall, pretty solid event - although Bellator still takes the cake as the promotion with the worst press section. Cheering on fighters and shouting instructions - especially when we're about a hundred feet from the cage - is embarrassing. However, sitting and shooting the crap with Kevin Roddy and Tom Gallicchio ultimately made it bearable.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


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Liveblog: Bellator 33 Part 5

Kenny Foster and Lester Caslow enter the cage to mix it up. The story of the opening round is Caslow landing a few kicks, the two flurrying and pressing each other against the cage, and a lot of running around. Foster takes Round 2 with a takedown and some time in the mount, Foster's wrestling and agression continue to make the difference in the third, and he takes the unanimous decision. Last bout and it's Jamal Patterson vs. Tim Carpenter. These guys go back and forth with wild punching, failed submission attempts and some less-than-smooth transitions. Carpenter takes the split decision when time runs out. Ghost!


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