Monday, January 31, 2011

Questions to Be Answered This Weekend at ROC 34 and CFFC

Atlantic City: the place to be if you’re keen on gambling, shopping at outlet stores, eating so-so food and heckling streetwalking prostitutes.  And this weekend, it’s also the place to be for some hardcore MMA action.  On Friday, Ring of Combat 34 returns to the Tropicana, bringing with it all its usual fanfare and luster, and on Saturday, the Cage Fury Fighting Championship rises like a phoenix from the ashes to set fire to the Resorts Casino & Hotel and send patrons fleeing into the night.  That’s right, there’s an awful lot of fighting going on this weekend – and hopefully, there will be some questions answered.  Questions such as:

  • Can Aung La N Sang find success in the Northeast circuit?  Sang teaches Muay Thai at the Crazy88 school in Maryland, but at ROC 33 he ran into one of the best strikers the Northeast has to offer in Costa Philippou and suffered an 11-second loss via TKO.  At ROC 34 he’s facing Mitch Whitesel, who’s far less dangerous but possesses the kind of experience that’s always a threat.  Will Sang get a chance to showcase his ability?
  • Can Steve DeAngelis get back on the winning track?  In his last outing, he was caught by Nick Pace (and Pace is now fighting in the UFC), and the time before that he got the blanket treatment from a much-bigger Jacob Kirwan.  2010 was a bad year for the Pellegrino MMA rep, but at ROC 34 he’s taking on submission specialist Dustin Pague in what could be the perfect opportunity to snag a “W” against a dangerous foe.  Can DeAngelis do it?
  • Will Mervin Rodriguez come out on top once more?  In the span of three and a half years Rodriguez has amassed a mottled record, but upon closer inspection it’s clear he’s lost to only the best and toughest guys – like Al Iaquinta, Liam Kerrigan, Jeff Lentz, Andy Main, George Sheppard and Kenny Foster.  However, at ROC 33 Rodriguez was a full-on Team Pellegrino fighter and he was large and in charge.  Has his new team put him on the path to badass-ness?  Will we see him victorious once more at ROC 34?
  • Victor O’Donnell, what have you done for me lately?  When O’Donnell first stepped into the cage at ROC 25 he was an underdog against heavy-hitting Team Renzo rep Rafael Sapo.  But the Ohio native proved to have a granite chin and some dangerous fists of his own, and he came away with the win and Sapo’s ROC belt that night.  Since then, O’Donnell lost a decision to Costa Philippou, went out on his shield at the TUF 11 season opener, and returned to the minor leagues to rattle of a few victories.  But those fights were far away – what have you done for me lately, Victor O’Donnell?  At CFFC on Saturday night, the big puncher and game-as-hell fighter is headlining against wrestler/jiu-jitsu guy Andrew Riddles, and you can bet Riddles is going to try his best to avoid eating knuckles.  Will it be enough?  Or will O’Donnell find a way to remind us Northeasterners that he belongs in the big leagues?

Observations from My Couch: Strikeforce's "Ultimate Nick Diaz is Unstoppable"

  • It’s refreshing to see a fighter with finely-honed jiu-jitsu skills (like Roger Gracie) meet with success, especially when it’s so painfully clear he’s got no striking or wrestling skills (like Roger Gracie).
  • I have zero problems with Herschel Walker crushing cans.  No problem whatsoever.
  • Was Jacare trying to emulate an alligator in his victory dance?  I thought for sure the dude was having a seizure.
  • Robbie Lawler is and always will be a bad dude.  Also, bad at jiu-jitsu.
  • For a while there I thought Cyborg was getting the better of the fight.  Then Nick Diaz appeared and told me to stop smoking that crack.
  • I am baffled at how unstoppable Diaz is with his boxing, and based on the impressive string of wins he’s put together and his performances in the cage, it is clear that the only opponents that could defeat him would be the top-level wrestling dry humpers (Georges St. Pierre, Jon Fitch, et al.).

Friday, January 28, 2011

Strikeforce's "Diaz vs. Cyborg" Fun Facts

Yeah, so, Fedor’s fighting Bigfoot in New Jersey and there’s a heavyweight tournament and if you accidentally mixed together the urine of some the tournament competitors the laboratory where they do the post-fight drug screening would freakin’ explode, blah, blah, blah.  What many have forgotten in all the excitement is that there’s a pretty decent Strikeforce installment scheduled for this Saturday, featuring the likes of Nick Diaz, Robbie Lawler and old man Herschel Walker.  But MMA Journalist hasn’t forgotten, and as proof, here are some nice fun facts about the show!

  • Roger Gracie is putting his undefeated record on the line when he faces Trevor Prangley, but did you know that his nickname among his clan members is “Lutador de Porco-espinho”?  It means “fighter of porcupine” in Portuguese, and it stems from an unfortunate incident at a family picnic when he was eight-years old.
  • Trevor Prangley hates baked beans.
  • Ex-football player Walker is so old, when he last stepped on the field players wore leather helmets.  That’s old!
  • Lawler will be facing Ronaldo Souza with Souza’s middleweight belt up for grabs.  Curiously, Lawler has never had a belt – he prefers to use rope to hold his pants up.
  • Souza’s nickname is “Jacare”, which means “spaghetti sauce” in Portuguese.  There is no explanation for that.
  • Diaz was at first very apprehensive about agreeing to fight Cyborg, stating that he didn’t think he had “a chance in hell of winning” or coming out of the fight without serious injury.  Diaz finally said yes only after Scott Coker clarified that he would in fact be facing Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos and not Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Breaking Down the New York State Senate's MMA Bill, 2011 Edition

At this point in the year, Battered Wife Syndrome kicks in and MMA Journalist finds itself gazing longingly at the legislative calendar, hoping beyond hope that this is the year New York finally repeals its ban on professional MMA and embraces the future.  And a quick peruse of the docket tells us that the State Senate has one such bill swirling around in the stew that is theoretically what they’ll be dining on in 2011.  Now, past experience tells us that the Senate could very well agree on sanctioning the sport (like they did last year) and then everything goes to hell with the Assembly, or the Assembly could give it the thumbs up (like they did two years ago) and then everything goes to hell with the Senate, so it doesn’t pay to get your hopes up.  But Dana White and company seemed awfully optimistic at that MSG presser a couple weeks ago – especially at the prospect that the governor would sneak it through the process as an attachment to his budget (which almost worked last year, but that was a different governor).  Really, who the heck knows.  I don’t.  I do know, however, how to read a bill, so here are some tidbits from what the State Senate is chewing on:

  • “’Professional combative sports match or exhibition’ shall mean any match or exhibition that must be approved by the Commission where the professional combative sports participants receive consideration of any value or admission is charged.” – Crap, someone told them about the “amateur” loophole.
  • “The Commission shall direct a representative to be present at each place where combative sports are to be held pursuant to the provisions of this section.” – Get your resumes ready, folks, ‘cause this is going to require a lot of NYSAC employees!
  • “Nothing in this subdivision shall authorize the Commission to intervene or prohibit a professional combative sports match or exhibition solely on the basis of the difference between the respective participants’ martial arts disciplines.” – Tai Chi vs. Muay Thai?  Oh baby, it’s on.
  • “No participant shall be allowed to participate in more than three matches or exhibitions or compete for more than sixty minutes within seventy-two consecutive hours.” – One night, eight-man tournament?  Bring it, homeboy.
  • “The Commission is authorized and directed to require that all sites wherein professional combative sports are conducted shall comply with State and applicable local sanitary codes appropriate to school athletic facilities.” – So long, stanky gyms.
  • “A tax is hereby imposed and shall be paid upon the gross receipts of every person holding any professional combative sports match or exhibition in this state.  Such tax shall be imposed on the gross receipts as follows: 8.5% of gross receipts from ticket sales, and 3% of gross receipts from broadcasting rights, except that in no event shall the tax imposed exceed $50,000 for any match or exhibition.” – And once again, the “little guy” promoter gets screwed.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Forum on Legalization of MMA in New York Scheduled for Wednesday

Wednesday will bring us yet another gathering of minds on the topic of sanctioned MMA in this wondrous home state of ours.  Titled "Issues Surrounding the Legalization of Mixed Martial Arts in New York", the forum promises speakers of both the lawyer- and boxing promoter variety, and according to the release, "Panelists will discuss the legal and regulatory issues relating to the legalization of mixed martial arts in New York, as well as its potential economic impact if it were legalized."  I don't know how much new ground there is to cover on the matter, but a fresh perspective is always worthwhile.  Expect MMA Journalist to attend and provide the livebloggery.

Observations from My Couch: UFC Fight for the Troops 2 "Ultimate Metamorphosis"

    • So, uh, did no one tell Cole Miller he was allowed to fight back? 
    • Joey Beltran is great at taking and absorbing damage.  Unfortunately, that’s all he’s great at.
    • How is that from a TUF season that brought us Kimbo Slice and Roy Nelson, Matt Mitrione ends up being the sole shining star?
    • Yves Edwards: real American hero.  (Even though he was born in the Bahamas.)
    • When Franz Kafka wrote “Metamorphosis”, he probably never envisioned his man-to-bug story being applied to a trio of MMA fighters, but Jesus, when did Matt Wiman, Mark Hominick and Melvin Guillard transform into such alpha predators?  Wiman walked right through Miller, Hominick toyed with George Roop before putting him away, and Guillard ate Evan Dunham for lunch.  Not too long ago these guys were in the cage getting smoked by Sam Stout, Rani Yahya and Joe Stevenson.  Folks, that right there is a metamorphosis like no other.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Collection of New Haiku - 1.21.11

So much news, so little time.  But fear not, as MMA Journalist has turned to ancient Japanese poetry to make it all easier for you to digest.

  • Dana says no to / women in UFC. “They / belong in kitchen!”
  • Hey, remember that / Brit fighter named Lee Murray?  / Yeah, he’s still in jail.
  • GSP fired his / manager.  Why?  She couldn’t / handle his “riddum”.
  • Boy, that Nick Diaz, / he sure does curse a lot.  Like, / a hell of a lot.
  • Okay, show of hands. / Who here’s sad Cole Konrad ain’t / in Strikeforce tourney?
  • AOL Fanhouse / sold?  It’s okay Ariel, you / can work for this blog.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Predictions for UFC "Fight for the Troops 2"

Saturday night will bring us the second installment of the UFC’s “Fight for the Troops” series, which is an event staged on a military base before a few thousand screaming and cheering troops, all for the benefit of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.  It promises to be an exciting night - and if the first Fight for the Troops show is any indication, it should be one heck of a dose of carnage.  At the infamous December, 2008, outing, Corey Hill snapped his leg completely and utterly in half, Razak Al-Hassan had his arm broken, Jonathan Goulet was decapitated, and headliner Yoshiyuki Yoshida suffered so much head trauma, for the following four months he thought he was Pikachu.  In short, it was “300”-level madness.  So what’s in store for viewers who tune into SpikeTV?  Predictions!

  • Cody McKenzie vs. Yves Edwards – McKenzie will make history in this one, as he’ll become the first fighter to ever lose by appendicitis.
  • Joey Beltran vs. Pat Barry – Another heretofore unseen outcome will be Barry’s loss by the medical condition known as “potato famine”.
  • Mark Hominick vs. George Roop – Though a skilled competitor and a striking-threat to champ Jose Aldo, Hominick will blow his shot when he goes for double-flying-knees and breaks both shins.  And hands.  And nose.  And sprains his hair.
  • Matt Mitrione vs. Tim Hague – Mitrione’s recurring fractured skull injury will rear its ugly head, although the only manifestation exhibited will be mental illness.  He will become the first (and hopefully only) fighter to lose by “TKO due to schizophrenia”.
  • Evan Dunham vs. Melvin Guillard – Dunham will snag the “W” when Guillard suddenly has an allergic reaction to his own hair dye and suffers a seizure.
  • Mike Brown vs. Rani Yahya – Yahya is going to explode.  Literally.  And for no medical reason whatsoever.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Northeast Fighter Update - 1.18.2011

Wondering what your favorite local fighter is up to?  Unable to glean any clues from stalking them on Facebook?  Tired of waiting outside their house with a pair of binoculars and a thermos full of sangria?  Well, fear not, because MMA Journalist has done the legwork for you, and compiled this handy-dandy list.

  • Tom Gallicchio – Apparently his issues with M-1 Global have been sorted out, as the welterweight tournament champ is fighting for the organization on March 5 in Moscow.  Watch out for polar bears!
  • Steve DeAngelis – Despite his new role of Chief Diaper Changer, DeAngelis still has MMA on his mind.  Which is good, because he’s fighting for the ROC belt on February 4.  Make him wash his hands before he gets into the cage!
  • Jimbo Hoffman – After a long and impressive turn as an amateur, Hoffman is making the leap to the pro leagues on February 4 as well, taking on Yaser Shaukat at ROC 34.
  • Uriah Hall – With a renewed focus on boxing, Hall returns to action to face ace striker Costa Philippou, also at ROC 34.  It is HIGHLY unlikely either of these guys are going to lay-and-pray in this bout.
  • Jimmie Rivera – The KOTC champ gets to fly out to California to defend his title.  The date is February 3, and the opponent is WHO CARES?  Rivera won the belt!
  • Victor O’Donnell – Hey, remember this guy?  He TKO’d Rafael Sapo for the ROC belt back in 2009 and lost a war trying to fight his way into the TUF house.  Anyway, he’s headlining Cage Fury Fighting Championships on February 5.
  • Mike Geurin – If he didn’t dish it out so well, we’d all assume Geurin has “battered wife syndrome”, ‘cause homeboy takes hella damage whenever he fights yet keeps coming back.  Well, on March 5 he’s coming back, this time to face UFC vet Luigi Fioravanti at Raging Wolf in Upstate New York (you now, on the Seneca Indian Reservation).
  • Plinio Cruz – Newark’s best Brazilian striker is heading to Moscow as well to fight on March 5.  Do you think they make him and Gallicchio share a room?
  • Igor and Gregor Gracie – These guys, who may or may not know something about jiu-jitsu, are facing Carmine Zocchi-trained fighters John Salgado and Jason Lee respectively at the February 12 Strikeforce extravaganza in New Jersey.

Friday, January 14, 2011

UFC/Madison Square Garden Presser Postscript

  • I spoke with Dana White afterwards and asked how long the lag time would be between New York State lifting the ban and the UFC coming to town.  He drew a comparison with Toronto (UFC 129 in April) and said they’d be putting on the show as fast as possible.
  • On where that first UFC show would be, he was unequivocal: Madison Square Garden.
  • Would it be a big pay-per-view affair or a little Fight Night offering?  Without question, a monster pay-per-view.
  • An older female video reporter for the New York Post asked Dana White how the UFC planned on regulating mixed martial arts since they introduced kicking and punching to the sport.  I think even the New York Post’s regular beat reporter laughed at her.
  • Frankie Edgar’s face still bears the marks from his war with Gray Maynard.
  • Props to the Fight Nerd, who was smooth in squeezing a UFC 128 press credential out of White.  Dreams do come true.
  • There was a lot of optimism in the room about an MMA bill passing this year, but there were also some members of Team Cautious present and few representatives of Team No Friggin’ Way.  Really, it all depends on who within the state government you ask.  At this stage, I prefer consulting gypsies and seers.  At least then I can blame myself for being wrong.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


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: UFC's MMA in New York Press Conference

MMA Journalist is here at Madison Square Garden's Club Bar and Grill for the UFC's "bring MMA to New York" press conference. Present are UFC brass Dana White and Lorenzo Fertita, UFC star Frankie Edgar, some MSG exec, Lady Liberty, Travis Bickle the Taxi Driver and a giant subway rat, all of whom are now focused on the singular goal of bringing MMA to New York (Underground Combat League say what?). In terms of press, the gang's all here - The Fight Nerd, Pete Lampasona, Mark LaMonica from Newsday, Mike Chiappetta, Mike Straka, Ariel Helwani, plus a room packed with mainstreamers in suits and ties. Dana's at the podium now, preaching to the choir about how awesome MMA is and the economic benefit it would provide the Empire State. Lorenzo does the same, and MSG's Scott O'Neill follows with his tale of seeing his first UFC - UFC 111 in New Jersey. It is, of course, a lovefest, but the underlying message is undeniable: this is the year for big push for sanctioning. Oorah.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Few Words with "Wing Chun Man" Shawn Obasi

For the past few months Shawn Obasi – a veteran of the UCL and one heck of a polarizing figure in the New York fight scene – has been training hard for his pro MMA debut at an upcoming Brick City Fighting Championship.  But the “Wing Chun Man” still had enough time for challenge match against Internet personality Bloodstain Lane in Brooklyn last week, which Obasi won via third-round armbar.  Weighing 278 pounds when he first stepped onto the mat at Alliance BJJ, Obasi is now 210, and apparently very capable of grappling when not knocking opponents senseless.  MMA Journalist caught up with the controversial fighter to get the scoop on what he’s been up to.

  • “I’ve just been training super-duper hard, getting ready for my pro debut.  I’m going to be fighting for the light-heavyweight belt at Brick City Fighting Championships against Carlos Cline. He’s a Gracie fighter so I’m really looking forward to that.”
  • “I’ve been training at Alliance [BJJ].  I’ve been really working on my ground game.  And of course I’ve been training my Wing Chun, as well.  I haven’t really stepped into Muay Thai like I said I would.  I have my reasons for that.  Mostly because I feel I would be letting my fans down.  They see me as a big figure in the Wing Chun community, so for me to go around and train Muay Thai, it would almost be like I’m contradicting myself.  But it’s hard.  I’m starting to understand that in order to be well-versed in mixed martial arts, you have to learn different styles.”
  • [On how the Bloodstain Lane challenge match came about:]  “He was on Facebook and I was on Facebook, and it’s kind of funny how that came about.  In my head I was saying, ‘Man, this guy talks so much shit about MMA fighters and how they lay-and-pray’, and he was talking about how he’d kick someone’s ass and do this and that.  And I was saying, ‘You know, I would like to fight this guy, but I don’t know how to go about it.’  Well, one day he left a post saying, ‘I’m going to be at Brooklyn Fight Factory sparring.  If any of you bozos want to come down and spar with me, come on out.’  I was like, oh wow.  This would be a great opportunity.  I left him a message asking what time, and all of sudden people on the thread started realizing who I was.  Then it became crazy.  It was on Twitter and all over the place, so we decided we were going to meet up and bang it out, and we did.”
  • “It went okay.  I want people to understand it was just like a sparring match, not a full-contact thing.  I had spoken to Bloodstain Lane before, and he’d specifically asked me not to go hard, so I was going about 45 percent.  I won in the last round with an armbar, and I didn’t use any Wing Chun.  The reason why is, 1) I wasn’t really trying to hurt the guy, and 2) I wanted to test myself.  The way I was testing myself was by letting the guy put me into bad situations and letting the guy do what he wanted.  My teacher said something to me a while back and it stuck in my head.  He said, ‘Shawn, when you start to win fights by beating people effortlessly, that’s when you know you’ve reached a high-level of martial arts.’  When people see the video they can tell that I wasn’t aggressive.  I was pretty much relaxed.  And it makes me feel good that someone was going 100 percent and I was going 45 percent and I could still beat them.  But it wasn’t really I big deal.”
  • [Will we see the same intensity when he faces Carlos Cline?]  “Absolutely not.  What you’re going to see is a culmination of that same theory of ‘effortlessness’, but you’ll also see emotional content.  You will know I’m fighting when you see the expressions on my face – I make crazy expressions on my face.  You can hear me raise my chi.  And that’s how you’ll know I’m fighting for real.  When I fight Carlos Cline I’m going to go at him with everything I got.  This is not a game, this is the professional level.  I’m getting paid for this.  I have expectations to live up to, and trust me when I tell you, when there’s a belt on the line, there’s no games.”
  • “It’s a really great feeling that I’m going to fight for the belt.  And it’s crazy because once I do win, I will be Wing Chun’s first MMA champion.  It’s going to be really big.  I have a chance to make history.  Everything I’ve ever wanted, I have the opportunity to make it happen.”

Monday, January 10, 2011

Observations from My Couch: Strikeforce Challengers 13 "Ultimate Amanda Nunes Done Killed Someone"

  • As judo guys go, Rhadi Ferguson didn’t show a lot of throwing.  But hey, his leglocks were great, so that’s something.
  • A fourteen-second knockout?  Dear God, please say we’ve found someone who can stand with Cris Cyborg!  Please!
  • Daniel Cormier once again demonstrated that he’s a promising up-and-comer.  However, that man should be kept far away from Strikeforce’s heavyweight tournament.  And I mean that in a “Good grief, this fight is boring” kind of way.
  • Ovince St. Preux is becoming very competent at battering and punishing opponents but not quite finishing them.
  • Thank you, Tyron Woodley and Tarec Saffiedine, for turning what should have been a stellar main event into a suckfest.  If I had wanted to watch men hugging against the cage for 15 minutes, I would’ve… gone to the park… and watched men hugging… against the cage for 15 minutes.  Or something snarky and witty.  I don’t know.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Strikeforce Challengers 13: What to Watch For

Tonight’s edition of Strikeforce Challengers features some unusually worthwhile match-ups – unusual because these Challengers events are often half the calories of a regular Strikeforce yet half the flavor.  But that’s not the case with this one, though.  In the main event, two welterweights who’ve made the most of their tenure on Showtime will meet in a clash between beastly wrestler and thrilling striker, while on the undercard another storied judo guy steps into the cage and a pair of ladies clash to determine who may be worthy enough to be sacrificed to the organization’s 145-pound goddess of war sometime in the future.  So if you tune into Showtime tonight (which is free thanks to a weekend-long preview), this is what to watch for:

  • Daniel Cormier, Devin Cole and the reason why these two heavyweights aren’t in Strikeforce’s big heavyweight tournament – Cormier is still pretty green and Cole’s best days were in the IFL.  Plus, they haven’t quite embraced the art of “stand and bang”.  However, with the myth of Bobby Lashley dispelled, someone’s going to need to take his place as “big badass wrestler”.  Can Cormier do it?
  • Rhadi Ferguson, who might contain within his repertoire the next highlight-reel judo throw – Or he might not.  Years ago the MMA world was keen on this guy committing to cagefighting.  But that was then, and as Father Time is not kind to fighters, one has to wonder if Ferguson can still put opponents on their asses.  The UFC has Dong Hyun Kim and Bellator has Rick Hawn.  Will Ferguson be Strikeforce’s resident judoka? 
  • Julie Budd, Amanda Nunes and the question of “Who will Cyborg kill in 2011?” – Really, these ladies are both kind of short on the experience necessary to give the champ any kind of trouble.  Unfortunately, who else is going to step into the cage with her?  Nick Diaz?  Robbie Lawler?
  • Ovince Saint Preux, Abongo Humphrey and the inevitable Brandon Vera fight – Let’s face it, with Vera recently cut by the UFC, chances are either Saint Preux or Humphrey (or both) will be facing him in Strikeforce soon.  So which one will it be?  The athletic dude who moves around a lot or the dude that stands and takes a lot of punishment?
  • Tarec Saffiedine, Tyron Woodley and the next big Strikeforce welterweight – Thus far we’ve Saffiedine kick ass and Woodley kick ass, so this match-up promises to be a big dose of awesome.  Also, depending on who wins and how, Strikeforce could have its next big 170-pound star (as opposed to just “rising star”, which these guys already are).  Who will it be?

UFC to Counter Strikeforce Tournament with "Best of TUF" Tournament

In response to the upcoming Strikeforce heavyweight tournament announced earlier this week, the UFC has begun formulating plans for a “rebuttal” of epic proportions – this one involving an eight-man tournament of their own consisting of some of the best, most-compelling fighters to ever grace the TUF House.  The “Best of TUF” event is scheduled for February 12, the same night of Strikeforce’s Fedor Emelianenko/Antonio Silva and Andrei Arlovski/Sergei Kharitonov match-ups, and the UFC’s star-studded ION-broadcast roster includes:

  • Jason Thacker – The dark horse of TUF’s first season, few believed in Thacker’s ability, but for about a minute and 34 seconds at the TUF 1 Finale, he gave Chris Leben all he could handle.  Then Leben knocked him out.
  • Danny Abbadi – The karate man extraordinaire of TUF 3, Abbadi made waves in the show when he refused to change his underwear for days on end.
  • Marlon Sims – Although he may have been a substandard fighter in the cage, TUF 5’s Sims was a beast on patio concrete.  Watch out, porchfighters!
  • Jon Koppenhaver, aka “War Machine” – This TUF 6er doesn’t crap in toilet bowls.  Not even while in jail.  Enough said.
  • Junie Browning – If TUF 8 had a “bad boy”, then it was Browning.  Coincidently, if MMA had a painful, infected cyst that needed to be lanced and then treated with antibiotics, it was Browning.
  • Kimbo Slice – Come on, even a TUF 10 vet’s gotta eat.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

NYC Kickboxing Promotion to Give MMA a Try... In Vermont

On February 25, Friday Night Fights, one of New York City's preeminent kickboxing promotions, will be trying its hand at mixed martial arts.  But unlike previous shows, which have taken place in such subway-accessible venues as Pace University and the basement of the Church of St. Paul the Apostle, this one is going to require some travel.  Playing host to FNF's first installment of cagefighting is the Burlington Memorial Auditorium in Burlington, Vermont - yes, Vermont, the state where New Yorkers go to ski and get blocks of cheddar cheese.  However, Vermont is also the state New Yorkers have been trekking to for some non-New Jersey-flavored MMA, and more than a few underground veterans have been driving up there to throw down.  Is this some sort of promoting test run in preparation for when New York finally sanctions the sport?  Probably, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.  When the ban is lifted here, FNF is going to be one of a handful of established New York-based organizations with all the pieces in place for cranking out decent MMA shows.  There's nothing wrong with FNF being ready.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Outrage Over Impending Strikeforce Heavyweight Tournament Grows

Outrage over the recently announced Strikeforce heavyweight tournament continues to grow, with angry fans turning online forums into crucibles of cold discontent and burning, seething hate.  At the center of the maelstrom is the fact that the combatants - which include legendary warrior Fedor Emelianenko, Strikeforce champ Alistair Overeem, and former UFC champs Josh Barnett and Andrei Arlovski - will not be completing all bouts of the eight-man event in one night, will not be fighting to the death, and will not be facing Brock Lesnar at any point.  Also at issue is the fact that the UFC logo will not appear anywhere on the cage or in any of the broadcast's graphics.  Said UFCfanboy4life, "This whole tournament is clearly a gimmick meant to diminish the accomplishments of Dana White, who singlehandedly made mixed martial arts into what it is today."  Added ZuffaShill128, "UFC Fight Night 23 will feature Melvin Guillard in the marquee bout and boasts the likes of Matt Wiman, Joey Beltran and Tim Hague on the main card.  Even a blind man can see that the UFC puts out a better product than Strikeforce."  The opening matches of the tournament are slated for February 12 at the IZOD Center in New Jersey, and will see Fedor take on Antonio Silva and Arlovski face Sergei Kharitonov.  It is unclear at this time if fan sentiment will force Strikeforce to cancel the event.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Chael Sonnen Admits to Being Member of Al Qaeda; UFC Suspends Him

Erstwhile middleweight contender Chael Sonnen, who came close to taking champ Anderson Silva's belt then found his career stymied by steroid allegations, has now found himself in a new predicament - this one centering around his recent admission to being an active member of the global terrorist organization Al Qaeda. According to a statement issued by the Portland field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sonnen recently confessed to extremist ties when answering charges of sedition and treason. The allegations levied against the top 185-pound fighter included:
  • Being a co-founder of WikiLeaks
  • Plotting to blow up the American Embassy in Narnia
  • Unsupervised Twitter posts
  • Lack of puberty
  • Squandering his immense fan base and momentum

Upon news of Sonnen's Al Qaeda admission, the UFC promptly suspended the middleweight fighter, striking him from a scheduled UFC 128 bout. Said Dana White, "Look, busted for steroids - no problem. Driving while intoxicated - no problem. High-speed police chase - no problem. But being a terrorist? Sorry, we have to draw the line somewhere."

Monday, January 3, 2011

Some Personal Stats

  • As of today, I have attended 172 MMA shows.  That means that I have sat ringside (or cageside) for roughly 1,600 MMA bouts.
  • I have sat ringside for eight kickboxing shows.
  • I have been splattered with fighters’ blood six times.  I have been splattered with the sweat of combatants countless times.
  • I have attended 19 UFCs.  I bought tickets only for my first two – UFC 17 and UFC 33.  I was credentialed for the rest.
  • I have attended 35 “underground shows”.  Of that number, 22 were UCLs.  The only UCL I have missed was the sixth installment, which featured the debut of some kid named Frankie Edgar.  I was in Thailand at the time getting married.
  • The farthest distance I’ve traveled for an MMA event is London, England.  The shortest distance is three blocks from my house.
  • UFC 17 was the first MMA event I saw live.
  • Dan Miragliotta was the referee at the second MMA show I ever saw live.  It was an unsanctioned event in Richmond, Virginia.
  • I was there when New Jersey held its first fully-sanctioned amateur event.  Greg Soto fought and won.  Soto competed at the UFC in Las Vegas this past weekend.
  • It is 2011.  I have been covering the sport of MMA for ten years.

Observations from My Couch: UFC 125 "Ultimate Frankie the Unkillable"

  • Please, Dana, give Phil Baroni an office job too.  The man was every bit the warrior Chuck was, and he’s about one strong wind away from Parkinson’s disease.
  • Josh Grispi should be thanking Dustin Poirier profusely for saving his life, because if Grispi had faced Jose Aldo instead he’d be dead now.
  • Marcus Davis: proof that having great boxing skills means nothing when you lean into a fist.
  • Has no one read the Bible?  Obviously, the secret to defeating Clay Guida is to cut his hair.
  • Which do you think bothered Nate Diaz more?  That fact that he lost or the fact that he lost to someone named “Dong”?
  • Brandon Vera, Strikeforce awaits!
  • It was cool to see Brian Stann notch an impressive win, but his bayoneting of Chris Leben’s cornermen after the bout was a bit excessive.
  • Gray Maynard proved that, for all his speed and movement, Frankie Edgar is still hittable.  Frankie Edgar proved that, no matter what kind of damage you deliver, he will still punch you, slam you and outwork you.