This just in from the Department of There Is No Justice: SpikeTV has released the names of the cast for the thirteenth season of the Ultimate Fighter, and one of the cast members is a dude Northeast star welterweight Tom Gallicchio recently choked out. Len Bentley is the TUFer in question, and the loss – by rear naked choke in about four and a half minutes – occurred in the final bout of the M-1 Global “Selections” 170-pound tournament back in September. And no, the fight was not even close. Kudos to Bentley for getting onto TUF despite the loss. TUF 13 premieres on SpikeTV on March 30; meanwhile, Gallicchio will be flying to Moscow this week to compete against some Russian M-1 Global champ with an unpronounceable name on Saturday night.
Monday, February 28, 2011
- Riki Fukuda is now seeing a rape counselor after what the judges did to him in his Nick Ring fight.
- When Alexander Gustafsson won against local boy James Te-Huna, about one person seemed to cheer – and that was Gustafsson, and he quickly shut up and acted gloomy and morose. Really, that’s got to blow.
- Jason Reinhardt: still a can.
- Ross Pearson vs. Spencer Fisher may have lacked in fireworks, but… No, actually, that’s all I have to say.
- Kyle Noke. Beating up TUF washouts so you don’t have to.
- Well color me surprised, ‘cause Brian Ebersole was very entertaining. His chest hair was a tragedy, but he kicked ass despite it.
- Chris Tuchscherer’s best moment in his bout with Mark Hunt was the funky chicken dance he did after getting knocked out.
- Boy did George Sotiropoulos put forth a great big pile of suck in the Octagon against Dennis Siver. So much for cutting through the lightweight division like a hot knife through Vegemite.
- Michael Bisping’s illegal knee to Jorge Rivera’s dome was definitely on purpose. No one with over 24 sanctioned fights to their name makes a mistake like that. And his spitting on Rivera’s corner just makes me want to re-watch the clip of Bisping getting KTFO’d by Dan Henderson over and over again.
- *Googles “Michael Bisping KTFO by Dan Henderson”; watches it; sighs with satisfaction*
- You can look at the BJ Penn/Jon Fitch fight in one of two ways: either Penn is a badass for fighting a top welterweight to a draw, or Penn is too small for the division. Regardless, if he had even the tiniest bit of ability to fight back in the third round, that 10-8 round would’ve been a 10-9 round, and Penn would’ve gotten the decision. And that would’ve been fine by me. The Hawaiian will always be mighty in my book.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Okay, you know the drill: there’s news out there, and MMA Journalist is just not satisfied regurgitating it in plain-vanilla form. So! Limericks! Enjoy!
- There once was a UFC Down Under.
- Fedor wanted to compete in sambo.
- Guess who failed once again to make weight?
- Josh Gross is a man on mission
Why hold one there you may wonder?
“Because there’s money to be made,”
That’s what Dana White said.
“Plus, holding this card in the States would be a blunder.”
“Oh no you can’t,” said Nick Lembo.
“Your face just got pounded like veal –
Give the damn thing time to heal.
Besides, who do you think you are? Rambo?”
I’ll give you a clue: he says “mate”.
He is also a Brit
And his best move is to hit.
If you said “Paul Daley”, man, you’re great.
So he calls each athletic commission.
You should just sit back and relax
As Josh gathers all the facts
And discovers Strikeforce’s secret venue ambition.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Remember back in the day when the UFC would put together an uninspired card for its overseas division and we here in the States would get to watch that half-assed effort for free on SpikeTV? Yeah, those were good times. Unfortunately, this weekend’s installment of our favorite Octagon-flavored promotion is both suckilicious and very not free – the worst combination possible for an ardent fight fan, a fan who would ordinarily be thrilled to see Jon Fitch relentlessly lay on someone for three full rounds if it cost nothing, but when a hefty pay-per-view fee is thrust into the equation, gets sad and bitter. So let’s break down Saturday night’s UFC 127, and harp on the many reasons why spending that 45 bucks on a few good jigsaw puzzles and three 40-ounce bottles of Colt 45 malt liquor would be wiser.
- BJ Penn vs. Jon Fitch – Whether he’s winning or losing, ex-champ BJ Penn is usually pretty exciting. Unfortunately, when the words “pretty” and “exciting” are used in the same sentence as the words “Jon Fitch”, all polygraph machines within a hundred mile radius glow red hot and kill their masters. Seriously, Fitch is what you’d get if you spliced the DNA of a Purdue University wrestler with the DNA of an Ambien pill. Blankets watch his fights for tips on how to be soothing and comfortable. Sorry, Penn, but this man is going to try his best to get on top of you and whisper “I-love-you-I-love-you-I-love-you” prison-style into your ear, and there’s likely nothing you’ll be able to do about it.
- George Sotiropoulos vs. Dennis Siver – Good old George Sotiropoulos has been on a bit of a tear lately, bouncing back nicely after completely crapping the bed in TUF 6. But Dennis Siver? Really? Watching Siver fight is like watching a toddler slowly learn how to walk. I mean, it’s cool and all that Germany’s best fighter is finally getting the hang of “this MMA thing”, but shelling out dough to watch a non-scrub wax a scrub… Yeah, not so much.
- Chris Lytle vs. Brian Ebersole – As “grizzled old fighters who’ve turned to standing and banging in their twilight years in an effort to retain fans” go, Chris Lytle has done well for himself. It’s too bad his original high-end opponent Carlos Condit got injured, though, as his replacement – Brian Ebersole – is nowhere near as compelling. Ebersole is to today’s scene what Travis Fulton was to the pre-Zuffa MMA world, i.e., a warm body that will fight anyone. And hey, that’s cool if you’re a backwater promoter scrambling at the last minute to get someone to fight in your main event and the guy with his hand stuck in the vending machine backstage hears your pleas and says “yes” on the condition that you’ll help him get his hand out, but it’s not so cool when it’s for a pay-per-view card.
- Michael Bisping vs. Jorge Rivera – There’s actually nothing wrong with this match-up. Michael Bisping and Jorge Rivera will likely just blast each other in the face with skill and aggression until someone drops, making this the only worthwhile bout on the card.
- Kyle Noke vs. Chris Camozzi – A pairing between two TUF 11 washouts? Folks, this is clear and convincing evidence that matchmaker Joe Silva hates us.
(*Note: Ah what the heck, I probably will pay for this card. You know, brand loyalty and all that.)
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
- Lyman Good looked in shape and prepared, Eddie Alvarez seemed to be in tip-top form, Zach Makovsky was maxing and relaxing. Seriously, though, having known these guys since the very first time they fought, it’s hard to play the “reporter interviewing fighter” game. My questions are more like, “So, excited to go to California?” and “Three sons? Don’t you want a daughter?”
- The Tiger Schulmann fight team was there – Will Hamilton, Carlos Brooks, Nissim Levy, UFC fighter Nick Pace, KOTC champ Jimmie Rivera, ROC Louis Gaudinot – and as this Bellator shindig was eating into their daily kill-sessions, Tiger was going to have them all workout there. Sadly, I had to leave before they began.
- The gym where this all took place is called Mushin MMA, and it boasts IFL vet Erik Owings as one of its big cheeses. I spoke with Owings a bit about what he’s been up to and if he’d ever consider getting back into the mix. He said he’s not big on competing anymore – “The two happiest moments of my MMA career were winning my first fight and giving up fighting.” Post-IFL, the lightweight did some traveling, hitting the world’s usual fighting hotspots and playing the role of starving MMAer until it was too much to take. Consequently, Mushin MMA is his effort to monetize all that time put into the sport, and he has had an active role in training Northeast rising star John Cholish.
- Fight Factory brawler Ricky Lee was there as well, and he echoed some of the same sentiments as Owings. Despite having an absolute slobberknocker with Andy Main at ROC 24 and winning over the crowd with one of the best fights of the night, it ultimately all boiled down to fighting for money – and to Lee, that’s not the right reason to do it.
- It was good to see Mike Chiappetta and the Fight Nerd there, but when the fighters outnumber the media, the hard questions don’t get asked. At least when you have Eddie Goldman present, you can shout out a steroid question and run and the fighters will be satisfied with roughing up Goldman.
- I kid. No one’s ever satisfied with roughing up Goldman.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
The Cage Fury Fighting Championship is gearing up for another installment, and preliminary peeks at the April 16 card show glimpses of pure awesomeness. According to matchmaker Arias Garcia (of the Clan McGarcia), some of the pairings include:
- Andre Gusmao vs. Tim Williams – CFFC 7’s main event will feature capoeira-based striker Andre Gusmao against undefeated submission ace Tim Williams. Some may remember Gusmao from his brief (i.e., unsuccessful) run in the UFC, but the dude was an absolute mass murderer in the IFL, dropping opponents left and right with complete and utter confidence. As he’s also a full-fledged member of the Renzo Gracie/Ricardo Almeida School for Gifted Youngsters, you just know he’s experienced on the ground, so this bout is where the “Tim Williams Hype Machine” gets tested.
- Lester Caslow vs. Eddie Fyvie – These two are virtual carbon copies, with Pellegrino MMA rep Lester Caslow favoring protracted wars and the veteran Eddie Fyvie showing slightly more accurate boxing. Both are solid on the ground, though, and as Caslow is polishing up his striking with a kickboxing bout at Combat at the Capitale between now and April 16, you can expect literally anything to happen when they fight.
- Nah-Shon Burrell vs. Noah Faunce – At the last CFFC, Nah-Shon Burrell schooled Craig Thieme with crisp stand-up and got the stoppage when it became clear their bloodbath was only going to get bloodier. This time around Burrell gets a crack at Combat Academy up-and-comer Noah Faunce, who mixes wrestling with repeated punching to the face, so the big questions of the night will be a) Can Burrell keep it on the feet and work his magic? b) Can Faunce get him down and keep him there? c) How much blood is going to be spilled before the ref waives it off?
- James Funaro vs. Billy Dee Williams – A pair of experienced amateurs fighters will turn pro in this match-up, with James Funaro bringing smooth subs to the cage and Williams bringing heavy leather. This one should be a very decent scrap, as both men are hungry – and no one wants to lose their first pro bout. (Note: no Lando Calrissian jokes were harmed in the making of this post.)
Monday, February 21, 2011
- Dave Douglas smoked Nick Gonzalez like he was a poorly-packed blunt. Which makes sense because Douglas trains out of the Cesar Gracie camp, and, you know, *ahem* the Diaz brothers and all that.
- It may be time to admit that, due to age and the loss of youth, the Apple is losing its shine. Sorry, Erik.
- Ryan Couture: nope, still not his dad.
- Where the heck has that version of Carlo Prater been all these years? Geez, that Prater was killer.
- The nonstop back-and-forth grappling contest between Lyle Beerbohm and Pat Healy is the reason why I gave up reporting on point karate and started watching men roll around with men. Wait, that sounds weird...
Friday, February 18, 2011
MMA Journalist would like to give a big shoutout to Scoop Malinowski, who's currently working on a book on tennis champ Marcelo Rios, but still manages to crank out Biofiles on fighters. His latest Biofile is on boxer Riddick Bowe (go here: http://www.examiner.com/sports-profile-in-national/biofile-interview-with-riddick-bowe ), but if you hit the archives you'll find a wealth of good stuff on a ton of MMA fighters. Scoop's stuff can also be found on www.BoxingInsider.com.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
From the MMA Journalist mailbag:
"Hey, I want to go to the next underground mixed martial arts show in New York City. Is there a list or something that I can get on? I promise I am NOT A COP." - undercvrCop_5_0@hotmail.com
Dear undercvrCop_5_0, I don't know what you're talking about. But if I did, I would tell you to go to www.savevaletudo.com, which is the official website of the Underground Combat League, and follow "savevaletudo" on Twitter. Maybe you'll get some info, maybe you won't, maybe you'll be told to show up at a warehouse in Queens, and then when you go you get beaten, bound with duct tape, stuffed into a cardboard box, and shipped via UPS to the reservation in South Dakota. And let me tell you, the reservation in South Dakota sucks this time of year.
Got questions for MMA Journalist? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org - and be prepared to be mocked.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
New York City resident Joe Lozito made headlines this past weekend when he helped subdue crazed murderer Maksim Gelman after Gelman attacked him with a knife on a subway train, and Lozito became MMA’s “man of the hour” when he told the press he learned his moves from watching countless UFCs. But while the 270-pound father of two deserves all the kudos in the world for his actions (and mostly certainly earned the impromptu visit from Dana White and appurtenant schwag), Lozito is far from the only man to have used “ultimate fighting” techniques in the real world. In fact, there are a ton of average joes out there who did their best to emulate what they saw in the Octagon in life-or-death situations. Thankfully, MMA Journalist has compiled a list of these unsung heroes, and detailed their exploits for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!
- Daren Hammerstrom, June 6, 2003 – While walking down the street in Omaha, Nebraska, Daren Hammerstrom observed a bus barreling out of control down the street towards an elderly woman who shuffling her way through a crosswalk. Without hesitation, Hammerstrom jumped into the path of the bus and attempted to armbar it. He was not successful.
- Robert Christof, April 22, 2010 – On a scuba diving excursion off the Florida Keys, Robert Christof and his wife encountered a Great White shark. To provide time for his wife to swim away, Christof confronted the shark, and employed a guillotine choke when the predator approached. His remains were never found.
- Antwon DeMarlyle, September 15, 2007 – Upon discovering a cache of homemade pipe bombs in the woods behind his Mobile, Alabama home, Antwon DeMarlyle tried to disassemble them using a series of Thai kicks. DeMarlyle has not been seen since.
- Tricia Hester, August 30, 2009 – During a solo hiking trip in the Adirondack Mountains, Tricia Hester was attacked by a mountain lion. She survived by taking the beast to the ground with a quadruple-leg takedown and laying on it for 15 minutes. Unfortunately, Cecil Peoples awarded the mountain lion the unanimous decision when time expired.
- Thomas Finnegan, January 4, 2005 – At a family picnic in San Jose, California, Thomas Finnegan was handed a jar of pickles that no other family member could open. By placing the jar in the crook of his arm and twisting with his hips, Finnegan used proper heelhooking technique to get the lid off. He still brags about it to this day.
Monday, February 14, 2011
- It was an epic show, and with the attendance figures just above 11,000, it’s the biggest non-UFC event in New Jersey’s history. Cage Fury Fighting Championship 5, which featured Kimbo Slice vs. Ray Mercer and had an attendance of 7,300, ranks number two.
- The Internet and WiFi connection was awful. After attending some IFL events there and having had zero problems with getting online then, I have strong reason to believe Strikeforce was “jamming” us.
- K-Rod was robbed – as usual. The dude just cannot get a decision in the Garden State, no matter what.
- Igor Gracie looked smooth, Sam Oropeza continues to show promise, and John Cholish looked like a complete beast.
- The crowd loved Gina Carano. They also loved Andrei Arlovski. But damn, it approached outright “worship” when it came to Fedor.
- The crowd was also very knowledgeable when it came to action on the ground. There weren’t a lot of catcalls and booing from the usual malcontent demographic.
- Gian Villante may have gone down, but damn did he go down swinging.
- Same for Andrei Arlovski, although watching him fight now is like watching a fond friend walk into the lions’ cage at the zoo wearing a suit made out of Steak-Ums. You just know he’s going to get eaten, and though it’ll be fascinating, it still hurts to watch.
- Fedor took a serious beating and the stoppage was merited. And when the Russian stated that he was going to retire, there were chants of “Thank you, Fedor!” in the arena.
- At the post-fight presser, Scott Coker was having none of that retirement talk. None. And he was deadly serious about Fedor possibly coming back into the tournament as an alternate. Screw that. Fedor should only come in after Shane Del Rosario, Chad Griggs and Valentijn Overeem have been used up.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Friday, February 11, 2011
Strikeforce, heavyweight tournament, opening round at the IZOD Center, Fedor, madness! But while everyone and their mother is pontificating and gesticulating about Saturday night’s main card, there’s a lot to love about the undercard, which won’t be broadcast on Showtime but will get some air on HDNet. So who the hell is taking part in this opening act? Hey, bro, MMA Journalist has got you covered.
- Kevin Roddy vs. Jason McLean – A few years ago, Kurt Pellegrino-trained Kevin Roddy was one of the top five lightweights in the Northeast (at a time when the division included Frankie Edgar, Jim Miller and Deividas Taurosevicius), and with his concise jiu-jitsu and dangerous guard, it wasn’t hard to see why. Unfortunately, when fighters started to realize that the key to defeating him was to get on top and not make any mistakes, Roddy began amassing losses – usually by way of a decision, and sometimes by the narrowest of margins. The bottom line, though, is Roddy’s dangerous as hell, and opponent Jason McLean, a tough wrestler, will have to work hard to not leave his arm or neck exposed lest K-Rod take them home with him.
- Anthony Leone vs. Josh LaBerge – Josh LaBerge may be some New England badass, but he’s going to have his hands full with Anthony Leone, who’s been pounding on and submitted dudes in everything from the UCL to Raging Wolf in Upstate New York to sanctioned shows in New Jersey and Massachusetts. Last year Leone fought in both the WEC and Bellator and tasted defeat for the first time, but the kid is no less of a banger. Watch for him to out-scramble LaBerge and drop bombs from above.
- Sam Oropeza vs. Don Carlo-Clauss – Don Carlo-Clauss is another wrestler-type, but as a Fight Factory exponent, Sam Oropeza gets beat on regularly by one of the best wrestler-turned-mixed martial artists in the world (Eddie Alvarez), so don’t expect Oropeza to wither. Instead, you can count on either his precision striking or his deadly submissions to shine through.
- Igor Gracie vs. John Salgado – Igor Gracie’s got top-notch jiu-jitsu (duh) in his favor, but he’s susceptible to being out-hustled, and when John Salgado is in shape and prepared, he’s the master of the hustle (and maybe “The Hustle” as well, but I leave whenever disco music is played). You can count on Gracie to do his best to get it to the ground so he can work his wizardry, and you can count on Salgado to do his best to sprawl-and-brawl.
- John Cholish vs. Marc Stevens – Now this bad boy of a matchup could easily headline any regional Northeast card. On one side, you have the area’s current lightweight darling in John Cholish, who sports killer Muay Thai and ace jiu-jitsu (courtesy of Renzo Gracie). On the other side, you have Marc Stevens, who may have fell short on the last season of TUF, but for years has used his wrestling and grappling game to make his mark on the local scene. Though Stevens has the edge in experience, the Cholish Train is going to be a hard thing to derail right now. This one’s definitely a toss-up.
New Jersey-based fighter James Meals suffered an injury at his day job yesterday, and the extent of the injury is such that his career in the cage may be in jeopardy. With over 25 fights to his name, Meals established himself as a guy willing to take on just about anyone - and consequently, ended up with losses to the likes of Jason Black, Ron Jhun, Dan Lauzon, Rich Clementi and Jason Ireland. But a recent move to the AMA Fight Club saw the ardent kickboxer transform himself into a well-rounded striker/grappler hybrid, and the results were dramatic. At UCC 2 last year, Meals went the distance with wrestler Jason McLean, giving McLean fits both on the feet and on the ground, and at CFFC last weekend Meals dispatched young buck Trevor Suter with a D'Arce choke from the bottom. It would be a shame if the career of the "Mad Dog" were to end because of an injury, but if it were to end, it would most certainly be on a high note. Either way, MMA Journalist wishes Meals a speedy recovery.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
As the preceding pics indicate, the rally for the "legalization of MMA in New York" has gotten underway in downtown Manhattan. In the brief time MMA Journalist was there, there were no signs being waved, nor pitchforks nor flaming torches - but there was definitely a steadily-growing crowd of people. From organizer Sambo Steve to insider Paula Romero to a pair of UCL veterans to photographer Anil Melwani to female fighter Tara LaRosa, the cross-section of proponents seemed pretty broad. Frank Shamrock was even there, who, along with LaRosa, was scheduled to be a guest speaker. Said veteran journalist Josh Gross of ESPN in regards to the climate: "I bought this beanie because I was cold, but now I'm hot."
Monday, February 7, 2011
Strikeforce is in town! Hide your women and your valuables! Just kidding, Scott Coker doesn’t care about your valuables. The man drives around in a car fashioned from the bones of failed San Jose fighter wannabes, and this whole Fedor-heavyweight-tournament thing has him rolling in potential equity like never before. Which is why, as an MMA fan, you should get while the “getting” is good – and this week, that “getting” includes a “fan experience” thingy in Midtown, public weigh-ins, and a huge Strikeforce installment at the IZOD Center in New Jersey on Saturday night. Seriously, woot (!). Here’s the short list of what’s going down:
- Tuesday, Strikeforce Fan Experience at the Roseland Ballroom (239 West 52nd Street) – Come see all eight of the heavyweight tournament’s competitors as they have an open workout, sign autographs, take pics with fans, try out new standup comedy routines and recite spoken word poetry “slam” style.
- Wednesday, media press conference – This one isn’t open to the public, but it’s a good idea to keep on eye on Twitter while these are going on. You never know what bombshell is going to get dropped.
- Friday, official weigh-ins – This one is open to the public, so if you’re near the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, come on by. Maybe Fedor will step onto the scale wearing a sweater, maybe he’ll wear sweats. You never know!
- Saturday, Strikeforce’s “Fedor vs. Bigfoot” at the IZOD Center – Watch it on Showtime or watch it live. I don’t care! I’m going to be there liveblogging either way!
- Kid Yamamoto, Michihiro Omigawa, and with his decided lack of shots at the middleweight title, Yushin Okami – boy, it’s a crappy time to be Japanese in the UFC.
- Gabe Ruediger’s loss to Paul Taylor was still a vast improvement over the time he lost to that giant piece of cake.
- Apparently Miguel Torres thought he was getting paid by the jab.
- Before he's through, Don Cerrone will stamp out every worthless lightweight in the division. God bless him.
- Carlos Eduardo Rocha had some badass jiu-jitsu moves. Too bad he lacked the badass wrestling and boxing moves.
- Jon Jones ate Ryan Bader like he was a plate of cheap Waffle House pancakes. I don’t know how he’ll do against Shogun, but damn will it be interesting.
- Watching Forrest Griffin and Rich Franklin fight is like watching two old athletes a bit past their prime do their best to stay employed. Which, um, is exactly the case.
- I had high hopes for Vitor Belfort and his elite-level striking, but it’s clear only one man on this Earth can ever dethrone the great Anderson Silva. Unfortunately, that man hates revealing what meds he’s on to athletic commissions and he loves mortgage fraud. Damn you, Sonnen!
Solid show. Nah-Shon Burrell simply could not miss when he was punching Craig Thieme's cut. His hands were like homing missles. Victor O'Donnell belongs in the UFC/Strikeforce. His wrestling, his grappling and his heavy hands are just too much for the minor leagues. Too much. And James Meals really continues to impress. Watching him is like watching a new fighter emerge on the scene. Back at UCC 2 he gave Jason McLean fits, and at CFFC on Saturday night he was calm and poised and totally freakin' deadly. I recently posted about Melvin Guillard and Mark Hominick transforming themselves - the same is true for James Meals.