Thursday, June 30, 2011


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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

MMAJunkie With the RAW COMBAT Plug

Things You Should Know: The Brian McLaughlin Edition

According to a press release circulated by the venerable AMA Fight Club in New Jersey, longtime lightweight submission monster Brian McLaughlin has signed a three-fight deal with Strikeforce.  In lieu of you having to look up that name – and me berating you for not knowing the New York-based fighter – I will instead cut straight to the chase and give you the 411 on him in bullet points.  That way, the next time you’re in a bar spitting game at some girl, you can act all knowledgeable.  (As if.)

  • McLaughlin is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Rob Khan.  How good is his jiu-jitsu?  He once tapped out a cougar.  And I don’t mean an “older woman on the prowl” type of cougar.
  • All of his MMA wins have been by submission.  Ridiculously fast submission.  Truthfully, this is a function of his sick transitioning ability.  Watch and you’ll see.
  • He has one MMA loss, and it was a close split decision to Rene Nazare.  It has since been determined that Nazare is a Terminator, model T-880.
  • McLaughlin made it into the house for TUF 8, but his opponent in the elimination bout (Brandon Garner) kneed him in the grill, and the subsequent medical suspension prevented McLaughlin from staying for the duration of the show.  To this day, the rest of the TUF 8 cast still send Garner checks in gratitude.
  • McLaughlin once met with New York MMA opponent Bob Reilly to enlighten the Assemblyman on the sport’s merits.  No one knows the details about what they discussed behind closed doors, but since that meeting, Reilly weeps and cowers whenever he sees McLaughlin on the street.

Monday, June 27, 2011


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Assembly Says No MMA? UCL Says "Suck It"

Hot on the heels of the New York State Assembly’s decision to let the MMA bill die in committee was another installment of the Underground Combat League – this one in an Outer Borough location so secret, I’d have to kill you if I told you where it was (or when it was; I was asked specifically to wait on reporting on the event, hence no liveblog).  There were submissions!  There were returning veterans and green newcomers!  There were aliases!  And there was no air conditioning!  Highlights included:

  • Ironman Jarrett McBride, who fought for a kickboxing championship in a Long Island promotion a few days earlier, but wanted to get a vale tudo match before he went back home to Rochester.  He may have fallen to Twin Towers Wrestling Club rep Pedro Vila, but damn, that’s a lot of fighting.
  • Jonathan Rodriquez’s spirited performance against the salty wrestler Kirkland Campbell, a UFC old schooler who still has some ground and pound left in him to dole out.  Unfortunately for Campbell, Rodriguez’s jiu-jitsu was too slick, and he was forced to tap out.
  • The war between Gracie Barra product Chiki Obi and New Generation Karate fighter Junior Lubin.  They went the distance pounding on each other in back-and-forth fashion, and though Lubin was game, it was an exhausted Obi who wound up with the decision.

Check out the Raw Combat YouTube page for videos, including an interview with UCL promoter Peter Storm.

MMA in New York Article on Today's New York Times

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New York State Assembly Opts for More Underground Shows... Again

Another year, another dance with the New York State legislature.  This time around, Zuffa put a lot of public pressure on the Powers That Be - holding a press conference at Madison Square Garden, handing out T-shirts, writing an op-ed piece in the New York Daily News, sacrificing virgins, etc.  And once again it was all for naught.  Oh well.  By now you have to damn stupid to get your hopes up that the folks in Albany will sanction a sport that's sanctioned in 45 other states.  The upside to all this nonsense, though, is that we now have a pretty well-mobilized grassroots movement, we have a clearer picture of who the sport's enemies are (Assemblyman Herman Farrell in Ways and Means, I'm looking at you), and we have greater public awareness.  Also, when RAW COMBAT, my book on the New York underground fight scene, comes out in the fall, people can beat Farrell, Bob Reilly and Sheldon Silver over the heads with it.  Literally, just beat them over the heads.

Monday, June 20, 2011


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Sunday, June 19, 2011

So, About Friday Night...

Obviously, there was no Ring of Combat liveblog. I ended up having to miss the event because of my three-year-old daughter's first ballet recital. You know, they say that when you have kids they really cramp your style, but come on. Anyway, I haven't missed a Ring of Combat since ROC 1 eight years ago, so cut me some slack.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Raw Combat YouTube Page

Raw Combat YouTube page here. Think of it as a visual aid.

Epic ROC 36 Card is Epic

Friday night, another Ring of Combat installment, Pete Sell, Al Iaquinta, Sean Santella, about seventeen fights.  Woo.  There are epic cards – once, Ed Hsu put together an amateur card that had 43 bouts and lasted until 3:00am – and there are epic cards, where there are a ton of fights and just about all of them are worthy of attention.  ROC 36 is the latter.  So sit back, relax, and enjoy this preview of a select number of the anticipated matchups.

  • Pete Sell vs. Elijah Harshbarger – UFC vet Sell returns after two years of sitting on the sidelines cheering on other Team Serra/Longo fighters.  Opponent Harshbarger is going to try to out-wrestle and out-jiu-jitsu him.  Will he succeed?  No!
  • Al Iaquinta vs. Gabriel Miglioli – The experienced, undefeated and well-rounded Iaquinta returns as well, though his hiatus was only a year and a half long and was due to his holy mission to spread the word of Christ to the natives of the isolated Pacific island of Wakandu.  Miglioli is overmatched here, and will tap to a… wait for it… crucifix.
  • Claudio Ledesma vs. Aljamain Sterling – Sterling is one tough cat, but Ledesma is a hard-hitting, aggressive jiu-jitsu hunting dog that will chase him up a tree and bite him if he dares come down.
  • Sean Santella vs. Tito Jones – Santella is one the best “little” fighters in the Northeast.  Jones is going to die.
  • Munah Holland vs. Marissa Caldwell – TSMMA’s Holland debuted strong when she defeated Kim Couture, but Justine Kish put the kibosh on that win streak.  Expect her to rebound by battering Caldwell until the bitter end.
  • Carlos Eduardo vs. Arsen Tlisov – Funny story about Eduardo.  He was a product of Brazil’s local fight circuit, and they’ve never even heard of the Unified Rules down there, so in his first fight in the US (Extreme Challenge 78 in 2007), he soccer kicked Lewis Pascavage in the head like it was nothing.  Boy, I’ve never seen Nick Lembo so mad.
  • Mervin Rodgriguez vs. Jason McLean – McLean got a gift decision against Kevin Roddy at Strikeforce earlier in the year, but he’ll find no such luck against Rodriguez, who is going to stuff all his takedowns and punish him against the fence.
  • Jimbo Hoffman vs. Mike Benoit – HOFFMAN SMASH!  GRRR!
  • James Jenkins vs. Steve Perez – This is a great match-up.  On one side, you have Jenkins, who’s proven to be both a capable striker and able submission’s guy, and on the other you have Perez, who fights like Clay Guida hopped up on meth.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dana White's Late-Round Flurry

It's late in the final round of the fight to get MMA sanctioned in New York for 2011, and though he's down on the scorecards, Dana White's still got a flurry or two left in him.  Check out his op-ed in today's New York Daily News -  The odds are still against a victory before time runs out (there are five days left in the current legislative session), but hey, at least homeboy is still fighting.

Friday, June 10, 2011


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Liveblog: CFFC 9 Part 4

Vagner Fernandes vs. Drew Puzon. Huzzah. Puzon was a tough dude back when Reality Fighting and Ring of Combat were the only MMA events New Jersey had to offer, so homeboy is definitely seasoned. At first it looks like Puzon might be in trouble, as Fernandes wields some healthy striking to go with his grappling game. But all it takes is one mistake, and Puzon is soon on Fernandes back, judiciously applying the rear naked choke. Fernandes taps at 3:29 of Round 1. And now it's time for Igor Gracie and Quinton McCottrell to do the dance. McCottrell's first mistake is poking Gracie in the eye with his very first punch. His second mistake is letting Gracie get his hands on him. After a brief recovery period, Gracie comes after his foe and ties him in knots - first with an armbar attempt and then with a guillotine. McCottrell taps at 4:01 of Round 1. Time for Cholish and Massouh. Hoo-ha. Round 1 is a lesson in poise, with Massouh roughing Cholish up a bit on the feet and Cholish firing right back with some technical striking. With jiu-jitsu Yoda John Danaher calmly voicing instructions from outside the cage, Cholish finds Massouh's chin with his right hand, then pounces on the stunned fighter and guillotines him at 2:01 of the second round. Cholish is now the CFFC lightweight champ. And that's it.


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Liveblog: CFFC 9 Part 3

Roger Zapata and Mike Wade enter the cage. I know nothing about these guys. Hey, cut me some slack. I'm not omnipotent. The opening frame sees a lot of hugging against the cage. Like, a lot. The last minute, though, is some nice back and forth action on the ground, so that's something, right? Wade manages to put Zapata in some hairy positions in Round 2, and though Zapata escapes, it's easy to see who's racking up points. The final round is all about Wade doggedly getting the takedown and Zapata doggedly punching him from the bottom. Wade takes the unanimous decision. Trevor Suter and Steve Perez are up next. Suter is so mean and aggressive, pitbulls keep him as a pet, so this should be a good one. Sweet Jesus, this one is fast-paced. Perez is on Suter like some kind of angry wrestling demon right off the bat, but they battle back and forth in insane fashion. Round 2 has Perez nailing the slam and catching Suter in a rear naked choke at 1:52 of the frame. Very impressive.


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Liveblog: CFFC 9 Part 2

I just ran into legendary female fighter Laura D'Auguste. You might remember her from such classic films as "Oh My God She Killed That Girl!" and "I'm The Best Female Fighter In The World So Kiss My Ass". She retired at the top to marry one of the Bittencort BJJ black belts and become a housewife, and she's quite content doing her thang. *Sigh*

First fight of the evening and it's hard-hitter Ariel Sepulveda against Shedrick "Chocolate Thunder" Goodridge. There's a joke somewhere in there re: that nickname, but, uh, I got nothing. Round 1 has Goodridge getting the early advantage on the ground, dominating position and going for subs, but Sepulveda's got a whole arsenal of sweeps and subs of his own, and soon he's got his foe defending. In Round 2 Sepulveda still can't seem to avoid the bottom, but he still manages a huge crowd-pleasing slam and an attempted Peruvian Necktie (!). The final round is pretty much all Sepulveda, as he nearly taps Goodridge with a choke and is dropping bombs at the bell. The split decision goes to Sepulveda. Next up is promising scrapper Artur Rofi against Nihad Rosic. In his last fight, Rofi snapped his opponent's arm then TKO'd him with punches. We'll see if Rosic takes a similar amount of punishment. Um, no, this time an armbar is enough. After a brief struggle on the feet, Rofi gets the takedown, mount, and extends the arm. It's over in two minutes exactly.


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Liveblog: CFFC 9 Part 1

MMA Journalist is here at the Resorts Casino in sunny Atlantic City for the ninth installment of the Cage Fury Fighting - an event where men are men, and evil lives in fear. Tonight the marquee bout features John Cholish. You might recognize the name; he once lopped off the head of the dreaded gorgon Medusa, and turned the Kraken into one heck of a structurally-unsound statue. Anyhoo, he's taking on last-minute replacement Jameel Massouh, who had a three-fight run in the WEC but might have a rough time with what Cholish is bringing. Also on the card is Igor Gracie, the veteran Drew Puzon and Ariel "I Knock Teeth Out" Sepulveda. So stay tuned.


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Monday, June 6, 2011

NY MMA Bill Clears First Assembly Committee, Two More Committees to Go

Don't celebrate just yet, but the first hurdle has just been cleared for the MMA bill in the New York State Assembly.  The Committee on Tourism, Arts and Sports Development just voted 17-3 in favor of sanctioning MMA.  Now it must pass through the Ways & Means Committee and the Codes Committee, then hit the floor for a vote.  Sambo Steve sent around a press release, and here's a chunk of it: "This, along with the Senate's passage of the companion bill, is a clear mandate that New York wants MMA. Next up is the Ways & Means committee, chaired by Assemblyman Farrell. Farrell has a history of opposition to MMA in New York.  Everyone contact Farrell and urge him to follow this mandate, and put the legislation on the Ways & Means calendar!" 

An Interview with John Cholish's Mouthpiece

If you’ve been following the Northeast MMA scene, you’ve no doubt heard of John Cholish, the Team Renzo rep who juggles fighting with a job on Wall Street.  He’s kicked ass judiciously and thoroughly, displayed a wide range of skills and earned himself a ROC belt, and in his last trip to the cage he submitted TUF vet Marc Stevens with a kneebar at Strikeforce’s grand New Jersey visit back in February.  In short, Cholish is THE next big thing, and on Friday night he headlines the latest Cage Fury Fighting Championship installment with a bout against WEC vet Jameel Massouh.  To gain some insight into this Northeast rising star, MMA Journalist tracked down Cholish’s mouthpiece for a quick interview.

  • So, John Cholish’s Mouthpiece, thanks for taking some time out of your busy schedule to speak with me.  JCM: “No problem.  Pleasure’s all mine.”
  • We’ve seen a lot of skills from John in the cage.  Besides the jiu-jitsu he used to tie Marc Stevens in knots, he used some smooth kickboxing to chop down Hitalo Machado at UCC 2 and he used solid wrestling to out-maneuver Rich Moskowitz at Ring of Combat 32.  Talk about the training that goes into acquiring those skills.  JCM: “Well, I can tell you he does shootboxing with John Danaher and the boys and he also trains at Mushin MMA in Greenwich Village, but I can’t give you a specific breakdown of what he does.  I’m mostly kept in a plastic case in his gym bag.  I only come out for sparring.”
  • Okay.  Then maybe you can talk about John Cholish’s toughest battle in the cage?  He really went to war with Moskowitz to snag that ROC title.  JCM: “Um, you know what?  I really can’t speak for John in that regard.”
  • I see.  You do know that Webster’s Dictionary defines a “mouthpiece” as “one that expresses or interprets another’s views”, right?  JCM: “Dude, I’m just a piece of durable plastic that protects his teeth.”
  • Right.  Got it.  Well, thanks again for your time.  JCM: “No problem.  Thanks for having me.”

Sunday, June 5, 2011


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Friday, June 3, 2011

Will It Happen or Not?

Will the MMA bill get done this year or will it fizzle out as usual?  That is the big question.  Justin Klein's got a solid update over on his blog ( - the gist of which is a big fat "maybe", with bill sponsor Assemblyman Steve Englebright trying to manage expectations.  From what I've heard in off-the-record conversations, there's about a 60% chance it happens.  It can roll through the three must-do committees quickly, and there should be enough votes if it makes it to the floor.  The big roadblock is Assembly honcho Sheldon Silver, and whether or not he's inclined to give the bill its chance.  The clock is ticking on the session, though, so if you pray to Crom, now would be a good time to mention to him how cool it would be to crush enemies in sanctioned MMA in New York.