Friday, October 28, 2011

Author Doug Merlino Interviews Yours Truly

Author Doug Merlino, who wrote the basketball book "The Hustle", did this interview of me and posted it on his site. Go here to check it out:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

An Interview with the Rear Naked Choke Radio Show

Just did an interview with the Rear Naked Choke radio show over at Big thanks to them. Check it out here:

Black & Blue MMA Comic

Here's something worth checking out from the Department of Online MMA Comics. As per the dude's Twitter description: "Follow Thomas Peña's journey from the streets of the Bronx, NY to the cages and rings of early MMA fighting in the United States, Europe, Brazil and Japan." I'm a big fan of online comics (I can read Hark A Vagrant and Perry Bible Fellowship over and over again and still laugh), so, um, yeah.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

RAW COMBAT On Sale Today

Well, the time has come, folks. RAW COMBAT is ready and available for mass consumption. Go to Barnes & Noble, or Amazon (, and pick one up. And if you do read it, feel free to shoot me an email with your feedback - we'll discuss it here. I spared you all the play-by-play of the publishing process, but if anyone is curious, here's a handy-dandy thread on my favorite website about it:

You know, I've published over a thousand articles on MMA in the years I've been covering the sport, but somehow getting a book out there feels... different. I daresay, it feels "fucking awesome".

Bleacher Report Reviews RAW COMBAT


Monday, October 24, 2011

An Interview with the Fight Nerd

It's kind of weird being on the other end of the interview (usually I conduct them), but hey, it's a living.


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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Another RAW COMBAT Review

Another RAW COMBAT review, this one on

Mike Straka Reviews RAW COMBAT

Mike Straka reviewed RAW COMBAT over at the TapOut blog. Go here - - to read it.

CFFC Postscript

Another great installment of Cage Fury Fighting Championship, and another big shakeup in the Northeast rankings. Man, going in to CFFC's bantamweight championship bout between top dog Sean Santella and young upstart Aljamain Sterling, I never thought Sterling would be so dominant. But geez, he was dominant. Some thoughts on the bouts:

-For almost the entire five-round fight, Sterling was in control and damaging "Shorty-Rock". He had an answer for every takedown attempt, an answer for almost every scramble and transition, and his reach and confidence on the feet meant Santella was in trouble wherever the action went. Santella had to fight out of numerous rear naked chokes, an inverted triangle (!), and bad positions galore. Round 3 saw Santella come damn close with a triangle, but Sterling simply lifted him up and held him against the cage (think Matt Hughes vs. Carlos Newton I), and Santella eventually came tumbling down. I hate the comparison, but watching Sterling was like watching Jon Jones, albeit with a ton more groundfighting.

-Apparently Joey Gambino hits hard. Eddie Fyvie did his best to withstand the kicks and the punches, but Gambino had too much "umph" and "pizazz", and eventually Gambino overwhelmed him. With the win Gambino is now the organization's featherweight champ. I'd like to see how he does against some other top 145-pounder, though. Maybe someone like Jeff Lentz, who can hit hard right back?

-Mike Wade versus Mike Winters was all wrestling, and it was a game of inches. Unfortunately, they were unexciting inches.

-Rob Fabrizi is a nice little brawler. Fun to watch. Opponent Peter Aguinaldo was more technical in terms of kickboxing, but Fabrizi drew him into a dogfight and won out.

-Bruno Tostes is clearly aces on the ground, but he took a beating at the hands (and feet) of Andre Shuler while trying to get it there. Pitting Tostes against Fabrizi could be both entertaining and ugly.

-Brad Desir was so smooth in securing his armbar against Shane Mallory, you had to wonder if Mallory had known armbars can come from the guard. He definitely did know, though, 'cause his camp is AMA Fight Club - which I guess means that Desir is that good.

-Ryan Peterson completely handled Pat White. Same thing with Buster Crandall and his win over Billy Dee Williams. But yikes did Lucas Pimenta slaughter Bryan Danner. Danner got hit so hard with a knee and a flurry of fists, he went into convulsions. And Epi Diaz just kept blasting the taller and lankier Aaron Hicks in the face until something broke (that something was Hicks' face).

Saturday, October 22, 2011


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Postscript: Locked in the Cage

MMA Journalist trekked on down to Philly last night for Locked in the Cage, which was my first exposure to the promotion (and only my second visit to the City of Brotherly Love; my first was for a Bellator show). The event - guided by the expert hands of Fran Evans, Paul Miles and company - was smooth, and adding to the local show-feel (which I love) was the venue, a storied spot called the Asylum Arena where ECW used to do their pro wrestling shows. It was cool as fuck. Some thoughts on the card, which featured four amateur and four pro bouts:

-Nick Cottone, who's been scrapping in the cage since way before there was ever an Ultimate Fighter, looked to be his usual sharp self, mixing quick wrestling with, well, quick wrestling. But Billy Vaughan had his number, and after stunning him with an uppercut while Cottone shot in, he jumped into a mounted guillotine and that was all she wrote. Vaughan is now the bantamweight champ.

-Matt Nice just straight-up dominated Nicholas Bleser, and it was his ace jiu-jitsu and complete positional control that did it. Bleser was totally demoralized by the time Round 2 came around, and Nice just got on top and blasted away.

-Lamont Lister has had a long and fruitful career, but the strength of his chin has not kept up with the willingness of his heart. For about a minute and a half he fought to get and keep Brandon Saling down, but when Saling got up, BAM! He tagged Lister in the grill and put him to sleep.

-Harry Dickey had an impressive pro debut against Eddie Weiser, manhandling Weiser throughout the first, then damn near ripping off his arm in the second. Weiser left cage with his arm in a sling courtesy of Dickey's kimura. Yikes.

-In amateur action, Fight Factory's Matt Ibbotson had a nice, close back-and-forth with TSMMA's Nolan Wisser, and he came away with the tight split decision; Matt Rizzo out-wrestled a very dangerous John Michael Holland for the unanimous decision; Ken Richmond blended hard strikes with concise wrestling to decision Brandon Cromartie; and Javier Guzman put away a timid Michael Kropp.
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Friday, October 21, 2011


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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Another RAW COMBAT Review

Anil Melwani, the "official" photographer of the NYC underground fight scene, read an advance copy of RAW COMBAT, and posted a review of it on his site (go here - Definitely check it out, as Anil's got all the pics you could ever want of that whole illicit world, but here's what he had to say:

"Decades from now, long after MMA has been sanctioned and 'legalized' in New York State, the tales and history of the mysterious and hidden world of Underground MMA would have long been forgotten … but for this fucking book right here. Having personally attended and photographed just about every NYUCL show since the beginning of the promotion (I was originally tipped off to its existance by Genia himself), I can say without hesitation that Jim Genia has masterfully illustrated the smokey and hard hitting nuances surrounding the gritty unforgiving world of Underground Mixed Martial Arts in New York City.

Genia takes you through the emotional and brain bruising journeys of some of the East Coast’s most and least promising MMA athletes, including Frankie Edgar, current LW Champion of the UFC who had his first fight in Peter Storm’s Underground Show. Quick witted and deadly accutate this quintessential story of northeast MMA is a must-read for any fan of MMA and/or Human Cockfighting."


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Weekend Schedule

There's a lot of MMA on tap this weekend if you live in the Northeast and aren't afraid to trek to Philly and Atlantic City. Case in point: me. I am totally cool with taking the train wherever the rails lead to, if, at the end of the line, there's MMA there. For instance...

-Locked in the Cage on Friday night in the City of Brotherly Love, which, with the likes of Nick Cottone and Lamont Lister on the roster and Paul Miles spinning the matchmaking turntables, is worth checking out.
-The MMA & Sports Expo at the Resorts Casino in Atlantic City on Friday and Saturday. It's an expo so there's vendors and tons of stuff to do and check out - can you dig it?
-The Cage Fury Fighting Championship on Saturday night at the Resorts Casino. Eddie Fyvie and Sean Santella are featured in the marquee bouts, so that's going to be a big plate of awesome.
-The Take On Muay Thai Show at Bally's in Atlantic City, also on Saturday night. Normally a top-notch New York-based promotion, Take On takes the show on the road for a kickboxing extravaganza.

So yeah, good weekend ahead. Stock up on Clif Bars and make a trip of it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Seems David Mamet is All For Legalizing MMA in New York - I Think

Today's New York Post has an op-ed by David Mamet in which he decries the criminalization of MMA in New York and calls for its sanctioning. I think. Like all Mamet works (his plays - I did not see "Redbelt"), there's big, fancy words and stuff that make my say "whuh?". Anyway, check it out here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Fight Nerd Reviews RAW COMBAT

Matt Kaplowitz, a.k.a. "The Fight Nerd", read an advance copy of RAW COMBAT and just posted a glowing review on his site. Go here to check it out. Some choice tidbits:
  • "The author writes in a bare-knuckled, no-holds-barred style that perfectly matches the raw world of underground MMA. Jim makes the experience as intimate as spending time with the actual fighters in person, inside and outside the cage or ring (and sometimes gym mats)."
  • "Imagine reading Hunter S. Thompson writing about MMA, subtract the insane amount of drugs he did but leave in the clever wordplay, and there is the experience you will be reading for the next 200 pages."
  • "I have read plenty of books on MMA; biographies, travel stories, encyclopedias and instructional books to name a few varieties. None of them compare to Jim Genia's 'Raw Combat: The Underground World of Mixed Martial Arts'."

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Garv Reviews RAW COMBAT

  • "Jim does a fantastic job of showcasing the true warrior spirit that these underground fighters embody."
  • "I've been invited to several UCL events, but for various reasons have never yet attended one. But that's okay, because this book makes the reader feel like he's right there in the arena with the fighters."
  • "It is very well-written and conveys the power and attraction of combat sports in its purest and rawest form."
  • "Jim reeks of machismo and is the yardstick by which men are measured."
  • Okay, I added that one myself.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

From the Department of Future CFFC Fights

So MMA Journalist knows a guy who knows a guy, and he says that Chip Pollard will be defending his title against UFC veteran Greg Soto at the December 10 Cage Fury Fighting Championship. He also says Chris Liguori will be fighting Don Carlo-Clauss. I think Pollard vs. Soto is a good fight and Soto will win, but I wish Liguori would aim a little higher than Carlo-Clauss, who hasn't tasted victory since May, 2010. Oh well. At least we get to see "The Story" in action.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Frankie Edgar Recalls His UCL Fight

On Monday's MMA Hour, Ariel Helwani spent about forty-five minutes rapping with UFC champ Frankie Edgar, and Edgar spoke a good deal about his MMA debut - which took place in the Underground Combat League back in 2005. Check it out here (it's episode 102) - - it's a pretty sweet walk down memory lane.


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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

More UCL Love in the Wall Street Journalist

The Wall Street Journal just can't quit reporting on the underground scene. Consider this gem from yesterday, which starts off talking about the New York State Athletic Commission asking the State Attorney General's office to investigate an unsanctioned show in Upstate New York, but somehow brings the UCL into the lurid tale. Link here -

Sunday, October 2, 2011


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UCL Postscript

Yes, today saw another installment of the UCL, with the usual "secret location" thing in full effect. Teams repped included New Generation Karate, MMA University, Garcia's Gung Fu, Team Rios, Brooklyn Combat Club, New York Jiu-Jitsu and Team Radical Jiu-Jitsu. Highlights included:
  • Chad Hernandez's nearly flawless performance against the tough and experienced Anton Johnson. Employing top-notch jiu-jitsu, he kept Johnson on the defense for all three rounds, and earned himself a clear and convincing decision.
  • Junior Lubin's no-nonsense destruction of the game Kevin Wall. Twelve seconds of punching was all it took for Lubin to send Wall stunned to the canvas.
  • The spirited back and forth between Steven "Blackie Chan" Plummer and Thiago Chaves. They went the distance, and battered each other nicely along the way.
  • Jonathan Velez's gutsy performance against Syed Adeel. At first, it seemed as if Adeel had the advantage on the ground and that he was going to exploit it. But Velez - who was featured in a Wall Street Journal article on the UCL not too long ago - weathered the storm and began wrecking Adeel on the feet. It all ended in Round 3, when Velez stunned Adeel, then dropped him with a killer kick to the leg. Props to both men for really going for it.

The only bummer of the evening was all the video I took of the fights. Did you know you can record things on fast forward? I did not, and everything I shot looks like a blur to the human eye. The Marvel Comics character "Quicksilver" would probably love it, though.


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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Things to Come: The Punch You in the Gooch Edition

Whoo-wee, a lot of strong MMA coming up featuring some of the Northeast’s best and brightest – or at some of the Northeast’s angriest and punchiest. Between the next Cage Fury Fighting Championship and ROC and whatnot, there’s enough to make your head spin. But fear not, because MMA Journalist does nothing but sit around the house all day thinking about Northeast MMA, ignoring his dog and wife and three-year-old daughter and forsaking food and not showering, all because the doctors think I have some sort of mental disorder and what the hell do they know, man? Their pills make you crazier. Crazier. Ahem. Anyway, here’s some match-ups to watch out for.

·Tom Gallicchio vs. Joe Fukstick, M-1 Challenge, 10/14/11 – Actually, Gallicchio is facing someone named Daniel Madrid, but since Madrid sports a 6-2 record compared to “Da Tank’s” eleventy-billion fights, it’s almost like M-1 does not give a crap that someone is going to die on a live Showtime broadcast. Seriously, I once saw Gallicchio rip out an opponent’s intestines and bathe in their blood – and that was just at the weigh-ins.

·Zach Makovsky vs. Ryan Roberts, Bellator 54, 10/15/11 – Bellator is contractually obligated to give bantamweight champ Makovsky a certain number of fights per year, otherwise he returns to his home in that other dimension where everyone moves ten times faster than in our world. So, yeah, non-title fight, some cat named Roberts. Makovsky’s going to win that bout so fast, he’ll be back in the locker room before the kid even hits the floor.

·Claudio Ledesma vs. Brian Kelleher, Bellator 54, 10/15/11 – If you recall my recent Northeast rankings, you’ll know I have these two as top five bantamweights in the local scene, which makes this bout more compelling to me than any other pairing on the card (sad, huh?). Anyway, Ledesma’s been at it a while now and Kelleher’s been kicking ass like a superhero, so it should be fun.

·Eddie Fyvie vs. Joey Gambino, CFFC 11, 10/22/11 – Another top guy and veteran, Fyvie gets to take on a young buck in Gambino for the CFFC featherweight strap. I don’t know Gambino, but I do know Fyvie, and the guy has spent years polishing his skills in all aspects of fighting – striking, grappling, katanas, poison, firearms, improvised weapons such as a lamp swung by its cord – and for sure Gambino is in trouble.

·Sean Santella vs. Aljamain Sterling, CFFC 11, 10/22/11 – Santella is the best bantamweight not signed to a nationally-broadcast promotion (i.e., the UFC, Strikeforce or Bellator), and with good reason: he blends flawless grappling with, um, flawless grappling. Really, that’s all it takes to succeed in MMA, just being flawless. And Santella is it. Sterling, while tough, is too new to the game to be flawless. He’s still got flaws.

·Bradley Desir vs. Shane Mallory, CFFC 11, 10/22/11 – I care about this bout because Desir hails from New York Combat Sambo in New York City. We need more sambo in mixed martial arts. Not enough fighters are walking around with limps.

·Al Iaquinta vs. Pat Audinwood, ROC 28, 11/18/11 – Iaquinta is the best lightweight around. Audinwood had his last two fights in the Octagon, and though he lost, those losses don’t negate the fact that he’d made it to the highest level of the sport. This should be a fantastic fight against two
skilled and capable dudes.

·Tom DeBlass vs. Davit Tkeshelashvili, ROC 28, 11/18/11 – Watching DeBlass slaughter opponents one right after the other is like watching the fuse burn on a stick of dynamite. You just know coach Ricardo Almeida is eventually going to toss him into the UFC and DeBlass is going to explode and kill almost everyone within a thirty-yard radius, and Joe Rogan is going to emerge bloody from the rubble and declare into his headset microphone, “Oh my God that guy is awesome!” Anyway, Tkesh… elesh… forget it, I’m not spelling out that Russian’s name. He’s doomed as it is.

·Uriah Hall vs. Daniel Akinyemi, ROC 28, 11/18/11 – In just a few trips to the cage Akinyemi has proven to be deadly on the feet. Hall is a killer in the stand-up department, too, which means we’re either going to see the best striking-heavy fight ever, or someone is going to take the other down and grind out a win that leaves us all saying, “Damn, sure wish they’d slugged it out. That would’ve been cool.”

·Jay Isip vs. Marcio Bittencourt, ROC 28, 11/18/11 – Bittencourt is a jiu-jitsu black belt from Brazil, and when Isip fights there’s more “Fuck yeah!” per square inch than legally allowed in the State of New Jersey. This is going to be a thrilling match-up, so hold onto your gooch. It might get
inadvertently punched.