Sunday, December 9, 2012


In case you're wondering, I've been doing some writing for VICE.  Here's their new MMA-dedicated site, and here are some of the pieces I've contributed.  What's VICE?  Essentially, a place where I can curse.  Heh.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Crappy HOF Dinner Pics

New Jersey Martial Arts Hall of Fame Dinner Postscript

Last night was the inaugural New Jersey Martial Arts Hall of Fame dinner, and as yours truly was being inducted as "Media Personality of the Year", I was there.

It was, of course, a great honor to be recognized for the work I've done in this field that I love.  Before calling me up to the stage and handing me my award, presenter (and New Jersey commission guru) Nick Lembo talked about the years I wrote for FCF and my book - both of which gave the New Jersey and New York scene coverage like no else had.  That kind of acknowledgment is priceless.  But what was of an even greater honor was to be counted among the ranks of the other inductees, which included the legendary Renzo Gracie, top referee Dan Miragliotta, pioneering fighter Dave Tirelli, promoter Lou Neglia.  Sure, there was food and drinking and laughing and hanging out with friends, but what made it all amazingly special was that I got to stand on a stage with Renzo and Big Dan and the rest.  (Also, the fact that Renzo gave ME a shout out in his acceptance speech... wow.)

Anyway, it was a great time.  Congrats to all the HOF inductees, and thanks to the Perez family, who orchestrated the whole affair.

I could not be more proud.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Is the UFC Already Planning an Event in New York?

According to a letter written by the attorneys representing Zuffa in their lawsuit against the State of New York, the UFC is already planning an event in the Empire State.  The letter, which was sent to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (the defendant in Zuffa's suit) on October 26, addresses the State's recent suggestion that Zuffa could circumnavigate the longstanding ban on professional MMA by utilizing one of the statutorily-approved sanctioning bodies to get a UFC event into the state.  The relevant section of the letter reads:
Based at least in part on positions taken by your Office in this case, MMA and other combative sport events are proliferating in New York.  Thus, the UFC is beginning the process of planning a professional MMA event to be held in New York, under the auspices of one of the exempt organizations listed in the Combative Sport Ban and pursuant to the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts.
Now, this could either be a legitimate statement or just a form of legal gamesmanship, but if what is being said is true... yikes!  A UFC in New York before the ban is actually lifted!

Two things to note:

  • The sanctioning bodies that the law enumerates as all good in the 'hood are the US Judo Association, US Judo Inc., the US Judo Federation, the US Tae Kwon Do Union, the North American Sport Karate Association, the USA Karate Foundation, US Karate Inc., the World Karate Association, the Professional Karate Association, Karate International, the International Kenpo Association, and the World Wide Kenpo Association.  Most of those organizations are long dead, although the World Karate Association is now the World Kickboxing Association, and they've been allowed to sanction pro kickboxing events in New York for years. Currently, the New York State Athletic Commission is allowing the USMTA's Muay Boran league to sanction amateur MMA.
  • The Office of the Attorney General responded to the aforementioned letter, and their answer was the legal equivalent of "Uh, derp."  In other words, it was no answer at all.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

TV Alert

Yeah, so, I was on a segment on Inside MMA that explored the underground fight scene in New York a bit, and though I don't have AXS TV (formerly HDNet Fights), I've been told I looked good getting interviewed.  Anyhoo, Monday night was part one, and part two - which will feature footage from the last (horrifying and bloody) UCL event - airs next Monday.  Check it out.  And if you do watch it, please, tell me how I looked.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Crappy UCL Pics

UCL Postscript - "Night of a Thousand Headbutts"

HDNet's Inside MMA came out to yesterday's installment of the Underground Combat League, and if they were hoping to capture some of the grittiest, nastiest, gnarliest fighting ever, they had to have been happy.  There were TKOs and submissions, trash talk and bad blood, and in the main event - which took place under vale tudo rules (i.e., almost anything goes) - there were enough concussive headbutts to make former Senator John McCain's "human cockfighting" derogatory phrase seem like the understatement of the millennium.  Highlights of the event included:

  • The blazing battle between UCL vet Jerome Mickle and newcomer Jarro Israel.  Though they seemed evenly matched at first, Mickle's fists began poking holes through Israel's defenses, until finally he dropped the rookie with a right and TKO'd him on the ground with another right.
  • The no-nonsense Daniel Ramos, who handled his business with Jeet Kune Do stylist Justin Smith with a slam and choke at 21 seconds.
  • The technical war between Nico Augusto and Matt Ward.  Displaying a shitload of ability and heart, Ward escaped some seriously inescapable finishing holds.  Eventually, though, Augusto caught him, with the end coming via rear naked choke in the second round.
  • Donning his traditional gi and black belt for the marquee bout, promoter Peter Storm stepped into the ring to face veteran fighter Jonathan Rodriguez in a match-up that was colored with a ton of bad blood.  Things got ugly and they got ugly quick, and they got even uglier when Storm started headbutting - a turn of events that prompted both men to exchange the taboo technique like Wall Street brokers trading stocks on the New York Stock Exchange floor.  At the end of the first round Storm almost caught Rodriguez with a heelhook, but Round 2 saw things come to a violent conclusion, with Rodriguez stunning him with a headbutt and pounding him out for the TKO on the ground. Ten years of covering the UCL, and this one was clearly the nastiest bout of all time (accidental leg breaks aside).

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Crappy Elite Cage Challenge Pics

Elite Cage Challenge Postscript

While y'all were taking in UFC 154 and the return of some bald Canuck named Georges St. Pierre, I was a dutiful soldier en route to an event called Elite Cage Challenge in Yonkers (Yonkers is 'hood just north of New York City limits).  My expectations: amateur MMA, which in New Jersey means fighting with gloves and shinpads, and prohibitions against kicks to the head and ground and pound.  Well, imagine my (pleasant) surprise when - within a cage set up in the middle of a gymnasium in a YMCA - fighters fought like pros.  The lone discernible nod to their amateur status was the three-minute time limit on the rounds.  Other than that, THEY WERE BANGING, BRO.  Yeah, the inaugural Elite Cage Challenge rocked.  And although the next one should be taking place under soon-to-be adopted New Jersey-esque amateur rules, hey, Elite Cage Challenge, at least we had last night.  Highlights of the event included:

  • Greg Styles of Westchester Martial Arts, who stole the show with a dominant 46-second TKO over Josh Santiago with three soul-crushing suplexes, one right after the other.  It was simply amazing, and Styles' post-fight victory celebration included shouting "Who's the baddest?" and his corner responding with "Sho' nuff!"  That right there redefines the phrase "full of win".
  • The gutsy performance by MAK Fitness femme Carolina Lopez.  Lopez got put on her butt in the opening exchange with Jess O'Brien, but she rallied back to whither O'Brien with punches at 2:40 of the first round.
  • The human steamroller known as Dioego Machado of Jiu-Jitsu Concepts.  It took a mere 33 seconds for him to get opponent Melton Savory down and put him away with punches from the mount.  Good stuff.  Very good stuff.
  • The war between Dungeon Fight Club rep Cody Hogan and Juliano Zanetti of MAK Fitness.  They battled into the third round, and after landing everything from knees to punches to a spinning backfist, Hogan was able to TKO Zanetti on the ground at 2:00 of Round 3.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Crappy Muay Thai at the Mecca II Pics

Muay Thai at the Mecca II Postscript

TakeOn returned to Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, and with the kickboxing promotion came a 13-bout event, 2,862 screaming fans,and all sorts of Muay Thai goodness.  With the Northeast's recent weather troubles forcing the postponement of CFFC and ROC's shows in New Jersey, a healthy dose of combat sports was just what the doctor ordered - and just what Muay Thai at the Mecca II provided.  Highlights of the night included:

  • The war of attrition between Westchester MMA's Sean Fagan and Mushin MMA's Joey Hernandez. Hernandez was rock solid early on, but Fagan wore him down, and when the fifth round rolled around he ended Hernandez's campaign for the 145-pound title with a dominant TKO.
  • Team Renzo's Elijah Clarke, who employed a monstrous reach and a world of confidence to cruise to a unanimous decision over Team Kamikaze's Angel Flores.
  • The unwavering onslaught of Team Renzo's Steve Hernandez.  Challenging champ Ariel Abreu of Camp Undefeated for the belt, Hernandez resisted being drawn into a brawl - which is Abreu's bread and butter.  Instead, he remained calm and crisp, and took the clear-cut decision when time expired.
  • Sitan stud Jay Matias, who ran right through Janjira Muay Thai's Cody Moberly like Moberly wasn't even there, and ended it all with a KO via flying knee.
  • If a slobberknocker can be considered technical, then that's what Italy's Angelo Campoli and Sitan's Eddie Martinez had.  For five rounds the two went back and forth, and though Martinez racked up the points to garner the unanimous decision, Campoli sure as hell didn't make it easy for him.
  • Tarek Rached's quick and sudden finish over UFC vet Ryan Madigan.  The Sitan rep seemed unfazed by Madigan's star status, and wasted no time nailing him with a kick that took out Madigan's knee right at the bell at the end of the first.  Good stuff.

Crappy MUSU Pics