Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Bunch of Vids to Get You Psyched for Today's UFC Double-Header


History will be made today with two (!) UFC's going down in different parts of the world. UFC Fight Night Berlin starts at noon on UFC Fight Pass, and at 6:30pm the TUF Brasil 3 Finale kicks off. That's a lot of mixed martial arts.

To get you motivated, here are a bunch of videos.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Bernardo Cano Out of NYFE Fight with Injury


Bernardo Cano, the Golden MMA Championships welterweight title holder who was slated to fight at next weekend's New York Fight Exchange event, is injured and won't be able to compete. Cano fell short in his bid to win the Victory Combat Sports 170-pound strap at Victory V last month, so this would've been the first step on the comeback trail.

Here's the situation in Cano's own words as per his Instagram:

Peace Out to Fellow MMA Journalist Mike Stets


Mike Stets - a fellow New York-based MMA journalist - left the Big Apple today for the greener pastures of Detroit, M.I. This sucks because Mike is a friend, lived closed by (he was in Astoria; I live in neighboring Woodside), and was a fixture at UFC- and Bellator-related events (Mike was too big time to cover regional-level shows).

The MMA Journalist wishes good ol' Stets luck on the next phase of his journey.

New York Fight Exchange 3 Poster


Tune in for Some Live Discussion on MMA in New York


"Sambo" Steve Koepfer and I will be trekking out to the Brooklyn Independent Media studio in Downtown Brooklyn today to take part in a roundtable discussion on MMA in New York. Click here to watch it.

I've been told one of the guests will be a karate man, so hopefully we can get him and Steve to fight.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Another NYFE Hype Video, This One Featuring Fighter Interviews


With a little over a week until showtime, the New York Fight Exchange has kicked the promotional engine into overdrive. Here's co-promoter Tom Sconzo visiting Renzo Gracie's academy in Brooklyn, interviewing a number of fighters - like Ken Sweeney and Matthew Kaplan - who are scheduled to compete on the June 7 NYFE card. Sconzo even gets jiu-jitsu coach/Japanese hipster extreme Diasuke Yamaji on camera.

Definitely check it out.

Throwback Thursday: Affliction's New York Presser


The only things separating a press conference from an actual theater performance are the lack of a script and the thin veil of reality. Take, for instance, the Affliction presser, which was held back in July, 2008, on the downstairs concourse of one of Donald Trump's buildings in Midtown Manhattan, and which featured the likes of Fedor Emelianenko, Tim Sylvia, Ben Rothwell, and all the misguided hopes and dreams of would-be competitors of the UFC. If you were to believe what's said at such gatherings, then Affliction was going to snuff out the flickering flame Dana White held aloft.

Obviously, that ended up not being the case.

You can relive the glory here:

New York State Assembly Speaker Rep: "The Union Issue is Fiction"


It's business as usual in Albany, especially when it comes to politics, money and truth. Case in point: the Assembly's MMA bill. Not that they would come out and admit it, but in an interview with Breitbart Sports for a run-of-the-mill article on the battle for sanctioned MMA in New York, the office of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver denies that Culinary Union influence is a factor in keeping the MMA bill on ice - which, of course they would.

Here's the relevant quote:
But the office of New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, whom [UFC COO Lawrence] Epstein labels as “very, very much aligned with organized labor,” disputes the notion that a union three time-zones away has influence on the Empire State’s decision to keep out MMA. The powerful speaker has consistently kept similar bills from receiving a vote in the past. “The union issue is fiction,” Michael Whyland, press secretary for Speaker Silver, bluntly tells Breitbart Sports.
Epstein counters with this gem:
“The local union here in Las Vegas has hired a lobbyist in New York,” Epstein notes. “His name is Neal Kwatra. They’re paying him tens of thousands of dollars to lobby on mixed-martial arts in New York. Why would a Las Vegas union be meddling in the internal politics in New York?”
There is less than a month left in the legislative session. Think anything is getting done?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

New York Amateur MMA: The Importance of Reporting Fight Results


For years, fighters who've fought in New York have had a hard time doing the same in New Jersey, with would-be competitors having to get the full range of medical screening normally reserved for pros. This is done for the obvious reasons, and until the law in New York is amended, things probably won't change.

But one important component of the New York amateur MMA machine that can be fixed is something that's wholly in the power of the promoters. According to Nick Lembo of the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board, the reporting of official fight results is something that's making the engine sputter.

Another Poster for Golden MMA Championships' Upcoming Show


UFC Fight Night 45 Primer: Jim Miller Up Close


Jim Miller is headlining UFC Fight Night 45 opposite Donald Cerrone. Jim Miller is also awesome. So in advance preparation for the July 16 event in Atlantic City, N.J., here's some footage from an open workout Jim did with his brother Dan in the week leading up to UFC 159 last year. 

Yes, they're on mats set up inside a Modell's Sporting Goods store in Midtown Manhattan. Where else would you like them to be?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Minnesota Fighter in Bad Shape After Near-Death Experience Saturday Night


A fighter competing in a Minnesota regional show is recovering after suffering a near-death experience after a bout on Saturday night. Dan Kiser is the fighter's name, No Mercy II was the show, and the injury came about after Kiser was stunned by an up-kick and was immediately choked out.

Here's local news site MNMMANEWS with the details of how it went down:
After some ground and pound, Kiser stood up and looked to rain down punches on the grounded Johnson. But Johnson landed a couple of up-kicks, hurting Kiser. After the second up-kick landed, Kiser was visibly stunned and a scramble ensued. Kiser grabbed on to Johnson's leg and looked for a kneebar.
After a few moments, Kiser's body went limp. It did not appear that Johnson landed any other significant strikes. Johnson latched on to a rear-naked choke and the ref quickly noticed Kiser was unresponsive and stopped the fight.
After Johnson let go of the choke, Kiser did not wake up. He stopped breathing momentarily, but was breathing again when he was put in the ambulance. He was taken to a local hospital and then was moved to Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, where he remains today.
Obviously it's tragic any time a fighter is injured to the point where it's unclear if he'll live, but what does this have to do with New York MMA? Oh, you know, just the whole "sufficient cageside medical care" thing.

Dead Serious 11 to Feature Lots and Lots of Amateur Fighters


The eleventh installment of the Dead Serious amateur MMA promotion is going down at the Rahway Rec Center in Rahway, N.J., on Saturday, and if the preliminary card posted on is of any indication, bring a sleeping bag - there's going to be a lot of fights.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Muay Thai Challenge: War 23 Poster


Happy Memorial Day - Here Are Some Fights From Reality Fighting 2


Reality Fighting 2, Wildwood, N.J., circa November 2, 2002. Note the octagonal ring, the youthful vitality, and the general innocence of us all.

Happy Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Observations From My Couch: UFC 173


  • Tough loss for Al Iaquinta, but it's hard to see what he did wrong. Dude was killing it, and then out of nowhere, got caught.
  • Tony Ferguson vs. Katsunori Kikuno was fun to watch for 30 seconds, and then we were reminded why karate doesn't work.
  • Michael Chiesa is the toughest homeless man-looking fighter in the world.

Cage Fury Fighting Championship 36 Card Looking Awesome


Cage Fury Fighting Championship will be returning to the Mennen Sports Arena in Morristown, N.J. on June 21, and while we already knew former Bellator champ Lyman Good was headlining, how the rest of the card looked was a bit of a mystery. Well, the mystery is solved now, and the fights that are lined up are pretty awesome.

Check out the card after the jump, and note these top names that stand out: Sean Santella, Andy Main, Kenny Foster, Brad Desir and Claudio Ledesma. Those guys alone are worth the price of admission.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

NYFE Promoters Talk About Their Upcoming Show


The next big amateur MMA show in New York City is the New York Fight Exchange's June 7 event at the Amazura Nightclub in Jamaica, Queens. The card looks fantastic, and thus far NYFE has been churning out some strong, entertaining shows.

Here's a video preview featuring promoters Tom Sconzo and Mike Washington talking about what's in store. Check it out.

Dude Thinks Doctors Aren't Needed at Fight Shows


My Deadspin article on amateur MMA in New York generated a good bit of discussion, but one opinion is a curious one. A commenter thinks that having a doctor ringside is overkill, and that a paramedic there is just as good.

His quote:

Another Old Manup Standup Fight


The expansion of the New York amateur scene has had an inverse effect on the "underground" fights on the Big Apple, so we're seeing less and less Underground Combat League and Manup Standup installments than years past. Which is... sad. A UCL or MUSU is like the Forbidden Fruit of Eden - good to take a bite of every once in a while, just don't let God catch you.

Anyway, here's an old MUSU fight from 2010. Relish it.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Adventures in Brooklyn Teenage Fight Club


Here's a story that's remarkable because it's about unsanctioned fighting in New York City and it's not being reported firsthand by me. DNAInfo has discovered a teenage "fight club" in Brooklyn - which is pretty much what it sounds like.

Check out the Second Gerald Javier Documentary Clip


The documentary on Aggressive Combat Championship king Gerald Javier continues to roll on with this second teaser clip, courtesy of 750 Sq Feet. Watch. Gain insight. Enjoy.

Reality Fighting 52 Poster


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Throwback Thursday: One of the Greatest Comebacks Ever


It was one of the greatest comebacks I have ever seen in an MMA bout. Deividas Taurosevicius - Ring of Combat champ, IFL and WEC veteran, and all-around Terminator - took on future World Series of Fighting champ Marlon Moraes at ROC 38 on November 18, 2011, and the Brazilian was utterly kicking his ass. I mean, "DT" was getting smoked hard on the feet, and when it went to the ground, Moraes was wrecking him. It was almost a complete blowout.

But DT has always been made of stone, and somehow he escaped, reversed, and... well, watch.

A Letter from the MMA Platinum Gloves Promoter


Here's a letter from Nic Canobbio, the promoter behind the Long Island-based organization MMA Platinum Gloves (posted with his permission):

Statement from Upstate New York Promotion Gladius Fights


Gladius Fights in Ryan Ciotoli's amateur MMA promotion in Upstate New York. Here's his response the Deadspin article, which he posted on Facebook:

Statement from New York Fight Exchange


The following was posted to Facebook by Mike Washington, one of the promoters of the New York City-based New York Fight Exchange:

For all those wondering what the New York Fight Exchange fighters have to go through and all the things we do alongside the World Kickboxing Association to ensure fighter safety before, during and after our events.

Steve Koepfer on Amateur MMA in New York


A lot of research went into this Deadspin article I wrote, but the constraints of word counts meant much had to be cut. Here then is what "Sambo" Steve Koepfer had to say.

  • You've had fighters compete in various New York-based promotions and under various sanctioning organizations. Do they all show the same level of sanctioning scrutiny (i.e., pre-fight medical screening, matchmaking, officiating, and postfight care)? How are they different?

Cage Fury Fighting Championship 36 Poster


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Deadspin Article on the New York Amateur MMA Scene


I wrote THIS article for Deadspin on the New York amateur MMA scene, calling to task those who've let fighters who were medically disqualified in other states (for HIV, Hepatitis, etc.) compete here. Check it out.

Some things to note, though:

  • I didn't come up with the "disaster" part of the title, that was added by Deadspin (which is fine - it's their site). I think there's a big, gaping hole in the medical screening of fighters, but I love going to New York shows and believe most of the promoters are doing a great job with regards to fighter safety.
  • There definitely needs to be some oversight of what's going on at all the shows, and that's an issue the legislature has to address. No promoters or sanctioning bodies have been breaking the law. But the law itself is certainly broken.
  • I don't know the identities of the fighters with HIV, Hepatitis or whatever, nor do I know what shows they fought on. I only know they exist.
That's all. Please let me know what you think in the comments.

UFC 173 Primer: Al Iaquinta in Action


UFC 173 is this weekend, and there's a lot to love about the main card - champ Renan Barao will get another chance to kill a man, Daniel Cormier will get to prove that Dan Henderson is old, and Robbie Lawler will get to show Jake Ellenberger what it means to stand and bang. But kicking off the prelim card on FOX Sports 1 is a bout between Al Iaquinta and Mitch Clarke, and guess what? AL IAQUINTA, YO.

Poster for Next Golden MMA Championships Show


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Some Manup Standup Action


Thanks to all the big amateur MMA shows that seem to happen every month in New York City, the proud institution of the underground show is dying out. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's most certainly a sad thing.

There are rumbles that the next Manup Standup event will be happening in August. However, if I'm interpreting the signs correctly, MUSU has put together a single boxing vs. Tae Kwon Do fight for 10pm tonight on a rooftop in the projects in Harlem.

Fists of Fury MMA Show Poster


Tito Ortiz, Tom DeBlass and a Cool Comic From Tap.Nap.Snap


All you need to know to appreciate this awesome comic is that the good folks at Tap.Nap.Snap made it. Heh-heh.

I Don't Even Have to Know the Details to Know That Renzo Had a Good Reason...


According to the New York Post, Renzo Gracie was arrested along with six others (including his nephew Igor) outside a Manhattan nightclub early Monday morning for beating the holy hell out of a bouncer.

As per the Post:

Monday, May 19, 2014

It Doesn't Sound Like MMA is Getting Done in the Assembly This Year


If you pinned your hopes on sanctioned MMA in New York courtesy of a brand-spanking new law this year, prepare to have your hopes dashed. The New York Daily News is reporting that the man in charge of legislative traffic - Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver - might be putting the issue off for another year.

Said the News:

Yours Truly Was on Yesterday's "The MMA Word" Podcast - Check it Out


I was on Mike Wellman's "The MMA Word" podcast yesterday, rapping about New York MMA and what's going on up in Albany with the MMA bills. Check it for the info, check it out for the insight, check it out just to hear my dulcet tones emanating from your speakers. Just check it out.

Would MMA Lose a Floor Vote in the Assembly?


An editorial in the Albany Times-Union today is calling for the State Assembly to allow the MMA bill to the floor for a vote, with the presumption that it will lose such a vote if it were to happen.

Given the amount of support the sport has by both the Democrats and the Republicans, it's long been asserted that if the Assembly's MMA bill were to finally escape committee it wouldn't be long before it was made into law. Suggesting otherwise kind of flies in the face of basic math and logic...

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Best of Bellator's Pay-Per-View


A lot of cool and interesting things happened at Bellator 120, which was the organization's first foray into the world of pay-per-view and, given how things played out, quite possibly their last. Of course, at the top of the list is former lightweight champ Michael Chandler losing a split decision to last-minute replacement Will Brooks. Then there's washed-up Tito Ortiz choking middleweight champ Alexander Shlemenko to sleep, promising featherweight Shahbulat Shamhalaev getting his arm broken... the hits just kept on coming.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

ROC 48 Postscript


From what I saw on the GoFightLive broadcast, Ring of Combat 48 was a solid installment in the venerable Northeast promotion. However, since I wasn't there, I can't really give you much personal on-the-scene insight. But hey, what's Twitter and Instagram for if not to turn the whole world into a journalist collective?

Here then is some additional perspective on ROC 48, courtesy of social media.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Ring of Combat 48: Liveblog Part 3


Next bout is a flyweight title fight.

Matt Rizzo vs. Jimmy Grant

Round 1: Sporting a decent height and reach advantage, Rizzo's strategy is clear: pick Grant off from a distance. Grant counters with a takedown, the scramble furiously, and Grant ends up first with a guillotine attempt and then is in Rizzo's guard. Rizzo gets back to his feet, steps in to do something, and BAM! Grant blasts him with an uppercut that has the taller guy KO'd. That's all she wrote. Grant is now the flyweight champ.

Ring of Combat 48: Liveblog Part 2


Next bout:

Michael Elshamy vs. Zed Mitchell

Elshamy's got Matt Serra in his corner, so maybe that means he knows something about grappling.

Ring of Combat 48: Liveblog Part 1


Welcome to the ROC 48 liveblog, which I'm doing from the comfort of my home office thanks to GoFightLive and it's absolutely perfect stream. Since I'm not cageside for this one, I won't be able to tell you which fighter freaked out and trashed the locker room after his loss, and which section of the audience threw a hissy fit because their hero got crushed. But I can - and will - describe the fights. So giddyup!

Check Out These Photos From Victory 5


Once upon a time there was maybe one photographer shooting New York MMA shows. Of course, back then there was only the Underground Combat League churning out fights, and that lone photog was Anil Melwani (whose web gallery is down for some reason). But nowadays there are tons of shows, and at each, a variety of lenses aimed at the action.

Here's Jacob Klensin's collection from the last Victory show. Check it out.

Ring of Combat 48 Tonight on GoFightLive


Ring of Combat 48 is tonight in Atlantic City, N.J., and with it will come all the usual thrills top-notch local fights bring. But if you're like me, and not keen on trekking to South Jersey, there is another option to take in the action: GoFightLive.

Go here to order the online pay-per-view, which is $16.99 and starts at 8:30ish (I say "ish" because one of the fights on the card got scrapped, so the start time might be pushed back a little).

Watch Rival New York Promoters Break Bread on This Week's East Coast MMA Show


It's a beautiful thing when rival promoters can set aside their differences and talk shop - which is exactly what happened on this week's installment of the East Coast MMA Show. With host Tom Kilkenny of Aggressive Combat Championship behind the wheel, and guests Tom Sconzo of New York Fight Exchange and Jerome Mickle - NYFE's reigning welterweight champ - in the passenger seat, listeners are taken along for a ride that's both educational and entertaining.

Topics touched upon include, well, pretty much everything to do with the New York MMA scene. Definitely check it out.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Ricco Rodriguez vs. Tim Sylvia at UFC 41


Once upon a time in 2003, our favorite premiere MMA organization came to Atlantic City, N.J. and had their heavyweight champ take on some tall dude from Pat Miletich's camp. Said tall dude had only fought in the Octagon once before, so it was assumed that the champ was going to kill him. But I'm talking about UFC 41, which saw champ Ricco Rodriguez's clash with challenger Tim Sylvia, and, well, yeah. That was the end of Rodriguez's title reign.

Battle at the Aviator Poster


Will the Assembly Vote on MMA This Year?


This week the New York State Senate did their part to bring sanctioned MMA to New York. Now the question remains as to whether the Assembly will do their half, which is necessary for any bills to become law. While no one can no for sure - politics is a strange, nebulous beast that's hard to pin down - the New York Daily News is putting their chips down on it not happening.

Said the Daily News: