Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ramble On Rampage

I have seen this video mentioned a couple times on other sites, but no one gave it the time I believe it deserves. It is 31 minutes of pure insanity. Rampage explains what happened on the day of the incident. He goes into detail about what moral and philosophical questions were going through his mind. It is fascinating to watch. Here are the highlights.

-Believes people in the Bible lived to be over 900 years old. They achieved such a ridiculous age by willing themselves to live. The reason we die at an early age is because we stop willing ourselves to live and instead will ourselves to die. He was afraid if he slept, he would will himself to die.
-----Out of all his wacky statements, this one shocks me the most.

-Was not drinking energy drinks the entire time. He started drinking them days into the ordeal because he became afraid to sleep.

-On the day of the incident, he was concerned for his friend's safety. Earlier Rampage loaned him a copy of "The Secret". He was afraid his friend would not watch it till the end and the message would lead him to die, rather than towards salvation (The whole will yourself to live instead of will yourself to die thing). This led to him getting into his truck and driving recklessly through the streets (and sidewalks) of Newport Beach. He wanted to get there as quickly as possible, watch the DVD with him, and preach about its message.
-----Could you imagine if you became friends with Rampage. Then one day at the gym he lends you a copy of "The Secret". A week later he storms into your house saying, "You gotta watch The Secret with me! All the way to the end too!! And, I'm gonna preach to you through the whole movie!!!" I wish my friends were that exciting.

-"Now I think back. Why I just didn't call him and say, Listen, watch the DVD. Choose life."
-----Funniest line of the interview and possibly in the history of MMA.

-Does not recall much of the ride over to his friend's house. Did mention a lady who he almost ran over and that he was on the phone with his friend most of the time. Claims he never noticed the police chasing him until he arrived at this friend's house and got out of his truck.
-----This is the most suspect part of his defense. He remembers just about every thing except all the crimes he committed.

-He alleges quite a bit of police abuse. Initially he was cuffed with his hands behind him and put into the back of the police car. Once inside, the cops put on the heat and kept speeding up and slowing down abruptly, so he would ram into the divider. He was preaching to the officers about God while in the car, at the hospital, and at the police station. Claims he repeatedly asked them to cuff his hands in front of him, so he could sit more comfortably in the car, but they refused because he was a fighter and he might hurt them. Went to several hospitals to lower his blood pressure, but was turned away due to the publicity of the situation. At the final hospital, he walked in with his pants down below his knees and the cops would not pull them up.
-----I'm gonna take this point by point.

1. Cops put the heat on and kept speeding up and stopping abruptly.

-I can't see cops driving around that area in July with the heat on for any significant amount of time. Rampage never says how long the heat was on for. My guess is it might have gone on for a brief moment, but there is no way it was on for that long, in fact it probably never even went on. I'm pretty sure the speeding up and slowing down routine is mandatory for all arrests. Chances of any of this being proven in court...ZERO.

2. Cops kept him cuffed behind his back for up to 13 hours while they went to each hospital and eventually back to the station.
-Look at this from the cops' perspective. They chase a suspect and apprehend him. The suspect is a well known fighter who is preaching about God, sweating profusely, and at times crying. Would you switch the cuffs to the front? As a cop, they must assume the worst in order to remain safe. I see no abuse in keeping him cuffed behind his back the entire time.

3. His pants were pulled down below his knees when he walked into the final hospital.
-He does not go into enough detail for me to understand this fully. Did the cops pull his pants down? Did they fall down on their own? Did they simply refuse to pull them up once they fell down on their own? It is not possible to make a judgment on this point until those questions are answered. Hospitals have surveillance cameras and if he wants to pursue this, we will see the tape in court.

I do not think Rampage is a dishonest person. In some way I do believe he was delusional. However, I hardly believe any of his excuses and accusations of police abuse. The biggest problem I have with his story is how he remembers every thing other than when he committed multiple crimes. For any one who has ever been in a minor automobile accident, it is blatantly obvious when you hit another vehicle or it hits you. For him not to remember any of the collisions or the police chasing him, is suspect to say the least.

The other thing which strikes me as odd is why his lawyers let him give this interview. It will certainly be used against him in court. Did they think if he explained things people would feel compassion for him? To me it is not worth the legal risk to open up like this in an interview. It gives the prosecution more ammo to use against you, and in the end it does not make me feel any compassion for him. He ignored basic traffic laws and put his life and the lives of others in danger. There is not any hard luck story that will change those facts.

08/31/08 News

  • Rashad Evans thinks his chin can take any thing Liddell can throw.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

UFC 88 Breakthrough One Week Away

We are one week away from UFC 88 "Breakthrough". Although the title stinks, the fight card is strong. I wanted to remind every one that Rear Naked News will have Live Results for UFC 88 "Breakthrough" and a Live Blog featuring my running commentary of the event. For any one who has followed along in the past, you know how much fun these Live Blogs get. They are unlike any other site's Live Results because I do not only give you the round by round coverage. I try my best to report every thing I think is important and make fun of ridiculous things. I remember following along Live Results from other sites in the past and I was always bored out of my mind. I promise you that you will not be bored with our Live Results and Blog. Here are some from the past, so you can get an idea of why these are different from every other site's Live Results.

UFC 87 "Seek and Destroy"
WEC 35
Affliction "Banned"

The winner of the main event between Chuck Liddell and Rashad Evans will likely become the first to face Light Heavyweight Champion Forrest Griffin at the end of the year show in Las Vegas. Either would be a big draw for the UFC. Liddell and Griffin would represent the old guard vs the new. Evans vs Griffin would be a match-up between two Ultimate Fighter winners, some thing I am sure the UFC would be quite proud of.

The undercard features Rich Franklin's entrance into the already stacked Light Heavyweight Division, as he faces fan favorite Matt Hamill. Both fighters are well liked by the fans and it'll be tough to cheer against either. Hamill could be ready to take the next step and emerge as a contender, if he can overcome his natural urge to turn fights into wrestling matches. He needs to do damage when he gets Franklin down or he will have a difficult time winning.

The fight I am looking most forward to is Dan Henderson and Rousimar Palhares. Henderson is one of my favorite fighters of all time and he needs a strong showing to erase the doubts from his last two losses to Anderson Silva and Quinton Jackson. I think he will come through and begin a comeback that will lead to a rematch with Silva in 2009. Palhares is not well known, but he is not a pushover. It would not surprise me if this one went the distance.

Almost every fight features some one looking for redemption. When you put guys like that into the cage, they tend to produce memorable matches. UFC 88 Breakthrough should be an action packed Pay-Per-View that sets up storylines for the rest of 2008.

08/30/08 News

  • Nick Diaz responds to KJ Noons. If you enjoy Noons looking like an idiot, read away.
  • How will WEC cope with the loss of the Light Heavyweight and Middleweight Divisions?

Randy Couture's Return to the UFC

No, I have not missed the half dozen reports of Randy Couture's possible return to the UFC. I resisted posting about it because I wanted to wait until I had some credible information to go on. The MMA world is an odd place. There are constantly rumors flying around and most times they begin from a solid source. The problem is they are often hopeful thinking by a manager, fighter, training partner, friend, or promotion. A good example is when a promotion mentions a list of potential opponents to a fighter then the fighter tells others. Next thing you know, there are reports all over the place about potential bouts that have little chance of ever occurring.

Now onto what I know. The first news I heard of a possible return was when he first entered into arbitration meetings with the UFC. It was a lesser option Couture was prepared to use if other plans failed. The UFC has been strong and unwilling to move from their position that Couture will not simply walk away. He will either fight for them or remain on the sidelines. This has led to Couture's camp entertaining other ideas, such as fighting for the UFC again.

The breakthrough came when the UFC softened from their stance that Couture must finish out his current contract. Instead, they are now willing to consider a return to action under a new deal, which could be for as many as three fights. If the UFC brings Couture back, it makes sense for them to hold onto his services for as long as possible. A one fight deal would only build additional attention for his debut with Affliction. A potential three fight deal would most likely end any chance of Couture and Fedor Emelianenko fighting in an Affliction main event. Also, bringing "The Natural" back would completely destroy Affliction's momentum. they would go from possibly having the biggest fight in MMA history to having good heavyweights fight to see who can last the longest with Fedor. Do not be mistaken. The UFC considers Affliction a threat and will do whatever it thinks necessary to slow the young promotion's rise in power.

The potential opponents on the table begin with Brock Lesnar on November 15 at UFC 91. The UFC is having trouble finding an opponent for Lesnar and booking a main event. Couture's return to the Octagon would solve both problems. It would also give the UFC an event, which would draw record shattering PPV buys. In my opinion, it would top a Couture/Fedor main event. There also is not much of a downside to the fight for the UFC. A win by either fighter would give them huge possibilities for the future, particularly Lesnar. Couture would have the most to lose from the fight, but a new contract would almost certainly give him additional money from the PPV buys, which again could break records.

Whether this gets resolved remains to be seen. They have moved away from the contract dispute, where neither related to the other, and have begun talking about a common interest - how they can make huge amounts of money together. It always comes back to that in the end.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Another Kimbo/LT Video

Here are the others, in case you feel the need to watch four in a row.

Who Is Rampage's Defense Attorney?

Carol Lavacot
Undergraduate Degree: Cal State Fullerton
Law Degree: Western State University
Practices: Criminal Law, DUI/DWI

Apparently Lavacot is a defense attorney in California. She must have peaked following law school, because Western State is not exactly a top tier legal facility. It's basically a place for people who bomb the LSATs and still won't give up their dream of representing famous fighters who run over pregnant women. Anyway, she is a former Public Defender and as you can see in the picture, is fond of wearing trendy tinted glasses. She was initially the defense attorney for the boy to her left, Omar Kahn. He was accused a couple months ago of hacking into his high school database and changing his grades, along with the grades of 12 others. He also broke into the school multiple times to steal tests and answer keys. Interesting, Lavacot gave a lame excuse for Kahn's actions as she did for Rampage's, saying Kahn is "a really nice kid; he's only 18 years old." She only lasted a month as Kahn's lawyer before she was replaced by high-profile defense attorney Mark Geragos, who is most known for defending Scott Peterson, Winona Ryder, and Michael Jackson.

After reviewing Lavacot's history, I do not feel too good about Rampage's chances. Again, California is known for going easy on celebrities, especially for driving incidents. However, those past cases usually involve misdemeanors at most. Rampage faces two felonies and his only defense is he drank a lot of energy drinks. Too bad Johnnie Cochran is dead. This case would have been perfect for him.

Rampage's Attorney Speaks Out

We got our first glimpse of Quinton "Rampage" Jackson's defense today, as his lawyer, Carol Lavacot, gave some brief excuses for his actions. The thing that jumped out to me is Juanito Ibarra is the first thing she mentioned. Obviously she did not name him, but we all know it is Ibarra who Jackson claims betrayed him. She went on to say that Jackson felt he needed to get to his friend's house during the chase or else he might die. She also offered this quote, "For those people that know Quinton, they know that he's a very kind, gentle giving person and he feels so badly about his actions. He takes full responsibility for what happened, but he was delusional during the ride down to his friend's house and really believed that it was a matter of life or death."

If I was the District Attorney, I would ask Jackson one simple question, "Mr. Jackson, following this episode, which you believe was caused by excessive energy drink consumption, have you ended your sponsorship of Throwdown energy drinks?"

Thursday, August 28, 2008

KJ Noons Issues a Statement

Here is his lengthy statement about why he feels slighted by EliteXC. The statement is filled with examples of EliteXC not treating him like the god he sees himself as.

In the Elite XC's DVD where Diaz and I fought there are two (2) baseball cards of Diaz and Kimbo. Hello! I won the fight and Elite XC's promoting Diaz after I beat him?

-Many fans had questions following the fight with Diaz. Noons won, but it was not the type of victory which could propel him into the mainstream. Most people I talked to felt like Diaz's scar tissue was the reason Noons won the fight.

Elite XC has never promoted me on either of their websites, EliteXC or Pro-Elite.

-People actually go to these sites?

Elite XC offered me a fight on the first CBS show, but only if I signed a new long-term contract. Instead of promoting their best fighters on CBS, you have to be on a long term contract for them to promote you. That was not our deal.

-Welcome to big time MMA, KJ. Why would a major organization go out of their way to promote a fighter who may not be around in a year? He better get used to it or look for a new profession.

In almost two years I have made approximately $83,000. After paying my trainers and managers fee, I have $50,000 thousand. After taxes, probably 30 grand. Divide that by two years for $15,000 thousand a year. Divide by 52 weeks that amounts to approximately $300 a week. I do not know anybody that can survive on that amount of money.

-I do not believe these numbers. The $33,000 he claims to have paid his trainers and manager seems high to me. I think he is exagerrating it. He also never mentions any money he received from sponsors. The reason he even has sponsor money is because he fights for a major MMA promotion and they gave him a title shot. The other thing I wanted to say is....WAAAAAAH!

Diaz is not the number one contender and they are paying Diaz three times more money than me. Diaz complained after the Stockton fight, he was not paid enough. How do you think that made me feel? Yes you can argue that Diaz gets more for the draw, therefore I do not deserve as much compensation. If that is the case, it is a result of Elite XC terrible job promoting me. Instead of promoting me as their champ and upcoming athlete, Elite XC has resented me for ruining their plans to make Diaz their champ. That is just total disrespect. So it comes down to money and what is fair.

-Just because you beat some one (because of a cut), it does not mean you instantly get paid more than them. I do not see his case at all. EliteXC offered him a fight on a CBS card with Kimbo headlining it. There is no bigger stage than that in MMA. Noons turned it down because he is a whiney little girl and does not want to fight some one who gets paid more than him. Fighters have to hustle, even the mildly famous. Noons should be blaming his manager for not getting him enough coverage with the media. I get emails every day from managers asking me to write more about their fighters. Many fighters also contact me and try to find ways to get their name out. Even a big time fighter like Wanderlei Silva is pounding the pavement doing internet radio shows. Stop blaming EliteXC and start questioning your manager, who is apparently making a huge amount of money off of you.

I am right when I say Diaz is not the number one contender. Elite XC is trying to force this fight for their ratings. Eddie Alaverez is the number one contender and anybody with half a brain knows that a fight with Eddie is a way harder fight for me than Diaz. I will fight Diaz, but Elite has to be fair. I'm not ducking Diaz, why the hell would I be scared of someone I already beat.

-Why would EliteXC want to put on a fight between Noons and Alvarez? He is not a draw, let alone a name casual fans know. The fans want to see a rematch with Diaz. EliteXC is smart enough to know that (finally), but now Noons is being a brat. You cannot blame them for not promoting you when they offer a fight every one wants to see on a card which will draw millions.

When I think about it, it has been good promotion for their October card since nobody is talking about it until you bring up the Noons vs. Diaz match up.

-Yes, no one cares about Kimbo Slice vs Ken Shamrock. It is all about you, KJ.

Rampage Pleads Not Guilty

In a slightly surprising move, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson pleaded not guilty to each of his charges. It was thought Jackson would immediately look for a deal from the District Attorney in return for a guilty plea. By pleading not guilty, Jackson is in effect asking for a trial, so he can make a defense. It is still possible he will end up accepting a deal and change his plea to guilty, but the move makes me think his lawyers feel like they have some thing they can use to their benefit. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I'm also anxious to see how big the court artist draws Rampage's head during the trial.

08/28/08 News

  • Solid article about Strikeforce's success.
  • Eddie Alvarez is a patient man. For any casual fans who are not familiar with Alvarez, Google the hell out of him. He will be a star in MMA very soon.
  • Ed Soares talking up another possible fight for Anderson Silva. Soares is a perfect manager. He keeps the fans entertained with fight possibilities between matches.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

08/27/08 News

  • WEC has promised Leonard Garcia a title shot at Uriah Faber in Mexico, if they both can win their fights on September 10.

Rampage Calls Out Forrest Griffin

In an interview with Fighters Only Magazine, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson had some strong words for UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Forrest Griffin.
“I just want my fans to know, I was at my worst and Forrest was at his best - and I still beat him. I’m not a sore loser, shit happens. But I was hoping that Forrest would be a man and come out and say ‘You know what, I didn’t win that fight’, especially after he watched it. I wasn’t really sure, right at the end of the fight... I know he hurt me and punched me in the face a couple of times but I was bobbing and weaving and making him miss, stuff like that. I was hoping that he would come out later after he saw the fight and say ‘yeah, I saw the fight and I lost that fight. After the fight, I said ‘I’ve got to give you a lot of respect, because you hurt my leg and you had a good game plan. But now, I don’t respect him as a man. Because if it was me, I would have said, ‘I have to give him a rematch right away, to remove all doubt. I’m a man and when you fight it’s all about honor. I’m not angry at him or anything, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve lost respect for him as a man."
What fight was he watching? "Bobbing and weaving"? How about walking straight ahead flat-footed, getting repeatedly kicked in the leg, and barely throwing ten punches a round? Jackson is a tremendous fighter and at his best is without a doubt one of best in the sport. His problem has always been when he is not at his best. Legends win when they have an off day. Good fighters do not. For him to question the manhood of another fighter because he lost a fight is disrespectful and idiotic. He is acting like he dominated the fight for five rounds then the judges took it away from him. Maybe he needs another beating from Wanderlei Silva to wake him up.

The funniest thing about his comments is he blames Griffin for not "giving" him a rematch. You went nuts in a monster truck - running from the police and hitting a pregnant woman, and it is Griffin's fault you are not getting an immediate rematch? There was not universal appeal for a rematch. Most fans were not interested in seeing another five rounds of you barely throwing punches and never defending a kick the entire fight. Then you went nuts and fans decided you were no longer serious about fighting. Stop blaming others (Griffin, Ibarra, Judges) and start blaming yourself.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Georges St-Pierre Writes About Training, Cognac, and Airports On Yardbarker

Georges St-Pierre is back to posting on Yardbarker with details about his training and some amusing stories. So far he has written solid stuff. In comparison to Frank Shamrock, who also posts on Yardbarker, GSP is Tolstoy. I hope he keeps up with the blog because it gives fans a view into MMA they do not normally see.

And, as I stated after his first post, it appears he is actually writing these because they feature his trademark English as a second language phrasing.

Here is the full text of his latest post:
Thanks for the fans who have been showing me support regarding my blogs. They are something really special for me because it's way different than interviews because I can truly talk about things that are going on in my life and that matter to me. Everybody make me feel very welcome in 'the Yard' I'm happy to be part of it and I'm also glad that people are showing me support that I'm not the only one eating fast food. (HaHa) I'm born with very lucky genetics believe it or not, when I was 10 years old, I used to have a six pack of ab muscles. So I can eat pretty much what I want and I'm not getting fat and I stay in shape. However, when I'm going to get older, according to Jonathan Chaimberg, my strength & conditioning trainer, I will probably have to change the way I eat, which makes me sad when I think about it.

After all my celebration in Montreal with my friends, I needed to get out of my neighborhood a little bit to get back in training. So I went to New York and spent four days there. I learned so many new stuff in Muay Thai with my trainer Phil Nurse at The Wat that I'm already a better fighter than I was before I came to New York. To my greatest surprise, I found out that my manager, Shari Spencer, and also my good friend, Steven Friend, were in town for one night during my stay. So I took them out for dinner with Phil & his wife, Crystal, along with two other friends in New York. I ate very good Japanese food at Nobu and also drank Cognac XO Hennessey with my friends, which is my favorite drink. I like to drink Hennessey because it's a good quality of alcohol and if you drink water with it, it won't affect your training the next day. (Well, if you don't overdo it like I did that night. HaHa) Anyway, it didn't really matter because Phil made me sweat it out the next day in training. As you can tell, I really train hard, but I play hard too. Like my old karate teacher used to say be a man at night, but you need to be a man in the morning. So that's why no matter how hard I party, I'm always in the gym the next day. Constancy is the key to be champion and to stay there.
I came back to Montreal for three days before my trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Actually, today I really made a fool of myself. After training muay thai pads & jiu jitsu drills with Firas Zahabi, I jumped in my car, packed my stuff for my trip and I got stuck in the traffic so I thought I was going to be late for my flight. So when I parked my car, I sprinted to the ticket counter and when I got there I was really sweaty and breathing hard with my three big suitcases and I looked like a marathon runner who just finished the race. When I showed up to the counter, the lady couldn't find my name on the list for the flight and everybody in the airport was staring at me. So I called the lady at the travel agency who booked my flight and asked her if there was a problem with the computer or something. To my big surprise, she told me I was not leaving today but I was leaving tomorrow at the same time. So I became so shy & so embarrassed that if I was able, I would have jumped inside and hid inside my suitcase. But like an idiot, I had to go back, walk next to the big line of people and go back to my car and come back the next day. Then I got stuck in really bad traffic on my way back home once again. Me I'm a real professional when it's time to make a fool of myself. I wanted to share it with my friends online so we could all laugh about it and it would make me feel better.

This is my favorite time of training because I'm not training for a specific opponent right now. I'm training to get better at fighting and to add more skill to my game. That's why I've been working with Phil in New York and why I'm going to Brazil to train with some of the best jiu jitsu trainers in the world at Gracie Barra. I'm also going to have the chance to meet some of my friends there. While I'm there I'm going to try to keep you guys posted on what I'm doing thanks, as always, for the support.


  • This Wednesday night at 10pm UFC President Dana White will appear on "Criss Angel: Mindfreak". White is holding out hope Angel makes his hair reappear.
  • Matt Hughes will not need surgery for his partially torn ACL. He could be back for a grudge match with Matt Serra in January or February.
  • Affliction will sponsor Mike Skinner's car this weekend at the Pepsi 500 in San Bernardino, CA. It will be the first time an MMA organization has ever sponsored a car in NASCAR.
  • Karo Parisyan talks about his battle with panic attacks. I hope he gets things sorted out because he's one of my favorite fighters.

EliteXC Has Not Learned Their Lesson

When it was announced yesterday that Kimbo Slice would face Ken Shamrock on the next CBS card, I thought it was possible EliteXC had turned a corner and were ready for a rally. Even though the KJ Noons Nick Diaz fight did not materialize, they did put a lot of pressure on Noons and truly did their best to get the two into the cage. It seemed like they were now committed to putting top fighters into matches with each other, some thing they have failed to do in the past (Antonio Silva vs Justin Eilers for the Heavyweight Title, anyone?).

Apparently I was being hopeful, because now it seems like they are back to their old tricks and will have Robbie Lawler defend the Middleweight Title against Joey Villasenor on November 8. Villasenor is not an awful fighter at all. In fact, I like watching his fights very much. The problem with this match-up is Villasenor brings little to no attention to the event. He is not a name most MMA fans care enough about to watch. He has also already lost to Lawler (in 22 seconds). On the other hand, Lawler is one of EliteXC's top fighters and is well on his way to becoming a big draw down the line. At this point, though, he can not sell a fight card on his own. He needs help from an opponent and EliteXC has not given it him. Maybe they could not afford Frank Shamrock's expensive booking fee, but why not a rematch with Murilo "Ninja" Rua? They already have him fighting on October 4 against Benji Radach. The first fight between Rua and Lawler was a classic. Matching them up a second time would actually bring some positive attention to the broadcast.

The thing EliteXC always goes back to is, "Just wait till our Pay-Per-View Event!" The problem with holding back quality fights until a PPV card, is you never build a dedicated fan base. EliteXC does not have big enough stars to put on a PPV and get buys from casual fans. They need EliteXC followers who watch all the fights and believe in the promotion. Fans like that do not exist because EliteXC continually pushes back their most exciting fights in favor of lesser matches fans are not as interested in. They did the same exact thing with the Gina Carano Christiane Cyborg fight. It should be on the October 4 CBS card, but EliteXC is purposely holding it back for their mythical future PPV. To me it is this "wait till next year" philosophy which hurts EliteXC the most. MMA was built upon putting the best fighters against each other. Fans do not want to wait through 1-2 fights to see the two people they want in the cage. For whatever reasons, EliteXC still refuses to give fans the best matches.

Before people start emailing me, I am well aware of why they want to hold back fights for the PPV. EliteXC does not make a ton of money on their Showtime and CBS events. A PPV would bring them considerably more. The problem with it is you first need people to buy the PPV. They are ruining a golden opportunity to promote themselves on network television as an MMA company who puts on the best fights at each event. Stop giving us filler. Every event needs to be treated as its own entity. Make it the best you possibly can and fans will become loyal to your brand. The UFC has built such a massive following because fans know when they tune in the show will deliver. You will see the champions facing the true top contenders. Hell, the UFC put on a show this summer on short notice in which one of their top stars went up in weight to fight. Taking a risk like that shows how much more the UFC is committed to the fans than a company like EliteXC.

But, hey, what do I know? I've never lost millions running an MMA promotion into the ground.

Rampage Charged with Two Felonies

Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson has been formally charged with two felonies and four misdemeanors. The felonies are for evading arrest while driving recklessly and evading a police officer and driving against traffic. The obvious bright spot for Jackson is the District Attorney decided not to charge him with second degree fetal homicide. They did not feel the death of the unborn baby was caused by the hit and run.

The charges could result in prison time. Where he got lucky is they did not charge him with causing serious bodily injury to any one. Under California law, when serious bodily injury is caused by reckless driving, it triggers a large increase in the amount of time the defendant can serve in jail. Jackson will still face prison time, but it will not be as serious. With the overcrowding of California prisons, it is likely any term will end up shortened in the end.

The news comes as a huge relief to the UFC. A fetal homicide charge would have been a black eye for Jackson, the UFC, and the sport. Instead he will get through this ugly predicament with his fighting career intact.

Monday, August 25, 2008

08/25/08 News

  • Murilo "Ninja" Rua will face Benji Radach at the October 4 EliteXC CBS event. They really need to hire some one to come up with names for their events.
  • Cheick Kongo is recovering from a shoulder injury. Possible fight with Brock Lesnar now in doubt.
  • More talk of Chuck Liddell vs Anderson Silva.
  • Chicks dig cauliflower ear.
  • Chuck Liddell look-a-like contest. God, what a bunch of losers.

Kimbo Slice to Face Ken Shamrock

EliteXC has made a bold move and will put their biggest star, Kimbo Slice, into the ring with MMA legend Ken Shamrock on October 4. Despite being a mummy, Shamrock is more dangerous than any other opponent Slice has faced. Shamrock's physical skills may have weakened, but he still possesses a variety of submission holds Slice has never seen in a match. As we witnessed in Slice's last fight, his ground skills remain weak. If Shamrock can create a scramble and get him down, it could turn into an interesting match-up. Personally, I see this thing ending in the first round when Kimbo knocks Shamrock's mummy head off.

Shamrock's arrival in EliteXC could also mean we might finally see Frank and Ken Shamrock meet in the ring. A fight between the two brothers has been talked about for years, however, no one has been able to finalize it. The result of the fight with Slice would not make a huge difference for a follow-up fight with his brother, Frank. EliteXC needs all the help and publicity it can get, so I would be very surprised if they do not make a big push for the battle of the Shamrock brothers.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

UFC Global Expansion in 2009

The UFC has big plans for 2009. After two years of 19 events per, the UFC will add between 4-6 new events to the calendar. One of my biggest criticisms of the UFC has always been a low number of shows. There are dead times during the year when nothing is going on and MMA loses its momentum. Obviously, it is not simple to put on events and no other MMA promotion comes close to matching the total the UFC produces, but I always felt like they were missing out on opportunities. Dana White and the UFC top brass must think the same thing because in 2009 they plan on saturating the market with all the events fans can handle.

A couple months ago, Dana White began talking about the UFC's global plan. He said he wanted it to be a worldwide sport that rivals soccer. Most laughed at him and did not put much stock into the bold statement. It turns out he was not shooting off his mouth and the UFC actually does have very real plans to go global. The only non-USA events so far have been in Canada and England. Both are places where English is a common, if not primary language. I'd hardly call either international. 2009 will change things dramatically.

There are talks of possible events in Italy, the Philippines, Sweden, Australia, and Japan. From my site visitor statistics, I can say with certainty that each of those nations has a strong fan base. Marshall Zaleznik, the UFC's United Kingdom division president, claims "In the spring of 2009, we plan to have two (international) events outside of the United Kingdom." This could mean the UFC's total number of non-USA events could reach 7-8 next year. That is a 100% increase over 2008's total of 4 (England 3, Canada 1). The last time the UFC had a major increase in events was in 2006 when they went from 10 events in '05 to 18 in '06.

The biggest question is what will the added events look like. Will they be Fight Night cards, Pay-Per-Views, or possibly some thing entirely new we have never seen? My best guess is the additional 4-6 events will be a mix of PPVs and Fight Nights. I do not see them adding more than 2 additional PPVs. They would run the risk of watering down PPV cards for the sake of a couple more shows.

No matter what the shows end up looking like, it is great news for MMA fans. The UFC does not want to let the growth of the sport pass them by. Some may worry about a weaker product. I think they are still well within their talent level, though. For all we know 1-2 of the events could be proving ground fight cards featuring less experienced fighters. I have been saying for years they should have 6 shows a year like that broadcast only on the Internet. At some point in the next year it would make sense for Uriah Faber and Carlos Condit to make the jump. Maybe one of the PPVs will be a UFC/WEC fight card with WEC fighters battling for UFC contracts?

The possibilities are endless. MMA is unlike any other sport because it is constantly adapting, and with the UFC's expansion plans, 2009 should be the best year yet.

Tito Ortiz Finally Ready to Sign with Affliction...We Think

MMAPreview is reporting Tito Ortiz has finally signed with Affliction. They claim a "number of sources" have confirmed the signing. It does not surprise me. I have been outspoken from the start that Ortiz would land with Affliction. It was the only promotion who could give him what he really wants - popularity. Ortiz is fueled by it. He wants to be in the spotlight and Affliction will give him a bigger share of the spotlight than any other MMA promotion. They have Fedor Emelianenko as their center piece and he is a huge draw, but he does not speak English and cannot relate to MMA fans the way Ortiz does.

The other big thing in this report is it claims Ortiz will be ready for "Day of Reckoning" on October 11. If this is true, Affliction just might have a successful follow-up to their first event. Ortiz's arrival would be a major media event. Even if he just gave an interview, fans would tune in to see what he would say about Dana White and the UFC. I am holding out hope he actually fights. As I mentioned yesterday, Affliction's second Pay-Per-View has several solid match-ups that diehard MMA fans will love. However, it still does not feature the type of fight which will draw in casual fans of the sport. Tito can be that draw, as long as he can get in shape.

Mauricio Rua Still Thinks He Is Fighting Rampage Jackson

Mauricio "Shogun" Rua is still telling people he is fighting Rampage Jackson in December. I give up trying to sort out this mess. Some how two fighters who have been friends for years both think they are fighting the same guy. Wanderlei Silva has repeatedly said the UFC offered him a bout with Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. Who do you believe?

At this point it appears Rua is the most likely opponent. Last week Dana White told Yahoo! Sports what the UFC had planned for the rest of the year. He claimed Silva's next appearance in the Octagon was not set. The only explanation I can think of is the UFC mentioned Jackson as a possible opponent to both. Then they went back to Jackson with his options, after all he is the bigger draw of the three. From there Jackson decided he would rather face Rua. But, really, no one has any idea what is going on with this situation.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Affliction Adds Another Solid Fight to "Day of Reckoning"

Welterweights Jay Hieron and Drew Fickett have agreed to fight at Affliction "Day of Reckoning" on October 11. In the past week Affliction has gotten back on track by securing this match-up and Chris Horodecki vs Dan Lauzon. Neither features high profile fighters, but each represents an intriguing match-up for diehard MMA fans. Most times when an MMA promotion is putting on a show, be it local or big, they go for a circus setting with "big" names instead of true talent. Affliction is doing the opposite with their second offering. Fans will see talent vs talent. Each fight will be a chance for the participants to prove to the world they belong in a mainstream MMA organization.

Here is how the "Day of Reckoning" fight card looks so far.

Andrei Arlovski vs Josh Barnett
Matt Lindland vs ________
Jay Hieron vs Drew Fickett
Chris Horodecki vs Dan Lauzon
Vladimir Matyushenko vs Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Pedro Rizzo vs Ben Rothwell
Roy Nelson vs Paul Buentello

Friday, August 22, 2008

KJ Noons vs Nick Diaz Officially Off

MMARated is reporting the proposed bout between KJ Noons and Nick Diaz on October 4, has officially been scrapped. Too bad for EliteXC. The match would have been a welcomed addition to the CBS card, which as of now looks weak. They also are reporting Diaz will return to action at the Showtime event on November 8.

Most will blame Noons' manager Mark Dion for this mess. He deserves a portion of your anger, but so does EliteXC. They have trouble booking fights and it is a big reason why their company is falling apart. You simply have to find a way to book a fight like this. Instead EliteXC bumbled around and let Dion control the situation. I hope they strip Noons of the title and let Diaz fight some one for it. He has worked hard and should be rewarded by the company.

Upcoming UFC Schedule 2008 into 2009

Here is the UFC's schedule for the rest of 2008 and into 2009.

September 6, 2008 - UFC 88 Breakthrough in Atlanta, GA (PPV)

September 17, 2008 - UFC Fight Night in Omaha, NE (Spike)

October 18, 2008 - UFC 89 (Bisping/Leben) in Birmingham, UK (Spike)

October 25, 2008 - UFC 90 (Silva/Cote) in Chicago, IL (PPV)

November 15, 2008 - UFC 91 in Portland, Oregon (PPV)
-Brock Lesnar vs Cheick Kongo (Rumored)
-Kenny Florian vs Joe Stevenson

December 13, 2008 - Ultimate Fighter 8 Finale in Las Vegas, NV (Spike)

December 27, 2008 - UFC 92 in Las Vegas, NV (PPV)
-Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs Frank Mir

January 31, 2009 - Super Bowl Weekend Event (PPV)
-BJ Penn vs Georges St-Pierre

Thursday, August 21, 2008

KJ Noons Is Getting Bad Advice

The KJ Noons saga continues to play on for EliteXC, as the Lightweight Champion still will not agree to fight Nick Diaz. MMAJunkie has some great quotes from Noons' manager, Mark Dion. He basically thinks Noons has nothing to gain from fighting Diaz and wants a different opponent. Dion's argument is the fight benefits EliteXC and Diaz more than his client. While there is truth to it, I do not totally agree. Noons is a great fighter, but he is not a top draw yet. He also has not fought the best crop of opponents, either. He needs a non-controversial win over Diaz to convince a lot of fans he is for real.

This whole situation amazes me. EliteXC dropped the ball when they refused to promote the fight with the post-fight brawl footage. Now Noons' manager is acting like he is representing Tiger Woods. Maybe this is a play to get Noons out of EliteXC as soon as possible without any losses. No matter what you think of Noons' manager, he is not an idiot. The future of EliteXC is in doubt and if it folds, Noons will be at the negotiating table with a major MMA organization. His position is much stronger if he does not have a loss to Diaz on his record.

This situation brings up an interesting question. Is it better for a fighter to take on the best competition or the biggest draw? From a pure sporting standpoint, you would say an athlete should always compete against the best competition. Some times these two meet and the biggest draw is the best competition. This is not one of those cases. Eddie Alvarez, who Dion mentioned as a better opponent, is no where near the draw of Diaz. EliteXC is hanging on by their teeth. Promoting a fight between a young champion and a guy most casual MMA fans have never heard of is a disaster waiting to happen. They need to find a way to get Noons into the cage with Diaz, or strip him of the title. Simple as that.

Chuck Liddell and Anderson Silva Are Bud Light Spokesmen

Bud Light has announced Chuck Liddell and Anderson Silva will be spokesmen for the brand and be featured on billboards and television commercials. A few days ago I wrote an article about Fedor Emelianenko's marketability in America. In it I examined the opportunities MMA fighters have now in advertisements and what could happen in the future. Having Liddell and Silva work for Bud Light is tremendous news for fighters. It begins with the top guys, but over time will trickle down and affect everyone. When other brands see MMA fighters working with a company like Anheuser-Busch, it will push them to do the same. It has always surprised me how reluctant companies have been to work with Liddell. He seems like a natural fit for so many products, but for one reason or another has not been used. Maybe this is the tip of the iceberg and we will start seeing a lot more fighters working with bigger companies. I hope so, at least.

Antonio Silva Tests Positive for Steroids

EliteXC is having a rough couple of weeks. They are losing millions, canceling events, can't track down KJ Noons, and now their Heavyweight Champion tests positive for steroids. The California State Athletic Commission announced today Antonio "Big Foot" Silva tested positive for Boldenone, which is an anabolic steroid primarily administered to horses. It has been used illegally by other athletes, including MMA fighters Stephan Bonnar and Alexandre Nogueira.

Silva will face a $2,500 fine and be suspended for 12 months. The reality of steroids and other banned substances is many athletes use them to recover from injuries. Silva did have a knee injury in the past year and it is certainly possible he took Boldenone while recovering.

I hope the MMA promotions begin taking a hard look at the health of their fighters. The way things work for fighters is they are paid as independent contractors, which means you fight then you get paid for that fight. It gives fighters an incentive to get back into the ring as quickly as possible. Maybe the solution is a new payment system. Lets say a fighter is signed to a three fight deal with one of the major promotions. Why not take a portion of the three fight salaries and give it to the fighter over the length of the contract. This would allow fighters to essentially be paid a monthly salary. While I do not think it will eliminate every case of steroid use, I do think it might give some fighters an incentive to recover from their injuries at a normal rate.

Brock Lesnar Returns in November

A small item in the Pioneer Press claims UFC Heavyweight Brock Lesnar will return to action in November. As you remember from yesterday, Kenny Florian and Joe Stevenson are supposed to be fighting in November as well. I mentioned that was a weak main event and it appears the UFC agrees. After Lesnar's first UFC victory, he is now a headliner and I believe deserving of main event status. He is popular, exciting, and a legitimate contender in the heaviest weight class. All that boils down to a main event fighter.

No word yet on who he will face. At the post-UFC 87 press conference, rumors were circulating that Lesnar would face Cheick Kongo in his next bout. It remains to be seen if the UFC can book the fight, though. Kongo would be a good opponent and make for an exciting match-up.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Goran Reljic Will Be a Huge Middleweight Contender

Goran Reljic made his UFC debut as a Light Heavyweight and looked very good. He appeared well suited to fighting at 205 lbs. For whatever reasons, he has decided the Middleweight Division is a better place for him. In a Sherdog article, he said, "I will physically be the biggest fighter in the whole division for sure." UFC's Light Heavyweight Division is the best weight class in all of MMA. As a relatively new fighter, Reljic might have thought it was better for him to drop down to Middleweight, where there is less depth and more opportunities for him to shine. Either way, I think Reljic will be successful. His striking is already at a title contender level. If he can get his other skills in line with it, he will make some serious noise at 185 lbs.

Florian vs Stevenson at UFC 91

MMAWeekly claims Kenny Florian will face Joe Stevenson on November 15 at UFC 91. Florian backed up his words and took another fight before a possible title shot at BJ Penn. Gotta give him credit for that. Stevenson is a warrior and will fight any one. Should be a good match. In the report it says it could be the main event, but I have my doubts about that. Maybe a co-main event, which is by far the dumbest term in MMA. It's either a main event or it is not. There is no middle ground.

For any one who has been out of it the last month, UFC 91 will take place at the Rose Garden in Portland, OR. It has not been officially announced yet, but it is the worst kept UFC event location in the history of the world.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

08/19/08 News

  • MMA Chump wonders if a merger between EliteXC and Affliction might happen.
  • Jason MacDonald will replace injured Jason Day and fight Jason Lambert at UFC 88 "Breakthrough". Jason Voorhees must not have been available.
  • Ben Fowlkes explains why you should be excited for the new season of The Ultimate Fighter.
  • Will Kimbo Slice save EliteXC?

Quote of the Day!!!!

"If one sanctioning organization is successful then what's to stop others?" - Gary Shaw, former EliteXC President

Anderson Silva Wants to Fight Michael Bisping in England

The Daily Star has an interesting quote from UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva, who says, "I would like to fight Michael Bisping in his home country in front of his own fans." These two have been going back and forth with each other for months. Bisping is smarter than most fighters and he knows how to get the fights he wants. He is also a legitimate star in England. A fight between Anderson Silva and Michael Bisping in the UK will sell out any venue on its own.

The question is whether the UFC will book Bisping in a Middleweight Title fight after only three bouts in the division. Obviously a loss by either changes things, but lets say both win their next fight. Silva's possible opponents would be Yushin Okami, a Light Heavyweight, or Bisping. For Bisping the possibilities are endless. He could conceivably fight just about any Middleweight contender. The tricky part of booking this match is definitely Silva. He has more possible fights than any other MMA fighter in the sport. A lot will depend on when the UFC plans on coming back to England for an event. If it was some time early next summer, it is possible both fighters could have bouts before meeting in the Octagon.

I have been open about my belief that Bisping will defeat Anderson Silva. If it happened in front of an English crowd, we might hear the loudest ovation ever given to a MMA fighter.

EliteXC Lost $30 Million

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, EliteXC has lost $30 million since it's birth in November 2006. Some have pointed to the UFC's own financial troubles in the early days as evidence it is possible to turn things around. I do not see the comparison. The UFC was losing money before MMA caught on. It was not even regulated yet. Comparing a company losing $30 million now to the UFC's early loss does not make sense.

EliteXC has no one to blame, but themselves. I have pointed out their illogical choices numerous times. They have TV deals with Showtime and CBS. One of the most recognizable fighters in MMA works for them. Losing money in that environment means you have incompetent people running the business. Gary Shaw and Doug DeLuca resigned for a reason - they were running the company into the ground.

Now the new braintrust must come together and figure out a way to work with a shoe-string budget. I do not see it happening. The only way EliteXC survives is if some one comes in and rescues them. Affliction is the likely choice because a merger between the companies makes a tiny bit of sense, but it is not like Tom Atcenio is beating down their doors. CBS has been floated around as a possible savior. I do not see that at all. CBS did not even promote the second EliteXC telecast in July. They knew then things were bad and it was best to keep a low profile. Why would they want to help now?

It is too bad. EliteXC is entertaining and a nice alternative to the other MMA giants. You would think a MMA promotion with a CBS deal would be attractive to financers, but EliteXC has proven you can mess up any situation.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Georges St-Pierre Joins Yardbarker

I have been holding this one back for a couple weeks, but it is now official. UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre has joined Yardbarker. He will blog exclusively there and keep his fans up to date on every thing going on in his life. When Yardbarker first asked me to join their network, I was hesitent. They did not boast the best collection of MMA sites and their only fighter of significance who was blogging was Frank Shamrock. It seemed like Yardbarker did not care about Mixed Martial Arts enough for me to want to join.

An email exchange I had with the Yardbarker worker who recruited me changed my mind. He took my criticisms and agreed they had done a bad job with MMA, but he also made me believe they wanted to change things. He also mentioned they signed Georges St-Pierre and he would be blogging for them very soon. At that point I knew Yardbarker was being honest about their committment to Mixed Martial Arts and MMA fans.

From the look of GSP's first post, he seems serious about giving fans interesting things about his life to read.

(This doesn't mean I won't make fun of GSP any more. In fact, I might have to do it more than usual, so people don't think I sold out.)

Fedor's Future as a Marketable American Superstar

Last week Fedor Emelianenko signed with Blue Entertainment Sports Television (BEST). BEST is a United States marketing agency, which mostly caters to sports stars. Their sports clients include Reggie Bush, Andy Roddick, Rasheed Wallace, and August 2008 Playboy Cover Girl Ashley Harkleroad of the WTA. BEST will handle Fedor's television and marketing deals. This includes the planned TV series "Fighting Fedor", which will feature aspiring fighters vying for a shot at Fedor in the ring.

The bigger issue this news raises is Fedor and his handlers are planning on building the Fedor brand in the United States. For years he has been a foreign commodity, but now appears ready to capitalize on the American market. It remains to be seen how successful Fedor will be within the United States. Mixed Martial Arts has done a solid job of anchoring itself as a viable sport. The UFC has been the most successful, receiving sponsorship from companies such as Burger King and Harley-Davidson. On the other hand, opportunities for fighters remain limited compared to other popular athletes (Condom Depot ads). Anderson Silva isn't appearing on an episode of Grey's Anatomy any time soon.

Fedor faces obstacles, like not speaking English, but he is gaining recognition. A fight with Randy Couture might be the tipping point he and the rest of MMA fighters need to become fully marketable. It takes one fighter to open the doors for the rest. Randy Couture's performance in Scorpion King 2 is not going to change things. A victory over Couture could propel Fedor into realms MMA fighters have never gone. Mike Tyson made a lot of money being the "Baddest Man on the Planet" and he never said much either.

The Ultimate Sock Fighter

I have to question the photographer's choice in this shot. If you look closely you will notice none of the fighters are wearing shoes, presumably because they are standing on a mat. However, quite a few are not barefoot. In fact, the majority who are visible have on socks. Socks for an MMA fighter promo? The only thing less tough than a man in socks is a man putting on chapstick.

08/18/08 News

  • Georges St-Pierre fires back at Matt Hughes. Questions his drive and whether he can defeat Matt Serra.
  • Pictures of Don Frye's Mustache from Deep Gladiator.
  • I'm totally addicted to this Baltimore Sun MMA Blog with the creepy picture of the writer. I don't think I've ever read through an entire article because I always get scared that he's looking at me through the computer. Ya never know. Technology is weird like that.
  • Antony Johnson showing maturity and not dwelling on the Eye Gouge Fiasco.

(Updated throughout the day with new stories. Check back often.)

Ultimate Fighter 8 Cast has the rundown of who made it onto The Ultimate Fighter 8. There will be two tournaments this season with Lightweights and Light Heavyweights. From the looks of the cast, it is solid. One fighter I have heard a lot about is Light Heavyweight Ryan Bader. He trains at the same camp with Ultimate Fighter 7 finalist CB Dolloway. He's supposed to be very talented. It's always difficult to pick who will come out of these shows. MMA fights are mostly about style match-ups and the wrong pairing can doom a good fighter.

The first episode premieres Wednesday September 17 at 11:00 pm (eastern). It will follow UFC Fight Night 15.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

08/17/08 News

  • Don Frye lost to Ikuhisa Minowa. Still has best mustache in MMA and possibly the world.
  • Does Patrick Cote have a plan? Yes. Will the plan work? No.
  • Dan Lauzon rumored to fight Chris Horodecki at Affliction "Day of Reckoning".
  • After almost going blind from a Brock Lesnar right hand, Heath Herring plans on pursuing acting. Fighters have gotta get this acting thing out of their heads. You are not The Rock. There will never be a family comedy starring Heath Herring opposite a sweet sassy 9 year old girl.

Weight Class Movement in Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing

I have received a strange amount of emails about moving up in weight the last couple weeks. The UFC must be doing a good job of marketing because this weight class fever traces straight back to them. Before June no one in MMA cared much about weight class movement. It was an oddity in MMA and showed no signs of changing. Then the UFC went crazy when Affliction appeared and scheduled a show on short notice with their top fighter Anderson Silva moving up a weight class. Fans were hooked on the idea.

BJ Penn is known to be a rebel of sorts. Seeing how much the fans took to Anderson Silva's weight class jump, Penn began pushing for a jump of his own to Welterweight to face Georges St-Pierre. In the weeks leading up to UFC 87, the possible Penn weight jump got more attention than St-Pierre's opponent, Jon Fitch. This has led to fans speculating on who will be the next to move up or down. Weight class movement is rare in MMA and it is possible this fever will pass as a fad. Fans are seeing it for the first time and interested simply because it is some thing relatively new. It is also possible we are entering a new phase for the growth of MMA. A phase that will push it to resemble it's ugly brother boxing.

Boxing is a mature sport. It has spent decades growing into what it is today. On the other hand, MMA is in its infancy. In twenty years it could be a completely different sport than it is today. The things happening now in low numbers may become the norms decades from now. Weight class movement is a likely future change.

Boxers begin at a young age. It is almost unheard of for a man in his early 20s to become a good or better professional. The sport is not designed to work like that. It grabs kids and teenagers and sets the fundamentals into their minds. It also begins while they are still growing physically. A skinny 15 year old will become a different boxer when his body fills out at 23. This is one reason weight class movement is ingrained in boxing. As you get older, you move up in weight classes until you stop growing.

MMA is different. It is a young sport and does not have as many kids and teenagers practicing for future professional careers. Think of it this way - when the top fighters of today were 14 years old, MMA did not even exist yet. Most were training by then in different MMA disciplines, but none were doing it with the expressed interest in fighting one day as a Mixed Martial Artist. They also were not exposed to MMA fights in their late teenage years. We never saw a 17 year old Chuck Liddell fighting in the Octagon as a lightweight.

The sport is changing now, though. Teenagers are beginning to dream about careers as MMA fighters and gyms are opening to train them. Five years from now it could be a common to see a 19 year old break in to the UFC at a lower weight class, before moving up as his body matures. It might even become the norm.

Another reason weight class movement is more common in boxing is because boxing has a limited supply of contenders. Boxing has more weight classes. The abundance of them waters down the talent in each. Think of it this way - in baseball, basketball, football, hockey the teams had more quality players decades ago because there were less teams. In boxing there are a ton of weight classes, so you rarely will have a time when several top boxers are in the same class. The lack of deep talent forces boxers to move up to face better opponents.

MMA does not have this issue. A low number of weight classes keeps fighters within them. First, the quality of opponents is very high. Unless you are a dominant champion like Anderson Silva, you will not need to find better opponents at a higher weight class. The other reason movement is low is because the weight classes are farther away in weight. If a UFC Middleweight wants to move to Light Heavyweight, they face a 20 lbs weight difference. A boxer moving up a class usually faces less than a 10 lbs difference. For any one who has cut weight or gained weight knows, that is a huge difference. In the coming years it is possible MMA will install more weight classes, which will make it easier for fighters to move up. The UFC is strongly against additional weight classes, but we all know how fast Dana White's mind can change. If they see an opportunity to make additional money with more weight classes, the UFC will adopt the new system.

The last reason weight class movement is different in boxing and MMA concerns training. Boxers train as individuals. It is rare for a boxing champion to train with other top fighters, even in different weight classes. MMA is completely the opposite. There is a team concept to MMA training. Every where you look top fighters train with other top fighters. It is not that they have to because of monetary reasons. Most top MMA fighters have enough money to hire a training staff and train on their own. They do not do it because it goes against the prevailing wisdom that you need other good fighters in your training camp. The amount of good MMA fighters remains low even with the boom of the last few years. Finding suitable sparring partners is difficult because if they are good, they are probably professional fighters. Boxing does not have this problem. It forces MMA fighters to band together and make each other better fighters. In the end it forges bonds, which stops fighters from moving up into a training partners weight class. Anderson Silva would be a top Light Heavyweight. He refuses to because his training partner Lyoto Machida is a contender at 205 lbs. It is possible the team training concept will hold on in MMA. It is also possible that with more training centers opening, it will allow more weight class movement because the concentration of fighters will not be as high. There will be a greater pool of gyms that spread out the fighters.

We are entering a fascinating time in the life of a sport. A diehard baseball fan would give any thing to be there when it started and see how things developed. As MMA fans, we have that opportunity and I am thankful for it.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Other Sites Taking Without Giving Credit

A bunch of readers emailed me to tell me about other sites posting this video and not mentioning I had it first. It's about as I'd expect. The reason I started a site was because I was tired of reading sites that were afraid to tell the truth. They are afraid to say what they feel about fighters because it might upset them and they won't grant interviews (as if fighter interviews are ever interesting). They are afraid to post what they really want because it might upset advertisers. They are afraid of other sites and refuse to post their exclusive content.

So it does not surprise me other sites would take some thing from here and not give the site any credit. That is how the game is played between MMA sites. Giving the fans the best news is not the first priority. It is all about getting the most visitors and capitalizing on ads and sponsors.

I know others are tired of it too, because every day more readers show up here and keep coming back.

Exclusive Clip of New Nike Commercial Starring Kimbo Slice

Nike is getting ready to roll out an ad campaign called "Train Like LT". In this clip Kimbo Slice gets some love training with Tomlinson in a back yard. Some MMA fans might be angered by Slice being in a Nike spot because he has not paid his dues yet as a fighter. To a large segment of diehard fans he is seen as a sideshow and not a legitimate Mixed Martial Artist. The fact remains, though, he is extremely recognizable and popular with casual MMA fans. I think we need to put aside our problems with him and just be happy a fighter is being used in a Nike ad. The more big companies like Nike take notice of MMA fighters, the better it is for the sport. It cannot survive as a subculture and needs mainstream popularity.

Quinton Jackson vs Wanderlei Silva at UFC 91

MMABay, a UK based site, is reporting Quinton "Rampage" Jackson will face Wanderlei Silva at UFC 91. I have little idea if MMABay is reliable or not, but it is not the first time I have heard this rumor. When the news of this first started going around a source of mine said the only sticking point is if Rampage is charged with the miscarriage.

On Wednesday, I posted this article detailing the campaign of Wanderlei Silva to get this fight booked. It appears his constant effort has worked and he will get a chance to defeat Rampage for a third time. Jackson is a better fighter than he was in their two previous meetings, however, you have to wonder how his recent troubles will affect him. Even if you do believe the "Energy Drink Defense", he also fired his trainer Juanito Ibarra, who helped resurrect his career.

This match makes sense with the UFC's overall plan for the Light Heavyweight Division. The winner of Jackson/Silva would become the likely challenger to whoever comes out on top of Liddell/Evans vs Griffin. The possibilities of that match could lead to three different rematches - Liddell vs Silva, Liddell vs Jackson, or Griffin vs Jackson. Any of those would draw big PPV numbers, especially if Liddell is involved.

08/16/08 News

  • American Olympic wrestler Dremiel Byers plans on training with Dan Henderson and Team Quest in an effort to become an MMA fighter. It's too bad Alexander Karelin was not around for the MMA boom. He was a tank.
  • A reader (Johnny) sent this link to Heath Herring's entrance music from UFC 87. I still think it sounds like a South Park parody.
  • Andrei Arlovski doing some work to stop dog fighting. Too bad he isn't fighting a Brazilian. They love dog fights and are not afraid to talk about it. Would be a unique angle for a fight.

(I will update this throughout the day. Check back often for more stories.)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Rear Naked Mail

I have been receiving some great emails lately and I wanted to get these answered on here before too many backed up. For those who have emailed me questions or comments, thank you very much. It is not easy starting a site from the ground level, but with dedicated readers like we have here it pushes me to post more because I see people coming to the site 5-10 times a day checking for updates. Even if you don't have a question, send me an email and tell me what you think of the site or the things you would like to see more of. Many of the best ideas come from the readers. All right, enough of that. Time for mail.

You talked up Demian Maia's ground skills a lot. Who are the other best jiu-jitsu guys in MMA? - Rob from Cape May, NJ

I do not view jiu-jitsu in a vacuum. To me you must consider it along with the other ground skills a fighter possesses. Maia's jiu-jitsu works in unison with his ground attacks and grappling moves and that makes him very difficult to deal with on the mat. I think the best at using ground strikes and submissions is Anderson Silva. Fighting him on the ground is probably worse than on your feet because you have to worry about being hit with a strike or getting choked out. Some other guys I consider top jiu-jitsu MMA fighters are BJ Penn, Nick Diaz, Frank Mir, and Antonio Nogueira (Minotauro). All of those fighters use their jiu-jitsu and strikes in combinations, which makes it almost impossible to deal with them on the ground. Another fighter who might make the leap into this category is Jake Shields.

Will Affliction add any more good fights to the October PPV? Tito maybe? - Armand from Bonita, CA

Unfortunately Affliction's second event looks a little weak. It could definitely use another intriguing match-up, but it is unlikely to happen. We are two months away and there is little chance Ortiz would be able to get into shape by then. The latest injury to Belfort could be a blessing in disguise if Jake Shields replaces him. EliteXC and Affliction working together is terrific news for MMA fans. It will serve both organizations well, if they can come to an agreement on how they would work together.

Is St-Pierre actually gonna take time off and push back the fight with BJ? Seems like he is hell bent on fighting in Montreal again and I think that is why he is saying he is tired now. - DFDon from Chandler, AZ

It is a nice conspiracy theory. He might just be tired, though. It is not only the fact he has fought so much this year, it is also the quality of opponents. He is a main event fighter and competing at that level is not easy. Most guys fight 2-3 times a year. Since August 2007, GSP has fought 4 times for a total of 12 rounds. That is a lot of work for fighter going up against the best competition in his weight class. I'd say it is probably a mixture of being tired and not wanting to fight in Vegas in December. He figures he can rest longer and eventually fight in Montreal, which is a win win for him. Even if he does hold out for a Montreal show, it should take place in early 2009.

I hate how everyone praises Randy Couture now. The UFC is not dicking him over in this. He retired! All he had to do is fight two more times and he could have been a free agent and signed to fight Fedor. He didn't want to fight because he went and filmed that piece of garbage movie only loser Couture fans will see. I hope he rots and never fights again. - Nick from Philadelphia

When I first read this it did not occur to me to include it in this post. Then I went back and realized he does bring up a valid point. Couture could have very easily finished out his contract and gone wherever he wanted. They would have been two tough fights (Nogueira and ???). I always thought he got bad advice from the beginning. His legal argument is sketchy and he is going up against a billion dollar company. Good luck with that one.

Anderson Silva vs Patrick Cote? ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ Wake me when it's over. He should be fighting at 205. Put him against any of them and its a crazy match. Cote isn't good. No way his wins get him a title shot. - psnoot3118 from Utica, NY

Silva claims he does not want to go for the Light Heavyweight Title because his good friend and training partner Lyoto Machida is a top contender at 205 lbs. This is some thing which separates MMA from boxing in a big way. In boxing top fighters do not train with other top fighters. It is more of a solitary training atmosphere between the fighter and trainer. In MMA top fighters almost always train with each other. It is the nature of the game and the best way to prepare. There are not enough talented MMA sparring partners at this point in time, so in order to get ready for a fight, you need to practice with other fighters. This could change in the future, if MMA continues to draw large numbers of new fighters each year. The thing you have to remember with the Cote match is Silva has already beaten all the top Middleweights. Cote may not have the pedigree of Dan Henderson or Rich Franklin, but he is a tough fighter who will not be afraid of Silva. Crazy things happen in this sport and it would not shock me if Cote landed a random punch that dropped Silva.

You said Kenny Florian was a smart fighter. Why is he gonna fight someone else before Penn? A loss and he isn't the #1 contender. - dachrach from Toronto

I kind of agree. Florian has done more than enough to warrant a shot at the Lightweight Title. The Penn/GSP fight is just too big to pass up, though. In a way it could work out better for Florian. If he takes another fight and wins, it will make him an even bigger threat. Plus if Penn wins, Florian could be facing the first fighter in UFC history to hold two belts at the same time. That is the opportunity of a lifetime.

Do you think Georges St-Pierre would move to Middleweight later on in his career? His body could take the extra weight I think. It would give him more people to fight because the Welterweights all have lost to him already. Does the UFC not want him there maybe? - Dustin from Greensboro, NC

You have to remember GSP is only 27 years old. He has successfully defended the Welterweight Title once. Jon Fitch took him to a five round decision. Yes, he got pounded, but he still lasted five rounds and in my opinion that should get him a rematch down the line with GSP, if he is still the champion. There is also Thiago Alves, who with a win over Diego Sanchez becomes a title contender. Or how about Carlos Condit making the move to the UFC and locking up with GSP? Jake Shields has said he would like to fight him too. What I'm getting at is GSP still has work to do as a Welterweight. I think a move to Middleweight could happen later, but not in the near future. GSP supporters tend to exaggerate his success and make it seem like he has dominated the Welterweight Division for a decade. Lets see if he can hold the title for a year before we start thinking about a weight change.

Jake Shields Could Replace Vitor Belfort

Rumors are swirling that Jake Shields, the EliteXC Welterweight Champion, will fill in for injured Vitor Belfort and face Matt Lindland at Affliction "Day of Reckoning". Shields usually fights at 170 lbs, but a potential match-up with Lindland would be at 185 lbs. Earlier this week Shields told MMAWeekly he was in negotiations to fight at 185 lbs for an organization other than EliteXC. This would fit into the time line perfectly, because Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio claims he was notified of Belfort's injury on Tuesday.

A potential fight between Lindland and Shields is arguably bigger than the original with Belfort. Shields is considered one of the top young fighters in the sport. For Affliction it would be a major addition to an event that was beginning to look less than spectacular. Shields may not have the name recognition of Tito Ortiz, but he is a much better fighter who could draw the interest of the diehard MMA fans.

Vitor Belfort Out of Affliction "Day of Reckoning"

Things are not looking too good for Affliction's second Pay-Per-View effort, as another high profile fighter has pulled out because of a hand injury. This time it is Vitor Belfort, who was supposed to face Matt Lindland. This leaves Affliction without an opponent for Lindland and in serious danger of losing fan interest for the event. EliteXC found out the hard way how difficult it is to pull off a successful follow-up show without their top talent. It seems Affliction is getting dangerously close to walking the same path.

It remains to be seen how Affliction will handle this, but it could put more pressure on them to sign Tito Ortiz and get him into the ring for the October event. Even if he is not able to fight on the card, announcing his signing would give the injury prone promotion a lift and create some news that does not center around hand injuries.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Rampage's Arraignment Postponed

Quinton "Rampage" Jackson's first court date was supposed to be August 15, however, the Orange Country District Attorney has postponed the arraignment because the case is still under investigation. The spokesperson for the District Attorney's office claimed the case was still under investigation because new evidence was found. She did not provide any details about the new evidence or give a possible date for when the arraignment will take place.

Jackson appeared for the first time in public last week during the promotional lead-up to UFC 87. The UFC even featured him in some events and did not try to keep the former Light Heavyweight Champion out of the spotlight. I speculated in this article that they featured him because they intend to schedule his next fight in the coming weeks. It remains to be seen how the charges will affect Jackson's status as a fighter. If he is charged for second degree fetal homicide, it is possible the long court case could impair his ability to adequately train for a future fight.

The Orange County District Attorney has not stated which charges Jackson will face, but did say it is possible he could face more charges than previously thought. In my opinion the reality of this situation is the District Attorney is trying to determine whether they can prove Jackson is to blame for the miscarriage of Holli Griggs, whose vehicle was struck by Jackson's truck on July 15. A case like that is difficult to prepare and takes extra time. It would also fit in line with the District Attorney's stated reason, "new evidence" because Griggs' miscarriage occurred only two weeks ago.

Thursday Night News

  • Demian Maia hopes to fight again in December.
  • Apparently if you blind a guy by smashing his orbital bone, he will not talk bad about you if you pretend to ride him like a stallion in the final seconds of the fight. Cool, I always wondered about that.
  • "MMA Live" is not coming to ESPN or ESPN2 any time soon.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

MMA Does Not Need WAMMA

I was alerted to check out the WAMMA Rankings by a reader who could not believe how bad they were. Up until this point I have never had the desire to see the rankings because I could really care less who a bunch of no-names rank as the best fighters in the world. Just about every MMA site has their own set of rankings and each is just as meaningless as the next. WAMMA is no different, except they take themselves oh so seriously. So seriously that I can't help but make fun of them.

According to their website, "The WAMMA Ranking Committee is comprised of the most knowledgeable MMA sports/media experts ever assembled". First off, "sports/media experts" is an oxymoron. None of these people are experts. They are MMA fans who think since they write on the internet it makes them experts. Wrong. An expert in MMA would be some one like Randy Couture who has fought for years in the sport. People who watch MMA and write about on websites are not experts. I am one of them, so I should know.

The biggest problem with people like this is since they think they are more important than the rest of the fans, they do things for the sake of themselves, which in the end hurts the sport. For instance, recognizing champions and having a meaningless ranking system. I have no problem with different organizations giving out belts. If Affliction wants to have their own belts, they should because they are a legitimate MMA organization. My problem is when a group of fans get together and want to make themselves important, so they hand out a bunch of meaningless titles. MMA does not need more titles. All they do is confuse things and make the sport more like boxing. Notice how they even chose an acronym like a boxing organization (WBO, IBF, WBA, WBC).

I am sure WAMMA could care less what I have to say about them. I am just a fan after all, while they are experts on the sport. If they were really experts they would know it is things like them that will put an end to MMA's popularity. Once one set of "experts" release belts, you can always count on another set of "experts" coming along and releasing more belts. Next thing you know, Fedor is walking around with five belts and the real fans begin looking for some thing less confusing to watch on TV.

Here is the tricky part about WAMMA, and the thing I need all of you to pay close attention to. WAMMA's members come from popular MMA sites, as I mentioned earlier. Obviously, these members want what is best for WAMMA, so they are going to write propaganda on their sites in an effort to get the fans aligned with them. Do not buy into their crap. It is not meant to make MMA stronger. All they want is for WAMMA to be stronger. For any one that wants to see which sites are partial to WAMMA, scroll down on the rankings page to the list of "experts". You will find some pretty big sites on there that are compromised by their involvement with WAMMA.

Right now their big issue is the UFC does not recognize WAMMA. This is a huge problem for them because the majority of the fighters listed in their rankings are from the UFC. WAMMA needs the UFC. Without them they have no control and they know it, which is why when you see an article about the topic on any of the "expert" sites, it will defend WAMMA and make the UFC into the bad guy. The UFC is not evil. They just do not want a meddlesome group of "experts" telling them who should be fighting for titles. As fans, you should not want these "experts" in the sport either.

Tito Ortiz in Active Negotiations with Affliction

The negotiations between Affliction and Tito Ortiz have started. Tom Atencio confirmed the news today. Ortiz has been outspoken about his high contract demands and Affliction has not given in yet. The big question is whether you pay a fighter for their skills or their drawing power. Ortiz can fill seats for the young promotion and give it increased exposure through his star power. The problem is Affliction will have to be very cautious about who they select as his opponents. The deal will get done because Ortiz does not have other viable options. The UFC will not resign Ortiz to a deal the size he wants. They will only take him back for a low number and there is no way Ortiz will crawl back to them for less pay.

His future is with Affliction and battling against the organization who told him he was no longer a top fighter. What we are seeing right now is classic sports negotiation. There are already limited options for a big name free agent fighter, but Tito's are even more scarce because of his feud with Dana White. Affliction has all the leverage and can wait for Tito to agree to their terms (which will still be a big contract, just not as big as Tito's head). He has little choice and in the coming weeks will become the newest addition to Affliction's expanding roster.