Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving News

  • Bellator Fighting Championships has signed highly prized lightweight Eddie Alvarez. This is a solid addition to their proposed lightweight tournament. Before joining Bellator, Alvarez will fight on January 23 for his manager's regional promotion, Extreme Challenge.
  • ProElite has blocked Jake Shields from leaving for now. This is such a terrible situation for the fighters still under contract. Through no fault of their own, ProElite has gone out of business. I had tons of problems with the way EliteXC booked matches, produced events, and generally did just about any thing that involved putting on a MMA show. One thing I never had a problem with was the effort of their fighters. Stop making your fighters sit around and not earn a paycheck simply because you dopes could not run a company. Imagine if General Motors went out of business and they blocked all their former employees from getting new jobs. Sounds ridiculous, right? Welcome to Mixed Martial Arts.
  • Aren't you thankful I didn't have any lame posts today telling you about all the stupid stuff I'm thankful for? Yeah, me too.

UFC 91 PPV Buys

It appears UFC 91 will fall well short of Dana White's prediction of 1.2 million PPV buys. According to some initial reports, it will be in the 750,000-900,000 range. This happens to be almost exactly where I predicted. Despite being lower than White's ridiculous number, it looks like a big success. At a time when few businesses are doing well, the UFC is thriving. If it ends up over 775K buys, it will be the #2 all time UFC PPV behind UFC 66 (Liddell/Ortiz II, 1,050,000 buys).

The other thing this proves is Brock Lesnar is the biggest draw in MMA by far. Randy Couture had a little to do with the numbers, but it is Lesnar who did the most work. His transformation from a pro wrestler into a cage fighter continues to intrigue a large portion of the public. He is Kimbo Slice with much better talent.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Aloha

Arianny Celeste went along for the ride to Hawaii to promote GSP/Penn 2. I'm sure she was very helpful standing around in a bikini and getting men yelled at by their frumpy wives. Click on them for enormous pictures, perverts.


Golden Boy vs Affliction

It looks like I spoke too soon. Golden Boy has officially slapped Affliction in the face. On January 24 the "partners" will go head to head, as Golden Boy will sponsor the Margarito/Mosley fight the same night Affliction's second PPV "Day of Reckoning" takes place. It is shocking to say the least.

While I do not think this will hurt Affliction's PPV buy-rate fatally, I do think it will have some effects. The Margarito/Mosley fight is on HBO. For the segment of people who are fans of MMA and Boxing, this makes their decision pretty easy. I do not see many choosing the PPV when banks are dying daily and GM is a couple months from bankruptcy. Affliction's first PPV only drew 90K or so. If they lose 1,000 viewers because of this, it is substantial.

When these two first joined forces, there was talk of them changing the sport together. The big announcement Affliction's top brass promised never materialized and now two months later they are going head to head. Hopefully it comes out that Todd Beard called De La Hoya a flamer or something. That would make my month.

UFC's Rush to 2009

It is time to get ready for the UFC's final month of 2008. By the end of it, we will have seen nearly 30 fights and two of the four belts on the line. There has never been a month like this in UFC history and there may never be one again. Consider this the kickoff to our coverage.

(RearNakedNews.com will have Live Results for UFC 92. Don't miss any of the action with our live play-by-play and analysis)

Fight for the Troops
12/10/08
Yoshiyuki Yoshida vs Josh Koscheck
Frankie Edgar vs Matt Wiman
Mike Swick vs Jonathan Goulet
Steve Cantwell vs Razak Al-Hassan
Nate Loughran vs Tim Credeur

-The Edgar/Wiman fight is the main event in my eyes.

-Koscheck could go from title contender to gatekeeper in less than two months. That almost beats out his training partner Jon Fitch who went from title contender to unemployed with one phone call.

Ultimate Fighter 8 Finale
12/13/08
Wilson Gouveia vs Jason MacDonald
Kevin Burns vs Anthony Johnson
Lightweight Final
Light Heavyweight Final

-This show badly needs a main event. The Okami/Lister fight at UFC 92 would be my choice.

-I'm hoping the finals are Vinny/Bader and Phillipe/Efrain. It's been a weird season. The quality of the top guys (Phillipe, Vinny, Krzysztof, Bader, Eliot) is better than most casts. The bottom fighters are worse, though. The first round of the Light Heavyweight tournament was an embarrassment. All those guys got destroyed. The Lightweights are mediocre once you get passed Phillipe. You'd think with only 8 fighters from each weight class they could have found a better group top to bottom.

UFC 92
12/27/08
Rashad Evans vs Forrest Griffin (LH Champ)
Frank Mir vs Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (HW Champ)
Quinton Jackson vs Wanderlei Silva
Mike Massenzio vs CB Dolloway
Mustafa Al-Turk vs Cheick Kongo
Dean Lister vs Yushin Okami

-Okami went from possibly fighting Anderson Silva in the main event of UFC 90 to facing Dean Lister in a dark match. The lesson here for young MMA fighters is to be careful with your fists. They are your life and breaking one of them can ruin your future.

-Thank God! I have been praying daily that somehow Matt Hamill vs Reese Andy would not be televised and it must have worked. When the card was first posted, the fight was listed in the #4 spot. Now it is way down at #8, which means I will not rip my eyes during the UFC 92 Live Blog. I think all of the readers of RearNakedNews.com should send a letter of thanks to Dana White.

11/25/08 News

  • Some facts working against Couture/Liddell IV happening in Germany.
  • Wilson Reis will sign with Bellator Fighting Championships. Reis is one of the best young fighters in the sport. If he can develop some solid stand-up, he could be a star. Apparently the WEC offered him a contract, but it was not as lucrative as Bellator's. Too bad. Would have been fun watching Reis potentially fight Faber or Torres.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Couture vs Liddell IV

There have been various reports claiming a Heavyweight fight between Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell is possible for a proposed show in Cologne, Germany on June 13. This one smells funny to me. Thus far the UFC has been reluctant to stage any huge fights out of the United States. By a huge fight, I mean a definite PPV seller like this would be. There have been some good fights, but none were the type that could sell a PPV on its own. Couture/Liddell IV in Vegas is a 600K+ PPV without even knowing who else is on the card.

I'm finding it hard to believe the UFC would essentially waste one of Couture's final fights on a card outside of the USA. Cologne, Germany is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Time. There is virtually no way *(see note below)* you could hold a live event that matches up well with viewers in the States and have the fighters/fans in the arena at a reasonable hour. This is a PPV killer. You are talking tens of millions in lost revenue. There would still be people who buy it, but the numbers would take a significant hit. It does not seem logical to me for the UFC to throw away all that money.

The explanation being thrown around for having the fight in Germany is absolutely ridiculous. Apparently it is because Randy Couture speaks German and would do well promoting it. Gimme a break. It's not like the UFC would need to promote much to sell out a show in Germany. I'm sure Randy has a helluva German accent, but it is not worth losing millions of dollars over.

My theory behind this story is the UFC planted it with the Euro press. The first time it was seen was in The Sun, which does not have the best track record for predicting future MMA bouts. A source within the UFC probably told The Sun they were considering the bout for the Cologne event and then the reporter ran with it. It's a good way to get Euro fans excited about the UFC coming to their town. In fact, I bet the same tactic was used about a week ago when all those false Anderson Silva vs Chuck Liddell rumors began to fly...Guess where they originated from? Yup, The Sun.

**The best scenario I could come up with for a possible Live Cologne event would be a 12am start in Germany for the main card. This would mean the PPV kicks off at 6pm ET. The problem is you'd have two aging fighters heading to the cage at 3am. There are also curfew laws to consider and it still would not be an ideal start time in the States. Seems like a lot of things to worry about when you could very simply have the fight in Las Vegas and make a ton more money.**

Shaping Up

On February 7, the UFC will hold Fight Night 17 at The Palms in Las Vegas. Two featured bouts are are already close to being finalized. Amir Sadollah and Nick Catone were originally scheduled to fight at UFC 91 until Sadollah came down with a leg infection. Their fight has been rescheduled for February 7. Another former Ultimate Fighter winner will also be on the card. Mac Danzig will face Josh Neer. Both fighters are coming off decisions losses and need a win to stay relevant.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Affliction Still A Mess

Affliction's "partnership" with Golden Boy has been a disaster. They began with the misguided premise that MMA fans were craving boxing matches at their events. Thankfully the idiotic plan was dropped before it went into action. There was also the thought that maybe Golden Boy could use their relationship with HBO to get Affliction onto the channel. That has not panned out, either. Now comes the news that Golden Boy was planning on having Antonio Margarito face Shane Mosley on January 24, which happens to be the date of Affliction's second PPV "Day of Reckoning". The only thing that stopped it was Margarito's failure to sign the agreement in time.

How does something like this happen? It makes me wonder how much of a partnership really exists between the two. You would think that if they were actually working together, Golden Boy would have known January 24 was a bad date to hold a rival event, especially since they were so convinced about MMA fans also being boxing fanatics. My guess is Golden Boy and Affliction have about as much contact as me and Angelina Jolie do.

With their growing list of fighters and events, Golden Boy is stretched thin. Holding Affliction's hand while they get their act together is not a top priority. If I was Golden Boy, I'd do the same thing. Affliction is a mess. They can't even put out a statement without contradicting themselves multiple times. It's like they ran out of money and never thought to hire a PR guy. Instead we're stuck with Tom Atencio, who is about as reliable as a girlfriend with a coke habit.

Strikeforce "Destruction" Results

With EliteXC gone, I've started watching a lot more Strikeforce. They have carved out a nice little niche for themselves and could be ready to take a step up in 2009. I know all the talk has been about Gina Carano signing with the WEC, but I'd rather see her fight for Strikeforce. She would make a great addition and help take Strikeforce to the next level. Something about Carano fighting in the WEC bothers me. It seems like a slap in the face and I hope she does not consider it.

Luke Stewart vs Joe Riggs
-Riggs Wins by 2nd Round TKO
Kim Couture vs Lina Kvokov
-Couture Wins by 1st Round TKO
Yves Edwards vs Duane Ludwig
-Ludwig Wins by Unanimous Decision
Renato Sobral vs Bobby Southworth (LH Champ)
-Sobral Wins by TKO Due to Cut
Terry Martin vs Scott Smith
-Smith Wins by 1st Round TKO

Friday, November 21, 2008

11/21/08 News

  • Josh Hendricks has been cut by the UFC. I guess getting knocked out by a jiu-jitsu expert is a bad career move for a fighter.
  • The WEC will make its first trip to San Diego on January 25. Urijah Faber, Carlos Condit, and Jamie Varner will all be on the card for WEC 38.
  • I missed this, but apparently no one told Fabricio Werdum he was cut.

Good Cop, Bad Cop

Well, the Jon Fitch fiasco ended with a whimper. For a little while it seemed like a revolution was on the brim of the glass. Instead it is business as usual for the UFC. The way Fitch ended up signing the lifetime agreement shows the world once again that no one negotiates better than the UFC. Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta played the perfect game of Good Cop, Bad Cop. They are MMA's version of Riggs and Murtaugh from "Lethal Weapon". White, the crazy man who can't keep his mouth shut and is likely to do just about any thing. And Lorenzo, the logical partner who swoops in at the last possible moment to remedy the situation.

Many fans disagree with the UFC's tactics. Some make comparisons to other sports and how much better the athletes are treated. I do not think the comparisons hold any water. The UFC is simply a team operating within the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. Some teams give athletes higher salaries and cater to their every need (Washington Redskins and Affliction). Others take a hard line and refuse to budge (New England Patriots and UFC). If the tactics were so bad, more fighters would leave the UFC to seek employment elsewhere. The reason it does not happen is because the UFC remains the best place for a fighter to make a living. Until that changes, expect more fighters to keep their mouths shut and walk the company line.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Yikes

The UFC 90 PPV numbers are in and Dana White is not gonna be pleased.. It only did 300,000 PPV buys. For any one who does not follow this sort of thing, that number is much lower than expected. Since last summer, the UFC has been marketing the hell out of Anderson Silva in an effort to position him as a true headliner. Up until that point Silva had brought in decent PPV numbers (300K-350K average), but nothing spectacular (600K-1M). The bump in buys for UFC 90 never materialized.

The UFC will most likely blame the low number on the crap economy. It is a lie, if they do. The fact remains that Silva still is not seen by the overall public as a must-see fighter. His performance against Patrick Cote will not change their opinions. Lets see if the UFC decides to sacrifice Chuck Liddell in order to put Silva over with the casual viewers. Pairing him with Liddell would assure a large PPV audience and a dominating performance by Silva could transform him into the next big thing.

Koscheck, Velasquez Too?

It does not look like this one will end well. Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports has a long article with lots of comments from Dana White and Jon Fitch. White does not pull any punches. Apparently this has been brewing for a long time between the UFC and the AKA fighters (Fitch, Koscheck, Cain Velasquez plus assorted others who are represented by DeWayne Zinkin and Bob Cook). White did not get into specifics. All he said was he is tired of dealing with fighters who do not want to partner with the UFC. Fitch's comments are much more reserved. He seems a little shocked to me and may not have thought the UFC would really release him.

The fact White is willing to release Fitch, Koscheck, and Velasquez is unreal. As a fan I hate to see stuff like this happen. From a business perspective, I also see the UFC's side to it. Being affiliated with the UFC instantly raises a fighter's stock. It opens doors to opportunities they would never have received fighting for other promotions. In exchange for these opportunities, the UFC expects fighters to sign away certain rights. Fitch claims to have no problem doing that, as long as it is not a lifetime agreement. He wants to be able to make money after his fighting days are over off of his image. White would probably tell him he has ample opportunity to do so through other business ventures thanks in large part to his affiliation with the UFC (opening gyms is the venture I hear most often from him).

This is going to get very ugly. Expect to hear lots of choice words from White in the coming days.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

UFC Cuts Fitch

MMA Mania has the exclusive news that the UFC has cut Jon Fitch because he refused to sign an agreement which would have given the UFC lifetime rights to use his name and likeness in video games. Apparently when Fitch handed in his agreement for the Akihiro Gono fight, the UFC told him about the lifetime rights contract and refused to negotiate. It was either sign it or be cut. Fitch and his representatives chose the latter.

This could get worked out, but as of right now it appears one of the best Welterweight fighters in the world is a free agent. Talk about playing hardball.

Fitch is in a difficult place right now in regards to leverage. He is without a doubt one of the top five Welterweights in Mixed Martial Arts. Fans respect the hell out of him and with some fine tuning he could become a big star down the line. As of right now, though, he is not a headliner. I can definitely see why he would not want to sign over his rights at this point. Two years from now he could be in a position where the UFC would never even ask him for the rights (not all UFC fighters have signed over their image and likeness). The problem is at this point he does not have that kind of leverage. He's stuck in limbo between being a top fighter, but not a PPV draw.

Is This A Porno?


My favorite part is when they introduce the fighters...Georges St-Pierre!!!...Anderson Silva!!!...Heath Herring.

This Won't Work

Bellator Fighting Championships announced their launch today. In the April they will begin airing episodes on ESPN Deportes. The episodes will be two hours long and feature fights and fighter bio pieces. They plan on using tournament structures to crown champions. For any one wondering how an upstart MMA promotion managed to get on ESPN, you should know that most of their executives have strong ties to Disney/ESPN/ABC. This is basically ESPN's attempt at running an MMA promotion. That's all fine and good if they wanna jump into the water. To me it is a good thing to have competition in Mixed Martial Arts. I wish Bellator all the luck in the world, but I think their concept is flawed and won't work.

First, it's gonna be on ESPN Deportes. Most people do not even get this channel. I do not see too many MMA fans adding it just to see a show in Spanish (presumably). The language thing is not the major thing here, either. Even if they did air it in English, I still do not see enough fans getting the channel for it to matter. It also airs on Saturday nights, which means 1-2 nights a month they will face competition with UFC PPVs and other events. It sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Another problem is their tournament concept. I love MMA tournaments when they are done in a single night. Bellator plans on holding them over a period of three months. What happens if a couple upsets happen right off the bat? You're stuck promoting fights between guys most fans do not know. EliteXC and CBS found out this summer what happens when you broadcast a fight card without any name recognition.

The last problem I foresee is the amount of money they plan to give to the fighters - 1st round winners receive $25,000, 2nd round winners get $50,000, and the finals winner receives $275,000. Multiple that out over the four weight class tournaments and they'll be paying out $1.9 million to the winners. Way too much money to be paying out, especially with the economy in the crapper.

Good luck, Bellator. You're gonna need it.

BJ Looks Focused


There are two interesting things about this video:

1. At the 5:45 mark, Dana White is talking about how both fighters have changed for the better since their last meeting. Take a good look at Penn's face when Dana makes the crack about him taking his career seriously and all the people laugh. It's stuff like this that I keep in my mind when I'm sizing up fights. I should have paid more attention to the pre-fight Couture/Lesnar build-up because I would have seen that Couture was busy with a million different things and Lesnar was completely focused on the task at hand. Penn looks like he's ready to rip GSP's head off. Hopefully he can maintain this level of intensity and does not peak too early in his training.

2. At the 6:17 mark, Dana claims GSP will fight Anderson Silva, if he wins. The UFC is no longer messing around. They are embracing their "weight jumping strategy" to its fullest. In this case they have some solid logic behind the decision. GSP has cleared out the Welterweight division. If they can take him away for a bit, maybe some new challengers will emerge.

Fitch vs Gono

MMA Mania claims Jon Fitch will make his return to the Octagon at UFC 94 against Akihiro Gono. It looks like the UFC is giving Fitch a very winnable fight in the hopes he can get back to being a viable title contender. Fitch wins this fight, maybe fights a better opponent in the summer (a rematch with Alves would be nice), then gets a shot at the champion around this time next year. That's the best case scenario for Fitch because as of right now, the Welterweight division is very crowded. You've got GSP/Penn. Then Thiago Alves should have first crack at the Welterweight Title. Kenny Florian has all but assured himself of fighting BJ Penn in the summer. This leaves Fitch in no man's land for the time being, which is why I feel the UFC has given him a less than stellar fight to keep him busy and viable.

Fedor's Sambo Loss


Honestly, if you can make it through this whole video, you are a better man than me. I got to the 4 minute mark, had a seizure, and woke up an hour later in a puddle of spit.

(Here's another video that appears to have been filmed from somewhere on the sun's surface. I also love the part (1:30ish) when the cameraman tries some avant-garde filming technique and turns the thing sideways.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

11/18/08 News

  • Anderson Silva is not even close to being SI's Sportsman of the Year, despite what Josh Gross says. Defeating Dan Henderson, James Irvin, and Patrick Cote makes him a great fighter. It does not put him any where near the top of the list, though.
  • Jim Ross does not think Brock Lesnar will ever earn the full respect of MMA diehards because he was a pro wrestler. I think he is completely wrong. Lesnar has been largely embraced since his debut against Frank Mir. There were certainly critics along the way, but it was not a large amount by any means. Whenever any fighter comes into MMA with hype surrounding them, fans are suspicious. Lesnar's former job as a pro wrestler was never really the issue. It was just that some fans felt like Dana White and the UFC was shoving an inexperienced fighter down their throats. They wanted to see him prove his worth before proclaiming him an MMA God.
  • Lyoto Machida and Thiago Silva will fight at UFC 94 on January 31. Their fight was originally scheduled for UFC 89, but Silva was injured. A lot of people think Machida has the inside track for a title shot, if he defeats Silva. Some how I do not think he will end up with the next shot after the Griffin/Evans bout. The winner of Wanderlei Silva and Quinton Jackson will be hard to pass up as a suitable opponent for whoever is the Light Heavyweight Champion after UFC 92. This is especially true if Jackson wins and Griffin retains the title. Machida might be the best pound for pound fighter in the world, but he lacks drawing power at the gate and on PPV. Personally, I want to see Griffin and Jackson fight again. I'm a big fan of series and it's about time a new Light Heavyweight feud began.

Monday, November 17, 2008

UFC 91 Final Thoughts

-Following Brock Lesnar's win over Heath Herring, I wrote this article about his surprising striking ability. His win over Randy Couture proved my point. I'm not sure if it is the fear of the takedown, his enormous fists, natural instincts, or whatever else you want to name. All I know is the guy is the best Heavyweight striker in the UFC.

-Randy Couture should stay at Heavyweight. I think it would be a mistake to move down to Light Heavyweight. If he moves down, you are basically throwing away the possibility of a future rematch with Brock Lesnar. His next bout should be against the loser of the Mir/Nogueira fight. He was not destroyed by Lesnar or even overpowered. He got caught by a punch that even Lesnar could not identify. The UFC should give him one last chance. Keeping him at Heavyweight gives the division validity and opens up more possible matches in the future. Every fight does not have to be a superbout like UFC 91. Couture/Mir or Couture/Nogueira are both suitable main events for 95% of the UFC's PPVs. And imagine the build-up for Randy Couture's final fight if it is a rematch against Brock Lesnar (who has now also defeated Mir/Nogueira) for the UFC Heavyweight Title. You'd get your million buys for that one. I'm sure of that much.

-The other thing about Couture moving down to Light Heavyweight is he'd be paired up with Chuck Liddell. I do not see the logic in the fight. Whoever loses is pretty much finished as a credible contender. You could also keep this fight out there as a final bout for Couture if he lost to Mir/Nogueira. In Couture's final fight in the sport he takes on Chuck Liddell. Now that is drama at its best.

-That tapping noise you heard at the end of the Florian/Stevenson fight was the "Gatekeeper" knocking on Joe's door.

-Looks like the UFC has woke up and realized no one cares about the proposed UK vs US edition of The Ultimate Fighter. Thank God.

-Joe Rogan demonstrated his worth in the announcing booth with his jiu-jitsu analysis. While I give him a hard time for talking too much, which is true, he does a great job of explaining jiu-jitsu to normal folks. Saturday night gave him ample opportunity with Demain Maia and Dustin Hazelett putting on clinics.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The New King

Brock Lesnar is the UFC Heavyweight Champion. He took some of Randy Couture's best shots and never blinked. He is a true champion in every sense of the word. It does not matter how many fights he has fought. He beat a legend on the sport's biggest stage with a crowd who wanted nothing more than to see him fail. From now on things might be a little different for Lesnar with the fans. He is no longer a pro wrestler trying to be an Ultimate Fighter, and the fans should give him a lot more respect.

Early on in the fight it did not appear like Lesnar would be successful. Couture repeatedly drove Lesnar into the cage and was controlling the pace. He landed a stinging right and seemed comfortable. Lesnar did not panic. Following the punch he took Couture down and controlled the rest of the round. Randy Couture said he wanted to see how Lesnar responded to getting hit in the mouth. It turns out he can take a punch as well give one out.

The 2nd Round began poorly for Couture. He was hit with an elbow that rocked him for a couple seconds. He worked through it by wrestling Lesnar into the cage. Couture showcased his world class wrestling again and again in this fight. He dealt with Lesnar's size about as well as you can. In the end it was a giant fist that dethroned him. For the third consecutive fight, Lesnar knocked down his opponent with a strike. This was not the highlight right hand that dropped Heath Herring. He missed Couture's jaw, but connected with the temple. Once he went down, it was over. He dropped onto Couture's side and rained down hammer fists until the referee stopped the fight.

It was certainly not a dominating victory by any standard. Lesnar caught him with a punch that landed in a perfect spot. It happens in MMA. Eventually it will even happen to Lesnar. Not on this night, though.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

UFC 91 Live Results

Live Blog and PPV have started

UFC 91 Preview and Predictions

PRELIMINARY CARD
Ryan Thomas vs Matt Brown
-Brown Wins by 2nd Round Submission
Mark Bocek vs Alvin Robinson
-Bocek Wins by 3rd Round Submission
Jeremy Stephens vs Rafael Dos Anjos
-Stephens Wins by 3rd Round TKO
Jorge Gurgel vs Aaron Riley
-Aaron Riley Wins by Unanimous Decision

-UFC has just informed the media they will do a live gate of at least $4.8 million tonight. That's pretty good considering the trouble they had selling tickets. It should end up being one of the top five live gates in UFC history.

-Goldberg and Rogan doing their usual introduction. Rogan's word of the night for Couture seems to be "crafty". Lets set the over/under at 4.5 mentions.

Nate Quarry vs Demian Maia
-Wanderlei Silva is in Maia's corner for the fight.
-Rogan just talked for two minutes straight without a break. He's like a runaway garbage truck when he gets going.

Round 1
Maia presses the action right away. He goes for a takedown and quickly falls backwards and pulls guard. Brief scramble and Maia is now on top in full mount. Wow. Has Quarry's back now and a body triangle hooked in. Peppering him with short punches to the head. Maia is taking his time and working for a rear naked choke. He has it. Fight's over. Maia Wins by 1st Round Submission (Rear Naked Choke).

-He's incredible. Quarry never had a chance.

Josh Hendricks vs Gabriel Gonzaga
-Gonzaga comes out to "Mother" by Danzig. I always said this would be my theme music if I was a closer in the Major Leagues. Even with the great choice, I still think Gonzaga is overrated. Put him in with a real opponent and he falls apart.
-Gonzaga has a two inch reach advantage.
-Condom Depot featured prominently on Gonzaga's banner.

Round 1
A series of clinches early with Gonzaga throwing knees to the body and head. More clinches and more knees. Hendricks looks sloppy. He's coming in hard. Gonzaga lands a knee followed by a right that drops Hendricks. He throws two punches from the top and Maz steps in. Gonzaga Wins by 1st Round TKO.

-Hendricks was out of his element.

-After the fight Rogan says, "This has got to move you one step closer to the title." He then goes on to talk about the title a dozen more times. I told you this would happen. Gonzaga beats a mediocre fighter and all of a sudden he's dominant again.

-Gonzaga tries his best to speak English. His pick for the main event? "The Randy".

-GSP cageside looking slick as always.

-Replaying the Matt Brown fight from the Preliminary Card. Should be back to live action in fifteen minutes.

-Back to live.

Dustin Hazelett vs Tamdan McCrory
-Hazelett sporting a terrible beard. I think it's a leftover from Halloween.
-Hazelett is three inches shorter, but has a one inch reach advantage.
Round 1
McCrory comes out with a whirlwind of punches. Probably only landed 2-3. It looked cool, though. Hazelett connects with a kick. A bomb lands for Hazelett. He snapped McCrory's head back with that one. Nice recovery by McCrory. Fight goes down to the ground. Hazelett quickly going for an omoplata. He has McCrory's arm trapped. Hazelett stretches the arm out and bends it the wrong way. That looked brutal. Hazelett Wins by 1st Round Submission (Arm Bar).

-Looks like Maia won't get Submission of the Night. Hazelett's rubber guard is excellent. He gets right into it and looks for submissions the entire time. I wish more fighters would be offensive on the ground, instead of worrying about position all the time.

-Replaying the Jeremy Stephens fight from the Preliminary Card. Stephens ended it with a huge uppercut. The best word to describe it is "cartoonish". You definitely want to watch this one at some point. I hope they got a clear picture of it connecting.

-Rogan talking with 50 Cent. He sounds like a boxer with brain damage.

Joe Stevenson vs Kenny Florian
-Stevenson comes out first to "Wanksta" by 50 Cent.
-I hope we get some good DellaGrotte comments between rounds.

Round 1
Florian flying around the ring on the balls of his feet. He lunges forward and hits Stevenson in the head with a knee. Stevenson pushes him into the cage. Stevenson went for a big slam and Florian grabbed the cage on the way down. Referee warns him. Florian works himself loose and they are back on their feet. A partial head kick lands for Florian. He follows it up with a takedown, very forceful. He works quickly and has a full mount. Raining down punches. Stevenson is in trouble. He rolls and gives up his back. Florian going for a choke, but can't get it yet. He keeps working and now sinks in the rear naked choke. Stevenson holds on for a little, but eventually taps. Florian Wins by 1st Round Submission (Rear Naked Choke).

-Florian is a machine at this point. He never looks in trouble, even when he is.

-Florian says after the fight that he wants BJ Penn's belt. He says, "BJ you are a master. It's time to kill the master."

Brock Lesnar vs Randy Couture (HW Champ)
-Lesnar comes out to "Enter Sandman" and a mixed reaction from the fans. A lot of boos.
-Honestly, Lesnar looks stiff. Either he's got tunnel vision or he's nervous. I can't tell.
-Couture walks out to "Back in the Saddle" by Aerosmith with a huge smile on his face. Fans going nuts. He looks totally at ease with the magnitude of this fight.
-Buffer's introduction of Couture was longer than Apollo Creed's in Rocky I.

Round 1
Tie-up to start things. Couture drives Lesnar into the cage. Both men holding for position. Lesnar throwing knees to the body. Lesnar reverses it and drives Couture into the cage. On the break Couture lands a big right hand. Fans chanting "R-A-N-D-Y!". Lesnar goes for a takedown. Couture defends partially, but he keeps working and gets him down. Lesnar on top for a little. Couture working and he gets out. He reverses it and Lesnar almost goes down. Lesnar snaps him back down and is on top again. Couture works out of it and is back to his feet. He only took a few punches while under Lesnar. They tie-up and Couture drives him back and throws some knees. Round ends in a tie-up with Couture going for takedowns.
Lesnar 10-9

Round 2
A big shot lands for Lesnar at the start. Couture's legs buckled slightly from the elbow. He regroups and ties Lesnar up. Drives him into the cage again. Lesnar throws a big knee and connects with Couture's head. Couture counters with a right. Lesnar is cut above the right eye. Not too bad yet. He wipes the blood off and moves forward. Both throw and land partial shots. Another tie-up and Couture drives him back again. A knee by Lesnar lands. A right hand lands on Couture's temple. He goes down and Lesnar is on top throwing vicious hammer fists. Couture trying desperately to grab his wrist. He gets a hold for a second, but Lesnar breaks free and continues throwing. Referee steps in. Brock Lesnar Wins by 2nd Round TKO.

-Kind of an odd stoppage. Couture was in worse trouble ten seconds before the stoppage. I don't think Couture would have gotten out, but still an odd time to step in.

-After the fight Lesnar is very humble. Says he has tons of respect for Couture.

-Couture, "That's just a big son of a bitch."

-Rogan kept bringing up retirement. He was forcing it into every thing. Couture seems like he'll definitely be back. He made no mention of calling it quits. It's not like he got dominated. He actually was doing well until Lesnar hit him in the temple. The odd part is Couture sort of ducked the punch and it still ended up hitting him in a bad spot.

UFC 91 Preview

UFC 91 looks more like a boxing PPV than the typical UFC offering. A huge main event and a series of lesser fights is a recipe I hope the UFC throws out after this one. Anyway, my record going into UFC 91 is 41-16, which works out to 71.9%. Hopefully I can keep the momentum going with another strong night.

(CLICK HERE FOR LIVE RESULTS)


Dustin Hazelett vs Tamdan McCrory
I think there should be a rule in MMA that no one 6 feet tall or over can compete below Middleweight. Lanky fighters bore the hell out of me. They always look like they're trying to pull one over on the other fights. Like they found a loophole in the rules and want to exploit it. Meanwhile the "Reach Advantage" strategy almost never works against quality opponents. That's all I'm gonna say about this one. Hazelett wins by Unanimous Decision.

Nate Quarry vs Demian Maia
Another impressive win by Maia could propel him into a title contention fight next time out. He's won "Submission of the Night" in all three of his UFC fights. The thing that impresses me with Maia is how he controls the fights. Even on his feet, where you would expect him to be uncomfortable, he finds ways to move the action where he wants it. He strikes enough to make his opponents think about it. This is the key attribute that makes him different than all of the other jiu-jitsu guys who have failed in MMA. In order for Quarry to win, he needs to overwhelm Maia. Push his cardio early by making him defend. Work his body and legs, so his transitions on the ground will be a split second slower. The only way Quarry gets through without being on the ground is if he catches Maia with a random punch early. For Maia the blueprint remains the same. Get Quarry to the ground by whatever means necessary. In most cases the simplest plans tend to work out best. For that reason, I am going with Maia by 1st Round Submission (and another Submission of the Night bonus).

Josh Hendricks vs Gabriel Gonzaga
Gonzaga is one of the most overrated fighters in the sport. He caught Mirko Cro Cop with a once in a lifetime head kick and that's about it. Couture dominated him. Werdum TKO'd him. He is a UFC marketing creation at its finest. If he was fighting any sort of real competition, I'd bet my life he'd lose. Hendricks, though, is less than stellar. I've heard more than a few people talking about all of the wins Hendricks has by submission. Well, that's a bit misleading. Four of them were submissions by strikes and they were not against the best of competition. The other submissions were mostly rear naked chokes over no one worth mentioning. We are probably in for a lot of holding in this one until Gonzaga can get it to the ground. He has the clear advantage on the mat and will make short work of Hendricks. Gonzaga takes it with a 2nd Round Submission. Probably a rear naked choke once Hendricks tires out. Rogan and Goldberg will make a huge deal over Gonzaga and immediately start talking about him as a Heavyweight contender.

Joe Stevenson vs Kenny Florian
This is a not a good match-up for Stevenson. When I examine fights, the first thing I think about is how can each fighter win. For Florian I could see him winning by strikes, submission, or decision. The only scenario I see for Stevenson is a decision victory. His striking and submissions just are not on the same level as Florian's. If he intends to bully Florian with his wrestling skills, he's going to eat a lot of punches coming in. Stevenson does have the edge in wrestling and strength. However, to use it he must get inside. Roger Huerta found out how difficult that can be the hard way. He ate punches for three rounds and never established much of a wrestling advantage. Stevenson faces the same problem. Unless he can somehow hurt Florian with a strike first, I do not see him controlling things with his superior wrestling skills. It's going to be a frustrating fight for Stevenson. Florian Wins by Unanimous Decision.

Brock Lesnar vs Randy Couture (HW Champ)
I did not want to pick a winner in this fight until I saw the weigh-ins. Most of the time weigh-ins are anti-climatic. The Heavyweight division is different, though. Since most fighters are under the 265 lbs limit, it allows for a degree of strategy to come into play. When Randy Couture fought Tim Sylvia, he weighed in at 222.5 lbs. His next fight against Gonzaga, he was 228.5 lbs. A year later against Lesnar, he's at 220 lbs. When I saw this it hit me instantly...Couture is planning on using the Rocky III defense.

In the third installment, Rocky Balboa faces Clubber Lang, who is portrayed as a physical beast with incomparable power. Lang is the perfect villain to the likeable Rocky. He's mean, scary looking, and has a tendency to verbally bash people. Sound like any one we know? On the flip side we have Rocky. He is the ultimate underdog, who has become champion at an older age than most fighters. After he loses to Lang in the first fight, his former rival Apollo Creed convinces Rocky to train with him for a rematch with Lang. Creed is convinced the only way Rocky can beat Lang is if he sheds some weight and becomes a quicker fighter. Thanks to some dramatic beach racing, Rocky loses the weight and shows up in fantastic shape for the fight with Lang. He then goes on to tire Lang out and defeat him in the 3rd Round.

I think Couture plans on using the Rocky III strategy to defeat Lesnar. He is essentially conceding the power game and instead focusing on conditioning and speed. A five round MMA fight at the highest level of the sport is grueling. Couture plans on running Lesnar until he breaks from exhaustion. When I was watching the Countdown show for UFC 91, the portion on the first Vitor Belfort fight was particularly interesting. At the time Couture was seen as an aging fighter facing a younger stud who possessed freakish athletic ability. Of course Couture shocks everyone and wins. The important part is how he won. On the show he explained his strategy, which was basically to take Belfort deep into the fight and test his conditioning. It worked exactly as planned. Belfort ran out of gas and the legend of Randy Couture was born. He's going to attempt the same thing with Lesnar. How will Lesnar's 275+ pound frame respond deep into the 4th Round? Will he suck it up and push through? Or will he fade like Belfort?

Now lets look at Lesnar's path to victory. He's the bigger fighter and judges will expect him to put Couture on his back. Once there, he needs to keep him down. If the fight goes to a decision and Couture and Lesnar each took each other down once per round, Couture will get the decision easily. His takedowns are worth much more to a subjective judge. Lesnar has to not only beat one of the best fighters in the sport's history, he also has to contend with judges who expect the giant to impose his will on the ground. This is a big reason why I think it will be tough for Lesnar to win a decision. People are expecting dominance from him. If Couture can simply survive, he has a good chance of taking it.

This brings up another problem for Lesnar - finishing the fight. In his two UFC bouts, he has failed to finish stunned opponents. Some may argue that the Mir fight should have been stopped. I agree, however, Mir was not hurt as bad as it seemed. Lesnar caught him off guard then landed a bunch of "pretty" strikes that never hit directly. His second fight featured the same issue. He could not finish Herring, despite having multiple opportunities to do so. The reason why he has had difficulties is because he lacks a submission game. When he hurts an opponent, the only way for him to finish it is with strikes on the ground. Veteran fighters like Mir and Herring know how to cover up and avoid heavy shots. As long as the referee isn't quick with the trigger, Couture should be fine if he gets stunned. Lesnar is more than happy to control things with wrestling, rather than go for a flurry and a TKO, especially after the Mir debacle.

While I do not think this will live up to the hype of being the "Biggest Fight in MMA History", it will be pretty damn entertaining. The unknown factor is higher in this one than any fight I can remember. An unproven phenom taking on a mid 40s champion who hasn't fought in over a year. Either way the outcome will be intriguing. I think Lesnar faces the bigger obstacles and at this point in his career, I can't back him over a proven legend like Randy Couture. I'm not willing to put my life on it, but I think Couture takes a Unanimous Decision. Lesnar gains the respect of 99% of the MMA fans with a gutsy performance.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Live Results for UFC 91

Just a reminder that Rear Naked News will have Live Results for UFC 91 this Saturday night. Don't miss any of the action with our Live Coverage of all the fights as they happen.

The Preview and Predictions will be posted Saturday afternoon.

CLICK HERE FOR LIVE RESULTS

Affliction Needs Help

When Dana White first referred to Affliction as "the t-shirt guys", I felt like he was understating their potential as a competing MMA promotion. It seemed like another example of "Promoter Dana" talking out of his ass to put down a UFC rival. Months later I am beginning to see his side of it.

The latest example of Affliction's lack of professionalism comes by way of a request for a restraining order filed by Kim Couture against Affliction President Todd Beard. The initial problem between Affliction and the Coutures began when they asked for proper accountings for the Xtreme Couture clothing line, which Affliction operates. Since then Beard has taken the low road and used every opportunity possible to badmouth Randy and Kim in public. It's all sour grapes because Randy did not sign with Affliction.

In the request she claims, "Not only has Beard refused to cooperate, but instead, he has resorted to a series of threats and acts intended to intimidate me and otherwise coerce me to ‘back off’ on my insistence that he and his company give proper accountings."

Her request for financial information about the Xtreme Couture clothing line is not unreasonable. Beard responded like a teenage girl who got into a fight with a friend then posted a bunch of insults about her on MySpace. It's low class and not the way you would expect the President of Affliction or any large company to act. If Beard wants to be "Dana White Lite", he needs to learn how to play the game. The MMA audience accepts White's outbursts because most of the time he is right. If he was verbally attacking and threatening Kim Couture, we would turn on him. There is a huge difference between being an ass and a dick. Tom Atencio better get Beard an anatomy lesson before he runs Affliction into the ground.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

UFC 91 Expectations

When the main event for UFC 91 was announced, most felt it had a realistic chance of breaking the all-time UFC PPV record of just over a million buys for UFC 66. Forecasts are not as bright any more. The event has been plagued by slow ticket sales (partly thanks to the enormous prices the UFC set) and now low ratings for its Countdown show. Some have blamed the economy, which promptly went into the gutter a couple weeks after Dana White announced the "biggest fight in MMA history" between Randy Couture and Brock Lesnar would headline UFC 91. Never one to be bashful, White has repeatedly said this PPV will break records. I'm starting to have my doubts.

The first problem is the card is not strong from top to bottom. MMA fans have become accustomed to the UFC's biggest events having 3-4 solid fights. While I'm interested in seeing Demian Maia take on Nate Quarry, I don't think it registers as a must-see for most people. If you are buying UFC 91, it is for the main event. That is a tough sell in this economy, especially when the last UFC PPV ended with the Silva/Cote fiasco.

The UFC's upcoming PPVs in December and January also make it more difficult to sell UFC 91 as a one of a kind event. When fans look ahead a month and a half and see a much better card for UFC 92, they immediately look less favorably on UFC 91. If you can only see two PPVs in the next three months, UFC 92 and 94 are the best choices. They have big fights, along with solid undercards, which means they can overcome a main event that does not live up to the hype. UFC 91 does not have this luxury and it is causing many fans to question the purchase.

It will be interesting to see where UFC 91 ends up ranking. My guess is between 700,000 to 800,000 PPV buys. This would make it the biggest draw of the year thus far, but well below the initial expectation of over a million buys.

(Rear Naked News will have UFC 91 Live Results this Saturday night. Do not miss any of the action with our exciting Live Coverage.)

Affliction Wants Arona

GracieMag.com is reporting that Affliction is interested in former Pride superstar Ricardo Arona. He has not been seen in a ring since April of 2007 when he lost to Rameau Sokoudjou at Pride 34. Since then Arona has taken time off to assess his career. For any one who does not know much about Arona, he is a beast. With the proper motivation, he could be a top five Light Heavyweight. Hopefully Affliction makes a move and signs him, because I'd be a lot more excited for their second PPV if Arona was on the card.

AX'd

The UFC has cut ties with Fabricio Werdum and Jason Lambert. Many expected Lambert to get his walking papers after he lost his third consecutive bout at UFC 88 in September, but Werdum's exit comes as a bit of a surprise. Five months ago he was being considered as a contender for the Heavyweight title. Then Randy Couture came back and Brock Lesnar's stock rose significantly following his win over Heath Herring. Werdum was put on the back burner and given a fight with UFC newcomer Junior Dos Santos. We all know how that one turned out.

The report indicates the UFC offered Werdum a chance to stay with the company, if he agreed to a pay cut. He did not and now he is looking for a new employer like a lot of other people in the United States. It is not a great time to be a free agent. The UFC and Affliction are biding their time until the status of EliteXC's former fighters is cleared up. There is also that whole economic downturn thing going on. Werdum's best option might be to go to Japan. For comedy's sake, I hope he signs with Affliction and they match him up with Tim Sylvia.

Grasping for Straws

According to Tatame, Paulo Filho will make the move to Light Heavyweight when he enters the UFC. Some might see this as a logical move for a fighter who had major issues making the limit at Middleweight. I think it is a clear case of a desperate fighter. Filho had tons of momentum going into the second fight with Chael Sonnen. He was the classic case of a fighter who is a name instead of a competitor. Fans knew the name Paulo Filho and built it into some thing great. Meanwhile, the actual competitor was no where near world class status. In addition to being overrated, Filho suffers from mental problems and did not have a solid camp around him.

His move to Light Heavyweight is a cop out. He does not want to keep himself in top condition. He would rather eat what he wants and compete at 205 lbs. Filho is 5'8, and that is being generous. His reach is poor for a Middleweight. Sonnen is not known for being a devastating striker and he stood on the outside all night picking him apart. Imagine what the bigger fighters at 205 lbs will do to him. In my opinion, he's not even a top ten UFC Light Heavyweight. The move is a mistake and it will hurt his career.

The other issue I see is the vindictive nature of the UFC. They are not quick to forgive fighters who they feel wronged them. Showing up seven pounds overweight when you are one of the main draws at an event is like wiping your ass on Dana White's head. I'd be very surprised if Filho gets an easy welcome to the UFC. They will likely put him into the cage with a difficult opponent (how about Luis Cane?) to test his meddle and see if he can overcome the odds.

It is too bad because Filho was expected to make major waves in the UFC as a Middleweight. Watching him fight as a 205 pound meatball just won't be the same.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Modest Proposal

Chris Leben's steroid suspension got me thinking about how the UFC deals with banned substances. Overall they do an adequate job of testing and their suspensions are stern compared to other sports. However, I think there is room for improvement. Here is my proposal for regulating banned substances.

1. Random testing throughout the year.
-Instead of only testing fighters when they fight, there should be an independent organization monitoring fighters throughout the year. Most banned substances work in a cycle format. Meaning you take the substance for a period of time, stop, then begin again at a later date. This leads fighters to delude themselves into thinking they can get away with it because they are not actively taking the banned substances when the fights and tests occur. Random testing throughout the year would help solve this problem. Fighters would be less likely to take a cycle of steroids two months from a fight if they had to worry about a random test popping up at any time.

2. Educate the trainers.
-The amount of MMA trainers setting up shop across the United States is shocking. Three years ago a gym would direct you to their techno kickboxing class if you asked about MMA training. Now we have Mixed Martial Arts training centers opening up like McDonald's restaurants every where you look. There needs to be an effort to make sure all these new trainers are included in the education effort. I think the trainers should even be the focus. Educate them about the banned substances, alternatives, signs a fighter is using, etc. They are the ones who are working closely with the fighters each day. There is a better chance fighters will listen to the message if it comes from their trainers.

3. Fine trainers with multiple offenses.
-If fighters from a particular training center repeatedly test positive for banned substances, the head trainers should be fined along with the fighters. When you agree to train a fighter, it is your responsibility to keep them healthy. Actively or passively participating in the training of a fighter on a banned substance should have a consequence.

4. Change the weigh-in rules.
-This might seem odd to include on the list, but give me a minute and you'll understand. One of the reasons fighters use banned substances is to lose weight. Stanozolol, the steroid Chris Leben was suspended for taking, is an example of a banned substance used to cut weight. This is not limited to steroids, as diuretics are often used as well. A way to subvert this problem is to change the weigh-in procedures and rules. If a fighter weighs in over their weight limit, they should have a larger window to lose the excess weight. Forcing fighters to go to extreme measures to lose those last few pounds is not good for the fighter or the sport. In the end the fights suffer. I'm not going to sit here and act like I know exactly how much time should be given. All I know is it needs to be increased, so fighters can do it safely without burning themselves out for the following night's event.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

WEC Shocker

No matter what you think of WEC, you gotta admit last night's event was entertaining in a strange way. It was like with each passing fight things kept getting weirder. By the time Urijah Faber lost, I was half expecting Kimbo Slice to come sailing into the ring with a propeller strapped to his butt. It was that kind of a night.

To start things off, Jens Pulver had his head removed from his body by Leonard Garcia. My favorite moment of the night came after Pulver got hit with the first big shot and his head spun around like a cartoon character seeing stars. For a second, I thought Pulver was acting in the hopes of drawing Garcia in, but that was not the case. It was an impressive win for Garcia, who many doubted coming into the fight. For Pulver it is another indication that his time in the spotlight is over. He just does not have the speed and athleticism to keep up with the younger fighters any more.

Next up was Filho/Sonnen II. No one knew what to expect in this one since Filho missed weight and it was no longer a title fight. Filho did his best Anderson Silva imitation and refused to throw strikes for much of the fight. He was sidetracked by some one at ringside, who he kept talking to during the fight. Sonnen was completely confused by Filho's actions and spend most of the fight throwing jabs. In the end, Sonnen scored a unanimous decision and Filho went from being crazy to nuts. A couple of days ago it seemed certain the Brazilian would be a force at 185 lbs in the UFC. After his performance last night, he might not even make it to a main card until he proves to Dana White that he has his head back on straight.

The main event began how you would expect it to. Faber bounced around the cage and appeared in control of the action. Then he went for an elbow and got caught with a huge right by Mike Brown. From there it was only a matter of time before the referee stopped the fight. Faber's aggressiveness finally caught up to him. Even the great Urijah Faber is susceptible to a strike when he is off-balanced.

Actually, "Off-Balanced" would make a good name for this event.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Filho Is A Dope

Paulo Filho was not happy with Chris Leben for getting all the negative headlines, so he decided to show up for weigh-ins seven pounds over the 185 lbs weight limit. Officials gave him two hours to lose the weight before a final weigh-in, but he only managed to lose three pounds, which left him at 189 lbs. It was an unfortunate setback for the WEC, Filho, and of course his opponent Chael Sonnen. The fight was originally scheduled to be five rounds for Filho's WEC Middleweight Title. Since he did not make weight, it will now be a three round non-title fight.

Filho is no stranger to controversy. In March he pulled out of a scheduled fight with Sonnen because of chemical dependence and depression. He went to rehab and claimed he was doing well. Now it appears there is still some thing wrong with Filho. One side effect of anti-depression drugs that a lot of people experience is weight gain. It is possible Filho did every thing in his power to reach the limit, but the medication was too large of an obstacle. Of course another option is Filho is again hooked on some thing and did not train to the best of his ability. At this point it is not possible to know the truth. All we really do know is any one who bet on Filho better hurry up and cancel their original wager.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Leben Is A Dope

Chris Leben has been fined and suspended after testing positive for steroids. The drug flagged was Stanozolol, which is more commonly known as Winstrol. It is an anabolic steroid that is widely used for cutting weight. In 2003, Tim Sylvia was suspended for six months and stripped of the UFC Heavyweight Title for Stanozolol use. He returned to action with the UFC nine months later and fought for his relinquished title, so the odds are good that Leben will fight for the promotion in the future. Leben must forfeit a third of his purse for the Bisping fight and sit out nine months. In the build-up for his latest fight, the UFC marketed Leben as a changed man. He had given up drinking, moved to Hawaii to train, and claimed to be in a better place mentally. Unfortunately for Leben and the UFC, he made a terrible choice and got caught.

For Mixed Martial Arts, steroids are becoming a major problem. The testing procedures are adequate, but it is time for the promotions to take a more active role and stress prevention. Fighters need to be educated about the list of banned substances and their dangers. I'd even go as far to say that an independent testing agency should be brought in to randomly test fighters throughout the year. Any one who tests positive faces a suspension. It's time MMA got serious about steroids and the other banned substances before it gets out of control.

EliteXC Still A Joke

Even in death, EliteXC is a complete joke. Sam Caplan explains the situation well. ProElite contacted some of their contracted fighters and told them the company still planned on promoting MMA events in 2009. The problem? They fired 90% of their staff, including all their promoters and matchmakers. The move is an obvious stunt by ProElite to make money selling off their contracted fighters to any one with a checkbook. As I've posted before, CBS pretty much owns the contracts at this point because ProElite never paid back a loan. A "clever" attorney for ProElite probably came up with this latest rouse as a way to save some face. If they pretend to be a promotion company for a couple months, maybe some one will buy a few contracts from them. EliteXC should have no problem pretending to be an MMA promotion, because that's really all they ever did.

Gomi Chokes

This weekend saw one of the biggest MMA upsets of the year, as the supposed superhuman Takanori Gomi lost a split decision to Sergey Golyaev. To give you an idea of how big of an underdog Golyaev was, he once got choked out by Rich Clementi. On the other hand, Gomi was seen by most as the second best Lightweight on the planet, behind BJ Penn. The loss is especially stinging for World Victory Road, who planned on staging a Lightweight Title fight between Gomi and the winner of their Lightweight Grand Prix (Satoru Kitaoka) some time in early 2009. A title fight featuring Golyaev vs Kitaoka just doesn't have as much steam.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

11/01/08 News

  • There will be a WEC PPV in 2009. I still think some type of cross-promotion with the UFC makes the most sense. Get a couple good draws from the UFC and have them take on WEC fighters. Faber vs a top five UFC Lightweight, Condit vs a top five UFC Welterweight, and fill the rest of the card with WEC fighters. Since Faber is fighting at Lightweight, you won't have to worry about a UFC fighter holding a WEC belt. For the Condit fight, I'm sure you could find a UFC Welterweight who would rather have a shot at the WEC title instead of being GSP's whipping boy for the next 2-3 years.