Monday, March 30, 2009

Never Believe A Brazilian

A lot has been made about this cryptic post over at CagePotato. Fightlinker got so carried away, they even charted out the rest of Anderson Silva's MMA career. I have a fundamental problem with the initial report, though. It likely came from the mouth of a Brazilian. The only thing less reliable than a Brazilian is Tom Atencio. I think it's a translation problem between promoters and the fighters. Here is how I think it happens...

Joe Silva leaves a voicemail - "Hey, Demian. It's Joe Silva from the UFC. I wanted to let you know we are exploring different possibilities for your next fight. Maybe Nate Marquardt or even Anderson Silva. I'm not sure when exactly, but UFC 102 in August is a possibility. Good luck, pal! I'll let you know when something is more definite."

Demain Maia talks to groupies - "Maybe Anderson in August."

Groupie talks to CP - "Anderson Silva in August!!!"

Internet goes apeshit.

This isn't to say it won't happen. Logically it kinda makes sense. Following Silva's destruction of Leites, he can either sit out until the latter half of 2009 and wait for Bisping/Henderson or he can take on someone else in late summer then deal with the TUF fallout. Of course that puts Yushin Okami and Nate Marquardt totally out of the picture. My problem is it came from the mouth of a Brazilian and until proven otherwise, I choose to disregard everything they say about potential match-ups.

Hamill vs Vera at UFC 101

Two of my least favorite fighters will do battle at UFC 101 about fifteen minutes from my house. I guess I should look at the bright side - one of them is gonna lose. As of right now, I'll be rooting for Hamill. His post-fight interviews are hilarious. I could watch them on a loop for an entire weekend and never stop laughing. Vera, on the other hand, takes himself way too seriously. It's easy to dislike him.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sylvia/Mercer Moved to Alabama

It's pretty bad when the only place you can stage a fight is Alabama. According to the article, they don't even have a regulatory body. Another thing to consider is the fight will be June 13th, which makes it almost impossible to imagine a scenario where Sylvia could fight on the proposed July 11th Affliction card. Somehow I think Affliction is happy about this. Sylvia's enormous salary and lack of drawing power isn't exactly the deadly promotional combo Affliction (or any MMA company) needs right now. It would be funny if we find out later Affliction lobbied the New Jersey State Athletic Commission to cancel the bout just so they didn't have to put Sylvia on their third card.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Barnett's Advice to Affliction

"Here's my unsolicited comment for those putting Affliction 3 together: There's about nine months left to go in this year. I think I would avoid the UFC 100 head-to-head card." - Josh Barnett

Josh, you need to shut the hell up with your logic and reason. You think you're so smart with big words like "unsolicited" and "avoid". Stick to fighting and let Affliction do what they do best - make idiotic decisions and lose lots of money.

Friday, March 27, 2009

My Quest Might Be Over

My quest to find the ugliest MMA shirt might be over. If I saw someone not named Fedor wearing this shirt, I'd probably have a heart attack and a stroke at the same time from the laughter exploding from my body. The best part is it's on sale for only $59.99!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

That's Called Business

28 seconds from now, you'll understand the title of this post.

Rampage Jackson was apparently out last night and TMZ decided to annoy the hell out of him. I'd never be able to handle this sort of thing. I'd break at least three cameras a week.

Wow, UFC 99 Sucks

With all the excitement over UFC 98 and 100, I did not notice the final card for 99 until today. Lets just say it isn't gonna set any records. The main event of Rich Franklin vs Wanderlei Silva is about as good as it gets, but everything else stinks. Mike Swick vs Ben Saunders as the #2? Three opponents on the fight card who don't even have pictures? I'd expect that out of a regional show in Nashville, not the UFC's debut in Germany.

I guess we have BJ Penn to thank for this. He got all crampy about fighting on a tape delay PPV a million miles from Hawaii and decided to take a vacation. It would have been a decent lineup with his fight against Florian. Hopefully Velasquez/Herring actually gets added.

(It's bad when a one-sided fight featuring Heath Herring makes me hopeful.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sylvia/Mercer Canceled

The New Jersey State Athletic Commission has canceled Tim Sylvia's boxing debut against forty-seven year old Ray Mercer (At what age does the "____ year old" tag begin? It definitely was used on Randy Couture when he was 43, but I can't remember ever hearing it before that. I guess it depends on the context. For instance, it would be a little strange to say, "41 year old receptionist Karen Davis is performing better than ever." But with a 41 year old fighter it would make perfect sense.).

According to MMAWeekly, they did not give a reason. I guess they didn't want to sanction a boxing match between a 6'8 fat guy and a rotting corpse. My original goal was to use a Frankenstein joke in this post, but as I started typing I said to myself, "Wait, who would be the target?"

For all the new readers...Welcome to RearNakedNews. You won't find coverage like this anywhere else.

Mask Tribute Song

Never TAPOUT by Instant Legend

Let me be the first to say, "AAHAHAHA!"

Look, Mask was by all accounts a great dude, but crap like this is pathetic.

(He's got another one about Evan Tanner. I guess this guy fancies himself an MMA Elton John or something.)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Speculation

This Affliction vs UFC 100 business has inspired some genuine interest. Here are some things to think about...

-UFC 100 might not be finished just yet. Would it really be shocking to see another big fight added to the card? We all know how Dana White gets about competition. They already have two five round title fights booked, so it would present some time problems to add a third. More than likely, we won't see Anderson Silva, unless he loses his title to Thales Leites or fights at Light Heavyweight. A better option would be Chuck Liddell vs Keith Jardine. A loss to Rua at UFC 97 would not be too problematic because Jardine is coming off a loss too. Pitting two fighters with their backs against the wall is an old standby for the UFC.

-I'm still having trouble seeing the top Affliction fighters taking a pay cut. What is the upside for them to do it? Do you think the UFC might hold a grudge over that sort of thing? Affliction is done after this Suicide Event and those fighters will need a new employer. Better be careful, guys.

-I've received quite a few emails telling me how this will be the end of the UFC. I think this makes no sense. A hypothetical TV card is not going to drastically affect the PPV buys for UFC 100. The UFC has a pretty loyal PPV audience and you're not gonna suddenly get them to turn on the product when one of the biggest events of the year rolls around. People can simply flip back and forth, if they're really that torn. This isn't to say Affliction would get lousy ratings. As the UFC has shown, there is an enormous audience for counter-PPV programming. I just don't think the two audiences are as directly connected as some think. Meaning the people watching the free stuff usually don't order PPVs anyway.

-Could this all be a ploy to get the UFC worried about July 11th when really the target is June 13th? I'd have a ton of respect for Affliction, if they actually pulled it off. UFC 99 will be in Germany, so it's a tape delay PPV. It makes sense to go after it, but logic and Affliction rarely meet for drinks.

-The other thing I keep coming back to is this is a final advertising opportunity for Affliction's clothing line. They have to produce a third show in some capacity to satisfy contractual obligations to fighters and their "partners". By having it on TV, it saves them some money, especially with promotion. TV channels promote their programming, unless EliteXC is involved. So Affliction gets rid of most of their three fight deals and gets a large TV audience to showcase their brutally ugly t-shirts. That's not a bad deal for a soon to be dead promotion.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Tito Loves His Commentating Work


I love it. He's in a different universe.

Thank God, he is looking for some more commentating gigs. The world needs it. Things are getting way too dark with all this economy crap. We need Tito's lack of verbal fluidity to bring us out of it.

(By the way, did the guy interviewing him start off by calling Tito, "Mr. Horsey"?)

KJ Noons Lost

KJ Noons lost a unanimous decision to James Countryman in his return to boxing. It was not all that close, as Countryman won 58-56, 59-55, and 58-56 (six round fight). Next up for Noons is another boxing match on April 18th against Matt Vanda.

I'm beginning to think Freddie Roach is cursed when it comes to MMA fighters. I'm also beginning to think he will work with anyone affiliated with MMA. All you gotta do is show up at his gym and say, "I took a couple jiu-jitsu lessons in 2004." He's like a Vegas stripper. He'll spread his legs for any MMA fighter who smiles at him.

What I Took From March Badness

After watching Bobby Lashley's smothering win over Jason Guida, the one thing I kept wondering about was Ken Shamrock. I truthfully believe he might have defeated Lashley. He's old, washed up, probably a mummy, but he still knows how to apply a submission hold. Do you think he even has enough brain activity to realize he blew another huge chance?

Think about this...Shamrock cuts his eye then Seth Petruzelli beats Kimbo with a jab. Shamrock gets caught using steroids then Jason Guida survives three rounds of Lashley hugs. He also had a pretty deep guillotine sinked in. It's not crazy to think Shamrock could have won both those fights. If it wasn't for his idiotic behavior, we might be hearing things like, "Shamrock vs Fedor!!!!" right now.

Oh, and Lashley is about two years from being anywhere close to UFC ready. He'd get slaughtered right now.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Affliction Really Is That Dumb

When I posted about the possibility of Affliction's third event going head to head with UFC 100 on July 11, I never took it too seriously. I figured it was a case of someone at Affliction mentioning to Sam Caplan that they were looking into all dates in July. This led Caplan to determined that going up against UFC 100 was a possibility. Well, things just got a bit more interesting.

Now MMAWeekly is reporting the exact same thing with some more details. The biggest is that Fedor and Josh Barnett will be on the card, but not against each other. Apparently this is because the card will on free TV, so they can't afford to pay them to face each other. I don't buy this at all. It's not like their salaries will go down drastically, if they don't face each other. They're still both on the card. It doesn't make sense.

The other odd thing? Tim Sylvia is reportedly going to fight too. Yes, Sylvia and his insane salary will on the card. For a company trying to save money, they sure are going about it in an odd way.

As usual, it's a mess when Affliction is involved.

Friday, March 20, 2009

March Badness Preview

Affliction Nonsense

As usual, it's impossible to get any sort of concrete information out of Affliction. With all their problems, I think one of the biggest has been communication. For whatever reasons, Affliction has not made it a high priority to get information out to the fans. MMA fans are almost totally reliant on the Internet for news about the sport. This makes them very unforgiving because they expect information available immediately. It's not a newspaper reading crowd. Instead of feeding a constant stream of news to Internet sources, Affliction is almost always left standing around. They arrive on the scene after a story breaks and either say, "Yes, it's true" or "No, it's false". This is not a good strategy.

The latest example of Affliction's inability to communicate comes from Ariel Helwani at Versus. He talked with Affliction COO Michael Cohen, who did the usual double-speak routine.

On the possibility of a July 11th card going head to head with UFC 100...."We are exploring several different dates including that July 11th date...I don’t think we are ever looking to go up against the UFC or anyone for that matter."

Does he even realize what he's saying? Later he went on to say, "I'd never strangle an Asian prostitute...Tonight I might go down to the massage parlor and kill a whore."

On Day of Reckoning's PPV buys...."somewhere in the neighborhood 200,000." As Helwani points out, that would make it the most successful non-UFC MMA event ever. Don't you think we would have heard more about the numbers sooner? I mean, it happened in January.

So there's your dose of Affliction nonsense for the day.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mayweather vs UFC 100

Things are getting interesting. On July 11th, UFC 100 will be live on PPV. The card features two title fights and a slew of other notable match-ups. It should break a million PPV buys without too much trouble. Although things might get a little murky if it has to go head to head with the return of Floyd Mayweather Jr., who ESPN claims could come out of retirement as early as July 11.

At this point it is not known whether Mayweather's return would be on HBO or PPV. I guess it depends on the opponent. It would seem unlikely they could get the winner of Ricky Hatton vs Manny Pacquiao on May 2nd to take a fight with Mayweather two months later. The other name floating around is Shane Mosley. It wouldn't be the biggest PPV ever, but it would definitely draw some attention. Anyone else and it's straight to HBO.

Could you imagine if July 11th somehow featured UFC 100 on PPV, Affliction on some TV channel, and Mayweather on HBO? Maybe they can hold all the events in Las Vegas and make Keith Kizer's head explode.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Affliction vs UFC 100

In what might possibly be the dumbest idea since Coke II, Affliction is thinking about going head to head with UFC 100 on July 11. Before I bash the hell out of this thing, let me give you the information. This is all via Sam Caplan at 5 Ounces, so there is definitely a grain of truth to it. Affliction is in preliminary discussions to hold an event on July 11 and broadcast it for free on TV. According to the article they want to "go out with a bang". They also want to get their fighters to agree to reduced salaries for the final show because it will not be on PPV. I'm sure that last part will go over real well.

The obvious questions...

Why would a network agree to a one event deal with a promotion who is going out of business and then place it against UFC 100?

Why would any fighter agree to a reduced salary when they already have a contract in place?

I actually thought Affliction was a serious threat to the UFC?

Now you can see why Dana White referred to them as the "t-shirt guys". They have zero idea how to market and produce an MMA show. Their main goal is to advertise their ugly shirts and that fits right in line with a final event on TV. Get as many eyes on the brand as possible before the whole thing falls apart.

All Refs Have Bad Nights


3:10 is a good time to start. Maybe those tight sweatpants restricted the blood flow to Big John McCarthy's brain and caused him to miss the first five seconds of intense tapping.

Marshall vs Magalhaes at UFC 97

Kind of surprising the UFC would throw this one together at the last minute as a preliminary bout. Both fighters sport some sick jiu-jitsu and it might even turn into a stand-up war. Whenever two guys are great at one particular area, there is always a chance it gets decided with blood. I'd drop the Stann/Soszynski fight to the undercard, if I was in charge. No way does that one deserve a PPV slot and especially not when you have something like this as an alternative.

I'd like to think the UFC is considering this, but I know how much they are on Stann's balls, so it would be a monumental shocker if it was changed.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Fitch Undercard'd Again?

Here is the lineup for UFC 100 so far...

Brock Lesnar vs Frank Mir
Thiago Alves vs Georges St-Pierre
Michael Bisping vs Dan Henderson
Mark Coleman vs Stephan Bonnar
CB Dolloway vs ______
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs Alan Belcher
Jon Jones vs Jake O'Brien

I see almost no way Fitch vs Paulo Thiago makes it close to the main card. It appears Fitch is still suffering the consequences of briefly standing up to the UFC. This doesn't mean I think his fight with Thiago will be a classic or anything. I just think it's slightly more important than anything below Bisping/Henderson. It's also funny how the UFC has stacked the card with guys the company loves like Lesnar, Bonnar, Bisping, Dolloway, and Jones. Fitch will probably feel a little awkward when he's backstage. I imagine Dana White giving all those guys high tens then a two minute stink eye for Fitch.

9 Month Suspension for Karo

The Nevada State Athletic Commission handed Karo Parisyan a nine month suspension and fined $32,000 for testing positive for painkillers. His win over Dong Hyun Kim was also overturned to a "No Contest". I usually try to defend the fighters because it's gotta be insanely tough to get through training without dipping into some type of painkiller, but Karo was on three and one of them happened to be some serious stuff. Maybe he's developed an immunity to painkillers from years of use. Or maybe he's a horse. Either way, he needs to clean his act up.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Affliction in June?

According to the always unreliable Vadim Finkelchtein, Affliction will hold their third event in June. He also shoots down the Fedor/UFC meeting that was supposed to take place. Apparently it was a mistranslation. It sounds like what Fedor really said was, "Yo, let me get done with this three fight Affliction deal in June, then maybe I can negotiate with the UFC." I think it is much more likely Fedor's next stop after the Affliction Death Tour is with DREAM. It's a better fit because his managers can hold DREAM for ransom. With the UFC, Fedor doesn't have as much leverage. The UFC might be better off without Fedor. Wherever he goes, the promotion ends up dying. I suspect Rasputin is involved somehow.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cover Boy Forrest Griffin

Forrest Griffin will be featured on the cover of UFC Undisputed for all US versions. Georges St-Pierre gets the honor for the Canadian covers. Both are solid choices.

I also secured some exclusive footage of Keith Jardine's video game persona, and I must say they nailed it.

Bully Beatdown Trailer



It doesn't look horrible. I'll give it a shot because Mayhem is hilarious and I really want him to be on TV more often.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Train Wreck

Strikeforce has been a roll lately, but I can't say I'm too excited about their announcing team. It will feature some combination of Gus Johnson, Mauro Ranallo, Stephen Quadros, Frank Shamrock, and Pat Miletich. Johnson and Ranallo figure to be in the booth for all the events, with Johnson doing play-by-play and Ranallo making annoying pop culture references from the late 1990s. These two simply do not go well together. Actually, I'm almost positive Ranallo doesn't work in any setting.

How about this combo? Gus Johnson, Frank Shamrock, and Pat Miletich. A play-by-play guy and two fighters. Usually you get a three man booth with a play-by-play, a fighter, and a color guy. I say eliminate the color guy (Ranallo). Miletich and Shamrock are entertaining enough. Obviously there would be 2-3 shows a year when Shamrock is fighting and unable to be in the booth. For those nights, you could replace him with another fighter from the promotion or stick Quadros in there. Even a two man booth with Miletich and Johnson wouldn't be the end of the world from time to time.

So You Wanna Be a Fighter?



In Part 114 of our ongoing series, we get to see what it's like to have your knee drained following major surgery. I've always assumed this was a relatively painless procedure. You hear athletes talk about getting their knee drained and it's like it's not even a blip on their radar. Well, now I know they're just acting tough.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Shamrock on Steroids

This is the craziest day of MMA news ever. BJ Penn files a ridiculous formal complaint asking for GSP to take showers before his future fights. Rampage pulls out of UFC 98 with injuries. Mask dies. And now Ken Shamrock tests positive for steroids.

According to MMAMania, Shamrock tested positive for Norandrosterone, Noretiocholanolone, and Stanozolol. I'm not entirely sure why he needed to take three different steroids to fight Ross Clifton, but he did. Shamrock was fined $2,500 and suspended indefinitely by the California State Athletic Commission. Chances are this will kill his fight with Bobby Lashley at Roy Jones Jr.'s hybrid event "March Badness".

I guess the lesson here is if you're a Mummy, taking three different steroids will allow you to rise from the dead and compete in MMA. Just be careful with the piss test.

Rampage Injured and Out

Rampage Jackson needs surgery to repair torn ligaments in his jaw and will not be able to fight Light Heavyweight Champion Rashad Evans at UFC 98. Lyoto Machida will take his place. Rampage will get first shot at the winner later in 2009.

It almost works out better this way for Rampage. If he defeated Evans at UFC 98, he would have had to fight Machida next. This way he only has to beat one of them. I've never heard of torn ligaments in the jaw. It probably has something to do with carrying around that Charles Barkley head of his. All that weight has gotta put extra strain on his jaw.

Evans/Machida will be a battle of unbeatens in an era of MMA when "everyone loses". Both fighters are comfortable letting their opponents come to them, so a slow first round is almost inevitable. Evans has very quick hands and it'll be interesting to see if he can hit Machida. Honestly, I can't think of anyone who has so far. Will Machida become a different fighter if he gets hit? Will Evans kiss Jardine on the lips before the fight? Lots of questions remain.

Mask From Tapout Is Dead

Mask from Tapout died in a car accident early this morning. Cops think he was racing another driver and lost control of his Ferrari. The other driver was arrested under suspicion of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. There was a woman in the car with Mask. She survived the crash, but is in terrible condition.

Here is a video of the aftermath.

I was never a big fan of Tapout products, but you cannot deny the company's influence on the sport. Their sponsorship has helped many fighters and promotions. Hopefully the other two can hold it together without their de facto leader.

Penn Files Formal Complaint

BJ Penn has filed a formal complaint with the Nevada State Athletic Commission. We all knew this coming, but the details are pretty great. For anyone who isn't into legal wrangling, the idea with a document like this is to shoot very high. It's a negotiation, basically. If you want five apples, you begin by asking for eight. Penn's legal team does not expect to get most of these requests. They probably don't even hope to get any of them. Their goal is simply to keep the pressure on the NSAC to consider the matter seriously.

Highlights
"The aforementioned strategies were intentional and were orchestrated by St-Pierre."
-This is a big one. They are taking aim at St-Pierre, as well as his corner.

"[St-Pierre] ingested a substance that would cause his body to become highly and unnaturally slippery during the bout."
-Little chance this item goes anywhere. The NSAC cannot rule on hypotheticals. Unless there is direct evidence, which there won't be, this is merely an "Apples" item. It should be mentioned it is not uncommon to hear stories of fighters who go to extreme lengths to make their body slippery with baths and by ingesting substances. I'm not saying St-Pierre did it, but it does happen.

He wants the following done: $250,000 fine, Suspension of St-Pierre's license, Suspension of Greg Jackson's license, Suspension of Phil Nurse's license, Fight ruled a "No Contest", and Require St-Pierre to take showers before all his future bouts.
-I bet the last item was added late. It definitely has a BJ Penn, "Oh, hey, add this one more theeeeeng" feel to it.

Keep Celebrating

For some reason, Steve Cofield is trying to defend Matt Hamill's post-fight celebration because he's deaf. I'm not an expert on deafness, but I'm pretty sure it had little to do with Hamill's five minute romp around the cage while Mark Munoz was dying on the mat. If you think about it, his deafness should impede celebrations. He can't hear the fans going nuts. For all he knows, a man eating lion is behind him and everyone is standing and yelling to get his attention.

Our culture as a whole has become way too politically correct about disabilities. Disabled people have the same emotions as the rest of us. Hamill was excited by ending a fight in dramatic fashion. It's not like he squatted over Munoz's face and farted on him. There is nothing to defend and his deafness should not even enter the discussion. Guy got excited like any other winning fighter. I'm glad he showed emotion and I hope he continues to in the future.

Those post-fight speeches are also classic and should be sent to the Smithsonian.

There Will Be Blood

Strikeforce will get the Affliction treatment when they make their 2009 debut on April 11th. UFC 94 will go head to head with it. I guess this means Strikeforce has arrived as a true contender to the UFC's crown. If this is their response to a Showtime card, I'd hate to see what they pull out for a Strikeforce PPV.

Competition is good for the sport as a whole. The UFC really ramped up their events after Affliction debuted last summer. It seemed to light a fire within the promotion and led to stacked PPVs like UFC 92 and 94. Hopefully Strikeforce can continue to make money and remain viable. I'm dubious about Affliction's chances of surviving after their third card, so the MMA world needs a new promotion for Dana White to obsess over.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Toughest Decision Ever

"My boss is Mr. Bernie Profato from Ohio. After that fight we had a quick debriefing next to the cage. He asked me a bunch of questions and I answered all of them. He asked me if I was good to go for the main event and I said, Yes Sir. He has the power to remove me but he didn’t. He could have put in Big Dan. We talked after the event and everything seemed fine.” - Yves Lavigne

Wow, so there was actually a moment when the executive director of the Ohio State Athletic Commission had to decide between Lavigne, who almost got Pete Sell killed, and Dan Miragliotta, who can best be described as the worst referee on the planet? That's like choosing between herpes or genital warts. I'm surprised Bernie Profato didn't have a seizure from the mental strain.

Rampage's Finances

I've heard a lot of reasons why Rampage should or should not take the fight with Evans at UFC 98, but everyone has missed something. If Rampage turns down the fight, he's looking at an extended vacation. The absolute earliest he would get a title shot would probably be in September. This would mean six months off at the very least.

This has nothing to do with cage rust and everything to do with money. Fighters do not get paid a salary. They are paid to fight. Does Rampage want to wait half a year or longer for another lump sum of cash? He also might find himself in a less lucrative position, if Machida wins. Rampage/Evans is a huge bout, which will draw a large PPV audience. UFC 98 also sports a solid card. It's tough to walk away from that sort of thing, especially with the uncertain economy. Maybe six months from now the UFC's deal with the devil expires and the PPV numbers level off. Rampage's decision to wait could end up costing him a lot of money. And in the end, it always comes down to the cash.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Jerk Judges

“One of the judges told me I lost the fight in the last 10 seconds, and that’s pretty hard to take.” - Jardine

Whether the judge was being honest does not concern me. I'm just wondering what type of jerk it takes to go up to a fighter who spent fifteen minutes giving his absolute all and tell him, "I woulda voted for you, if it wasn't for that combo you ate in the last ten seconds. Anyways, better luck next time, pal."?

Jardine deserves a bonus for not decking the idiot. I also do not like the concept of judges speaking with fighters. It opens up too many problems. Judges need to be impartial and it's hard to be that way when you "know" someone.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

UFC 96 Gifs


Griffin vs Machida Makes Sense

Lyoto Machida was a Keith Jardine win away from facing Rashad Evans, but now he's a fighter without a fight (unless Rampage decides he'd like a BJ Penn vacation). The UFC could let him sit on the sidelines while Evans/Jackson pans out. Or, they could give him another fight. Kenny Florian was in a similar situation last year and he ended up fighting Joe Stevenson rather than waiting around for St-Pierre/Penn to happen. I think Machida will end up getting a fight because the UFC still needs to build his brand. Despite his win streak, many fans still consider him something of a mystery. They're not sure if they want to love a guy who fights the way he does.

The solution to this problem is to match him up with Forrest Griffin. It puts Machida into the spotlight and also covers the UFC is he loses. Machida beats Griffin, he wins over fans and is a bigger draw when he fights for the title. Griffin wins, you have a marquee rematch against either Evans or Jackson. It's the best of both worlds.

The Staredown

Mir vs Lesnar at UFC 100

It's been sorted out. Frank Mir will face Brock Lesnar at UFC 100 for the unified Heavyweight Title. Meanwhile, Rashad Evans will put his Light Heavyweight Title on the line against Rampage Jackson (or Machida, if Rampage can't make the quick turnaround) at UFC 98. The announcements were made during the UFC 96 PPV.

I'm glad the UFC did it this way. They really had no choice because they were selling UFC 98 as a major event. You gotta give the fans who already paid high prices for tickets a big time fight. Evans/Jackson definitely is a suitable replacement. There is also some added drama with the intense staredown the two had after the Jardine fight.

The staredown was like watching two drunk guys wrestling. It starts out innocent then a couple minutes later punches are flying. Rampage actually deserves some credit for diffusing the situation. He walked away when he noticed Evans was getting pissed. They were about thirty seconds away from someone pushing the other then a riot would have broken out. It would have been funny to see Bruce Buffer's reaction. I imagine he'd climb over the cage like a gecko then unceremoniously fall to the floor before dusting off his suit and declaring, "I've never felt better!"

Saturday, March 7, 2009

UFC 96 Live Results

Preliminary fights have started. I'll have quick results for all the prelim bouts followed by full play-by-plays for the PPV card.

(If you like the Live Results, please support the sponsors. Without them I wouldn't be able to bring you such high-brow material. Seriously, I need to eat.)

Aaron Riley vs Shane Nelson
-Nelson Wins by 1st Rd TKO (0:44)
-Awful stoppage. Riley was pissed and let the referee hear about it. The fans weren't too happy either.

Brandon Vera vs Michael Patt
-Vera Wins by 2nd Rd TKO (leg kicks)
-Patt was dropped multiple times by leg kicks.

Tim Boetsch vs Jason Brilz
-Brilz Wins by Unanimous Decision
-Nice comeback win for Brilz. He didn't look good in the first, but he took control in the 2nd and 3rd as Boetsch tired.

Kendall Grove vs Jason Day
-Grove Wins by 1st Rd TKO (1:32)
-Day started out well then got caught with a couple of rights.

Tamdan McCrory vs Ryan Madigan
-McCrory Wins by 1st Rd TKO
-Punches and elbows from mount ended it.

Gray Maynard vs Jim Miller
-If Maynard wins this, I'll stop calling him "The Boring".
-Oh no! Miragliotta sighting!

Round 1
Fighters exchange rights to start things. Leg kick by Miller and a tie-up. Miller drives Maynard into the cage. They break free without either getting much of an advantage. Nice combo to the body and head by Maynard. A big straight right lands for Maynard then a couple body shots. Body kick lands for Miller. Miller grabs a leg and goes for takedown. Maynard defends it well and throws some punches while Miller is looking for the takedown. Miller can't get him down. Miller's nose is bleeding. Maynard lands a right. Miller eats a big shot coming in at the end. RNN Scores it 10-9 Maynard.

Round 2
Maynard lands a right. Solid leg kick for Miller. Another leg kick by Miller that was close to being low. A good body combo by Maynard. Another leg kick lands for Miller close to being low. Miller is warned that the next will cost him a point. Maynard lands a solid right. Miller goes for a takedown, pulls guard, but Maynard stands out of it. Right lands for Maynard. Jab by Maynard. Tough round to score. RNN Scores it 10-9 Maynard.

Round 3
Miller lands a left. Maynard comes forward with a combo. Partially blocked, but it looked nice. Straight right by Maynard. Good body kick by Miller. Maynard gets a takedown. Miller grabs a leg. It looked bad for a second, but Maynard stood out of it. Diving right lands for Miller. He goes for takedown. Maynard defending it well. Maynard on top throwing some punches. Back to their feet. Miller chasing. RNN Scores it 10-9 Maynard.

Maynard Wins by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

-Impressive win by Maynard. He kept it standing to avoid Miller's submissions and it worked perfectly. I will never call him "The Boring" ever again.

Matt Hamill vs Mark Munoz
-Munoz dances to the cage like he's in a rap video.
-Hamill enters to "Hang on Sloopy". It's like the state song of Ohio, in case you don't know. Fans chanting during the whole thing. Kind of a cool moment, even though Hamill can't hear any of it.

Round 1
Munoz shoots and Hamill sprawls perfectly. Back to standing. Hamill coming right at him. Munoz shoots for a single. Hamill whips him around and gets out of trouble. Munoz throwing, but mostly everything is getting blocked by Hamill. Hamill pawing forward, starting to throw a little bit harder towards the end of combos. Leg kick by Hamill. Solid right hook lands for Munoz. Hamill lands a right. Holy Crap!!! Hamill knocks him out with an enormous head kick!!! It was out of nowhere. Munoz was out immediately. He's still out, probably dead. Hamill is going nuts, pounding his chest and jumping around the cage.

Hamill Wins by 1st Rd KO

-Interview with Frank Mir about his knee injury. Fight with Lesnar will be July 11 at UFC 100. Rashad Evans will defend the Light Heavyweight Title at UFC 98 against either Rampage or Machida. Good news for all the fans who already bought tickets.

Pete Sell vs Matt Brown
-Brown looks like he just threw up backstage.
-Rogan refers to New Yorker Sell as "The Biggest Accent in MMA".

Round 1
A nice head kick by Brown to open things up. Superman punch by Brown. Head kick by Brown followed by a combo. Sell is hurt. More punches landing for Brown. Referee steps in for a second but then decides to let it keep going. Brown rocks Sell again. He's down and Brown is landing hard punches. Sell gets back to his feet somehow. Brown landing knees from the clinch. This is getting ugly. Brown is yelling at Yves Lavigne to stop it. Brown is very upset. Sell falls down after another head kick and Brown lands a couple more shots before it's finally stopped.

Brown Wins by 1st Round TKO

-That was an odd one. Lavigne literally stepped in then changed his mind. At the end, Brown was hitting Sell then yelling at Lavigne then he'd go back to hitting Sell again.

-Junie Browning shown in the seats with some gross looking chick next to him. Hopefully he doesn't know her.

Gabriel Gonzaga vs Shane Carwin
-Gonzaga enters to "Mother". On the way to the cage, he hits a security guard in the head while attempting to slap a fan's hand.

Round 1
Gonzaga lands a big right hand. Another strike lands. Gonzaga grabs hold and takes Carwin down. Gonzaga working for the pass. Carwin gets back up. A right lands for Gonzaga. Carwin counters with a short right that drops Gonzaga. It's over.

Carwin Wins by 1st Round KO

-Carwin deserves lots of credit for this win. He got hit hard and was in trouble early. Even at the end, he got hit with a right that hurts most fighters. I'm more impressed with his chin than anything else.

Rampage Jackson vs Keith Jardine
-Rashad Evans joins Rogan and Goldberg for the main event. He talks directly into the camera. It's creepy.
-Rampage looks pretty serious walking to the cage.
-According to Evans, Rampage wants to get Jardine to throw so he can counter. That would lead me to believe the gameplan for Jardine would be to make Rampage chase him. Same thing Evans did to Liddell.
-Awesome sign in the stands "The Dean of Mean Will Be Creamed".

Round 1
Early tie-up. Referee breaks them up. Jardine lands a leg kick. Jab by Rampage. Another tie-up. Neither can get the better of the other. Rampage throwing light uppercuts in close. They break free. Jardine lands a right over the top. Rampage partially connects with a right. An uppercut lands for Rampage. A right then a left connects for Rampage. RNN Scores it 10-9 Jackson.

Round 2
Jardine dancing around like a crab to start the second. A leg kick lands for Rampage. Body kick by Jardine. Leg kick by Jardine. A right lands then a big left drops Jardine. Rampage immediately on top throwing bombs. Jardine recovers and gets back up. Rampage gets a very nice takedown. Jardine up quickly. Jardine lands a right. Low blow by Jardine. An uppercit hurts Rampage. Jardine on the attack. He's landing. Rampage is wobbly. He's throwing back and weathers the storm. A left connects for Rampage. Now he's on the attack. Great round. RNN Scores it 10-9 Jackson.

Round 3
Takedown by Rampage, but Jardine gets up without much trouble. Leg kick by Jardine. Another leg kick. Another. Left-right combo by Rampage. A nice right lands for Jardine. Rampage narrowly misses a big left. A left lands for Rampage, as a leg kick lands for Jardine. Rampage lands a solid left. Jardine goes for a takedown, but Rampage defends it. Rampage has him pressed against the cage. Referee breaks them up. A right hand lands for Rampage. Another right and a left hurts Jardine. Jardine comes back with a right. Rampage swats a Jardine punch out of the way then follows it with a right then a big left that drops him with seconds remaining. Jardine holding onto Rampage as the bell sounds. RNN Scores it 10-9 Jackson

Jackson Wins by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

-"I won't call him 'Sardine' no more." - Rampage

-Rampage and Evans have a staredown after the fight. Both talking back and forth. Evans was definitely angry at the end. It almost seemed like he was gonna throw a punch. He was probably just upset about his boyfriend losing.

-That was a surprisingly entertaining fight. It was a slow Round 1, followed by two great rounds. For the first time in the UFC, we saw someone stagger Rampage. Jardine also proved his chin is a lot better than anyone thought. He took some huge shots and kept coming. Gotta give both credit.

UFC 96 Live Results 8pm

CLICK HERE for UFC 96 Live Results

I'll kick off the UFC 96 Live Results around 8pm ET when the preliminary card gets going. For anyone who doesn't know the drill, check out the links below.

UFC 94 Live Results
Day of Reckoning Live Results
UFC 93 Live Results
Fields Dynamite Live Results
UFC 92 Live Results

Here's some more stuff to keep you busy because I'll be watching Deadwood for the next 5 hours.

Best of 2008
MMA Does Not Need WAMMA
Why Hardcore MMA Fans Matter
The Road Less Traveled

UFC 96 Preview

CLICK HERE for UFC 96 Live Results

(My picks are based off of lines from BetUS.com. It's the site I use for all of my online betting. For the latest UFC Odds and other random stuff, head on over and check it out. Don't forget to mention RearNakedNews when you sign up.)

Brandon Vera vs Michael Patt
Vera Wins by TKO and Goldberg makes a ridiculous statement along the lines of, "Look out Light Heavyweights! Brandon Vera is back!"

Gray Maynard vs Jim Miller
As always, I need to start by stating my love of Jim Miller. You should probably disregard everything I say about this fight, because unless Miller is facing BJ Penn, Kenny Florian, Sean Sherk, or Shinya Aoki, I'm picking him without giving it much thought. Anyways, Miller is gonna submit Maynard. I expect to see a typical Maynard gameplan, which involves lots of laying and praying. He will get Miller down and probably steal a round, but his strategy will come back to haunt him when he goes in haphazardly for a takedown and gets stuck in a guillotine. Miller Wins by 2nd Round Submission (Guillotine).

Matt Hamill vs Mark Munoz
Hamill doesn't have much trouble when he doesn't fear standing strikes. He loosens up and lets his hands go. Does Munoz have anything to make Hamill cautious? From the limited footage I've seen, he doesn't. Hamill should be able to trade with him and not worry too much about getting rocked. When he does that, he's a good fighter. This one will either be an exciting stand-up battle or fifteen minutes of hugging near the cage. Either way, I think Hamill Wins by Unanimous Decision.

Matt Brown vs Pete Sell
Brown has not impressed me since his stint on TUF. He's fun to watch, but that's about it. Sell should be able to submit Brown, as long as he doesn't get popped before the fight goes to the ground. Brown does have better chest hair, though. It's a toss-up between Sell's jiu-jitsu and Brown's chest hair. I'm going with Sell by 2nd Round Submission (Rear Naked Choke).

Gabriel Gonzaga vs Shane Carwin
I believe Carwin's legend has grown much larger than his skills. His knockouts are hiding the fact he's still very inexperienced. This fight reminds me of when Ogre faces Chong Li in Bloodsport. You have a relatively inexperienced fighter going up against a lifelong martial artist. While I don't think Carwin will get slaughtered in the cage like Ogre, I do feel like he's overmatched. He's only chance is a quick knockout and I don't like backing fighters with limited options. I'd rather take the proven commodity who happens to be a nasty black belt and built like a gorilla. Gonzaga Wins by 1st Round Submission (Arm Bar).

Quinton Jackson vs Keith Jardine
The public has really bought into Rampage's rebirth. He's so charming, it makes it difficult not to like the guy. In a world of boring athletes who say what they think people wanna hear, Rampage speaks his mind, even if it's often a little crazy. I think that has something to do with his -350 line, which is pretty high. We barely saw a glimpse of Rampage 2.0 at UFC 92 before the fight was over, albeit in spectacular fashion. Physically he did (and does) look in great shape. He seems to be in a better place mentally since his move to Wolfslair. The real test for his new and improved self will be when he has to dig deep in a fight. If Jardine can get through the first five minutes, this fight could get interesting.

I just don't see it happening. The one component Jardine lacks is power. He catches guys off-guard with strikes, but he doesn't have true Light Heavyweight power behind his punches. Rampage should be able to stand in close and deliver his hooks without fear of getting tagged. Get ready to see and hear Rampage howling within three minutes of the opening bell. Jackson Wins by 1st Round TKO.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Mir/Lesnar To Be Rescheduled

Mir claims the fight with Lesnar will be rescheduled. Shane Carwin and Gabriel Gonzaga can put away their boners now.

(How creepy is the guy interviewing Mir? He has the camera presence of a dead sea lion.)

Mir Out of UFC 98

Terrible news from MMAMania...Frank Mir has sustained a knee injury and will not be able to fight Brock Lesnar at UFC 98. Apparently it required "minor" knee surgery. When I wrote about how UFC 98 might cause chaos, I was certainly not thinking it would be this bad. Mir's injury derails the hopes of a unified UFC Heavyweight Title and probably puts Lesnar on the sidelines. The only other possibility would be to book the winner of Gonzaga/Carwin into the UFC 98 main event against Lesnar. The turnaround time is a little tight, though. You would need the winner to emerge without any injuries and even then it's tough.

More likely we will see the Lesnar/Mir bout rescheduled for later this summer and they'll move Evans vs Machida/Jackson to UFC 98. That's my best guess, at least.

UPDATE: MMAWeekly claims the recover time from the surgery will be 4-6 weeks.

Ali Sonoma Won A Bikini Contest

Ali Sonoma, best known for being the girl Diego Sanchez powerhouses in bed, won the Arnold Amateur NPC Bikini Championship. Yup, huge news. And, yup, that picture is ridiculous thanks to her fake tan which makes it look like someone Photoshopped her head onto the body.

Here are better ones.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

UFC to Philly

"I'm not saying no to Pittsburgh, but we're going to Philly this year." - Dana White

With New York still dragging their feet, a UFC show in Philadelphia will be a major event for the company and the area. They have expanded into most US markets, but the North East remains largely untapped. Philadelphia will give them a location which is accessible from multiple states who are all craving attention (PA, NY, NJ, MD, DE). Imagine Brad Pitt walking into a bar full of ugly chicks and you have basically what will happen when the UFC comes to Philly.

Dana Put On Some Weight

Santos vs Not Carano

Strikeforce must be finding it difficult to negotiate with Pepsi Carano because instead of the fight every MMA fan wants to see, they're giving us Cyborg Santos vs Hitomi Akano. I'm sure it will be an exciting fight (anytime Santos fights it is). It just isn't what we really want. It's like getting a pogo stick for Christmas when you asked for a bike.

The latest rumor is Carana will make her Strikeforce debut in May against someone not named Santos. This sounds a lot like the EliteXC "PPV Plan" to me. Rather than putting on the fight everyone wants, they're going to hold it back for a PPV. Personally, I think it's the wrong move. The reason the UFC rose to such heights is because they make their biggest names fight other big names. BJ Penn vs Georges St-Pierre is a perfect example. Even though one of them had to lose, the fight made St-Pierre a bigger star. You gotta take the losses with the wins. Maybe Carano loses and some of her shine wears off, but at the same time you built up Santos. Now she is the clear number one female fighter in the world and you go from there. It's not a bad thing for a wildly popular fighter to lose because the other guy/girl won. Simple as that.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Steroid Nasal Spray

Kirill Sidelnikov claims his positive steroid test came from using Russian nasal spray. His story is he injured his nose while training then used the spray a doctor gave him. The lesson here is you should never listen to a Russian doctor.

Seriously, though, it must be difficult to be a foreign athlete who competes in the United States. Our concepts of drugs and medicine are totally different. Here it's basically illegal to say the word steroid if you're an athlete. Meanwhile in many other countries, the performance enhancing drugs we demonize are actually used for medicinal purposes.

I'm not saying I totally believe him, but I do see how easy it would be to mess up, especially when a doctor prescribes something for an injury.

UFC 98 Might Cause Chaos

I like events which have the possibility to cause chaos. UFC 98 is definitely one of them. The first chaos fight is Yushin Okami vs Dan Miller. Okami is the last guy the UFC wants to fight Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva. They have claimed he was in line for a title shot a thousand times, but that's publicly. Privately they are praying he loses to someone, or at least looks mediocre in a win. If he beats Miller, and he probably will, it will put him a fight away from a title shot. At that point, I expect the UFC to panic and throw Demian Maia at Okami in a last ditch attempt to derail his title hopes. Actually, Maia/Okami would interest me a lot more than Maia vs anyone not named Anderson Silva.

The other chaos fight is Lesnar vs Mir. You could either have Mir vs Couture/Nogueira or Lesnar vs Couture/Nogueira. Which do you think sells more PPVs? If the UFC would have packed the first bout between Lesnar and Couture with a better undercard, it might have done 1.5 million buys. A rematch with Couture coming off a win over Nogueira would be enormous. It would also be within reason to schedule it for December or January, both are known to be the UFC's biggest PPV months. Imagine a card like UFC 92 with Lesnar/Couture II headlining. If Dana White is reading, he just got up to change his pants.

Of course this all hinges on Lesnar defeating Mir, which he failed to do in the first fight. When you watch Mir/Lesnar II, you're actually watching the UFC lay tens of millions of dollars on the line. Mir can change their entire 2009 financial outlook with one arm bar. I'd never be able to run the UFC because I'd probably hit Mir over the head with a steel chair if he tapped Lesnar again. I believe any situation can be remedied with the aid of a foreign object to the head.

(Did Pro Wrestling create the term "foreign object"? I've never heard it anywhere else, although it's kind of a difficult thing to work into everyday conversation, "Oh no!! Darren just pulled a 'foreign object' out of his pants. Wait...sorry. It's just a cell phone." Someone needs to write a thesis on this, I swear.)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Voodoo Defense

"The truth was that Phil put Vaseline on [St. Pierre's] face. We have this little breathing drill that we do. ... And so after he greased him, he went around (to his back) and did that drill. So everybody was like, 'He greased him.' But that couldn't be further from the truth. Phil would never do something like that on purpose." - Greg Jackson

It doesn't matter if it was voodoo or not. If you have Vaseline on your hands, you cannot touch a fighter anywhere but on his face. Nurse touched and rubbed St-Pierre's back, chest, and shoulders. It's against the rules.

I hope the Nevada State Athletic Commission forgets all the nonsense and concentrates on the spirit of the rule, which is to protect fighters. Whether it was intentional or if it prevented BJ Penn from sinking in a triangle really does not matter. We'll never know those things. All we know is a rule was violated repeatedly and the cornermen should be punished.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Bobby Lashley vs Ken Shamrock

For a mummy, Ken Shamrock sure is active. Coming off a pathetic bout against Ross Clifton, Shamrock will next face former WWE superstar Bobby Lashley on March 21st at Roy Jones Jr.'s hybrid Boxing/MMA event "March Badness". Awesome name by the way.

Other than the name, the event sounds awful. Roy Jones Jr. vs Omar Sheika? Even in 2001, that's a tough main event to sell. The promoters probably think Lashley will add some WWE carryover, but I'd bet my life they are wrong. Lashley was never as big of a pro wrestling star as Brock Lesnar, so interest in his MMA career isn't as high. The other reason it will not drum up PPV buys is because pro wrestling fans do not care at all about Jones/Sheika. You have to give them a little something of interest before they'll pay $29.99 to see Lashley break Shamrock in half.

I think hybrid events can work in rare situations. You need a big fight from each sport. This way you draw independently from both fan bases, as well as from the mainstream crowd who wants to see an "event". I still don't believe MMA fans are gonna buy a PPV to see a major boxing match and lesser MMA fights. The event needs a legitimate main event they would want to see on its own. De La Hoya vs Mayweather and Fedor vs Barnett would be a perfect example of a hybrid event that would work. The problem is you would need the event to draw enough money to be split between multiple partners. Does placing those two fights on the same card make the PPV twice as popular? That's the question it comes down to. In my humble opinion, this scenario would work, but most others never will.

Hopefully a horrible event like "March Badness" will open up some eyes and soften the hard-on boxing promoters have for hybrid cards.

(By the way...Wouldn't it be awesome if just as the fight was about to start a giant cage was lowered from the rafters and you heard Jim Ross on the PA system say, "Good God Almighty!! It's Hell in a Cell!!!"? I'd much rather see that.)

Mousasi and Affliction

DreamFighters.com: Do you know where you will be fighting next?

Mousasi: I probably will fight in the next Affliction show.

This would be a major addition to the Affliction roster. He's a legit top five fighter at Middleweight or Light Heavyweight. Mousasi is also a favorite of diehard MMA fans. His presence on an Affliction card would go a long way to gaining the respect of a very important segment of the MMA community. If you can win over the most intense fans, the rest will follow.

Of course this all hangs on Affliction actually having a third show, which Tom Atencio does not sound all too optimistic about in his latest interview.

Brown Clobbers Garcia

I'm not ready to proclaim Mike Brown a stud, but this was a crazy punch. You've probably heard Joe Rogan talk about "fighting in the pocket" before. Leonard Garcia gives a perfect example of how not to fight in the pocket. He came weak, tried to bail, then got crushed with a perfect right hand.