Steroids in MMA
Which MMA Fighter Will Test Positive For Steroids Next?

February, 2008

Ringside Analysis: “New Blood, New Battles”

(Easy come, easy go: Horwich and McGivern)

You’ve already read our blow-by-blow results of IFL’s rock ‘em sock ‘em season opener. Now, Ben Fowlkes gives his insider’s perspective on last night’s action. Read it and learn something.

I already knew Matt Horwich could take a punch, but I didn’t know until last night that he could take so many and remain so unfazed. Ryan McGivern hit Horwich with everything but a Zuffa lawsuit in their five-round fight. It made for a sharp contrast from the wrestling match that erupted the last time these two fought, and it proved that while both have come a long way, McGivern is improving at an almost frightening rate.

That’s not to say it was an easy night for McGivern, even if he did walk away with the title. I saw him backstage and his face had already turned several different colors, though he was so happy I don’t think he noticed. For those who were surprised to see McGivern win with his striking, perhaps this anecdote from Pat Miletich will clear it up.

Miletich said that during the training for this fight, they brought in a pro boxer to go a few rounds sparring with McGivern. After three rounds, the guy was done. McGivern had destroyed his ribs. So then a Muay Thai fighter got in there to help him finish up, but after a couple of rounds he was finished as well. Then, Miletich said, one of his guys “who holds a belt in another organization” got in against McGivern, and he also took a beating. No wonder McGivern is the new champ.


IFL Recap: A Title Switcheroo

(Ryan “The Lion” Schultz G-n-P’s John Gunderson.)

Last night at the Orleans Arena in Vegas, 3,931 fans watched the IFL kick off its 2008 season with three title matches – lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight – in addition to their camp-on-camp battles. Ryan “The Lion” Schultz, who won the lightweight title back in December when he beat the shit out of previously undefeated Chris Horodecki, retained his title by earning a unanimous decision over John Gunderson. “The Lion” claimed recently that Gunderson had been offered this fight many times, but had neglected to take it until now. The champ held a strong position through much of the fight – which was fought on the ground for the most part. Both Schultz and Gunderson had chances to end the fight with a choke early on, but neither could execute it.

Heavyweight Roy “Big Country” Nelson also successfully defended his belt by getting a TKO over Fabiano Scherner at 3:20 in the first round. “Big Country” has been improving his striking and this fight showed that as he unleashed a barrage of rights to get a stoppage.

(“Big Country” has a celebratory seizure.)

One title did switch hands and it happened the night before the ex-champ’s wedding, too. Matt Horwich put his middleweight title on the line against Ryan McGivern, which made for the best fight of the night. Horwich almost ended it via armbar in the second round, but the bell saved McGivern’s ass. Horwich almost went down himself in the fourth when McGivern drilled him with a flurry of strikes, but “The Fighting Hippy” held on. In the end, a unanimous decision gave the middleweight crown over to McGivern, ending a two month run as champ for Horwich. Hope he ices his face for the sake of the wedding pictures – he didn’t grow the mohawk out for nothing.


Separated at Birth: Triplet Edition

Strikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez

American Idol runner-up Justin Guarini

…and Sideshow Bob.


Week in Review: Time to Go to Work

(Rampage, Randy, Hendo, and Trigg at the day job.)

— On the BetUS Radio show, Damon and I debated which news story was bigger: Kimbo Slice on CBS or Spuds McKenzie on the center of the Octagon.

— Bob Sapp defended his crown as the worst pound-for-pound fighter in MMA history.

— Joe Riggs busted his back and played a piss-prank on a paraplegic.

— A simple, innocent video list on illegal knockouts turned into a total fucking fiasco. In retrospect, we should have replaced Huerta/Halvorsen with Herring/Nakao/”I’m not gay.” Commenter Matt Tatt sincerely hoped we die for publishing such an inaccurate feature. Sounds like my last editor!

— Taking a last-minute fight against Jon Fitch at a reduced pay rate? Chris Wilson is crazy like a fox.

— During our UFC 82 preview coverage, we explained why Anderson Silva is still going to be the champion on Sunday morning, wondered if Josh Koscheck’s Octagon days are numbered, and took wild guesses at who’ll be walking around with a little more spending money.

— We saluted MMA’s style pioneers.

Bill Goldberg currently leads Mike Goldberg 62% to 38% in our current poll on which Goldberg should never be allowed near a microphone again.

Don’t forget to watch the IFL’s season opener tonight, and come back here tomorrow night at 10 p.m. for our rip-roarin’ UFC 82 liveblog. Our prediction? PAIN.


CagePotato Talks Out of Own Ass on BetUS Radio; UFC 82 Liveblog Tomorrow Night


EliteXC signs with CBS. The UFC signs with Budwesier. And makes its first appearance on BetUS Radio.

It was a monumental week for MMA, and Damon D had me on the show today to plug the Potato, discuss the week’s wild news, and guide all you gambling addicts through the smart picks at UFC 82. I’d like to thank whoever gave me a cold this week, which left my naturally warm and sonorous voice a nasally, scratchy wreck. I’d also like to thank Sprint for their always crystal-clear cell phone reception. (Honestly, it sounds like I did the show via tin-cans-and-string from the bottom of a coal mine.) And on an unsarcastic note, I want to give a big shout-out to Damon for letting me swing by and talk shit for 40 minutes. The man’s energy…is contagious. Check out BetUS’s official UFC 82 odds here, and GO HERE TO LISTEN TO THE SHOW! You can also find the podcast in the iTunes store; just search for “UFC,” then click “See All” in the Podcasts section. Feedback appreciated!

Also Important: As I mentioned at the end of the show, I’m flying down to Columbus tomorrow to take in the fights, and I’ll have some first-person impressions and exclusives for you by Monday. Liveblogging the action in my place will be TheFightingLife‘s Ben Fowlkes, so be sure to come back here tomorrow night starting at 10pm ET/7pm PT for round-by-round updates. And go easy on him, okay?


“Sometimes You Have to Hit People”: An Exclusive IFL Report


The IFL’s “New Blood – New Battles” season opener goes down tonight at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, with Team Tompkins set to do battle against Mario Sperry’s World Class Fight Center, and Matt Lindland’s Team Quest facing off against Ken Shamrock’s Lions Den. Also, title-holders Ryan Schultz (lightweight), Matt Horwich (middleweight), and Roy Nelson (heavyweight) will defend their belts against John Gunderson, Ryan McGivern, and Fabiano Scherner, respectively. TheFightingLife‘s Ben Fowlkes (who also writes news for has been on the scene since Tuesday and gave us this glimpse into the high-tension among the fighters before the event. Watch the action tonight on HDNet, starting at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT.

Covering the IFL for the past year and a half, here’s one lesson I’ve learned: during any interview with Matt Lindland, he’s going to get mad at me at least once. I can never tell what will cause it; it could be anything. This time it’s Kimbo Slice.

It’s the day before the IFL Las Vegas event and we’re interviewing all the fighters and coaches. It can be monotonous, to say the least. We get just about everyone to weigh in on Kimbo, but as soon as I ask what Lindland thinks of him, the mood of the interview changes.

“He’s a bum,” says Lindland. The look on his face tells me to leave it alone. I ask what he means by that. He glares at me. I bring this on myself. I really do.

“I mean he’s a bum,” he says. “He’s a nobody. What do you want me to say? You asked me what I thought and I told you. I don’t have anything else to say about him.”

The hell of it is, despite how ornery he can be I really like Lindland. I can’t help it. Even when he gives me the look like he’s trying to figure out how one human being ever got to be this stupid, at least I know it’s sincere. You have to respect honesty like that.

Writing about fighters, sometimes honesty is difficult to gauge. Do these two guys really hate each other, I find myself asking, or are they just trying to hype the fight? In the build-up to Friday night’s IFL event, I wondered this about Ian Loveland and Dennis Davis, two former teammates who are slated to go at it.


The Nine Worst Fighting Get-Ups Ever

9. Don Frye

Full pints of 40-year-old ball-sweat have passed through the Predator’s Old Glory nut-huggers. Just seems a little disrespectful, that’s all.

8. Ken Shamrock

Watching Ken sport these old-schoolers transports us to the time we spotted the 80-year-old next door during one of her “spells.” Those are some granny panties we’ll never get out of our mind.

7. Rich Franklin

Half badass, half…pink? He earned the right to get his ass handed to him by Anderson Silva. But he was a hit at the post-fight pride parade.


There Will Be Cash: UFC 82 Bonus Predictions

(Andrei Arlovski could be one paid motherfucker tomorrow.)

Our monthly roundup in which we express fight predictions via the UFC’s customary “Of the Night” payouts. Last time didn’t go so hot, but we have a good feeling about UFC 82. Again, here’s the lineup:

Anderson Silva vs. Dan Henderson
Heath Herring vs. Cheick Kongo
Chris Leben vs. Alessio Sakara
Yushin Okami vs. Evan Tanner
Jon Fitch vs. Chris Wilson

Andrei Arlovski vs. Jake O’Brien
Luke Cummo vs. Luigi Fioravanti
Josh Koscheck vs. Dustin Hazelett
Diego Sanchez vs. David Bielkheden
Jorge Gurgel vs. John Halverson

Fight of the Night: How could it not be Silva vs. Henderson? It’s rare that the Octagon hosts this much combined talent. We see this one going into the championship rounds, with both men pounding the hell out of each other along the way. As you know, we’re leaning toward Silva.

Knockout of the Night: Andrei Arlovski. Other MMA pundits have said that the undefeated O’Brien will grind his way to a lay-and-pray victory, but Arlovski is coming into this fight with the combined rage of 10,000 insulted Soviets, and he’ll be looking to prove that undercards are beneath him. There’s a chance this could be his last fight for the UFC, so putting an exclamation point at the end of his Octagon career would be a priority; we’ll say KO/TKO, round 2. Dark horse: Jon Fitch. His fight against Chris Wilson may look like a mismatch, but Wilson’s ground skills are underrated. Still, we see Fitch putting Wilson out on his feet early.

Submission of the Night: Josh Koscheck. Speaking of mismatches…Koscheck’s recent performances haven’t been awe-inspiring, and he knows he needs a dramatic win against the gift-wrapped Dustin Hazelett, who’s never faced an opponent as skilled as Kos; it’s looking like a first-round armbar. Dark horse: Sanchez over Bielkheden. Same deal as with Koscheck — Bielkheden is being brought in for his UFC debut to build Sanchez’s confidence, and on paper, Sanchez’s ground game scores much higher. But if Ali Sonoma is still fucking with his concentration, we’ll stop short of saying this is a guaranteed win for Nightmare…

See it differently? Let us know in the comments…


IFL Drops ‘Xtreme Couture’ Name From Tonight’s Event

(Tompkins at work.)

The first round of the UFC/Randy Couture legal dust-up was scored 10-9 for the UFC, as Xtreme Couture has asked the IFL to remove their name from tonight’s 2008 season opener (more on that later) due to Randy’s ongoing litigation with the UFC. MMAPayout reports that the camp will instead use the name Team Tompkins, named for Xtreme Couture’s head trainer Shawn Tompkins, who has been coaching the team. Team Tompkins will feature last year’s contenders Chris Horodecki and Benji Radach, and reigning welterweight champion Jay Hieron. According to Joe Favorito, the IFL’s Senior VP of Communications, “The IFL is not in any way involved in this litigation, we are doing this out of professional courtesy for Randy and his group.” According to FightOpinion, judge Jennifer Togliatti ruled for further proceedings in terms of discovery (whatever that means), with the next hearing set for March 6th.

Though this move seems like a major concession to the UFC’s complaint that Couture is promoting other MMA organizations, he still has that “false and injurious statements” thing to deal with, which won’t be as easily solved as a name change. But at least it looks like Couture won’t be stonewalling for stonewalling’s sake; he’s willing to bend on the small stuff in order to free himself from his contract. More on this as it comes…

Previously: Shawn Tompkins Gets Knocked Out Four Times

And also: Inside Xtreme Couture Episode 2


Tito Ortiz: Fired


All things must pass. And so it went with Tito Ortiz, who found himself on the business end of a “y’fiyahd” last night on Celebrity Apprentice. Coerced into leading Team Empresario by Omarosa (who knew the next losing project manager would likely get pink-slipped), Ortiz had to develop a four-page ad spread for Dove Yogurt Bodywash or some shit, with Omarosa, Trace Adkins, and Stephen Baldwin as his associates. Unfortunately, Ortiz was a bit lost on how to approach the challenge, and Baldwin stepped in as the team’s de-facto leader, organizing a photo shoot that saw Trace seducing a hot model in a desert. It turned out surprisingly well, but Ortiz was a shifty, stammering mess when he was called on to present their work to a trio of Dove executives. Here’s one line from his pitch:

“Of course we used Trace, the reason why we used Trace is the demographics that we did have were from ladies ranging from the age of 20, or excuse me, 30 to 59, which, uh, most country folk ladies that would love Trace’s, uh…y’know, kinda push the product exactly.”

And such as. He also pronounced perfect (adj.) as per-FECT, and risque as RISK-ay. In the end, the Dove execs picked Team Hydra’s advertorial, which featured Carol Alt taking a bath and getting bitten, Marv Albert-style, by a male model. Thus, Ortiz was on the chopping block. And though Omarosa was called out for dodging a challenge that fit into her area of expertise (marketing, not washing), and Baldwin was criticized for being an overbearing prick who was directly responsible for their losing concept, the buck stopped at the project manager, and Tito was dunzo.

But Trump was so impressed with Ortiz’s performance on the show that he gave the HBBB $50,000 anyway for his charity. He called Tito “really special” and “the best there is,” which is strange because Ortiz honestly didn’t do that well on the show; he never got a chance to show off his leadership skills or business acumen, and only lasted as long as he did by hiding behind the greater failures of others. It reminded me of that SNL sketch “The Sinatra Group” where Frank Sinatra (Phil Hartman) tells 2 Live Crew’s Luther Campbell (Chris Rock) “you don’t need to work blue, kid, you got talent,” and Rock is like “no, I really don’t.” I wish that video didn’t cut off in the middle so you could actually see what I’m talking about.

“Issue #4: Milli Vanilli, what is this faggot crap?” Classic.