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March, 2008

YAMMA Loses Another One

BD
(“Big Daddy” Goodridge)

If you’re Bob Meyrowitz, at what point do you just throw your hands up and say, “Alright, God didn’t want me to put together a new MMA league; I’m cursed, and my bowl-shaped ring surface is fucking gay.” Because if we were in his shoes, this would be that point.

According to TheFightNetwork, Gary Goodridge’s manager Dave Wallace has announced that Goodridge will not be fighting Eric “Butterbean” Esch in a headlining “Master’s Division” match at YAMMA Pit Fighting’s debut event on April 11th, and has chosen instead to focus on a May 9th fight against Eric Pele at a Maximum Fighting Championship card in Alberta, Canada.

YAMMA 1 has already lost headliner Don Frye, his replacement Patrick Smith (probably), and two undisclosed members of the heavyweight tournament who haven’t been replaced at this point. Of course, YAMMA’s official website still has the same fight card up. Tickets still available!

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Quick Toughness Test…

JDT

Click this link and listen to the song. If you can make it through the whole thing, you have ice-water in your balls.

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Gina ‘Crush’ Carano: Back in the Cage

GC

Good news, Potato Nation: MMA/American Gladiators star Gina Carano will be taking a break from making us cry. EliteXC announced today that Carano has been booked for their May 31st CBS debut, and will face Kaitlin Young, a 4-1 fighter hailing from the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy. Most notably, Young won an eight-woman HooknShoot tournament last November, knocking out three opponents in the same night, all within the first minute of the first round. [Ed. note: Holy fucking shit! Mo chuisle!] So basically, Gina’s gonna want to protect her face.

Also officially announced today is a bout between undefeated brawler Brett Rogers — who most recently knocked out James Thompson at “Street Certified”— and fellow heavyweight John Murphy. Meaning that the tentative main card, at this point, looks like this:

Kimbo vs. TBA (heavyweights)
Robbie Lawler vs. Scott Smith (for middleweight championship belt)
Gina Carano vs. Kaitlin Young (weight limit TBA?)
Phil Baroni vs. Murilo “Ninja” Rua (middleweights)
Brett Rogers vs. John Murphy (heavyweights)

Ooh, feel our goosebumps! The booking of Carano was clutch, as it adds a second mainstream-ish star to the network broadcast. We don’t know how much green Gary Shaw had to promise in order to lure the semi-estranged Carano back into the fold, but if it helps put EliteXC over with a skeptical CBS audience, it’ll be worth it. The only question is, has Crush been getting in enough MMA training between pugel-stick jousts and zip-line rides?

Speaking of which…

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Exclusive Interview: Cutman Jacob “Stitch” Duran


Photo by Roger Williams

If you’ve watched an MMA event in the last decade, chances are you’ve seen Jacob “Stitch” Duran doing his thing — patching up fighters’ faces to give them one more round. The legendary cutman — who has worked thousands of fights in boxing, kickboxing, and mixed martial arts — recently took some time to chat with us about blood, living the cutman life, the worst gash he’s seen, and stitching Dana White’s mouth shut.

CagePotato: When did you decide you wanted to rub vaseline on guys’ faces and fix gashes for a living?
Jacob “Stitch” Duran: Well, it was actually when I saw my first pint of blood coming off of one of my kickboxers. I kinda’ smiled and said, “You know what, man, this is kinda’ freaky, not everybody does this.” I got hooked on it right from the get-go and that was about 1988.

Who taught you the trade?
I studied some of the legendary cutmen that were in the game — in boxing at that point — and tried to emulate some of the techniques they did. Really, I had no pattern. I didn’t know whether what they were doing was right or was wrong. I tried to ask some of the cutmen as I was up-and-coming and for the most part they kinda’ blew me off, “Hey, fuck you. You’ve got to learn just like me. I learned off my master. I’m taking this to my grave.” So I kind of studied on my own, I started asking a lot of questions to the ringside doctors, I read manuals on blood and arteries. For the most part it was on-the-job training.

Because of those things that happened to me, it’s important for those things not to happen to other people. I’m in the process right now of producing a DVD called “Cuts, Cornermen, and Confidence: Giving the Fighter One More Round”. It’s real important. I was going to do it when I was in boxing years ago and when I got mixed up with the UFC, I realized their are so many trainers that want to learn how to properly take care of the fighters. Wrapping their hands, working corners. And I think, as an instructor, I’m qualified to do it. I figured I might as well pass on some of the ideas and work experiences that I’ve gone through, so that these guys don’t have to go through what I went through. For the game to get better, we have to teach the trainers how to take care of the fighters — and give them that one more round.

An instructional DVD is great, because no one can just go to school and get a cutman degree, right?
Exactly. It’s going to be for the layman. It’s designed for the trainers, the fighter, the armchair quarterback — or the weekend warrior, we call them in this sport. Even if you train yourself, at least you can learn how to properly wrap your hands for training. My wife’s birthday is July 7th and I’m committed for it to come out before that, if not on that date.

Who gave you your nickname?
That came from my early years in kickboxing. I worked with this one fighter that got cut. I knew nothing. Really, that was my first experience working on a cut — I had no medications, so I just applied direct pressure on him and covered it up with vaseline. After the fight, I did what every other cutman would do: I put a butterfly on the guy to close up the cut. And he goes, “Hey, you saved me some stitches. Stitch.” So that’s where the name came from. You know what? That’s a pretty nice name. I was coming home from San Jose today and I was at the San Jose Airport, and this young kid was coming by in a TapouT shirt and he said, “Hey, Stitch!” So the name has penetrated to the fans. A lot of people don’t even know my real name!

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K.O. of the Day: Stann vs. Cantwell

Though they’ll be fighting in separate matches tonight, Brian Stann and Steve Cantwell previously faced off at WEC 26 (3/24/07), in a match that was stopped a little too early for Cantwell’s tastes. Check it out below for a preview of what Stann will be bringing to the Rhino in their title fight.

Bonus #1: The end of Doug Marshall’s first WEC title defense against Justin McElfresh, which was stopped at 2:16 of the first round.

Bonus #2: Blas Avena’s 29-second choke-out of Joe Benoit at WEC 30. Avena (2-1) takes on Hiromitsu Miura (8-4) tonight in a middleweight matchup.

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‘Rhino’, Stann Go to War Tonight at WEC 33

DM
(Doug Marshall will be hunting for his third title defense.)

WEC 33 goes down tonight at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas; if you have Versus, you can watch the action live starting at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m PT. Unlike the last two WEC events which featured three title fights each, only the light heavyweight belt is on the line at #33, with champ Doug “Rhino” Marshall — 7-2, and coming off a 55-second tapout victory over Ariel Gandulla at WEC 31 — facing Brian Stann, who has ended all five of his professional fights by first-round TKO. The complete fight card is below:

MAIN CARD
Doug Marshall vs. Brian Stann (light heavyweights)
Chael Sonnen vs. Bryan Baker (middleweights)
Ed Ratcliff vs. Marcus Hicks (lightweights)
Steve Cantwell vs. Tim McKenzie (light heavyweights)
Hiromitsu Miura vs. Blas Avena (middleweights)

UNDERCARD
John Alessio vs. Brock Larson (welterweights)
Sergio Gomez vs. Richard Crunkilton Jr. (lightweights)
Ryan Stonitsch vs. Alex Serdyukov (welterweights)
Chris Manuel vs. Kenji Osawa (bantamweights)
Logan Clark vs. Scott Harper (middleweights)

— BloodyElbow has weigh-in results and photos here.

— MMA Analyst posted (and yes, analyzed) WEC 33′s betting odds yesterday. Unsurprisingly, Chael Sonnen is the night’s biggest favorite, at -355 to Bryan Baker’s +285. Somewhat surprisingly, Doug Marshall is a +130 ‘dog, compared to Brian Stann’s -160 line.

— Websites that care a lot more than we do ran down the matchups here and here.

— While describing Doug Marshall, Sherdog dropped a David Draiman reference without any sort of explanatory clause or link. But I suppose if you’re reading Sherdog you’re already pretty well-versed in nu-metal singers.

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Cox Comes Clean: M-1/Fedor Charade is Over

MC
(“Hey, shit happens, right?”)

Contradicting his earlier claims that M-1 Global’s relationship with Fedor Emelianenko was still A-OK, Monte Cox recently went on Sherdog’s Savage Dog Show to set the record straight: Cox and Sibling Entertainment have parted ways with Emelianenko, and the “M-1″ name is now wholly under control by Emelianenko’s managers. But even though their marquee fighter is gone, the former American faction of M-1 still intends to keep working towards putting on its first MMA show. As Cox told Sherdog:

“The group that formed M-1 Global is still together and we’re going to remain together and put on an MMA event. It won’t be under the name M-1 Global because that is definitely associated with Emelianenko Fedor and the Russians, and we’ve come to an agreement that we’re going to part ways…I am looking at June 14 to do our first show in Chicago…It won’t be the UFC. We don’t have that kind of money to throw away. Now, without Fedor, I expect the show in Chicago to turn a profit.”

Cox also admitted that Emelianenko never signed a contract with M-1 Global; Fedor only signed a letter of intent that prevented him from competing outside of M-1 Global during contract negotiations:

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Believe It Or Not! Butterbean Wants Kimbo; “Iron Ring” A Hit; Shamrock *Not* A Roid-Head & More


(Has anyone seen my bro?)

It’s late on a Tuesday and there’s a few things going on out there, so here’s a novel-like round-up from the day to keep you busy. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll say WTF?!

Butterbean is fighting in the YAMMA debut on April 11th against Gary Goodridge. Exciting, no? But what inquiring minds want to know is what are the Round Mound’s plans after that? Answer: he wants to fight Kimbo! I’m not joking. He said it in an interview with FightHype that posted today. But according to the Bean, Kimbo’s people want no piece of his brand of ferociousness:

“They don’t want to fight me, I hit too hard! Kimbo doesn’t want to fight anybody that can knock him out and I’m the man that can do it. Kimbo doesn’t want to fight anybody that can hit and I can definitely hit.”

Butterbean also says he can take Kimbo’s punches. Sadly, this is a fight that could actually happen and no one — real MMAers, at least — wants to see it. Place your bets now: does Butterbean last longer than Tank Abbott did?

— Speaking of YAMMA, 5oz ‘o Pain is saying that Ricco Rodriguez and Alexey Oleinik will be stepping in as replacements in the 8-dude heavyweight tourney for the outfit’s debut event.

Two unnamed fighters originally slated for YAMMA’s eight-man single-night heavyweight tournament have been scratched from the card for unspecified reasons. However, when contacted by ProElite.com (SamCaplan.ProElite.com), Nick Lembo, the legal counsel for the New Jersey Athletic Control Board, indicated that YAMMA has submitted the names of two potential replacements.

Addict Ricco and Red Devil Club member Oleinik have been reportedly submitted as the fill-ins.

— The ratings for “Iron Ring” are — wait for it — pretty damn solid. Once again, I’m not joking. MMAPayout has the numbers:

Iron Ring was the fourth highest rated series premiere in BET history. Despite an 11:00PM post prime time slot, the program posted a 20% increase in viewers over its lead-in. As a result, BET has moved the series to 10:30PM starting with tonight’s episode. The series will now follow BET’s highest rated series, College Hill.

Who knew the ratings would be this good? Only one way to push it through the roof would be to throw Tyler Perry and his deal with the devil into the mix. Next on tap, there will be three fights in tonight’s installment. No rap war is scheduled. (Props: BloodyElbow)

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Chael Sonnen Strikes Gold


(Sonnen: $250k richer.)

Real Estate hawker Chael Sonnen just picked up 250k. Not for a commission on a house sell, but on a soon-to-be-unveiled clothing line, Nasty Threads. The organization has signed Sonnen as their first sponsored fighter — to the tune of $250,000 for six fights, in a conditional contract. InsideFighting reports:

The money amount, exclusivity, accountability and organization seem to separate this endorsement contract from the typical MMA fighter sponsor deals, according to Sonnen.

“All of the athletes will be exclusive, from the shirts, shorts and hats they wear whereas a lot of guys now a days are like NASCAR drivers [with sponsors all over them],” Sonnen says.

“They are expecting things out of you. You realize that you are working with a professional and that this is a business deal and that does two things for me. One, there is a lot of clarity and a lot of confidence in them and two; I understand that they are expecting things from me. Certain things like I have to be a good person. If you are out in the world being a bad person you lose your contract. Usually that type of thing is exclusive to companies like Nike and more recognized athletes,” Sonnen says.

“Being a bad person?” What does that constitute? Because now my mind is racing and I think I just might be a bad person in Chael Sonnen’s eyes. But in my defense, that old lady could walk her self across the street. Anyway, the irony is not lost on his “bad person” comment since he is reppin’ a company called Nasty Threads.

On the good-humanitarian-side, the company will give some of every buck earned to support Autism.com and research for the condition. Sonnen will also donate 10% of his purses to the Autism cause. Chael believes this type of contract will change how sponsors deal with fighters from here on out. The company is really pushing him, too — he was given the keys to an office at Nasty’s HQ in Lake Oswego (reportedly somewhere in Oregon, but I don’t have an Altas handy).

Amazing for a guy of Sonnen’s level to score this type of deal. I wish we could watch the contract signing, just because…oh, wait, we have the video! Check out Chael Sonnen signing the contract below. Almost certainly made by the amazing team of Fred and smokin’-hot Sharon.

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Baroni To Fight ‘Ninja’ at EliteXC/CBS Debut

PB

He may have gassed four rounds too early in his last fight, but Phil “New York Bad Ass” Baroni apparently did well enough to be offered a main card spot against Murilo “Ninja” Rua at EliteXC’s first CBS “Saturday Night Fights” show on May 31st. The older brother of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Murilo holds a 15-8-1 career record and was briefly EliteXC’s middleweight champion before losing the belt in his first title defense against Robbie Lawler. Coincidentally, Lawler will also be on the “Saturday Night Fights” card, facing Scott Smith in his first match since the Rua fight; he’d previously been inactive due to injuries. Kimbo Slice is still expected to headline the night against an opponent to be named later.

All we can say to Baroni is “good luck.” It’s not going to be easy to develop a pair of lungs by May, and Ninja definitely has the tools to take him out of his round 1 comfort zone. But his booking suggests that EliteXC is looking to stack their first CBS card with big personalities, and if he can stay on the treadmill until May, he might have a shot. Rua’s been knocked out in the first round before; maybe Baroni could make it happen again…

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