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Iconic Album Covers Replaced With Sloths

April, 2008

B.J. Penn Hits The Road, Matt Hughes Finds Inspiration

Matt Hughes
(A country boy can survive)

Old rivals Matt Hughes and B.J. Penn both find themselves preparing for fights these days, only their paths have diverged significantly. While Penn is getting ready to defend his lightweight title against Sean Sherk, who he has vowed to kill, Hughes is getting ready to play gatekeeper against Thiago Alves at UFC 85 in London.

Hughes isn’t crazy about going “across the pond” for this fight, according to a recent blog entry on Matt-Hughes.com. He’d rather fight in Vegas or the Midwest, but hey, the Limeys deserve to see somebody get slammed every now and then, don’t they? Hughes assures us that he’s hitting the gym hard, but he took some time out to post a “Firearms Refresher Course”. I won’t reprint the whole list, which is long, but here’s a taste:

1. An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.
5. If guns are outlawed, can we use swords?
6. If guns cause crime, then pencils cause misspelled words.
13. 64,999,987 firearms owners killed no one yesterday.
14. Guns only have two enemies; rust and politicians.

You get the idea. Matt Hughes loves guns. The part about the swords had me confused, though. Is he implying that we can’t use swords now? Because if that’s the case, I just wasted the $2,500 I spent on that “Conan the Barbarian” authentic replica sword, and after I paid extra for the overnight shipping, too.

Meanwhile in his island paradise, B.J. Penn is so tired of hearing that he doesn’t have the cardio to last five rounds that he’s actually decided to do a little jogging with some friends. Best quote from this video: “I don’t know, man, looks like I’m going to be ready, Sherk.”

Looks like it? As in, you know, probably going to be ready? That’s not what you want to hear.


Find more videos like this on BJPENN.COM

Props: Bloody Elbow

(BF)

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Jay Hieron Telling It Like It Is

Jay Hieron

Many fighter blogs aren’t that interesting. They’re usually ghostwritten, contain no real insights, and seem half-hearted at best. That said, if you haven’t been reading Jay Hieron’s blog on the Xtreme Couture wordpress site, you have been missing out. The Life & Times of Jay Hieron just hit its fourth installment, and there are some interesting moments. The best part is that you always learn something, but you never know what it will be.

For example, did you know that Randy Couture has a condo in Beverly Hills that he sometimes lets fighters live in when he isn’t using it? Turns out it’s “a sick place”. I’ll bet you also didn’t know that Mike Pyle has notoriously bad gas, or that Jay Hieron has a felony record which has prevented him from getting jobs that aren’t fighting people, or that Xtreme Couture began in the UFC’s “Ultimate Fighter” gym, which Randy Couture and Forrest Griffin had keys to and which the UFC doesn’t use for anything when they aren’t filming.

These things you learn without ever wanting to.

Of course there’s the usual stuff about who he trained with and when, which is generally not too exciting, except for when Gray Maynard first shows up on the scene.

When we weren’t with Bas we were back in Vegas. Gray Maynard came in around that point. I had first met Gray at Cobra Kai, Marc Laimon’s gym, a while back. When a good grappler or wrestler would come to the gym Marc would clear the mat and put him in there with another guy and let the whole class watch. Gray came in and was talking with Laimon and Marc was like, “clear the mat”. I didn’t know who Gray was and he didn’t know who I was. We were just grinding, going at it hard. We were both going for takedowns but nobody could get one. We were really going at it. I knew right away, “this guy is real good”. It went 15 minutes and nobody got a takedown. Afterwards we shook hands. Gray told me who he was and I told him who I was, and that I was a Junior College National Champion. He was Division I for all four years so he didn’t have any respect for me. He told me that. I told him that he better respect me because most of the good Junior College guys are as good or better than the D-1 guys, but it’s the grades that screwed them up. We traded numbers after that and said we’d stay in touch.

Huh. So Gray Maynard is the kind of guy who will tell you to your face that he doesn’t respect you since you didn’t advance beyond junior college, and he’ll say this to you the first time you meet. Kind of makes you wonder how that scenario ended with the two of them trading phone numbers. It’s not often that “I don’t respect you or what you’ve done with your life” is followed by “Hey, can I get your number?”

I guess fighters have their own way of doing things.

-Ben Fowlkes

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Hey, Jeremy May: Nobody Likes You

JM
(The “douche bag” in question.)

This morning, Team Rampage’s Gerald Harris said that Jeremy May “seems to get on everyone’s nerves except mine.” Get on everyone’s nerves? That might be the understatement of the week. Nearly the entire TUF 7 cast hate-hate-hates Jeremy, and said as much in interviews and blog posts that were published today. Here are some highlights; major props to MMAJunkie.

Brandon Sene: “Jeremy is one of those guys [who] just got under everyone’s skin. He’s so abrasive and cocky that in the situation we’re living in, with 16 fighters in a house and them all having strong personalities, it’s not easy to be the one guy everyone thinks is the egomaniac and a jerk. That’s really saying something… He was just saying unnecessary stuff. He was a pain in the ass the whole time we were there.”

C.B. Dollaway: “What can be said about Jeremy May that won’t offend my family and sponsors? This guy would spend countless hours talking about how he would demolish everyone in the house. I honestly think Jeremy is surprised that Anderson Silva is not calling him out. Team Rampage knows they need Jeremy as a training partner and for the sole purpose of gaining control. We want him to win his fights for this reason only. It would be fine if he got stomped for two rounds and pulled out a come-from-behind victory. Maybe a good whooping would humble him.

During the point of the show you saw in Wednesday’s episode, I was really learning to hate this guy, and I am usually a low-key, easy-to-get-along with person. I would be lying if I told you I did not feel like smashing him myself at times. After Matthew Riddle’s fight, I think our whole team was learning how big of an ass Jeremy really was. His comments to Matthew in the van ride back to the house about getting submitted by armbar were out of line. That was a great fight, and both fighters had nothing to be ashamed of…

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‘Power Rankings’ Update of DOOM!

AS
(Crazy Anderson Silva wallpaper courtesy of Olieng.net)

Over the last couple weeks, Matt Serra came crashing back down to Earth, Rich Franklin got his balls back, Shinya Aoki smothered JZ, and Denis Kang went out like a bitch. So if you haven’t swung by our Power Rankings section lately, please do so. In particular, the lightweight, middleweight, and pound-for-pound lists were freshly updated today. And you may be surprised at how high I ranked Travis Wiuff in the heavyweight division for going all the way at YAMMA 1…

Anyway, give ‘em a look and let us know if you see things differently.

(BG)

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CBS Chairman Criticizes Decision To Air Live MMA

Sumner Redstone
(Clearly, this man has his finger on the pulse of the nation.)

Elite XC seems to be putting all its hopes for long-term for success into its TV deal with CBS, but not everyone in the CBS family is a fan of the deal. In a recent story from the Hollywood Reporter (via MMA Payout), CBS and Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone publicly criticized CBS president Les Moonves and his decision to put mixed martial arts on live network TV.

“Les usually asks my opinion,” Sumner Redstone said Wednesday when asked about the four mixed-martial arts fights that will begin airing soon on CBS. This time, the Viacom and CBS chairman said, Moonves did not.

Redstone said the deal, struck with Elite Xtreme Combat, probably was a mistake, not because CBS won’t turn a profit from it but because it is not “socially responsible” to air the typically bloody bouts on free, broadcast TV.

“I’m a lover not a fighter,” Redstone said. “I don’t like the sport.”

Redstone saying that he doesn’t like the sport and isn’t anxious to see it on his network? That’s fine. That’s a personal opinion. He doesn’t have to like “How I Met Your Mother” either, but it’s going to stick around as long as it pulls in ratings, which apparently it does (people really watch that? are they drunk?).

But the remark about airing MMA not being “socially responsible” is intriguing. This is the same network that airs the NFL, which is awesome and also very dangerous and violent. They’re also home to great society-improving programming like ‘Big Brother’ and the Charlie Sheen sex-joke vehicle, ‘Two and a Half Men’. (By the way, don’t miss next Monday’s episode: “If My Hole Could Talk.” Now that’s innuendo!)

Fox Sports president Ed Goren also criticized the move, saying that he didn’t pursue a deal with the UFC because, “we don’t need money that badly.”

Of course, the UFC is said to be in serious talks with Fox’s entertainment division, and Fox Sports Net has aired both the IFL and Pride fights in the past. Seems like maybe everyone isn’t on the same page over at Fox. That’s also probably how they ended up with ‘Temptation Island.’

As much as TV execs love to take the moral high ground when they can, they probably didn’t get those jobs by following their hearts. If MMA proves to be a ratings success, my guess is they’ll put their personal abhorrence of violent sports aside in order to capitalize on it.

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Chris Leben in Jail, But Only on a Technicality

Chris Leben mug shot
(‘Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.’)

When word spread this morning that Chris Leben was locked up in Oregon just a few days after being signed to fight Michael Bisping at UFC 85 in London, we all feared the worst. That fight card has already suffered more than its share of setbacks, and as anyone who watched him on “The Ultimate Fighter” or YouTube knows, Chris Leben is known to enjoy an alcoholic beverage from time to time.

But don’t worry, he’s only in jail temporarily while he sorts out some legal issues stemming from past alcohol-related mischief. Icon promoter T. Jay Thompson clears things up for us:

Chris Leben was not arrested this week for DUI.

When Chris moved to Hawaii he was in the process of completing classes for his probation on an old DUI in Portland Oregon. We worked hard to get his probation transferred to Hawaii but were unsuccessful.

When he got the call to fight Bisping on June 7th in London he knew what he had to do.

He immediately flew to Oregon and turned himself in on the probation violation. The warrant was a “no bail” warrant so he will have to sit in jail for 8-10 days before he gets a hearing. The moment he appeared before the judge after turning himself in the warrant was revoked and he is able to get his VISA for London.

Chris is in excellent shape and will finish his training camp with the help of Matt Hume.

Chris has worked hard the past year to grow both physically, mentally and spiritually. The actions he took to make this fight happen in London show this growth. Chris would like everyone to know he accepts responsibility for his past actions and will face the consequences and continue forward on his journey.

That’s a relief. Losing the Leben-Bisping match would have been a major blow to UFC 85. Crisis averted…for now.

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New Potato

New Potato

I’m told that I should introduce myself. My name is Ben Fowlkes, and as of today I am joining Cage Potato full-time as a writer. Why is that of interest to you? It probably isn’t, but Ben Goldstein suggested I let you all know who I am, so here goes.

Before this, I wrote for CBS Sportsline, IFL.tv, Crave Online, and occasionally for Five Ounces of Pain. I also wrote the blog The Fighting Life. I recently left the IFL to pursue a full-time gig here, which I am happy to do, having been an admirer of this site for some time.

If you’re wondering whether working for the IFL means hanging out in hotel bars with Don Frye trying to get material for our “Dear Don” column, yes it does. And did I once attend a BYOB strip club with Bas Rutten in the middle of Iowa? Definitely. Did I manage to piss off Matt Lindland in every single interview I ever did with him? Absolutely. Do I think it’s sad that these are the high points of my career? I do.

In short, I love writing about MMA and discussing it with other interested parties such as yourselves, and I’m going to do my best to continue the good work that this site has been doing.

There. Now that’s over with and we can get back to MMA.

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Rich Franklin Heading Back to Light-Heavyweight?

RichF
(Rich and some of his “fishing buddies” at the Cornhole Throwdown.)

According to his manager Monte Cox, former UFC middleweight champ Rich Franklin is considering a move back up to light-heavyweight, due to his defeats against Anderson Silva and because beating any remaining contenders in the UFC’s middleweight division would be bad for the league. Franklin competed at light-heavyweight for the first 19 matches of his 27-fight career, suffering only a single loss at 205 to Lyoto Machida in 2003. Said Cox:

“He’s fought almost everybody in the 185-pound division. There are some guys that he could fight, but if he beats them it knocks them out of title contention. And nobody is looking to see Rich and Anderson Silva 3 right now, including me…He’s not helping the 185-pound division right now by beating everybody up in it…We’ve talked about going to 205 and how would he match up with some of those guys, with a Forrest Griffin or a Keith Jardine. I think there’re some really good fights. There’s a whole bunch of 205′s that I think would be interesting.”

Agreed, for the most part. You wouldn’t want to put Franklin up against Michael Bisping, and have Ace knock off the last remaining marketable contender to Silva’s belt. But it would be a tragedy if Franklin left the 185-pound division before taking on Dan Henderson — though with few logical fights out there for Henderson as a middleweight, Hendo may eventually move back up to light-heavy as well, so who knows.

What’s more certain is the financial logic behind such a move. Just before his UFC 77 rematch with Anderson Silva, Franklin signed a six-fight deal that would pay him more than the $45,000 base salary he was previously bringing in, beginning with his next fight. Salary figures from UFC 83 haven’t been released, so we don’t know the exact figure at this point, but if Franklin’s per-fight salary is now approaching the six-figure mark, the UFC would want to put him in high-profile fights to draw more revenue from pay-per-view buys and live gate. Booking Franklin against Travis Lutter probably doesn’t represent the best return on investment, in other words. But with the UFC’s light-heavyweight division packed with stars, there are a lot of big-money matchups to be made at 205. Who wouldn’t want to see Ace take on the loser of Rampage/Forrest?

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Gerald Harris’s ‘TUF 7′ Blog: Episode 5

TUF7cast

Every Thursday morning, Team Rampage member Gerald Harris will be blogging his reactions to each new episode of The Ultimate Fighter 7 on CagePotato.com. Here’s what he had to say about last night’s ep, in which tensions rose between Jeremy May and Mike Brown, and Brandon Sene and Dante Rivera went head-to-head in a three-round war.

***

In case you didn’t notice, Matt Brown isn’t the happiest person in the house. If I had to pull a prank on someone, he would be the last one on the list. Matt seems like the type of person where you wake up in the middle of the night and he’s standing over you, in his underwear, sharpening a butcher knife. So, instead of possibly getting killed in my sleep I chose not to participate in the “lime juice” prank. That’s a national rule: You don’t put lime juice in a Southern man’s dip! Like midgets to amusement parks, gas prices to SUVs, or diarrhea to a track star in the 100-yard hurdles, those two things don’t go together. I actually like the fact that somebody caused some trouble, because we were pretty damn bored. You’ve probably heard that we don’t have any TVs, radio, magazines, books, internet access, phones, and worst of all, no women! Except for the ring girls — and we enjoyed every step they took around the ring. Every step.

The Brown-May incident kind of overshadowed the actual fight pick between Brandon Sene and Dante Rivera. There was no drama between those two, so we just wanted to win and get control. From an mma view, that was a pretty good fight. From a fan’s view, it could have been seen as boring because people like action — especially stand-up action. Sene was busy and could have won the fight if he had escaped more, but Dante maintained control and pulled off the victory. What people fail to realize is that when someone loses on the show, reality kicks in. Brandon had sold his car and had just moved into a house so he planned on making some money to support himself. His only hope now is that someone gets injured and he gets a second chance.

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Is Matt Lindland Paranoid, Or The Only Sane Man Left On Earth?

Matt Lindland
(Painting your nickname on your gloves? Okay, that is pretty cool)

Matt Lindland is known as a man with some strong opinions. He’s also known as a man who loves to voice them even when silence might be the better option. This is just one more reason why he’s a good guy to have in the MMA scene.

But Lindland doesn’t necessarily feel the same way about us, the MMA media. In an interview with Sam Caplan on Five Ounces of Pain, he had these sharp words for those of us who write stuff about MMA on the internets:

The MMA media almost always agrees with whatever Dana [White] says. There’s a lot of media out there that just cow tow to him so that they can get their credentials, or whatever. The MMA media is not journalistically prudent. They don’t do much research; they’re lazy. They don’t do their own stories. They go out and take stories from other people and make up their own. I don’t have a lot of respect for too many people in the media and the MMA media industry. They pretty much promote Dana White.

I’m not going to point out that most of the MMA media exists in the form of websites and most of those websites do not get press credentials to UFC events. I’m also not going to point out that Dana White is often the favorite target for MMA websites and as a result often takes a lot of really personal, really undue (and some totally due) criticism. No, I won’t point out any of that, because that’s not the kind of guy I am.

But I will point out that Lindland’s comment about the MMA media being lazy and not coming up with their own stories appeared on MMA website Five Ounces of Pain, right above a story linking to some news that Sherdog broke earlier in the day.

My point is that yes, we do often write stories about the stories other people have written. I’m doing it right now. We all do it. So does every newspaper in America. Would the better idea be to ignore interesting news just because we weren’t the first ones to report it?

But wait, the conspiracy that Lindland has identified reaches deeper than just the lazy MMA media:

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