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May, 2008

Chris Leben Out Of Jail, On To ‘Home Detention’

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(Look out society.)

UFC middleweight Chris Leben has been sprung from the pokey, according to a blog entry on his MySpace page and a report from MMA Mania. Leben was scheduled to stay in jail until May 27, but was released over the weekend to finish out his sentence under ‘home detention.’ Some guy named Adam with access to Leben’s MySpace page explains it all:

LEBEN HAS BEEN RELEASED!

Hello all,

Chris has been released from jail over the weekend. This is all the information I have right now and I’ll be sure to update everyone on his resolved legal issues, immediate plans and the expected date of his next match after Chris gets everything organized.

He thanks you again for your patience and understanding and Chris will be posting here as soon as he can.

Thanks.

- Adam

Oh, MySpace. You have so many useful functions. I can hear of a pro fighter’s release from jail and discover that a guy I knew in high school broke up with his girlfriend, all without actually having to communicate with another human being. What a time to be alive.

At least ‘home detention’ doesn’t sound so bad. Leben can get back to eating right and doing some light training for the day when the UFC is ready to take a chance on him again. That, or microwave a Hungry Man dinner and play Madden all day. Either way, it beats the hell out of jail.

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Fight of the Day: Ricardo Arona vs. Kazushi Sakuraba


From PRIDE Critical Countdown 2005 (6/26/2005). Because not much is going on this morning and I’ve been wanting to run the fight that produced this:

Kazushi Sakuraba Ricardo Arona PRIDE

From Sakuraba’s divebomb attacks in the first round, to Arona’s relentless knees, to the “holy shit” moment when the second frame is over and Saku’s roadkill-face emerges, it’s a minor classic. Enjoy.

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Court Win Puts Couture One Step Closer to Fedor

Randy Couture UFC
(Randy Couture: Even his cauliflower ear is smiling.)

Yesterday, the District Court of Dallas County, Texas, denied three motions filed by Zuffa to stay, delay, and/or dismiss HDNet’s challenge of Couture’s promotional contract with the UFC. Zuffa claims that Couture still owes them two bouts on his contract, while Couture is arguing that the contract will expire in July, after its 16-month term concludes.

The decision will now allow HDNet’s motion for a summary judgment to be heard on June 2nd. HDNet first brought this suit against Zuffa in February, stating that they had a business arrangement with Couture that required a decision on his promotional contract status with the company. If this leg of Couture’s legal marathon goes his way, he’ll be an official free-agent once the one-year non-compete clause in his employment contract expires in October, and will finally be able to set up a fight with his personal white whale, Fedor Emelianenko.

In a separate lawsuit being heard in Las Vegas, Zuffa is suing Couture for breach of contract stemming from his (and Xtreme Couture’s) former association with the IFL. Zuffa is also seeking a ruling on Couture’s fight contract, though a judgment in Texas could affect Zuffa’s case. Or, for you law school geeks, “due to the legal doctrines of res judicata, collateral estoppel, and the full faith and credit clause, the first ruling issued will most likely decide the matter.” I don’t know what that means, and I don’t want to know. But come on, Zuffa — can we just let Fedor kick Randy’s ass so we can all move on with our lives?

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Wanderlei Talks Jardine, Jardine Talks Wanderlei

So Wanderlei Silva’s English isn’t the best, but he’s improving. The necessity of a win in this match certainly doesn’t seem to be lost on him. He’s doing everything he can to prepare, including drinking his supplements. No comment there.

“The Dean of Mean” has his say after the jump.

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Redefining Success For The Ultimate Fighter

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(They’ve given you everything they had, and still you’d rather watch Top Chef.)

Adam Swift over at MMAPayout.com has an interesting look at the ratings history of The Ultimate Fighter. What he discovered — ratings for the show are getting steadily worse — should come as no surprise, but it is worthwhile to look at what it means for the show and for the UFC. First off, the cold hard numbers.

The show is currently averaging a 1.07 rating in its seventh season. That’s down from 1.12 last season, 1.18 in season five, and so on all the way back to season three’s peak of 1.69 (slightly better than season one’s 1.6). Among men aged 18-34 the show is doing a 1.6, up from 1.5 last season and on par with the 1.6 in season five. The ratings among that demographic group also peaked in season three with a 2.9, up from 2.2 in the first season and 2.5 in the second.

You don’t have to be an expert on TV or math to see that overall, TUF is on a steady ratings decline. While the show has been holding fairly strong among 18-34 year-old men during the last three seasons, it’s still clear that the initial luster of this series has worn off for the general public. The question is, what does it mean?

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Must See: C.B. Dollaway Pwns Rampage

CB Dollaway Quinton Rampage Jackson TUF UFC

I wish I could embed this — but you’ll have to click the picture above to see a “leaked” clip from this Wednesday’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter, in which C.B. Dollaway playfully kicks Rampage during a training session, which spurs Rampage to take his pants off and challenge Dollaway to a submission grappling match. We’ll just say that he should have kept his pants on, and that Nick Klein is a dead man.

Speaking of The Ultimate Fighter 7, the undercard for the season finale (June 21st, live at 9 p.m. ET on SpikeTV) has been officially announced. Right now, the lineup looks like this:

Evan Tanner vs. Kendall Grove
Diego Sanchez vs. Luigi Fioravanti
[match between the show's two middleweight finalists]
Spencer Fisher vs. Jeremy Stephens
Josh Burkman vs. Dustin Hazelett
Marvin Eastman vs. Drew McFedries
Jeremy Horn vs. Dean Lister
Matt Arroyo vs. TBA?
Rob Yundt vs. TBA?

Other bouts featuring the show’s castmembers are also expected to be included in the three-hour telecast. I’ll sell my third testicle if Dollaway isn’t involved.

Another must-see: Remember that thing about Kimbo Slice presenting at the CMAs on Sunday? Well, it was even more awkward and uncomfortable than we thought it would be. Vid is after the jump…click if you dare.

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FIGHT! Magazine Exclusive: ‘Brave New World’

Jens Pulver WEC Fight Magazine

FIGHT! Magazine’s June issue hits newsstands this week, containing articles on Jens Pulver and Lyoto Machida, as well as the following piece on the current state of competition in the MMA industry. Provided exclusively to CagePotato.com by FIGHT!, “Brave New World” features EliteXC’s Gary Shaw, Strikeforce’s Michael Afromowitz, and HDNet’s Mark Cuban weighing in on how they plan to survive and succeed in the vast shadow of the Octagon.

***

By Matthew Ross

First it was Royce vs. Ken on closed-circuit pay-per-view. Then came Forrest vs. Stephan on basic cable. Now? It’s the UFC vs. everybody else, coming to you live on enough channels to give your TiVo a nervous breakdown.

Welcome to a new era of MMA.

First, a recap. In 2005, Dana White and Spike TV revolutionized mixed martial arts with the advent of The Ultimate Fighter reality series, which introduced the channel’s historically frat boy-esque demographic to the world of organized ass-kicking. The results were rapid and dramatic. TUF skyrocketed up the Nielsen charts and Spike began airing live, high-quality UFC cards. What had once been a fringe sub-culture whose following in the U.S. consisted of fighters and a small but dedicated army of diehard fans had now become a mainstream attraction. New gyms began popping up in strip malls all over America. Guys like Chuck, Tito, and Randy became household names, and dudes could throw out terms like rear-naked choke and Thai clinch around their girlfriends without getting slapped in the face.

By the end of 2007, UFC championship bouts were regularly covered by the national news outlets, and the brightest stars had graced the covers of ESPN the Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and Men’s Fitness. As Dana White would tell any reporter who’d listen: “We’ve arrived.” Not since Tony Alva, Stacy Peralta, and the rest of the Dogtown Z-Boys showed the world how to catch air with a piece of plywood and some polyurethane wheels had any sport ever gotten so big, so fast.

Not surprisingly, fans and journalists weren’t the only ones who caught wind of what was going down. Spike and the UFC may have gotten the ball rolling, but a bevy of broadcasters have teamed up with one or more of the savvy new MMA promotions to get a piece of the pie. While the empire created by Dana White and the Fertitta family shows no sign of ceding its title to any of the young upstarts, it’s impossible to deny that the UFC is no longer the only game in town. They may have the best overall roster of fighters and biggest brand recognition in the game, but things are about to get interesting.

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Has B.J. Penn Crossed Over to the Other Side?

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(“The Prodigy” prepares himself to reenter civilized society)

Sometimes B.J. Penn says things that make me a little uncomfortable. Not uncomfortable in the bad way, more like uncomfortable in the way that I think what he just said was pretty awesome even if I still think maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to say it. His recent interview with Ariel Helwani at MMA Rated offered just such an occasion.

Ariel (who always manages to get the best out of fighters in his interviews) asked Penn about an infamous moment following his victory over Joe Stevenson:

Ariel Helwani: Let me ask you about your UFC 80 fight against Joe Stevenson. After defeating him you licked the blood of your gloves. What’s the symbolism behind licking the blood off the gloves because I find it fascinating?

BJ Penn: [laughs] I don’t know man. You know sometimes like you cross over and it’s just hard to come back. You cross over and then you’re on that side where you could kill somebody and it’s just hard to get back to the other side, so I was stuck over on that side when that happened.

Ariel Helwani: Afterwards we’re you like, ‘what the hell did I just do?’ Or do you mind licking another man’s blood?

BJ Penn: No, I think as a fighter you’re always just two different people. So when that side of me comes out I just accept it because I got my one side who’s just humble, cruisin’, hanging out, help out my friends, or this and that. Then I got my other side where I snap and I’m just on the other side and it takes a while for me to come back.

See? Uncomfortable, but also pretty cool. If you describe yourself that way to a high school guidance counselor, they’re calling the cops and making notes in the margins of your permanent record. If you’re a pro fighter and you say it in an internet radio interview, it just makes people more excited to watch you in action. Also, something to think about if you’re considering approaching Penn right after a fight. He may not have crossed back over yet, so watch yourself.

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CagePotato Ban: Kimbo Slice – Mike Tyson Comparisons

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Let’s get something straight: Kimbo Slice is not Mike Tyson. He’s not a Tyson-like figure. There’s no “aura of Tyson” around him, no impending “Kimbo Slice’s Punch Out” ready to hit shelves. It’s a bad analogy. If you don’t believe me, just look at the people who keep making it.

First it was Gary Shaw, who kept bringing it up in last week’s media conference call. His thesis was, essentially, that while Kimbo doesn’t have many fights he does have the same kind of energy and popularity that made Tyson a star in the eighties and early nineties.

It’s not hard to see why Shaw likes this comparison. Just as Don King made a lot of money off “Iron Mike”, Shaw stands to do the same in regards to Kimbo. I don’t fault Shaw for drawing the comparison and attempting to force it on others. He’s a promoter. That’s what he does. But the rest of us should know better than to swallow that message without thinking about it.

For instance, Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports starts a recent column with this sentence: “It’s hardly a stretch to suggest that Kimbo Slice is the Mike Tyson of the 21st century.”

Really? It’s not a stretch to suggest that a guy with a 3-0 pro record is the 21st century version of a once-dominant heavyweight boxing champion? Seriously?

Let’s imagine for a moment that this is a true statement. If it were, it would prove only that the 21st century is dumber than the late 20th century. It would mean that we live in a time that values the cult of celebrity over actual accomplishment, and that we have become so obsessed with fame that we have lost the ability to make qualitative value judgments.

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Videos: Double K.O., Iron Ring Slam K.O. + More

(Shaun Parker vs Tyler Bryan @ LFC 25. You can’t make this stuff up. Props to MMAScraps)

(From The Iron Ring: Some dude tries to secure an armbar and gets his head dribbled.)

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