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Here's What Happens When Strangers Draw Your Selfies

June, 2008

Affliction Is Counting On The Power Of DVR


(‘This shirt, she is…how you say…totally sick, yes?’)

In case you were wondering how the people at Affliction are feeling about the UFC’s all out counter-programming assault, USA Today’s Sergio Non has an article that looks at where the clothier/MMA organization stands right now. Turns out that with a month still to go, they aren’t in bad shape.

VP Tom Atencio claims they’ve sold between 7,000 and 8,000 tickets so far, which is good news this far from the event if it’s true. Anaheim’s Honda Center holds around 17,000. That’s about on par with the Prudential Center in New Jersey, where Elite XC sold just over 8,000 tickets when all was said and done.

Affliction’s big marketing push is planned for two weeks before the show, and as for the impact of UFC Fight Night 14, Atencio is planning on the miracle of modern technology to protect him:

“As far as I’m concerned, people are going to Tivo (the UFC show) and watch our fight, and then go back to (watch UFC) later,” he said. “Obviously you’re going to get those people who are going to watch something for free (rather) than pay. … But our card is definitely stacked. I don’t know anybody that can say it’s not a great card.”

That’s a valid strategy as it relates to hardcore fans. We’ll see whether it will work on those people we always hear about who only know the UFC.

Atencio is right when he says the card is stacked, though it’s stacked largely with fighters who appeal to that hardcore fan base and much less so to the casual fan, who may or may not have heard the name Fedor at any time in his life. Their success with this show — particularly with the UFC going up against them on Spike TV — could tell us a lot about the actual interest level in MMA as a sport, rather than simply the UFC as a brand.

(Props: MMA Payout)

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Jesse Taylor: My Story

Jesse Taylor
(Ah, crap: Spike.com embed is currently down…click the image to see the video.)

For all the debate we’ve had on the Jesse Taylor situation, it might be good to hear Mongo tell his side of the story. In this three-part interview from Spike.com, Jesse doesn’t shed any light on Dana White’s accusation that he terrorized the female guests of Palace Station, but he does admit hitting a slot machine. (Wait a minute, was Mongo so drunk that he mistook a woman for a slot machine? Uh-oh.) Later, he reveals that he’s entered AA, he’s been trying (and failing) to contact Dana White, and he thinks CB is going to take Amir in the finale re-match.

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Exclusive Interview: ‘TUF 7′ Finalist CB Dollaway

CB Dollaway UFC MMA
(CBD, reppin’ the MTX Audio Fight Team.)

Pretty much everyone had CB Dollaway as a lock to get into the Ultimate Fighter 7 finale, and the former All-American wrestler from Arizona State seemed to have it clinched on last night’s episode, kicking Amir Sadollah’s ass all over the Octagon. And then it happened — an armbar in the third round put a shocking end to the fight, and seemed to derail Dollaway’s dreams of making it into the UFC. Good thing Jesse Taylor can’t handle his liquor, because now the Team Rampage standout has a chance to battle Amir again, this time for all the marbles. Talk about drama. In this exclusive Q+A, Dollaway chats with CagePotato about his rematch with Sadollah, the drawbacks of having Rampage as a coach, Jesse Taylor, and the bullshit one has to endure when living in the TUF house.

***

CAGEPOTATO.COM: What do you think went wrong at the end of your semi-final match with Amir?
CB DOLLAWAY: I think conditioning came into play. We’d been fighting two-round fights previously, and it kind of slipped my mind that it was gonna be a three-round fight. Towards the end of the third round I was just exhausted, and I got sloppy. I wasn’t doing things right, and he was. He kept his composure and caught me in that armbar. I definitely think I was controlling the whole fight, and I believe I was ahead on the scorecards, but you have that mental lapse for a minute and the other guy capitalizes on it.

How confident are you that you’ll have him figured out when you fight him again?
Pretty confident. I believe I took care of the mistakes I made in the first match. I think it should be a similar fight, but with me winning at the end. He’s a hard competitor to finish — I already know that from fighting him once — so I’ve taken measures to make sure I’ll be in great condition.

What did you miss the most while you were trapped in the Ultimate Fighter house?
The freedom, I guess. We were told what to do and when to do it, and we didn’t have access to anything. You can’t call anyone, you can’t get on the Internet and browse around, you can’t go to the mall — you’re just there. In a sense, it’s like being in jail.

We’ve heard a lot about how some of the castmembers were made to look a certain way on the show through editing. Jeremy May says he wasn’t really that much of an asshole. Amir told us the “confessional” scenes involved very leading questions. How accurately do you think you were portrayed on the show?
It seemed like they portrayed me to be a cocky asshole, and I’m not really like that. I just want to be confident and I don’t want to put negative thoughts in my head before I fight. They basically edit out everything you say except for the parts where you’re being confident…

Or when you’re referring to yourself in third-person.

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More Bouts Added to Upcoming UFC Events

Brad Blackburn blocks kick
(Brad Blackburn is moving on up.)

The UFC has been busy this week. Between throwing together the July 19 Anti-Affliction show and preparing for the TUF 7 Finale on Saturday, someone in the Zuffa offices has definitely earned themselves a vacay (don’t worry, Anderson Silva will fill in for you while you’re gone).

For Saturday night’s show, Tim Credeur vs. Cale Yarbrough has been officially added, bringing the total number of scheduled bouts to eleven. They won’t all fit into the three-hour broadcast, but that might just mean we get spared having to sit through another Marvin Eastman joint.

For the July 19 show, former IFL fighter Brad Blackburn has reportedly been signed to take on fellow UFC newcomer James Giboo. As previously reported, another former IFL fighter, Reese Andy, will make his UFC debut as he welcomes Brandon Vera to the light heavyweight division.

While a lot of fans may not be familiar with Andy, he’s a former college wrestling standout at the University of Wyoming who could potentially give Vera some problems on the mat. He’s also competed at heavyweight before, so he probably won’t be giving up too much weight.

Also expected on this card — which is officially titled UFC Fight Night 14 — is Frankie Edgar squaring off with Hermes Franca, Jake O’Brien and Cain Velasquez, and Kevin Burns against Anthony Johnson.

Oh, and that Anderson Silva guy will be taking on James Irvin. If that sort of thing interests you.

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Sorting Through Some TUF Contradictions


(‘Oh bicep, you’re the only one I can truly depend on.’)

Watching Dana White drop the hammer on Jesse Taylor during last night’s super-shocking episode of “The Ultimate Fighter”, I have to say I was filled with mixed emotions.

On one hand, everything White said to him seemed justified. He can’t have someone representing the UFC who is incapable of controlling himself after downing a few drinks. Not only does it create a bad image, but as White pointed out, this is what Jesse is like after merely fighting his way into the finals. If he’s out of control without really even winning anything yet, what’s he going to be like in six months?

Aside from Dana’s assertion that Las Vegas is “his town”, his admonition of Jesse and the punishment he handed down seemed completely appropriate.

But then I had a flashback to earlier episodes. I recalled images of Jesse drinking and breaking things, peeing his pants, and generally acting up. That’s when I had to wonder, what’s the fundamental difference between destroying a house that doesn’t belong to you and kicking out a limousine window? Hadn’t they been content to show Jesse’s antics — which you could also argue reflect poorly on the UFC and its fighters — for weeks?

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Gerald Harris’s ‘TUF 7′ Blog: Episode 12

Amir Sadollah CB Dollaway UFC Ultimate Fighter
(Amir and his hail-Mary armbar against CB. Photo courtesy of UFC.com.)

Every Thursday morning, Team Rampage member Gerald Harris blogs his reactions to each episode of The Ultimate Fighter 7 on CagePotato.com. Here’s what he had to say about last night’s insane ep, which we’ve already summarized here.

***

Damn, what a season! Now, I can’t sit here and say it was the best season ever, because I didn’t watch many of the previous TUF shows, the finale hasn’t happened yet, and who am I to make such a bold statement? All I can say is that we fought our asses off and hopefully built a strong fan base for ourselves while bringing some new faces to the UFC.

I don’t want to overshadow the two fights with Jesse’s incident so I’ll address that now. I feel sorry for him, but every man is responsible for his own mistakes. It’s not like getting caught with a punch or submission — this is a voluntary act that you can control. There are consequences in the real world and unfortunately Jesse picked the wrong time to learn a lesson. I witnessed most of the events that night and even tried to help him get home, but he was out of control. With a son to feed and a future career in the UFC, the decision to go home instead of party would have changed his life.

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TUF 7.12 Recap: The Shocker

Amir Sadollah
(Amir gets all “Rocky” on us.)

I’m assuming that most of you watched last night’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter — which, hype aside, was easily one of the greatest episodes in the show’s history — so I won’t bore you with extraneous details. But here’s a quick recap:

— CB Dollaway and Amir Sadollah square off in the last semi-final fight. Aside from a couple of hard body kicks and a close armbar attempt from Amir, the first two rounds are all CB, who controls the action from the top, and delivers a Rampage-style body slam as well as some brutal elbows that open up a large gash under Amir’s right eye. CB nearly locks in a rear-naked choke in the third round, but Amir spins out, momentarily tries to figure out a toe-hold, then catches CB in another armbar that immediately causes him to tap. With his professional MMA record still 0-0, Amir Sadollah has battled his way to the TUF 7 finale.

Amir Sadollah TUF UFC stitches
(Afterwards, getting sewn up.)

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Chapter 26: In Which I Drink Ipecac and Vomit Uncontrollably

Learned a few things while drinking ipecac last night:

1) If properly stored, ipecac does not lose effectiveness with age.
2) Honestly, just a tablespoon will do ya. If I had chugged the bottle, I’d probably still be throwing up.
3) Unlike other occasions when you might barf, you don’t feel any better after the deed when you’re on a ‘cac bender. I took the stuff around 7 p.m. ET, puked for the last time around 11 p.m. (nothing but stomach acid, just nasty) and felt sick until I woke up at about 3:30 a.m.

Anyway, the video above represents the conclusion of my ill-fated UFC pick-off bet against Ryan Harkness of Fightlinker. In retrospect, I wouldn’t recommend that anyone take ipecac unless you absolutely have to get the entire contents of your stomach outside of yourself, and even then, think twice. Enjoy; we’ll get ‘em next time.

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MMA In New York Remains But A Distant Dream

It looks like the UFC’s lobbying efforts in New York may have all been for nothing. The New York State Assembly’s Tourism, Arts, and Sports Development Committee shelved the MMA bill today and a vote is not expected to take place tomorrow, as was previously expected. This doesn’t mean it’s dead for good, but it does mean that we won’t be seeing a UFC event in Madison Square Garden any time soon.

According to Sherdog, the committee plans to hold a public forum to review the bill some time between now and January 2009:

“This would give the opportunity to have a round table or a public hearing, an opportunity for all sides to weigh in and take a hard look at the issue,” said Elizabeth Nostrand, legislative and policy director for Assemblyman Steven Englebright, who authored the bill and chairs the Tourism committee. “Of course, there’s a lot of interest in the bill, but there’s a lot of confusion too as demonstrated by last week’s vote.”

If I were Dana White, I might ask those lobbyists for my money back. And when they told me that my request was not only implausible, but also extremely tasteless, I’d call them a bunch of fucking pussies. Then I’d probably feel bad the next day so I’d send them a text message to apologize. This is why I’m not Dana White.

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UFC’s Big Announcement Revealed! Prepare Your Disappointed Face! : (

Lorenzo Fertitta UFC Dana White
(Lorenzo Fertitta, second from the right.)

UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta, who made $113.8 million last year as president of Station Casinos is resigning from his position in the family business in order to work full-time to expand the UFC, develop the brand internationally, and secure more big-name sponsors. He and Dana White will now be “co-heads” of the company; Lorenzo’s brother Frank Fertitta III will become Station Casinos’ CEO while retaining his 45% ownership in the UFC.

White and L. Fertitta made the announcement to their employees today at Palace Station (a Station Casinos property), and the news broke via Yahoo!’s Kevin Iole, who acknowledged that Dana White’s “long-awaited announcement, which had many in the industry in a lather speculating about what it might be, may turn out to be ho-hum news to the sport’s hard-core fans.” Said Lorenzo Fertitta:

“The problem, if there is a problem, is that the business has gotten so successful, it’s requiring more time, focus and attention. Station Casinos is a business my family and I have built and now it’s a multi-billion dollar company. But the reality is, the UFC has gone through so much growth in the last eight years, my brother and I felt we’d be better in divide and conquer mode…

Think about this for a second: India has 350 million men between the ages of 18 and 34, and that’s our key demographic. The magnitude of these markets is staggering…The UFC is going to have a global footprint in the not-too-distant future. We’re already working on furthering our position in Brazil. This is getting so big that it demanded I spend more time with it.”

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