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

July, 2008

Does a Weak Economy Make For a Strong Fight Game?

As you may or may not know, Americans are freaking out about the state of the economy right now. Something about gas prices and houses and the value of the dollar, I don’t really pay attention. I leave most of my financial planning to this really nice homeless guy I met a while back. We just diversified my portfolio to include both kinds of vodka: flavored and unflavored. Things are looking up.

Jerry Magee of the San Diego Union-Tribune (via MMA Payout) has an interesting article linking the rough economic times with a booming combat sports environment. Just as boxing thrived during the Great Depression, he says, MMA is experiencing a similar boost these days:

In periods when Americans are up against it, they crave distractions. Boxing and MMA are among them, as Armando Garcia is aware. At Pechanga, Garcia, executive officer of the California Athletic Commission, said he was rummaging around his Sacramento office and he came across a report for the fiscal year 1925 that showed the commission’s revenues for that year (from licensing fees and the commission’s share of gates) had come to just more than $100,000.

In 2004-2005, the commission’s revenues, according to Garcia, totaled $441,000. For 2005-2006, Garcia’s first in office, they reached $1.1 million. They hit $1.6 by the next reporting date. For the fiscal year just concluding, they are at $2.136 million, with boxing and MMA each having generated more than a half-million at the gates.

It’s an interesting theory. Quoting statistics on live event gates doesn’t necessarily prove it, especially since MMA has only recently come into its own as a mainstream sport with widespread appeal and acceptance, but it’s still worth thinking about. Magee’s thesis about hard times leading to a strong desire for distractions makes you wonder, what does he think Americans are doing when times are good? Staying home and staring at their bank statements?


ESPN’s Look at MMA for Kids

I used to be a huge fan of ESPN’s “Outside the Lines”. Then they started doing it too often and exhausting a lot of the good subject matter. There’s just not as much as you think happening outside those lines. This look at children’s MMA, though, is interesting to say the least. There are some good points raised, but there’s also a lot of selective thinking going on here, like the pediatrician at the 8:30 mark who claims that children don’t naturally fight one another. Either he was never actually a child himself or he didn’t grow up on planet Earth.

Below, Frank Shamrock (MMA’s greatest ambassador, no doubt) debates a basketball coach who’s written a book, and the result is both frustrating and entertaining.

(Props: MMA Scraps)


More Support for the Hepatitis Theory

Aleksander Emelianenko MMA hepatitis
(“According to WebMD, I may also have shingles.”)

From MMA News via Fightlinker:

A source close to the situation spoke to’s Michael Moody on a condition of anonymity and explained that the blood tests came back right before Aleks and Buentello were scheduled to weigh in and that is why there was so much confusion around the stage and why the fighters did not weigh in. Gary Goodridge ended up stepping up on extremely short notice and filling in for the Russian heavyweight. The tests were positive for Hepatitis B which resulted in the CSAC cancelling the fight.

Previously: Aleks Emelianenko Might Have the Hep


UFC Strips Copper Pipe From IFL’s Abandoned House

Horwich Nelson Schultz IFL MMA
(Metaphorically speaking.) is reporting that Zuffa (the parent company of the UFC and WEC) has acquired certain assets of the International Fight League, including the IFL’s video library and fighter contracts:

The deal is similar to the buyout of the World Fighting Alliance in 2006 and allows Zuffa to get its hands on the valuable IFL video library and fighters without assuming the failed company’s debt…

[T]he anonymous former IFL fighters who’ve confirmed to that they’ve been notified of the acquisition of their contract by Zuffa, LLC have also confirmed that their contractual obligations are now to Zuffa, LLC according to their respective managements and legal counsels.

Observant MMA fans noticed that the UFC was using IFL footage to introduce several of the new fighters during Saturday’s “Silva vs. Irvin” broadcast on SpikeTV, and that commentators Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg made several references to the defunct fight league — a practice that was previously verboten. And it seems that the more financially clever of these observant MMA fans made the connection and started buying up the IFL’s stock.

Obviously, those fighter contracts are the only things worth salvaging from Jay Larkin’s Death Ship. Reigning featherweight champ Wagnney Fabiano would be perfect for Urijah Faber’s next WEC title defense (assuming he walks through Mike Brown in September, which he will), Chris Horodecki and Ryan Schultz could help energize the WEC’s ho-hum lightweight division, and Roy Nelson would bring some big-bellied jolliness to the UFC’s malnourished heavyweight roster. And as we saw on Saturday, even the IFL’s lesser-known guys are often good for a highlight-reel head-kick knockout, or a comeback fight for Brandon Vera. If the UFC can steal the IFL’s ring girl contracts as well, it’ll be a total success.

(Props: MMA Training)


Behind the Scenes at Affliction

(Props: MMA Scraps)

We could probably have a long debate about what the high point of this video from Fox News is. Is it the appearance of Stone Cold Steve Austin? The rare spoken English from Fedor Emelianenko? Instead, I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s the “Deal or No Deal” girls giggling at the phrase ‘ground-and-pound’, and here’s why:

From where I was sitting in one of the arena’s many press sections, I was within earshot of a couple obnoxious drunk guys wearing Affliction t-shirts (weird, I know). Every time a scantily-clad woman walked by they took it upon themselves to shout “titties!” Because this was an MMA event in southern California — which means even more fake boobs and halter tops than normal — they got plenty of opportunities.

The reactions from the women fell into one of three categories: 1) they ignored it, 2) they smiled, waved, or, in one case, even blew the idiots a kiss ala the UFC Octagon girls, or 3) became visibly upset.

The third reaction came from one of the “Deal or No Deal” girls, who walked by them flaunting her stuff until the inevitable “titties!” remark. She didn’t care for it. She expressed this by glaring at them and making an indignant face that seemed to suggest, ‘I don’t have to take this, I’m on “Deal or No Deal” for Christ’s sake!’ It’s cultural intersections like this that make live MMA events worth all the trouble.


The Women of Elite XC vs. Dana White

The UFC’s reluctance to put on female fights became a topic for discussion on Tuesday’s Elite XC conference call. Shayna Baszler and Christiane Cyborg, who will square off on the CBS portion of the card, each had different though equally telling responses:

QUESTION: When asked if he has any interest in setting up any female divisions in the UFC, Dana White politely questioned the depth of talent. What is your response to that?

Shayna Baszler: I don’t care what Dana White has to say. If he wants to question the depth of talent; that is just going to give companies like EliteXC one more thing to tap into that he’s not. He wants to question the depth of the female division, but every fight, every female fight that ProElite has put on has been a showcase of women’s talent and has been “fight of the night” type material. If he wants to give that avenue to others to pursue, then, fine. The more the merrier. I don’t care. I just want to fight the best. I don’t know, if he wants to question that, then I’d question the talent of his heavyweight division.

Cristiane Cyborg: I’d love to fight Dana White to show him how tough women are.

Oh, snap! Ok, not really. He never questioned their toughness, which makes me think Cyborg misunderstood the question, and there is probably just as much reason to question the depth of women’s MMA as there is to question the depth of the UFC’s current heavyweight division, so we’ll rule that one a tie for the moment.


Keith Jardine to Face Brandon Vera

Keith Jardine
(“Truth” serum?)

A source tells Cage Potato that Keith Jardine will be the next opponent for Brandon Vera following his decision win over Reese Andy this past Saturday. The match seems to indicate that Vera’s stay in the light heavyweight division may be longer than he might have liked.

Jardine needs a victory after his TKO loss to Wanderlei Silva at UFC 84, and going against the once-highly touted heavyweight prospect Vera gives him a golden opportunity to get back in the running for the UFC’s light heavyweight title.

There’s no word yet on exactly when the fight will take place, but we’ll bring you more as the story develops.


Videos: Penn and Sherk Are Buds

From via 5oz.: BJ Penn wakes up Heath Herring at home before flying to Santa Barbara with Sean Sherk for the taping of a reality show on NBC Sports. Who knows what it all means, but it looks like Penn and Sherk have buried the hatchet — assuming their beef was legitimate in the first place.

Here’s the second episode of “Chris Leben: Evolution of an Icon,” which features the Crippler working with his suspiciously attractive students and attempting to install a heavy bag at the top of a mountain.

After the jump, Joanne of the MMA Girls spends a lovely day with Jon Fitch that includes shopping at the Ecko store and lunch at what appears to be Panda Express.


Atencio: Affliction PPV Buys “Definitely” 100,000+

Affliction Atencio Arlovski Sylvia MMA
(Tom’s the guy standing second from the right, stunned by Tim Sylvia’s body odor. Photo courtesy of Combat Lifestyle)

Speaking with Yahoo! Sports’s Kevin Iole, Affliction VP Tom Atencio claimed the final number of pay-per-view buys brought in for the company’s debut MMA card last Saturday would “definitely” be over 100,000:

“I don’t have everything on that yet, but for the people who felt this was going to be a total flop in that regard, I have news for them. It’s already done a lot better than what I’ve heard people speculating. I’m not going to release the (official) number, but it’s already well beyond what people have been saying. Well beyond.”

We’ll take that claim at face value for now, but Atencio could be blowing smoke, obviously. Iole reports that $500,000 of the event’s $2.1 million live gate haul came from tickets purchased by Affliction itself. Atencio also admitted that the show’s ridiculous payroll was intended to grab attention:

“We had to come out swinging and make a big splash and we did. Having said that, we realize this is a business first and that if we don’t turn a profit, we’re not going to be around. We need to have the guys understand that. We know (fighters) want to be treated well and we’re willing to work with them, but they have to be willing to work with us. We just can’t go out there and throw money around without thought. The guys have to be willing to work with us and can’t simply look at us as a cash cow.”

Of course not, Tom — they’re interested in you because of your mind.


How’s Taste My Link Dump?

Silva vs. Irvin afterparty UFC
(One of these men fought Anderson Silva on Saturday — can you tell which one? Photo courtesy of CombatLifestyle.)

Affliction’s next show will maybe be held on November 8th, maybe in Atlantic City, and Aleksander Emelianenko maybe doesn’t have hepatitis. (MMA Junkie)

Anthony Johnson’s agent Ken Pavia is going to formally appeal Rumble’s loss via eye-pokes. (Five Ounces of Pain)

Frank Shamrock says he’ll fight Robbie Lawler in November if Lawler beats Scott Smith this Saturday. (CBS)

UFC Undisputed will allow fans to see exactly how UFC matchmaker Joe Silva ranks each division’s fighters. (Bloody Elbow).

If you like watching things that are boring but sort of historic, then this video of Forrest Griffin being laid on by UFC legend Dan Severn for three rounds is a must-see. (MMA Scraps)

Anderson Silva is kinda bummed that he fucked James Irvin up so hard. (The UG)

Anybody wanna buy the Chicago Cubs? (Wall Street Fighter)

If you feel like blowing a half-hour, check out this collection of 81 amazing animated gifs. Rampage and Minowaman make an appearance! (Holy Taco)