MMA Fighter Challenges People to Punch Him in the Face, Everyone Fails

July, 2008

GSP Is Not Worthy of Anderson Silva

Anderson Silva Georges St. Pierre GSP UFC

…so said Silva’s manager Ed Soares, when asked by ProMMARadio about a potential Georges St. Pierre/Anderson Silva superfight:

“That sounds great, I think GSP is an incredible fighter. But I think GSP needs to prove himself. He still hasn’t had a successful title defense (at 170 lbs.). I don’t really feel that he deserves (a Silva fight) yet. Go defend your title a few times and then we’ll talk.”

The thing is, St. Pierre has proven himself many times over to be an elite-level fighter, and Soares is veering uncomfortably close to Juanito Ibarra territory, wild statement-wise. But what makes his dismissal of GSP particularly ironic is that Spider’s next fight is likely going to be against Patrick Cote, who doesn’t deserve to be in the same room as Silva or GSP. With Yushin Okami suffering a broken hand, Cote is really and truly next in line for a title shot; that little shitshow could happen at UFC 88 (September 6th, Atlanta).

A relatively one-dimensional striker, Cote doesn’t bring any more to the table than James Irvin did, and their bout will almost certainly be another brief exhibition for Silva. The silver lining is that with this belt-defense obligation out of the way quickly, Silva will be free to “test the waters” at light-heavyweight again — and he does plan on fighting at least one more time before the end of the year.

Sort of related: “UFC Silva vs. Irvin” was a ratings smash. The broadcast averaged 3.1 million viewers, peaked at 3.8 million viewers, and according to SpikeTV, beat all basic cable and broadcast networks in that timeslot for the “males 18-49″ and “males/females 18-34″ demographics.

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Rampage Jackson Mini-Update

Quinton Rampage Jackson Affliction
(Hey, cool shirt.)

From the Las Vegas Review Journal:

[Dana] White originally said Friday that Jackson was to be held for 72 hours [at a medical facility for a psychiatric evaluation], but that the time period would be extended.

Jackson instead was reportedly spotted at the Affliction card in Anaheim on Saturday night, just after the 72 hours would have expired. White essentially confirmed Jackson’s attendance at the rival card, saying he had asked White’s permission to attend.

Rampage has yet to make a public statement, and the continued silence of manager/trainer Juanito Ibarra may give credence to the rumors that he had a falling out with Jackson prior to his first arrest. Personally, I don’t think being anywhere near Megadeth as they rip through highlights from Rust in Peace is the best idea for someone in a fragile mental state. (By the way, if Matt Lindland is worth $300,000 per fight, and Tim Sylvia is worth $800,000, doesn’t that make Quinton Jackson worth like $5,000,000? Dana better not let him too far out of his sight.) Anyway, we’ll let you know if there are any more public Rampage sightings, so stay tuned…

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Fedor is the New Chuck Norris

(Props to reader “KellenAvalanche”)

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UFC Revenue Is Up, Even If PPV Buys Aren’t

Dana White UFC
(He’s so money. Photo courtesy of Men’s Fitness.)

MMA Payout has an interesting article about the newest S&P credit rating for Zuffa, which has been upgraded from negative to stable. It turns out that the UFC is pulling in more money these days, though it’s not because more people are buying their pay-per-views. Instead, it’s due to their strategy of putting on more shows and charging more for them:

“Overall pay-per-view (PPV) revenues, which represent nearly 75% of total revenues, have trended up in recent quarters, albeit largely due to an increase in the number of events, higher pricing, and more favorable contract terms, rather than an increase in the number of buys.”

By more favorable contract terms, they’re referring to Zuffa’s deal with pay-per-view distributors. Apparently the UFC is big enough now to negotiate better deals for themselves, which is an encouraging sign for the future of he company and the sport. But what’s really interesting is a note near the bottom that relates to the UFC’s plans for expansion.

The high costs of the start-up in the UK may color how they approach international expansion going forward. The UFC UK division required a high level of initial costs (like personnel, office space, legal and regulatory costs). Such high costs had a detrimental effect on the company’s margins and therefore dragged down the bond rating. The company may be reticent to do such a large scale effort in the future, with the accompanying yo-yo effect on margins.

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Oh Yeah, Elite XC on CBS is Coming Up

Maybe you’ve forgotten all about this, but Elite XC’s second live event on CBS is this Saturday, headlined by the Scott Smith-Robbie Lawler rematch. While that’s a bout worth getting excited about, the rest of the card really makes you wonder whether we won’t see a tremendous drop-off in ratings and whether CBS won’t rethink this crazy MMA experiment as a result.

It’s not just that the card lacks the mainstream star-power of the first one, though that is indeed the case. It’s also that there are precious few meaningful, competitive matches. Just take a look at the line-up and the betting odds and you’ll see what I mean:

Scott Smith (+180) vs. Robbie Lawler (-220)
Thomas Denny (+450) vs. Nick Diaz (-600)
Nick Thompson (+320) vs. Jake Shields (-400)
Christiane Cyborg (+125) vs. Shayna Baszler (-155)
Justin Eilers (+400) vs. Antonio Silva (-550)
Travis Galbraith (+275) vs. Rafael Feijao (-345)
Brian Caraway (+140) vs. Wilson Reis (-170)

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Sanchez/Alves Moved to UFC 90; Pulver/Garcia at WEC 36?

Diego Sanchez UFC MMA
(The Nightmare returns; photo courtesy of MMA Junkie.)

A couple of important fight bookings to pass along this morning…

First, MMA Weekly reports that a welterweight bout between Diego Sanchez and Thiago Alves will take place at UFC 90 (October 25th, Chicago); the UFC hasn’t officially announced any of the fights on the card yet. Originally, Sanchez/Alves was rumored to take place at UFC 89 in Birmingham, England, but with that lineup filling out it looks like the Nightmare vs. the Pitbull will be used to anchor the UFC’s first show in Chi-town.

Meanwhile, Leonard Garcia has reportedly agreed to face Jens Pulver in a featherweight match at WEC 36 (September 10th; Hollywood, Florida). WEC 36 is also slated to feature title fights between Urijah Faber and Mike Brown, and Paulo Filho vs. Chael Sonnen. Garcia hasn’t fought since a TKO victory over Hiroyuki Takaya at WEC 32 in February, after which he was caught up in a minor misunderstanding over drug smuggling. Pulver had to undergo elbow surgery after his unanimous decision loss to Urijah Faber last month, but according to Lil’ Evil, “everything is good.”

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Affliction’s Fighter Salaries Are Absolutely Ridiculous

Affliction Banned salaries MMA
(Fighter salaries for Affliction: Banned, from SI.com via MMA Mania. Click for larger image.)

One major caveat before we get started — there’s no way that Fedor Emelianenko made a half-million less than Tim Sylvia to be on this card. Either he was given a large signing bonus, or he’s getting a cut of the PPV, or both. No, I don’t have a source on that; you’ll just have to trust me.

Now that that’s out of the way, HOLY CRAP. There’s a difference between paying well and guaranteeing that your promotion will be a money-loser. When they left the UFC, Andrei Arlovski was making $105,000 to show with a $65,000 win bonus, and Tim Sylvia was making $100,000/$100,000. Atencio & Co. could have very generously offered these guys double what they were making, with the promise that contracts could be renegotiated when Affliction’s MMA promotion gets on its feet, financially speaking. In its infinite wisdom, Affliction quintupled and octupled Arlovski and Sylvia’s previous base salaries right off the freakin’ bat. Dana White is seeing these numbers and laughing his pale ass off.

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Couture Expecting a Court Ruling This Week

Randy Couture told Fox Sports that he’s expecting a ruling to be handed down this week in the Texas court where his UFC contract is being examined. Will he be free and clear in October, when the no-compete clause ends? Or will the two fights left on his contract and the “champions clause” hold up? We just don’t know, and even if we did know, there’s still the business of appeals to wade through after the ruling. But there is some indication that Couture’s attitude towards his former employers may have softened:

Couture said his status probably won’t be finalized even after the ruling because appeals are expected from the losing party. But Couture said he ultimately expects to face Emelianenko, the renowned Russian fighter who scored a 36-second submission victory over Tim Sylvia in the main event of Saturday night’s Affliction pay-per-view show in Anaheim.

“When, where and with what promotion — we don’t know,” said Couture, who exchanged challenges with Emelianenko after the Affliction show. “It could happen in UFC. We just don’t know. I want it to happen. Fedor wants it to happen. In some way, shape or form, we’re going to make it happen.”

Is this a subtle olive branch from “The Natural”? Could he be trying to tell the UFC that if they can still give him the Fedor fight, all is forgiven?

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Vitor Belfort KO’d Terry Martin with a Broken Hand

When Vitor Belfort knocked out Terry Martin at Affliction: Banned (see above video, in case you didn’t get the FSN broadcast), it was hard not to think that “The Phenom” was back. But what we didn’t know was that he did it with a broken hand. As he told the Xtreme Couture blog, he basically fought the whole bout that way:

XC: When did you break your hand?

Vitor: The first punch I threw. It was a straight left. I knew right away it broke. But I had to keep going. I couldn’t throw my combinations I had worked on. Coach Tompkins was yelling at me to throw my combos. At the end of the first round I went back to the corner and Tompkins was yelling at me, “Why don’t you throw your combos?” I said, “My hand is broken”. He said, “Ok” and Randy said, “Just go first. Go for it and finish the fight”.

I said to myself, “Ok, I’ll do that”. It was great chemistry in the corner. I went out and I did what they said. I was looking to land a big shot and get it over with. It’s my left hand, which is my power hand. I went out and threw the kick at Terry. When he caught my kick I let him take me down so I could soften him up with the elbows. I knew I could get back to my feet when I needed to. Then I set him up for the knee. After that I was able to pick his head up with the uppercut and end it with the straight left.

Belfort says he won’t need surgery, but will have to take about four weeks off before getting back in action. He also says that he has a contract with Affliction and wants to fight for them again soon, hopefully against Frank Shamrock. While that might not be the most feasible request at the current time, perhaps a derogatory t-shirt (always a favorite of ours) will get things moving in the right direction.

An unrelated but also interesting moment in the interview comes when Belfort comments on how he first got into MMA under the guidance of Carlson Gracie, before things got ugly:

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Full Salary Payouts for “Silva vs. Irvin”

Anderson Silva UFC MMA
(Photo courtesy of the UFC.)

The UFC’s impromptu SpikeTV card cost them $623,000 in fighter payroll, the breakdown of which is below (props to MMAJunkie). Looks like Anderson Silva is now making a lot more than he did for his last fight, though that could just be a one-time bump for helping suck some of the interest from “Banned.” Here are the numbahs:

Anderson Silva: $200,000 (no win bonus issued)
Brandon Vera: $200,000 (includes $100,000 win bonus)
Frankie Edgar: $51,000 (includes $13,000 win bonus and $25,000 “Fight of the Night” bonus)
CB Dollaway: $45,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus and $25,000 “Submission of the Night” bonus)
Hermes Franca: $42,000 (includes $25,000 “Fight of the Night” bonus)
Rory Markham: $37,000 (includes $6,000 win bonus and $25,000 “Knockout of the Night” bonus)
James Irvin: $20,000
Tim Credeur: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
Reese Andy: $15,000
Cain Velasquez: $14,000 (includes $7,000 win bonus)
Jake O’Brien: $11,000
Kevin Burns: $10,000 (includes $5,000 win bonus)
Brad Blackburn: $10,000 (includes $5,000 win bonus)
Anthony Johnson: $9,000
Nate Loughran: $8,000 (includes $4,000 win bonus)
Jesse Taylor: $8,000
Cale Yarbrough: $8,000
Shannon Gugerty: $6,000 (includes $3,000 win bonus)
Johnny Rees: $4,000
Brodie Farber: $3,000
James Giboo: $3,000
Dale Hartt: $3,000

Underpaid: Anthony Johnson, who pocketed less than the living wage of $10,000 to show, while having to suffer the insult/injury of losing a fight via multiple eye-pokes. Everyone whose base salary was under $8,000 can be considered “pathetically underpaid” — that’s 45% of the fighters on this card, by the way — except for Rory Markham, thanks to his Golden Foot.

Overpaid: Brandon Vera is turning into one of the most overpaid human beings on Earth, in any profession. And it hurts me to say it, because the dude used to be a walking highlight reel. Look for the UFC to renegotiate his contract at their first opportunity. Now they know better than to invest a six-figure contract into a “next big thing” heavyweight. Sucks to be you, Cain Velasquez — Vera just cockblocked your wallet.

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