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

August, 2008

Say It Ain’t So: WEC Headed to Pay-Per-View?

There’s plenty to love about the WEC. Zuffa’s brand of minor league MMA features competitive bouts between lesser-known fighters, including the lighter weight classes that get so little love in other organizations. But does that mean MMA fans are willing to pay extra for it?

Dana White seems to think so, as he told Yahoo! Sports that he plans to put on a WEC pay-per-view event, possibly in 2009. Yahoo! says it could go down “as early as May,” and also says that Zuffa will follow through on plans to absorb the WEC’s light heavyweight and middleweight divisions into the UFC. That means even fewer fighters will be available for the WEC cards that fans will soon be asked to pay for.

Asked how many events the WEC would stage in 2009, White replied, “We’re still figuring that out, but I can tell you this: It’s not going to go down.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t one of the WEC’s main selling points the fact that it was always free on Versus? Why go and screw with that? There’s been a clear dichotomy even in the UFC between fight cards that are good for free TV (i.e. Spike TV) and those that are of pay-per-view quality. As great a year as the WEC has had, asking fans to pay premium prices means expectations go up too. With so many UFC events already stretching the pay-per-view budget of many fans, it could also mean a decline in overall WEC viewership.

I think I speak for all non-independently wealthy MMA fans when I say, damn.


Rampage Isn’t Guilty…Because He Had No Idea What He Was Doing

Yesterday we were somewhat surprised to hear that former UFC champ Quinton “Rampage” Jackson had pleaded not guilty in his felony hit-and-run, evading police case. Usually when there are pictures of you committing a crime in a monster truck that has your picture on it, your legal options are fairly limited. But Jackson spoke to the OC Register after his arraignment on Thursday and cleared a lot of things up. You see, he only did it because God and the devil were fighting inside his mind. It happens. Oh, and he had also been watching “The Secret,” in addition to not sleeping, eating, or drinking anything other than nutritious energy drinks:

Jackson, a former UFC champion who is one of the biggest names in one of the fastest-growing sports, said he also felt there was a spiritual war going on in his mind between God and the devil when he raced down Newport Boulevard on July 15, leaving a wake of rumpled cars, frightened pedestrians and angry police.

He said he thought he was on a mission to save a friend – who had recently lost his faith in God – and was unaware that he had hit any other cars or was being pursued by a phalanx of police cars.

“I thought I heard the voice of God telling me to go save Brian,” he said in an interview Thursday after his arraignment on two felony evading arrest charges. “I felt if I didn’t get to Brian, he would die.”

Now, he says, he believes he was irrational because of lack of sleep and nutrition.

“What was I thinking?” he said. “l know now that Brian was never in danger. …But I really thought at the time that he was about to die.”

The chase apparently ended in front of friend Brian Talbert’s home. Rampage had spent the night before watching the DVD of “The Secret” over and over again, and then remembered he had loaned a copy to Talbert, and became obsessed with getting to him to make sure he watched it. For those of you unaware, “The Secret” is a completely ridiculous New Age-type philosophy that encourages people to change physical reality through the sheer force of thought. It is, in other words, alchemy for the modern idiot. But wait, this Rampage saga gets weirder:


Kimbo Sightings: Facebreaker, ‘I Am a Fighter’

Kimbo Slice‘s new spot for EA Sports’s Facebreaker. I guess the ability to play as a female version of Kimbo is a selling point. Props to YouveBeenBlinded

Slice recalls the fateful hurricane that changed the course of his life, in this new promo for Showtime Sports. Props to FiveOuncesofPain.


Couture Willing to Fight Once More for the UFC

Randy Couture MMA UFC

Rumors that Randy Couture might be headlining UFC 91 in Portland may be extremely far-fetched, but they picked up a little more heat yesterday evening with a report published by MMA Junkie, which said that The Natural is willing to fight once more in the UFC, possibly before the end of the year, as part of an out-of-court settlement with the organization; Couture would want to be completely free of his UFC contract after the fight.

Excited? Don’t be. There’s no indication that the UFC is even considering this offer. We already know that Dana White likes to screw with his fighters as much as possible when they try to leave him. And according to Bloody Elbow’s Michael Rome, Couture’s negotiation tactic is nothing new:

In June, when the UFC was desperate for a London main event replacement for Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture supposedly made an offer to fight Nogueira if he would be allowed to leave and fight elsewhere immediately after. The UFC turned it down. I don’t believe they are any more likely to accept the settlement now, especially with an arbitration decision about to be handed down.

One problem with Couture doing a final sendoff fight in the UFC is that he’s still technically their heavyweight champion, which raises some logistical issues. He probably wouldn’t get to face interim champ Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, because if Couture wins, he leaves the league with the belt — a situation which the UFC goes to great legal lengths to prevent from ever happening. If Randy is allowed back in for one more go — and I’m not saying this will happen, I’m just saying — he’d probably be stripped of his title then set up in a big-name fight against someone like Brock Lesnar. Not only would Couture/Lesnar be a PPV bunker-buster, but as it turns out, Lesnar’s previously rumored next opponent may be on ice for a while. On the latest episode of MMA Live, ESPN The Magazine‘s Ryan Hockensmith reveals that Cheick Kongo is planning to have shoulder surgery soon to correct a problem that had been bothering him even before his last fight against Dan Evensen, and he won’t be able to fight again this year. Sure Cheick, we believe you…


KJ Noons Rants His Side of the Story

KJ Noons became the latest Elite XC fighter to release an official statement, as he finally dished on what’s been keeping him from taking a fight with Nick Diaz on the October 4 CBS show. Noons sent his screed to, and it is full of fun little quips and nuggets about life in Elite XC. Noons’ grievances range from the financial to the probably merely perceived to the petty, but he puts it all out there with enough attitude and anger to make up for all the time he let Jared Shaw run his mouth without consequences. Among his complaints:

In the Elite XC’s DVD where Diaz and I fought there are two (2) baseball cards of Diaz and Kimbo. Hello! I won the fight and Elite XC’s promoting Diaz after I beat him? Or how about the day Elite XC flew Diaz in to do a signing on the DVD where he lost. Wow, that must have been uncomfortable Nick? Signing a DVD, and it is a fight that you lost. Why wasn’t I flown in for the signing?


Consider when Elite XC gives a couple thousand tickets away at their CBS show in Stockton.
Elite XC gives me a hard time about comping me one extra ticket for my cousin that helped me train for my fight. I only get four tickets per show. I am the main event in Honolulu, my home town! I did not ask for any tickets for my family and friends and they gave me a hard time about one extra ticket!

Or how about when Elite XC brought Diaz into the ring after my last victory in Hawaii to disrespect me and my family.

Chuck Champion (President Elite XC) threatens me, my family and my manager with lawsuits and how he’s going to sue me. HAHA. Pretty hard to sue a guy who does not make jack with your company. I’m glad $kala disclosed how much I make, which breached the confidentiality clause of the contract. I will break down the real numbers for you. I am the defending world champ, I have been the main event for Elite XC three out of four times on Showtime. In almost two years I have made approximately $83,000?

Of course, Noons then goes on to tread familiar ground for fighters, explaining that he has to pay his trainers and managers and (gasp!) taxes with that money, so he figures he’s really only making around $300 a week, and his friends who are bus boys make more than that (he really said that).

The Diaz situation rears its ugly head in all of this, and it seems that their request to have Noons face him in a rematch on CBS was what really set “King Karl” off:


Rampage Jackson Pleads Not Guilty

(‘Ummm…it wasn’t me?’ Photo courtesy of MMA Punch.)

Gossip site TMZ — the same site that first captured former UFC champ “Rampage” Jackson’s run from the law — is now reporting that the former champ has “pleaded not guilty to felony counts of evading police, hit-and-run and reckless driving” and is free on $25,000 bond. They’re also kind enough to point out that there are no shortage of pictures and witnesses in the case, as they well know.

Is this all an attempt to get the charges knocked down, or is it possible that Rampage really thinks he has a chance of beating this? In all the discussion that has surrounded this case, never once has anyone put forth the serious hypothesis that he might be innocent. Maybe ‘not guilty by reason of energy drinks’? That’s a real defense, right? Pretty sure I saw it on ‘Law & Order’ once. Jack McCoy wasn’t even trying to hear it, though, and that dude went down, which doesn’t bode well for Rampage if any of the potential jurors in this case also saw that episode.

Rampage is due back in court on November 3, TMZ says. That’s not too far away from UFC 91 on November 15, and if the UFC follows through on its plan to put Rampage in that event it may be cutting things a little close. The guy is already dealing with enough distractions. Trying to train and then fight while he’s got an ongoing criminal case might be too much to ask.

Stay tuned to see how this one plays out…


Famous Last Words: Ken Shamrock Edition

Ken Shamrock MMA Kimbo Slice

Ken Shamrock to Sherdog:

“[T]he Kimbo Slice thing came up and we said, ‘Wow, this is the perfect fight for me, man. You can’t gift wrap one better than this’…Honestly, I think I can test him anywhere. He’s got big, heavy hands. Everyone says he punches hard and he probably does. But again, he doesn’t punch properly, in my opinion. He swings his hands, he moves his body back and forth trying to get as much power as he can, but there’s really no snap behind it. You can usually see the punches coming. I’m going to do what I need to do. If it goes to the ground, I’ll probably break his leg. I mean, no question. I will break his leg. If he gives it to me, I’m going to break it.”

The bad news is, Ken has proven multiple times that he doesn’t need to be punched “properly” to briefly lose consciousness. A firm tap will do. Picture a police officer knocking on a door — that’s about the force required to knock out Ken Shamrock. Bonus: Check out this video from earlier this year of Ken and some IFL fighters going over a hypothetical matchup between him and Kimbo.


Jason Guida Blows It

Jason Guida MMA

Remember last season of The Ultimate Fighter when they had 32 guys immediately fight for 16 spots in the house, and advised everyone not to come in more than five pounds over? Well, Jason Guida doesn’t; like, at all. The Chicago-based fighter — who’s better known as the older brother of UFC lightweight gatekeeper Clay Guida — arrived heavy at the first day of filming, and was unable to cut down to the 205-pound limit for his elimination fight. According to MMA Rated:

One source told us that he thought Guida’s inability to cut the weight would be used to add some drama to an early episode, comparing it to Gabe Rudiger’s unflattering exit when he was unable to make weight during TUF 5.

Not sure if this makes Guida a pussy or a poser, but either way, he’s gone. And it’s a shame because a stint on TUF could have helped turn his fortunes around. Guida carries a 17-17 record and has bounced around a number of regional promotions in his five-year career; he had his most high-profile bout to date at Adrenaline MMA 1 in June, where he was submitted in the first round by heavyweight Mike Russow. (Fun fact: Guida went 0-5 with two no-contests in his first seven pro bouts, so he’s nothing if not persistent.) No word yet on who, if anyone, replaced Guida in his TUF entrance fight.


Worst Comeback Ever?

(Now that is one grim Sam’s Club.)

In case you missed it, we were falling out over Team Bison’s “official statement on behalf of Brett Rogers” yesterday. They naturally took the opportunity to bash Kimbo Slice and Ken Shamrock, accusing the former of shuckin’ and duckin’ and the latter of being 103 years old, but they had us at “Black Yeti.” Being the industrious reporter that he is, Five Ounces of Pain’s Sam Caplan contacted Kimbo’s camp for a response. What he got, courtesy of Kimbo’s manager, Icey Mike, was the above photo with the remark: “Rogers, don’t quit your day job.”

Seriously, Icey Mike? That’s it? Team Bison comes out with a dissertation on the lameness of Kimbo Slice and all Team Kimbo can come up with is a picture and a sentence? Sounds like someone’s entourage isn’t earning their money. It isn’t enough to just stand in the background and shout ‘Do it, Ferg!’ anymore, fellas. You’re in the big time now.

The remark is an apparent reference to Brett Rogers’ former job working as a tire repairmen at Sam’s Club. Trouble is, he already quit back in January. So this is kind of like coming back with a generic ‘your momma’ joke after a deeply personal attack. It lacks imagination and zing!, in other words.

Honestly, if there was one aspect of this Slice-Rogers feud that I really expected Kimbo to come out on top in, it was the pre-fight entourage shit-talking. Now I don’t know what to believe in. Thanks for the existential crisis, Icey Mike.


Why Dana White is Not Slamming the Door on Tito Ortiz

UFC president Dana White
(‘Oh, hello there. Didn’t see you come in. Just rolling up my sleeves and inspecting this cage here. No big deal. It’s part of what I do.’)

Dana White is a man of simple tastes. He loves fighters who are neither pussies nor posers. He loves dropping F-bombs. He loves making life hell on all those who would oppose or seek to compete with him. The last one explains what he’s doing with the Tito Ortiz contract situation, and why he doesn’t mind being so open about it. Because what’s the fun of screwing with someone if they don’t know that you’re doing it? From Sergio Non’s USA Today blog:

I read recently that Tito supposedly is negotiating with UFC again. If that’s the case, how did that come about?

As part of his contract, he goes out and … I don’t know, something to do with his contract, but he’s still got his foot in the door with his contract. As part of our business practice in this crazy world these days, we — let me think how I can word this to you.

Take your time.

Yeah, probably going to have to.

I always say, we make this thing look a lot easier than it really is, and we’re definitely not going to make it easy for anybody else. We’re going to make things tough for other people.

It sounds like you’re saying basically you have certain negotiation rights with Tito.

Yup, and I’m going take them.

Given what you guys said about each in the months leading up to his last fight, how realistic is to expect Tito to ever fight in UFC again?

Listen, me and Tito didn’t say anything worse than what we said before he came back and became a coach on The Ultimate Fighter. Tito and I do not like each other. We do not. It’s 100% real, we don’t like each other at all, but it doesn’t mean we haven’t done business together before.

So basically, White is driving up the price on people like Affliction and Elite XC, most likely because Ortiz’s contract has a clause that allows him to match competitors’ offers within a certain window. Whether he’s really open to resigning Tito or whether that’s just something you say to make your intentions seem more genuine, that’s a different question. In the meantime, he can really make life hard for other promotions, and man, does he ever enjoy that.