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September, 2008

A Few Words About Renzo Gracie


Renzo Gracie Legacy Trailer – Watch more free videos

This is a preview of an upcoming documentary about Renzo Gracie, which I admit I am very eager to see. MMA Payout has an interesting interview with the director of “Renzo Gracie: Legacy” and in it you can hear how Gracie’s charisma and magnetism convinced him that a film needed to be made about this man.

Having been around Gracie a good deal during my IFL days, I can certainly relate. And because some of you have claimed an interest in wanting to read some of these IFL tales, I figured Gracie was as good a place as any to start.

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Barnett Says He Didn’t Turn Down CBS Fight; Affliction and Elite XC Now Blood Brothers

Despite rumors to the contrary, Josh Barnett says he did not turn down a fight with Andrei Arlovski at ‘Elite XC: Heat’ on Oct. 4. Though talk centered on the possibility that Barnett bristled at the idea of taking a pay cut to help Affliction get their co-promotion on with Elite XC on CBS, “The Baby-Faced Assassin” declared in a MySpace blog post that he was not asked to take any such pay cut and did not turn down the fight:

I read somewhere that I had declined the fight because I would have had to take a pay cut. I suppose others may also formulate some story about me declining the fight for other reasons.

I never decelned to take this fight. I was never told that I would have any part of my pay reduced since working with Affliction. To my knowledge, no one has been asked to take a pay cut that fights for Affliction.

I did not turn down this fight.

Josh

Whether Barnett knows it or not, some Affliction fighters were asked to take pay cuts for the second show. Barnett already committed to fight at Sengoku 6 in November after news of the Affliction postponement, so he may never have been a realistic option for Elite XC. Now Roy Nelson gets Arlovski, and Barnett gets to go back to Japan and entertain all the loyal Josh-a-maniacs there.

In other Affliction/Elite XC news, Affliction COO Michael Cohen indicated that there will be an ongoing arrangement between the two organizations. Affliction’s postponed second event, now apparently scheduled for Jan. 24 (or maybe there’s no set date yet, depending on who you ask), will also be a co-promotional effort between Affliction and Elite XC, and will either air on CBS or Showtime:

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Exclusive: A Few Words From Efrain Escudero

Efrain Escudero UFC TUF MMA
(Photo courtesy of MySpace.com/effyescudero)

Efrain Escudero is a 22-year-old Southwest MMA product who has built up a flawless 10-0 record fighting primarily in his home state of Arizona. Every Thursday morning, the TUF 8 lightweight will be blogging his reactions to each new episode of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir for CagePotato.com. There wasn’t much to discuss in last night’s episode — other than the fact that Efrain earned a spot in the house with a quick choke-out of Ido Pariente — but going forward, Efrain will give us the inside scoop about what happened on and off camera, and his experience living with 15 other crazy sons-a-bitches. To learn more about Efrain, check out EfrainEscudero.com.

***

After sitting and waiting through all the other fights, I was getting very anxious to step into the cage and earn my spot into the house. As more and more fighters got their names called I had only one thing on my mind: WINNING. Sitting there, I started to think about my upcoming fight and I began to worry. I found out that I would be fighting out of the red corner. The red team’s coaches would help me warm up and would be cornering me throughout my fight. So the fights begin and I don’t know anybody there, I don’t know my corner men, so this is uncharted waters for me. But worrying is like a rocking chair — you can go back and forth but you won’t get anywhere — so I decided to start warming up for my fight.

Since my corner men were coaching fighters in the cage, I decided to hit the bag for a while, but I still didn’t feel like I was ready for the biggest fight of my life. I quit hitting the bag and started running to prepare myself and get focused. At this point I was stuck in my own world — I wasn’t even paying attention to the other fights going on. Next thing I know it’s my turn. Once I heard the cage door shut behind me, I knew there was no way I was walking out without earning a bed in that house.

A few minutes later I was walking out of the Octagon feeling like a million bucks because I know I’m going to the best place to be in the world. Being there while Dana was sending all the other fighters home was a crazy situation. I was sitting with a handful of guys who had their dreams crushed, who knew they might never get another opportunity like this. Looking around at the remaining guys I still had no clue about them and I couldn’t be happier. But enough about everybody else…it’s time to start training.

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TUF 8.02 Recap: Blind Judges With Sh*t for Brains

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira UFC MMA

Last night’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter didn’t waste any time before getting into the fights, so we won’t either. Here’s how Block B of the round-of-32 shook out:

Wesley Murch vs. John Polakowski (155): Murch is a Brit who quotes Winston Churchill. Polakowski is an ADHD-sufferer who loves hugging people. Murch takes Polakowski down right away, finds nothing from top position, then goes for a heelhook and loses it. Polakowski gets on top and passes to side control, but Murch works his way out and stands up. After a good knee from Polakowski, the fight moves back to the ground where Murch takes Polakowski’s back. Polakowski reverses and ends up in Murch’s guard. Back on the feet, Murch throws a kick and falls to the ground; the round ends with Polakowski on top, throwing punches. It turns out that Murch seriously effed up his shin when he connected with the kick, but he decides to soldier through it, stiff upper lip and all that. Limping badly at the start of the second round, Murch throws a flying knee, then collapses in agony. Polakowski freaks out as if he just knocked out BJ Penn, sprinting around the cage then bouncing out to hug Nogueira, Dana White, and Mir. Mir is visibly disgusted.

Shane Primm vs. Sean O’Connell (205): Primm and O’Connell fought with an intensity usually reserved for the 155′ers. Primm strikes first with nasty knees in a clinch, while O’Connell pressures Primm with takedown attempts and a slam. Primm rolls from his back and works hard to get an armbar. O’Connell frees his arm and briefly tries for a guillotine before the fight goes standing again. Primm lands more knees from a tight clinch, then pulls O’Connell down with a kimura. Primm scores the mount, and O’Connell rolls, allowing Primm to take his back and sink the rear-naked choke. Primm thanks Mir for the coaching. Prediction: Mir’s “NIIIIIIIIIIICE!” is going to become as annoying as Matt Serra’s “Y’GOTTA BREATHE!”

Ido Pariente vs. Efrain Escudero (155): Escudero scores a takedown after some sparring, and tries to set up a darce choke. Pariente gets up and shoots in for his own takedown, but Escudero has his neck wrapped up. The fight goes to the ground, and Escudero takes Pariente’s back and secures the rear-naked choke. Pariente tries to hang in, but he’s eventually forced to tap.

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UFC Quick Hits: Bisping, Mir, Rampage/Wandy, & More

- Michael Bisping has some kind words for Chris Leben in the above ESPN interview, calling the UFC 89 bout his toughest challenge to date.

- Frank Mir astutely summed up what it was like to fight Brock Lesnar, telling Sherdog the experience was “like getting hit by a car that’s moving very slowly and you can’t get out of the way. It bumps and knocks you over and is just overwhelmingly powerful. …I didn’t know where he was half the time. It really felt like I was underwater and somebody was beating the s—-t out of me. I was just drowning under him.” Check out MMA’s undisputed champ of metaphors.

- Sounds like we can forget about seeing Wanderlei Silva-Rampage Jackson tacked on to the UFC 91 card. Yahoo!’s Kevin Iole says it’s more likely that fight will appear on a Super Bowl weekend card, but almost certainly won’t happen in 2008. At least it will give Rampage more time to sort out his legal problems and get comfortable with his new team.

- TUF 6′s Ben Saunders will take on Brandon Wolff at the UFC’s Dec. 10 event for the troops at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. This is the fight that War Machine turned down, right around the same time he made idiotic comments about Evan Tanner. Saunders kept his mouth shut and agreed to fight whoever the UFC asked him to. Guess who still has a job.

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Arlovski-Nelson to Be Added to Elite XC on CBS: Now Who’s Got the ‘Heat’?


(Network TV exposure makes Andrei feel like singing.)

Don’t look now, but Elite XC’s next offering on CBS is threatening to turn into a legitimately big time MMA event. Andrei Arlovski and Roy “Big Country” Nelson have reportedly been offered a bout against one another at Elite XC: Heat next Saturday. The fight will be an Affliction/Elite XC co-promotion. Like they say, the enemy of my enemy is my tentative friend as long as they’ll let me promote my t-shirt line.

If this sounds like late notice to be throwing a bout like this together, remember that both Nelson and Arlovski were prepping for bouts on Affliction: Day of Reckoning, which was set for October 11 until recently, so it’s reasonable to think that both guys are in fighting condition. However, while Arlovski was preparing for Josh Barnett, Nelson was getting ready to face Paul Buentello. Nothing against “The Headhunter” here, but he’s no Arlovski.

Needless to say, you can expect to see Arlovski-Nelson on the CBS portion of the card on October 4, but the bigger question is, what will this mean for the relationship between Affliction and Elite XC moving forward? Funny we should ask, because MMA Rated spoke with Jared Shaw about the deal, and he had this to say:

This is just one fight. This is a co-promoted fight and it’s the first time out and it’s the beginning of a working relationship, there’s nothing else in place. We hope that Roy Nelson vs. Andrei Arlovski is the beginning of a great budding relationship between Donald Trump’s Affliction and EliteXC.

Shaw says the two-hour CBS broadcast will now feature five fights, and had no problem saying that this news “hits Dana White hard.” We’ll see. One thing we know about Dana White is when you hit him, he usually hits back.

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Kurt Angle Insists He’ll Compete in MMA Next Year

Kurt Angle Brock Lesnar WWE
(Sorry, buddy — no dick-tattoo on your chest, no UFC contract.)

Hey, someone’s gotta fill the hole left by Anderson Silva. WWE/TNA vet Kurt Angle — who’s made similar claims in the past — now tells The Sun that he’ll definitely make the move from pro wrestling to MMA next year. And in doing so, he kind of sounds like an idiot. First off…

[W]hen asked which organisation he would be competing for…he added: “It depends on which company gives me the best deal. I’m getting offers from the UFC, Pro Elite XC, Affliction and the IFL.”

Problem 1: The IFL doesn’t exist anymore. Problem 2: Affliction’s Tom Atencio has publicly stated that Angle would be bad for the sport. Problem 3: “Pro Elite XC” is on shaky financial ground at this point, and could just as easily be extinct next year. But hey, the UFC scored big with Brock Lesnar, so maybe Dana White will roll the dice again. Which would work out, because Angle’s already assuming he’ll be fighting in an eight-sided shape:

“I’ve always wanted to do it. I’m the only Olympic gold medallist that will enter the Octagon and it feels right for me. I can almost guarantee you’re going to see me in the Octagon. Obviously I’m going to have to take a few months away from pro wrestling to get ready for that.”

Sure, a few months should cover it. To be honest, this is feeling like a FAIL waiting to happen. Especially because Angle admits that his ultimate goal is to finish out his career at TNA. (“God-willing, I’ll walk away successful and I can come away from MMA saying ‘I did it’ and go back to my professional wrestling routes.”)

Look, one Brock Lesnar is enough for us, thanks. I can only hope that Angle gets all-but-murdered in his first MMA match and goes back to fake-fighting for good.

Related: The AFL — that totally ‘tarded fight league that signed pro wrestler Bobby Lashley to a fight contract — may not be doing so well.

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‘TUF 8′ Episode 2 Preview: Tryin’ to Get That Juice

TUF 8 Spike UFC
(Looks like someone’s been training with LaDainian Tomlinson! Click the image to watch the preview.)

Alright, so we probably won’t be getting any Jason Guida-esque weight cutting drama or Jose Aguilar-esque idiocy on tonight’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter (10 p.m., Spike TV) — but at least we’ll get eight more fights. Check out the episode preview above, courtesy of Spike.com, and keep it tuned to CagePotato.com over the next couple days for a guest blog from one of the fighters who advances tonight, and an interview with one of the fighters who doesn’t make it (but has a lot to say about the TUF experience).

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Evan Tanner’s Last Blogs; Memorial Service Planned for Saturday


(Photo courtesy of Spike)

Spike.com has posted the last blog entries from Evan Tanner before his death in the southern California desert two weeks ago. If nothing else, the sentiments expressed in his last entry should effectively put to rest any suicide rumors, such as those put forth by the always-idiotic War Machine. The night before Tanner leaves on his journey into the desert, he seems anything but suicidal:

It’s Tuesday night. Tomorrow I go out into the desert. It has taken over a month to get all the gear together. The preparation for this adventure took far longer than I had expected. I’ve never done this before, so I took my time reading books, studying the land, and researching gear. A few weeks of solitude in the deep desert, and then back to civilization, and back to training.

Clearly, that’s a man who planned on coming back. The MMA world remains saddened that he didn’t.

As a reminder, a memorial service for Tanner is planned for this Saturday, Sept. 27 at 2 pm in the Amarillo Civic Center in Amarillo, Texas, for those of you who might be in the area and are interested in paying your respects. When they hold your memorial at a civic center, you know you’ve had an impact on people.

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Must-See: Rich Franklin Shows Off Acting Chops in Cyborg Soldier


(Props: UGO.com’s movie blog)

Behold, a first look at Rich Franklin in the much-anticipated action film Cyborg Soldier. As near as I can figure, the film is about a cyborg soldier who has to help Kelly Kapowski save Zach Morris from the evil Mr. Belding, who is also a cyborg.

Unfortunately, the trailer only shows us brief glimpses of Ace’s acting skillz, but based on those glimpses I think it’s fair to say that he won’t be abandoning the fight game to do Henry V any time soon. It doesn’t help to play opposite Kelly Kapowski, who as we all know is one of the great talents of our time, nor does it help to play a cyborg, which is a tough, tough role. And how does Rich communicate his cyborgness in this film? By keeping his movements stilted and his face expressionless. Acting!

The DVD drops on October 7, and we’ll be the ones sleeping on the loading dock at Wal-Mart so we can be the first to get a copy. Rumor has it that the sequel, coming out in the spring, co-stars Anderson Silva and is entitled “Death of Cyborg Soldier.”

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