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November, 2008

Fedor Loses. At Sambo. Does It Matter?

Fedor Emelianenko Sambo
(Would it kill the Sambo guys to put on some pants?)

Fedor Emelianenko actually lost a fight this weekend. Sort of. Competing in the World Combat Sambo Championships, Fedor lost on points (8-5) in the semi-finals to Bulgarian Blagoi Ivanov, who went on to win the gold medal. Fedor won the bronze after his opponent in the third-place match conceded without a fight. So…does this mean he’s no longer the world’s best heavyweight?

No. Of course it doesn’t mean that. Jesus, it’s just Sambo. Would you calm down? In case you’re wondering whether this Ivanov character is some preternatural fighting genius who’s set to take over the world, he probably isn’t. Fedor beat him earlier this year at the Russian Federation President’s Cup. It just so happens that Ivanov got his revenge this time, and you could make a strong case that Fedor’s been distracted by running around filming movies and hawking Affliction in the past few months.

Fighters Only floated a rumor that Affliction had already signed Ivanov to a contract, but MMA Rated has talked to VP Tom Atencio and he says it isn’t true. The way things go in Affliction, someone else in the company may very well contradict that statement tomorrow.

Long story short: Sambo isn’t MMA, so this isn’t a sign that Fedor is washed up. It is, however, wonderfully ironic when you consider that Fedor’s burning desire to continue to do Sambo was part of his problem with the restrictive UFC contract. Just think, it could have been him beating Randy Couture this weekend. At least then he wouldn’t have had to fight that mean old Bulgarian guy.

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UFC 91: Fighter Payroll Figures

Kenny Florian Joe Stevenson UFC MMA
(“Fruit smoothies are on me tonight, buddy!”)

The UFC paid out a juicy $1,358,000 in disclosed salaries and bonuses for UFC 91, with the night’s headliners walking away with over half of that total. The numbers are below; keep in mind that they don’t include income from sponsorships, undisclosed “locker room bonuses” or pay-per-view percentages, or deductions due to expenses such as insurance and taxes. And here we go…

Brock Lesnar: $450,000 (includes $200,000 win bonus)
Randy Couture: $250,000
Gabriel Gonzaga: $110,000 (includes $55,000 win bonus)
Dustin Hazelett: $88,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus, $60,000 Submission of the Night bonus)
Kenny Florian: $80,000 (includes $40,000 win bonus)
Jeremy Stephens: $76,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus, $60,000 Knockout of the Night bonus)
Jorge Gurgel: $70,000 (includes $60,000 Fight of the Night Bonus)
Aaron Riley: $68,000 (includes $4,000 win bonus, $60,000 Fight of the Night bonus)
Demian Maia: $40,000 (includes $20,000 win bonus)

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Scott Smith Lands on His Feet

Scott Smith UFC MMA
(Smith during his last UFC appearance, against Ed Herman at UFC 72. Photo courtesy of slam.canoe.ca.)

Though most of his former EliteXC stablemates are still in contract limbo, two-time middleweight title challenger Scott Smith (13-5) has managed to book his next fight. “Hands of Steel” will be taking on fellow UFC vet Terry Martin (18-5) at Strikeforce’s “Destruction” card, which will be held at San Jose’s HP Pavilion on November 21st. According to the press release we received this morning:

Despite the short notice he was given for the meeting with Martin, Smith claims he will enter the fight in better condition that he did for [his most recent] meeting with [Robbie] Lawler, as he had already been preparing for a bout on November 8th that was subsequently canceled.

“My teammates said you got to stick in there and be ready to fight at any time and that’s what I did. I think fighting two weeks later is better for me and is perfect timing…He’s a better boxer and I’m a better kickboxer. I want to keep the fight standing. I know he likes to stand and bang so it’s looking to be a slugfest.”

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Anderson Silva Superfight with Chuck Liddell at UFC 95 Looking Like a Real Possibility

Anderson Silva
(Photo courtesy of NBC Sports)

Britain’s The Sun confirmed that the UFC is headed back to London for UFC 95 in February, and they’re adding weight to the rumor that it might have Anderson Silva vs. Chuck Liddell as its main event.

SunSport understands Middleweight champion Anderson Silva, 33, has been asked to appear on the card, with a potential bout with light heavyweight star Chuck Liddell already being mooted.

Dana White said Silva was “flipping out” about the negative response from fans and media types to his performance against Patrick Cote at UFC 90. Going up a weight class to pummel a former champ might be enough to silence those critics for good. The bout also has enough star power and intersecting story lines to make it a huge draw.

If it does happen, it’s a tough fight for Liddell. Even if he beats Silva, his detractors will just say it was due to the size advantage. If he loses — a real possibility against the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter — it becomes harder to ignore the call of retirement. Then again, after the loss to Rashad Evans you have to wonder how many interesting fights are left for him at 205. This could easily be his last moment in the spotlight. At least it’s a big one.

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Lesnar Doesn’t Have the Internet, UFC Not Even Close to a Network Deal, and Other UFC 91 Revelations

Brock Lesnar
(Lesnar: title belt, stitches, and all. Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)

Dana White and the cast of fighters from UFC 91 were surprisingly forthcoming at the post-fight press conference on Saturday night, with one exception. Near the end of the Q & A session, a reporter asked Brock Lesnar what the essential differences were between being a UFC employee and a WWE one, from a business standpoint.

“Don’t answer that question,” White said to his new heavyweight champ, only half-jokingly. Lesnar said he wouldn’t. It got a laugh. Seems like these two are going to get along just fine. When someone brought up the possible Kimbo Slice-Brock Lesnar comparison, based more on the number of pro fights each man had than the quality, White was quick to shoot it down.

“It drove me crazy when people would compare him to Kimbo Slice. If I had hair I’d pull it out. He’s far from Kimbo Slice.”

“I don’t even know that guy,” said Lesnar, who had already claimed not to “have the internet” or even read newspapers when asked if he was discouraged by critics in the press. “Who is he?”

“You’re lucky,” said White.

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Video: Bas and Daryn Settle Their Beef


(Props: MMA Scraps)

Because we could all use at least a momentary break from the aftermath of Brock vs. Randy, here’s the stunning conclusion of the video-war between Bas Rutten and comedian/Canadian MTV host Daryn Jones, which began with some good-natured parody and escalated beyond anybody’s control. Anyway, they decided to put their differences aside and spend a day hangin’ in Toronto, culminating with a very cathartic trip to see The Women. Best part: Daryn asks Bas for advice about this chick he likes who seems to be into another guy. Bas suggests, “you just grab any kind of knife, kitchen knife, you just stab him in the liver, and he’ll bleed to death on the inside.”

After the jump, the 11/15 edition of Dana White’s video blog, where BJ Penn advises GSP on how to dress for the beach, Dana White prowls backstage during UFC 91, Jorge Gurgel shows up looking appropriately bummed after his fight, Brock Lesnar has an awkward encounter with 50 Cent, and Junie Browning shows up to talk about the pitfalls of being a reality star.

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WWE Gets Its Gloat On

Brock Lesnar Randy Couture MMA UFC 91
(Maybe it’s just the camera angle, but Lesnar does appear to have a slight size advantage. Photo courtesy of The Sun.)

From WWE.com, not that I ever go there:

LAS VEGAS – In a stunning upset, Brock Lesnar became the first man to capture both the WWE Championship and the UFC Heavyweight Championship* when he defeated UFC fan favorite Randy “The Natural” Couture on Saturday night in Sin City…

For Lesnar, the road to UFC gold proved surprisingly short. Within roughly six months**, the former WWE Superstar climbed to the top of the ultimate fighting heap, capping his ascent with the upset victory over Couture.

Critics have noted that many of the fights on the UFC pay-per-view ended in the first round, leaving UFC producers scrambling to fill the three-hour event with content. The dearth of hearty competition*** left many viewers to watch less prestigious under-card fights and only served to bolster claims that UFC pay-per-view events can often be a “crap shoot”**** in regards to filling the full three hours.

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LOLBrock…

Brock Lesnar UFC 91 MMA God
(Props: LifeType1)

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UFC 91 Bonuses + Videos


(Hazelett vs. McCrory. Props to MMAScraps.)

Last night’s UFC 91 transcended its humble lineup and turned out to be a memorably action-packed night of fights, with eight dramatic stoppages and one 15-minute war, which featured Jorge Gurgel once again brawling instead of playing to his strengths. Who knows how many losses it’ll take for him to learn his lesson — Gurgel is now 3-4 in the UFC, with all but one fight going to decision — but the UFC will be rewarding the bad behavior with a $60,000 pay bump. Gurgel and Aaron Riley picked up the Fight of the Night bonus for their wild kickboxing match, which ended in a unanimous D for Riley.

Jeremy Stephens took home the $60k Knockout of the Night bonus for his skull-shattering uppercut of Rafael dos Anjos in the third round of their fight. While there were only two stoppages by strikes to choose from (Gabriel Gonzaga was responsible for the other one), UFC 91 featured five fights ending in submission, and though Kenny Florian and Demian Maia’s rear-naked chokes of Joe Stevenson and Nate Quarry were just as impressive, the UFC awarded Dustin Hazelett the Submission of the Night windfall for his oma-into-armbar pretzelage of poor Tamdan McCrory. Gurgel vs. Riley and more fights after the jump…


(Stephens vs. Dos Anjos. Props to FightChat.)

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Video: Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Couture

Props to MMAScraps. Get it while it lasts…

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