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

December, 2008

Top 10 Fights on My Christmas Wish List

(There may be only one man on earth who can make the Santa hat look cool.)

I don’t want much this holiday season.  Well, besides that Red Ryder BB Gun I ask for every year.  And a pony.  But there are some fights I’d like to see in 2009, and while I don’t think that mall Santa I tried to talk to is going to be any help (let’s just say it got heated and we both said some things we didn’t really mean), I’m holding out hope that the powers that be will hear my pleas and make some of these happen.  

Here’s my wish list of ten fights for 2009.  Some are very likely.  Some are just barely feasible.  But I tried to stay away from the downright impossible, hence the absence of Fedor vs. The Highlander.  Feel free to let me know all about what’s on your list in the comments section:

1. Anderson Silva vs. Georges St. Pierre: Whether GSP beats Penn or not (magic eight ball says, “all signs point to yes,”) this has the potential to be the UFC’s biggest superfight ever.  They have precious few opportunities to settle pound-for-pound debates, but this is their best shot.  If MMA becomes legal in New York this year, as it probably will, this fight could do a Jay-Z and sell out the Garden in a day.

2. B.J. Penn vs. Kenny Florian: Perhaps no fighter in the UFC has improved so much by sheer force of will as KenFlo.  Penn is the lightweight champ, and he deserves to be, which is why I really wish he’d stop chasing fights in other weight classes and set his sights on defending that title.  Winning a belt is great, but defending it is how you cement your status as a dominant champ.  Penn probably beats Florian in a tough fight, but there’s only one way to find out.

3. Fedor Emelianenko vs. Josh Barnett:
If he beats Arlovski, this is the only realistically possible bout for Fedor that would still be compelling.  I know they’re friends and all, but Affliction is starting to feel like a narrowing path leading only to this fight.  Hopefully all parties concerned – Affliction, Barnett, Fedor, Fedor’s management team – can hold it together long enough to make it happen.


Gilbert Yvel Is Sorry, But He’s Going to Knock Josh Barnett Out

(Props: Card on the UG)

Now that Tom Atencio is saying that the winner of Day of Reckoning’s Josh Barnett/Gilbert Yvel fight will face the winner of Fedor Emelianenko/Andrei Arlovski, we might as well see how Yvel’s doing these days. Judging from the recent training clip shown above, he likes his chances for next month’s match, even though he acknowledges his deficient ground game (while giving credit to his opponent’s submission skills). He stops just short of actually apologizing for his ugly in-ring behavior in the past, but does state that he’s very happy to fight in the States again. "It’s one time, and never again," he says. Not sure if that "one time" refers to the eye-gouging, the biting, or the ref-stomping — maybe all three — but we should all just drop the Yvel-hate and start getting psyched for the inevitable Andrei/Gilbert WAMMA heavyweight championship fight at Affliction III. [Ed. note: j/k!]


UFC Confirms Fight Night 17; Velasquez/Stojnic Added

(Props: MMA Mania)

According to a new press release sent out by SpikeTV, the UFC’s 17th "Fight Night" card will go down February 7th at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida. Headlining the action will be a lightweight scrap between Joe Lauzon and Hermes Franca. Both men are coming off wins, with Lauzon most recently defeating Kyle Bradley via TKO at UFC Fight Night 15 in September, and Franca taking a unanimous decision over Marcus Aurelio at UFC 90 in October. Also on the card…

Mac Danzig vs. Josh Neer (LW): The Ultimate Fighter 6 winner looks to get back on track after being smothered by a demon-possessed Clay Guida at Fight Night 15. Neer could also use a win, as he lost a tough decision to Nate Diaz at the same event.

Amir Sadollah vs. Nick Catone (MW): This fight was originally supposed to go down at UFC 91, but Sadollah picked up some kind of leg infection and had to pull out. The match has been pushed to February, and the TUF 7 winner will finally get to test out newcomer Catone, a 5-0 Ring of Combat vet with four first-round stoppages under his belt. Sadollah is still just 1-0 as a pro.

Cain Velasquez vs. Denis Stojnic (HW): We didn’t even hear this one rumored until it was announced. Now that Mustapha Al-Turk has been re-assigned to UFC 92, they needed to find another patsy for Velasquez to eat up. Stojnic is just some random dude from Sarajevo who’s 5-1 in Europe. He is, however, a member of the Golden Glory team, which means he works out alongside Alistair Overeem, Sergei Kharitonov, and Semmy Schilt. How bad could he be?

MMA Weekly also hears that a lightweight bout between Kurt Pellegrino and Rob Emerson is possible; the entire fight card will be announced shortly.


Alistair Overeem Is Kind of a Jerk

(See, this is why we don’t hang out any more, Alistair. You get three beers in you and boom, the shirt’s off and you’re flexing again. It gets old, man.)

Adamantly refusing to play the role of the good guy in this feud, Alistair Overeem is once more accusing Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic of faking his injuries in their fight and ducking a rematch.  The Dutch fighter tells Fighters Only that Cro Cop signing to face Hong Man Choi is another sign that he doesn’t want any part of “The Demolition Man” after getting abused in their first meeting, before it was eventually stopped due to severe testicular damage brought on my Overeem’s misplaced knee strikes:

“Like I’ve always said, he doesn’t want to fight me… CroCop faked his injuries in our previous fight and now he has chosen not to fight me and instead fight Choi. He knows very well he doesn’t stand a chance against me… I would love to have a rematch but I seriously doubt if he will ever accept. For me he is not a objective anymore.”

While it’s true that Overeem was beating Cro Cop soundly before the illegal blows, calling the man a faker seems contrary to the video evidence we’ve seen, which clearly shows a hard shot in the pills.  The word after the fight was that one of Cro Cop’s testicles was possibly seriously injured after being forced inside his body.  You just can’t fake that.

Cro Cop swears he wants this rematch, and has even invited Overeem to his own special basement cage to settle the deal.  Overeem understandably turned down this offer to fight for free in his enemy’s home gym, but something is keeping this rematch from happening.  If it’s truly the people at FEG, they should have their heads examined.  Probably not by the same doctor who examined Cro Cop’s balls, though.  I hear he hasn’t been the same since.


Justin Levens and Wife Found Dead

MMA fighter Justin Levens, 28, and wife Sara McLean-Levens, 25, were found dead in their Laguna-Niguel, Calif. condo Wednesday in what police are investigating as a possible murder-suicide.  Reports indicate that Levens’ mother-in-law found the bodies and alerted authorities, who arrived and discovered the two dead of apparent gunshot wounds.

Levens fought in the UFC, WEC, and IFL, among other organizations.  He competed for Marco Ruas’ Condors in the IFL, and was a teammate of middleweight Jeremy Williams, who committed suicide in May of 2007.

Levens was scheduled to compete on the July Affliction: Banned card, but his bout was cut due to time constraints, and he later tested positive for oxymorphone and was suspended by the CSAC.  His last fight was a submission loss to Kenny Ento on October 18, 2007 in the Palace Fighting Championship.

Further information is expected to be released today.


UFC 92: The New Guys

(Mustapha Al-Turk vs. Mark Kerr, Cage Rage 20, 2/10/07)

There are so many marquee names on the UFC’s year-end card (December 27th, Las Vegas) that the three heavyweights who will be stepping into the Octagon for the first time could get lost in the shuffle. So let’s take a quick look at the dudes who will be fighting for a slice of recognition during their UFC debuts at #92…

Experience: 6-3 record, with all wins by first-round stoppage due to strikes. Last seven fights were in the now-defunct Cage Rage, where he won their British heavyweight title. Most recently defeated James McSweeney via TKO at Cage Rage 27 in July.
Will be facing: Cheick Kongo (12-4-1, 5-2 UFC)
Lowdown: Al-Turk was originally supposed to be fed to Cain Velasquez, but a knee-injury forced Velasquez to pull out of the bout. A member of the London Shootfighters camp, Al-Turk won the ADCC European Trials in 2005, but lost his first-round match at the World Championships to Gabriel Gonzaga. His solid takedowns and ground-and-pound could create serious problems for Kongo, a standup fighter without a strong ground game.

Experience: 8-1 record in various midwestern/southern regional leagues (15-1 including amateur fights). Most recently submitted Aaron Winterlee at a Subzero Fighting event in August.
Will be facing: Antoni Hardonk (7-4, 3-2 UFC)
Lowdown: A late replacement for Mark Burch, who had to pull out of his fight against Hardonk due to undisclosed reasons, Wessel trains with TUF 8 footnote Roli Delgado at Westside Kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Little Rock, Arkansas. He’s a former strength and conditioning coach for the University of Arkansas; his website also says he’s a former pro football player. We’ll see if that’s enough to stand up to Hardonk’s notoriously brutal leg-kicks.


Affliction Releases Fight Lineup for “Day of Reckoning”

(Video from Affliction’s press conference yesterday, courtesy of FightHype. If Tito is as natural doing color commentary as he was introducing Chris Horodecki, I think we’re all gonna be just fine.)

Affliction has announced the complete lineup for their "Day of Reckoning" event, which will go down January 24th at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. The five-fight undercard will be broadcast live on HDNet starting at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT, while the six-fight pay-per-view broadcast will kick off at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. That means Affliction will try to jam five undercard fights into 90 minutes — wonderful if they can pull it off, but it’ll require some seriously airtight pacing and production, which isn’t something Affliction was known for in their last event. The finalized lineup is below…

PPV Card
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Andrei Arlovski
Josh Barnett vs. Gilbert Yvel
Matt Lindland vs. Vitor Belfort
Renato Sobral vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou
Chris Horodecki vs. Dan Lauzon
Paul Buentello vs. Kiril Sidelnikov

HDNet Card
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Vladimir Matyushenko
Jay Hieron vs. Jason High
Mark Hominick vs. L.C. Davis
Antonio Duarte vs. Albert Rios
Brett Cooper vs. Patrick Speight


Quick Hits: Carneiro Cut, Atencio Talks Partnership, Ishii Wants in the UFC

(Carneiro vs. Anderson Silva, from way back in the day. Check out the easy-as-pie sweep at the 5:38 mark. Then the finish soon after.)

Jiu-jitsu ace Roan Carneiro’s services are no longer required in the UFC, reports Five Ounces of Pain.  He was let go after an unremarkable five-fight stint, going 2-3 and losing two straight – one of which was a submission loss to Kevin Burns, of all people – before being ousted.  He’s already found a new home with the World Cagefighting Alliance, where he’ll face Paul “Herpes Neck” Bradley from season seven of The Ultimate Fighter.  Yeah, you remember him.

– Affliction VP Tom Atencio still thinks Golden Boy is his friend.  He told CBS Sportsline that he wasn’t concerned about them promoting an event just thirty-five miles away and on the same night as his, saying: “We’ll be competing a little bit. It is what it is. Golden Boy is our partner, and we’re making sure that both events are known.”  By that reasoning, Affliction and the UFC, which is only reairing event on the same night, must be total BFF’s!

– Japanese judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii says he would rather flee to America to fight under the Zuffa banner than stay and compete in Sengoku or Dream, like he lead us to believe he would.  Much to the disappointment of the Japanese MMA scene, which is also looking at the potential departure of Yoshihiro Akiyama for greener pastures, Ishii says he doesn’t even mind if he has to start in the WEC. 

(Someone should tell him they don’t do the bigger weight classes in the WEC anymore.  Just make sure you’re not wearing a gi when you tell him that, because he will flip you for real).


Cro Cop Talks Choi Bout, But Will American Fans Be Denied Their NYE Freak Show?

(‘Do not mistake my kindness for weakness, my friend.’)

Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic writes on his blog that he has signed the contract to make the rumored bout with Korean giant Hong Man Choi official.  It will be contested under MMA rules, not K-1 kickboxing rules, which is nice for Cro Cop, who is hoping to end this rough year on a high note:

I must say I’m happy with this opportunity to fight again in this year. This wasn’t the best year for me and I’m hoping that I’ll end it in a good spirit. I’m also happy to fight again in Japan at New Year’s Eve, which is always truly a fantastic experience.
Although I’m still having some difficulties with my old injuries there won’t be any excuses left in case of a bad result. I’ll handle this issues in January, but against Choi I’ll be ready and nothing will stop me this time. I’ll just do my best and end this year with a win hopefully. Then I’ll focus on 2009 and work on the further steps in my career.

You know something, it really has been a tough year for Cro Cop.  He’s struggled with injuries, got his testicles smashed by Overeem, had his training partner busted for being a serial armed robber, and then there’s that whole weirdo video game thing.  Fortunately, fighting a giant on New Year’s Eve is an old Croatian folk remedy guaranteed to bring good luck.  It works best if you also sleep with a virgin on the same night, though isn’t that the story with all Croatian folk remedies? 

But hold up, American fans, there’s a strong possibility we may not even get to see the big K-1 Dynamite show.  HDNet Fights CEO Andrew Simon tells MMA Fanhouse that since their contract is with K-1, and since Dynamite is not technically a K-1 show, it’s a bit of a tricky situation.  If HDNet isn’t showing it that means it may not air in the states at all.  Which would be, as the kids say, a total bummer.  Let’s hope they work something out.


WEC Bantamweight Will Ribeiro in Coma After Motorcycle Wreck

Will Ribeiro WEC MMA

Terrible news from

WEC bantamweight Will Ribeiro is hospitalized and comatose following an early morning motorcycle accident in Rio De Janeiro, according to Ed Soares, the fighter’s manager.
Soares said one of his assistants in Brazil told him Ribeiro was riding as a passenger on the motorcycle and was not wearing a helmet. The street they were riding on was slick due to rain. Ribeiro was rushed to a local hospital and underwent emergency surgery.
“My assistant said that the doctor said for sure that he (Ribeiro) has lost sight in one of his eyes,” Soares said. “He’s still in a coma. After surgery the doctor said there is a 50-50 shot that he will come out of it (survive).”

Ribeiro (10-2) last fought two weeks ago at WEC 37, where he was submitted in the third round by Brian Bowles; before that, he won his WEC debut with a split-decision victory over former bantamweight champ Chase Beebe at WEC 34. Tatame reports that Ribeiro may have lost "encephalic mass" (part of his brain) after the accident. Thoughts, prayers, whatever it is you do…