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21 Humans Who Make Being Human Look Really, Really Hard

December, 2008

Brit Brawler Neil Grove Signs Four-Fight Agreement With UFC

(Well, he seems to be better than Kimbo, at least.)

In an attempt to add another warm body to its heavyweight division — and another recognizable fighter to its UK cards — the UFC has reportedly signed heavyweight Neil "Goliath" Grove to a four-fight contract. The 6’6" South African native compiled a 6-1 record fighting in Cage Rage and the UK MMA Championship, with all his wins coming by KO/TKO. He holds notable victories over James Thompson (the 10-second beating shown above) and Robert "Buzz" Berry (twice). He also has a unique martial arts pedigree:

Grove…holds the black belt rank of Shihan in Go-Ju Ryu Karate, a full-contact style which emphasizes sparring and grappling.

Judging from some of his fights, you’d think he was a third-degree black belt in Drunken British Soccer Hooligan. But it works for him, and that’s cool with us. Grove is looking to debut at UFC 95 (February 21st; London, England), and has his eye on Mustapha Al-Turk, the man who held Cage Rage’s British heavyweight title before the organization shut down. Al-Turk will first face Cheick Kongo at UFC 92 (December 27th, Las Vegas).

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Nothing To See Here: No Ortiz Announcement at Today’s Presser, Says Affliction’s Atencio


(‘So I put on my good jeans for nothing then?’)

Affliction VP Tom Atencio tells Fighters Only the organization won’t be announcing the signing of Tito Ortiz at today’s press conference after all.  With Ortiz on the shelf recovering from back surgery Atencio says they’re not even discussing contract specifics yet, despite reports to the contrary.  Could it be that even Atencio has his doubts about Affliction being around long enough for Ortiz to fight for them?

Updated: He’s an announcer for the event.  Happy now?  Me neither.

If there’s no Tito signing, that leaves Affliction with a problem at today’s presser.  There’s going to be no Fedor, since he’s decided to stay in the gym following his sambo loss.  There’s no big news, now that the big fights are all announced.  It’s nothing but a photo op, and “Pretty Boy” Lindland is probably going to wander into all the pictures anyway so even that aspect of it is a waste.  

Hardly the kind of thing they need to drum up interest in January’s card, which will air opposite a rebroadcast of UFC 91 on Spike.  Apparently Dana White has downgraded the Affliction threat from ‘emergency Fight Night needed’ to ‘reruns will kill it’ status – ouch.  

Our advice on how to handle this press conference: make stuff up.  Worry about making it come true later.  

Just saying, what if the Iron Sheik was a guest referee in the main event?  What if Josh Barnett was reassigned to a pro wrestling match against Don Frye, while Aleksander Emelianenko stepped in to face Gilbert Yvel?  What if both Aleks and Gilbert were given blood tests before and after the fight, just to see how the results differed?  What if the loser of the Vitor Belfort-Matt Lindland fight actually had the design for the Affliction “River Styx” tee (only $56!) tatted on his torso in front of a live audience?  People can say they won’t watch that show, but they some lying bastards.

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Alert Your Inner Ten-Year-Old: UFC Topps Cards Out Just In Time to Be a Month Late For Christmas


(Weird, I heard Pride turned down this exact same trade.)

I’ll admit it: I collected baseball cards as a kid.  We all did.  It was cheap, fun, and the internet hadn’t been invented yet.  You could trade them with unsuspecting younger brothers and obsessively check their worth in the handy Beckett guides.  It was basically the elementary school stock market, only girls weren’t interested so it was more like the stock market in 1890.

I only bring this up now because Topps is releasing its first line of UFC cards in January of 2009 and I’m wondering, are MMA-loving adults the market for this, or do kids still care about trading cards now that they have cell phones and the Wii and overly sensitive stepfathers?

The cards look great, but it’s hard to imagine myself, now an adult (at least legally), buying some.  I’ve long since given up the dream that everyone’s mom but mine will throw them away, resulting in them becoming valuable collector’s items, like these bad boys.  I guess my question is, is the kind of thing the UFC thinks I’ll actually buy, the way TapouT somehow thinks I’ll buy an Octagon-shaped bed?  Or is this the kind of thing they think the children who I’m always chasing off my lawn will buy?

Also, of the 100 cards being offered in the first set, ninety are actual fighters and the remainder is made up of, according to the press release: “a mix of personalities such as Dana White and the Octagon Girls.”  Man, if I buy a pack hoping for that Georges St. Pierre rookie card and I a get one of Dana White leaning against a cage in a partially unbuttoned dress shirt, no amount of free gum is going to placate me. 

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K-1 Comes Down Hard on Badr Hari

It took them 11 days to do it, but K-1 has finally come up with a punishment for their heavyweight champion Badr Hari, who became possessed by spirits at the K-1 World GP Final on December 6th, and ended his match with Remy Bonjasky by tossing him to the mat and stomping on his head (both big no-nos according to K-1 rules). The verdict? Hari will have to forfeit all of his earnings from the event, and he’ll be stripped of his heavyweight title and his status as World GP second-place finisher. Ouch.

Of course, Hari’s dickheadedness in the wake of his disqualification contributed to the harsh sentence. Said FEG event producer Sadaharu Taniagawa:

"K-1 is a sport, K-1 is not street fighting. We had the same problem with Bob Sapp in the past, and it’s unfortunate it happened again yesterday. I was sitting ringside with Masato, and he was very angry with Hari’s actions. This morning in the newspapers I read Hari’s comments, he seemed unapologetic, and that is disappointing. We have rules, to fight in K-1 you must have a professional attitude."

Maybe if Hari didn’t compare endangering an opponent’s life with head-stomps to "cycling on the pavement," K-1 officials might have shown some mercy. Unfortunately, they were forced to send him a message, and that message was: "Not cool, bro."

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Betting Odds Released for Emelianenko/Arlovski, GSP/Penn

Andrei Arlovski Fedor Emelianenko MMA Affliction Day of Reckoning
(Photo courtesy of AfflictionClothing.com/DayofReckoning)

The online betting site 5Dimes was the first to put up odds for Affliction: Day of Reckoning’s main event, now offering a +325 underdog line for the Pitbull, and -475 for the Last Emperor; in other words, bet $100 on Andrei to win $375, bet $475 on Fedor to win $100. Apparently the line was first established at +400/-600, but it started to even out as money began flooding in for Arlovski. (According to BestFightOdds, BetCris‘s numbers are slightly more generous, and they’re already offering odds for the Josh Barnett/Gilbert Yvel match.) If you feel like taking a risk on the Pitbull, you may want to act soon, since your potential profit could decrease as Arlovski fans continue to drop cash on him.

Personally, I feel that betting against Fedor is always a bad move — even if Arlovski’s been hard at work, taking detailed notes. But 5Dimes and BetCris are also offering a far more interesting wager: Georges St. Pierre vs. BJ Penn at UFC 94. Though 5Dimes set the line at -245/+175 on Monday with Penn as the underdog, the numbers have already shrunk down to -210/+160, meaning that bets are coming down solidly on the Prodigy. If you think GSP has the edge here, definitely keep an eye on the odds to see if they go any lower for him.

Semi-related: Andrei Arlovski now refers to Tim Sylvia as "Pee Pee Taste." Brilliant.

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Steve Cantwell Admits He Got a Little Carried Away


(In case you missed it…)

Steve Cantwell has been taking some heat for sounding so pleased with himself after bending Razak Al-Hassan’s arm like a Gumby doll at “Fight for the Troops.”  Telling Joe Rogan in the post-fight interview that he had "been waiting so long to do that,” was maybe not the best way of wishing his opponent a speedy recovery.  Now Cantwell tells MMA on Tap it was just the adrenaline talking:

“You know that was a really weird outcome to the fight. I had the arm locked in tightly and expected Razak to tap right away – then we rolled twice and it got even tighter. I was thinking to myself ‘This guy is made of rubber – this is crazy’. The only thing I could to end the fight was force the arm until either it broke or he tapped, and that’s what I did. Fighting is always a series of calculated risks, and he had ample opportunity to tap. But none of us enter the ring trying to end each others career, and I do regret the comments I made and being so animated about it afterwards. It was the adrenalin taking over.”

Fair enough, Steve.  It’s somewhat understandable.  As we’ve all observed, nothing good ever comes out of those immediate post-fight interviews.  The guy is either too pumped up, too out of breath, or too busy trying to yank his sponsor’s t-shirt down over his sponsor’s baseball cap to say anything meaningful.  Really, the best you can hope for is that he doesn’t call anyone a cocksucker or lapse into dead air when asked to talk us through the replay.

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Here It Is, Your Moment of Zen…


(Props: BloodyElbow)

Dave Kaplan wonders where the "Tenderness" is during his cage-entrance at the TUF 8 finale on Saturday; it certainly wasn’t in the arms of Junie Browning. More video awesomeness after the jump.

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Cro Cop’s New Video Game — Only 49.90 Kuna!

This is so amazing it has to be a hoax — but DreamFighters.com assures us that it’s the real deal. Basically, PRIDE superstar/UFC washout Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic has a video game coming out this month. Here’s the press release, conveniently translated from the original Croatian into broken English:

So in short the story is based on a story Croatian Martial Artists, Crocop – Cro Cop: Beyond Reality. The cooperation with the Orlando film and Provox, 24sata brings you this is the entertainment adrenalin by super popular price of only 49.90 kuna*! If you are a lover of computer games or just like good, relaxing entertainment**, the game Cro Cop: Beyond Reality right choice for you. Mirko Filipovi? brought in an unforgettable adventure that will meet with a number of enemies and dangerous, unpredictably situations. Game, which was created in a high-performance animation, is a dynamic and interesting.*** Offers the option to choose fighters as well as the environment for the fight, and besides playing through levels, it is possible to conduct independent and fight against various enemies.
Game to look at all newsstands**** from 17 December and for only 49.90 kuna! You can order via the web and shop 24sata:

* $9.55 American. Which does seem like a "super popular price" until you see the screenshots. My favorite is the one below, where Mirko seems to be fighting the lovechild of Slim Goodbody and a velociraptor.

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Corey Hill Could Use a Little Help


(Photo courtesy of UFC.com)

Corey Hill’s sickening leg-break at “Fight For The Troops” was easily one of the worst injuries ever in the UFC.  Just ask Joe Rogan, who has seen it all in the Octagon and still had terror in his voice as he shouted for the fight to be stopped.  Or ask Dana White, who said afterwards: "Had this fight happened 7 years ago, we probably wouldn’t have been legalized."

Gracie Tampa has set up a charity fund to help Hill through his recovery.  Word has it that the UFC paid for his medical bills (which is right friendly of them), but the guy has a wife and three kids who are going to need a little help while Hill recovers, and if you’re not already tapped from giving money to support TBI research, you can go ahead and give money to help a guy who got hurt on the card to raise money for TBI research.  This is getting weird.

The good news for Hill is that his injury was almost identical to the one suffered by Brazilian fighting legend Jose “Pele” Landi-Jons, and he was back in the gym a couple months later, complaining about the fight being ruled a loss instead of a no contest and angling for a rematch.  Then agan, “Pele” is insane.

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Randy Couture Joins Cast of Stallone’s “The Expendables”


(I blame you for this, Samuel L. Jackson hat.)

All that waiting just to see Randy Couture in the Octagon again, and now after one fight he looks to be headed back to the glorious world of film, where people only pretend to punch you in the face. 

Sylvester Stallone has revealed
that Couture will appear in his upcoming movie “The Expendables,” which begins filming this March in Brazil.  The film – a charming little tale about a group of mercenaries who must infiltrate a South American country to overthrow an evil dictator – was written by Stallone and will also be directed by him.

Couture joins an all-star action movie cast that includes Dolph Lundgren, Jet Lei, Jason Statham, and even…wait for it…Forrest Whitaker.  Ghost Dog, son!  How could this not be good?  

If the name of the movie seems familiar in a Stallone context, that’s probably because you’ve seen “Rambo: First Blood Part II,” in which the titular character explains to his improbably attractive Vietnamese friend what the word expendable means: “It’s like someone invites you to a party and you don’t show up?  It doesn’t really matter.”

Sly wrote that script too, so just imagine what’s in store for us when “The Expendables” finally hits screens in 2010.  

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