erika eleniak photos
Classic Crush: 20 Photos of Erika Eleniak, Super-Babe of the ’90s

July, 2009

Fedor Opponentwatch Update: Belfort Is ‘Official’, Rogers Would Step in For 800k

Brett Rogers Fedor Emelianenko MMA Affliction
(Oh, what could have been…)

According to TheFightNetwork, Fedor Emelianenko vs. Vitor Belfort is really happening:

Shawn Tompkins, head trainer at Xtreme Couture, has confirmed to The Fight Network that Vitor Belfort has signed on to fight Fedor Emelianenko August 1st at the Affliction ‘Trilogy’ event in Anaheim, California. Belfort was originally scheduled to fight Jorge Santiago on the same card in a middleweight bout. The main event was forced to be changed after Josh Barnett failed a pre fight drug test by the California State Athletic Commission.

Affliction VP Tom Atencio did not make reference to this replacement — or make any other earth-shattering announcements — on today’s conference call, which you can get a summary of here. Meanwhile, undefeated bruiser (and actual heavyweight) Brett Rogers did in fact throw his name out as an option. A source told SI’s Josh Gross that the Grim was asking for "a purse approaching at least the $800,000 Affliction Entertainment paid Sylvia to fight Emelianenko." Affliction, it seems, respectfully declined.

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Franklin/Henderson II Was Announced Without Franklin’s Knowledge

Rich Franklin MMA UFC
(Whaddya say, Rich — once more for old times’ sake?)

The announcement that a rematch between Dan Henderson and Rich Franklin would headline UFC 103 (September 19th, Dallas) came as a bit of a surprise to us. And apparently, Franklin was just as surprised as we were. Here’s how he described the booking to MMA Junkie:

"I left [a contract negotiation session in Las] Vegas thinking the fight with Henderson wouldn’t materialize. I found out by being woken up by a text (message) yesterday…I was taking a nap on the couch and had about 50 messages when I woke up…The UFC had announced it without telling me. My group of people were some of the last to know."

Nice, Dana. Luckily, Franklin is being a good sport and going along with it, even if he still doesn’t know which weight class the fight will be contested at. Said Franklin: "I’m assuming (it’s at) 205…I haven’t spoken to anyone about it, so anything I say is only speculation…Even if [Henderson] lost to me at 205, it shouldn’t affect his standing at 185 pounds. So I’d assume the UFC would do this fight at 205."

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It’s Time to Play: “Who Wants to Fight Fedor on a Week’s Notice!?”

Vitor Belfort and Mike Tyson
(All right guys, just flip a coin for it.  Loser fights Fedor.  Winner gets an ice cream sandwich.)

Remember when the fun trend among MMA fighters was to declare their desire and willingness to fight Fedor Emelianenko, despite not being in the same organization or even weight class?  Well, somebody better go call all those bastards up, because Fedor needs a replacement opponent in a hurry.  With Josh Barnett getting the no-go from the California State Athletic Commission, Affliction is said to be looking at four possible replacements, which range from unlikely to damn near impossible to not that credible of a challenger even if they did agree to it. 

But why stop with the merely implausible or ill-advised possibilities?  Clearly, this is a total shit-show of a problem that requires a total shit-show of a solution.  Allow us to examine the possibilities…

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Exclusive: Jay Hieron on Affliction’s Future, Xtreme Couture’s Reputation, and Where He Might Fight Next


(Hieron vs. Jason High at Affliction: DoR. Don’t worry, it doesn’t take long.)

Xtreme Couture welterweight Jay Hieron takes on Paul "Semtex" Daley on the August 1st Affliction: Trilogy card (which is, as far as we know at this point, still happening) and we checked in with him to see how his preparation is coming, what he thinks of the recent disparaging remarks made about his gym, and what he’ll do if there isn’t an Affliction: Tetralogy show in the somewhat near future.

The fight’s a little over a week away.  How are you feeling?

Great, man.  Training’s been great.  I’m in tremendous shape.  I just have to get through this last hard week and then let my body heal up and I’m ready to fight.

Have you done much scouting on Paul Daley?

Yeah, I’ve seen a few of his fights.  I think he’s a good striker.  He’s explosive.  But I’m definitely more well-rounded and that’s what MMA is all about.

You’re an Xtreme Couture fighter so I assume you heard Kit Cope’s recent comments about your gym.  He said it’s a place where guys who are already good can get a workout, but that it doesn’t actually make fighters.  What do you think of that?

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Well, at Least We Still Have Babalu vs. Mousasi…


(Props: youtube.com/afflictionvideos via MMA Fanhouse)

It’s a small comfort in light of the canceled main event, but at least Affliction: Trilogy (if it is indeed still happening) will feature an important light-heavyweight bout between Renato "Babalu" Sobral and Gegard Mousasi. The above video promo paints the two fighters as polar opposites: Sobral is the hardy veteran who’s fought everybody and seen it all; the dangerous grappler who’s just as interesting outside of the ring. Mousasi is the young and confident striker who responds to every interview question with a deadpan shrug. It’s a clash of styles that will either solidify Sobral’s status as one of the best 205-pounders in the world, or prove that Mousasi can be dominant in a new weight class. "I’m the guy who wants to hurt him," Mousasi says, "[Sobral] only wants to submit me." Babalu responds with some of his trademark craziness: "If he talks shit, he gonna pee in the ring. If he doesn’t, he’s gonna pee anyway." Yikes. Gegard’s Bladder, you’ve just been put on notice…

After the jump: A preview of the middleweight bout that might not happen anymore — Vitor Belfort vs. Jorge Santiago.

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CSAC Refuses to License Josh Barnett; Bout With Emelianenko Off for ‘Affliction: Trilogy’


("Mostly-natural, baby!" Photo courtesy of MMA Mania.)

Bad news for MMA fans — and disastrous news for Affliction’s MMA promotion. Sherdog is reporting that the California State Athletic Commission will not license Josh Barnett for his fight against Fedor Emelianenko at next Saturday’s Affliction: Trilogy event due to a "positive test result." We’re assuming that means steroids and not Hep B or something, though the CSAC promises to release a detailed statement today. Barnett, who was stripped of his UFC heavyweight title in 2002 for anabolic steroid use, was surprised by the news: 

“I took my test three weeks ago. I would have thought I would have heard something by now…No matter what happens with this, I can assure you I will clear my name. This will not be something that I am defined by.”
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Wait, Now Kimo Leopoldo Isn’t Dead?

Kimo Leopoldo
(‘Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated, you pussies.’)

The bad news is, we’ve been duped.  The good news is, we can now resume making insensitive jokes about Kimo Leopoldo.  Yes, it turns out that Kimo isn’t really dead after all, or at the very least has been resurrected to walk the earth as some kind of terrifying zombie.  Despite premature eulogies from the New York Daily News, the Orange County Register, and us, among many others, Leopoldo is said to be alive and reasonably well, though that’s about as much information as anyone seems to have or need about him and his current whereabouts.

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Overeem Out of Strikeforce Title Fight Thanks to Nagging Street-Fighting Injury

Alistair Overeem
(‘If you see that son of a bitch Gallagher, tell him we need to talk.’)

There’s something to be learned from the cautionary tale of Alistair Overeem, and it’s this: if you’re going to get into a nightclub brawl in between title fights, at least have the sense to hit people with your elbows and not your fists.  Strikeforce officials confirmed today that Overeem will be unable to defend his heavyweight title on August 15 against Fabricio Werdum because the infection to the hand he injured on a bouncer’s face back in May still hasn’t healed. 

This means he’ll miss a second straight fight because of his street fighting antics, and the Strikeforce heavyweight strap that he won back in 2007 and has yet to defend will stay on the shelf…or will it?

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Mirko Cro Cop Already Angling for a Shot at Brock Lesnar

Mirko Cro Cop Filipovic MMA
(Look, he’s working his way up to doing it with a 500-pound man, okay? Baby steps.)

We can now count Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic as a member of the "Brock Haters Club" that already includes Mike Swick, Logan Stanton, and Stephen Colbert. As the UFC heavyweight (currently, but don’t jinx it) said during a recent interview:

"I must point out that his victory is a defeat for the sport as such. Don’t get me wrong, Lesnar is a fearsome and very dangerous opponent, but I am old school, I prefer skill and technique. This win was a defeat of martial skills. Much of what he achieved in the fight is a result of pure power… Of course, Lesnar has quality sparring partners, is an experienced wrestler and a man who learns very quickly. But he is yet to have a real struggle. He does not have many fights in his career and I would love to see how he would react to two or three good low kicks."
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Randy, Fedor, Sylvia, Babalu Tapped for ‘EA MMA’ Roster List

EA MMA video game
("Your perpetually-scowling welterweight with great jiu-jitsu, cardio, and trash-talk has died of dysentery.")

For over a month, we’ve been wondering who EA Sports will be able to recruit for its upcoming MMA video game — especially after Dana White’s proclamation that any fighter who signs with the competing title will be dead to him. But now that reports are starting to trickle out, let’s run it down…

— In a recent interview with MMA Wordwide, UFC/IFL/Strikeforce vet Benji Radach says that he starts work on the game next month, and will be in it along with Randy Couture and Fedor Emelianenko.

— Emelianenko’s involvement was confirmed by a press release distributed by mixfight.ru, which also named Gegard Mousasi as a participant.

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