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October, 2009

‘Countdown to UFC 104′ Gives Us Tough Talk, Style Clashes, and Monkeys


(Props: Yahoo!/UFC via MMA Mania)

If you missed Spike’s "Countdown to UFC 104" hype show this week, allow us to present it to you in its entirety. Some highlights:

— We meet Lyoto Machida‘s lovely wife Fabyola, who recalls how emotional he got after winning the belt. Now that he’s the champion, he’s more outspoken and he’s dressing better.

— Becoming a UFC champion was like a "movie playing out in real life" for Machida. But the onslaught of attention from media and fans in his native Brazil convinced him to move his camp to the serenity of the Terra Alta farm, a natural paradise full of overflowing coconuts and spider monkeys that love to give hugs.

Shogun‘s trainer thinks that the fact that Rua has never been knocked out will somehow protect him from getting knocked out by Machida.

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UFC to Counter-Program ‘Fedor vs. Rogers’ With Star-Studded ‘Main Events’ Show

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira Randy Couture MMA UFC 102
("Stay…off…my…LAWN!" Photo courtesy of Fighters.com)

While Strikeforce is still locking down fights for their November 7th "Fedor vs. Rogers" card, the UFC already has their plans finalized. In an effort to draw eyes away from the World’s Greatest Heavyweight, Spike TV will be airing a two-hour special at 9 p.m. ET/PT called "UFC Main Events." The lineup will include:

– Randy Couture vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira from UFC 102
– Vitor Belfort vs. Rich Franklin from UFC 103
– BJ Penn vs. Kenny Florian from UFC 101
– Forrest Griffin vs. Anderson Silva from UFC 101

None of these fights have ever been seen on basic cable, which is good news for those of you who haven’t had the time or money to keep up with the UFC’s recent pay-per-view broadcasts. But while previous viewership battles between the UFC and Strikeforce haven’t always been held on level playing fields, the UFC will now be putting some of its best product on Spike to compete with a potentially massive audience on CBS. Tables, they turn sometimes. We’re about to find out how strong the UFC brand really is…

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Can Rolles Gracie Resurrect His Family’s Name Inside The Octagon?


Rolles Gracie loses his Fight Virginity – Watch more Funny Videos

Here’s a fun MMA trivia question for you: when is the last time a member of the Gracie family won a fight in the UFC?  If you said 1995, you’re wrong.  That was when Royce Gracie fought to a draw against Ken Shamrock.  The correct answer is 1994, otherwise known as the Cretaceous Period of MMA, when Gracie defeated Dan Severn to win UFC 4.  But Rolles Gracie Jr., the son of deceased jiu-jitsu legend Rolls Gracie, has reportedly signed with the UFC and is expected to make his debut against Mostapha Al-Turk at UFC 109.  So does this mean the Gracie drought in the UFC is finally over?

Short answer: probably.  Al-Turk has yet to win a fight in the UFC after two attempts, and he’s never been known for his submissions prowess even outside the Octagon.  Gracie, as you probably guessed, is pretty good on the ground.  In addition to his jiu-jitsu accomplishments, he’s won all three of his professional MMA bouts via submission, though he’s yet to really face any tough competition.  As for the UFC, you can bet they’d like to see someone with such a famous name in the MMA scene make a run, so starting him off with a relatively easy fight against Al-Turk only makes sense.  The only question on our minds is, does this mean we’re going to see the Gracie train entrance make a triumphant reappearance?

After the jump, watch Rolles do a little grappling, with mixed results.

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Gambling Addiction Enabler: UFC 104


(Weird, that’s the face I make when I even consider drinking urine.)

While you can usually find odds on the full fight card for a UFC event – even the dark matches that some ticketholders don’t bother to show up for – most online bookies seem to be trimming back their activity for UFC 104.  Is that a statement on the undercard itself?  An indicator that they’ve realized the futility of trying to lay odds on guys who most people know almost nothing about?  A freak occurrence?  We have no idea.  All it means to us is that we’ll have to scratch Stefan Struve over Chase Gormley from our parlay.  Bummer.

The best lines on the internet come courtesy of BestFightOdds.com:

Lyoto Machida (-405) vs. Shogun Rua (+353)
Cain Velasquez (-290) vs. Ben Rothwell (+280)
Joe Stevenson (-225) vs. Spencer Fisher (+205)
Anthony Johnson (-300) vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida (+300)
Ryan Bader (-412) vs. Eric Schafer (+355)
Antoni Hardonk (-115) vs. Pat Barry (+115)
Yushin Okami (-215) vs. Chael Sonnen (+200)

The breakdown…

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Donald Cerrone Agrees to Return in December Against Ed Ratcliff


(Ed Ratcliff KO’s Brett Cooper with a spinning back kick at Total Combat 12, 12/17/05.)

Donald Cerrone may have to wait a little longer to get his rematch with Jamie Varner. Contrary to previous rumors that Cerrone would be facing Varner in December while interim champion Benson Henderson recovers from their epic five-rounder at WEC 43, Sherdog is reporting that Cerrone will instead fight fellow lightweight contender Ed "9mm" Ratcliff at a WEC show on December 19th in Las Vegas. The bout could serve as the card’s main event — not an ideal situation, but at least Henderson will get his rightful shot at Varner’s belt when he’s healthy again.

In case you’re unfamiliar, Ed Ratcliff (7-1), has won three of his four fights in the WEC, most recently taking a unanimous decision over Phil Cardella at Torres vs. Bowles, and his aggressive, unpredictable style should match up well with Cowboy’s. Ratcliff grew up in Chicago studying traditional martial arts, earning black belts in Karate and Tae Kwon Do, and began his MMA training with Ken Shamrock at age 17; he had his first pro fight when he was 18. He now lives and trains in San Diego, and describes his primary motivation for fighting as "$$MONEY$ LOL."

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Nate Diaz vs. Gray Maynard Rematch to Headline UFC Fight Night 20

After landing big wins at UFC Fight Night 19, Nate Diaz and Gray Maynard have been booked to face each other in the main event of the UFC’s next Fight Night show, which will go down January 11th at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia. But it won’t be the first time the two lightweight contenders have gone toe to toe. During his dominant run on TUF 5, Diaz submitted Maynard by guillotine choke in the semi-finals. Since then, Maynard has surpassed Diaz in the 155-pound pecking order, going 6-0 with one no-contest, including decision wins over Frank Edgar, Jim Miller, and Roger Huerta. Diaz went 4-0 after winning his TUF contract, but then lost back-to-back fights to Clay Guida and Joe Stevenson before breaking his skid against Melvin Guillard last month.

If he’s victorious, Maynard could find himself squarely in title contention, though a match against the winner of Florian/Guida at UFC 107 seems like a logical eliminator fight. Fun fact: Diaz has won an end-of-night bonus (either Submission of the Night or Fight of the Night) in each one of his last five appearances. Any predictions on how this one will go down?

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Dana White: Dan Henderson Wanted “An Obscene Amount of Money”

One of things we didn’t see in Dana White’s most recent video blog from the lovely Casablanca hotel and casino in Mesquite, Nevada was him sitting down for a conversation with Raw Vegas‘ Dave Farra.  Not that we blame DW for cutting that portion out.  I mean, talking to Dave isn’t going to be the highlight of anyone’s night, trust me.  But it is interesting to hear how White characterizes his negotiations with Dan Henderson, and just how different that characterization is from the way Hendo sees things.  According to White, they couldn’t come to terms with Henderson because he "was looking for an obscene amount of money."  Now there’s an interesting use of the past tense.  Chances are that if you asked Henderson, he’d tell you that he continues to want that same amount of money in the present.

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Yep, Sean Salmon Should Have Kept His Big Mouth Shut

Sean Salmon
(Most realistic wax sculpture ever?)

Depending on how many times you’ve been hit in the head lately, you may or may not remember the brief, but furious little dust-up about Sean Salmon’s claim that he had allowed himself to be armbarred in a fight this past June in order to avoid damage and keep his job as a Wolfslair sparring partner.  The way we saw it, Salmon admitted to quitting in the fight, not throwing it, and he was guilty of nothing more than screwed up priorities and extremely bad judgment.  The Ohio State Athletic Commission decided it was a little more serious than that, and they suspended Salmon for a year and fined him $2,500 for his transgression.

Fortunately for Salmon the suspension is retroactive to the date of the fight, so he’ll be eligible to compete again in June of 2010, but the damage to his reputation may last much longer than that.  The punishment seems extreme, particularly when you consider that Salmon really only hurt himself by both giving up on the fight and then telling the entire MMA world about it.  Had he just taken the loss as learning experience and not written a column offering up an excuse for it, this wouldn’t have been necessary. 

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Showtime Ramps Up Strikeforce Promotion With ‘Fight Camp 360′


(The latest Fedor/Rogers video promo, courtesy of YouTube.com/CBS. Props to MMA Fanhouse for the tip.)

Just as HBO uses the 24/7 series to plug notable boxing matches, Showtime has launched its own behind-the-scenes hype series with Fight Camp 360, which debuted October 10th with a profile on the Super Six World Boxing Classic. But 360 won’t be limited to just boxing. According to Brett Rogers, Showtime is preparing an episode of the show to promote Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers, slated to air about a week before their November 7th fight.

Of course, that event will air on CBS, not Showtime. But Showtime is owned by CBS Corporation, and it’s the network outlet for most of Strikeforce’s events, so it’s in their best interest to pitch in with the promotional effort, which has taken a while to warm up. But hey, better late than never — and it’s great to see MMA fighters start to get the "all-access" treatment before big fights. Though if you’re one of the Showtime video producers who has to fly to Stary Oskol and freeze your ass off while shooting some B-roll of a new swingset being installed at Fedor’s training facility, our condolences…

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Lyoto Machida: Drinkin’ Piss, Lovin’ Life

Lyoto Machida drinks urine
Lyoto Machida drinks urine Yoshizo
(Lyoto and his father Yoshizo share a warm moment at their home base in Belem, Brazil. Photos courtesy of this set on Sherdog.)

If you have a dream — go ahead, it is possible! And if you have a glass of urine — pass that shit, son! Apologies if you’re seeing this during lunch, but here’s photographic proof that Lyoto Machida’s urine-drinking regimen is for real, and not something he made up to get inside the head of Rashad Evans. Yes, we’ve already debunked this quaint bit of folk-medicine as B.S., but the Machida clan stands by it. (And check out how healthy and happy they look!) As Machida patriarch Yoshizo explained to Sherdog:

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